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May 27, 2013

Distracted Mind, Open Tabs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:17 am

Clear some tabs of things that have held my interest. Actual relation to Pitt may not exist.

The SEC is still wrestling with the issue of staying at 8 or going to 9 conference games. Great article by Andy Staples laying out the factions and the issues. There remains that certain inevitability to 9 games when you have 14 members and strength of schedule will be coming into play at some point with the new playoff system. A lot of the issues in there can be applied to the ACC.

It makes sense to see opposition from schools like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina. They have annual non-con rivalry games that limit their scheduling. Go to a 9-game conference slate and suddenly they only have 2 non-con games available. It limits the ability to schedule much outside of a rent-a-patsy. I find it strange that LSU seems so opposed to going to 9 games.

Oh, Rutgers. Rutgers, Rutgers, Rutgers.

 Sixteen years ago, members of the University of Tennessee women’s volleyball team gathered for a last meeting with their head coach, Julie Hermann. In gym shorts or jeans, some piled onto a black leather couch. Others sat on the floor, cross-legged, almost breathless.

Many of them remember Hermann standing over them, as she had at hundreds of practices and matches. For several minutes, as the players recall, she said nothing.

The players say everyone, including the athletic director, had been brought together by a letter all 15 players on the team had submitted. In it, the players said, their coach had ruled through humiliation, fear and emotional abuse.

“The mental cruelty that we as a team have suffered is unbearable,” the players wrote. Specifically, they said the coach had called them “whores, alcoholics and learning disabled.”

In blunt terms, the players wrote, “It has been unanimously decided that this is an irreconcilable issue.”

Hermann, the players say, absorbed the words, turned to her team, and said simply: “I choose not to coach you guys.”

At that point Ms. Hermann left coaching for the administrative side of college athletics and became something of a rising star. Now becoming the AD of Rutgers. A school pushing through a scandal with an abusive coach and something of a cover-up by the school… Oh.

Congratulations, Rutgers. You really have outdone yourself this time.

How did Rutgers let this happen? Who, exactly, does the vetting for this university? This was not some monthlong investigation that found these players. They were contacted during the basic reporting that goes into any profile of a public figure in an important job.

 

“I will recruit an AD that shares my vision or I won’t hire him,” Rutgers president Robert Barchi promised two weeks before he hired Hermann, but once again, his school failed to do the thorough background check that could have prevented another PR nightmare.

 

The oblivious Barchi promised an extensive vetting on the next basketball coach, then watched Deadspin reveal that Eddie Jordan never completed his degree – contrary to what was written in his bio on the athletics home page. But that blunder was trivial compared to this.

 

Rutgers didn’t interview Ginger Hineline, the woman who sued Tennessee for pregnancy discrimination based largely on a dispute with Hermann. Rutgers didn’t contact anyone on her Tennessee teams to see what prompted her, in 1997, to switch into athletic administration.

It gets worse for Rutgers. Hermann went into lying/denial mode when these facts came to light. Including even a video of something.

Like all of us, Christie will want to know why Hermann repeatedly claimed to have no memory of so many of the charges in the other aspect of the news report — that she fired an  assistant coach, Ginger Hineline, for getting pregnant. Hermann was sued, and the case was settled. But when asked about specific charges, including words said while she was a bridesmaid in Hineline’s wedding, Hermann said she couldn’t remember being a part of the event at all. This despite video showing her catching the bridal bouquet.

Man, videos and Rutgers. Just don’t go together.

As usual, it’s the cover-up not the crime that makes this worse. I mean, Rutgers probably shouldn’t have couldn’t have hired her based on why they needed a new AD. But these were events from 16 years ago. Hermann has built a sparkling reputation in the administrative side. If she owned it, talked of learning from it. It is something different. A great column from Mike Vaccarro makes a solid point in how coaching has changed.

You can. For a very long time, this was the accepted culture surrounding serious-minded coaches at every level in every sport. If you weren’t a yeller, you weren’t trying. You weren’t demeaning your players by screaming at them, defaming them, even cursing them; you were motivating them.

As long as you weren’t physically abusive, you could get away with anything. Bobby Knight did. Billy Martin did. Woody Hayes did. Sit behind Mike Krzyzewski’s bench sometime. Some of the stuff his staff has called Duke basketball players through the years makes Mike Rice’s observations sound like sonnets.

That’s the atmosphere in which coaches of Hermann’s generation were raised, mostly because that’s how they were coached. So, no, you don’t have to admire what Julie Hermann called her players in 1996 or 1997, but if she has seen the errors of her ways, she can be forgiven.

But when you lie. But when you say you don’t even remember the accusations? No.

We get frustrated with Pitt’s administration at points. There are things to dislike. But, thank god we don’t have Rutgers administration from the President down.

UNLV is having another player transfer.

Rice said he spoke with [Kaitin] Reinhardt late Sunday night, and Reinhardt indicated another system might be better suited for his talents. Primarily a catch-and-shoot guard at UNLV, Reinhardt wants to play the point or a role that includes more ballhandling responsibilities.

The Rebels will have four point guards on their roster next season — sophomore Daquan Cook, incoming freshman Kendall Smith and junior college transfers Jelan Kendrick and DeVille Smith.

“Katin told me why he was leaving. He said that he feels his best opportunity to play in the NBA is to play more minutes at the point guard position,” Rice said. “Katin would have had an opportunity to compete for minutes at the point, but I’ve never guaranteed anyone that they will start or play a certain number of minutes.

UNLV had Mike Moser go graduate transfer. Three others graduated and one turn pro early. Six of their top eight scorers are gone. But, but, they play the fast paced open style that kids want? Where are they all going?

Reinhardt should be the least surprising transfer. He is a Mater Dei kid. For whatever reason, despite the high school’s success, they are transfer central in college. As for Reinhardt’s ambitions to run point. Um, no. He got to play 25min/game as a freshman. Greenlight to shoot. And still transferred because he wasn’t the centerpiece?

So, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is ready to go hyperbolic on the ACC by 2014.

“I love what’s happening with our conference,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re going to be a 10-bid conference. We’re going to be the best conference in the history of the game. It’s exciting to be part of that.”

Ummmm…. I am a little hesitant to go there yet. I know conference solidarity and all that. But, the Big East in the past 7 years has been the conference and the ACC has found itself behind them and the Big 10.

Or that the more recent version of the Big East earned three No. 1 seeds in 2009 and landed a record 11 NCAA tournament bids in 2011, with its ninth-place team capturing the national championship. Heck, you could argue this may not even be the strongest incarnation of the ACC considering the caliber of the league before it added Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech in a bid to improve in football.

For this upcoming era of ACC basketball to compare favorably, the league will need not only Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Louisville to remain powerhouses but some of its lower-echelon programs to step up in class.

 

Georgia Tech faded from national relevance late in Paul Hewitt’s tenure and has yet to fully recover so far under Brian Gregory. Wake Forest is in the midst of one of its worst periods in program history under embattled coach Jeff Bzdelik. Boston College hasn’t made the NCAA tournament in four years or won an NCAA game in six. And football-first Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami have been erratic at best, aside from the Hurricanes’ brilliant but perhaps short-lived success this past season.

 

Throw in long periods of mediocrity from NC State, Virginia and soon-to-be-Big Ten-bound Maryland, and it’s fair to say the ACC has mostly ridden Duke and North Carolina’s coattails recently.

The league has averaged a modest five NCAA Tournament bids per season since its 2004 expansion and produced only four NCAA teams two of the past three seasons.

Ouch.





All Ms Hermann had to do was say something like, 15 years ago I was very headstrong and immature, and I admit to making some terrible and regrettable decisions. But since then, I have grown wiser and believe I deserve a 2nd chance based on my recent past.

In fact, she could have made the point that now she is much tuned in to abuse and intolerance than others …. but instead she denies all of it een though there is apparently much documentation supporting it!! Is this the epitome of stupidity or what?

Comment by wbb 05.27.13 @ 9:34 am

Steve Pederson has offered his charm and wisdom to Rutgers helping them with this hire!

Happy Memorial Day All!

Comment by Dan 72 05.27.13 @ 10:01 am

@@@@@@@@@@

Can’t wait until Rutgers is the doormat
of the BT. Terrible blunder in hiring the BB
coach them the AD. The new AD doesn’t
remember the letter written by the entire
basketball denouncing her. That is just
a lie. Who would forget something that drove
(Her) to administration from coaching?

Wish everyone would get off Pederson’s
case.

Comment by JR 05.27.13 @ 10:44 am

I’m so sick of players saying they had me to abuse, etc. grow a pair and deal with it ad shut up primadonna kids. Not everyone deserves a trophy and a atta boy for trying. I’m in my 30′s and this country is becoming a bunch of sissies. I’m obviously not talking about Penn State and that sickness but see other schools wi tough coaches. I had them and they made me better.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.27.13 @ 10:59 am

*mental abuse… Damn iPad spellcheck.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.27.13 @ 10:59 am

Damn I knew that the BE was King in Basketball and the B10 has gotten better but what has happened to the ACC? When you actually look at it on paper ( 4 teams in the last two NCAA Tourneys and an average of 5 bids since the admission of Vtech, BC, and Miami in 2004) then you really understand how far they have fallen. Seems like a no brainer to add Pitt and Cuse if you are trying to boost the basketball and maintain in football. Still don’t understand why you don’t add UConn or U.C. Both would clearly make you your the dominate basketball league (mainly UConn).

Comment by Pitt Fan In Atlanta 05.27.13 @ 11:22 am

No regional. Season over. ACC is kicking ass as in the SEC for teams in the tourney. Next year will be very tough.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.27.13 @ 11:32 am

UCONN was the target when Pitt got in…BC blocked the move and we were Plan B….I still think UCONN gets in eventually.

Comment by HbgFrank 05.27.13 @ 11:43 am

Totally disagree, UPitt, but what else is new?

Comment by panther94 05.27.13 @ 12:46 pm

Panther 94 at least we are consistent in our disagreeing. Hope you and yours are enjoying the holiday.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.27.13 @ 1:20 pm

That we are. Hope you’re enjoying the day as well.

Comment by panther94 05.27.13 @ 2:15 pm

Rutgers fades in oblivion, never to appear again on a Pitt football or basketball schedule. There is a silver lining in their cloud.

Comment by TonyinHouston 05.27.13 @ 2:31 pm

Pitt baseball has a ways to go before it’s a contender in the ACC.

Comment by TonyinHouston 05.27.13 @ 2:33 pm

The UT players letter got my attention but it really was the $150 grr lawsuit for canning an asst. coach who got pregnant/ then fired by Hermann for getting pregnant, that was jaw dropping. How do you miss that??? There was video of Hermann telling the woman to not get pregnant! Having that lying scum Petino as HC for MB was an indicator but seems that scum runs deep at the ville’s athletic dept. rutgers now they are just idiots. LOL! Smooth move B-10 in adding those bunglers. JR have no fear Rutgers is already athletically the doormat of the B-10! UPone

Comment by UPone 05.27.13 @ 3:10 pm

Oh can the general/individual hysteria that Pitt will not compete in men’s BB in the ACC have the coffin closed/nailed shut with Emel’s and my prior posts, and Chas put a stake in it above! Thank you! H2P! UPone

Comment by UPone 05.27.13 @ 3:19 pm

Great to be getting 65 credits in 14 months at Rutgers while this is going on. Hopefully they can plug the hole in the scandal dike when I graduate in August.

Comment by Chris 05.27.13 @ 3:23 pm

Mater Dei is probably the lone exception to the rule on the HS basketball landscape. Most schools fit into one of three types – elite athletes with parents of average to poor socioeconomics, moderate athletes with diverse or stable socioeconomics and a wealthy demographic with average to poor athletes. MD has elite prospects who have wealthy and successful helicopter parents who see no problem encouraging their child to move on if the current situation isn’t optimum.

Comment by CaliPittFan 05.27.13 @ 4:37 pm

She should have come out with

‘I used to coach, but had to quit. The kids were always coming in hungover, in their same clothes I saw them go out in. I cannot even tell you how many of them, if it wasn’t for sports, didn’t have the SAT scores to even get into college. Sorry, I am babbling, what did they say I called the. Again?’

Comment by DCPinPGH 05.27.13 @ 4:45 pm

Back to Back ultimate Frisbee champions! Watch for replays on ESPNU. Last year we beat Wisconsin in the final. This year we beat Oregon.

link to scores.usaultimate.org

Comment by Pantherman 05.27.13 @ 9:07 pm

Sorry.. Oregon was in the semis. We beat UCF in the final.

Comment by Pantherman 05.27.13 @ 9:09 pm

RU is joining the B10 at the bottom and going down from there.
I have to think that RU hired a search firm and the firm missed the boat. Common folks. Not like she hid her coaching experience. Does anyone at RU work? don’t they research anything?
The soon to be ex AD just ruined her career. She won’t get a job anywhere in college athletics.
I’ll be the first to admit that 15 years ago I chased every skirt that blew in the wind. How difficult is it to say that you made a mistake and learned valuable lessons?
Good grief.
My mistake wasn’t chasing skirts. Mine was nit catching enough!!

Comment by SFPitt 05.27.13 @ 9:33 pm

SFPitt, that was only a mistake if you caught, well, one that cannot wear Abercombie…..

Comment by DCPinPGH 05.27.13 @ 10:15 pm

Thanks Pantherman!

Comment by panther94 05.27.13 @ 10:19 pm

@DCPin PGH
Oh those high maintenance types…lovely arm candy to be sure and while I’m not one to kiss and tell, there are some fond memories floating in the universe.
But long term planning requires thinking with the head above the shoulders.
Lust and uncontrolled temper are both intoxicants. All of your players writing about what a lousy leader and person you are can’t be ignored.
RU stands behind it’s woman for now…wait until other indiscretions come out …of the closet perhaps?????

Comment by SFPitt 05.28.13 @ 4:47 pm

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