Monday, February 06, 2006

Tough times continue 

After the university suspended eight of its sports programs the athletic department at Tulane is struggling to cope, to survive.

Nearly two months later, many of the 94 athletes and 12 coaches on the suspended Green Wave teams — men's cross-country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, and men's track — are still shaken by the university's decision to temporarily eliminate their sports. Some say they do not understand why Tulane cut the teams — four of which were defending Conference USA champions — without first giving supporters a chance to raise enough money to keep the teams on the field.

They are not the only ones with questions. Athletes and coaches in some of Tulane's remaining sports — baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's cross-country, football, women's indoor and outdoor track, and women's volleyball — are also worried about the future of their programs.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More recruiting 

Not only was Myron Rolle involved in an intense recruiting battle between schools, he is also in a name-calling battle with a recruiting "anaylst."


edited to add, this is a much better story:
Ethical lines risk blurring, crossing.

The recruiting process makes coaching a difficult job (all that travel? depending on tennagers for your livelihood?), but the people that really feel the pressure in the recruiting process are the recruits.

Myron Rolle, a heavily recruited defensive back from New Jersey who will attend Florida State, told the panel high school recruits don't even understand the rules of recruiting.

''I wasn't trained formally on any of the rules. It wasn't done at my high school or any of the camps I went to,'' Rolle said. ``Some of the drastic [recruiting inducements], like money or having females in your room, that's just common sense.''

Rolle said the recruiting process has grown out of control in part because of recruiting services, which compile lists of the top high school recruits then sell the information on the Internet.

''Being a football player, websites like Rivals.com and Scout.com, the amount of access they have to student-athletes is amazing,'' he told the panel. 'They can call you on your cell phone seven times a night and you're like, `Didn't I give you an interview two minutes ago?' That can be overwhelming.''

The influences can be staggering. Rolle mentioned he had been contacted by Gov. Jeb Bush.

'If the governor of the state of Florida is text-messaging or calling a recruit, what is he saying? He's saying `I'm going to take time out of managing the state to call you,' '' said Peter Roby, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mystery revealed 

The NCAA has taken an unprecedented step towards openness in the men's basketball selection process, and will be releasing the RPI to the public, on a weekly basis, starting in February.

Check here starting February 2, and start here to read the official "Principles and Procedures for Establishing the Men's Bracket."

"We think that announcing the results of the RPI ranking on a weekly basis has its benefits," said Craig Littlepage, Virginia athletic director and chair of the Division I men's basketball committee. "One of the committee's primary objectives over the last few years has been to increase the transparency and understanding of the process."

Monday, January 23, 2006

The new phone books are here! 

The new graduation rates are out, with the first comparison available between Federal Rates and the NCAA's "new and improved" Graduation Success Rate. The Chronicle of Higher Education provides a nice overview.

To check on your teams:
2005 NCAA Graduation Rates Report (Federal Rates)

2005 NCAA Graduation Success Rates

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Kansas goes for it 

The athletic department released its five-year strategic plan and, surprise, wants to win! Of course, they do want to win while doing well in the classroom and following the rules, but those are probably secondary as long as football revenue increases.

Read the AD's letter and download the report here.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The APR and recruiting 

Will it have any effect? I doubt it. Like this coach, I'm sure that people will find a way to make sure the difference-makers survive.

"I've been at schools where there's one degree program that's a lot easier than all the rest, and whenever we had a player get in (academic) trouble, we'd put him in that program," said one longtime I-A assistant who asked to remain anonymous. "Some schools don't have programs like that, but a lot of them do. If you have the program and you know kids can get through it, that doesn't give you much heartburn when you recruit a kid who might be at-risk."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Money and influence 

ESPN runs a great package this week on the biggest, most powerful boosters in college athletics. Start here, with the story of Oregon's relationship will Phil Knight, but don't miss the other stories, including the Ten most powerful boosters in college sports.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NOT an NCAA violation 

People are often surprised to learn that legal issues, such as assault or DWI, aren't covered under NCAA rules. Murder? Not an NCAA violation. But in the wake of more and more off-field problems many college are adopting codes of conduct for their student-athletes.

In 2003 the University of Wisconsin at Madison introduced a code that cut coaches out of the disciplinary process. Wisconsin's policy immediately suspends from practice and play any student who is arrested for or charged with a felony or any "violation of local, state, or federal law involving drugs, gambling, or violence."

For serious offenses, "we wanted to take any disciplinary action away from the coach," says Steve Malchow, a former associate athletics director at Wisconsin who recently became a senior associate athletics director at Iowa State University. "If it ended up being the star player and we had a key game coming up, that kind of clouds your judgment."

The initial suspension stands until an athletics-department committee — which includes a coach and a player from a team other that the offending student's — investigates the incident and sets a penalty.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Billionaire alumnus will donate $165 million to Oklahoma State athletics.

Dis-connect at Oklahoma 

Too many phone calls could cause big problems for the Sooner basketball program. The NCAA is using an easily documented rule violations - phone bills! - to investigate a number of programs, but this particular problem is much more complicated.

My favorite part:

The gray rulebook: In fairness to the OU coaching staff, the NCAA rule on phone calls -- "one per week" -- isn't exactly clear. For example, suppose Sampson calls Bookout and gets the mother instead. They speak for 45 seconds, and the mother asks Sampson to call back later. Sampson calls back and Bookout's dad answers. Again, no Bookout. Call back, Coach. Finally, Sampson finds Bookout. According to NCAA rules, that's three phone calls. Technically, though, Sampson and Kevin Bookout have spoken just once. Only the NCAA rulebook could be so thick, yet so incomplete.

What the NCAA Manual actually says: Time Period for Telephone Calls -- General Rule
In all sports other than football and basketball, one telephone call to a prospect or a prospect's relatives or legal guardians may be made during March of the prospect's junior year in high school. In sports other than football and basketball, subsequent telephone calls to a prospect [or the prospect's relatives or legal guardian(s)] may not be made before July 1 following the completion of the prospect's junior year in high school (subject to the exceptions below); thereafter, staff members shall not make such telephone calls more than once per week.

Personally, I think it's pretty clear that if you talk to mom, then dad, then recruit, that's three calls. There may be lots of gray areas in the rule book, but I don't think this is one of them!

Monday, January 09, 2006

University High speaks out 

The director doesn't think he did anything wrong.

Athletes from Miami-Dade County who graduated from University High reported reading study guides without instruction, taking easy, open-book tests and receiving A's and B's that helped them qualify for college. One football player, for instance, said he raised his grade point average to 3.0 from 2.1 by taking nine courses in seven weeks.

Kinney, speaking publicly for the first time, said: "I haven't done anything wrong. I still believe in everything I've done."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Gift Center 

It kills me to hear people talk about how unfair it is that student-athletes don't get paid, because most people don't know about all the other perks available to them (besides the SCHOLARSHIP that is paying for their EDUCATION).

Bowl game and tournament gifts for football and men's basketball are good examples.

Organizers of the Alamo Bowl, played December 28, gave a Microsoft Xbox 360 to each player from the University of Michigan and the University of Nebraska.

The video-game system, which has a $399 retail price, was so popular this holiday season that few stores could keep it on the shelves.


Not all of the big gifts came from electronics stores. Players from the University of Georgia and West Virginia University, who matched up on Monday in the Nokia Sugar Bowl, each brought home a customized Trek mountain bike.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The cost of being a fan 

It's not news that true fans don't get any special treatment from their teams. The big donors (or corporations) get the luxury boxes, good seats, good food, and fun with their teams. The true-blue, loyal to a fault fans scramble and do anything possible to cheer on their teams.

This Texas fan lives and breathes burnt orange. (I've seen the car!)

As far as Texas officials are concerned, the most important number in Wilson's file isn't 343 — the consecutive football games he has attended — or 28 — the years worth of home and away baseball games he has attended — or six — the Longhorn sports to which he holds season tickets.

The only number that matters is 800. That's how many dollars he annually donates to one of college athletics' most endowed programs.

Omelet Stations 

A look at the people who REALLY keep USC and Texas football running.

Unhappy with the efficiency of the Trojans' game-day breakfast buffet, Carroll pushed Slutak to find a better way. First, the Trojans increased the number of omelet stations to help breakfast move more quickly.

But Carroll was still not satisfied, so they switched to having the players order their omelets. Slutak, whose primary responsibility with the program is arranging logistics and travel, said that the new omelet organization system saved the Trojans 20 to 30 minutes on game days this season.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

All about the $$$ 

Just in case you missed it, colege football and men's basketball coaches make a lot of money. I think the sums of money involved are outrageous; some disagree:

Take, for instance, Southern California football coach Pete Carroll, who has won two national titles and has the Trojans in this year's championship game against Texas. Carroll's salary is undisclosed by the private school, but reportedly he is paid in the neighborhood of $3 million a year through a combination of salary and supplemental deals.

That's a lot of money, Carter said, "but he is arguably the highest-profile university employee. He's selling out our Coliseum; he's continuing to build an already strong brand with strong loyalty. When you look at that, you begin to understand that he's one of our best overall sales people.

"If a salesman at IBM or Coca-Cola were paid $2 million to $3 million, he or she would have to be bringing in tens of millions of dollars. Some coaches are, indeed, doing that, and not just in the revenue they generate."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Film school 

The reliance that football teams show for videotape has always boggled my mind... how much film study is really necessary to be a good team? Probably to no one's surprise, USC has used technology to take film study to a new level.

Joe Schrimpl, voted by his peers as the top video coordinator in college sports last year, oversees a crew of two full-time assistants and more than a dozen student employees. Each day, they record and process video for a half-dozen of the school's teams.

"We're going nonstop," Schrimpl said. "Most days it's 10 to 12 hours minimum. Sometimes longer than that."

Friday, November 18, 2005

And the underdog is... 

Fresno State, who is trying to make waves of many kinds by upsetting USC this weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Update from the Great Northwest 

A Q&A with Washington AD Todd Turner.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Security Blanket 

This story about USC football details how many of the players that face legal trouble use the same lawyer. That doesn't necessarily concern, or surprise me. But USC having TWO TEAM SECURITY COORDINATORS? What?!?

But before Trutanich gets involved, the first step for any USC player is to check a laminated card provided by the team.

On one side are phone numbers for Dennis Slutak, director of football operations, and head trainer Russ Romano. On the other side are numbers for team security coordinators Xavier Suazo and Rick Carr.

Known as "X-Man," Suazo is a former state Justice Department agent who arranges police escorts for team buses and knows whom to contact at local agencies when a player is arrested.

Now THAT is scary stuff.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New graduation rates 

The NCAA has changed their grad rates formula to account for transfers, and the Knight Commissions got a sneak peak.

This is the "did you know" moment:
About half of all college students attend more than one school before getting their degrees, Todd Petr, the NCAA's director of research, told the commission, and about 30% of Division I men's basketball players and 40% of baseball players transfer, so the new calculations will represent a more accurate account of who graduates. Final data is expected to be released early next month, Petr said.

HALF of all students attend more than one school? That is an amazingly high number... that I'm just not sure I believe. Forget grad rates - tell me more about that!

Party Planning 

For 105,000 at Ohio State football games. And it all falls to one woman.

In addition to overseeing all of Ohio State’s ticket operations, Simonson is responsible for the management of the actual game site, including security, crowd control, and dealing with ticket scalpers. The sales and marketing of official Ohio State merchandise, and the extensive concessions contracts also fall under the umbrella of administrative duties for Simonson.
“In my 14 years here, I have just sort of evolved into this role,” Simonson said. “I think it is definitely a learned skill — there’s really no class or manual that can prepare you for this. Event management takes a lot of people, planning, and organization when it is an Ohio State home football game that you are putting on. It is a major event in so many ways.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A love letter 

To the NCAA enforcement staff, particularly 30-year-old investigation wiz Julie Roe. If only she had worked, oh, anywhere else...

After graduating in 1997, Ms. Roe took an internship in the NCAA's enforcement department. There the small-town girl saw a side of college sports she had never known as a Division III athlete. She learned about players who cheated, coaches who lied, and athletics administrators who cut corners to get themselves or their programs a bigger share of the fast-growing pot of money in college sports.


After her internship ended, Ms. Roe joined the NCAA's staff as an assistant director for student-athlete reinstatement. A year later she took over the department, which handles athletes' eligibility appeals. She got the job after putting together a two-inch-thick outline of her five-year plan for improving the department.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not re-LAX-ed 

The NY Times covers a big lacrosse tournament that presents a huge opportunity for students to potentially earn a college scholarship, and earn back those years of club fees and travel.

As lacrosse has grown, so has a booming mini-industry of private teams, personal trainers, tournaments and camps. In the past, younger girls and boys learned the sport in town recreation leagues, progressing to more demanding high school varsity teams. These days, a growing number of young athletes join private teams that play virtually year-round except for spring, which is varsity season. These "pay for play" clubs (which can cost up to $2,000 a year) are more prevalent in girls' lacrosse but are gaining ground with boys, too. And like soccer clubs, those for lacrosse promise challenging competition and exposure to college scouts, especially during tournaments like the All Star Express.

A Scholarship Guide for Dummies, or how to get the money.

Steps from the Squad to the Quad, or, how to handle the recruiting process.


Colleges are using the new SAT writing section as a check when student's applications essays look just a bit too polished. Even Harvard and Yale are taking a peak.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Scholarship chase 

The SF Chronicle does a thorough look at the long odds high school students face when trying to earn a soccer scholarship.

Best quote ever in a recruiting story?

"A lot of people are delusional,'' San Jose State women's coach Dave Siracusa said.

Specializing in just one sport.

Advice from college coaches.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Do you know what a Treo is? 

Chances are the college coach does. The LA Times details how coaches are using every possible technological tool at their disposal, along with every bit of leeyway the NCAA rules allow, to constantly be in touch with recruits.

Craziness, I tell you. If only the NCAA rules could keep up with technology, the world would be a better place for recruits.

The same sad story 

Indiana and Purdue are still bitter that they can't use private planes to bring their recruits to campus. Gosh, life is so hard at a Big 10 school!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wisconsin fans should be so proud 

Michigan fans claimed they were harassed by Wisconsin fans at the game in Madison. I'm sure this kind of stuff happens everywhere, but the best part of the story is the reaction of this guy - an ELECTED official:

Not everyone thinks this is such a bad thing however, including Ald. Austin King, District 8, who will not likely be sending apologetic e-mails to Thomas or Jahn anytime soon.

“I definitely have been less than welcoming to Michigan fans,” King said. “That’s part of our home-field advantage.”

King said he is always cordial and respectful when he sees fans of opposing Big Ten teams on State Street or elsewhere in Madison, but on game day at Camp Randall, he indicated he plays by a different set of rules.

“Obviously there’s a point at which the line gets crossed, [such as] actually breaking the law or physical violence. That’s inappropriate,” he said. “[But] calling someone an a—hole and pointing at them — that’s part of home-field advantage.”

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sad Blue 

Poor Kentucky basketball, picked on by the NCAA, struggling with ineligible student-athletes. Maybe if the students had taken care of their business, the basketball team could take care of theirs.

Randolph Morris let an agency represent him, and the mean 'ol NCAA hasn't made it all better yet.

Jawaan McClellan (a transfer from Arizona) didn't pass his classes in spring, and the NCAA didn't let him off the hook either.


A doctoral student's survey shows that ESPN is influencing the use of jargon in sports writing. Interesting thesis, and I would like to know more, but the story includes no excerpts from the paper or actual examples of this kind of writing.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Social Climbing 

In the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell muses on the meritocracy that was Ivy League admissions, and the "best-students" model that it has become.

Social scientists distinguish between what are known as treatment effects and selection effects. The Marine Corps, for instance, is largely a treatment-effect institution. It doesn’t have an enormous admissions office grading applicants along four separate dimensions of toughness and intelligence. It’s confident that the experience of undergoing Marine Corps basic training will turn you into a formidable soldier. A modelling agency, by contrast, is a selection-effect institution. You don’t become beautiful by signing up with an agency. You get signed up by an agency because you’re beautiful.

At the heart of the American obsession with the Ivy League is the belief that schools like Harvard provide the social and intellectual equivalent of Marine Corps basic training—that being taught by all those brilliant professors and meeting all those other motivated students and getting a degree with that powerful name on it will confer advantages that no local state university can provide. Fuelling the treatment-effect idea are studies showing that if you take two students with the same S.A.T. scores and grades, one of whom goes to a school like Harvard and one of whom goes to a less selective college, the Ivy Leaguer will make far more money ten or twenty years down the road.

The extraordinary emphasis the Ivy League places on admissions policies, though, makes it seem more like a modelling agency than like the Marine Corps...

Gladwell references a new book about Ivy Admissions: "The Chosen" by Jerome Karabel.

Monday, September 05, 2005

September comes 

The arrival of September means the beginning of the school year, and a short break...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Checking in at CU 

What would fall be without a few words from Gary Barnett? It's good to see that he has learned from all that he has been through:

No formal rape charges were filed. An independent commission found that players had arranged for alcohol, drugs and sex for visiting recruits but not that the activities were sanctioned by school officials. The university tightened its control of the athletics department and imposed strict new guidelines for recruiting.

Questions arose in the meantime about revenue from Barnett's summer camps, which a state grand jury claimed was poorly overseen and in some instances misused as a "slush fund." The university has conducted an audit, another by the state is in progress, and the findings are expected to be released in November — perhaps one holdup to Barnett's contract renewal talks.

Barnett insists there has been no wrongdoing.

"We certainly had some adversity," he said. "But shoot, that's what you're here for. You're an athlete and you're a coach, and you thrive on adversity. If you don't, you're not going to be in the business for long."

Not exactly by the book 

Several Ball State athletes will miss some games this fall because of NCAA violations involving their athletic scholarship book accounts. Oops.

The Big Picture 

Fall approaches, and the Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the five questions that will shape college athletics this year.

It begins 

The college football season starts this weekend, and everyone is watching Urban Meyer at Florida.Sounds like an intense guy.

Then Urban Meyer leaned forward and peered up from his office couch. His eyes fixed on the questioner as he conveyed the intensity that has made him, at 41, the hottest young coach in college football.

"I cannot wait until [Saturday]," he said, almost in a frightening way, of Florida's opener against Wyoming. "I can … not … wait."

It is silly to remind everyone that these are just games?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Read it 

The president of the University of North Dakota writes an open letter to the NCAA on the issue of American Indian Nicknames.

Read the whole thing.

Is it only about applying names to sports teams? If so, would this be extended to the use of the names of all people, or is it just American Indians? Why would you exempt the “Fighting Irish” from your consideration, for example? Or “Vikings,” which are really fighting Scandinavians, or “Warriors,” which I suppose could be described as fighting anybodies? Wouldn’t it be “discrimination on account of race” to have a policy that applies to Indians but not to Scandinavians or the Irish, or anybody else for that matter? This seems especially profound in light of a letter to me from President Brand (8/9/05) in which he, in very broad-brush fashion and inconsistent with the NCAA’s recent much narrower pronouncement, said, “we believe that mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin should not be visible at our events.” (my emphasis)


If the NCAA has all this power, why not use it to restore intercollegiate athletics to the ideal of sportsmanship by decoupling intercollegiate athletics from its corruption by big budgets? Why not use the power to put a halt to the out-of-control financial arms race that threatens to corrupt even higher education itself?

Yes, I know that in theory the NCAA is actually an association, and that UND is a member of it, and therefore it’s really we who are doing all of these things to ourselves, or failing to do all of these things ourselves. But is the NCAA really a democratic organization? Why did we not put these issues to a vote by all member schools??

Friday, August 26, 2005

Recruiting videos 

A Michigan graduate has taken the Baby Einstein theme to sports videos, and has created a growing line of sports DVDs for children. Their Baby Longhorn version has sold more than 10,000 copies!

Support your favorite team at Team Baby Entertainment.

And, because this reminded me of silly fan things, I should also link to Fan Brands Grilling Irons, the best way to support your favorite team (or Nascar driver) while enjoying a steak.

Dancing around the requirements 

USC quarterback Matt Leinart will be finishing up his degree this fall, by taking only a two-unit ballroom dancing class. I know the rule says that this is okay, and I know many students use this rule as they finish their career, but it sure would be interesting to see how many are taking legitimate academic classes vs. something "fun."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A sad story 

One former ASU football player dead, another in jail. But it's not a simple situation.

If I were a betting man... 

I would no longer go to Oregon, which has (well, had) a form of legalized sports betting. Who knew?

No more Hugs 

Bob Huggins resigns as Cincinnati's basketball coach. (A Cincinnati enquirer link with lots of good sidebars).

The big question:
Was it was a bad decision by a naive university president, or a noble stand by a courageous administrator?

A Different View 

Washington Monthly has put together their own college rankings, looking not just at academics. They say: While other guides ask what colleges can do for students, we ask what colleges are doing for the country.

The list is good reading, and heavy on the state schools.

How much more important, then, is it for taxpayers to know that their money—in the form of billions of dollars of research grants and student aid—is being put to good use? These are institutions, after all, that produce most of the country's cutting-edge scientific research and are therefore indirectly responsible for much of our national wealth and prosperity. They are the path to the American dream, the surest route for hard-working poor kids to achieve a better life in a changing economy. And they shape, in profound and subtle ways, students' ideas about American society and their place in it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The names are out 

Four people drop out of the Harris BCS poll, including "random guy" - a fan with no playing or coaching or administrative experience, who is the son-in-law of a coach.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The names are in 

The Harris 114, or the group of people that will screw up the BCS this year. I'd be more impressed with a list explaining who all these people are (including past and present allegences).

edited to add:

Thursday, August 18, 2005

International Issues 

More and more student-athletes are international, but the problem is worse in tennis. Then again, is it a problem? An issue? What is it?

What I did on my summer vacation: NCAA version 

Bought a tournament, settled a lawsuit.

Tried to make a statement (which just ended up annoying everyone).

Well, at least the important issues are under control. (Okay, it's piddly, but UT really should have known better.)

Friday, July 22, 2005


In April the NCAA approved scholarship increases for four women's sports: gymnastics, soccer, track & field, and volleyball. But, for the first time ever, the membership voted to over-ride the proposal and now the new rule is in limbo.

Is it good to add more women's scholarships? Maybe not in this manner, though I'm sure this avenue is popular with AD's because adding more scholarships to an existing sport is cheaper than starting a whole new sport with scholarships.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's all about the shoes 

Flip-flop, uh-oh. Northwestern women's lacrosse team members wore the casual shoes to the White House. Sure, the women get in trouble for shoes, but where's the picture of the prez being presented a speedo by the USC water polo team?


Summer workouts aren't mandatory for college players, but they sure aren't voluntary either. Is anyone surprised that just about everyone "practices" all summer long?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sport as Art 

In New York City, some artists are using their love of sport as a muse. This guy is my favorite:

Mr. Walton's projects are usually participatory. He created one called "One Shot a Day," in which he played a round of golf by taking a single shot each day. The round took him five and half months to complete, and he documented the experience with video and photography, which he put on his Web site, www.LeeWalton.com.

"That project was basically an attempt to put as much pressure and weight on each shot as possible," Mr. Walton said. "In golf they say play one shot at a time. I wanted to find a way to play my shot and then to have to live with that shot for 24 hours. A bad shot would affect my whole day."

DURING the National Basketball Association season he engaged in a free-throw-shooting contest with Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat, who is notoriously bad at free throws. To hone his form, Mr. Walton availed himself of a free-throw coach who once advised O'Neal, and for every shot O'Neal took in a real game, Mr. Walton took one wherever he happened to be - in local gyms or playgrounds - and then posted a video of his efforts on his Web site. Though he led O'Neal for the early part of the season, Mr. Walton went down to the N.B.A. star 350 to 342, out of 756 free throws.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Summer Vacation 

Posting will be sporadic at best during June and July, but should pick back up in August when the school year begins!

Friday, May 27, 2005


Different dealings with three football coaches leave Washington $4+ million in debt.

Messy split 

Why do the wealthiest employees always rate the biggest perks? Wouldn't a housing plan do more for those low-level staffers in high-cost San Diego?

SDSU fighting with former AD over $100k housing loan.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Disappointing, bizarre, chaotic and dysfunctional" 

USA Today checks in on the mess at Fresno State.

In just the last three months, the school fired women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein, accepted the surprising resignation of men's basketball coach Ray Lopes, Tarkanian's successor, and accepted the resignation of beleaguered athletics director Scott Johnson. Fresno State has admitted NCAA violations, although not major, in both basketball programs.

Friday, May 20, 2005

How to add a sport 

UC Davis adds women's golf to their lineup, doing more than just an email survey.

The athletic department gauged student interest by considering club-sport participation on campus, e-mails from prospective students about adding new sports and a recently added student survey of incoming freshmen.


To determine what sports were possible candidates, a letter was sent to women’s sport clubs on campus to see if they would want to move up to varsity status. Potential sports made their case with a report that included the number of participants in the club, budget requirements, future facility needs, schedules and national organizations established for their sport. A committee headed by Gill-Fisher evaluated the applications based on these criteria.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


The number of foreign men's tennis players is under scrutiny by men's tennis coaches. Providing opportunity to student-athletes from other countries is one thing, seeing ALL-international rosters for far too many schools is another.

After staying on the sidelines while the number of international players zoomed from a handful in 1980 to current total of more than 2,000, or 30 percent of Division I players, the NCAA took its first action in 2004 by establishing an age limit.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Behind the scenes 

The life of the compliance coordinator at Fresno State. I'm surprised that ANY compliance person wants to be in the paper, even if the story is positive.

Okay, I can't resist - Fresno State compliance? Really?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Good advice 

How nice to see a very lengthy, very helpful article that deals with the recruitment process for high school athletes. Good information all around, and just about all of it seems to be correct with regards to both NCAA rules and the current practices of most coaches.

Banned substances 

In Texas colleges, where the athletic departments at Texas and Texas Tech bought nutritional supplements for their student-athletes that contained NCAA-banned substances.

Meanwhile, at Utah, a thorough look at what universities can provide student-athletes, and the pitfalls that face students who take supplements on their own.

Athletes at Utah must have any supplements they buy approved by someone on the training staff. That safeguard prevented LaTendresse from taking what he thought was a harmless multivitamin pack that, on further scrutiny, contained substances banned by the NCAA.

True student-athletes 

They do still exist, here in LA-area high schools.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Your new NY Knicks coach? 

The NY Times makes a convincing argument for Anne Donovan, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and current coach of the WNBA's Seattle Storm.

The W.N.B.A. sidelines are dominated by men - they coach 8 of the 13 teams - but no N.B.A. team has ever hired a woman as coach. For all the N.B.A.'s talk about cutting edge and globalization, this is a double standard that betrays a troubling dark-ages view of women and has no place in a league that considers itself progressive.

Donovan, one of the most dominating players of her era, was a member of three United States Olympic teams and led Old Dominion to a national title as a freshman in 1980.

After coaching in college and in the American Basketball League, she became the head coach of the Charlotte Sting in 2001 and guided it to the W.N.B.A. final in 2001. Last season, Donovan led the Seattle Storm to the championship, becoming the first female head coach to capture a W.N.B.A. title.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Checking in at Trouble U 

Fresno State releases a 380-page report on the firing of women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein.

The report was composed of transcripts of interviews with 32 people, e-mail messages, receipts, letters and copies of photographs.

Among the investigation's findings were details of alleged multiple drug abuse by Johnson-Klein, violations of university policies — including an NCAA violation — apparent misuse of university funds and creating a hostile and threatening environment for her players and assistant coaches.

Despite that mountain of evidence, she still plans to sue for wrongful termination.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

If the rule gives you trouble 

...then get rid of it.

The WAC drops an eligibility certification rule that was causing trouble for their football teams competing in bowl games.

And kudos to ESPN 

For having two women (Heather Cox and Beth Mowins) announce the Men's Volleyball Final Four on ESPN2.

Another at the top 

North Carolina A&T hires a woman AD.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Housing and math 

Kentucky to report "minor" violation regarding dormitory.

Two notes:

1. If you have to use quotation marks to denote something as "minor," it's not really minor.

2. There is something incredibly wrong with ALL members of a team living in the same small dormitory. How does that help them be normal students?

An additional note - there are 33 beds in this dorm: 16 for athletes, 12 for non-athletes, and two open for visiting recruits. I would bet MONEY that some of the non-athlete beds belong to basketball managers.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Geographically challenged 

Quick, name all the members of the Big East. Heck, just tell me how many there are!

Okay, there are now eight fb schools and 16 basketball schools (!), including such "eastern" powerhouses as Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Well, Duh! 

Rick Neuheisel says he's done with gambling.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Much much much much too early! 

Recruiting lists? Team sponsorships? Come on - these kids are fifth-graders!

I actually agree with Rick Majerus:

The entire process of probing grade schools for future talent has many stunned.

"I think it's ridiculous. What it does is sell books, recruiting publications and magazines at the expense of someone's loss of innocence," said former Utah coach Rick Majerus, a television analyst.

"I've never heard of (ranking fourth-graders). I think it's sad. It's just sad, almost reprehensible."

Run or graduate 

Several UNLV track athletes are facing that dilemna with graduation and the conference championships falling on the same day this year. The athletic department has recommended the students compete, so I have great admiration for the several student-athletes (including some NCAA-qualifiers) that have decided to attend graduation.

Another year, another tweak 

Instead of making actual change,the BCS committee makes another minor adjustment in the hope of avoiding yet another annual controversy. Good luck!

(PS - They did do one good thing.)

I-AA no more? 

In addition to doing away with attendance requirements for I-A football programs (a positive step!) the NCAA is considering officially eliminating the classifications of I-A and I-AA. Of course, there will be much discussion:

But interviews with several board members indicated divisions on the I-AA enhancements. On the proposal to do away with the name Division I-AA, Hemenway, the chairman, said, "I honestly don't think it'll happen."

Fullerton said if the I-AA proposals were not approved, I-AA universities might lead a revolt to override the board's decision, something virtually without precedent in the N.C.A.A.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Who should coach a women's team? 

A number of athletic directors are asking that question this spring.

"Who should coach women?" legendary Texas women's coach Jody Conradt asked. "I think the right answer is the most qualified person. But all things being equal, then certainly, I think you can make a strong case for women coaching women and men coaching men."

I have to admit my surprise that the number of women coaching women's basketball has increased - I would love to find statistics on other women's sports, where so many of the prominent coaches, at least, are still men.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Good argument, wrong argument 

Yes, the 12th football game is a bad idea. But, it is a bad idea because it is all about money, not because of the negative academic effect it could have on football players.

Please... football players miss the least school of anyone (except in Conference USA, where the motto is "You televise it, we'll play it!"). Games are played on Saturdays. Teams fly via charters on Friday afternoons and return Saturday or Sunday, usually missing ABSOLUTELY no classes. Sure, the travel cuts into study time, but football players have it easy compared to most other sports.

Just in case 

More and more elite high school athletes (mainly basketball players) are getting personal-risk insurance in case they suffer a career-ending injury. The NCAA has an insurance program for its high-profile athletes, but high school athletes are on their own.

Most interesting for me is the insurance companies' concept of career-ending:

The policies are generally for injuries that end a career, not ones that cause a player's draft status to drop. A blank policy from Lloyd's of London, which underwrites most of the special-risk insurance, states, "Total disability or totally disabled means solely and directly as a result of injury or sickness the insured is certified by a physician as being wholly and continuously prevented from engaging in the Occupation/Sport stated. . . ." With so many medical advances, it's rare for an injury to be so severe that it prevents an athlete from ever playing again."

A bold move 

Arizona State hires USC SWA Lisa Love as new Athletic Director.

The choice is being approached a little cautiously, but she already has a fan on the coaching staff.

I think it's great - and kudos to the Pac-10 for having TWO women as ADs. Let's hope the rest of the country follows the great example the West Coast is setting.

Friday, April 22, 2005

David takes on Goliath 

The little guy (The Drake Group) takes on the NCAA in a battle over academic and integrity in college athletics. Some of the members won't even identify themselves, for fear of reprisals from their schools.

There are seven "things" that the Drake Group has identified as targets through the years, most tied to academics: a 2.0 grade-point average for eligibility, holding incoming freshmen and transfers from varsity play for a year, a return to multi-year athletic scholarships, an IRS review of the NCAA's non-profit status.

With the advent of College Sports TV two years ago and the new ESPNU, the Drake Group fears more teams and schools could come under the influence of television. As stated by Drake member Ellen Staurowsky of Ithaca College: "The [last] train has left the amateur station."

I am a fan of freshman ineligibility, primarily in basketball and football, and don't see a problem with a 2.0 gpa. Multi-year athletic scholarships sound like a good idea, but when you talk about the practicality of administering them it would be a nightmare. And, what is there to ensure that someone gives it their all for all four years?

No tickets for you 

UConn has banned its employees from giving or selling their complementary athletic tickets for anything of value. While this means the basketball coaches have to stop providing Nike with game tickets, its not their fault:

"The new policy follows a state investigation into athletic director Jeff Hathaway's agreement with a car dealer in which he traded personal tickets to UConn events for use of two cars."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Star Wars 

Miles Brand again warns against the sprialing costs in college athletics. Asking university presidents to control this on their own is unreasonable - what crazy leader would put his school at a clear disadvantage? The only answer is universal disarmament but I'm not optimistic about that either...


The fiery, intense Chris Gobrecht is now the women's basketball coach at staid old Yale. How long will this marriage last?

Call it what you will 

Good: The NCAA is creating an "international clearinghouse" to help establish the eligibility of foreign student-athletes.

Bad: The guy in charge is the former gambling czar, who was reassigned after the Neuheisel mess.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Required reading 

The reality of discrimation for a female coach. Sally Harmon ran a successful program as the lowest-paid assistant track coach with few benefits. For her efforts she was replaced by a male with no coaching experience, and now has a very interesting and promising discrimation suit pending against Oregon.

Steroids at Duke 

Former players discuss steroid use in their program. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this is going on in college athletics, but for it to come out about an esteemed program like Duke is a surprise.

In the report about the Duke baseball program, current and former players said steroid use reached its peak in the summer of 2002. Kempster and former teammate Grant Stanley said they had discussions about their steroid use with top Athletic Department officials, who increased drug testing of baseball players after Stanley was arrested for steroid possession in Fall 2002.

The above story is a follow-up. Here's the original story:
Steroid charges rock Duke baseball."

Damage Control 

Colorado creates a private foundation to put its best face forward after spending $280k+ in public dollars to battle its image problem.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Overseeing a mid-major 

Nevada AD Cary Groth talks about her first year on the job.

It was a year that saw continued struggles in football and continued record-breaking success in men’s basketball.

It also saw an unusually high amount of coaching turnover, attendance woes and criminal acts by student-athletes that made national headlines.

Friday, April 15, 2005

A noble thought 

After being left at the alter by UW-GB coach Kevin Borseth, Colorado is still looking for a women's basketball coach, and wouldn't it be nice if they followed successful woman Ceal Barry with another woman?

Another mid-major with big dreams 

With an almost-entirely new cast of characters, New Mexico State University hopes to break out of its losing funk.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

More orange 

Tennesse introduces new "secondary marks" and gears up for selling a @#$&^%@#-load of new t-shirts.

UT, which has already pocketed nearly $2 million in royalties on licensed merchandise this fiscal year, wanted to freshen up some of its secondary marks, or brands.

"Smokey seemed to be the most obvious thing to feature and do logos," UT Athletics Director Mike Hamilton said.

The old version featured a full-face view of a calmly staring Smokey.

The new Competitive version is a sleekly snarling menace of a hound clearly willing to mix it up with any of UT's opponents.

Hitting the jackpot 

If you can't be a basketball or football coach, or an athletic director, just marry one!

Ohio State creates $165,000-a-year job for new AD's wife

Monday, April 11, 2005

State schools 

With laws providing for open public records, why would any state school employee try to get away with anything? UConn's AD Hathaway follows in the footsteps of his basketball coaches and runs into trouble with the state ethics commission.

Do the ends justify the means? 

Virginia is in the market for a men's basketball coach, and people are throwing around outrageous numbers. Three million? Four million? Are you kidding?

"The talk that you hear with respect to why some coaches are worth the money that they are paid is that there is a competitive marketplace out there and that these people bring special subsets of skills to the job that are necessary to succeed," Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist told the AFP.

"The problem with that is, one, there's not really a competitive marketplace out there," Zimbalist said. "The phenomenon that we're seeing more and more is that athletics directors are realizing that their worth is being perceived as a function of the people that they hire. So if they go out and hire a $200,000-a-year coach, then, their worth is that much less than if they go out and hire a $2 million-a-year coach.

"Two, regarding the skills subsets, the skills necessary to be a successful basketball or football coach are really not that special at all. You need to know something about basketball or football, you need to know how to work well with people, you have to have some experience in the operation of a team, and that's about it," Zimbalist said.

"There are thousands of people who have these skills out on the market. But what happens is you have a relative few people living off their reputations and the work of assistant coaches to recruit players to keep the cycle going," Zimbalist said.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


A busy time of year, and a short break ensues.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Out of the blue 

The government very quietly issues a major change to Title IX policy, and And the criticisms are already coming in.

And in the Title IX vein, a high school coach sticks up for his girls basketball team and pays the price with his job.

Don't bother with the lottery 

Be a coach. And, not just a men's basketball or football coach... any college sport can help you bring in the bucks.

Jeffrey Madden, 43, the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Texas in Austin, will earn $177,398 this season and says, ``We're worth it.''

At Auburn University, swimming coach David Marsh earns $160,000 a year. University of Georgia gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan gets $140,988. And Texas A&M track and field coach Patrick Henry takes in $229,999. Numbers like that have some athletic directors worried.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Settlement details 

Why do I suspect that Rick Neuheisel doesn't really care that he won't make out financially in his settlement with UW? I would bet money (ha!) that all he cares about is the win.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Yay Denver! 

UD names a new AD, and follows one woman with another.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The NCAA tournament is all about... 

A. The student-athlete experience;
B. The office pools;
C. The CBS television contract and ratings.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The circus is in town 

http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifRunning down the list of problems at Fresno State.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mmmm... secondary violations... 

South Carolina fesses up to their minor infractions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Poor Fresno State 

Just when things couldn't get any worse, they threw a basketball regional and nobody came.

This was going to be the showcase. The big event at the brand-new Save Mart Center that would shine a spotlight on Fresno State's rising women's basketball program and its newfound commitment to women's sports.

Instead, this NCAA tournament has turned the spotlight on the embarrassing events at Fresno State, a school with a checkered record of dealing with women's sports and a current climate of chaos.

Monday, March 21, 2005

We're number 1 

The Yalies have the best APR.

Twenty-seven of the 29 athletic teams at Yale had perfect scores of 1,000. Although posting scores under 1,000, football and men's ice hockey still scored well above the Div. I national average of 948 with scores of 995 and 991 respectively.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


The NCAA may be addressing my personal pet peeve: allowing video games to include the likeness of actual student-athletes. Many high-profile students think that they should get a cut of their jersey sales, and I agree. But what about the college football and basketball video games? Everyone goes into those, whether they want to or not.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

It's all about the pools 

Bill Plaschke of the LA Times figures out why the NCAA basketball tournament is so popular. Bracket pools!

Can we finally stop with all this waxing and rhapsodizing and piano-keys-twinkling-while-players-are-bawling and admit it?

The NCAA basketball tournament is no more than a national lottery dressed in baggy shorts and tank tops.


How do you get 129 basketball teams, coaches, bands and cheerleaders to all those NCAA games? A family-owned travel agency works around the clock.

The scariest part? "Like all teams traveling by air, Short's only booked one-way flights. Each team learns of its return flight information after they're eliminated from the tournament." How in the world do they find so many return flights on such short notice?

Men's basketball and academics don't mix 

As always at this time of year, reports shows that most of the teams in the men's basketball tournament have horrible graduation rates. This report continues the confusion, I think, between the APR and graduation rates, but at least does it in a way that makes sense.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Athletic directors, start your engines 

The APR numbers have been released, and they aren't pretty.

Search for your favorite school!

Or, try to figure out what it all means.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Checking in with Slick Rick 

He lacks an "integrity reflex. I love that turn-of-phrase, and it applies perfectly to Neuheisel.

And now for something completely the same: more APR 

Indiana has four teams that missed the cut.

Baseball doesn't hit the mark at Florida. This report makes note of the legal steps required to get the information now, as opposed to waiting for the NCAA release on Monday.

The Times filed a public records request for the information from the NCAA, which UF received Friday but refused to release until after Times lawyers contacted the university's general counsel this week. The NCAA requested that member institutions "not release their report publicly prior to (Monday)," but under the state's Public Records Law, UF was obligated to release the documents.

And, from the NCAA APR Central.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pediatric Sports Medicine 

Doesn't that just sound wrong? Serious sports injuries among teenagers are on the rise because of over-use and sport-specialization.

Dr. Lyle Micheli, a pioneer in the field of treating youth sports injuries and director of the sports medicine division of Boston Children's Hospital, said that 25 years ago, only 10 percent of the patients he treated came to him for injuries caused by overuse. Back then, most childhood injuries were fractures and sprains. Dr. Micheli said overuse injuries now represented 70 percent of the cases he sees. In interviews with more than two dozen sports-medicine doctors and researchers, one factor was repeatedly cited as the prime cause for the outbreak in overuse injuries among young athletes: specialization in one sport at an early age and the year-round, almost manic, training for it that often follows.

The numbers are coming in..... 

The APR reports were mailed to schools last week. While the NCAA won't release the full information until February 28, some numbers are already coming out.

First up - Clemson, and they aren't happy.

Two notes:
1. Indoor track got a 500. 500?
2. Best quote so far: "The BCS makes more sense than this."

The Florida schools also check in, and are pleased with their results."

Monday, February 21, 2005

Under Nike's thumb 

Do the UConn basketball coaches have unethical ties to Nike? The Hartford Courant examines the contracts and finds they may not meet the state guidelines for ethical conduct.

In 2000, ethics commission attorney Rachel Rubin worked with Calhoun's lawyers to eliminate several ethics violations in the coach's proposed Nike contract. But at least two of the objectionable provisions remain, substantially unchanged, in the contracts approved by the commission.

One provision that Rubin identified as a violation would have allowed Nike to terminate the contract if Calhoun were no longer coach of the team. The commission agreed, saying, "It would be a use of official position for a coach's consultant contract or compensation to be tied to or determined by his continued employment at the State University."

But the contract released Friday permits Nike to "immediately terminate this Contract if [Calhoun] ceases to be the head coach of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The struggle for female coaches 

Even when schools are looking for qualified female candidates, they often end up hiring men.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Everybody recruits 

Public universities, like Vermont and Alabama, are entering the recruiting game for high school students. As populations decline, everyone is looking for those out-of-state students that will pay full tuition and keep the school afloat.

On the surface, it may seem that recruiting in regions with vastly different political and social views would help to bridge the divide between liberal and conservative states, perhaps yielding a more culturally diverse student body.

But few of the Northeastern universities are blindly visiting Southern high schools and towns, making their pitch to anyone who will listen. Instead, the universities carefully select the cities, and even particular high schools, that they believe share many of their cultural values.

Rather than scour the Georgia countryside for prospects, for example, many Northeastern universities descend on Atlanta. Instead of spending their time in conservative towns like Colorado Springs, they choose the more liberal ones, like Boulder.


Utah shares more details about the Majerus-era "little" violations. Um, not so little. Does calling it "movie money" make playing players okay? Speeches that aren't required, so those don't count as practice, and -by the way- the assistant AD isn't allowed in practice because the language might offend her delicate sensibilities.

Seriously, there is so much BAD here that I can hardly contain myself! It's a really good thing this man has not gone back to coaching.

Corrective actions 

Ohio State starts a new education blitz for its boosters. Many are skeptical, on-campus and off:

"The failure of Ohio State and so many other big-time colleges and universities that regularly experience booster-related scandals is that they always fall for the lure of more money," said Svare, a psychology professor at the State University of New York at Albany.

Bensel-Myers, who made headlines in 2000 for her efforts to expose academic corruption in the University of Tennessee's athletics program, said the reforms being undertaken by Ohio State are typically part of a strategy to avoid NCAA sanctions.

"I don't see it as an effort at reform," she said of OSU's booster education plan. "It's using the system to protect their competitive ability (in sports)."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A recruiting expert speaks out 

Probably the best explanation of how recruiting web sites work (and it's all a farce!)

Q. It must be tough to decide if, say, a defensive tackle from a small school in Maryland is better than a cornerback from a powerhouse in L.A., keeping in mind that the defensive tackle might switch to offense, and the cornerback had an injured ankle as a senior.

A. That's not a question.

Q. You're right. Try this: Who the hell are you?

A. I am a recruiting expert. I have examined every class in the country. I admit that I grade rather harshly, but I believe fans deserve an honest assessment. Each class falls into a category: Outstanding, Excellent, Really Great, Pretty Damn Good or Quite Impressive.

Q. Those all sound awfully nice. Coincidentally, nobody will follow this stuff if you say, "These guys will win three games in four years and get their coach fired. Man, they suck." Is that why you throw around superlatives with every breath?

A. Well, each class has upside. Or maybe it fills needs. Sometimes, it fills the need for upside.

Q. Huh?

A. Exactly.

What a rip-off 

I am not a fan of recruiting services for high school athletes. For the most part, they will take a kid's money to do what the kid could do on their own. Most kids sign up dreaming of a D-I scholarship, but this just isn't the way.

Signing Day is finally past 

And, of course, every team has addressed their "needs" with "quality student-athletes.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Football recruiting wars 

The Pac-10 gets ugly, and not just in football, actually.

Cal tennis coach Peter Wright noted he was recruiting a highly ranked high school player from Florida when the player's mother called.

"She said, 'Mr. Wright, I have a question for you. If I send my son to Berkeley, will he come home a homosexual?' She had been told that by another coach," said Wright, who handled the situation with aplomb and did land the recruit.

Playa-hatin' at UW 

The Washington student-athlete "Playa's Ball" got shut down early last week. "The ball, which was intended to give student athletes a night of fun and recognition, ended instead with students passed out, vomiting and being taken to the hospital..."

What does it take for the Huskies to stay out of trouble?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Who thinks the NCAA will soon come calling? 

Oregon is pushing the envelope with creative recruiting ideas, including sending personalized comic books and puzzles to recruits. I don't think those are on the list of permissible recruiting materials.

Gilmore and his team also consulted with Nike regarding brand management. It was all part of his effort to help educate his students while also keeping the Ducks at the forefront of the recruiting battle.

"Everybody's trying to one-up somebody," Gilmore said. "That's what it all is. And I think we do a very good job of being creative and innovative."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Where is Court TV? 

The Neuheisel trial starts next week, and the Seattle PIs Go2Guy lays some odds:

* Mistrial: 100-1.

* Plaintiff commits perjury: Pick 'em

* Go 2 Guy can't contain himself, bursts out laughing, causing judge to pound his gavel and bellow "Order in the court!" 1-10

* Testimony so ridiculous that even the bailiff smirks: 2-1

* When taking oath and asked if he will "tell the truth and nothing but the truth," instead of "I will," Neuheisel says: "I might:" 4-1

"Flip my burgers" 

Rates an obscene gesture from WSU basketball coach Dick Bennet, and an examination of the Washington student section's location right behind the opponent's bench. It may be too idealistic, but putting the students right next to the visiting team just isn't a sporting thing to do.

Whither the sports columnist? 

ESPN has run them into oblivion. This Slate article makes a number of good points, mainly that the quality of the written work goes down as the number of tv appearances increases. About the only columnists I will watch on tv are Kornheiser and Wilbon on PTI, but only Wilbon produces readable work. And the writer wins me over completely by noting that Steve Rushin in SI is unreadable. I don't even look anymore.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Oh, no, UW - not again 

Another Washington employee is causing problems - this time a trainer has falsified records for a student's medical hardship.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The day of reckoning approaches 

Rick Neuheisel's lawsuit against UW and the NCAA goes to court next week, and the Seattle P-I provides a thorough preview of the trial and all the players.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Cradle to grave 

While I think everyone understands the concept of not promising extra benefits to athletes after their eligibility has expired, I don't think anyone is running around monitoring their former student-athletes.

Just because an athlete's eligibility is completed doesn't mean that person is free of NCAA sanctions, and boosters and teams are not allowed to reward former athletes with additional benefits even years later — "to grave," as Marsden said. The reason, said Marsden, is because coaches could use post-eligibility rewards as a means of recruiting top athletes, saying they can't have freebies while they're still in line to compete but could receive gifts later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The NCAA gets tough 

And the Lexington Herald-Leader approves.

Schools with chronically low graduation rates will lose scholarships. Schools that do nothing to fix those rates will be barred from post-season play.

For example, a sport that fails to meet the new guidelines three consecutive years could lose 10 percent of its scholarships. That's up to nine scholarships in football; two in basketball.

"The possibility of losing nine scholarships in a year? That's worse than probation," Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "They need to do a lot more thinking about this one."

No they don't.

She should have known 

The Georgia women's gymnastics team will be down a scholarship after the head coach took the seniors on a trip to the Plaza in NYC after the season. What coach doesn't know that the rules apply always, not just until the season ends. Still, it is a pretty significant penalty for an error in judgement by the coach.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

There may be smoke 

But the faithful in Columbus, Ohio, are convinced that there is no fire. All sorts of problems continue to swirl at OSU - any administration that claims ignorance in the face of so many issues is fooling themselves. And the debt - how can any state school justify so much borrowing on behalf of athletics? If football really is the gravy train, then I would love to see the payment plan here.

Despite the myriad NCAA-related problems the last few years within the football and basketball programs -- not to mention 14 arrests involving 14 football players in Coach Jim Tressel's four seasons -- Buckeye fans, it seems, have forged a collective alliance, a pride-linked chain that will not allow allegations of improprieties and suggestions of institutional lack of control to break them.
"I don't buy the lack of institutional control," said Jim Lachey, an OSU All-American offensive tackle who graduated in 1985 and is now a color analyst for Buckeyes radio. "I don't see it."
Ohio State has the nation's largest athletic department with 36 varsity sports and a budget of just more than $80 million. OSU also has the largest athletic-department debt of just more than $200 million, generated from overhauling aging Ohio Stadium and building some of the finest facilities in college athletics.

Finally, at Colorado 

Someone seems to have a good idea.The interim AD has come in with some priorities, all of which seem to make sense and be worthwhile endeavors.

Monday, January 17, 2005

NCAA looking forward 

Arizona's president has been appointed to chair the NCAA's Task Force on the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics.

In theory, a great idea. Now let's all cross our fingers and hope that it doesn't get mired down in the same politics and beauracracy that brought down the worthy task force on basketball issues from a few years ago.

Talk about a bowl perk 

A "Gentlemen's Club" in Shreveport has come forward with an offer to be the title sponsor of the Independence Bowl.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

As usual, it's all about the money 

The AJC examines why the BCS persists in college football. To no one's surprise, it's not about the student-athletes - the people with the power (and cash) want to hang on to it:

The six conferences with the most to lose are the ACC, the Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pacific 10 and the SEC. Each gets at least one BCS berth every season, and the conferences divide most of that revenue among their members. Every school in those leagues gets roughly $1 million a year from the conference's automatic berth in a BCS bowl.

And remember, as this story does, that it's not the NCAA's fault. They have NO oversight of the bowl process - the only people at the table are the commissioners of the power conferences.

The new evil in college athletics 

The "uber-booster." Rich, influential folks with too much money and too much time are wielding enormous power over college athletic departments, particularly football programs.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oooh, goodie! 

A new plan for the BCS! I'm sure THIS ONE will solve all the problems.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

More voting issues 

Two more coaches go public with their ballots, and Colorado goes to great lengths to keep their secret:

Colorado assistant athletics director for media relations David Plati, who calls in coach Gary Barnett's Top 25 each week, said he writes down the votes with a pen and paper not paid for by the university and phones it in from his personal cell or his home phone.

Thousands of dollars of liquor 

They may be in trouble at Colorado, but they had fun while it lasted!


The sniping continues at Notre Dame.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Go Bill Doba! 

He's the only coach to release his votes in the last two coaches polls. The Atlanta JC went looking for the information, and is hitting a road block. Why no paper trail? The coaches PHONE in their votes.

The carousel rests 

Where are we in the land of football coaches?

A side note: UW is now the only I-A school to have black head coaches in the two major sports - football and men's basketball. And, an interesting clause in Tyrone's contract:

The contract also includes a bonus for meeting a high rating on a new "compliance index" that UW has created to make sure its programs don't run afoul of NCAA rules. Willingham will receive $25,000 if he has a high compliance score.

Compliance Index? Intriguing....

When private becomes public 

Oops: The Darmouth director of admissions supported Swarthmore's decision to drop football in a private letter written in 2000.

"You are exactly right in asserting that football programs represent a sacrifice to the academic quality and diversity of entering first-year classes. This is particularly true at highly selective institutions that aspire to academic excellence. My experience at both Wesleyan and Dartmouth is consistent with what you have observed at Swarthmore.

"I wish this were not true but sadly football, and the culture that surrounds it, is antithetical to the academic mission of colleges such as ours. This is really a national problem and it is a good thing that you are taking leadership on the issue. A close examination of intercollegiate athletics within the Ivy League would point to other sports in which the same phenomenon is apparent."

Monday, December 06, 2004

An unfortunate familiar story 

Just like women's basketball, circa 1985: With the exploding growth of women's college hockey, most of the head coaching jobs are going to men.

Of the 30 women's hockey teams in Division 1, 19 are coached by men (63 percent). Next year, three more teams will take the ice in Division 1 -- including one with great expectations, Boston University -- and all three will be coached by men.

In the last three years, 17 head coaching positions in women's Division 1 programs have been filled: 13 have gone to men.

In Division 3, it's the same story. There are 44 teams this season, 28 coached by men (64 percent).

Understatement of the year 

In college football, "The patience and tolerance for building a program is about as low as I've ever seen it."

Friday, December 03, 2004

The recruiting diet 

Oregon, and the Pac-10, are scaling back on the recruiting meals. Oh, those poor recruits, getting only ONE steak for dinner.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The new sheriff in town 

Colorado has an interim AD, and it sounds like he's taking his role more seriously than the last full-time guy did.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Ah-nuld loves volleyball 

The Governator may make an appearance at the Final Four in Long Beach.

More BCS Mess 

I can't help that the whole thing makes me laugh. Every year the BCS if "fixed," and every year something unimaginable happens. The LA Times explains the current state of affairs, including why the Liberty Bowl (of all things) may have the best game (Boise State vs. Louisville). I'll watch!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Colorado just keeps finding new and interesting ways to run afoul of the NCAA rules.Now, a slush fund, camp issues, accounting issues... it just keeps coming.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Laughing at the BCS 

Will real life again screw up the BCS? The head honchos thought they were being gracious (and fending off a lawsuit) when they included the clause about a top-6 non-BCS conference school being guaranteed a BCS bowl berth. They certainly never anticipated TWO schools being in that scenario! Utah, Boise State, Louisville... Go Little Guys!

Continuing an unusual path 

San Jose State's football coach, Dr. Fitz Hill, has announced his resignation. He won't be coaching again - he's going to write a book, and teach at Univ. of Central Florida. It will be interesting to see what happens at SJSU. Coach Hill seems to have done the best he could... can anyone else do better?

Friday, November 19, 2004


Cincinnati is still fighting that 0% graduation rate in men's basketball. I understand the arguments about how NCAA graduation rates are flawed, but don't you think that at some point a scholarship basketball player would have graduated in the six-year window? Just one?

It's been a while 

Since we visited the mess that is the University of Colorado. Even now, new stories are coming to light and the AD is still taking the heat.

While a small group of boosters donated more than $200,000 since 1998 to bank accounts controlled by the football staff for the operation of summer instructional camps and miscellaneous expenses such as booze to entertain parents of recruits, Tharp did not feel it was necessary to reveal the existence of something called the Dear Old CU Fund to university auditors.

The problem? This little secret is a potential violation of NCAA rules that embarrassed Colorado officials now feel obligated to report to the national governing body, at a time when the team would rather be making front-page news for its annual showdown with Nebraska.

The "liaison" hired by the university also continues to be critical of AD Tharp.


That's what fellow Big-10 coaches though when when Barry Alvarez added the title of AD to his plate along with head football coach. I would be fascinated to see what his average day looks like, and wonder how much he is really involved in other administrative matters during football season. Still, it seems to be working - not only is football doing well but many other programs are thriving!

Compare and Contrast 

Yale coaches have a unique outlook on the recruiting process. No scholarships, high academic standards, and an actual admissions application result in different recruiting concerns.

While out at Oregon and Oregon State, the football programs recruit some marginal academic prospects and rely on lots of academic support to help them through.

I won't say one is better than the other. I'm an idealist, and I believe in the idea of a true student-athlete. If the kids at Oregon and Yale are both getting the most out of their education, then good for them all. However, I suspect that the Oregon/Oregon State kids might be focusing more on football then school. That's the unfortunate reality of the business (and it is a business).

Monday, November 15, 2004

The decreasing importance of high school sports 

More and more high-caliber high school student-athletes are limiting, or skipping high school sports to concentrate on club teams. Clubs are seen as the path to exposure, athletic scholarships, the Olympics or the NBA.

Spouting off 

Some hyperbole and some truth in Jason Whitlock's column on Maurice Clarett, sometimes in the same sentence:

Clarett catapulted Ohio State to the national championship, earning the school, Tressel and everyone in the athletic department riches. Ohio State doesn't care about the controversy and embarrassment now. The school doesn't regret its involvement with Clarett. He paid off better than a lottery ticket.

Did Ohio State, the athletic department, get rich off Clarett? Yes. Did he increase the average employee's standard of living ("everyone in the athletic department")? I seriously doubt it. Most average employees don't see a difference in their paychecks or their budgets when sports do well, but they will see decreases when a team's fortunes decline.

Where, oh where, is Wyoming? 

Not on tv, at least not for most of us on Saturday, after a power outage delayed the game and put the kibosh on the ABC telecast. I, for one, was looking forward to watching them play!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More mid-week football 

Northern Illinois has a big game tonight, and the university president is encouraging all students to attend. What? Classes? On a Tuesday night? One annoyed prof will be giving a quiz.

"A football game is no excuse for a student to miss class..."

Trouble for the Buckeyes 

Every college coach has to watch out for those disgruntled players. In this case, Maurice Clarett says he got cash, academic help during the 2002 national title season. Sure, he's got a beef with the school (as does the other former player backing him up), but there sure are a lot of specifics in his story.

Coaching can be complicated 

Nick Holt left his assistant's job at USC to be head coach at Idaho. He knew the transition would be tough, but nothing could prepare him for the death of a player and how to lead his team.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Out-of-control recruiting, part 458 

Text messaging. If there is one area in the NCAA Manual that could stand to be regulated to death, it is recruiting. The rules aren't keeping up with technology, so it's like the Wild West out there - anything goes.

Athlete admissions at Georgia 

Now, I know that state schools have different missions, and I don't know what the profile of an average Georgia freshman student looks like, but I am fascinated with the way Georgia admits student-athletes.

The admissions process takes into account scores on an admission test such as the SAT as well as high school grade point average, with more or less weight given to the grade point average depending on how well past students from the recruit's high school have fared academically at UGA.

The numbers are plugged into a formula that predicts what a student's grade point average will be in his or her first year at UGA, with a minimum score of about 2.5 required for admission, Weinberg explained.

Athletes are admitted by a different set of rules that include NCAA minimum standards, he said. But the new Admissions Subcommittee also evaluates each recruit, plugging the numbers into the UGA formula. If the predicted freshman grade average is 2.25 or higher the subcommittee recommends to admit the athlete; if it's 1.6 to 2.25, it recommends to admit with reservations; and if it's below 1.6, the subcommittee recommends not admitting the athlete. The final call is up to UGA President Michael Adams.

If I were in high school, I would be frighted to think that if someone from my school went to Georgia and tanked, my chance at admission could be affected!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Cash cow vs. academics 

I've always said that if the NCAA and its member institutions want to make a strong statement about the importance of academics, they would pass a rule forbidding games to be played on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday. Of course, that will never happen because of TV money.

Rick Telander is on the bandwagon, while the Indy Star provides a balanced look at the problems mid-week games create, and why they are important to the schools that play them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Quack, quack 

Oregon violates lots of rules. Okay, every school does, but this story details the Ducks secondary violations last year. Most are routine, but my favorite is:

A rule, now gone, required schools to send a letter to a recruit telling how many official visits could be made. One letter that an Oregon coach sent came back a year later, with the explanation from the postal service that the piece of mail had been used as evidence in a case of mail theft.

Oh, oh; that meant the letter never got to the recruit, so there was an NCAA violation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Can you... 

Is there a reason to keep the San Jose State football program alive? Even a supportive alum isn't sure why the team should keep going.

NCAA numbers game 

NCAA graduation rates are up for most groups, but down for men's basketball players. I'm not a fan of the grad rates because it measures only freshmen on athletic scholarship. The rate is more valid for basketball and football because that includes most freshmen, but in other sports it is very hit-and-miss.

From the NCAA site - find your school's rate here.

Fake strip club money 

An Ohio State football player is suspended pending an investigation into his activities at a strip club. Who knew that strip clubs had their own currency?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Slick Rick stil slick 

Rick Neuheisel has taken down Colorado and Washington. Now the Chicago Sun-Times takes down Neuheisel. The best explanation of his "weasel-ness" that I've read.

Fulmer's legal problems ride again 

The NY Times details the ugly battle between Fulmer and a bunch of Alabama-happy lawyers. It does confirm that football in the South is a very serious business - I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, that think this statement is the absolute truth:

Gallion is among a number of people in Alabama who appear to hold Fulmer largely responsible for the N.C.A.A.'s investigation of the university and for the sanctions that were imposed, including the loss of 21 scholarships and a two-year ban on bowl games. In a telephone interview, Gallion accused Fulmer, the University of Tennessee, the N.C.A.A., the F.B.I. and the Justice Department of conspiring to bring down Alabama football.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Troubles continue in men's volleyball 

This time, Lewis University announces it will give up the 2003 national championship. Will schools begin to realize there may be a price to pay for recruiting international students with suspect backgrounds?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Miracle drug? 

College athletes suffer after arthritis drug Vioxx pulled off the market.

Brolinson said that 80-90 percent of the prescriptions for Virginia Tech athletes injured playing what he referred to as contact or collision sports were pretty much evenly split among Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra.

After determining that patients in the study who took Vioxx were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as those who took a placebo, the company elected to pull the drug off of shelves.

"We had athletes coming to us and asking us if they were at risk," Saliba said. "We're able to tell them, 'it's not going to shorten your life if you haven't had heart problems or if you haven't had a stroke.' "

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Mike Price update 

Coach is alive and well at UTEP, bringing a down-trodden program back to life.

Five years for football 

ACC coaches are planning ahead to five-year football careers. Of course, I don't buy for one minute their argument that only those that need the fifth year to graduate would use the fifth year. If the rule passes, EVERY football player will expect to be in school (and on scholarship) for five years.

N.C. State faculty representative Donn Ward says that whatever gain can be made is worth the change. "I'm not sure how many would be around for that fifth year, but it should be enough to see a number of athletes graduate that otherwise might not have," Ward said.

Monday, October 18, 2004

College application season begins 

And a school in NYC runs into an ambitious young woman who wants to apply to Harvard, even when the school says no.

What she was not prepared for, she said, was for officials at the high school to tell her that she could not even try, that only the top five students in the school could submit applications to Ivy League schools and that no one was permitted to apply to any school under early-decision or early-action rules, under which applications to many colleges are due by Nov. 1.

Something good at SDSU 

Mike Bohn, the new AD at San Diego State, is making change in a positive way.

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