Unverified Voracity Is Mostly Stupid

Submitted by Brian on March 16th, 2011 at 1:34 PM


no reason at all. also not stupid.

Stupid random statistic. ESPN put together an Outside the Lines piece on whether college athletes should be paid—for some reason the appointment of Mark Emmert to the top job has spurred even more chatter on this topic than there is usually—that revolves around one stupid statistic. The NCAA says this:

That number (14) comes from the NCAA's most recent analysis of athletic department finances at member institutions, based on data supplied by schools for the 2008-09 school year. The NCAA notes that 25 schools in each of the prior two years generated more revenue than expenses, before the nation's economic recession took hold.

ESPN says this:

But the NCAA understates the amount of revenue that flows into athletic departments.

Why do they say this?

The organization arrives at its lower number of 14 schools in the black by not counting what it calls "allocated revenue," which it considers direct and indirect support provided by the university, student fees and direct government support.

Because the NCAA does not count subsidies that keep money-losing programs afloat. This is not exactly "whoops, the Pirates are wildly profitable." The Bylaw Blog's pithy summation: "ESPN shows athletic departments that are making money. NCAA shows university that are making money on athletics."

Why anyone would care about the former is unclear, but ESPN charges off with their revised number of schools breaking even once you count funding grudgingly handed over to make sure they break even. Surprise: it's fairly large.

Stupid Fab Five reacts. They are legion, from complaints that a documentary called Fab Five was almost entirely about the Fab Five to Duke players writing New York Times op-eds that haven't even been published yet [UPDATE: now published.] but seem to confirm everything that was said about them* merely by their existence. Also Whitlock wrote something that no doubt accused people of "bojangling."

There was even a stupid Fab Five pre-act by Ramzy at 11 Warriors, who went out of his way to point out they didn't actually win anything, as if that wasn't possibly the main selling point or something anyone needed to be reminded of. The most compelling part of the entire thing was watching Webber walk down the tunnel after the timeout, then explain to the brutally persistent media that losing the national championship game for a second consecutive year felt "the same… exactly the same." Braves and Birds compares them to teams like Holland's Clockwork Orange two-time-runners up, and that's right—in soccer there's a rich tradition of teams that couldn't quite grasp the brass ring but are remembered for their style, and so the Fab Five.

However, nothing tops this, possibly dating back to cuneiform:

The same folks who are clamoring for a public mea culpa from Webber are the same people who wrote racist letters, calling Webber and teammates the "N" word.

That's the News's Vincent Goodwill successful trolling his way onto the "most read" list. Congratulations, Mr. Goodwill. Unless you actually believe that, in which case I am deeply sorry someone else has to dress you every morning.

Most of the letter-writers are dead now since they were already watching Matlock 20 years ago, but you don't have to be in the KKK to think Webber's actions badly hurt the program. Exploited or not, all Webber had to do was suck it up a little while before he was insanely rich. He didn't and even super-conflicted me would like an explanation, at least, if not an apology.

*[And in any case, when Rose was discussing Grant Hill he was obviously talking about a feeling he'd had in the past. Seventeen-year-old Rose didn't think "I don't like Grant Hill because his athlete father is in his life." He thought "I hate this bitch." Rose's explanation is necessarily him figuring out why he was so pissed off at Hill.

Also, Christian Laettner was relatively sanguine about everything, so there's that.]

Stupid apology. Tressel says "I'm sorry," then starts repeating things he heard from his robot-in-a-suit:

I apologize for the fact I wasn’t able to find the ones to partner with to handle our difficult and complex situation.

I agree. Ohio State should have synergized its core competencies and then attacked the Asian market. Or they could have difficultly and complexly asked the players involved if they had exchanged memorabilia for goods and services. However, this would have involved talking to them in some sort of office setting and was clearly impossible. The Asian market is where it's at.

Stupid bracket react. It never fails: whenever a major conference team is left out of the field of 60-something, people complain. This year there were actual complaints that small conference teams were somehow gaming the system. Joe Sheehan blows this up:

Maybe the biggest problem in college basketball is that teams in the mid-tier conferences can't get games against the ones in the top six, and they absolutely can't get home games. Mid-majors have been screaming at the top of their lungs for years about wanting to play up, and the better those teams have gotten, the less access to games they've been able to get. Teams in the BCS leagues refuse, out-and-out refuse to play road games at teams in the #7-#18 conferences.

In fact, the RPI gimmickry cited by Phelps and Davis is actually the purview of the power leagues, who have taken to playing road games against bottom-100 teams in an effort to gain "road win" points in the new version of the RPI. (They understand that there's a concept in play, but don't quite grok the details.) The ACC played as many road games at Elon (2) and UNC-Greensboro (4) as they did against mid-major schools in the top 200 (6), and one of the latter games was in an exempt event hosted by one. Miami played at Florida Gulf Coast. Florida State played at FIU. Wake played at UNC Wilmington. You think Conference USA is trying to game the system? Really?

I'm actually happy with the way this year's play-in games fell out: both feature a major-conference team against a mid-major. If you look at the two at-large play-ins as the committee throwing its hands up and saying "I don't know, play for it" this makes perfect sense. We don't have much information about how the good teams in small leagues compare with meh teams in big leagues so you can just have 'em settle it on the court. I'm sure that's just a coincidence but I wouldn't mind that being a yearly occurrence.

Another '95. Michigan has picked up another 2013 hockey commit. Evan Allen is also playing for Honeybaked and is their leading scorer with one point more than fellow commit Tyler Motte. There's not much out there other than a couple of Select 14/15 reports from USHR and the usual hyperventilating from sketchy pay sites, but Yost Built rounds it up all the same. Allen, like Motte and JT Compher, is competing for a spot on the NTDP right now.

Michigan now has something like five or six forwards in the 2013 class already (depending on whether Max Shuart is 2012 or 2013), all of them from the midget circuit centered around Michigan that is a heavy feeder to the NTDP and USHL, four of them Honeybaked teammates. They'll be replacing kids who are currently sophomores, of which there are six (Brown, Lynch, Treais, Sparks, Moffie and Rohrkemper). Unfortunately, one  is a defenseman and two are probably not on scholarship.

They must be anticipating some of these kids ending up in major junior or having to fill holes when players leave early/don't show up at all. That's veering close to Wisconsin/SEC territory, but 1) having to take an extra year of junior is just something that happens in hockey and 2) Michigan cannot sign any of these players to LOIs they can't fulfill—remember when Brandon Burlon couldn't sign until Kevin Quick got booted?—so anyone who is discontent with that arrangement can just go elsewhere.

Chances are the winnowing will be on the players', not the program's, end.

Dense bones. Jon Horford's been conspicuously absent of late without anyone really knowing why. Injury was suspected and is the case, but this bit from Rothstein's latest notes column makes the ears perk up:

Beilein spent 30 minutes with him Monday to help develop him further for next year. The Grand Ledge native, Beilein said, is already much stronger than when he started and is up to 242 pounds — the same weight as starting forward Jordan Morgan.

“There’s not any extra fat in there,” Beilein said. “Really, his body is developing.”

Really? Horford weighs as much as Morgan now? This is stunning.

He's healthy, BTW, and we could see him in the tourney.

Etc.: Destroy One Shining Moment, also Jim Nantz. Lloyd Carr marginalia. Vote for the documentary to come after Willis Ward. Eight seeds… not so good for advancement purposes.



March 16th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

I know "sanguine" is often used to mean "not that upset about something," but it actually means "optimistic" or "hopeful."



March 16th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

Brian, I don't think that's really a fair characterization of Balas's point in the Rivals article.  I don't think he was clamoring for the upperclassmen to have a huge role in the film, but just for it to be acknowledged that there were moments when they stepped up and kept the team going.  (It also could have helped to refute the notion that Fab Five were only out for themselves and didn't care about the rest of the team.)  IMO, Riley coming off the bench in that Oklahoma State game when Webber was in foul trouble and pouring in 15 and 10 is just the kind of thing that happens on great teams - role players emerge at key times to keep the team afloat.  (You can just picture the narrator throwing in one of those cheesy lines like, "For once, the Fab Five took a backseat to someone else.") 

It was a good film, but just a little more recognition to those guys' contributions could have made it even better. 


March 16th, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

When I read the last line about being proud that he never lost to the fab five all I could say to myself was, "ouch".

However, in my opinion Jalen more than adequately expressed why as an 18 year old kid that he felt the way he did.  He more than explained that the reason he hated him so much was because of how jealous he was of Grant's family life.  He also gave it up to Duke after the championship game saying they lost to a better team, and that Duke did what winner's do in the 2nd half. 

While I thought Grant Hill's response was good, I don't really think it was needed.  Like he said, he never lost to them, so being called a bitch shouldn't bother him so much.  Laettner's response was much more professional I thought, basically just shrugging his shoulders and chalking it up to being competative and wanting to beat your opponent.



March 16th, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

1. The tressel non-apology is about as lame as someone committing a serious crime and then they say they "made a bad decision". 

2. With Horford's athleticism, bounce and length,  and now additional weight/muscle, he could add a  ton to next years team.  Would love to see Smotrycz add some weight/strength as well.  If the team keeps their attitude and work ethic, next year could be quite a ride.

Sucks for you, Sparty.


March 16th, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

The silliest thing is people who talk about the Fab Five winning "zero national titles" like that somehow diminishes the style legacy they left.  Five freshmen starting and taking their team to the championship game.  You don't even see that today.  And nobody seems to want to qualify teams like, say, Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma with "overrated" labels because they didn't win a title either.

st barth

March 16th, 2011 at 3:59 PM ^

The Fab 5 did win the Hawaii Rainbow Classic title by beating Kansas and UNC.  Those were two of the three Final Four teams that year.  And the fourth Final Four team was Kentucky who the Fab 5 did beat in the Final Four semi-final before losing to UNC in the Final Four final.

That should count for something right?  Or was I the only person to stay up until 3am watching those games?


March 16th, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

Testing is fine, but please do it on a non-front page thread next time.  Go back 7 or 8 pages in time to some random MGoBoard thread that hasn't been posted in weeks, and comment there.  Thanks for your consideration.

st barth

March 16th, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^

All of the talk of paying NCAA athletes is just foolish because it will never happen.  Universities have no interest in fielding professional sports teams.  And the professional sports leagues would not be to keen on the added competition too.

As crazy as it sounds, it is more likely that the NCAA and all college sports will go the way of the Ivy League (i.e., no scholarship athletes) than it is that they'll ever be writing weekly paychecks to offensive linemen.  


March 16th, 2011 at 6:19 PM ^

At some point in all of the hypocrisy which now engulfs the NCAA, it must dawn on someone that the one hundred some Division I schools are granting so called athletic scholarships to kids yet these scholarships are not in any degree granting concentration of study.

Kids on music scholarships are studying music. Students on math scholarships are studying math. Fine arts students (e.g. painting, sculpture, drama, - yes there are actually degrees in these fields - see Yale School for Dramatic Arts) study fine arts. So why not have athletic scholarships for students whose degree concentration is in performance athletics? It is a legitimate field of study. People care about sports to a degree in the US that is frightening (see Auburn/Alabama tree poisoning guy as the latest example) and it is certainly a great impact socially (see Jackie Robinson, Fab Five, etc.) and economically.

We don't pay art students who study art and want to be great artists but we do demand that they actually study art. We don't put limitations on the number of hours they can study art or who they can talk with. If Salvador Dali or Picasso were alive and in town giving a talk, we'd expect these art students to show up.

Making performance athletics a real field of study, a real degree granting concentration would actually wake up a lot of the 2nd and 3rd tier kids who won't be able to turn pro successfully. They'll see that being a pro isn't just talent, but a lot of hard work. Sure, being 6'10" or 300 lbs or running a 4.3 40 helps, but those are just some physical factors. The ability to buckle down, work on their game, keep in shape, and play like a pro is why some guys succeed despite having "average" physiques, times and size for their position.

I know this has a slim to none chance of happening but I can only hope one day, some gutzy president at some school will take this chance.


March 16th, 2011 at 6:27 PM ^

What, exactly, would you go to class for?  Game film?  Your premise makes sense but your conclusion does not.  We already know that before the NBA's wait-a-year rule, there were plenty of high-schoolers deluded into thinking they were ready for the NBA draft, and who never got picked.  I can't think of many things more harmful than having legions of football and basketball and whatever other sport players delusionally thinking they're going pro one day and "majoring in football" so as to get out of having to do any damn classwork.  Not a good decision to let an 18-year-old make.

Picktown GoBlue

March 16th, 2011 at 10:13 PM ^

To be precise, within the Fine Arts departments (Music is the area within Music, Theatre, and Dance that I'm familiar with), the students are not all performance majors.  In Music, there are Performance Majors, Education Majors, and those who are doing both, plus Music Technology I believe.  Given that for some areas of music, you need to wait for someone to die off in a symphonic orchestra for a position to open up, it is likely prudent to either study Education, or do a combo, or plan to go for a graduate degree...or hope you're really good and can get those rare spots that open up (or create your own as a soloist or with a group).  For the athletes, thus, it might make sense to offer an athletic performance degree option, assuming you can get accreditation for it, but it would behoove most of the athletes to look at majors that give them something else to fall back on like Communication, Business, Education, etc.