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It is the rare occasion that something appears on this blog that doesn't, in some tangential yet rational way, relate to Syracuse athletics and/or my personal plight in supporting the university

But today is a special day. A special day indeed.

Over the last five days or so, the University of Connecticut has placed itself squarely between a rock and a hard place.

And I love it.

In a scathing article penned by my new hero - Gregg Doyel - Jim Calhoun is painted as a misguided warden letting the inmates run the institution (no pun intended). Some quotes of note include:
UConn coach Jim Calhoun is a Hall of Famer and a champion, but when it comes to coaching, he is not a moral beacon of light. This is not a news flash.

This is the man who found a legal way to pay off the AAU coaches of three major UConn targets -- Denham Brown, Brandon Bass and Rudy Gay -- by setting up sham exhibition games with teams connected to their AAU programs. It worked so well that Brown and Gay signed with UConn ... and the NCAA changed its rules about preseason exhibitions, putting a lot of well-meaning exhibition outfits out of business.
Also, in speaking about the recent Doug Wiggins fiasco:
Maybe Wiggins had grown up rooting for the Huskies. Maybe he was heartbroken not to have been recruited by UConn. Maybe it doesn't matter. St. John's offered Wiggins, Wiggins accepted, and it was up to Calhoun to honor the process.

But Calhoun honors nothing but his own program. That is why Calhoun, er, the school, suspended reserve point guard A.J. Price for the entire 2005-06 season but suspended All-American point guard Marcus Williams for just the first semester -- despite their involvement in the same criminal case. Price was expendable. Williams was not. This is justice, Jim Calhoun style.
And one more, for good measure:
Calhoun is feared, but he is not respected. Not by coaching colleagues who have grown tired of his cutthroat negative recruiting tactics and by his exploitation of NCAA loopholes like the one that landed him Brown and Gay.
Now, simply trying to deflect concerns of the ethical deficiencies of a "hall of fame" coach is one thing. It's another animal when the lack of institutional integrity and control extends further than simply failing to recognize proper etiquette and custom in recruiting.

In a series of interesting blog entries filed by Syracuse hoops aficionado Mike Waters, UCONN is feeling the heat not only for its efforts to field quality basketball players, but also for its failure to exercise the high standards of integrity commensurate with running an institution of higher education. To allow Marcus Williams and A.J. Price to receive disparate and insufficient treatment and punishment smacks of slapstick rather than justice.

If I were penning the Husky Blog, I'd be spending more time attacking the university for its failure to recognize its responsibilities as a purveyor of values and education rather than the utter stupidity of actually using up space on the internet to write about women's volleyball.

Something needs to be done about the shameful acts UCONN and its agents are committing. There's a reason that UCONN has pulled itself up by the bootstraps and become a terrific college hoops program, and that reason appears to be one of poor ethical foundation.

I have no knowledge as to whether Jim Calhoun or others have engaged in more serious conduct (paying players, etc.), but from the information becoming available to the public through these news items and the university's utter lack of attention in dealing with them appropriately, I would not find it unrealistic to believe that UCONN is engaging in prohibited activity as defined by the NCAA. It is usually not the case that these superficial transgressions are the extent of a program's problems. Rather, they are illustrative of larger, more serious problems plaguing a program and demand the NCAA's immediate attention.

Something needs to be done, and it needs to be done quickly and thoroughly.

Shame on you, Jim Calhoun.
Shame on you, University of Connecticut.

1 Responses to “UConn(victs)”

  1. # Anonymous Trey Whitaker

    I've read all of the pieces (including North Carolinian Doyel's ripping article) about the 'lapgate' and related concerns (e.g., Wiggin's decision to leave St. John's for his hometown UConn). Nothing I've read has changed my opinion in my post of August 17th that Williams and Price should be expelled.

    That said, that is my uninformed opinion. A gut reaction. Possibly UConn and Calhoun know better. As a UConn fan, I certainly hope so. What I've seen overall are two things. First, that not disciplining them severely has provided an opening for UConn and Calhoun haters to pile on. This is one of reasons that I'd hoped the penalties would be severe. To avoid this easily anticipated backlash opportunity. The second thing that I've noted is that much of the wrath is related to folks being incensed that the penalty didn't meet their standard. I'm in step with this thought but will trust (waryingly) that the university has done the appropriate thing.

    As for what I should be doing on my blog, I cover men's and women's basketball. The fact that I focus any attention on the women's game sets me apart. It's curious to me that most the renowned blogs that claim to cover college hoops fail to even acknowledge the women's game. Lastly, I don't seem to take myself or my hobby blog as seriously as many others. I'm here for the enjoyment of basketball and all the other sports that UConn offers. This is the focus and not pontification. Heck, I believe that's pretty much been covered in the blogosphere.

    By the way, UConn women's volleyball this Friday at 7 and UConn women's hockey Saturday at 1. Enjoy.  

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