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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Walt Harris to Stanford

So the headline gives it away, Pitt coach Walt Harris is going to be the head coach at Leland Stanford Junior University.

Questions for Pac-10 fans, Stanford fans, Stanford alums and anyone else within a stone's throw of "The Farm":

1. Has Stanford given up trying to be the best combination of sports and academics?
2. Is Stanford still considering itself an Ivy League peer?
3. Wasn't Ty Willingham good enough to return to Stanford (he graduated most of his players at Notre Dame)?
4. Is Stanford basically willing to accept Harris' track record at Pitt in terms of graduating players?
5. How much Teflon has the Cardinal given Coach Harris?
6. What type of Kool-Aid has the Stanford administration consumed?
7. Or, basically, are they just kidding when they talk about a commitment to academics now, to student-athletes.

Click here for my post that leads to Ivan Maisel's article about the graduation rates of teams in bowl games. If you're patient enough to put two and two together, you'll note that Pitt's graduation rate was about as good as Richard Nixon's approval rating when he left office in 1974.

Nothing to write home about.

A 31% graduation rate.

I'm sure that Stanford alums are complaining to anyone who will listen that Cal must have lowered its standards in order to finish second in the Pac-10 and end up ranked in the Top 10. I'm not an expert on Cal admissions, although I do know that it is perhaps the toughest public university to get into in the country, both for in-state residents and out-of-staters. And, you'll note, that Cal's graduation rate wasn't mentioned at the top or bottom of the pile in Maisel's article. Which means, then, that they're in the middle, which, of course, would have Stanford alums howling, because that would mean that their arch-rival isn't cultivating the scholar-athlete ideal that the mighty Cardinal does.

Or, that is, did, especially when Ty Willingham was there.

But now that they just inked Walt Harris, the Cardinal fans must be thinking that the Rose Bowl is within their grasp, because it wouldn't seem that the top-10 list for graduation rates in Division I-A programs is.

And it also doesn't seem that Stanford cares about the latter stat at all.

Which means, to the delight of Cal fans, the Stanford fans have to shut up.

After all, how can you really defend a 31% graduation rate?

Even if you're a graduate of Stanford, and are smart enough to come up with a creative defense.

But this isn't the debate team; this argument cuts to the core of what Stanford is all about.

Just win, baby.


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