Daily Archives: April 25, 2007

Laissez les bon temps roulet!

To nobody’s surprise, BCS officials concluded three days of meetings in New Orleans Wednesday with no major changes being made to the system used to crown a college football champion. I hope they at least got some gumbo and beignets in their systems.

Mmm… beignets…

I’m sure Dr. Machen will march onward, in any event.

I’ve got a question about Bret Bielema’s quest to have the BCS drop the two-team conference cap on BCS participation. Wouldn’t dropping the cap favor a conference like the Big 10, which doesn’t offer round robin play (like the PAC 10) or have a conference championship game (like the ACC, SEC and Big XII)?

It seems like in the right year – like 2006 – it wouldn’t be hard for the Big 10 to have three teams in the mix. In the absence of an upset, the losing team in a conference championship game is usually going to be knocked out of a high ranking. And with a round robin schedule a team wouldn’t be able to avoid the conference heavyweights. Like Wisconsin did.

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UPDATE: Here’s a little analysis about the meetings from the Los Angeles Times.

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UPDATE #2:  And here’s the research challenged Dennis Dodd’s take on the meetings.   Short version:  yeah, they didn’t do anything, but we’ll always have Auburn.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“There is no constitutional right to play anything.”

As a father of three girls, all of whom played competitive sports on the high school level, I am supportive of the goals of Title IX.  It’s apparent to anyone who remembers what the state of women’s collegiate sports was like in the ’60s and ’70s that some leveling of the playing field was needed.

The devil is in the details, though.  There is a present a tension between the requirements of Title IX, the demographics of current college enrollment (most schools have a significant female majority enrolled) and the fact that for most schools, only a handful of college athletic programs are profitable that is often difficult to reconcile without some pain.

James Madison University, which football team won the NCAA’s Division I-AA national championship in 2004, provides an example of what happens when a school makes choices balancing regulatory requirements and budgetary needs.  Last year the school, citing several reasons, chose to eliminate ten athletic programs.  (Note that the school made cuts in both men’s and women’s athletics.)

Needless to say, there are many who are unhappy about the decision.  More specifically, there is resentment over the football program remaining untouched:

Gender-equity advocates argue that applying Title IX’s proportionality prong is a choice, not a necessity. If its application harms male and female athletes, they say, then universities ought to find other ways to comply with the law. The advocates are also frustrated that colleges are using gender-equity law as an excuse for cutbacks they are making for a variety of reasons.

“Title IX is being blamed unfairly for institutional decisions that have to do with priorities and finances,” says Judith M. Sweet, a longtime gender-equity expert and recently retired senior vice president for championships and education services at the National Collegiate Athletic Association. James Madison had other options for achieving compliance, she says.

One alternative would be to rein in spending on big-budget sports like football. For example, rosters that are typically close to 100 — James Madison’s is 99 — could be brought closer to National Football League size, 53.

“It’s called downsizing,” says Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. “The money that you would save would go a long way toward supporting other sports.”

Let’s skip the whole notion of a “gender-equity expert” for a minute.  The problem here is that for many schools, football makes money:

But football is one of the few college sports that generates significant revenue, and athletics officials are reluctant to trim their rosters. They do not want to disarm their teams unilaterally, and new divisionwide legislation from the NCAA that would cap rosters seems like a long shot. Mr. Bourne says he would not put his football squad, which won the NCAA’s Division I-AA national championship in 2004, at a competitive disadvantage.

I’m not sure there’s a fair solution here.  But I suspect that something like this isn’t going to satisfy the disaffected:

Gender-equity advocates worry that cutting men’s and women’s programs, and blocking female club teams from varsity competition, may become an increasingly common strategy for compliance with Title IX.

Lamar Daniel, a consultant who worked with James Madison on its recent decision, knows of at least two institutions where similar moves are likely to be announced within a year.

He, for one, is unapologetic about such changes. “There is no constitutional right to play anything,” he says. “Young people are resilient. They’ll get over it.”

For some reason, I smell a lawsuit…

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

More fun and games in Arkansas

Just when I think things can’t get any stupider in Hawg Land, they go and prove me wrong:

A Montgomery County man has sued top University of Arkansas officials, saying the leaders didn’t do enough to investigate critical e-mails sent by a Little Rock woman regarding the Razorbacks football team.

In his suit, John David Terry claims that Chancellor John White and system President B. Alan Sugg should have done more to investigate e-mails sent by Teresa Prewett, a family friend of football coach Houston Nutt.

This, of course, raises all kinds of questions. Who is this guy? How does he have standing to sue here? What sort of legal recourse is he seeking? How is his lawyer keeping a straight face?

One thing’s for sure. There’s more to come. Maybe someone will sue the cellphone company for not alerting anyone at the school about the alarming amount of texting the Nuttster was doing.

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UPDATE: As usual, The Wizard of Odds has more, including a PDF of the complaint. Evidently, Mr. Terry claims standing because he’s a taxpayer.

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UPDATE #2: They want to depose the Nuttster and rummage through a few things:

The subpoena also includes a list of materials for Nutt to turn over, including computer hard drives, documents, phone records and notes of telephone conversations. Freeland said he believes exposing Nutt to this type of discovery process is the primary motivation behind the lawsuit.

“It absolutely is being done just to try to get some discovery, and it has no legal basis whatsoever,” Freeland said. “It’s unbelievable that somebody would file it.”

From Absence of Malice (1981):

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Tell you what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna sit right here and talk about it. Now if you get tired of talking here, Mr. Marshal Elving Patrick there will hand you one of them subpoenas he’s got stuck down in his pocket and we’ll go downstairs and talk in front of the grand jury… Elliot? Jim?… Fine. All right, Elving, hand whichever one of these fellas you like a subpoena and we’ll go on downstairs and talk in front of the grand jury.
District Attorney James A. Quinn: Gallagher’s a government witness.
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Wonderful thing, a subpoena.

Mr. Terry hopes that life will imitate art.

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UPDATE #3:  More on the story here.  This sure seems like a telling quote from Mr. Terry’s attorney:

He admitted the NCAA has never stated verbatim that schools were required to conduct independent investigations. But he said the circumstances surrounding the Prewett e-mail and her discovered correspondences with the Nutt brothers “beg for an independent investigation.”

Check out the comments section after the article.  It’s safe to say the Hawg Nation is a trifle conflicted by this mess.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal