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Brill Responds To Williamson

Bill Brill has responded to Thad Williamson's
recent column in our Symposium. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so


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This is my first opportunity to respond to Thad Williamson's symposium article. While I agree philosophically with most of what he wrote, especially about ACC expansion, there simply are some things that can not and will not happen, no matter how you feel, and they should be identified.

Specifically, and in no order of my objections:

TV timeouts. They are going to get longer, 10 seconds this year on J/P. I'm not certain about the networks. But that tail does wag the dog, and it doesn't matter what the public thinks. When they give "media'' timeouts for non-TV games, you should understand that's never going to change.

In his request for player compensation for graduates, the numbers are way off. In the most recent NCAA graduation study, out this month, for the year '92-93, the Division I schools (now 312) brought in 792 players, of whom 325 graduated in six years.

Along those lines, and consistent with Thad's complaints about the NCAA, I find it ludicrous in the official article from the NCAA about the grad rates (they take the high road, as always), Ced Dempsey expresses concern for the fall in graduation rates of women's basketball players. He says he doesn't know why it's happening. The reason is simple enough, more and more African-Americans are being recruited, and their graduation rates always have been significantly lower.

This is the same Dempsey who expressed dismay that the overall salaries of women's coaches haven't closed the gap with the men, failing to acknowledge the obvious - football. There are 10 coaches in football, and the average salary in I-A for assistants is $65,000 and climbing rapidly. Many schools pay more than $1 million in football salaries, where, like men's basketball and, to some extent, women's basketball, it's a marketplace situation. You could cut the size of the staff, but never be able to lower the salaries.

That leads us to freshman ineligibility and fewer football grants. The first can't happen; the second won't happen.

Freshman can't be made ineligible in basketball only. Lawyers wouldn't permit that. To make then ineligible in all sports would be impossible because of costs, and needless in most sports. Duke's national championship golf team, including two freshmen, missed a ton of class time last year and every squad member made ACC academic honor roll.

I happen to think having basketball freshmen sit out would be a good idea for the most part, but, because of costs, simply can't happen. Thad suggests no more than six players on scholarship, but also wants four-year grants. That's a potential 24 grants against the current limit of 13.

Various civil rights groups would never let football be cut to 60 players because it is one of only three sports - basketball and track being the others - where there is a large percentage of minority players. More than half (50.7 in the most recent study) of football players are black. Cut the squads by 25 players, and you are eliminating an average of 13 black kids per school, or 1456 players in I-A.

Title IX would never permit the NCAA to reward, in any way, athletes on revenue-producing teams and not on non-revenue teams. And, in fact, many of the I-A schools do not produce sufficient revenue to break even financially.

While I agree with Thad on the arms race in facilities, it's not going to stop. There will always be a keeping up with the Joneses.

And, as a last point, when the NCAA does sign the new TV deal, it will continue to reward the larger schools with the most teams in the tournament with the most money. The formula may be changed somewhat, but the bigger schools are going to get the most - by far. I happen to think that's fair.

But the enhanced money will get more and more schools to go to Division I. I watched when Duke played Campbell; now Elon is Division I. There is a major difference in every way in how these programs are run, but the reality is that the smaller schools went to Div. I just for the NCAA TV money.