Sunday, October 5, 2008

Geeks, Freaks, and Football

Team A has an aggregate total of 11 points in the Fulmer Cup. Team B has scored a paltry 3.

University A, only 5 years ago, was placed on NCAA probation for ‘Lack of Institutional Control.’ University B has had a grand total of 1 Major Infractions case, which occurred 16 years ago and was not serious enough to warrant probation.

University A has an athletics budget of $52 million, including $378,000 in salary and perks for its Athletic Director, and also has a Deputy Athletics Director, nine Associate Athletic Directors, with a tenth Associate Athletic Director starting next month who will make $222,000 in salary and perks.

University B has an athletics budget of $40 million, but abolished its Athletics Department five years ago, and coaches now report directly to the University’s Vice Chancellor for University Affairs.

Team A’s stadium, which opened in 1994, has a record capacity of 44,267, and is going through a $102 million expansion. Team B’s stadium, which opened in 1981, seats 39,790 and is undergoing $42 million in renovations.

Team A’s coach makes a base salary of $1.6 million, with incentives for another $400,000, a side payment of $250,000 from a sports marketing company, in addition to perks which include country-club fees, a new SUV, and unlimited use of helicopters and jets for University purposes. He has also received a total of 900,000 in interest-free loans which are being forgiven at a rate of $100,000 a year. Team B’s coach makes $1 million a year.

Team A graduates 46% of its football players, Team B 85%. On his off day last Saturday, the starting Right Tackle for Team B spent 5 hours in the Library.

One of these teams has a 5-0 record, including wins against two ranked teams, and its opponents have 4 National Championships and 46 bowl wins amongst them. One of these teams has a 1-4 record, with its sole win coming against a 2-2 FCS team in one of the worst DI conferences in the country. Which is which?

Team A, Rutgers, is the poster-child for what has become the conventional wisdom in the NCAA – that you must spend your way to the top. Team B is Vanderbilt, but it is Vanderbilt that has the 5-0 record.

Kudos all-around to the Vanderbilt administration, its football coach Bobby Johnson, and, most importantly, its STUDENT-Athletes on their 14-13 win over Auburn yesterday. There is an excellent article by Chris Low at ESPN which provides an excellent insight into the program. Here are some telling excerpts:

It's only been since World War II that the No. 19-ranked Commodores last started a season 5-0, but that's the opportunity that awaits them Saturday when No. 14-ranked Auburn visits Vanderbilt Stadium in the kind of storyline usually reserved for Hollywood.

Come on. Vanderbilt, a top-20 school academically, playing a game in October that means something in the SEC race and ESPN's "College GameDay" on hand to watch it?

"I have a lot of pride in the fact that I'm at a place like Vanderbilt," said senior safety Reshard Langford, one of the team captains. "Not everybody can do what we do. I keep my head high every day, because this is a special place." . . .

Bobby Johnson had a similar vision when he arrived in Nashville in 2002. At the time, he was the fifth different head football coach at Vanderbilt in the preceding 13 years.

But whereas some of his predecessors fought the rigid academic standards that make coaching at Vanderbilt such a daunting challenge in the SEC, Johnson embraced them.

His recruiting pitch, though, included a twist.

"We don't want you if you just want to come here to be a doctor or a lawyer," Johnson said. "But if you want to come here to be a doctor and a lawyer and you also want to be a good football player, then this is the place for you." . . .

"Bobby has just the right temperament and understanding of this place, and that's important," said David Williams, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics. "Not only do you need time and stability to do this job, but you need someone who is on their own mission and that mission is, 'We're going to get it done here, and we're going to maintain it.'" . . .

Johnson, who coached powerhouse Division I-AA teams at academically renowned Furman before coming to Vanderbilt, estimates that probably only about 15 percent of the recruiting pool the rest of the SEC works off of is available to Vanderbilt because of the school's strict entrance requirements.

And just because that 15 percent consists of prospects with strong academic backgrounds doesn't mean all the other schools aren't recruiting them. . . .

Links: Fulmer Cup History; Rutgers AD Salaries; Greg Schiano Salary; Vanderbilt Reorganization one and two

1 comment:

Football Plays said...

What Vandy has done is next to amazing especially playing in the brutal SEC. I doubt the coach will be there long.
Congrats to all the staff there, they win AND do it the right way.
Nice guys dont always finish last