Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Consultant Wants Athletic Admissions Abolished

Michele Hernandez '89, a former Dartmouth admissions officer who has spun her experience in Ivy admissions into a lucrative career helping high schoolers earn admission to elite colleges and universities, is featured in the opinion pages of the New York Times with a piece under the headline:
Colleges Should Get Rid of the SAT and ACT and Abolish Preferences
One of her suggestions in the piece (LINK):
Abolish all preferences, including legacy, V.I.P.-development, athletic – especially Ivy football, which is responsible for the largest number of slots – and minority priority admissions.
Hernandez also writes:
The majority of students applying to elite colleges spend hundreds of hours doing SAT/ACT prep
Green Alert Take: Well, I can safely report that one student who applied to elite colleges and graduated from one did not spend hundreds of hours doing SAT/ACT prep. In fact, I don't know if she spent an hour doing it. OK, we did have a shower curtain with SAT words printed on it ;-)
The Notre Dame 247 site writes about Jerry Tillery, the 6-foot-7, 300-pound defensive lineman who took a recruiting trip to Dartmouth after committing to the Fighting Irish. He graduated from high school early to be able to take part in spring football and is already making an impact in South Bend. From the story (LINK):
The Shreveport (La.) native started running with Notre Dame’s first-team defense six practices in to his first taste of college football.
Dartmouth has announced that women's rugby will be the college's 35th varsity sport. (LINK)

Dartmouth joins Harvard and Brown as Ivies sponsoring the sport at the varsity level. Five schools are needed for a sport to have an official Ivy League championship.

Green Alert Take: I'm hardly an expert but rugby seems to be a reasonable Title IX analog to football with regard to participation and the nature of the sport.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hooping It Up

If you were watching the Duke-Utah NCAA basketball game closely you would have seen Dartmouth defensive back Josh Winslow and Big Green quarterback Ernest Evans in the stands.

OK, you wouldn't really have seen them. At least their Dartmouth teammates couldn't find them, but the two Houstonians were right there in the Winslow family area cheering on Josh's brother Justise, perhaps the breakout player of the tournament as an all-around standout for Duke.
The Big Green players are back in town for the start of classes and "mat drills" in advance of the start of spring practice one week from tomorrow.
Word is that the football team had a pretty solid 3.2 team GPA in the winter term.
Ryan Paganetti '14, who showed a couple of flashes at running back before injuries ended his career, is now working for the Philadelphia Eagles. He had previously done a scouting internship with the Dallas Cowboys.
The news first broke some time ago but Yale is continuing a trend with the addition of standout North Carolina State wide receiver Bo Hines. As a freshman last year Hines caught 45 passes for 616 yards for the Wolfpack. The New Haven Register has a story about his decision to head to New Haven HERE.

Hines is the latest in line of high-profile Yale transfers. Senior running back Tyler Varga, winner of this year's Bushnell Cup as the top offensive player in the Ivy League, transferred from Western Ontario. Junior quarterback Morgan Roberts transferred from Clemson. Going back a bit, quarterback Patrick Witt came to Yale from Nebraska in 2008 and quarterback Peter Lee '02 transferred from Wisconsin. A little further back, the 1999 Ivy League champions were led offensively by tailback Rashad Bartholomew, who came from Air Force Academy, and defensively by Than Merrill, who transferred from Stanford.
If you have March Madness on your mind, check out ESPN's 30 for 30 short, The Billion Dollar Game, on the famed Princeton-Georgetown game. Tom Odjakjian, who should get a long look from the Patriot League for its next executive director, is featured prominently in the well-done piece. For what it's worth, he's also prominent in the full 30 for 30 piece, Requiem for the Big East.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Tidbits

Ryan Danehy '06 earned three letters as a Dartmouth longsnapper but his raison d'etre at Dartmouth was lacrosse. A four-year letter winner as an attackman, Danehy played pro lax with the Chicago Machine and the Boston Cannons and also served as a Dartmouth assistant coach for six years.

Danehy, who went on to serve as offensive coordinator at the University of Michigan, is now national director of methodology for 3d Lacrosse. Find his 3d bio HERE.
ESPNW's headline for a story about Fortune Magazine's annual list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders:
Holy moly!

Banghart, of course, was a three-point specialist and then assistant coach at Dartmouth before leading the Princeton women's basketball team to an undefeated regular season and an NCAA Tournament win this year. Find the ESPNW story HERE.

Green Alert Take: That's not exactly going to hurt her recruiting.
Speaking of things Princeton, the Princeton football blog takes a look back at the Tigers' trip to the Far East and their win over the Japanese national champion Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters HERE.
The late Harry Wilson, a football-baseball player at Dartmouth, gets a mention in a story about his son, Super Bowl quarterback and former minor leaguer Russell Wilson. Find the story HERE.
It is safe to say Dean Smith and I didn't trade Christmas cards after we had a bit of a run-in at a press conference in the Dean Dome, but I was impressed by what he did for his former players after passing away. Find a story HERE.
And finally, what to make of this defensive poster down at Sacred Heart? (Click to enlarge it.) Apart from a small subject-verb disagreement, the reference to a "moose in deep snows" hits pretty close to home given that the Pioneers will be playing at Dartmouth on Sept. 26. Doubtful it was directed at the Big Green but don't be surprised if this ends up on Dartmouth lockers that week.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Have A Seat

There was a soccer camp on Memorial Field yesterday and with a bunch of parents in the visiting stands I realized this was the first opportunity to actually get inside the fences and shoot a few photos of the rebuilding project.

The timing was great because the grandstand is really starting to take shape.

There will be plenty more photo ops starting one week from Tuesday when "spring" football kicks off.

(While snow on campus and around the valley is getting scarce except for where it was piled up by plows, it doesn't look much like spring up here on the shoulder of Moose Mountain where we still have 20 inches at the stake and it's flurrying.)

A peek inside offered the first glimpse of how the workers helped make sure the  old brick corners remained at a 90-degree angle. (Click photos to enlarge.)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Screen Gems

The Woods
from Ninetynine Films on Vimeo.
Numerous reports including one on the Time site report that NBC will be producing a sequel to the popular 1990s situation comedy Coach, with Craig T. Nelson reprising his role as, yup, a college football coach. But Nelson won't be at a state university this time.

From Time (link):
The pitch: “Coach Hayden Fox, in the present day, has retired from coaching. He is called back to become assistant coach to his own grown son, who is the new head coach at an Ivy league school in Pennsylvania that is just starting up a new team."
An Ivy League school in Pennsylvania just starting a football team? Uh oh.

Green Alert Take: Whether it is a good show or a bad show only time will tell, but the guess here is that it won't be particularly good for the image of Ivy League football.  Look for the usual cliches about Ivy League brainiacs and football players who aren't very committed to the game – or very good at it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hey Patriot League, Listen Up

The Morning Call has a story about Carolyn Schlie Femovic stepping down at the end of July as executive director of the Patriot League after 16 years. The story ends this way: "A national search will be conducted for the next Patriot League’s Executive Director." (LINK)

Look, I worked in college sports. I get it.

I know colleges and conferences love to spend money on professional organizations to lead searches. Gotta cross all those t's and dot those i's. If nothing else, there's someone to blame if they hire the wrong person.

The Patriot League presidents don't have to bring in a search firm this time because the best candidate is staring them in the face, and at least a few of them already know him, or know of him. If they are smart they will bring him in for an interview, do everything in their power to convince him to take the job, and then use the money they were going to pay a search firm to hold a league-wide party and celebrate their good fortune.

The Patriot League's next executive director should be Tom Odjakjian, senior associate commissioner  (broadcasting and digital content) of the the American Athletic Conference.

 (In the interest of full disclosure, Tom and I grew up together. He's one of my oldest and dearest friends and someone I had hoped the Ivy League would consider when Jeff Orleans stepped down.)

OJ – people in college sports from coast to coast know him by that nickname – is a proud Patriot League product. He graduated from Lafayette College with a degree in economics and business.

He has close ties with the Ivy League and around the east, having served as assistant sports information director at Princeton and then as an associate commissioner of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC).

And he's a huge figure in the history of college sports broadcasting.

From the ECAC he moved on to the fledgling ESPN and was instrumental in helping the network become "the Worldwide Leader" as its director of college sports. Read that again. At a time when every college and conference is jockeying for air time, the Patriot League can pitch the former director of college sports for ESPN.

 In 1994 he was named “The Most Influential Person in College Sports” by College Sports Magazine. The Sporting News named him one of the four most influential people in college basketball in 1990.

In 1995 OJ joined the Big East as associate commissioner. From his Big East bio:
"His primary responsibilities include television negotiations for all sports (including TV deals with CBS, ABC, ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN Regional, CBS Sports Network, and local and regional outlets), football TV scheduling, and men’s basketball scheduling. From 1995-2006, he was also the manager of the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden and oversaw all men’s basketball game operations and policies."
When the old Big East morphed into the American Athletic, OJ went along.

You know that tournament you are going to watch again tonight? Consider this from the book ESPN: The Uncensored History . . .
Because of Odjakjian, who deftly orchestrated the coverage from his producer's chair, ESPN defined college basketball and turned the month of March into a maddening national hoops obsession.
Remember that famed Georgetown-Princeton tournament thriller that Time Magazine last year referred to as "The Game That Saved March Madness?" Wanna guess why it was on live TV? From that Time story:
The Georgetown-Princeton game might not have attracted much attention if Tom Odjakjian, then a programming executive at ESPN, hadn’t lobbied his bosses to put it in prime time. The talent gap was huge, but the plotlines, Odjakjian reasoned, were too tempting. “There’s a compelling Princeton-vs.-Georgetown, David-and-Goliath thing here,” he says.
If the Patriot League wants to build a national profile, there simply isn't a better choice than OJ, who is nationally known and universally respected. And here's the kicker. He's an even better person than he is a professional, and folks, that's saying something.

This is from author Michael Freeman's acknowledgments in his book on ESPN:
Tom Odjakjian, a most important man in ESPN's history, who held a variety of jobs, lived up to his reputation as one of the kinder people on the planet.
I don't have it in front of me by I think it was in one of his books that Dickie V said pretty much the same thing. And having known him forever I can tell you the next person who doesn't like him will be the first.

So save your money, Patriot League and give OJ a call. I ask only one thing in return.

Invite me to that party after you hire him. It's going to be a special one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


This might make you a little dizzy – why it goes as fast as it does in places I don't know – but take a virtual tour through the new football stadium that will be going up across the state at the University of New Hampshire. Those of you who saw the old place last fall will certainly appreciate the difference.

Sure would have been nice, though, if they had relocated the track . . .
A transfer tight end is moving up the depth chart at USC. That's no surprise.

The surprise is that 6-foot-6, 240-pound Connor Spears transferred from Columbia. Find a story from the school paper HERE and an ESPN piece HERE.

Call Spears (USC bio) one that got away from Columbia. Oh, and maybe Dartmouth as well . . .

Spears' father, Bob '81, was a record-setting swimmer for the Big Green who went on to earn an MBT at Southern Cal and then an MBA at Harvard.
At age 36 former Brown quarterback Kyle Rowley is still playing the game with the Portland (Ore.) Thunder of the Arena Football League. A story about him from the Portland Tribune begins this way:
There are plenty of things Kyle Rowley could be doing with his Ivy League education.
But rather than working in an office and wearing a suit to work every day, the Brown University graduate prefers to put on pads.
Working for a Fortune 500 company would give him nowhere near the joy he gets from being an Arena Football League quarterback for the Portland Thunder.
“I’m a firm believer in doing what you love,” Rowley says. “I played at Brown and got an Ivy League degree, but football was always my priority, even in college.
Find the story HERE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You May Get A Kick Out Of This . . . Or Not

The Indianapolis Colts have pitched a novel idea to breathe life into the increasingly boring PAT kick. A team opting to attempt a two-point conversion instead of kicking would be awarded a 50-yard extra point try if the two-point conversion is successful. (LINK)

That would be interesting, but a loyal BGA reader has what might be an even better idea.

He suggests, with a nod toward rugby, that the extra point try have to be kicked directly up the field from where the touchdown is scored. (To give the offensive line room to set up properly the outside boundary for a PAT might be set halfway between the hash mark and the sideline on an experimental basis. After a trial period it could be moved closer to the sideline if the try still proves too easy.)

With this rule TDs scored down the middle would bring about today's run-of-the-mill PAT.

But a score on a fade to the left corner or a sweep to the right would make the kick a lot trickier.

The kicking team would have the option of choosing the yardline for the snap. Obviously, a tough angle would be made easier by a longer kick, but that would bring its own challenge.

What would the result be? More challenging kicks for sure, and a lot more to think about for coaches in tight games.

Do you throw the fade and risk getting six instead of seven? Do you put a little more emphasis on defending the middle of the field if you are up seven to lure your opponent into going for a touchdown that will result in a more difficult kick? Do you go for two because you scored in the corner and the kick is going to be difficult? Do you try to score up the middle to make the kick easier or on one side of the field because your kicker is more accurate from that side?

It's an interesting idea that is fun to think about, but a long shot to ever make it to the rules committee because it's probably too revolutionary.

The Princeton women's basketball team and former Dartmouth star and assistant coach Courtney Banghart saw their undefeated dream season come to an end last night with an 85-70 loss at No. 1 Maryland.

Although the Tigers faded in the second half they gave as good as they got for much of the game, repeatedly taking the Terrapins to the basket in the first half while also winning the rebounding battle. In the end it was a fabulous shooting night by Maryland (12-for-20 from outside the arc and 53.4 percent from the field on the game) that made the difference.