Morning Five: 08.24.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 24th, 2010

  1. College athletic departments are not immune to the economic downturn either, as the NCAA reported that only fourteen of the 120 FCS (I-AA) schools turned a profit in the 2008-09 fiscal year.  Specific names were not released, but some of the usual suspects were confirmed by Transylvania University accounting professor Dan Fulks, who performed the research – Texas, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.   Slightly more than half of the I-AA schools made money in both football and basketball, but the range between the two was quite a bit larger at the big football powerhouses.  It goes to show just how important these two cash cows are for athletic departments, though, as so few are actually turning a profit due to subsidizing the other sports.
  2. LSU guard Bo Spencer did not meet the school’s academic requirements, so the two-year starter who averaged 15/3/3 APG last season was dismissed from Trent Johnson’s program and will transfer to Nebraska as a walk-on, eligible to play in the 2011-12 campaign.  Yes, you read that correctly — he was unable to make the grade at LSU.   Regardless, Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said that Spencer is not guaranteed a scholarship even for the year that he plays.  As an interesting side note, Spencer will sit the bench watching his teammates play Big 12 teams next year, but he will be playing Big Ten teams in his senior season after Nebraska changes conference affiliation.
  3. Hey, we enjoy college football as much as the next guy — if you’re a fan of college sports, how can you not?  But this is also the time of year when all the holier-than-thous come out of the woodwork (when every team is 0-0 and therefore still eligible for the national title game, unless your name is Utah, Boise State or TCU…) to tell us about the beauty and sanctity of the CFB regular season.  To that we say: get over yourselves.  If the entire regular season is a ‘playoff,’ then when teams lose one (and most definitely, two) game(s), we don’t want to hear about said team any more this season.  Of course, the hype machine doesn’t work that way (how many Notre Dame games in the last decade have been relevant?  One?), which goes to show that the entire argument is built on a house of cards anyway.
  4. Texas guard Varez Ward is leaving the Longhorn program and his likely destination, according to the Dallas Morning News, is Auburn.  Ward is supposedly moving closer to his Montgomery, Alabama, home to be closer to his mother who suffers from a heart condition.  Ward, as you recall, blew out his knee early last season in a bizarre incident in the layup line at the CBE Classic.  He was expected to have been a significant contributor last year, so even with super-frosh Cory Joseph in the fold, this is a definite blow to Rick Barnes’ backcourt depth, as described in detail over at Burnt Orange Nation.  Ward received a medical redshirt for last season, so he’ll have three years of eligibility left when he joins Tony Barbee’s club next year.
  5. The long national nightmare is over in Minneapolis, as Trevor Mbakwe finally suited up as a Gopher after a year in limbo as a result of his felony assault charge in Miami.  As we mentioned ten days ago, Mbakwe entered a diversionary program that will allow him to work off the charge through community service.  He expects to have that completed prior to Minnesota’s first regular season game in early November.  The Gophers are practicing this week in preparation for a trip to Canada during Labor Day weekend, and Mbakwe’s size and strength inside — he hopes to lead the conference in rebounding — should help Tubby Smith’s team reach its goals for another trip to the NCAA Tournament and a finish in the top half of the Big Ten.  Below is an interview he did yesterday showing how excited he is to finally get to lace them up…

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Jeremy Foley should be fired immediately

Posted by rtmsf on May 29th, 2007

Ahhh… the long weekend is over, and in case you missed it, the College World Series brackets came out this weekend.  This ingenious concept – an on-the-field tournament to crown a college champion – just might catch on after all!  Although this blog is devoted to college hoops, we also recognize that each team is part of a larger athletic program in terms of all the normal considerations – fans, dollars, merchandising, and the derivative feedback loops - which merit occasional reflection beyond the hardwood.

As such, it’s interesting to see which programs had the most successful 2006-07 in a different light than the Stanford Sears Director’s Cup rankings, which the Cardinal dominates every year (twelve in a row going into the 2006-07 academic year).  Recognizing that football and basketball comprise the vast majority of athletic revenues and expenses at Division 1 schools, it still might be interesting and informative to see which programs are also successful at America’s third major sport, baseball.  To start the ball rolling, we took a look at the 2006-07 academic year in the three major college sports. 

Stanford logo

Stanford always wins the Sears Cup, but how does it perform in the big three major sports?

In our analysis, we only considered schools invited to the postseason.  In college baseball and basketball, this is a fair indicator, as roughly 20% of schools are selected for the postseason (NCAA Tournament or CWS) in a given year.  In college football, over half the teams are selected annually for postseason bowls, which skews the definition of ”success” somewhat; but we couldn’t figure a way to reliably eliminate some bowls while including others, so we kept them all in.  

Still, even with those rather broad parameters, only six Division 1 schools were invited to the postseason in all three major sports -baseball, basketball and football.  If you guessed large state institutions in (mostly) warm-weather areas, you had a decent chance of naming these six – Arkansas, Louisville, Ohio St., Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA.  Interestingly, Florida won both the football and basketball titles, but was not invited to the College World Series – clearly they should fire an incompetent like Jeremy Foley immediately.  Stanford, who will undoubtedly win the Sears Cup again this year, had a short-lived stay in the NCAA Tournament (for about one tv timeout, as we recall), but did not make the CWS or a bowl game, proving that their emphasis on smaller, non-revenue sports makes all the difference in those standings.

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