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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sorry, Geno, But You're Wrong

Pat Summitt was right to cancel Tennessee's women's hoops series versus Connecticut. Geno Auriemma pops off in this article about Tennessee's complaining about ESPN's giving Connecticut player a private tour when UConn recruited her, about Tennessee's canceling its series with UConn and, of all things, about ESPN's reporting on the UConn violation that ESPN was complicit in.

Auriemma is wrong on all counts here. First, Tennessee has a right to complain about recruiting violations, major or minor. Assuming that the Lady Vols play by the rules and have nothing to hide, they have every right to be ticked when an archrival breaks the recruiting rules, which UConn did (to UConn's credit, it self-reported the violation, even though it's unclear whether the Lady Huskies did so before or after Tennessee had complained about the breach). That the violation was actual more than justifies Tennessee's stand. Why? Because would you really want to continue playing someone who did something unethical that might have (helped) cost you a big recruit? I recall reading an article about the SEC and the men's teams, where now-retired South Carolina was quoted relaying that another coach (not in the SEC) told him that they'd only schedule South Carolina and three other SEC programs because the others weren't clean. Bob Knight took a standing on recruit ethics as well. So Auriemma shouldn't try to deflect the blame here -- his program made a dumb mistake, and he's only compounding it by blasting Summitt.

As for ESPN, well, he should hold his tongue there too. His program put ESPN is a bad spot, and now he's criticizing the network for doing their job. Geno, here's a word of advice -- do yours better and don't get drunk on all of your success and publicity. Danger befalls those who achieve excellence (and you have) if they don't remain humble and (start to, at least) forget that all rules apply to them. You have worked hard to build an excellent program and good reputation -- remember that and, at times like these, be contrite and hold your tongue.

Because nothing good will come out of the situation if you speak.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I disagree somewhat --

I have no issue with TN reporting concerns (have you seen the pdf of the "violations?"?
Oiy. If it weren't so sad I'd laugh... And let's not talk about TN making up t-shirts with a recruits baby picture on it, etc. etc. etc.).

It's the whole sturm und drang around it -- "Geno knows why I cancelled the series" that implied Connecticut had a deep, dark, closet. Secondary violations are just that -- secondary. MANY schools report them and they, more often than not, go in to a file.

In this case, someone in the UConn office called ESPN about setting up a tour for the recruit. The tours were available to the general public -- it was calling that was the error...

But for the entire college season, the actions and implications of TN have called in to question UConn's ethics. Not so much fun...

As for ESPN -- If you look at the timeline of them "breaking" the story, it's more than suspect. They say they've changed their tour process because of the violation... The pdfs show TN compained in 2006 -- so how long did ESPN know about it? And they choose the down time between the Conference tourneys and the NCAA tourney to make a big deal about it -- run a ticker of the secondary violation?

No one will question ESPN -- they have no competition here -- but they should be.

By the way, Pat said all would be revealed at the end of the season.... still waiting for her words... :-)

1:19 AM  

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