February 11, 2004

Follow the Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 8:43 pm

Regarding Lee’s question over Pitt’s dispute with Nike.

Either Lee didn’t read the last paragraph of the article, or he didn’t catch the significance.

The apparel rights to the football team are arguably more valuable than when the original contract was proposed thanks to its wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy award, and the team’s record of 17-9 over the past two seasons.

Rough translation: Pitt didn’t think it was getting a big enough cut of the sales of the #1 jersey which became a big seller.

The lawsuit is a device to force a renegotiation. Of course with Fitzgerald gone, and things not looking good in the near term, well…

Information, Please

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 8:34 pm

Since the game is on Sunday, there is plenty of time to look around the net for news, notes and info on UConn. Not that there is much discussion of the game yet. Like in Pittsburgh, there is still the licking of wounds from a bad loss — like Denham Brown’s slump.

Pittsburgh awaits Sunday, and first place in the Big East will be at stake. It will be a game that requires absolute faith and resolute determination from UConn.

“When they start hitting us and knocking us down, what are we going to do?” coach Jim Calhoun said Monday. “I’ll cancel the game if they like. Obviously we’re not going to cancel the game. We think we can beat Pittsburgh. I saw this team gut it out with Pittsburgh and out-physical Pittsburgh.”

Brown was one of the players who helped do that Jan. 19, when the Huskies won 68-65, but in recent weeks he has not been that player.

So here’s where the information can be found on UConn.

UConn’s Athletic Site, Men’s B-ball

Hartford Courant, UConn section

HuskyBlog — Rather dry. Not opinion, just news and links.

Courtside Seats — More fun. Written by a UConn student who broadcasts the games for the campus radio.

The Boneyard — Rivals operated site for UConn. Always good to see what’s on the message boards of the other side. You can access it via Pitt’s. Strangely enough, they lack an Insider site.

I’m just hoping they show the game in Cleveland, but I fear I’ll be stuck with Cinci. instead.

Where Are They Now?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 7:06 pm

Pitt has until Sunday before they play again. This means there needs to be some filler articles. The Trib goes back to the 1995 Pitt recruiting class. Mark Blount lives. Blount came out after his sophomore season in ’97. He was drafted #55 by the Sonics but was cut in training camp. He has bounced around in the NBA benches and USBL. He is now starting at center for the Celtics.

Interesting to look at the box at the bottom of the article to see what the other members of that recruiting class are doing today.

Over at the P-G, it’s a long article about former coach Ben Howland’s first year at UCLA. I still can’t forgive him for the way he bolted last year. Not that he bolted, but how he did it.

The day after Pitt lost to Marquette in the third round of the NCAA tournament, Howland had a friend contact Guerrero [UCLA’s Athletic Director].

“I knew right away what I wanted to do, which was to pursue this opportunity,” the coach said.

That isn’t merely “listening,” that is blatant pursuit. The body wasn’t even cold yet. And going back, this Sunday to talk to his former players hardly makes it right. Goddammit, at least be nice enough to lie and say that you listened to the offer, talked to your family and decided that it was the best decision for everyone. Don’t stick it to your former team by saying, in effect, “I couldn’t wait to lose in the NCAA tourney so I could jump to a better job.”

That said, I do not get this kind of pettiness and erasing

Consider a giant framed picture in the Pitt basketball office, showing players, coaches and team personnel celebrating last year’s Big East tournament championship in New York. The picture was edited to cut Howland, the architect, out of the photo.

That omission is reflective of some of the bitter feelings that still exist at Pitt, where some university officials were angered over Howland’s hasty and secretive departure to UCLA.

That’s crap. Though, according to the article, Pitt had spent a number of years pretending Paul Evans didn’t really exist — and Pitt fired him.

Pitt vs. Nike and Clarett’s Effect

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lee @ 2:22 pm

Could somebody who is more familiar with what’s going on explain this article to me?

PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh wants to drop Nike as the supplier of its football uniforms and equipment.

The university filed a lawsuit Tuesday, asking an Allegheny County judge to determine whether a three-year arrangement proposed two years ago by the Beaverton-based company is a valid contract. Pitt argues it never signed a deal with Nike to provide 100 free uniforms and other gear, even though Nike officials provided the university with the products specified under the contract. Nike officials say that because the school accepted its products, the contract was essentially validated despite the fact that it was not signed.

I guess what I want to know is why did Pitt want to get away from Nike? Dammit, I spent $65 for a Nike “official team” windbreaker this past fall. Maybe Nike was trying to redesign our uniforms to look more like Oregon’s?

On a second note, published an excellent commentary by Ivan Maisel today on how Maurice Clarett’s legal victory over the NFL will affect college football.

If anyone says to you that they know what the effect of the Maurice Clarett decision will be on college football, don’t fall for the play-action. No one knows, and no one will know for years. It took nearly a decade of drafting high school players for the NBA to find one who could step onto the floor without stumbling, and LeBron James still has half a season to go. Yet, no one will question that college basketball has been altered by the opening of the NBA doors to anyone regardless of age. The talent level has dropped. Senior starters are as rare as Kerry Republicans.

However, Maisel kind of winds up coming down on the side of the argument that college football will NOT be affected by early departures to the extent that college basketball has been.

…there is no “hard science” to show that an 18-year-old tailback would be endangered by a 25-year-old defensive end. But there’s an encyclopedia of common sense.

“I see kids who leave high school as good players and they’re 6-foot-3, 230 pounds,” Cash said, “and four years later they are 6-3, 270 pounds of solid muscle and their necks are an inch or two thicker. It would make me nervous if my son were getting hit by a 270-pound lineman who runs a 4.6 40. Basketball is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.”

So there’s plenty of evidence that college football will suffer no more than a bruise from this latest ruling. It may even help some schools.

“I’m totally against this. It’s unfortunate. But maybe it helps a school like Iowa because we don’t get many of the superstar guys. It might hurt our competition.” –Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

As a Pitt fan, that would have picked up my spirits a little… that is, if Pitt actually belonged to a stable conference that could attract even mediocre recruits.

I haven’t posted much on Clarett since the decision… mostly because it’s just too painful. Could anybody argue that the Buckeyes would have beaten both Wisconsin and Michigan with him in the lineup? Still, it’s hard to argue that college football players shouldn’t have the freedom to quit school early and get a job like the rest of us have…

I’m still bummed out over that recruiting class. Can anybody tell?

Hail to baseball season taking my mind off of this crap. This year, the Pirates really are going to win it all.

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