Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pantagraph: "NCAA toady for political correctness"

The Bloomington Pantagraph has a great editorial on the Chief issue today.

Main excerpt:

It's hard to believe a group representing the bastions of free speech across the country doesn't have the guts to tell some people to "bug off" or "get lost, this is a non-issue."

No, the NCAA Executive Committee chose to be a toady for political correctness among many whose recognition of freedom of speech is limited to what they have to say.

Acting as judge, jury and appeals court, the NCAA Executive Committee ignored the words of its own president, who said, "This is a membership based association where institutional autonomy is valued." That isn't the case anymore. The Executive Committee said the University of Illinois can no longer host NCAA post-season events if it keeps Chief Illiniwek.

Although we don't agree completely with the Pantagraph's position (we understand the U of I is stuck between a rock and a hard place i.e. conform to the NCAA's stupid politically correct position or severely cripple Illini student-athletes) we believe they are totally on the right track and taking a hard line on the NCAA's sensitivity seminar is a welcome position from any editorial board at any paper in America. Hopefully more follow suit.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It's time to retire the NCAA

That's right...or at least completely revamp it.

The NCAA has turned into nothing more than a political organization that schedules tournaments and merely monitors things they are actually supposed to care about like athletic recruiting. "Monitors" is the key word in that statement. The NCAA doesn't enforce anything...except when it comes to punishing schools because they don't like a flag flown by the state they are located in or the tradition the school employs during halftime of games.

We don't like to get too political here at Illinitalk but when it comes to the government, we believe the best place for politicians to stay is Washington, DC. However, is there any other way to clamp down on the NCAA? We can't think of anything right off the top of our heads, which is why we're kind of excited about a bill the Speaker of the House and the congressman who represents the U of I are pushing.

Read about it here, here and here.

The NCAA ruling regarding the Chief has already affected the Illini tennis team.

It's hurt South Carolina as well: This from Tupper's latest blog:

Then Spencer turned his focus to an available site in Charleston, S.C. But South Carolina is under seize from (Hang on, you’ll love this one) the NCAA, which refuses to allow events in that state until the Confederate battle flag is removed from atop the state capitol.

Apparently the NCAA is more concerned about political correctness than it is about serious things like the Kansas basketball program hiring the father of a highly publicized recruit during his recruitment. Our theory on why the KU basketball program gets off easy? The Jayhawk doesn't offend the NCAA like the Chief does.

If the NCAA wants to teach its student-athletes anything, it should first get back to the basics of enforcing violations evenly across the board and stay out of sensitivity training. Why? There is always going to be something that offends someone somewhere, as George Will points our here.

Actually, I believe the NCAA's actions with the Chief will backfire. Why? Prohibition stokes the fire hotter.

As soon as Illinois officially removes the Chief, all kinds of organizations to honor it will pop up that aren't affiliated with the university that no one will have any control over. By banning the Chief, the NCAA will actually cut off its nose to spite its face and make it into an even bigger deal.

Their best option would be to ignore it. But they're not smart enough to do that...mainly because they are blinded by their own politically correct ambitions.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Scheduling News, Recruiting, and a Raise for Weber


Big news for all of you Illini fans who were hoping the Illini might play in the Chicago region a little more often. Illinois is very close to finalizing plans to play in a Thanksgiving tournament in Hoffman Estates. This event would be similar to the Las Vegas and South Padre Island tournaments the Illini have played in the two previous seasons--Illinois would host two home games at Assembly Hall and then play two games at the new 10,500 seat Sears Centre Arena. I think we can pretty much guarantee a sellout for both of Illinois' game there no matter who they play if this comes to fruition. Today's Daily Herald has more details about this as well as the next two items I plan to address in this post. Mark Tupper also has a couple of blog entries that provide additional insight.


This news has been out for a few days but thought I would mention it in case you missed it. Illinois will have a new walk-on player this season (although he won't be eligible to play until 2007-2008) in Steve Holdren, a transfer from South Dakota State and a Champaign native. You might remember him as the forward who scored 28 points on the Illini when the two teams played last November. I don't know what all he will add to the team in terms of productivity at the Big Ten level but to have him as a walk-on should be a nice addition based on what I have hear about him.

In other news, Illinois is expressing interest in Scottie Reynolds, a McDonald's All-American, who was committed to Oklahoma until Kelvin Sampson left for Indiana. He is a combo guard and it sounds like he would definitely have the potential to help the team in 2006-2007. The only downside, if you can call it that, is that the Illini are still in the mix for several outstanding 2007 recruits and this would leave them with only one scholarship remaining for that class. However, if you have a high caliber player that you like and is willing to commit to you, you take him. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Coach Weber

Pending university board approval, Coach Weber will receive a one year contract extension and a pay raise. The revised contract would run until 2012 and pay Coach Weber $200,000 in base pay, $600,000 in radio/TV/promotional pay, and then $200,000 in deferred compensation that is payable at the end of the 2010-2011 season as long as he is still the Illini's coach.

This represents the third consecutive year that Coach Weber has seen his contract extended and his pay boosted. I am glad that the University decided to do it again this year. Why? Because it saves me from writing a post about how the job Coach Weber has done at Illinois merits the extension and raise, particularly in light of the fact that Missouri's new coach is making an average of $850,000/year for five years and Indiana is paying Kelvin Sampson an average of $1.5 million/year for seven years (although some people will be surprised if he makes it that long).

I know some people may even argue that there is no way that Kelvin Sampson should be making more money that Bruce Weber. However, Illinois doesn't control what Indiana chooses to pay their coaches plus keep in mind that Coach Weber asked for additional pay for his assistants as well as upgrades at the Ubben Basketball Complex during last year's contract discussion. I think that the fact that Weber asked for these things versus just more and more money for himself says a lot about the type of person he is.

I also appreciate the fact that he did not try to use openings at other programs as leverage to try to force Illinois' hand on his contract (like John Calipari did to Memphis this year when he flirted with N.C. State). Thankfully, that isn't his style or personality. Coach Weber is builidng something special at Illinos and is working to turn a very good program into a great one, as evidenced by his busy "off-season." I, as I am sure all Illinois fans do, look forward to seeing that come to fruition.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Awards and an update on the Chief

Congratulations to Deron Williams on being selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and to Luther Head on being selected to the Second Team. Check out the vote totals for all of the players. Seeing former Illini basketball players have success in the NBA can only be a positive for the team and Coach Weber as they recruit future Illini players.

Other former Illini players are also seeing some success. Roger Powell was the Rookie of the Year in the Continental Basketball Association while Jack Ingram is having success in Europe (scroll down to fine the selections), having been selected to the All-Cyprus League's Second Team, All-Defensive Team, and All-Newcomers Team. Jack is currently playing for the Rome Gladiators in Georgia (USA).

Finally, the latest on the Chief. Unfortunately, the Illini tennis team has already been impacted by the NCAA's recent ruling as they go into post-season play. However, two U.S. Representatives are working to make a difference on this issue. Congressman Tim Johnson from Urbana, IL, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert from Plano, IL, have introduced legislation that would prevent the NCAA from infringing on the institutional autonomy of its members. It is hard to predict what the fate of this proposed bill will be but this is the first step in the process. We will do our best to keep you posted as things develop.

Until later, have a good weekend and GO ILLINI!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

ACC/Big Ten Challenge Schedule

For those of you who have been wanting to know who Illinois will play in this year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the schedule is now out. Illinois will host Maryland on Tuesday, November 28th, 2006. The game will be on ESPN and is a rematch from 2001 when Maryland beat our beloved Illini 76-63. Here is the complete Challenge schedule and some interesting facts and tidbits. Let's hope we are all enjoying some turtle soup come November 28th.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?