Morning Five: 06.12.13 Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on June 12th, 2013
- As you probably already noticed yesterday was APR Day, the day that college administrators dread and one that spawns countless columns about inequities in the system. There were no major surprises in terms of which teams were ineligible and the biggest news of the day was probably the fact that Connecticut is eligible for the NCAA Tournament again despite having a four-year APR below 930 as they showed enough improvement that they were still able to qualify. The more interesting aspect of APR Day is that it led to several interesting articles such as those by Andy Glockner and Myron Medcalf that speak to issues beyond just educating/graduating athletes and are reflective of education in this country.
- The decisions on where conferences decide to play their conference tournament games has never been of particular interest to us since they are typically played at a neutral site and are based on purely financial reasons. Having said that the decision by the American Athletic Conference to play its first conference tournament in Memphis is an interesting one as it will essentially give Memphis a homecourt advantage with an automatic NCAA Tournament bid on the line. Typically conferences of the expected power of the AAC avoid playing at a non-neutral location for a variety of reasons including the benefit given to a team that is playing at home. It will be interesting to see where the conference decides to put its postseason tournament going forward if schools feel that Memphis is granted an unfair advantage.
- Yesterday we linked to an article about increasingly onerous transfer restrictions on players. We did not mention it specifically in our post, but as the article we linked to mentions players are able to get around this by opting not to tak e a scholarship at their new school. It happens infrequently, but in the case of a player like Kevin Olekaibe sometimes the circumstances are severe enough that the player is willing to pay his own way. In Olekaibe’s case the rising senior announced that he was transferring from Fresno State to UNLV even though he was not allowed to transfer within the Mountain West Conference if he accepted a scholarship. Olekaibe’s reason for transferring and hoping for a transfer waiver that would allow him to play right away is that he wants to be closer to his father who is paralyzed from the waist down and is unable to speak because of two strokes that he has had. The way that transfer waivers have been granted lately we would be surprised if the NCAA turned his request down.
- In the wake of San Antonio’s win over Miami last night, Seth Wickersham’s article on the Spurs success being a condemnation on the state of grassroots basketball in America will probably become a bigger talking point. While we can agree that American basketball has many issues to improve on (the outsized influence of certain individuals at the AAU level being one of the most prominent) it is worth noting that the US continues to be far and away the most prolific country in the world in terms of producing basketball talent and that goes beyond just the national teams we send out every year. The gap between the depth of our talent and that of other countries is probably more significant than you might appreciate from watching international competition. Another key point that the article conveniently glosses over is that Spurs star Tim Duncan is actually a product of the American basketball system that the article criticizes as he played four years of college.
- We are not sure if the Bernie Fine case will ever end. The former Syracuse assistant coach’s defamation lawsuit against ESPN is heading to federal court now and it appears that Fine and his lawyers are targeting the corporation at this time and no longer pursuing charges against the reporters involved in reporting the story. As anybody who has followed the case over the past two years knows the entire case has been extremely messy and Fine’s accusers have been questionable at best in terms of the reliability and consistency of their statements. At this point we imagine that Syracuse views this case the same way that many media members do in that we just wish it would end.