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Ethics, RPI, Shurna's NBA Prospects, and other Wednesday Sips

Another lazy day in NU sports-ville, but some un-lazy stuff done happened.

  • The Wall Street Journal published an article about the NCAA's last "innocents", naming Northwestern, BC, Stanford, and Penn State, an unsurprising foursome, none of whom have ever registered a major violation. (NU, of course, had point shaving scandals in the 90's, but that was on an individual basis, not a department miscue, so I assume that's why they didn't count it. Also, because it actively helped NU lose games while major violations are generally for the opposite.) It details how intense NU is about maintaining ethical purity, also taking into account that NU doesn't have to reply to FOIA requests (as many NCAA institutions do, being publically funded) and that it's in a major media market focused on other sports teams. The most disturbing quote comes from Dr. Jim Phillips.  
  • "Phillips, the athletic director, said that when he was called about the job he was told that only two things matter at Northwestern: academics and NCAA compliance. "It's not about winning championships," he said."
  • GAH. I like championships! It's an interesting point though: I am proud of the fact that I go to an institution that does take pride in both of those things. It's second-degree pride. But also, LET'S WIN STUFF. It's an interesting boundary. I found some differing opinions among you guys:
  • @RevDJEsq: Frankly, I agree that our AD's top two priorities SHOULD be academics & compliance. If we don't do those, we'll never win.
  • @B_Liebhaber: Uh, no. RT Running a clean program is truly a sign of success, not bowl wins...
  • Which made me wonder how I felt. I think being an OSU fan must be similar to being a Yankees fan, which is something I have a lot of experience doing. Sure, the Yankees win all the time, but a) you feel guilty rooting for a team based on overspending and alleged steroid use b) A-Rod c) you understand that everybody hates you because of all that. And a Yankees World Series win probably means less to me than NU's first NCAA Tournament game. A lot less. But that still doesn't take away from how enjoyable it feels to root for a winning team. I'm proud of the fact that NU has ethics and academics as staunch standards to fly our flag from. And I'm glad we won't compromise that for anything: I'd be embarrassed to root for a school like OSU that makes its living flaunting the rules. But NU's insistence on being a good little boy and keeping straight A's and going to bed without dessert scares me. I'd be much more comforted with a school that said "our three biggest concerns are academics, compliance, and winning, in no particular order" than one that says "focus on academics and compliance, winning is secondary."
  • Someone should tell Teddy Greenstein it's not college athletics season, because he's filing informative stories like it is: his latest story has a variety of really interesting updates.
  • NU basketball is trying to add home dates with Baylor and Temple. YES! RPI! Losing those games does more for NU's RPI than beating SIU-Edwardsville by 40. Although our experience with preternaturally talented guys staying for a sophomore season suggests Baylor's Perry Jones III will draw 400,000 fouls when he accidentally bumps into a toddler in the Welsh-Ryan parking lot. Any, and I mean any, semi-marquee opponent is a bump up from last year's sked.
  • Talking about the Welsh-Ryan parking lot, it sounds like NU is doing a lot of wow stuff regarding facilities: Welsh-Ryan renovations? Potential lakeside practice fields (and new stuff for the teams playing there?) A possible $250 million in spending? Yo. Exciting stuff, great for recruiting, and for us, the people who attend the games, if NU is throwing money at new stadiums. 
  • Dan Persa is on a pitch count. 75 throws a day. My experiences with Joba Chamberlain scare me COME ON DAN PERSA'S RIGHT ELBOW YOU CAN MAKE IT. This seems silly.
  • Apparently the thing holding John Shurna back is his ability to guard opposing small forwards, but for now, Bill Carmody thinks he needs to shoot for. I think in this weak draft class Shurna had a chance of getting picked in the second round, but I'm glad he decided to stay: NU would've had lots of trouble replacing nearly 50 percent of its points from last year, and from his perspective, he has a lot of aspects of his game to work on. I truly think without his multiple injuries last year, he could've kept up his production and NU might have eked out a bid. We'll see if he can gun 50 percent from downtown all season this year instead of dropping to a piddly 43 percent.
  • Sorry for piggybacking off of Teddy Greenstein's coattails today, but, well, hey: I added analysis where he can't because he's a reporter (even though he can probably do a better job analyzing) and YOU GET TO COMMENT ON IT BELOW. So that's why blogs make sense as aggregate news sources, folks.