Plenty of goings on for the Big Ten’s northernmost member these days, and it’s high time we caught up on it. SKI-U-MAH!
First and foremost, University President Eric Kaler’s search for a new AD has begun (if it hadn’t already behind the scenes), and he’s hired a search committee and assembled a 21-person advisory committee. Parker Executive Search will also be retained to aid in the locating of qualified candidates across the nation. According to Prez Kaler, the expectation is to have a name in place well before incumbent AD Joel Maturi steps down at the end of June. The search committee is made up of two academia bigwigs, Kaler’s chief-of-staff, and a mega-alumni donor from the private sector. Seems reasonable, but one of the academics is Mary Jo Kane. Kane is a kinesiology professor at the U, and the director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women. Her area of research focus is “media representations of women in sport”. She is also known as “an expert on the passage, implementation and impact of Title IX.”
Uh-oh. And she was also part of the search committee from 10 years ago that landed us one Joel Maturi, who had the non-revenue sports flourishing in no time, while hoops and football languished. Double uh-oh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we don’t have some Title IX input into this critical hire, but to let her have a crack at weighing in this heavily again strikes me as potentially letting history repeat itself. Let her chair the advisory committee, sure (she is anyways), but pull in a less prominent and powerful voice for Title IX this go round on the search committee. I get this feeling that Kaler et al will be battling her at every turn in convincing her that pushing the revenue sports to a higher level will be better for the entire athletic department over the long haul. And if that means the Women’s Crew team doesn’t get new oars next year, then so be it.
And speaking of this advisory committee, this seems to be an interesting mix of faculty, coaches, alum, and current and former student athletes (including MarQueis Gray, Quincy Lewis, and Darrell Thompson). I’m a little disappointed they didn’t ask yours truly, Gopher Bandanna Guy, to weigh in, but I’ll get over it.
Gopher Hoops: Things have gone from bad to worse over the last few games. After a tough OT loss to the hated Badgers, Ohio State came into The Barn and toyed with the Gophers opening up a massive lead and holding them at arms length the rest of the way. Then in the most critical game of the year, a winnable road game at Northwestern, the team got completely careless with the ball letting dumb turnovers sunk their NCAA bubble hopes. This was a team they buried by 20 in their previous meeting.
I attended this game in person, and was appalled by three things; 1) Poor officiating on the interior (and Ted Valentine or Eddy Hightower weren’t even there); 2) Minnesota’s abhorrent perimeter defense; and 3) the absolute inconsistent enforcement of ticket stub/seating assignments, particularly for a game that was NOT as sell out. NU’s athletic department will be receiving a nasty email from GBG later this week.
At any rate, things look very grim for Minnesota’s NCAA tournament chances now, barring a miraculous finish to the regular season. The Gophers are on life-support, and Michigan State is in town tonight to pull the plug.
If that wasn’t depressing enough. Take a look at the 3 statlines of the 3 former Gopher transfers who are tearing up the big conferences to our west. Devoe Joseph -SG (Oregon)- 16.3 ppg, and 44% from the arc; Justin Cobbs – PG (Cal) – 13.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, and 50% from the field; Royce White – F (Iowa State) – 12.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 4.9 apg and 53% from the field. Sigh. The Tubby Timeline All-Attrition Team is looking good. Very good. Marcus Fuller knows what I’m talking about.
Gopher Gridiron: Not a whole lot going on post-Signing Day, but one tidbit that caught Gopher fans’ attention was the apparent eminent transfer of VaTech redshirt frosh CB, James Farrow. Why does this mean anything to us? Because Farrow was the #2 player in the state of Minnesota in 2010 from Minnetonka High School. No word yet on whether or not Minneapolis is a potential landing spot for the kid with offers from Miami, Arkansas, and Michigan State. But it’s a position of need for the Gophs, and seems like a more viable choice now with Tim Brewster gone, and the always folksy Jerry Kill in his place.
Gopher Hockey: After a dismal road trip to Denver (swept, including losing game 2 in the final moments of the 3rd), the Gophers bounced back by absolutely dominating Bemidji State, 3-0 and 4-1. Another WCHA sweep, allowing the Minnesota a 3 point lead in the WCHA standings going into the final two weeks of the regular season. On the road to Omaha-Nebraska this weekend. Anybody else think we should let Omaha represent Nebraska-Lincoln in the Big Ten hockey conference in 2014? I do.
Gopher Wrestling: Last weekend was HUGE for the Gopher Grapplers, winning the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, beating the likes of #4 Iowa and #1 Oklahoma State. They’re now the #1 ranked dual meet team in the country, and peaking at the right time. Next up, the Big Ten Championship Meet.
Gopher Baseball: Started out 1-2 this past weekend in their Big Ten/Big East matchups, beating Louisville, but losing to South Florida and St. Johns.