The High Road is Closer Than You Think…

•July 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

ALREADY UPDATING

Here is Dopirak–who is killing it with this story, by the way–with an interview of Marist AD Tim Murray.

Also, one more DNR perspective.

After reading Dopirak’s interview, I’m even more staunch with my question to Murray: is it worth it to be “that guy” and “that school?”

Plus, Murray says: “It was just at that point to me it was out of character for Matt,”

And that leads to my final (for now) question: if Murray believed it was out of character for Brady, why would Murray be compelled to put it in the contract?

I also need to clarify a poorly-written sentence from Friday. I said that it was clear that Brady had contacted those recruits, and that is obviously a wretchedly incorrect statement. What is clear: recruits bound for Marist ended up at JMU. My apologies for the misconception, it was never meant to be read that way.

Earlier below the stars…

***

It wasn’t exactly newsworthy that the best word I could come up with on Friday to describe this whole Marist vs. Brady dustup was “convoluted.” The more the whole deal turned over in my brain, the more unease I felt.

Finally, I’ve figured out why: we’ve all seen this before.

Four years ago Bill Coen took over at Northeastern for Ron Everhart. When Everhart departed he took everything–I mean everything. You name it, it moved with Everhart. If the basketball office had contained a kitchen sink, there would’ve been nothing left but a few screws on the floor. Everhart would’ve found that irony funny.

This includes Coen and his staff running out to buy new basketballs. That’s right, basketballs. Coen didn’t pull a Norman Dale and take the basketballs away. He had none because they were in the trunk of Everhart’s car. When folks talk about Coen building from scratch, in this case it is specifically true.

But Everhart also took with him Shawn James, a wiry game-changer who led the nation as a sophomore in blocked shots. James was the returning CAA defensive player of the year and interestingly was also D-POY as a freshman in the America East (NUs previous conference). The only thing about that was that James was not going to return. He was going to Duquesne.

(Many of you remember James. For the youngsters picture Larry Sanders, only with a better offensive repertoire.)

Because I hate recruiting, I have no line into recruits that were at least contacted by Everhart on behalf of Northeastern that eventually made their way to Duquesne, Everhart’s new job.

Sound familiar?

So how did Coen and Northeastern react? The let James out of his scholarship to move with Everhart to Duquesne. They scheduled guarantee games at Syracuse, at Pittsburgh, at UConn, at Louisville, and at Boston College. You know, basketballs (and computers and practice gear) are not cheap.

What did Coen and Northeastern NOT do? Whine, complain, ask for a handout, grind axes or file a lawsuit for a ridiculous reason like “we have to protect our program.”

They moved forward. Took the high road.

Now, longtime readers also know we’re huge believers in karma at CAA: LAMM. I think we’re seeing it play out.

Northeastern has taken a rocky path but they are going to be predicted near the top of the CAA standings this year, coming off a season in which the Huskies went to the postseason and won a game. The program is clearly in forward motion.

As for Marist, last season’s 4-14, 10-23 season is but two years removed from a near-palindromic 14-4, 25-9 season. However that is not the karma. That’s coming. If you are an up and coming coach, would you go to the school who is willing to go to court for a few dollars? Doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies for my contract negotiation.

So my question is one of “why?” and “why not?” Why bother, and why not move on.

Or, a question of: the day after you get that settlement check from JMU, what are you going to do next? What changes, outside of the perception others now have of your program?

I’m betting Northeastern believes the high road is worth it.

Was the low road worth it?

Brady Versus Marist…Or, All My Children…

•July 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

As usual, Dopirak does an outstanding job…he covers every base with the entire Marist sues Brady, JMU, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The facts are the facts, and they are laid out in the above link. No matter which side you take, it happened.

(And more from Mike Barber.)

This whole situation is extremely convoluted and to be honest, stupid. It is drama for drama’s sake and could’ve easily been avoided. Keep reading for why.

As usual, Tom Pecora sums it up best: “I think that’s ridiculous,” Pecora said. “They’ve got a good basketball coach at Marist. They should just move on.”

This whole situation is not unlike many workplace problems in that we can go down 54 worm holes if you’d like and pile on to the drama, but it is pointless because we all know how this is going to end:

JMU will say: “We’re extremely sorry this happened, and we’d like to put it behind us.”

Marist will say: “We’re extremely sorry this happened, and we’re glad it has come to a conclusion.”

Some sort of dollar figure will go from Harrisonburg to Poughkeepsie and we’ll forget about it by October 15.

The problem is that it needs to play out this way and that is a shame.

Marist wants its pound of flesh, even if all this litigation hullabaloo is a non-starter. JMUs mistake, I imagine, is that it didn’t give Marist some TLC for eight months. That’s our problem.

If Jeff Bourne had called Tim Murray at any point over the past year, apologized, and perhaps offered up some token of his shame we may not be here.

It’s very frustrating because nobody has leg to stand on here, and simple egos may have gotten us to this point.

You see, it is clear that Brady contacted those recruits–that’s how they ended up at JMU–and it appears from what I read that it is in clear violation of contract terms. But, as noted in Barber’s report, it’s hard to see how a no-contact clause would hold up in court.

Agreed.

To me, it is exactly like the popular clause in many mid major contracts–if a coach leaves to go to a top RPI conference school (say, Jeff Capel and Oklahoma), that school is contractually obligated to schedule the mid major in a home-and-home.

It’s a wonderful clause and makes people feel good, but it is also extremely dubious if ever challenged in court.

The issue is that nobody is going to challenge it and everybody knows that. No major will take the hit of going to court to avoid scheduling someone. That would be a laughingstock move.

No, both parties simply add a buyout to the contract that allows everyone to go away not angry, but just go away. The mid major gets a six-figure payday, and the major gets to avoid the scheduling black hole. Everybody wins.

Same is true here, in my opinion–Marist is looking for their “buyout,” which oddly was not in Brady’s contract.

Here’s where Marist deserves credit. They are stepping down the path exactly as they need to be:

1. We called.

2. We called again.

3. They never responded so we’re forced to do this.

4. It isn’t about the kids. We need to protect ourselves.

For JMU, they made two mistakes. First, they never called (as currently reported). Second, the whole “it happens all the time” doesn’t wash with me. Just because it happens all the time doesn’t make it right.

Yes, we all know Calipari took those recruits with him from Memphis to Kentucky. The issue there is that Memphis let it happen, not that Kentucky allowed it to happen. Questionable, yes, but with nobody calling their bluff, Kentucky took on all-comers.

You know as well as I do there were several phone calls from athletics director to athletics director nobody ever heard about. Privately the situation was smoothed over and handled.

This is what JMU did, or did not, do. Jeff Bourne’s responsibility was to proactively do something. He owed Marist at least a phone call to say “sorry, what can we do to make it better.”

Why? Because that would’ve made it better.

You cannot restrict a coach who is changing jobs from recruiting any kid he’s spoken to or he’d not recruit for four years. Keep in mind that recruiting begins (in earnest, not the hysterically overblown shots at a seventh grader) in a kid’s freshman year of high school.

The issue is that you’ve got no place to draw the line. At the LOI? At the oral? It is an impossible measure because recruiting is fluid and people (kids and their college choice) have the right to change their minds. When you add to that the whole murkiness of recruiting, you end up in situation just like this.

The root of the problem is that the whole thing was botched. First, Marist botched Brady’s contract. They had no buyout, and it was awfully Pollyanna-ish to think they could enforce a “don’t chat” clause.

When Marist realized this problem–somebody in NY clearly looked at the contract and said “we have no monetary buyout–are you kidding?”–and began rectifying their mistake, JMU botched it by not responding.

If everybody had just acknowledged they didn’t like it but it’s part of the business and JMU had done something–anything–to appease Marist, we wouldn’t be here.

So Many Conflicts…

•July 21, 2009 • 1 Comment

It is only July 21, and I’m already twisted into knots. Specifically, and this is just off the top of my head:

Matt Janning or Gerald Lee for preseason POY?

What to do with VCU–no Maynor, but Sanders continues to improve and somebody that knows such things (cough, cough, a coach) says Jay Gavin is the real deal.

What to do with Mason–no Monroe or JV, but the Foster kid is supposed to be better than Ryan Pearson (who is pretty darn good) and they have scads of very young talent.

We have the very same Georgia State question we had last year at this time, do we not?

Was last year a hiccup for The Tribe, or was two years ago the hiccup?

JMU–how high?

Finally, your sleeper pick is most likely Hofstra. The Pride has the same makeup as its 2005-06 team: a very solid core of five returning players, with talent coming in to support them.

So we’re clear–in no way am I comparing Jenkins, Washington, Lester, Corny Vines and Mikey Szabo to Stokes, Rivera, Uter, Agudio, and Kieza.

Oh no sir, on no planet would I do that.

But give Tom Pecora some experience, some talent, and some youthful aggression, and he’s proven he can win at least enough games to get screwed by the NCAA Selection Committee.

Oh, and did I mention not knowing the impact of Northeastern hanging around the top of the standings last year and it will do for an experienced 2009-10 team?

Cranking Things Up…

•July 13, 2009 • 2 Comments

Getting into that state of mind…Blue Ribbon first edits are underway–we really do put more work into that pub than any others out there, and proud of it–and when it is late on a Monday I’ll do very odd things like read through some of my favorite blogs. I’ll sometimes find snippets that crack me up, or make me wish I could’ve written those words.

Happened again today on one of my favorite sites, the ye olde Joe Cribbs Car Wash. (Sorry Jerry, I avert my eyes at that warblogeagle stuff.)

Jerry Hinnen wrote, last March 23, an ode to every moron you see sitting at a sports bar during the NCAA tournament:

But then you get guys like the tool sitting a table in front of me at the bar last Friday, wearing no Kansas paraphernalia or showing any particular affection for Kansas over any of the other eight teams playing at the time … and nonetheless frequently turning to clap and cheer the Jayhawks and 7-foot behemoth center Cole Aldrich as they desperately held off North Dakota St. and the legitimately spectacular and yet not quite 7-foot Ben Woodside. Why? I’m assuming–because this has been the logic of similar tools over the years–because he had Kansas in his bracket.

Attention, tools: if you would rather win your pool than see North Dakota St. upset Kansas, you are not a sports fan. You are a fan of something else: a Brackets fan, a You fan maybe. But not college basketball.

Hinnen understands spirit and hates chalk. Bravo.

Actual CAA stuff, including lab results, forthcoming, including:

Mark this date, because I’m saying the 25th Anniversary of the CAA is going to be a helluva year.

More Sked Updates…

•July 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Georgia State and James Madison updated…

Northeastern

OOC: Providence, Wright State, Boston University, Rhode Island, Cable Car Classic (2 games: Santa Clara and Wofford/Kent State), Diamond Head Classic (3 games: USC, UNLV, St. Mary’s, SMU, Western Michigan, College of Charleston and Hawai’i), Siena.

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Hofstra, Drexel, Mason, Ga State, VCU, UNCW. Single games–JMU, ODU, Towson, William & Mary.

VCU

OOC: Bethune Cookman, Oklahoma, Nevada, Rhode Island, Richmond, Western Michigan, Tulane, East Carolina.

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, JMU, William & Mary, UNCW, Ga State, Northeastern, Drexel. Single games–Towson, Delaware, Mason, Hofstra.

Old Dominion

OOC: Charlotte, Duquesne, Marshall, Liberty, Richmond.

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, JMU, William & Mary, Mason, Ga State, Delaware, Towson. Single games–Hofstra, Drexel, UNCW, Northeastern.

Delaware

OOC: Philly Classic (Temple, Siena, and Va Tech), Ohio, Bucknell, Hampton, Lafayette, Villanova, Delaware State, Penn, Vermont.

CAA Sked: Two games–Drexel, Towson, Hofstra, Northeastern, Mason, W&M, ODU. Single games–UNCW, Ga State, VCU, JMU.

William & Mary

OOC: UConn, Harvard, Norfolk State, Navy, Radford, Manhattan, Ohio

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, VCU, JMU, Drexel, UNCW, Hofstra, Delaware. Single games–Northeastern, Towson, Mason, Ga State.

Hofstra

OOC: Kansas, NIT Season Tipoff (Four games, in Connecticut, TBD), Fairfield, Manhattan, New Hampshire, Florida Atlantic, Holiday Festival (2 games: St. John’s, then either Davidson or Cornell)

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Drexel, Delaware, Towson, UNCW, W&M, Mason. Single games–JMU, ODU, VCU, Ga State.

Drexel

OOC: St. Joseph’s, Penn, Cal State Northridge.

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Delaware, Hofstra, W&M, Towson, VCU, JMU. Single games-Mason, Ga State, UNCW, ODU.

Towson

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, JMU, Ga State, ODU, UNCW. Single games-Mason, Northeastern, VCU, W&M.

George Mason

OOC: Puerto Rico (Three games: Boston University, Dayton, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Villanova), Creighton, George Washington, VMI, Liberty, Dartmouth, Tulane, Radford, Dayton.

CAA Sked: Two games–JMU, ODU, Northeastern, Delaware, UNCW, Hofstra, Ga State. Single games-VCU, Drexel, Towson, W&M.

James Madison

OOC: Ohio State, UMBC, Longwood, Fordham, Gardner Webb, Norfolk State

CAA Sked: Two games–Mason, W&M, Towson, VCU, ODU, Drexel, Ga State. Single games-Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern, UNCW.

UNCW

OOC: Wake Forest, Richmond, Appalachian State, Elon, George Washington, Campbell, VMI, Charleston Classic (Three games against: LaSalle, Miami, Penn State, South Carolina, South Florida, Tulane, Davidson.)

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, Mason, W&M, Ga State, Hofstra, Northeastern, Towson. Single games-JMU, ODU, Delaware, Drexel.

Georgia State

OOC: Kansas, NC State, Howard, Drake, IUPUI

CAA Sked: Two games–UNCW, ODU, VCU, Towson, Northeastern, Mason, JMU. Single games-William & Mary, Drexel, Delaware, Hofstra

Updated Schedules…

•June 29, 2009 • 3 Comments

Mason and Hofstra noncons go final…

Northeastern

OOC: Providence, Wright State, Boston University, Rhode Island, Cable Car Classic (2 games: Santa Clara and Wofford/Kent State), Diamond Head Classic (3 games: USC, UNLV, St. Mary’s, SMU, Western Michigan, College of Charleston and Hawai’i), Siena.

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Hofstra, Drexel, Mason, Ga State, VCU, UNCW. Single games–JMU, ODU, Towson, William & Mary.

VCU

OOC: Bethune Cookman, Oklahoma, Nevada, Rhode Island, Richmond, Western Michigan, Tulane, East Carolina.

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, JMU, William & Mary, UNCW, Ga State, Northeastern, Drexel. Single games–Towson, Delaware, Mason, Hofstra.

Old Dominion

OOC: Charlotte, Duquesne, Marshall, Liberty, Richmond.

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, JMU, William & Mary, Mason, Ga State, Delaware, Towson. Single games–Hofstra, Drexel, UNCW, Northeastern.

Delaware

OOC: Philly Classic (Temple, Siena, and Va Tech), Ohio, Bucknell, Hampton, Lafayette, Villanova, Delaware State, Penn, Vermont.

CAA Sked: Two games–Drexel, Towson, Hofstra, Northeastern, Mason, W&M, ODU. Single games–UNCW, Ga State, VCU, JMU.

William & Mary

OOC: UConn, Harvard, Norfolk State, Navy, Radford, Manhattan, Ohio

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, VCU, JMU, Drexel, UNCW, Hofstra, Delaware. Single games–Northeastern, Towson, Mason, Ga State.

Hofstra

OOC: Kansas, NIT Season Tipoff (Four games, in Connecticut, TBD), Fairfield, Manhattan, New Hampshire, Florida Atlantic, Holiday Festival (2 games: St. John’s, then either Davidson or Cornell)

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Drexel, Delaware, Towson, UNCW, W&M, Mason. Single games–JMU, ODU, VCU, Ga State.

Drexel

OOC: St. Joseph’s, Penn, Cal State Northridge.

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Delaware, Hofstra, W&M, Towson, VCU, JMU. Single games-Mason, Ga State, UNCW, ODU.

Towson

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, JMU, Ga State, ODU, UNCW. Single games-Mason, Northeastern, VCU, W&M.

George Mason

OOC: Puerto Rico (Three games: Boston University, Dayton, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Villanova), Creighton, George Washington, VMI, Liberty, Dartmouth, Tulane, Radford, Dayton.

CAA Sked: Two games–JMU, ODU, Northeastern, Delaware, UNCW, Hofstra, Ga State. Single games-VCU, Drexel, Towson, W&M.

James Madison

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Mason, W&M, Towson, VCU, ODU, Drexel, Ga State. Single games-Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern, UNCW.

UNCW

OOC: Wake Forest, Richmond, Appalachian State, Elon, George Washington, Campbell, VMI, Charleston Classic (Three games against: LaSalle, Miami, Penn State, South Carolina, South Florida, Tulane, Davidson.)

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, Mason, W&M, Ga State, Hofstra, Northeastern, Towson. Single games-JMU, ODU, Delaware, Drexel.

Georgia State

OOC: Kansas

CAA Sked: Two games–UNCW, ODU, VCU, Towson, Northeastern, Mason, JMU. Single games-William & Mary, Drexel, Delaware, Hofstra.

Too Much To Retweet…

•June 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So we’ll link it out:

Jazz GM on Maynor

Mull with UNCW nonconference info

Towson’s Year

Jeff Goodman with CAA rundown

Kish with Mason noncon

ODU AD Jim Jarrett retiring

This is also why we’re in the lab, working on a project that hopefully comes to fruition later this summer.

An Homage to “Link to the Rest…”

•June 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Great work by Dopirak. The JMU beat writer asked several CAA coaches  and Da Commish about the impact of Eric Maynor’s looming first round selection. Perspective abounds.

He managed to catch Pecora between nines, it appears. And as always, Bruiser is money.

***

Thanks to GMU Hoops, we’re on the lookout for Mason’s finalized nonconference skedder in the next few days. Stay tuned.

2009-10 Schedules, Again…

•June 15, 2009 • 1 Comment

UPDATE: Hofstra’s Holiday Festival opponents (thanks WRHU) and VMI added to Mason (thanks Jeff Goodman).

This is a great big copy/paste deal from the other day, with one add: Northeastern will be playing Siena. Thanks, NUHF.

This is the 2009-10 Official Schedule Page. Your job is to help me when you know something is finalized. Email, comment, correct me, etc. on what you know. We will do this together, and it will give us all a running tally of the upcoming schedule.

You see, I had lunch with a CAA pooh-bah on Friday, and I ran into a good friend over the weekend at the Broad Appetit Festival–some of you wouldn’t recognize downtown Richmond–and the combination got me ridiculously fired up for the season. In early June.

Anyway, without further boring detail, here we go. One note: Everybody also has a BracketBusters matchup in February.

Northeastern

OOC: Providence, Wright State, Boston University, Rhode Island, Cable Car Classic (2 games: Santa Clara and Wofford/Kent State), Diamond Head Classic (3 games: USC, UNLV, St. Mary’s, SMU, Western Michigan, College of Charleston and Hawai’i), Siena.

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Hofstra, Drexel, Mason, Ga State, VCU, UNCW. Single games–JMU, ODU, Towson, William & Mary.

VCU

OOC: Bethune Cookman, Oklahoma, Nevada, Rhode Island, Richmond, Western Michigan, Tulane, East Carolina.

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, JMU, William & Mary, UNCW, Ga State, Northeastern, Drexel. Single games–Towson, Delaware, Mason, Hofstra.

Old Dominion

OOC: Charlotte, Duquesne, Marshall, Liberty, Richmond.

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, JMU, William & Mary, Mason, Ga State, Delaware, Towson. Single games–Hofstra, Drexel, UNCW, Northeastern.

Delaware

OOC: Philly Classic (Temple, Siena, and Va Tech), Ohio, Bucknell, Hampton, Lafayette, Villanova, Delaware State, Penn, Vermont.

CAA Sked: Two games–Drexel, Towson, Hofstra, Northeastern, Mason, W&M, ODU. Single games–UNCW, Ga State, VCU, JMU.

William & Mary

OOC: UConn, Harvard, Norfolk State, Navy, Radford, Manhattan, Ohio

CAA Sked: Two games–ODU, VCU, JMU, Drexel, UNCW, Hofstra, Delaware. Single games–Northeastern, Towson, Mason, Ga State.

Hofstra

OOC: Kansas, NIT Season Tipoff (TBD), Fairfield, Manhattan, New Hampshire, Florida Atlantic, Holiday Festival (2 games: St. John’s, Davidson, Cornell)

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Drexel, Delaware, Towson, UNCW, W&M, Mason. Single games–JMU, ODU, VCU, Ga State.

Drexel

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Northeastern, Delaware, Hofstra, W&M, Towson, VCU, JMU. Single games-Mason, Ga State, UNCW, ODU.

Towson

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, JMU, Ga State, ODU, UNCW. Single games-Mason, Northeastern, VCU, W&M.

George Mason

OOC: Puerto Rico (Three games: Boston University, Dayton, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Villanova), Dayton, Creighton, George Washington, VMI.

CAA Sked: Two games–JMU, ODU, Northeastern, Delaware, UNCW, Hofstra, Ga State. Single games-VCU, Drexel, Towson, W&M.

James Madison

OOC: xxxxxxxxx

CAA Sked: Two games–Mason, W&M, Towson, VCU, ODU, Drexel, Ga State. Single games-Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern, UNCW.

UNCW

OOC: Wake Forest, Richmond, Appalachian State, Elon, George Washington, Charleston Classic (Three games against: LaSalle, Miami, Penn State, South Carolina, South Florida, Tulane, Davidson.)

CAA Sked: Two games–VCU, Mason, W&M, Ga State, Hofstra, Northeastern, Towson. Single games-JMU, ODU, Delaware, Drexel.

Georgia State

OOC: Kansas

CAA Sked: Two games–UNCW, ODU, VCU, Towson, Northeastern, Mason, JMU. Single games-William & Mary, Drexel, Delaware, Hofstra.

A Friday Funny…

•June 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

And they wonder why people have moved past disdain and into hysteria when the NCAA hands down a ruling…

So let me get this straight:

  1. The SEC just gave each member school $11.1 million from its NCAA money, and Alabama complains of the severity of a $43,900 fine. That’s less than half of the right hand side of the decimal, folks.
  2. Despite the infractions ocurring while the school was still on probation for a 2002 finding, Alabama does not lose any scholarships nor postseason eligibility.
  3. They are, however, subjected to the incredibly harsh penalty of vacating wins from past seasons. Oh the humanity!
  4. And to throw salt into that wound, the schools on the losing side don’t get to claim those losses as wins. That’s got to drive Ken Pomeroy crazy. Alabama lost, but nobody won. How exactly do we reflect that in the record book?

And I want to be clear here that–other than the laugh at a bank-breaking $44K fine–I’m in no way taking a shot at Alabama. Its athletes were charged with “impermissable benefits” when it was regular students who got the benefit.

In the end, this isn’t that big of a deal, especially when you consider everything else on which the NCAA should be spending its time.

This just struck me as funny. Very funny, in the pathetic sense.

We will now resume CAA discussion.