Morning Five: 07.27.12 EditionPosted by nvr1983 on July 27th, 2012
- The academic scandal at North Carolina does not appear to be going away anytime soon as a faculty panel has called for an outside review of the academic fraud scandal. A group of three professors released an internal report that found 54 courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies that essentially had little or no oversight and were not up to the academic rigor that you would expect from a college-level course. UNC says the investigation does not need to involve the NCAA because there were some non-athletes (read, very, very few) in the courses, which would allow the school to deny preferential treatment to athletes although anybody with any sense could notice a very strong pattern.
- Yesterday, ESPN released the brackets for many of its early season tournaments yesterday and to be quite frank they are for the most part they are uninspiring. A year after having a ridiculous field the Maui Invitational is much less impressive boasting only a few teams that we would be interested in watching. Conversely, the Legends Classic, which has traditionally been much weaker than some of its peer tournaments, has an excellent field including two teams — Indiana and UCLA — that are both legitimate NCAA title contenders.
- While on the subject of Indiana, some sad news out of Hoosier Nation as former IU guard Neil Reed, the player who arguably was the primary impetus for Bob Knight’s ouster in Bloomington, died at the tender age of 36 of a heart attack. Some of our younger readers may not remember the story well, but Reed was a hotshot young player in the mid-1990s when Knight notoriously grabbed him by the neck during an Indiana practice in 1997. In the era before ubiquitous camera phones and Youtube, someone later produced a video of the incident (shown here), which became Exhibit A of Knight’s longstanding and reported bullying ways with his players. Then-IU president Myles Brand placed Knight on a zero tolerance policy soon after the video’s release in 2000 (by that time, Reed had moved on to a flameout career at Southern Miss), and within a year of that, he was fired in the wake of a separate incident physical altercation involving another IU student. We always thought that Reed’s situation at Indiana may have been an issue of wrong player/wrong program, but we certainly wish his family and friends nothing but our condolences in this surprising turn of events. For a compelling story about Reed’s time interning at ESPN Magazine during graduate school, check out this piece — it’s a stark and somewhat humbling reminder that everyone has a story behind “their story.”
- Las Vegas may be known for the bright lights and glamour, but as Jeff Goodman points out sometimes what happens in Vegas during the July recruiting period stays in Vegas as many of the events are very poorly attended. As Goodman points out there are plenty of college coaches in Las Vegas at this time of the year, but most of them are focused in on a couple of events and often times only on a couple of key players staying to check out those games and then leaving. For more marginal recruits it can be a frustrating experience, but one that they undertake with the goal of earning a Division I basketball scholarship. One wonders if it wouldn’t be better for schools to send a secondary coach–an assistant or even a video coordinator–to some of these smaller events on the off-chance that they catch potential prospect who would probably be delighted to have any school not just the blue-bloods talking to them.
- Get used to hearing some of the same voices we’ve gotten used to hearing call basketball games on the various ESPN platforms over the years. In a group announcement, ESPN play-by-play stalwarts Mark Jones, Sean McDonough, Brad Nessler, Dave Pasch, Joe Tessitore and Bob Wischusen all received multi-year contract extensions this week. All but Tessitore has a regular gig involving college hoops, and certainly McDonough and Nessler have become standards within the industry. By the same token, one of the most recognizable college basketball play-by-play men, Jim Nantz, has been chosen to receive the NABC’s Court of Honor Award for this year. The award is given to someone who “has roots in college basketball, values those roots, and has gone on to distinguish himself in his profession, exhibiting the highest standards of leadership.” Aside from his ridiculous championship game colloquialisms (“Simon Says… Championship”), we’ve always enjoyed listening to Nantz’s commentary — 27 straight Final Fours is a rather impressive achievement.