News from the college sports week to digest along with the Thanksgiving leftovers:
Clash of the titans: A pair Division I presidents entered uncharted verbal territory this week when they argued about which teams are worthy to compete in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
It began Wednesday when Ohio State President Gordon Gee launched a zinger toward TCU and Boise State, currently ranked third and fourth in the BCS standings.
“I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president (Vanderbilt) and a Big Ten president, that it’s like murderer’s row every week for these schools,” Gee told The Associated Press. “We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day. So I think until a university runs through that gantlet that there’s some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to (be) in the big ballgame.”
That got the attention of Boise State President Bob Kustra, who told the Idaho Statesman: “Maybe President Gee doesn’t go to the games of the teams that are not in his Big Ten, but he’s playing some easy marks.”
In case he didn’t make his annoyance clear, Kustra added: “I just hope that when he speaks about his research profile or the quality of his university he’s a little more believable than he is about athletics, because he’s just so wrong on this one.”
TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini stayed on the sideline for the spat, but his athletics director, Chris Del Conte, weighed in: “To start throwing stones at your house, they must be jealous … (when) someone starts taking shots at TCU, that means we’ve arrived.”
Gordon Gee was right, Boise State and TCU can deal with it (Andrew Sharp, SB Nation)
Ohio State president: Boise State and TCU don’t deserve BCS title shot (Tyler Reisinger, Sports Grid)
Gee’s bluster blows holes in BCS (Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports)
On a related note, Penn State’s Graham Spanier said he anticipated little change in the FBS postseason approach for “the next several years, for sure, and maybe for longer.”
In the wake of the Gee matter, Kustra said he wasn’t so sure: “We probably need to sit down and think about a playoff system,” he said. “The only outliers are the presidents of the schools in the large conferences.”
Finally, as Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision approached the end of its regular season, it remained uncertain whether enough teams would qualify to fill the 35 bowl games. As of Friday, the math seemed to favor enough qualified teams, but suffice to say it will be close. Nick Carparelli, chair of the Division I Football Bowl Licensing Subcommittee and associate commissioner of the Big East Conference, told USA Today earlier this month that his group is committed to filling all the slots, even if there is a shortfall.
Turner, CBS execs talk tournament: Sean McManus, president of CBS News and CBS Sports, and David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting, recently discussed their new partnership with the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand interviewed the duo, and while the conversation didn’t yield any major news, it did provide detail into how the NCAA/CBS/Turner agreement came to be and how the networks view their partnership going forward. (Note: Registration and payment are required for Sports Business Journal content.)
Newtonian math: Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, writing for Sports Illustrated, used some fundamental math to arrive at a suggested salary for Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. (They compared the salary of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to annual Colts revenue, derived the percentage and then applied that percentage to Auburn football revenue.) The figure for Newton was $3.5 million.
“NCAA policymakers might be shocked by that idea,” they wrote, “but the economics faculty at member schools surely will be less surprised to see signs of a free-market economy.”
In fact, policymakers would not be shocked since they’ve all seen figures like this before.
Moskowitz, a University of Chicago economist, and Wertheim were using the SI platform to shill for their upcoming book, “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won.”
For what it’s worth, NCAA President Mark Emmert does not offer much hope for those who want to pay players.
Olson outburst: On Tuesday, ESPN’s Diamond Leung noted the NCAA’s response to the assertions of former Arizona men’s basketball coach Lute Olson, who last week turned aggressive in assailing the NCAA infractions process in the wake of a finding against his program.
A few follow-up thoughts:
- Olson evoked conspiratorial images in his outburst, often vaguely referring to “they” and “the NCAA.” As he well knows, the infractions process involves particular groups: the NCAA enforcement staff, which is paid to investigate charges of wrongdoing (similar to how police investigate crimes) and the Division I Committee on Infractions, which serves as a jury of membership peers in adjudicating the case. Why either the staff or the committee would have an agenda against Olson or the University of Arizona was not made clear in his rant.
- The Committee on Infractions often determines that the staff has not met the burden of proof required to support a finding. Olson’s assertion that any challenge to the process is futile or may lead to retribution is false on the surface.
- The finding was issued July 29, and the university (and Olson) had 15 days to appeal. They chose not to do so, even though the Division I Infractions Appeals Committee historically has exhibited a willingness to overturn findings.