…this past Friday her new Hospice home health aid came over and when she entered the house, she saw a few Buckeye items around the room (the big cache and over-the-top Buckeye decorations are all down in my man cave), but it was enough for her to tell us that her ex-boyfriend played for Ohio State (Curtis Grant, of course). She said they broke up a few months before he left for OSU and she hadn’t really seen him since. However, she went on to say how great a guy he was and that he was the nicest guy she ever knew.
Well, she ended up taking a few pics of the man-cave and my mother-in-law, and texted them to Curtis. Yesterday, when she came by, she dialed a number on her cell phone and handed it to her. Of course, it was Curtis on the phone. They chatted for several minutes and then said goodbye. She beamed from ear to ear just from that call. She hasn’t stopped talking about it yet.
But within about an hour the doorbell rang. Curtis had called his mother and had her bring my MIL an autographed shirt and a program from Saturday night’s game. She also stayed to chat awhile. Even though she’s from the area, she had to drive about and hour and a half just to do this.
Later the ‘ex’-girlfriend told my wife that Curtis was going to come home for the bye weekend and was going to make time to surprise my mother-in-law with a visit while he’s here.
I’ll say something nice about Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern’s head honcho and my favorite non-Ohio State coach in the conference (Sorry, Bo!). If you’re at one of his press conferences, be sure to set your phone appropriately.
Commentary- Exploitation Is Everywhere, Man
We regularly talk about the issues involving “big time” college sports in this space, particularly the impact that the chase for prestige and money has on the educational mission of the institutions involved.
At times, I’ve pointed to the NCAA Division Three model as being something that I have seen value in- at least in maintaining the integrity of the “student-athlete” ideal. And, I’ve seen it up close- having played and coached at the D3 level, in addition to working with D1 and D2 athletics at various stops along my career.
However, it’s still a reality that, in many situations the D3 model also has it’s issues. I’ve talked before how the “problems” that D1 schools struggle with in terms of NCAA compliance don’t just disappear when the school is smaller- in fact, the lack of support resources might make it even more challenging.
An article today from SBNation and covered again on Deadspin point to yet another aspect of small schools’ athletic endeavors, particularly with high profile sports like basketball and football. The case study looks at Hendrix University in Arkansas’ attempt to use football as a revenue stream and to create a foundation for future growth.
The article points to the tradeoff that comes with this effort- that in addition to the high cost that comes with football (coaching, equipment, facilities, etc.), at the Division 3 level it also creates revenue as students pay for the privilege to be on the team and in classes. While there are academic and need- based scholarships, there are no free rides for the participants at this level.
They also look at the way that football can help to benefit the community atmosphere of a campus- it ensures that there will be up to 100 additional men in classes in a time when male undergraduate enrollment is decreasing across the country. That builds connections for these students’ family and friends to consider attending the school in question; it also creates the “college vibe” that excites alumni, who will hopefully turn into proud donors. Something that Eric has highlighted here before.
I’m excited to see this look into the games that don’t make ESPN on a regular basis, but still have significant questions about this situation. While it’s true that there are a number of schools who are adding football for the reasons outlined in the article, I’d be interested to find out how these institutions manage to stay in compliance with the Title IX requirements while adding an additional 100 male student athletes to the campus population.
In addition, while Hendrix has excitement surrounding the rebirth of its program, I’d be interested to look at the cost/benefit analysis after 10 and 20 years. Given what research has indicated regarding some of the negative impacts of football in terms of crime and academic impact, I’d be intrigued to see if it was worth it, in the long run.
The institution where I currently serve just made the leap from NAIA to D2; and I was a part of some of the conversations about the options that were available to us as we were looking to transition. I’ve learned quite a bit about many of the challenges that come even outside of the BCS programs. So, while I’m excited for Hendrix and other schools who use football to support the University’s bottom line, I still wonder if they’ve merely traded one set of problems for another.
Time will tell.
Around The NCAA
I guess I kind of knew this, growing up in the 80s and 90s… but this is a pretty awesome educational opportunity: