Friday, August 16, 2019

Behind The Scenes

A few snaps I shot yesterday at ESPN:
The set for Ivy League media day at ESPN
Buddy Teevens on set
Teevens with moderator Jack Ford
Teevens in front of the iconic ESPN sign of old
At the Ivy League media day at ESPN yesterday Robin Harris, executive director of the conference, was asked about the Ivy ban on going to the NCAA football playoffs. Her response included this:
There's also a concern how the football championship extends into December and now goes into mid-January, and the impact that would have on our student-athletes academically during very critical times during the academic year.
"It's not just one game, our teams would win some games," she continued. "The impact academically on the student-athletes is a concern.
Green Alert Take: Hello? The 2012-2013 national championship Yale ice hockey team opened the season on Oct. 26 and won the national championship on April 13. That's 170 days, or two weeks short of a six month season. The Ivy League football season runs 64 days. Something doesn't add up.

Green Alert Take II: The Bulldogs played eight postseason games and they weren't the only Ivy League team in the postseason. Most years the Ivy League would have one team in the football playoffs play one game, and even in the highly unlikely event an Ivy team did make it to the national championship game in football the way Yale did in ice hockey, the season would last 113 days, a month and a half shorter than Yale's championship season.

Green Alert Take III: If the Ivy League presidents are so gung-ho about the "the impact (the NCAA playoffs) would have on our student-athletes academically during very critical times during the academic year," then why weren't they willing to move the football  schedule up one week so that Dartmouth doesn't have a game smack in the middle of fall final exams?

Green Alert Take IV: I had to bite my tongue – hard – after Robin Harris' finished her address and the floor was opened for questions. Maybe I should have called her on it but she was in the impossible position of trying to defend an indefensible policy that she wasn't responsible for on a day of celebration and good feeling for the Ivy League.

Green Alert Take IV: There were friends around the Ivy League who used to tease me that the conference stopped having a media day after I put people on the hot seat asking about the playoff ban and scheduling an 11th game during the Q&A session during the final media day at Yale Golf Course. If the Ivy League doesn't go back to ESPN again they can't blame it on me ;-)
The Middletown Press has a story out of media day under the headline: Silly NCAA rule deters Ivies from playing FBS schools. (LINK)

Green Alert Take: As I think about it, this might have been a more accurate headline: Silly NCAA rule deters FBS Schools from playing Ivies.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (italics are mine):
Dartmouth University is not synonymous with football, but the small Ivy League school in New Hampshire is winning by taking the tacking out of the game.
Or at least it has in practice.
ESPN recently published a long-form story about Dartmouth football’s unique approach to its practices, which is to basically not hit except during games.
Adam Redmond, the Harvard grad now with the Cowboys, told the writer:
“Every fall I think there was an article about Dartmouth and the blocking dummies, or their robots,” said Redmond, who graduated from Harvard in 2015. “It was a half joke - ‘Dartmouth and their robots.’ But they were one of the best defenses we played and it worked for them. But I think it was more of their guys."
One of the ESPN honchos yesterday gave a presentation about the initiatives the network is working on in celebration of the 150th year of college football. Someone with ESPN developed an algorithm to determine the 50 best college football programs at any level. Ivies that made the cut:

7. Yale
11. Princeton
13. Harvard
26. Penn
37. Dartmouth

Green Alert Take: All five are deserving but so you have your ducks linked up before you start bragging at the water cooler you should know the list also includes No. 16 Mount Union,  No 18. St. John’s, No. 27. Wittenberg, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Linfield and Pittsburg State.