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#10: The New York Times thinks Rutgers MBB may be onto something, "New Pregame Trickery: Distract the Visiting Team With Bad YouTube Videos." Sports, Ethics and Leadership author Bowen: "[It] seems antithetical to hosting someone, to the roots of competition to strive together. ... There is something clever in what they’re doing. On one hand I like it; it’s not in your face. It’s not doing anything explicitly wrong. It’s the kind of things that millennials will say, 'Wow, that is an awesome way to throw these people off.'" Asst. AD for Marketing Greengarten on the visiting Seton Hall MBB squad: "Their players were looking up at the video board and we thought, 'Wow this is making a little bit of difference. It's getting in their head a little bit.'" So far the Scarlet Knights are 2-2 in home games, so is it working? (link)
#9: The Montgomery Advertiser's Stevens points to sources who say the AD search at Auburn could be wrapped up in the next week or two, or end up taking much longer. More from NFL SVP/CIO McKenna-Doyle on no longer being a candidate to lead the Tigers, "I pulled out of the running as time went on. I am fully committed to the NFL and to continuing to support Auburn as a fan. [...] I love Auburn. I hope the new AD, whoever he is, will put together a true strategic advisory board and I would love to serve and help." Stevens' source: "Michelle is incredibly accomplished. Look for Auburn to look for ways to involve her going forward in some way." (link)
#8: Utah AD Hill raises his hand, admits it was him shouting at Pac-12 MBB Coordinator of Officials Dibler that interrupted the post-game presser after last Sunday's loss to Arizona State. Hill: "While my emotions were high and I thought our meeting was private, there is no excuse for the inappropriate language I used. I have apologized to the person involved, who is someone I have known for years and greatly respect. I also regret any discomfort to others as a result of my cursing. As the leader of this department, I expect more of myself and I am sincerely sorry." (link)
#7: Bloomberg's Boudway pens on the Five Pillars of Gregg Popovich: 1. Own Your Luck (points to the 96-97 season when San Antonio Spurs' star Robinson broke his foot and the team finished 20-62 to get first-found pick Duncan in the draft); 2. Do Your Work; 3. Unleash Your Anger (Strategically) ("He never allows his upset to stop his thinking" says close friend Koblik); 4. Widen Your World (he will ask his team history-related pop-questions, reads constantly); and 5. Know Your People. More on Pop's personal life here, too. (link)
#6: Speaking of facilities in the Big Ten, check out this tour of Michigan's new 280K square-foot South Campus Performance Center that was unveiled to student-athletes in November and finally shown to the media. The new digs include an indoor track with hydraulics, indoor rowing tanks, a 2K-seat LAX stadium, designated locker rooms and a 20K square-foot strength and conditioning space, among other things. The $168M project was privately funded, including a $100M from mega donor Ross. Senior Assoc. AD/COO Rademacher: "The reaction has been outstanding, and everyone’s loving it. We really tried to create a community and campus. This weekend when we have our first meet, you’re going to see a lot of these teams going, 'Oh my God, look what Michigan built,' which really helps us from a recruiting perspective." (link)
#5: USA Today's Wolken with an eye-opener, "Underneath Playoff glitz, a warning: College football could be headed into a ditch." Wolken points to the #MeToo movement hitting college athletics with former Arizona FB HC Rodriguez's exit, the massive 10-year, $75M deal for new Texas A&M HC Fisher, LSU anteing up $10M over four years for DC Aranda, UCF being left out of true national championship consideration & southeast dominance as major issues gnawing at the fabric of the sport. On LSU's move, SEC Commish Sankey actually believes "there is an end" to the continually escalating salaries for coaches. Wolken, in closing, "For one night, however, all those problems will be forgotten as Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosts a spectacular event. College football will put on its best face, presenting the image of a perfect sport. But under the surface, on pretty much every level, college football is headed toward an outrageous mess." (link)
#4: North Carolina rolls out its new "Together We Win" five-year strategic plan. Tar Heels AD Cunningham: "The department has done a great job of putting processes and systems into place, and we will continue reviewing and updating those processes and systems as we hold ourselves accountable to the standards we set for ourselves. With our new plan, we also want to shift our focus from process to people – our student-athletes, our coaches and staff and our Carolina Community. [...] We're trying to convey the important idea that it's up to each individual person to contribute for the overall departmental success." The effort's 12 main objectives are broken down into student-athlete, coaches/staff & Carolina Community categories. Mission: We educate and inspire through athletics. Values: Responsibility, innovation, service & excellence. (link); Lots more in the full plan. (link)
#3: MBB official Valentine was back on the court calling Virginia-Syracuse Tuesday night, but it was, again, not without a bit more controversy. (link) The following day ACC officials said the latest bump for MBB official Valentine is a "non-issue." (link)
#2: Oakland AD Konya is reportedly headed to Boston to become the new boss at NortheasternThe Detroit News' Paul credits Konya's marketing & fundraising acumen for raising the brand profile of the Golden Grizzlies & notes a likely increase in pay from the $210K base Konya has been earning in Rochester. (link)
#1: Where were you when...? (Also, #nevergotosleepearly)
Alabama HC Saban: "It's not just about winning a championship. You want to do the best job you can, and every team wants to be successful. As a coach, you want to see your team reach their full potential. But as a college coach and the thing I like about college coaching is you have an opportunity to affect people. You have an opportunity to help players be more successful in life because they're involved in the program, whether it's personal development, academic support, graduating from school, learning lessons. The message to the team tonight after this game was I hope you take something from this game and the resiliency that you showed in this game and it helps you be more successful in life. So it's not just about winning the championship. I mean, I know that's what you all write about and what you talk about and all that. We like winning, and we hate losing. But there's more to it than that." (link)
Georgia HC Smart: "The standard's been set by these young men right here. I can't put into words what these seniors mean. We're running out of the tunnel tonight, and this guy over here next to me, 27 comes by me and says, I'll go anywhere with you, and I'll follow you anywhere, and I'll fight for you because I believe in you. And that meant more to me than anything." (link)
+ Classiest dude in the joint: Crimson Tide student-athlete Hurts (linklinklink)
+ Checkout all the ESPN Megacast reactions to the game's final play. Listen closely to Duke HC Cutcliffe say the winning pass would "end the National Championship" before the ball was even snapped. (linklink)
USA Today's Berkowitz keeps final tabs on bonus monies: Alabama ACs total $1.08M, Georgia HC Smart with $1.35M on-field incentives & all ACs get 50% of base pay. (linklink)
+ Before the tilt we learned Dr. Pepper had re-upped its deal to remain title sponsor of the CFP. Six-year pact. (link)
+ Incredible stat: "Since 1999, every player that Saban has recruited has won a National Championship" (link)
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