Tag:Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:18 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 12:36 am

The Eagle Returns to Make Sense(?) of the NCAA

I can't believe it's been almost 6 months from my last entry and massive MLS/USA soccer binge. This is what happens when work/school/life take over for several months. That and I think I blacked out after that USA-Mexico game for like a month or so...whatever, moving on.

Last week I read three stories that absolutely boggled my mind. And I just wanted to make sure that if I put my thoughts down on paper (or the internet) that I wasn’t crazy. So here it goes…let’s see if I remember how to write these things…

Okay, last week I read several articles based around NCAA student-athletes and their recruiting/transfer processes. Two of them are similar, yet different. Todd O’Brien, a reserve center for the St. Joe’s Hawks, graduated from St. Joseph’s and attempted to gain a waiver to play basketball as a graduate student at UAB. However, one of the conditions of this waiver is that St. Joseph’s must also sign off on the waiver, and for reasons that St. Joseph’s won’t go into for “privacy reasons,” they have denied O’Brien his waiver and it is doubtful that he will play for UAB. The NCAA also denied O’Brien a waiver to play this season which basically means that O’Brien is done as an NCAA student-athlete.

But if that wasn’t stupid enough, I can do better.

Brock Berglund is a former QB at Kansas, who was one of ten players dismissed from the team by new coach Charlie Weis. Berglund was told that he would be competing for a back-up spot behind incoming Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist, who got a waiver from ND (the same one St. Joe’s wouldn’t give Todd O’Brien) to play immediately and Berglund asked Kansas for permission to talk to other schools about a possible transfer, something all students-athletes cannot do without their school’s permission. Kansas denied his request and also told him that he would not be released from his scholarship, even though Berglund only asked for permission to talk to schools, not actually transfer. Berglund was then booted off the team for apparently missing a mandatory team meeting. Since his dismissal, Berglund has not been granted his release from Kansas.

I have the perfect solution for the NCAA, not that they’d listen to me. Since neither player has been released from their scholarship, I think that both players should be counted towards the program’s student-athlete scholarship numbers, i.e. 85 for football and 13 for basketball. Without knowledge of the Kansas football or St. Joe’s basketball scholarship players on the roster, for the sake of this blog, I will assume they are full. Since we’re already midseason in basketball, if St. Joe’s technically has 14 players on their roster (counting O’Brien), they should be penalized one scholarship for next season. Since Kansas hasn’t finalized their roster for the 2012 NCAA Football season due to ongoing recruiting, if Berglund
hasn’t been released from his scholarship by the end of the academic semester (sometime in May), then he should count towards Weis’ roster for 2012. If Kansas is over their limit with Berglund, they should also lose a scholarship for their next season starting in 2013.

C’mon people, this is stupid. Hundreds of players transfer from schools every year and nearly all of them go off without a hitch. These are young men who are penalized one year of eligibility for these transfers when coaches are fired and change jobs without penalty on a regular basis. A school should not be able to deny a transfer to a player that has graduated or wishes to leave the program during a coaching change. Incoming
freshman de-commit from schools on a regular basis when there is a coaching change. They also can de-commit quite frankly for any reason they want to, which is why I love this next story.

Gunner Kiel, one of the best QB prospects in the country and one of the best names in QB history as well, recently committed and enrolled at Notre Dame for the spring semester. Normally, not that big of a story, but since he had verbal/soft commits to Indiana and LSU in the past
months, he’s been getting a lot of press. Dennis Dodd is sticking up for Kiel, and saying that anyone who questions his commitment due to his number of de-commits is crazy. Couldn’t agree more. And I’m not saying that because I don’t miss a chance to stick it to the NCAA, but because Kiel is free to pick whatever school he wants and should be allow to make that decision without backlash from schools and media. Why ESPN, CBS and other major media outlets waste time on recruiting stories is beyond me, but like the “Hot Stove” of MLB (something else I largely avoid), recruiting season gives college sports writers something to do between bowl season and spring practice besides college basketball.

Look, great for Gunner for picking a school and program that he wanted to go to and I hope he gets a chance to stick to LSU and every
and anyone else at some point during his playing career. As for St. Joe’s basketball team and Kansas’ football teams, I really hope that karma exists. Because these kids are making millions for your schools, the least you could do is put them ahead of your bottom line.

UPDATE -- Jan. 24, 11:10PM -- Former Kansas QB Brock Berglund has hired an attorney in his quest to be released from his scholarship at Kansas. Berglund's appeals meeting with the Kansas Univ. student athlete appeals board on Friday.

Posted on: January 18, 2010 2:12 pm

Road Trip - Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, CT

Going to a UConn game for any sport is an amazing event anytime you go. At least if you're a Connecticut resident, student, etc. We care so much about our basketball, that our women's games are broadcast on public television. At least the one's not televised nationally, like the ND-UConn game last Saturday. I was going to spend my Saturday night flipping between NFL Playoffs and the UConn Women. So when one of my Dad's old HS friends came up with tickets, we didn't hesitate to say yes and make the 90-minute drive north to Storrs. And my cousin (UConn student) was very disappointed that we did not get up and drive for the GameDay preview at Gampel at like 11 AM. Highlights of that included the student's booing a story on Tennessee and Pat Summit, an interview with coach Auriemma and booing Digger Phelps' ND pick.

For the first time in its history, ESPN's College GameDay played host to a women's basketball game. And for the second time, they chose to start at the University of Connecticut. The first Men's GameDay was also at UConn for a Jan. 22, 2005 game between Pitt and UConn.
The first women's contest featured the most dominating program in recent basketball memory, the UConn Huskies (ranked #1) and Geno Auriemma vs. the #3 ranked Norte Dame Fighting Irish. It was supposed to be another test for the vaunted Huskies on their quest for a perfect season and national title. ND was supposed to put up a fight much like the current #2 team Stanford did. Unfortunately, the Irish didn't get the memo early enough.

This game turned into a rout amlost immeadiately. The Huskies could do nothing wrong on defense, and did not allow the Irish to break double-digit points until the 7:45 mark in the 1st half. The Irish never led in this game and were down 24-4 at the 12:31 mark after UConn free throws. The Irish shot under 27% for the game and only 58% from the FT line in a 70-46 national TV beatdown.

So far, many teams have taken their shots at the Huskies. ND will get another chance late in the regular season and probably in the Big East tournament. Stanford led the Huskies at the half, but lost by 12. Rutgers, Duke and other women's powerhouses will have their chance.

But if UConn is playing anywhere near the level of defense as they did against ND, no one will beat them this year. But that doesn't mean that the Huskies aren't without flaws. They struggled in the 2nd half offensively, scoring only 28 points but holding the Irish to 27. Maya Moore and Christine Doty shot a combined 2-14 from 3-PT range and the Huskies were 2-18 as a team. ND had 14 offensive rebounds and both teams combined for 37 turnovers. UConn's bench scored only 7 points and starter Tiffany Hayes was held scoreless.
Coach Auriemma always strives for perfection and there was a lot to find, even in a win by moer than 20 points.

But there is a reason GameDay chose once again to start a college basketball tradition at Storrs. The entire building is loaded with Connecticut's basketball history. And while everyone knows the programs that Auriemma and Jim Calhoun have built, Gampel is loaded with Big East banners, NCAA Tournament appearances and Player of the Year winners. And for a state that worships college basketball (and UConn) and has the only WNBA team in a non-NBA city (the Connecticut Sun), maybe we appreciate it more than most. Aside from the Sun, it's not like we have another top-flight pro team in the state. That is, until the Whalers come back, which is happening. I can feel it. So the state and its fans will continue to support its Huskies. And they likely will continue to be dominant for the forseeable future.

And ESPN will continue to televise their games and bring it's GameDay crew with them. Also, I was able to speak briefly with Digger Phelps, who is actually a Rider Bronc. That's right, he was a former player at Rider and he and I are alumni, although he visits ND more than Rider I'm sure. I did not get to ask him how he liked his ND pick (the Irish were down by 20 when I talked to him) but I'm sure his counterparts reminded him. Yes, ESPN has it's own ND Basketball homer in Phelps, a former Irish coach, is the basketball version of Lou Holtz. Always picks the Irish. At least he was committed to it. And by the way, there were multiple signs that reminded the Irish of their 2OT defeat to the UConn football team last season. Just wanted to rub it in.

So after a very entertaining game (for UConn fans anyway), and visiting Gampel for the first time (I've been to the Hartford Civic Center/XL Center 6 times) and shaking hands with the greatest GameDay analyst of all-time (if you're from Rider), I have to say it was a pretty good night. 

Now if we could only get the UConn Men to beat someone...
Posted on: November 24, 2009 3:51 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2009 3:53 pm

UConn "Upsets" Notre Dame

There are a lot of upsets every season in sports. Pro, College it doesn't matter. But most of these so called upsets probably shouldn't be called "upsets." Upsets are FCS teams beating FBS teams (or Div. 1-A over 1-AA for those of you who remember). Upsets are ranked home teams losing non-conference games to unranked teams. Everything else, should really just be another game.

But in the cases of big, historical programs like Notre Dame, or Southern Cal, or Florida, every loss is an upset.

And I say that's garbage. Who determine's the favorite and underdogs? Vegas setting the lines? The talking heads on ESPN and CBS? Can a professional team of football players be "upset" by another group of professionals?

Do all big schools automatically gain "favorite" status because they have resources far greater than that FCS cupcake on their schedule?

And most importantly, did UConn really upset Notre Dame on Saturday? History, Vegas and the talking heads will all say yes. I'm saying no. Randy Edsall didn't think it was an upset either. He's a pretty smart guy.

What UConn has done in the last few years since joining Division 1 or the FBS or whatever it's called, they've probably accomplished more than Notre Dame has. In fact Notre Dame has probably regressed and is stuck in the big program's worst nightmare: mediocrity.

UConn should not be the school that "got Charlie Weis fired." What the UConn program and Randy Edsall have been through this season transends football, both emotionally and physically. Yet in every game this season, this young team that lost so much talent last year, has competed to the last minute. In five losses this season, UConn's margin of defeat is three. Five losses by a combined 15 points, most of them late in the 4th quarter.

But on top of everything they've gone through this year, they are one win away from bowl eligibility.

Anyone remember that Cincinnati game this year? They were a two-point conversion away from sending the No. 5 team in the country into overtime. Whould that have been an upset? According to the rankings, sure. UConn handed Cincy it's only Big East lost last season in 2008. They wouldn't have called it an upset. UConn lost so many close games, including three after the death of Jasper Howard, that if left many fans wondering if it would ever come.

But it did, and on National TV to a reeling Notre Dame team on Senior Day. In fact, I don't know if the Irish could finish in the top half of the Big East if it joined today with Navy. The Irish have lost to Pitt, Navy (twice), Syracuse and UConn in the last 3 years, and that's only off the top of my head.

If you want to talk talent, look at last year's NFL Draft. On Day 1 (Rounds 1 and 2), UConn had four players selected. Only two schools had that many, Southern Cal and Ohio State, one of which had five. Little UConn put up as many NFL players as two of the game's giants. And Randy Edsall has been doing this for years, turning average recruited talent (according to the talent talking heads) and winning with it. UConn has 3 bowl appearances, two wins and a Big East title (co-champs with WVU in '07) in their first five years of Big East play.

And now Notre Dame is probably looking for a new coach. Brian Kelly of Cincinnati has been mentioned, but he's only a football playoff away from playing for a national title. The Bearcats are very close to having back-to-back Big East titles and are opening a new practice facility.

And what does ND have to offer: Tons of pressure, a smaller recruiting base due to academics and an angry fan base.

Good luck with that. I'll stick to my PapaJohn's Bowl and be thankful for it.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com