Frank Martin Weighs In On Paying Athletes

Posted by nvr1983 on August 24th, 2011

Over the past few months there has been quite a bit of discussion about the possibility that schools might pay their athletes (legally) in the near future based on reports that the Big Ten was looking into the option. The topic has been discussed ad nauseum by administrators, pundits, and fans weighing in on both sides of the debate with the majority apparently favoring a system where players get paid. Interestingly, one group that has been noticeably silent is the coaches. Outside of a small group of football coaches in the SEC who supported paying players very few coaches have gone on the record about the topic. To our knowledge the few college basketball who have spoken out on the issue like Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari have been supportive of the idea (ok, Calipari’s ideas go a bit beyond supportive). Today, one prominent college basketball coach, Frank Martin, came out against the idea in a pair of tweets (#1 and #2) earlier this afternoon.

Martin, who has long been known for his antics on the court, isn’t as well known for his views on policy issues, but it appears that he feels pretty strongly on the topic of paying players. While his stance may go against popular opinion, he does make a good point that paying athletes creates its own problems notably a more uneven playing field even if the more cynical (or possibly realistic) fans think that the big-money schools are already paying players while the smaller schools are left to work with the players who are happy just to get some money off their college tuition. It also could make the act of paying athletes beyond whatever the set amount is a less significant offense in the eyes of booster and program administrators creating a slippery slope where increasing payments could be seen as insignificant offenses.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Dick Vitale Goes Off On The Dan LeBatard Show

Posted by nvr1983 on August 19th, 2011

Yesterday, Dick Vitale went on The Dan LeBatard Show to discuss the scandal at Miami and the implications it could have on college sports. After LeBatard started off the interview with a few fairly benign questions about the Miami scandal, to which Vitale gave the expected media-speak answers (other than his assertion that Donna Shalala must step down as president of the University of Miami), LeBatard asked him about John Calipari and the scandals that have followed him at Massachusetts and Memphis. Vitale brushed it aside, saying that the NCAA has never implicated Calipari. LeBatard’s co-host Jon Weiner (aka Stugotz) then chimed in with the statement/question: “Best guess, Dick. Best guess. I know you are friends with him, but best guess. John Calipari has cheated at some point in his life.” Vitale responded first with silence, then said “Alright, let’s go to the next point.” After some discussion where LeBatard cleared up the fact that it was his co-host who had asked the question, Vitale suggests that there should be laws against boosters like Nevin Shapiro.

When Vitale went on to state that none of the major coaches he knows would have tolerated what happened at Miami (citing Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, and Bob Knight as examples), Stugotz suggests that every coach or program has committed at least one NCAA infraction even if only unknowingly. After Vitale got upset at him and brought up the prostitutes, Stugotz clarified by saying that he never implied that other programs were using prostitutes or doing things as big as Miami is accused of doing. Despite this clarification, Vitale becomes increasingly infuriated at the radio hosts and hangs up. Partial clip below:

While Kentucky fans are widely applauding Vitale for defending Calipari, it seems more like Vitale is on a crusade to defend college basketball, or college sports as a whole, instead of a single coach or program. Although Stugotz’s initial question/statement about Calipari was indelicate, his follow-up questions about programs unknowingly violating rules are valid ones. Unfortunately, it seems that Vitale was so incensed by the earlier question or the storm surrounding the NCAA right now that he was unwilling to hear it. Perhaps if Vitale had stayed on the phone long enough to engage in a reasonable conversation, they could have discussed Krzyzewski’s “controversial” phone call to Alex Poythress or Sam Gilbert’s association with John Wooden‘s UCLA dynasty (OK, maybe that would have set him off). In any event, although many college basketball fans (particularly Kentucky fans) will support Vitale in this case, he does come off as petulant and condescending here.

Share this story

Piecing Together an ESPN Television Schedule

Posted by rtmsf on August 16th, 2011

On a day when much of the national conversation is on Yahoo Sports’ hard-hitting expose of Miami football (with a touch of basketball thrown in), we here at RTC are really starting to get a jones for hoops again.  Maybe it’s the interminable summer heat of mid-August or the days starting to get noticeably shorter, but even though we’re still a good distance away from practice, much less real games, we’ve been spending more of our free evenings re-watching 2011 NCAA Tournament classics like Kentucky-Ohio State and Butler-Florida.  While Brandon Knight’s and Shelvin Mack’s heroics serve to get us in the mood, we can’t help but look to the future and get excited about the unknown delights that are awaiting us in the 2011-12 season.

We mentioned last week that ESPN had released its 2012 Gameday schedule, and today ESPN gave us the SEC half of the Super Tuesday night games during conference season.  By adding the Big 12 half of Big Monday, which was released a few weeks back as well, we’re already considerably on our way to a January/February schedule to get excited about.  Here’s the so-far list, broken out by week and with a comment associated with each:

Tasty treats, indeed.  Of course, there’s a lot still pending both in terms of the conference and non-conference schedules, but we’ll try to update this in coming weeks as the other halves of Big Monday and Super Tuesday come available, in addition to the full schedules for Wednesday Night Hoops and the Thursday Showcase.  Even though literally hundreds of games can be found on the various tentacles of the WWL’s family of networks, its primary channel (ESPN) is still the flagship and reaches the most homes.  Therefore, these are often the games that they think deserve the most marketing and hype during the season.

Share this story

ESPN Announces GameDay Schedule For 2011-12

Posted by jstevrtc on August 11th, 2011

ESPN released their GameDay lineup for the 2011-12 college basketball season earlier today. As Dana O’Neil points out, the list includes five new stops out of eight games. It starts on January 14 and will (for the most part) resume the previous format, meaning an hour broadcast on ESPNU at 10 AM ET followed by a second hour on ESPN at 11 AM ET, then the 8 PM ET show before the feature game tips off at 9. The January 14 visit to Tallahassee is for a 2 PM North Carolina at Florida State game, so obviously there’s no nighttime show for that one.

Prepare Yourselves, GameDay Sites, For the Great Bilas Cometh Soon

Here’s the list in full:

  • January 14, Tallahassee FL — North Carolina at Florida State
  • January 21, Pittsburgh PA — Louisville at Pittsburgh
  • January 28, Tucson AZ — Washington at Arizona
  • February 4, Columbia MO — Kansas at Missouri
  • February 11, Nashville TN — Kentucky at Vanderbilt
  • February 18, Ann Arbor MI — Ohio State at Michigan
  • February 25, Storrs, CT — Syracuse at Connecticut
  • March 3, Durham NC or Lawrence KS — UNC at Duke (7 PM) or Texas at Kansas (9 PM)

A solid list, we think. We respect GameDay’s desire to visit new places. There’s pretty good distribution, as well; you’d get a good scattering of pins on a map of those games. A couple of questions, though:

Why is the last game a “flex” game? If UNC-Duke is listed as an option, there can’t be much of a chance that they’d not go with that game. They’ve had UNC-Duke as the GameDay choice in every even-numbered year they’ve done this. We would have loved to have seen this as a double-header, even if they didn’t designate Texas-Kansas as the feature game. Hey, better yet, go with two (*gasp!*) GameDay crews and have face-offs between the fans at Phog and those at Cameron, i.e. who’s crazier/louder, best signs, and so on.

No surprise here, but there’s not a single mid-major among those squads (either home or away), meaning that in its eight-year existence, Rece Davis and company will have only been to two mid-major spots — Gonzaga in 2006 and 2009, and Southern Illinois in 2008 — and featured just three mid-major teams (SIU played Creighton). Certainly Butler, with its two consecutive appearances in the title game, deserves a visit from Erin and the fellas (except for a certain former Indiana coach, most likely), right? Then again, as cozy as Hinkle Fieldhouse is, we don’t know if it could contain the magnetic field of smoothness that would theoretically be generated by having the hairstyles of Davis, Jay Bilas, and Brad Stevens within 15 feet of each other. Better safe than sorry.

Share this story

Texas Not Fooling Anyone With Its Platitudes

Posted by rtmsf on July 21st, 2011

Imagine if high school basketball games involving elite hoops recruits around the country were put on the Duke Basketball Network, coming to you nightly from December to March on your local cable package (and no, this post isn’t a not-so-subtle shot at ESPN).  After the initial uproars from Lexington, Chapel Hill, Lawrence and other basketball hotbeds subsided, imagine then that Mike Krzyzewski, as spokesperson and progenitor of the DBN, gave an interview where he said:

We do not want to use it as a recruiting advantage. We don’t want it tied to [Duke.  The DBN carrier] knows we don’t want to violate any NCAA rules and they don’t want to. […] We want to play by the rules.  We want everything to be in the open with integrity.

To back up his claims, imaginary Coach K added that the DBN would not be involved in selecting the games and that the word “Duke” would not be attached to the broadcast in any way (you know, except for the fact that you have to tune into the Duke Basketball Network to see the game in the first place).  Would you believe it?   Isn’t he asking you to undergo a considerable afternoon of mental calisthenics in order to believe there’s absolutely no association between those two things — the players shown and the school’s network?

It’s patently absurd.  People make such associations without even thinking, and a removal of some of the associated branding does next to nothing to remove that perception.  Will a kid playing on the DBN tomorrow night tell all his friends that he’s playing on Dish Network channel 146 instead?  Will fans around the country not automatically assume that a player on their screen has already committed to play for Duke (after all, why would the DBN be showing it?).  Of course not.  It’s a huge marketing (and, by proxy, recruiting) advantage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

NCAA Gets Change Out Of Kentucky, But Will It Go After The Rest?

Posted by jstevrtc on June 17th, 2011

On Thursday, the University of Kentucky issued a statement claiming that it was in error in celebrating John Calipari’s 500th win on February 26 after beating Florida, and that in future media guides and any published material it would depict Calipari’s career win total with the vacated wins from his time at Memphis and Massachusetts subtracted.

Behold, the Statistic In Dispute, From Kentucky's 2010-11 Factbook

Here’s what happened. At the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Kentucky considered Calipari to have logged 480 wins (vacated wins not removed), while the NCAA officially listed him with 438 (42 wins removed). The NCAA evidently considered it to be a slap in the face when Kentucky had its small post-game display to mark what UK considered Cal’s 500th win on February 26, as well as the fact that its media guides and website ignored the NCAA’s removal of the wins from Calipari’s record. It asked UK to change it and alert the media that the celebration of Calipari’s 500th was erroneous. Kentucky’s compliance office responded to the NCAA, but they were unmoved and sent another missive, again  pressing for the change. And the reason the NCAA knew about this and went down this road was…a tip from a fan of a rival program.

[Ed. Note: You can read the correspondence between the NCAA and Kentucky here. It’s pretty interesting. And we’re not sure how Lexington Herald-Leader sportswriter Jerry Tipton could ever comfortably show his face in Lexington again.]

This was the right move by Kentucky. It wouldn’t make any sense for the program to go out of its way to position itself on the NCAA’s bad side, and 42 wins is simply too small a prize to justify the continued poking of that bear. At some point John Calipari will move on and either coach somewhere else or retire. Kentucky won’t care how many wins John Calipari has then, but we guarantee the NCAA would remember it if Kentucky decided to openly defy them. As we all know, the NCAA is still judge, jury and executioner in this biz, and if anything should come up in the future, you’d rather they have a more favorable opinion of you. Kentucky noted the error, didn’t apologize — one really wasn’t warranted, though it sounds like that’s what the NCAA wanted — but promised to make the adjustment the NCAA asked for. And let’s be honest — if those are the rules everyone has to play by, then justice really was done here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Detroit Mercy Names Court In Honor Of Vitale

Posted by jstevrtc on June 15th, 2011

As of early December, the basketball court in Calihan Hall at Detroit Mercy will henceforth bear the name of Dick Vitale, it was announced today.

Vitale coached at the school from 1973-77 and amassed an unquestionably respectable 78-30 (.722) record before becoming athletic director for a year. After coaching the Pistons to a 30-52 mark in the 1978-79 season and leading them to a 4-8 start in 1979-80, he was let go as their coach and made his debut just a few months later as a college basketball announcer for a little startup called ESPN.


Coach Vitale Shows How He Can Go Left, And Now He Can Do It Whenever He Wants On a Court That Bears His Name

The official honor will take place on December 5 when UDM hosts St. John’s. That will be 32 years to the day that Vitale called his first college hoops game (DePaul 90, Wisconsin 77).

Normally, a 78-30 record over four years for a college coach gets you a tasty contract extension and means that you’ll be mentioned for every bigger coaching job that comes open until you take one of them. But a court named after you? Not exactly. Obviously, this tribute to Vitale is a response to the distinction he’s achieved as a broadcaster and his service to the game, and we fail to see how anyone could have a problem with that. You might tire of his catch-phrases and you may (as we have on occasion) call him out on his lack of objectivity as it pertains to certain ACC schools, but you’ll have to search pretty hard to find anyone who cares more about college basketball than Dick Vitale. In addition to the 30-40 games he calls during a season, there are the countless other media appearances, the fundraisers, the philanthropy, the lectures he gives to players, and so much more that we don’t see, things he does when there aren’t any cameras around. So once again, we say Bravo, Coach. We can’t wait until the unveiling of Dick Vitale Court, an honor richly deserved.

Share this story

Gus And “Dynamite” Guy’s Tosh.0 Appearance

Posted by jstevrtc on June 3rd, 2011

In case you missed it last week, the great Gus Johnson made an appearance with the original “Boom Goes the Dynamite” guy — his real name is Brian Collins, by the way — on that Comedy Central show Tosh.0 that a lot of people seem to love:

Hmm. Those scrolling table adverts were overkill, and we’re not sure what’s funny about suicide bombing (we get it, it’s dynamite), but it was good of Gus to show up and play along. And full credit to Collins for not throwing the telemprompter operator from his infamous video under the bus, for being a good sport, and for gettin’ back up on the horse. Sort of.

One last thing: Daniel. Dude. When you’re standing there doing your studio bits, move your arms more. It’s weird.


Share this story

UNC vs UK Media Credentials Gone, Seven Months In Advance

Posted by jstevrtc on May 23rd, 2011

If you’re a member of the sporting media, and you planned on waiting until next season drew a little closer before ringing up Kentucky to ask if they could set you up with a media credential for that little North Carolina vs Kentucky affair in Rupp Arena next year, well…you’re screwed.

Both of These Gents Will Be In Rupp Arena This December, But If You Haven't Applied For Your Media Credential, You Won't Be

Kentucky Sports Radio reported yesterday that the folks from UK Media Relations are already out of media credentials for UK vs UNC. This is a matchup that has traditionally happened in December. It’s May. That’s seven months. The game doesn’t even have an official date set for it. The build-up of this thing is already like that which used to come with big-time prize fights in the 70s and 80s. Heck, we’re wondering if formal attire should possibly be required for fans in attendance. You may recall, Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery showed up in tuxedos for their call of the UNC vs UK Elite Eight game in 1995 (UNC won, 74-61). Considering the momentum of anticipation this game is already gathering, maybe the fans should follow suit come December.

Having covered that, let’s see…Kentucky vs North Carolina “sold out” of media credentials seven months early. There’s an aircraft carrier game between UNC and Michigan State. Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, and Terrence Jones all came back to college. The Final Four is in New Orelans, for cryin’ out loud. And we bet that right now, unconcerned with big-program issues like seven-month game hype and aircraft carriers, somewhere Brad Stevens is quietly watching game film or at least scanning his roster, possibly enjoying a drop of port as he figures out what elegant miracles he can conjure next year.

We like summer as much as anyone, but next season’s going to be a blast.

Share this story

NYT Dig At Calipari/Kentucky Just More Of The Same

Posted by jstevrtc on May 20th, 2011

Have you heard this one before? New York Times. John Calipari.

Shots fired.

[That’s a favorite of the Twitterati.]

In Wednesday’s online edition of the New York Times there appeared an article written by Harvey Araton about Kyrie Irving attending the live NBA Draft Lottery rank-order show and about how Irving could go as the first overall pick to Cleveland. In the piece, Araton makes a point to mention that, according to Kyrie’s father, Drederick, Kyrie’s decision to leave school after a single college season (one in which he played in a mere 11 games due to injury) did not represent a “long-planned escape from the often unholy alliance of Division I sports and academia.” In other words, the father is asserting that Kyrie isn’t just leaving school early to avoid college nor is Kyrie abandoning his plans for obtaining a degree. The elder Irving is a financial broker on Wall Street, and Araton quotes him as saying, “Everybody in my family has gotten their degrees, their master’s. We value the education aspect of it with Kyrie.”

Calipari Is Characterized As Someone Who Devalues Education Because He Embraces One-and-Done Players, a Logical Fallacy Not Many Critics Will Own Up To

Here is Araton’s next sentence in the article:

“Had they not, Kyrie would have been with John Calipari at Kentucky last season, where [Kyrie’s] godfather, [Rod] Strickland, works as an assistant coach.”

Uh…beg pardon? Let’s make sure we got that straight. Using Araton’s own words, what he said there was, “Had they not cared about the education aspect of it with Kyrie, Kyrie would have been with John Calipari at Kentucky last season, where the godfather, [Rod] Strickland, works as an assistant coach.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story