Thursday, May 31, 2007

Class & No Class

Reaction from opposing coaches to the NCAA’s decision to grant an additional year of eligibility to the non-freshmen on this year’s Duke lacrosse team ranged from classy to the reverse.

At one end of the spectrum was Cornell coach Jeff Tamboni, who told the Ithaca Journal that his initial response was “Wow.”

Reading between the lines, it was clear that Tamboni recognized that the decision would not make it easier for his team to win the national championship next year. But he was generous:

I'm happy for the kids. Obviously those guys went through a lot. It seems a lot of it was unfair in terms of the reactions that were made — the sanctions that were made. In a way you have to feel like they've been through so much, at least give them another opportunity to relive what they missed out on as juniors.

At the other extreme was Virginia coach Dom Starsia, who fumed, “Are we rewarding them for what happened?”

Rewarding? Perhaps Starsia should poll members of his squad, and ask if any of them would have liked to trade places with a Duke lacrosse player over the past 16 months.

Starsia noted, correctly, that the Duke administration hasn’t come to grips with its mishandling of affairs, and he noted that it didn’t seem as if “anyone is being held accountable for what happened here.”

Perhaps so. But is Duke’s unwillingness to engage in critical self-reflection justification for the NCAA not to grant the waiver?

Finally, Tony McDevitt speaks about the issue, here.

31 comments:

Terrence said...

Hey, Dom, from at least one Virginia alumnus: can we at least get out of the first round?

don t. said...

Sounds like Virginia may just be an ideal home for the feckless stumblebum and the 88 witless wonders. Maybe the board as well. I figure the Va. coach was not getting enough attention and he thought making asinine statements would be a good way to get it. The abundance of juvenile pea brains is absolutely astonishing.

Trinity60

Anonymous said...

Well, gee, Terrence, you did win the championship just last year. Admittedly losing in the first round was a disappointment, but as I recall, when UVA won the championship a few years ago (maybe when Tillman Johnson was the goalie) they missed the whole tournament the next year. So this is at least a step up. . . .

Kevin, T'83 said...

I think that Starsia's comment is being misunderstood. In the NYTimes article on this, Starsia clearly snipes at Duke, with a cheap comment about Duke's basketball prowess being weighed by the NCAA in this request. However, if you take the totality of his comments, including the observation that Duke hasn't stepped up to apologize to the players, it's clear that the "them" he refers to being "rewarded" is not the players, but the University, being rewarded for its own poor handling of the season.

Anonymous said...

I feel very mixed. Happy for the players and angry the university benefits as well. Duke canceled the season, not the NCAA. It was Duke that created this debacle and now it benefits.

Certainly, the players did not benefit from this mess and if they didn't get this opportunity would have unfairly missed a year of eligibility.

However, some where along the line Duke should be held responsible and yet we have not heard even a small statement of contrition.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Duke as a University benefits from this at all. The Lacrosse players will benefit if they choose to stay in school another year. I take Starsia's comments in the manner as did kevin.t83 Starsia should have made his point clearer that the "they" he meant was the University and not the players.

All the arrogant self serving, self centered, destructive behavior of the G88, Brodhead, et al cannot be whitewashed. The damage they have done to Duke will not be fixed until they start apologizing! I am NOT holding my breath.

Clarencedarrow said...

Given the situation, as soon as I was eligible to graduate, I'd be out of there in a flash. Why should Duke be able to take advantage of these players because of the administration and faculty's misdeeds? These players owe Duke less than nothing and they should get on with the balance of their lives. I mean what are they going to do - go to graduate school at Duke? I think that it was a meaningless gesture that benefits only the athletic dept and I think the Virginia coach recognizes that. I truly cannot see any rational person delaying their departure for one more season after what was done to them.

mac said...

I agree with most of the
posters here:
NCAA - 1
Duke U - 0

This is a competition between
Broadhead and his team of 88,
and Duke. The students have
already left the playing field.

Gary Packwood said...

I think all of this brouhaha is about changing the ground rules.

The reaction of these coaches reminds me of business executives after they are told that financial accounting rules are about to change.

The antenna just shoot out of their heads as they try and figure out the implication of the change for their bottom line.

I agree with Kevin, T'83 - 5:21 PM.

The coaches are not pleased that their ground rules are being 'tinkered with' because of the status of the Duke basketball program along with the gross stupidity of Duke's administration.

Just don't mess with Mother Nature as they said in that old butter commercial on TV.

Suppose those who enabled the Hoax had any idea how many people and systems would be impacted?
::
GP

Anonymous said...

They have had their championship game - either team could have won. Out in a flash, looks right to me.

bill anderson said...

Oh, the players were held accountable -- and then some. Now, I doubt that the LAX team from UVA has EVER had a wild party at any time.

For that matter, no one ever engages in underage drinking or bad behavior at UVA. "From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill...."

Anonymous said...

With the exception of 2006 -- when the Duke team was removed from competition and his team went undefeated - Starsia accomplishes the least with the most talent in Division IA. Ever the opportunist, he signed one of the star recruits released from his Duke commitment. He should shut his mouth

As for the players, they deserve the choice. If they want to move on, they can and will. If they want to spend another year at Duke -- and many students would -- they have the right to do so.

Anonymous said...

Although I agree with those who believe the focus of Starsia's remark about being rewarded is the university, rather than the players, I also think his whining, as a coach, about possibly having to face a larger, stronger Duke team next year would go down a little smoother if, say, he offered to give Duke Ken Clausen back in exchange for not extending the eligibility of this year's seniors. After all, his team is a little stronger as a result of the Duke situation (Clausen was an All-America honorable mention).

[Before anybody jumps on me, I do understand that college coaches can't "trade" players like professional teams; it's just an attempt at humor.]

It will be interesting to see what the various players decide to do; I suspect the NCAA limits on scholarships, and the fact that scholarships have not doubt already been committed to members of the large (13 recruits--because a big senior class is leaving and because there are only 3 formally recruited players in this year's freshman class) incoming freshman class, will resolve the issue for at least a few players. And, of course, some of the players affected are walk-ons who hardly play at all, so it seems unlikely they would stay (or that opposing coaches would care if they did).

Anonymous said...

I agree with 5:21pm that Starsia's comments may have been misinterpreted. Starsia was taking a shot at Duke more so than anything or anyone else.

Also, this year, Bryant College lacrosse team went down to UVA and scrimmaged -- I assume -- courtesy of Starsia.

Mr. Pepsi

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this is another year of eligibility that is personal to the players. Given the scholarship restrictions, it seems likely that some of the players (especially the graduating seniors) might elect to take that extra year of eligibility to another institution. I don't know what restrictions there are on recruiting, but if I was coaching, say, Johns Hopkins LAX I'd be looking at these guys.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Did Starsia hit himself in the head with one of his own bats?

Because that's the first time I've heard "Dead man walking!", "castrate", $3 million in debt, and your face on Newsweek as a rapist described as --- rewarding.

Anonymous said...

My feelings are that it's up to Duke to be fair to the LAX team -- which they were not -- and it's up to the NCAA to be fair to all its memeber schools. On that basis it could easily be reasoned that the NCAA would say 'no' to a 5th year of eligibility. In a sense Duke asked the NCAA to bail them out on this one and the NCAA obliged. That's why I think other coaches raised an eyebrow. However, they should remember that the NCAA has hardly restored all that was taken from the 2006 team and future teams.
1) The seniors had their season taken from them and a possible chance at a championship.
2) The team lost a year of development that could have resulted in a championship this year.
3) The team lost Read and Collin for good.
4) The team lost its coach. (No disrespect to Danowski who deserves all the accolades he gets.)
5) The team, perhaps, lost some valuable recruits.

Chris said...

During the game, Kessnich, Ryan, and Elsmo commented that the UNIVERSITY didn't deserve the consideration; in effect, because of Broadhead, 88, and the rest of the idiots, the school was undeserving of any kind of help from the NCAA. To that, I agree.

I am happy, though, that the NCAA looked past an undeserving school, and instead made a decision based on helping out the athletes. This is very atypical for the NCAA, and whether it strays from protocol, it is proper here.

I only write this because Starsia, et al, were likely viewing it in the same way that the analysts were - the Duke athletic program being rewarded for its mistakes. I played against Starsia in college and have no reason to stick up for him; I do know him, though, to be a promoter of the game.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments of the Duke players after the game against Hopkins makes it clear they were playing for themselves and not for the glory of Duke. Whether or not any of the players choose to play an additional year will likely be for their own reasons and not to benefit Duke.

Screw me once shame on you. Screw me twice shame on me.

The Browns in Huntersville said...

As a UVA alum, Starsia's issue is two fold:

1. Usually red-shirting is 20% of a season, not roughly half.
2. Duke cancelled the season on themselves. Duke has never admitted wrong (probably for liability reasons).

This is such a slippery slope that the NCAA is started down. IMO, this appears to be an exercise so that the players have less of a case to sue Duke for injury.

For example, do you count the goals Greer and Danowski score in the eight games if they come back? They could set a scoring record that would be hard to top given 4.5 seasons of play. Unfortunately, there are no do overs in sport and when you try a do over, it always back fires.

The Duke lacrosse team was very senior laden. Unless a bunch come back then next year will be a rebuilding year. I know that this years recruiting was light (see Ken Clausen) but this is self-inflicted. This time last year Duke lacrosse's very life was in question.

I am very impatient with the Duke administration (as is most the lacrosse community) and the unwillingness to come and apologize to the players, Coach Pressler and the parents. Instead they run to the NCAA (and the fellow ACC presidents cover for them too. Shame on you John Casteen) for some cover.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked by the result - not because I think it wrong or unfair - I actually agree with the result - but shocked nevertheless because the NCAA typically kowtows to the discretion of the administration of its member schools, particularly one with a gilt edged reputation such as Duke. Gives one the impression that even the hide and rulebound NCAA was appalled at the way the University handled the issue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you "the browns" for clarifying a few things I was wondering about.
I am still delighted for the individual players> whatever they decide, it is now very clear that the majority of their peer institutions watched and saw the unfairness and poor judgement by the Duke administration regarding this whole thing.
I don't care about Duke. I think they did start the process as a way to lower risk factors in a lawsuit. I believe the school doesn't really care about lacrosse.
Anyone who has college age students knows they have all broken the law and had a drink or two under age. It was wise and honest for the unanimous decision by the other presidents in this matter.
UVA coach had his own agenda to worry about which lead to his remarks. He too has members of his team who most likely have had a drink underage at some point. WIth the right set of circumstances he could be walking in the same shoes. It could have happened to any one of us with or without athletics involved. A gross mis-carriage of justice was almost successful with the help of the faculty, department heads and president of an major instution. Not to mention the other factors that everyone knows by now.
If Starsia's meant something else, he's an adult in authority representing a school team, he should clarify.
I wish the guys all the best as they consider this opportunity into their future plans.

The Browns in Huntersville said...

Here are some of Dom's original comments that I think are more representative http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/lacrosse/bal-duke0523,0,4940705.story?coll=bal-college-lacrosse

BTW, thanks for this blog. Along with JinC and LieStoppers, you have been amazing and absolute must read each day. This case really shows the power of the Internet; and how rationale, voices of truth can prevail against a hurricane of lies, rhetoric and personal agendas

Jack said...

This was the NCAA's attempt to give Seligman and Finnerty, and only them, a chance to regain their lost year at some other school. It is inconceivable that any other player remaining from last year's team will play beyond their natural senior year, and the NCAA probably agrees. As for scholarships, my understanding is there is very little money being spread among the Duke players and the other top programs. A fully funded lacrosse team, as the NCAA defines it, is permitted about 6.50 full scholarships per season. Families like the Seligmans, Finnertys and Evans were not likely receiving a dime, and they are the norm for Duke's lacrosse and the student body in general. Tony McDevitt is the exception, but I'd be surprised if he got more than a half. Schools like Hopkins, Syracuse and Princeton will only give out a full ride to a high school player ranked among the top five nationally. Alex Hewitt, considered the top goalie in the country, was in Princeton's sights as a HS Sophmore, at Delbarton, no less. He did not need, nor did he receive any scholarship money. They even admitted his older brother just to get Alex, and their combined SAT scores barely moved the needle.

Anonymous said...

jack--
you are generally right, of course, about the limited amount of scholarship money available for lacrosse. But I don't think you are right about the NCAA's intentions. The NCAA could easily have issued a ruling that applied only to Collin and Reade, but it didn't do so. It's not an organization that is known for being granting broader eligibility than it intends to.

I also doubt that it's "inconceivable" that any other player will use this year of eligibility to play beyond their natural senior year. Many, no doubt, will want to move on. But they are athletes, and most love their sport; some surely will be tempted by the chance to play one more year.

I saw snatches of the Major League Lacrosse draft on ESPNU tonight. It's not a very lucrative professional league, and the draft is very low budget (no graphics telling you who's already been drafted like you get for the NFL or NBA, for example). But the room was fully of eager, earnest young men, many graduates of Ivies or other elite schools, who were thrilled to be drafted in the second or third round so they can make a few bucks playing the sport they love. This despite the fact that college lacrosse is a great job networking opportunity--so much so that coaches sometimes use entrees to Wall Street financial firms as a recruiting tool. So I think you will see at least some of these athletes--maybe many of them--take advantage of this chance. They may not all use the year at Duke; some may choose another graduate school for academic or career reasons and play there. But they will play.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, please delete "being" in the phrase "for being granting" in my previous post.

Jack said...

It would have been a considerably more delicate situation if the NCAA singled out just Seligman and Finnerty for an additional year of eligibility. Easier to grant it to all members of the team, knowing, as we all do that the situation for the remaining players has been so poisonous at Duke that it is unlikely any will stay an extra year. John Danowski has done a great job under the circumstances; his presence has kept the team intact. From what we hear in North Jersey, the NCAA had those two particular boys in mind, with the presumption that the rest of the Duke team was stable.

And since you're into correcting grammar, correct the rest of the sentence:

It's not an organization that is known for granting broader eligibility than it intends. ("to" is impertinent, as "to grant" is implied)

No doubt I've set myself up, but wtf.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, jack--this is the first time I've ever been dissed for correcting my own grammar (which, actually, was a correction of my own typing, not my grammar). But since you want to go there, I think more precise diction would be to say the "to" is "superfluous" or "unnecessary" rather than "impertinent." I'm not sure I would agree that the sentence is grammatically incorrect with the "to," but I'll accept that it might read a bit more smoothly, and still be understood clearly, without it.

You may well have inside information about the NCAA's intentions that I lack. Maybe they did want to give some camouflage to a decision primarily intended to help Reade and Collin. But I don't see how they could assume that no one else would take advantage of the waiver.

For one thing, I wonder if the situation for the players at Duke has, over all, been as "poisonous" as you say. You might want to listen to Tony McDevitt's interview, linked by K.C. in this post. He seems to see the potential value of an education from Duke, even if everything there has not been perfect. And while they may have issues with some (but not all) administrators, faculty and students, I know (because my daughter and her friends are among them) that the lacrosse players have many, many friends in the Duke student body. Finally, these guys appear to be very close to each other and might appreciate the opportunity to stay together a little longer.

And even if they don't play at Duke, it seems clear some of these players are seriously considering playing an extra year somewhere. Though as many as 8 Duke players were expected to be drafted in tonight's MLL draft, and Danowski was a likely first pick, not a single one of them entered his name in the draft.

But I guess we'll see what happens soon enough.

Ralph Phelan said...

“Are we rewarding them for what happened?”

Who is "them"? If you think it's the players, this statement is outrageous. If you think the waiver also benefits Duke University as a whole, he's gopt a point.

Maybe they should have granted the waiver *only* to those players who transfered to another school.

LutherM said...

You appear to be upset by a quote in the NY Times, not known as a friend of Duke Lacrosse. Dom Starsia, whose Lacrosse teams have won 3 NCAA Championships, is quoted as saying “Are we rewarding them for what happened?”
Starsia was referring to DUKE University, not the wronged players.
When news of the DUKE Administration's attempt to obtain an extra year of eligibility, Coach Starsia was quoted in the Baltimore SUN on May 24, "I've got some real problems with it. Does Duke University deserve this resolution of the problem, over issues that were kind of self-inflicted?" Starsia asked yesterday.
"I feel like this is an out for an institution that has never stood up and said we made some mistakes. There's an accountability to what they did that they haven't owned up to, and now they're looking to the NCAA to resolve it."
Starsia is upset at the disgraceful DUKE hierarchy. Brodhead, Trask, Alleva, all are still on the payroll. The only person employed by Duke fired because of the wrongful accusations of Crystal Gail Mangum was the innocent former Lacrosse Coach Pressler. Starsia is not the only Lacrosse Coach who believes that situation is dead wrong.
The SUN reported, on May 31, "In a statement released by the university, Alleva called the prompt decision from the NCAA a "fair resolution to our situation. This represents the NCAA's recognition of how extraordinary the circumstances surrounding our team were last spring."

The DUKE Athletic Director regards an extra year of eligibility as a "fair resolution to our situation."
No apology, no compensation for lawyers, no reprimands for the "88", just an extra year to play Lacrosse.

It seems to me that Coach Starsia has more class than the DUKE Administration - but that's true of most people.

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