Emails in on Tiger, realignment & coaches’ lack of honor
The new emails are in, and what a good week. Lots of interesting stuff on Tiger Woods, conference realignment, coaches jumping contracts and the 1981 Sun Bowl. Let’s go.
Al: “Good piece today on stealing coaches. You mention the colleges are subject to anti-trust laws and the NFL is not. Why has one of the have-not colleges not filed anti-trust violations against the NCAA and BCS ? These are an extension of colleges, are they not? The NCAA and BCS are controlled by the university presidents. Seems to me and many others that the BCS discriminates against conferences and teams in ways other than performance on the football field. They are a true monopoly and control this entirely: the thing anti-trust is supposed to prevent or at least control to some extent. ESPN takes over the broadcast of the BCS next year, and if anyone wants a playoff or expanded way of determining the champion, it would be ESPN. Do you think they will start a push for changing all of this before our esteemed Congress gets involved and really messes it up?”
I’ve written about this. Anti-trust law protects consumers from financial harm. It does NOT protect businesses or organizations. It protects consumers. Please show me how consumers have suffered financial harm. Hasn’t happened. Consumers have been given more games than ever before. The BCS might be unfair. The BCS might be silly. But the BCS is not illegal, at least not under anti-trust laws. As for ESPN, I wouldn’t recommend pushing too hard. The bowls will drop ESPN like a lead football if the world-wide leader starts demanding too much change.
Denice: “I think Jeff Capel might disagree with your line ‘honor is for players.’ Seems like players are no more ‘honor bound’ to commitments and their word than coaches.”
Oh, Capel probably would disagree. And all the coaches would disagree. But that wouldn’t make it any more true. Here is the ultimate outrage. While coaches can come and go, breaking contracts as they like, players, who are under contract, too, in the form of scholarships, are afforded only one-year scholarships, renewable annually at the schools’ discretion. And if the scholarship is not renewed, players still must sit out a season upon transferring. That’s immoral. I would open all transfers to immediately eligibility.
Jeff: “I think the problem is something the NCAA can fix by doing 2 things. 1. Establish a holiday recruiting freeze; 2. Move national signing day back to mid-March. Recruiting seems to be the primary reason that universities are in such a hurry to fire/hire at the end of the season. This practice is killing the integrity of the game.”
Couldn’t agree more. There already is a holiday recruiting freeze to some extent, but if football would just adopt the signing schedule for every other sport – November and April – schools wouldn’t be in such a frenzy in late November/early December. When we talk about playoffs and trying to get people to reach a consensus, I understand the problem. When we talk about this, I have no idea what’s holding us back. Who wouldn’t support this, other than the coaches, who are creating the problem in the first place by their lack of honor? Who cares what they say?
Clarence: “You could say the same thing about the kids. They hold a half dozen college hostage, then throw hats at a camera. Then if they don’t get the playing time, quit to go to a college for more playing time.”
Hold hostage? Hold hostage? You’ve got to be kidding. Big-time recruiting has become a two-way street in terms of nonsense, but let’s remember when it was one-way. It was the colleges assaulting the recruits. And you’re saying that a kid who never has been enrolled at a school or has played for that school or has done anything other than visit a few times, is somehow quitting on his team by not going to that school but to some other school? Ridiculous. You see where college sports have gone? The schools exist to serve the coaches. The recruits exist to serve the schools. Who exists to serve the recruits?
Jeff: “I couldn’t agree more with your column. To me, there are two issues. One is the coach leaving a school that had given him a contract good for four more years at a fat salary. That alone has distasteful aspects. But what really ticks me off is the coach leaving before the bowl game. This is no doubt the biggest year ever in Cincinnati history. They came within one second (Texas field goal) of possibly being in the national championship game. Can you imagine how the players must have felt when he bailed out on them? Just once, I wish one of these coaches would say ‘OK, Notre Dame (or whomever), I’ll break my contract with Cincinnati and come to South Bend (or wherever) to run your program. But first, I am going to stick with these kids who have worked their tails off for me and gotten themselves an undefeated season and a primo bowl game. And if you can’t accept those terms, you can take your offer and stick it. I am doing just fine at Cincinnati, thank you, and don’t have to come to Notre Dame to satisfy my ego and pocketbook.’ Just once! At least the Cincinnati folks can take some solace by looking back a few years at West Virginia, which was deserted by its coach, then got some redemption by whacking OU in a BCS bowl. I’ll be pulling for them.”
Sometimes coaches do stay. Not often, but some do. And sometimes they do say, you’ll have to wait, and the school decides not to wait. I’m convinced that’s what Michigan did with Les Miles. The coaches are only half the problem. If schools had integrity, they wouldn’t steal a coach from a team or a school, which is two different things. By the way, what if ol’ Les is actually one of the guys with integrity? I know OSU fans were livid that he was talking with LSU during Alamo Bowl preparation, but at least he stayed with the Cowboys through the game. He didn’t bolt on his team.
Chris disagreed with the majority: “Today’s article strikes me as a little silly. If you or I have not dissected the Kelly-Cincinnati contract, we do not know what kind of buyout provisions there were. Maybe Kelly or Notre Dame bought out the contract according to its provisions. Maybe Kelly had a Notre Dame clause in the contract that allowed him to walk if Notre Dame offered him the head coaching job. Lou Holtz had the provision in his Minnesota contract. Without knowing all the facts it really isn’t right to imply Notre Dame or any college ‘stole’ a coach. If Notre Dame had somehow convinced Bob Stoops to leave OU and he followed the buyout provisions of his contract (assuming there is such a thing), then would Notre Dame be stealing the coach? Or if OU decides they do not want a coach that is not dedicated to OU and just lets the coach go, is the coach then stolen? Isn’t this what happened at Michigan in basketball a few years ago? My point is that you and I do not know what happened between Cincinnati and Brian Kelly. In the end it looks to me that it comes down to a legal question and for some reason Cincinnati decided not to pursue it, at least at this time. I suspect they did not pursue it because they know they do not have a leg to stand on.”
You could be right, that there was a buyout. But if so, that’s not why UC chose not to pursue it. It’s like the lawyer said, schools just don’t want to go through the hassle. And the one thing I’ve tried to do in recent years is draw attention away from the contractual elements of this question and focus on the moral points. How can any coach run out on his team? That blows my mind.
Rob: “You are right on point with the lack of loyalty and commitment shown by many of today’s college coaches. There seems to be a definite double standard in light of the penalties levied against players who decide to change schools (employers). Maybe we should make coaches sit out a year when changing schools, like we do players.”
That would be nice, but again, that would illegal. That would be in violation of the anti-trust laws, because there would be financial harm to the public (coaches). That’s why I say give the players the same rights as coaches. Let them transfer immediately. That’s where I think anti-trust laws might come into play.
Craig: “I read with interest your blog regarding the Big 10 expansion and possible implications upon the Pac-10. First and foremost, the refusal of Notre Dame to join a conference (and their sweetheart deals with the BCS and NBC) is a slap in the face to all schools that are members of conferences, especially those that have a conference championship game. It is partly this arrogance that leads to so many fans’ hatred of the Golden Dome. I cannot think of any other major teams that remain independent, save Army and Navy. I would love to see all the former CFA schools boycott Notre Dame and refuse to schedule them so long as they remain independent. Admittedly, this could backfire in the short term, but allowing Notre Dame an easy trip to the BCS championship, if all they can schedule is cupcakes, but I think this message needs to be delivered. As for the Pac-10, I do think they should take Boise State but make as a condition of acceptance removal of that ridiculous blue turf. Not only does it make them appear bush league, it also affords them a significant home field advantage, as they wear all-blue uniforms. As you astutely pointed out, the Pac-10 has delusions of all their members’ academic superiority, which may render such a move impossible. I doubt Utah and BYU would jump. The Mountain West schools cling very tightly to their traditional games with Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico, etc. Having lived in that area for a long time, I know this to be true, no matter how illogical it might sound to us. I think the Pac 10 should take Boise and either Hawaii or Fresno State.”
I’ll never understand this attitude about Notre Dame. If you don’t like Notre Dame, fine. But to blame the Irish for its exalted status and try to organize a protest, that’s silly. If there is an advantage to being independent, go be independent. Same with all this conference title game stuff. Nobody put a gun to the head of leagues that have conference championship games. As for BYU and Utah, they would jump in a heartbeat. Let’s see. Do we still want to keep playing Wyoming and Colorado State, or do we want to play USC and Oregon? But I’m with Craig on the blue turf at Boise.
Jack: “Sounds like Notre Dame should go ahead and join the Big Ten Conference. Of course we all know why they haven’t over the years, but it really would make sense. The Irish fans and the university will just have to learn to adjust in due time and realize that Knute Rockne isn’t going to rise from the dead and coach them to multiple national championships anymore. Those days are long gone. And so is the patience of the mighty Irish community which thinks firing coaches left and right is going to find them instant success. You can thanks Stoops for setting the tone, winning the national title after two seasons. Don’t be surprised if Brian Kelly lasts only four years as well. As far as the Pac-10, losing Colorado would seriously hurt the Big 12. It’s just like Arkansas, Geographically it sounds great, but the Buffs aren’t going to gain anymore ground by joining another conference. I like the idea of Utah and BYU and perhaps of letting Nevada and Hawaii in the mix, but Colorado needs to be with us in the Big 12, right?”
I’ve always thought Colorado is sort of irrelevant. Back when the Buffs were good in football, they were valuable to the conference. But what exactly do they bring to the league? Some eyeballs on TV sets, which is significant. But competitively, not much else. Fallen on their face in football and facing huge financial problems. Never any good in basketball except for pockets when Cliff Meely or Chauncey Billups shows up, and that’s over 40 years. The problem with losing Colorado is not losing Colorado. It’s finding someone decent to replace Colorado. The problem with losing a Texas is losing a Texas. As for the Pac-10, it’s not going to add Hawaii or Fresno State. Let me ask you this. Would the Big 12 be fired up about Hawaii or Fresno State? Heck no, and the Pac-10 has a lot higher opinion of itself than does the Big 12.
Josh: “I read your blog about the Big Ten’s potential upcoming expansion. My personal feelings are that Nebraska, if given the opportunity, would bolt for the Big 10 in a second. Its no secret that the athletic department in Lincoln is not happy with the current situation (TV deal, Texas $$, etc). Nebraska after all, was the only school to vote against the Big 12 back in the ’90s. However, my real question is this. Any chance that some of the schools might view the northern schools as dead weight (especially if NU left) and decide to go their own way? Addition by subtraction. The Big 12 South + the Kansas schools + Colorado/Missouri. Consider it the rebirth of the Southwest Conference.”
So what you’re really saying is, kick out Iowa State. Go to 10 teams, with no conference title game? Make yourself susceptible to other conference hoarding. Can someone please explain the fascination of the Southwest Conference? If you grew up in Texas 30 years ago, OK, you’ve got some romantic notions. But the Southwest Conference was the goofiest league in sports. Four private schools that over the long haul could not compete, one public school with limited resources and four major universities that kept trying to balance modern demands with Sammy Baugh memories. When Arkansas went to the SEC, those four big-time schools became three, and the SWC was a goner. Anyone who wants a modern SWC doesn’t have a clue.
Michael: “In this age of conference championships games and their related financial rewards, I would imagine that the Big 12 Conference honchos would search high and low for a replacement if Mizzou left. However, I think it would be much more interesting if the conference decided to move forward with just 11 teams. Football could play a full round-robin conference schedule. That would be 10 games apiece against relatively solid competition, reducing the cupcake limit to two for everyone. With the rising cost of bringing in those out-of-conference weaklings for guaranteed home wins, this might provide some financial relief, too. And the round-robin schedule would also resolve the issue of conference realignment and rivalry maintenance that you discussed several weeks ago. OU-Nebraska every year! Basketball could work the same way. A home-and-home, round-robin schedule would give everyone 20 conference games. The teams already play 16, so it’s not that big of an increase and there is still room for a half-dozen or so warmup games for teams to work out the kinks against lesser competition. Personally, I think 11 teams is the ideal number of members for any conference – as long as the members commit to playing round-robin schedules.”
You know, an 11-team league has some merit, though losing the conference championship game is a blow to the finances and the status. The Big Ten wants to add a school primarily to stage a league title game. In fact, despite all the griping about the Big 12′s title game, we’ve got another year in which a Big 12 team has made the national title game. In the 10 years of this decade, it’s seven times the Big 12 has made the Big Bowl. Only exceptions: Miami-Ohio State in 2002, Florida-Ohio State in 2006 and LSU-Ohio State in 2007. So the title most assuredly is not keeping Big 12 teams out of the national title game.
Michael: “Saw you mentioned New Mexico at the end of your blog as a potential replacement for Mizzou. Of course, being from Albuquerque, that made me smile. The Lobos would definitely have to expand the football stadium if it did happen — the longest of long shots, to be sure. I think it only seats about 35,000 or so, and rarely is it full even when they’re good. Of course, if OU and Texas and Nebraska were coming to town instead of San Diego State and UNLV, that would make a difference. They’ve beaten Tech, Baylor and A&M at home in the last decade or so. But I don’t know if they could come up with the donor money to pull off an expansion project. When it comes to The Pit though, you’re right on about the Lobos being capable of big-time basketball. I’ve only seen Bedlam wrestling at Gallagher-Iba and I’ve never been to Phog, but The Pit is a hell of a place to see a basketball game. The last game I saw there was when I was home for a college winter break, and Chris Paul came in with Wake Forest to play Danny Granger’s best Lobo team. Paul and Justin Gray kept draining 3s to quiet the crowd and eventually pulled it out, but The Pit was rocking. There were some classic battles with Keith Van Horn and Utah when I was growing up as well, and a crazy triple-OT game with Fresno State during the WAC Tournament. There’s even still a guy from those teams in the NBA (barely), Kenny Thomas in Sacramento. If Big 12 fans think Hilton Coliseum is a tough place to play even when the Cyclones are mediocre, they’d want no part of The Pit, especially if the Lobos can get better recruits with a better conference affiliation. It was ranked highly (No. 16 if I remember right) by Sports Illustrated in the ’90s on some greatest American sports stadiums/arenas list, so I have to avoid the temptation to call The Pit underrated. The Jim Valvano game was there. And it hosted a regional final in the men’s NCAA tournament as recently as when Pitino took Louisville to the Final Four. It’s even getting a renovation to add luxury suites so it can get more regionals. So clearly, it’s still on the map as a big-time arena for college hoops. I even had my high school graduation there, so it has that going for it as well. If you’ve never seen a big game at The Pit when the Lobos are decent, you really ought to.”
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 36901Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 36295Oklahoma tornadoes: 'It took it all'
- 32626Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 8549Wild hogs continue to be a growing menace across Oklahoma
- 5487OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti won't amnesty Kendrick Perkins
- 4132Oklahoma City Thunder: What could Serge Ibaka learn from Hakeem Olajuwon?
- 4021Oklahoma State football: Limiting Wes Lunt's transfer options makes Mike Gundy look bad
- 3510College football: Coaches, athletes weigh in on NCAA's suspended recruiting proposals
- 3369George Nigh has long been 'Four' Oklahoma
- 3261Brittney Griner: Kim Mulkey said keep quiet on sexuality
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients