November 2011 Archives
The trophy, which will be present to the winner of the inaugural Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis on Dec. 3, will be called the Stagg Championship Trophy.It honors Amos Alonzo Stagg, the legendary University of Chicago coach. A founding member of the Big Ten in 1892, Chicago left the league in 1932, concerned about where big-time college athletics were headed.
Paterno and his supporters seem to have a disconnect about the seriousness of his failure to stop Sandusky when informed of an appalling sex act with a 10-year-old in the Penn State locker room in 2002.
But the rest of the world knows. College football may never be the same.
Schools can never again let a coach have that much discretion or power, even one as beloved and seemingly noble as Paterno, the winningest coach in major-college history who had a reputation for doing things the right way.
Faced with a new level of potential disasters, coaches and administrators everywhere have a new set of worries, and another reason to devise new safeguards.
"I don't think it's a game changer in that you would hope you're being vigilant at all times,'' Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas told the Sun-Times Thursday. "Will this be a wakeup call for some people? I'm sure that's the case. But I would hope it would be a part of people's DNA already.''
The Big Ten already was on alert when Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who had won six straight league titles, was felled last spring by a scandal in which his players sold jerseys and other team trinkets for tattoos.
"Everything that's happened in the last year has forced all of us to re-evaluate,'' Illinois coach Ron Zook told the Sun-Times. "You have to know what's going on in your program. Is that possible? I'm not sure, but I know we sure try.''
It's an imperfect science. Like virtually every other coach, Zook has had trying moments - some of them deserved, some not.
Beyond expressing compassion, neither Zook, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald nor Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly felt comfortable commenting on the wrenching Penn State situation.
"It's really sad,'' Fitzgerald said. "I don't have a whole lot more to say besides that.''
Asked if he's been following the news out of State College, Kelly said, "I didn't know that you couldn't. It has been on TV, on the radio. It's just a sad, sad situation. I just don't know too much about it because I've been focusing on here, but certainly my heart goes out to all the victims.''
"It's just an awful thing,'' Zook said. "I don't know the details, I won't comment on that. But it's something that, once again, you have to do things the right way in every aspect of your life.''
For all of his ups and downs, Zook, in his seventh year at Illinois, now stands second in Big Ten seniority, behind Kirk Ferentz, Iowa's 12th-year coach.
"There's so much out there now,'' Zook said. "Believe me, it's not just football. There's a lot more to being a head coach than just X's and O's. There's not nearly as much X's and O's as I wish there was.''
Penn State's inability to do something as obvious as refer child-molesting charges to the proper authorities should drive home the need for having better policies in place.
But disaster is always in the back of a coach's mind.
"You worry about driving down the road, and somebody being drunk and killing you,'' Zook said. "But you can't live like that. You just do the best you can and put it in God's hands.''
"If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.
"Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.
"As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
"I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are."
Here's the official Southeastern Conference announcement on Missouri's move to the SEC. . .
University of Missouri to Join Southeastern Conference
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (November 6, 2011) - The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that the University of Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
The addition of Missouri will increase SEC membership to 14 institutions. The additions of Texas A&M, announced on September 25, 2011, and Missouri, are the first expansions for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league. The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991. With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.
"The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
"The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri," said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. "In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league."
Missouri, located in Columbia, will also be the fourth institution in the Southeastern Conference to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining University of Florida, Texas A&M University and Vanderbilt University. Missouri has an enrollment of 33,800 students, which would be the fourth largest institution in the SEC, with Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M having a larger student body. There are more than 260,000 "Mizzou" alumni around the world. The State of Missouri borders three SEC states: Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, and they bring an existing rivalry with former conference foe Texas A&M.
Missouri athletic teams have excelled recently. Its men's basketball team has made it to the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and 24 times overall. The Tiger football team has been to post-season bowl games for six straight years and 28 times overall. The softball team has participated in the College World Series each of the last three seasons. The Tigers have won Big 12 Championships in men's basketball, soccer and softball.
"I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012."
The Tigers sponsor 20 varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Women's sports include basketball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country and volleyball. Missouri participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except men's tennis and the SEC sponsors every sport the Tigers participate in except wrestling.