Daily Archives: July 2, 2010
I kept yesterday’s post about Damon Evans’ DUI arrest deliberately minimalist because we hadn’t heard from him yet and because I find it’s usually better at moments like this to sleep on things before uttering serious pronouncements about a man’s fate. And even now I doubt I know the complete story, so for the moment I’ll leave the calls for his resignation/firing to righteous scolds like Mark Bradley.
That being said, there’s no question that I’ve found the debate in response to this fascinating, and as the header indicates, I have some thoughts of my own to contribute.
- I’m in my mid-fifties and I’ve been an avid observer of public life and public careers for most of that time, so there’s a certain part of me that’s jaded enough not to be surprised at what’s happened here. There’s also a certain part of me, though, that’s appalled by the arrogantly stupid lack of judgment Evans exercised. He’s put his reputation and his dream job at risk (not to mention his marriage and family) with behavior that he had to know on some level was incredibly reckless. And while his personal life is none of my business, his professional one is. How am I supposed to trust a man like this to do an intelligent job of running one of the biggest athletic departments in the country?
- I hear what David Ching is saying in this column. But I’ve got to say in response that if there’s one thing that’s apparent in our society, indignation dies down over time. Think about all the politicians and sports figures who’ve behaved badly over the past twenty or thirty years and how many of them have survived and even prospered after scandals (many of which were at least as bad as Evans’) for which the conventional wisdom insisted that it was certain career death? Whether it’s because we’re forgiving or because we’ve become increasingly numb, I don’t know, but history suggests the heat will eventually temper down.
- Speaking of which: for those of you worked up over this, but not so much about the scandal involving the Harricks, you need to recognize that’s a personal judgment. Because from the standpoint of the institution, there’s no question that academic fraud perpetrated by the school is a more serious issue than an individual employee’s misbehavior (yes, even criminal misbehavior) unrelated to that person’s official responsibilities. Yet Michael Adams, for whom presumably the academic integrity buck stops with, is still the president of the University of Georgia.
- And is the man who will decide Evans’ fate, a situation I find highly ironic here. “Adams is as much politician as academician, and that will play prominently in the decision he makes. He will wait to see how the public — i.e., Georgia fans and alumni — react to this before making the final call.” I think that’s right, too. I also think it’s going to matter what coaches like Fox and Richt think about what sort of impact the situation will have going forward in terms of enforcing team discipline in response to incidents similar to Evans’. There’s also the question of whether Evans will be able to perform his official duties effectively in the wake of this. He obviously believes he can, but it’s not as if his judgment on that front is particularly trustworthy now.
UPDATE: As you try to parse the tea leaves as to what Adams will do about (to?) Evans, read this.
“They can say what they want, but I have a letter from the NCAA that says I had nothing to do with the violations at Georgia,” Harrick said. “The thing I am bitter about is how the president of the University of Georgia treated my son. I’ll never get over that. He’ll go to hell for how he treated him.
“He wanted to show everybody how tough he was so he could be the president of the NCAA. Well, he didn’t get to be president of the NCAA.”
I continue to read about Larry Scott’s valiant effort to lead the Pac-10 into a new age of mega-conferences (the conventional wisdom has swung from “visionary” to “Colorado and Utah – is that all?” and now seems to be heading back in the direction of visionary again) and remain puzzled about something.
Yes, going to twelve schools and two divisions is going to reap a financial reward with a conference championship game. And it’s quite likely that the Pac-10 is going to benefit from the insatiable sports programming needs of TV broadcasters. But they’re getting all that with a twelve-team conference.
So, as I read Dennis Dodd’s potpourri of Larry Scott – Pac-10 – college expansion speculation (ain’t it all great?), I keep wondering one thing: what’s so fabulous about going to sixteen-team conferences? There should be something more compelling than this:
Start with the assumption that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive don’t particularly like each other.
It goes back to this treatise posted on the Big Ten’s website almost 3½ years ago. Pay attention to Delany’s line, “… it seems premature for us to lower our admission standards.” That’s a clear shot at the SEC and seems more pertinent today with the league having won the last four national championships. We all know that expansion is about money and market share and television, but could it have an ulterior motive? Consider the Rose Bowl’s place in a world of 16-team super conferences. With an expanded Pac-10 and Big Ten, the Rose would be partners with 32 of the biggest and best football programs in the country, almost 27 percent of Division I-A. That list would include USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas and Oklahoma.
In that scenario, the possibility of national titles being monopolized by the Pac-10 and Big Ten suddenly goes up. The possibility of a mere 16-team SEC becoming marginalized also goes up. That’s a long way to go for payback by Delany but it’s worth contemplating.
Skip the Delany-is-a-prick nonsense for a minute. If mega-conference expansion is indeed all about money, how come nobody can point to where all that new money is coming from? Texas stayed in the Big XII for a reason. The Big Ten, fueled, we’re told, by a network that’s all about adding financial value by adding big media markets, didn’t expand by taking Rutgers, Syracuse or Missouri, but by bringing in Nebraska. And stopping at twelve.
Mike Slive isn’t stupid, at least when it comes to enhancing the financial coffers of his conference. If it was as obvious to him as it is to so many in the media that taking the SEC to sixteen teams would be a huge boon money-wise for its members, why would he sit back and be reactive to other conferences’ expansion moves?
Maybe I’m missing something here, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is.
There’s a paragraph in this John Pennington post about the doubters re: Mark Richt and the Georgia program that’s sort of a side issue I found more interesting than his main point. It’s where he writes
… Georgia has practically its entire offense back, minus quarterback Joe Cox. First-year starting quarterbacks in the SEC haven’t always had great success, but Greg McElroy managed quite well last year in his first season as a starter. Obviously, Georgia doesn’t have Alabama’s talent to put around Aaron Murray, but if the redshirt freshman can just be smart with the football, the Dawgs’ offense should be productive. [Emphasis added.]
I’m not trying to be overly presumptuous here, but is it really that obvious? I will grant you that ‘Bama runs out the best pair of tailbacks in the country, but it’s not like Georgia’s combo are slouches. Georgia’s receiving corps is better than Alabama’s. I’m hard pressed to see how you can argue that the Tide has an advantage on the line.
And don’t even get me started on this (not to mention that Georgia returns more starters responsible for those stats than does Alabama).
Mike Leach has a book coming out in January.
… For now, Leach is living the tropical life, recharging his batteries and working with writer Bruce Feldman on a book, in which he’ll likely tackle topics such as his fascination with pirates, and why he had to walk the plank at Tech.
“[The book is] coming out in January, so that’ll keep me busy,” Leach said. “If I’m not working [by January], I’ll be out promoting the book, which, of course, will help sell more books…”
Can’t wait to read the chapter on Craig James… and I wonder if fellow WWL employee Feldman has any special insight to offer on that front.