Saturday, September 19, 2020

Tche Leroux in Portal


Tche Leroux has entered the transfer portal.  He came in during the "shoulder" class betweeen Jinks and Loeffler.  He's from Norwalk, so definitely part of our buy local system.  FWIW, here is what I found on him when he verballed--he had at one point verballed to UT. 

Best of luck to him.

Will MAC Football Be Back?

 Well, it looks like we might have football in October for the MAC.

In fact, it sounds to me like we will, if you read here at The Blade.

I don't know what to make of this...especially with this quote from an unnamed MAC source:

"The optics of being the only league not playing would be incredibly negative."

If that carries through, I guess we can dismiss the idea that athletics teaches leadership.

Because it was supposed to be about protecting the players facing an uncertain risk.  It is still uncertain.  The Big Ten is hanging their hats on the daily testing--which certainly is significant--but the MAC isn't adopting that so that can't be the reason.

Many people have pointed out what a poor idea spring is...especially if you end up playing two 2021 seasons.  But Spring is as flawed an idea as it was when they chose it originally.

So what's changed?

Certainly, you are seeing conferences playing...and it hasn't been as bad as expected.  Yes, there was one game in the ACC postponed, but very early it appears to be a manageable situation. MLB had problems but the NFL seems to be managing it.  (Bubble sports are in a different category).

I don't know how the other schools are doing, but from what I see at BG there hasn't been a terrible outbreak since students came back.  Seems to me like you might have that many cases if everyone was home, but I'm no epidemiologist.

You're going to have things come up.  I saw yesterday that the CDC recommends quarantining if you have been exposed to someone who is positive, even if you haven't tested positive yourself.  That would be a problem on a football team.

And yes, there's the idea that students would be off-campus, but during the long hot summer the idea seemed to be that playing college football on a COVID-emptied campus was the wrong thing to do.  And there's the notion of more cases in the cold weather, which no one knows whether it will happen or not.

All that being said, I have kind of a sick feeling that we're being driven by this....

"The optics of being the only league not playing would be incredibly negative."

Which means we're sending college students out to protect our optics and, of course, our budgets.  The people making the decision take no risks.  (I know many of the players want to do it, but sometimes things the things we want are bad for us).

We have some time to get used to the idea, if this is what happens.  I just think about how many MAC athletes would have to have a lifetime neurological impairment before we'd consider this an incredible folly, and to me, the number is one.


Update:  

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Gadsen in Portal

 The latest news is that Joniya Gadsen has entered the transfer portal.  He's from Miami and spent three years here, with the last one being lost to injury.  He played 25 games and 107 minutes at BG.  He just never seemed to get it going, and being injured in the year after Wiggins left probably cost him his last chance to be a contributor.

Obviously, we have learned that you can be in the portal and come back.  Having said that, I suspect his size will get him an opportunity somewhere and I wish him nothing but the best.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Falcon Football Gains CB Commit, formerly committed to UT


BG has a new football verbal.  This is CB Willie Jones from Phillips Academy in Chicago.  He's 6'2" and 171 pounds and is listed as a 3-star recruit.

He recently decommitted from  UT.  Don't @ me, that's what 247 says.

He also had reported offers from BSU, CMU, Kent, Miami and WMU.

Two of his other Phillips teammates are committed to UT.

Welcome to the Falcons, Willie

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Falcons Add Syracuse Transfer to QB

And BG adds a transfer QB to the room.

His name is Drew Gunther and he is transferring to BG from Syracuse.  He entered the portal a couple of weeks ago.  

He is from Malvern, PA, which is over in the Philly area.  He's 6'2" and 203, which is a nice size for a D1 QB.

Gunther was a HS star at Malvern.  He finished as their all-time leader in passing yards and TDs.  This is a school that Ryan Nassib also attended--though I suspect that Gunther had a slightly more up-tempo offense to work with.

Originally, Gunther was headed to Virginia Tech.  The QB room got crowded so he decided to be a PWO at Syracuse.  He red-shirted last year and then entered the portal in August.

According to the story above, a lack of elite arm talent probably kept him from being more recruited.

He joins Matt McDonald, Riley Keller and Tucker Melton in the QB room for whenever we play.  Jacory Jordan is committed as a QB to the 21 class.

Welcome to the Falcons, Drew.

UPDATE:  As you can see in the comments below, an alert reader has reminded me of FR Kody Sparks, who will be in the QB room too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

BG Loses Director of Ops to NFL

Olivia Passy will leave BG, where she was the 23-year old Director of Ops and work as a scout for the Miami Dolphins. according to The Blade.

She came to BG from Boston College and made an immediate impact.  Coach was in the paper calling her a "superstar" and it seemed to be clear that she was the real deal.  Which is now appears she is.

Good for her.  It highlights the challenge we have at BG.  Your best people get opportunities to move on.  You are constantly under pressure to recruit talent to the program, and by definition, we're talking undiscovered talent.

Best of luck to her.  Derek Miller will move up to that position.  He was the recruiting coordinator, a position that will presumably be filled.  Whether Derek continues his role of placing motivational quotes onto Twitter remains to be seen.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

BG MBB Lands JUCO Player

We have some men's basketball news....a little stale, but I'm getting around to it.  We keep working away, even though there's no certainty of a season.  My guess is that the best we can hope for is early 2021, but who knows?

Anyway, a while back when Mattos left we wondered what Huger was going to do.  He told The Blade that he might try to find a JUCO player and he might leave the scholarship go if he couldn't find the right guy.

Last week, that question was answered.  BG picked up 6'8" 220 pound F Jacob Washington of Cerritos College, which is in Norwalk, CA, which is between LA and Long Beach.  Also, Cerritos are the Falcons, so he won't have to change nicknames.  He went to George Washington Prep HS in LA--the first Falcon player ever to go to a high school that matched his surname, which is a fact I made up just now.

He played his first JUCO year at Los Angeles Harbor College, and was productive in the way you'd like to see.  He scored 10.3 on 49% shooting and 7.5 rebounds in only 12 minutes a game, based on this.

At Cerritos, he made 25 starts, played 22 minutes a game, scored 10 PPG on 46% shooting and 6.6 rebounds per game.

I know I always think we need a pure 5.  I just hate to see teams put a 5 on us and post up and have us not have an answer.  Having said that, I might be a little old-fashioned on that front.  More and more teams are playing with a more position-less and athletic lineup and BG was most effective last year in that kind of lineup.  I was worried about our lack of a rim protector on defense, but I did some research (which eventually I will put here) that indicates that a true shot-blocking rim protector isn't a predictor of good 2FG defense...which was BG's defensive weakness last year.

Also, we have Dylan Swingle who was playing his first D1 season and I still believe can develop into a solid D1 player.

Huger has done very well with his JUCO players.  Teams are taking different approaches.  UB seems content to live and die on the JUCO route.  Akron, Kent and UT are using a lot of transfers.  Huger seems more focused on high school players with JUCO guys filling in the gaps.  Trey Diggs, Michael Laster, Marlon Sierra, Jeffrey Uju, Wes Alcegaire...have all been productive players at BG. Washington is probably in the Sierra and Uju mold...but, again, if he can provide stable minutes, guard and rebound, that becomes a piece a championship team can use.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jacob.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

What a Time to be Alive

 What a time to be alive.

When the basketball tournament was cancelled, I remember thinking, "this has to be resolved by the time football starts."  But, knowing what pandemics are like, you had to wonder.  And it has come true.


I applaud the MAC for what they did.  I also give them credit for having the courage to be first.  That was the position no one wanted to be in, but it had to be someone.


This is 100% the right thing to do.  You don't have to go any farther than Andrew Clair's tweet, where he noted that it wasn't safe for people to sit and watch the games but it was OK for the players to play and "smash heads."


It laid the truth bare.  You can't justify that.


No doubt, football is an economic engine and the ramifications are ugly.  But, if you have created a world where you have to send college students into situations of uncertain safety to meet the budget, you've created  situation headed for a reckoning and it might as well be now.


I always believed our people would do the right thing.  I love the MAC because I think we're much closer to the ideal of the student athlete.  We're not pure, but it's much more like the way things are supposed to be.  I never believed we would do this to our athletes and we didn't.  It was reasonable to make the decision as late as possible, but when the time came they made the call.


From what I read online, NIU was the leader, possibly to the point where they were preferred to go it alone, or not go it alone, as it were.


I mentioned above the phrase "uncertain safety."  I understand that many people reading this think that the whole virus reaction is hype.  I don't see it that way, but we can't get stuck on it.  There are plenty of contradictions to how this situation as evolved and it just points out how little we know.  If the risk was known, we could make a decision.  There are known risks to playing football.  These are unknown risks and we didn't send our students into it and I believe we did the right thing.


The implications of this are hard to even fathom.  Less so if we play in the spring, but that's not certain either.  What happens to eligibility?  What happens to scholarship limits?  How do we pay the coaching and support staff?  Do athletes transfer?  And...let's remember that this impacts other sports, too, some of which had their seasons outright cancelled.


They just spin and spin, but we listened to experts and showed our integrity.


As a fan, I'm so disappointed.  I can't believe I won't be sitting up there in my seats with my friends and watching my team play...the first fall since 1971 when BG football had a part of my Fall.  It's just so disappointing.  But those players shouldn't have to take unknown risks just for my amusement.  I'll be fine, my life has many blessings.  Watching sports is a privilege and I'll be there whenever we are back.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

BG Football Verbal: Diego Neri


Diego Neri has committed to BG.  Diego is a MLB from Cincinnati Northwest HS.  He has been highly-recruited.  247 says he has 9 MAC offers, plus Air Force, Navy and Liberty.  He committed to CMU in March but decommitted on the 4th of July.
  
Overall, he is listed as a 3-star recruit.  He plays at 6'2" and 230.


He was named all-conference and all-district and special mention all-state last year.  In fact, he was the only sophomore to be all-conference, and was all-district and special mention all-state as a sophomore.

You see plenty of references when you google him to the idea that people could see him developing as a "special" player.


Diego Neri, Sr, LB – Arguably the best player to come out of Northwest since former NFL stud, Preston Brown. Neri is a two-time Division III OPSWA First Team All-Southwest District selection who was also named Honorable Mention All-Ohio in 2019. He has 266 total tackles, four-and-a-half sacks, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, a fumble recovery for a score and one interception return for a touchdown in his career. 

Welcome to the Falcons, Diego.

Decommit: Zach Barlev

So Zach Barlev was here...and then he was gone.  Here's the post I put up when Barlev committed on July 5.



Apparently, Illinois saw all this and got their stuff together and now Barlev is committed there.  He's from Illinois, it's two hours from his home and if his dream is to be in the Big Ten, he should go for it.  Best of luck to him.

A couple housekeeping matters.  

That's three decommits and two of them in rapid fashion, from BG to a home school in the blink of an eye.  DeQuan Stanley did something similar to USF.

I honestly don't know what that signifies.  Obviously, we are getting players other teams want, which is good.  Recruiting was craziness before the pandemic, right?

Coach says we are going to recruit five O-lineman.  We now currently have 2 committed.


Friday, July 17, 2020

Football Verbal: Jamal Johnson


BG has a new football veryanl.  This is Jamal Johnson, a RB/WR from Frankfort, IL (Lincoln Way East).  He's 5'10" and 185 pounds, and 247 shows him with 2-stars and reports he had an offer from Western Illinois.  Rivals notes offers from EMU and SEMO as well.

It was meant to be.


His coach also had good things to say about him.  This could be an under-the-radar guy that BG ran down, probably through, in Coach Loeffler's words, "maniacal" effort.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jamal.







Friday, July 10, 2020

The Loeffler Philosophy

So, without about an hour of the Big Ten Announcement, Scot Loeffler joined the season ticket holders for a virtual session.  It was excellent, much as the first one.  You didn't have the out-there Phil Villipiano but you did have the out-there Scot Loeffler.


Apparently, a lot of people had been asking about the Big Ten and scheduling issues.  Todd Walker absorbed the question, essentially saying there is no answer to the question so there was no point in asking it.

Which is silly, of course, but whatever.

Coach is into some serious stuff.  He says they are implementing Black Box ideology.  There is a book called Black Box thinking, which, based on reading the dust jacket, means that the aviation industry has such a stellar accident rate because they learn from their mistakes by listening to the...you guessed it...the black box.

Not sure if that's what he is talking about.

He is also mixing in stuff from reading about NASA and the Navy Seals.  It's a high-performing soup.

He said we have to re-wire the brain and learn not to fear.

Then there was the toolbox.
  • Elite plan
  • Elite strength
  • 100% commitment, maniacal in training
  • Front sight focus, lock in, be in the moment
  • Habitual full-speed training
  • Execute with contingency plans when adversity strike
He gets a little more PJ Fleck every time I hear him talk. Says "elite" a lot. 
'
I can also remember PJ Fleck coaching in the Cotton Bowl.

Josh Harris and Javon Burks were on the call, with a pretty inspiring story of how they led the team back from the 2-9 record in the last Blackney year.  You should have been there to hear that.

And on we go.

Big Ten...Tip of the Iceberg


So, the Big 10 made their announcement that they will play only conference games.  That impacts the MAC.  Four teams had two games with Big 10 teams, including BG, whose schedule is now down to 10 games.

And the pocket is $2.2M lighter.  That's around 10% of the athletic department's budget.  Other tweets from NickP said that the contracts with OSU and Illinois both allowed the contract to be canceled without penalty in this situation.  And, reading behind the lines of Moos' comments, I'd guess they didn't offer partial payment to help us out.

As for the tip of the iceberg...you gotta know that's true.  The announcement cut off games with other P5 conferences who know are more or less forced to do the same thing.

Either way, it's clear there won't be a "normal" football season this year and the presence of fans wasn't the issue.

But, remember, the tip of the iceberg.

For example, an interesting idea I saw on twitter is that teams might move to conference games but reschedule them for September and try to be done in early October.  That's an interesting idea, built on the assumption that we get "out" before the virus takes over in a cold-weather spike.

Except of course, it's the hottest part of the summer and the cases keep increasing.  Wood County is now a "red" county and requires a face mask.  Tom Hanks caught corona in Australia in what was winter  summer there. (Thanks to the commenter who caught this).

Point is, there's no way to know if September will be better or worse than October.  Or next April.  The winter thing is something that happens with other viruses, but we don't know about this one.  Cases are going crazy in Latin America.  It is summer there for sure.

And then if it does get worse in October?  Worse than this?

The tip of the iceberg indeed.

I don't know any more than anyone else.  My guess is that this is the tip of the iceberg.  Everyone will move to the conference model.  My guess/fear is that we won't see any competitive collegiate sports for the 20-21 season.  Hope I'm wrong, but the only way so far to combat this virus without a vaccine or a cure was to shut the entire economy down and we're not likely to do that again.

This is a miserable situation.  Maybe I am wrong, but I can't see being able to send college students onto the field of play in 2020 at least.  And then the damages that causes?

We watch and wait.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Football verbal Zachary Barlev


There's a new football verbal....his name is Zachary Barlev, and he's from Plainfield, IL.  Plainfield is west of Chicago.

Zach is 6'4" and 290 pounds and is listed as a guard.  He is listed as a 3-star on 247 and the #79 guard in the nation.


He made the all-area team and was all-state as a heavyweight wrestler, which I always think is great training for an offensive lineman.

He is the third offensive lineman among our verbals to date.  Coach says the plan is to bring in 5 last year and 5 this year in order to get our numbers up.  The plan would go to a lower number on a yearly basis.

The point is this.  Teams have won the MAC playing a variety of styles, but even the teams with more contemporary offenses had a quality offensive line.  You cannot win without controlling the line of scrimmage.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zachary.


Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Brandon Watkins Joins BG's MBB Staff

So the assistant coach line up for BG MBB is set for whenever basketball starts again.  As you know, Anthony Stacey left to be the head coach at Whitmer leaving the top assistant job open.  It was a pretty important hire, because both of the other two are in the first D1 coaching jobs.


The man selected for the job is Brandon Watkins, who is currently an assistant at NIU.  He grew up in Chicago and attended St. Joseph (see: Hoop Dreams, see Isiah Thomas, see Evan Turner).  They won a state title and was named the "Fourth Quarter Kid."

He went to Penn State and led them to the Sweet Sixteen and was all-Big Ten (HM).  He then went to Europe and had a successful career for 10 years, something he shares with Huger and Stacey, in fact.  

He went to NIU as a grad assistant and video guy for a couple years and then for a couple years he was the head coach at Morton Community College (The Salties.)

He then went back to NIU for the past three seasons.

The release from BG mentions two things about him.  First, he is a defensive strategist and second he was strong in player development.  Here is that paragraph:

Over his time in DeKalb, Watkins established a reputation in player development. Eugene German (2016-20) scored over 2,000 points under the watch of Watkins. German ranks fifth all-time in scoring in the MAC. Watkins played instrumental roles in the development of big men Lacey James (2017-20) and Levi Bradley (2015-19). By his senior year, Bradley was one of the most versatile scoring forwards in mid-major basketball, as he was shooting over 36.0 percent from downtown while averaging 14.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. From his freshman to senior year, Bradley more than doubled his scoring and rebound averages, while nearly tripling his assist average.
 
Welcome to Bowling Green, Brandon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dequan Stanley Decommits, Heading to USF


Dequan had committed to BG for a couple weeks and now he's decided to head to USF.  Here's what I wrote at the time... 

I wish him the best.  This is one of the most important decisions a person makes in their life and he should make the choice that is best for him.

One other thing...the easiest way to avoid de-commits is to get players no one else wants.  I believe our staff will find us the guys we need to compete.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Mountain Verbals to BG Football


There's a new verbal for BG.  His name is Dawson Hildebrand from Troy, OH.  He's very interesting.  His junior year was his first year of playing HS football.  He's 6'3" and 332 pounds and he's known as The Mountain around the team. 

In the story linked above, he made a key blocked punt and there's another story out there about something similar.  So you wonder if this might be a born playmaker and a young man ready to grow into being a player.  

According to this story in the Dayton Daily News, "in recent weeks, Hildebrand received scholarship offers from Findlay, Tulane, Western Illinois and others."

Also this, which I think really is interesting
He attended Newton High School his first two years and finished fifth in the Division III state track and field meet in the shot put as a sophomore. He also was a state qualifier in the discus. He finished fourth in the shot put as a freshman.
You're 4th in the state in shot put as a freshman...there's athletic ability involved in that.  He's big but he's more than big at that point.

Welcome to the Falcons, Dawson.

 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Anthony Stacey leaving BG


Here's a wow for the men's basketball program.  Anthony Stacey will be leaving to be the head coach at Whitmer.

Very happy for Coach Stacey.  This is a good opportunity.  Whitmer has produced numerous D1 players, is strong in all its athletic fields, and presents an opportunity to compete for state titles.  Coach has been a HS head coach before and clearly relishes the opportunity.  Best of luck to him.

He leaves a hole at BG and it is going to be an important one to fill.  The head assistant job is vital to a program and to a team's chemistry.  My understanding is that Coach Huger and Stacey had different styles which kept the team in balance.

Had Coach Summey been here, he would have been able to step up and fill that role, but the current assistants (Noon and Wright) are not experienced assistants.  To me, this is a very important hire.  I hope Coach spends some time to find a proven, experienced assistant to fill the most important role on the staff.  Honestly, I think it's vital to keeping our momentum going.  (One loyal BG fan has pointed out a possible parallel to when Coach Orr lost George Jackson.)

It's never easy and change is a constant, especially at the mid-major level.  Coach Huger has done a good job at the helm and I look forward to him finding the right coach for this job at this time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Davin Wilson in portal


Another departure from the Falcon defensive backfield, as the report is that Davin Wilson has entered the portal.

At his season ticket event, Coach Loeffler said that we'd have all freshmen in the d-secondary, so perhaps that was an early hint on this.

Here's BG's recap of this freshmen year, which ended in a redshirt.

 Played in four games, starting three times …  Had 12 tackles, including 10 solo tackles … Added one interception and three pass break-ups, all in a victory over Akron … Made five solo tackles in a game at Western Michigan … Tallied six total tackles in a game against Ohio 

He is from Rancho Verde, CA.  He was in Loeffler's first class upon taking over the Faclcons.  Wilson was a three-star recruit (247) who committed to BG on signing day, December of 18.

So here's the depth chart from out last game, updated for known departures, planned and unplanned.

Best of luck to Davin.  The process continues to grind and doesn't get easier.



Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Football Verbal Nate Pabst

BG has another verbal, one that had everyone very excited.  Coach Loeffler was counting down the minutes...literally. So, hey, if he's excited, we're excited.


The young man is named Nate Pabst, and he plays at Moeller High School in Cincy.  (By the way, Moeller is now coached by Mark Elder, who coached EKU against BG in 2018).

This is an interesting guy.  He plays DE/TE...he's listed as a WDE (blind side).  It is not known how much reprogramming had to be done to get Loeffler to not put him at TE.

The interesting thing is that he is a world champion kickboxer.  Not sure why, but it seems like good training.  You'd be tough and athletic...you can see him below.




Nate is a 2-star player.  He's 6'6" and 240 pounds, which is a good size for a pass rushing end.  He had offers from Akron, Kent, Ball State and Miami.


Welcome to the Falcons, Nate.

Football Verbal: Dequan Stanley.


Dequan Stanley is the newest commit for BG.  He's 5'10" and 160 pounds and a WR/CB who seems to project as a WR at BG.  He's from St. Augustine FL, which is on the Atlantic Coast between Jacksonville and Daytona.  Supposedly the oldest city in the US.

He was third-team 6A all-state as a CB (there are 8A's total)  He had offers from Maryland, Akron, Troy, Bryant, Gardner Webb, Notre Dame (OH), Campbell and Coastal Carolina.  

He is a three-sport star...he plays football, basketball and track.   He has no ranking currently, but seems to have embraced it.  For many, its a motivator.

Here's a good story about him.  He's a playmaker.  In October of his junior year, he had three kickoff returns TDs THAT SEASON.  He averaged 19.6 yards per catch (at that point of the season).  


At that size, I think you have him in the slot but he's clearly a playmaker coming to a program that is trying to accumulate them.

We have 9 commits now and 3 of them are WRs.  There are currently 5 scholarship WRs on the roster and no one more than a sophomore (amazing).  Three WRs were in the last recruiting class (4 but one enrolled early) and is counted there.

So, by the time Dequan gets to BG in the summer of 2021, we'd have (as it stands now) 11 scholarship WRs.

Welcome to the Falcons, Dequan.

Friday, June 05, 2020

News from Football




So last night BG held a virtual forum with Scott Loeffler (and special guests, or how do they do that at concerts, ASG?), more on that in a minute.

First, kudos to the athletic department for being innovative and creating this event.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm glad I got my renewal taken care of in time to participate.  There are going to be more of these and I'd encourage any other season ticket holders to get their renewals in and participate.

Some small news bits.

He said that one thing that was apparent in the 3 days of practice was that "we have a quarterback" and it makes a night and day difference.

He noted that BG took five OL last year and will take 5 again this year and that is unheard of in any program he has ever heard about.  Similarly, we took 5 defensive lineman last year and 4 this year.

I agree with this.  Teams have won the MAC with different styles of play, but no one has won the MAC who wasn't able to control the line of scrimmage.  And I suspect never will...because the winds of November come blowin'.

He was careful to manage expectations for this year, which is appropriate.  We will be very young on the offensive line and the d-line remains an issue.  One of the problems with rebuilding the front is it just takes longer.  Also, the defensive backfield will be very young.

The best part was his description of how they are installing offensive and defensive concepts without being in person.  I can't do it justice, but it was innovative and creative and I give them 100% credit for refusing to sit idly by during this crisis.  Coach said "control the controllables."

Or, as John Wooden said, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Also, he said that this could be a model for off-season workouts that could reduce the number of contact drills in the spring, which would reduce injuries.  Again--innovative, resourceful thinking.

He said "elite" once.  This should be like a swear jar.

He talked quite a bit about our tight end oriented offense.  Says defensive coordinators hated it...12, 13 or 22 personnel.  And in 11 personnel, which most teams play, can give you 12 different formations, while 12 can give you hundreds.  You can be in a spread or you can be compressed.  But you need TEs who can block and run routes.

So, beyond that, we had visits from 3 NFL Falcons.  

First, together, were Korey Lichtensteiger and Scott Mruczkowski, who both had extensive NFL careers and were the best offensive lineman of their era in Bowling Green football.  Lichtensteiger was the team MVP.  They shared some memories of BG and then talked about the importance of the offensive line.

Mruczkowski remembered the GameDay game most of all.  It was powerful...he said he was getting chills down his spine thinking about it.  As I think we all do.

Key line:

"We put a licking on those boys."

Yes sir.  You did.

Oh man.

So, then the highlight of the show came along.  Phil Villiapiano.  So, you can watch Scot Loeffler and see that he's a little unglued.  It's OK...normal people watch football they don't coach it.  He's intense.  The words are racing to get out of his mouth.  His motor is RUNNING.

Phil Villiapiano comes on...he's an order of magnitude further down the tracks than Loeffler is. This dude is a wild man.

Key line:

"What I love about football is you can hurt somebody."

Second line, when describing football.

"I want to kill you."

Honestly, he had me laughing the entire time.

He started by saying that he liked hearing Coach talk about football, but "I wasn't liking coach too much last year.  How can you give up 60 points in one game?  There aren't enough plays."

At another point, he said, "I don't think we made any tackles last year."

No filter.  

He wasn't giving us any "expectation managing" for next year.  Zero.  None.  He started talking about Jerry Glanville and who knows what else.

He did confirm that he hated facing two tight end formations.

How did he end up at BG?  This is a great story.  His dad was a basketball coach and they went to the NIT at Madison Square Garden.  BG was playing (Nate Thurmond era) and a huge number of fans had traveled to NY from BG.  They impressed Villiapiano.  The next year, his dad asked him where he wanted to go to college and Phil said, "how about Bowling Green."  And they came and visited and the rest is history.

The guy's a warrior.  He's the only BG alum to get a sideline penalty in a bowl game.  Love him.  And he loves BG.  He was at the UT game this year.

"Go up and beat their ass," he said last night.

Here's a little bonus Phil for you....(sorry, you have to click through to YouTube.  It's worth it.)




That was a different era.

Again, thanks for BG doing this.  It was a welcome escape from what is a pretty challenging world we are facing.  It is a privilege to have things that make you happy, and I thank the athletic department for doing that.  It's a respite, and then we can go back to work.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Welcome Home, Steven Wright

Former BG PG Steven Wright has returned home as an assistant coach at BG, replacing Kevin Summey who moved on to NC State.


Wright played for Coach Dakich at BG from 2002-2006.  He made 64 starts. Wright, who led BGSU in assists in 2003-04, averaged 9.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals as a Falcon. He led the Falcons in steals during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

He left the program in February of 2006 and finished at Northern Kentucky as a DII All-American.  I do remember some tumult around him...at one point I think he was suspended and then came back.  I can't find anything about it.

But, we were all young once.  I've seen him interact positively with Coach Dakich on Twitter, so there can't be too many bad feelings.  He certainly has paid his dues.  Here is how it looks between now and BG, his first D1 assistant coaching job.  (He was video coordinator at Cleveland State).

2007-08: Professional Athlete | Basketball Lowen Braunschweig | German Bundesliga
2008-09: Professional Athlete | Uni Baskets Paderborn | German Bundesliga
2009-10: Professional Athlete | Tigers Tubingen | German Bundesliga
2010-11: Professional Athlete | Giants Dusseldorf | German Bundesliga
2011-12: Professional Athlete | Lahti Basketball | Finnish Korisliiga
2012-13: Assistant Coach | University of the Cumberlands | NAIA Division I
2013-16: Assistant Coach | Columbus State Community College | NJCAA Division II
2014-16: Head Coach 17U | King James AAU | Columbus, Ohio
2017-19: Assistant Director & Head Coach 16U | Under Armour's C2K AAU | Columbus, Ohio
2017-19: Head Coach | Princeton High School | Cincinnati, Ohio
2019-20: Video Coordinator | Cleveland State University | NCAA Division I

His two seasons at Princeton were successful  He was 39-13 was named the Greater Miami Coach of the Year, while also taking home District 16 Coach of the Year honors.  He did have Darius Bazley on the team.  Darius is currently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Welcome home, Steven.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Moosbrugger Presser--Updated with Coaching News

Just listened to the AD's press conference today...very interesting.  I think the media left some things on the table, but let's look at what was talked about.  (It is on youtube for anyone who wants to see the whole thing for themselves).


Per my post yesterday, my biggest question had to do with why a fundraising effort wasn't undertaken prior to the decision to cut the program.  Only one reporter got in that range, but added the hockey program into the question, allowing Moos the opportunity to riff on how hockey was never cut, etc. (all true) and dodge the real question, which was why the fundraising wasn't undertaken before the announcement to cut it, especially given that people were willing fund it.

What he said was that they had been seeking support and having conversations with baseball alumni that there were financial struggles at the University and in the athletic department and that could force some difficult decisions.  He gave roughly the same description of his conversations with Schmitz.  He did not reach out and tell baseball alumni that the program was on the chopping block because he didn't want to "threaten" them.

And yet, one of the alumni told him "I didn't know it was that bad."

My question would be, "do you think you could have prevented this by being transparent with alumni and coaches that their program was going to be cut if support was not generated."

Because he said more than once that "we had to make a difficult decision" and he didn't.

He did talk about one thing I wondered about, which is what would happen to the other non-revenue sports and should their alumni be expected to fund their sports, too.  His answer was telling, which was that they hope to use this as a model for the other non-revenue sports and, in fact, across the entire university.  In other words, given the reduction in state funds to BG, alumni are going to be asked to replace that funding across the school, including in the academic areas.

It took Dave Briggs at the very end to ask who would be making decisions about the baseball program.  There was talk about an LLC early on.  Moos said that only the athletic department could make the decisions but that he was sure there would be a lot of conversations, which I suspect there will be.  At least.  How are you going to, say, fire a coach and lose your donor base?

Competitiveness was a big point of discussion.  And it should be.  To introduce an unpleasant fact, BG is 44-82 over the past five years in MAC play, with four straight losing seasons.  They get a set amount of money for scholarships and how many players they get out of it depends on how many of them are out of state.  The NCAA allows 11.7 scholarships spread over 27 players.  BG had 10.4...again, due to out of state students.

But that's not our lot in life.  Moos said, and he is right, that all of our programs are underfunded.  To win at BG, you have to do more with less.  Every program does.

The question is whether this funding level--at which the program has been unsuccessful of late--is built for competitiveness or mere existence.  And, frankly, whether we have a "more with less" coaching staff.

Moos said that he has that concern and that it is still in the early days and he hopes to build on the momentum to create additional involvement and support that will help the program be more successful.  

Everyone wants that and you can't move ahead without a path to being consistently competitive.

There are no decisions on coaching. Other programs have taken cuts and it seemed like the structure of the coaching staff is a concern.  Moos also felt his relationship with Coach Schmitz would be fine.

One last question would be this:  "What is your understanding with the alumni?  If they fall short on their portion, would you cut the sport again?"

It will be interesting to see what happens.  Hoping for the best...and in some cases better.

UPDATE:  Danny Schmitz, who took over in 1991, will no longer coach Falcon baseball.  The announcement came out this afternoon.  Schmitz said that he left on his own terms and that it was time for a new beginning for the program.  He is the longest-serving coach in the BG Athletic Department history.  

A three-time MAC Coach of the Year, Schmitz delivered seven conference championships (regular season or tournament) and was the Mid-American Conference's active leader in all-time wins. His teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament three times – in 1998, 1999 and 2013. The Falcons won four MAC regular season titles and seven division championships in his tenure.

He finishes his career at 723-791.

The interim coach is Andy Hallock, a current assistant.

Schmitz will remain an advisor to the program, which I think is important for connections to the people who are funding the program.

Football Verbal: Matt Kordas


BG has its newest football verbal...Matt Kordas of Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort, IL.  Frankfort is in NE IL and is south of the lake.  He's 6'0" and 180 pounds and is a Safety.  247 gives him 2-stars, and he has FBS offers from Army, EMU, BG and Kent, and then 12 FCS offers, including perennial power North Dakota State.

He's done a lot of research for me...see above...his team won a state title in the largest division in Illinois and he's a clearly productive player who is recognized in his area. (He was first-team all-area and all-conference).

You gotta like 6 picks...that seems like a lot in a HS season.

His father Greg played at Arizona State and his uncle played at Notre Dame.    Also, this story details that he was making big plays throughout their playoff run, including in the title game, which was a shutout.

Last note:  BG was the first to offer and that made an impression.

Welcome to the Falcons, Matt.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Baseball is Back

And that's a wow.  


I'm happy for the alumni and the players and their families who made this happen and I'm happy for the university to have a baseball team again.

There's one thing you can't avoid:  this makes the athletic department look ridiculous.  Not since Chris Kingston gloated about hiring Mike Jinks has it looked this dumb, and that took years to be exposed.

When I posted on this originally, I thought there had to be something more than $500,000 at stake.  Something having to do with support staff or maybe a desire to have the program fully endowed before bringing it back.  Or the need to show some pain in athletics, because it just didn't seem to make sense that the whole thing came down to $500,000.

Turned out it did.

So the cut is announced, everyone's crying, there's so much sadness and then...

...a bunch of non-professional fundraisers raised the money in 18 days.

If that is the case, and it is, it seems like the athletic department (and its fundraising AD) might have undertaken that first and saved us all the drama and the embarrassment. Instead of a super-secret operation, maybe some phone calls are made and we don't look dopes.  In fact, why wasn't that going on before the need for cuts?   Isn't there a staff of people whose job it is to raise money for athletics?

In fact, to be fair they should make all the other non-revenue sports do the same thing.  Sink or swim.  (no offense to the swimming team).

And how hard did we try to raise money for the other people in the department who lost their jobs?

I just can't see how you announce that and have to take it back in 18 days because someone did your job for you.




Thursday, May 28, 2020

Decommit: Chris Phillips

BG has its first de-commit, this one being Chris Phillips, a RB from Florida.  Here's what we had on him when he committed. You never know, these things have a way of sometimes coming around again.


Best of luck to Chris, whatever he chooses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

FBS? FCS?

So, money has been on everyone's mind recently.  I thought I would poke around and see what might be available to help us see what's going on.

Obviously, we all know that baseball has been dropped.  There has been the expected backlash and the group claimed last night on social media to have $1.3M in pledges over 5-years.  I would guess the strategy is to offer to privately fund baseball through the crisis and then determine if it can fit back into the overall athletic funding model in better times.

Note that, to my knowledge, the university hasn't said they would restore baseball with a certain level of funding.  If a fundraising campaign solves the problem, then you have to wonder why they didn't do that in the first place.  Moosbrugger talked about support staff issues and needing to reduce the overall number of student-athletes.  But, its just one team...

If the university is not going to restore baseball, I think they should just say so and let these guys go on with their lives.  Perhaps that was already done privately and the group is trying to put pressure on the athletic department.  (Good luck.  Save BG Track was meeting for years).  Conversely, if there's donor support and it does solve the problem, why wasn't that tried in the first place?

There is an advocacy group out there saying dropping sports isn't the way to go...by which they mean that you should reduce football spending. And football is indeed the elephant in the room.  Why did a men's sport have to be cut?  Because of the 85 male-athlete football scholarships.  Why does a non-revenue sport have to be cut?  Because the athletic department is built around football.  It's crazy, but that's what it has become. 

So crazy yet true that BG almost used the same reasoning to cut its hockey program.

I heard a story once that BG got a big check for winning the NCAA Hockey Championship.  And the Coach went to the AD to talk about how to spend the money and the AD had already decided to use the money to help the football team.  Maybe it's not true.

In a way, you know it's bad for you but you can't stop.

So, the issue of going FCS has been around for a long time.  I can remember back in the 1970s that BG was forced to go I-AA for a short period of time.  I'm talking weeks.  Anyway, the idea of de-emphasizing football goes way back.  Long-term debate...which has clearly gained new currency since the middle of March.

Historically, the pressure to go down a level in football has come from both directions.  Yes, there are people who think college football has taken over universities (and they aren't wrong...note that a leading pressure for students to be on campus this Fall is so football can be played) and that it should be de-emphasized.  Also, though, the larger schools have been trying to jettison the G5 schools for four decades.  Many people think they will split off and leave the NCAA. 

That's not what we are talking about here.  We are talking about voluntarily dropping a level.  Note, also, that you can't go to DII without taking your entire athletic department to that level.  Used to be you could...Georgetown had DIII football, but they had to move to FCS and sponsor a non-scholarship football team in FCS. I believe Butler does, too.

David Briggs wrote an excellent column about this.  Essentially, it is a non-starter.  He directly quotes Mike O'Brien on this and indicates that he has heard that BG feels the same way. 

Here's the thing.  Below is the Knight Commission data on BG's athletic revenue sources from the most recent available year.  Yes, BG gets 57% of its revenue from student fees and institutional support and that would continue either way.

But look at the other wedges.  Ticket sales, conference distributions competition guarantees, donor contributions, and corporate sponsorship would all be impacted by dropping down a level.  Yes, some expenses would also be reduced, but revenue would be reduced more.  Briggs compares UT to North Dakota, the premier FCS program...the revenue hit would be significant.  And, FCS schools are under the same financial pressures as FBS schools or worse.

I think there have been a half-dozen new FBS schools in recent years...and only one left FBS.  It is crazy logic.  Football loses money and yet de-emphasizing it is worse.  Remedying the problem would mean dropping it, not de-emphasizing it, and that's clearly not likely to happen.

It's like the mafia...once you're in, it is apparently very difficult to get out.





Last thing on this part of the topic.  Briggs raises a valid point, which is that even if we accept all this, there are still ways to shave the budget.  The recent announcement that the football team would no longer stay in a hotel on the night before home games is a good example.  Yes, that can be shaved.  But I doubt we're talking even 1% of the total.  Could other things be shaved?  Probably, but again, you're just dancing around the edges. 

The problem is that three of those slices are dependent on having a good team...tickets, donor contributions, and corporate sponsorship.  If you aren't winning, those things are going to be reduced.  Similarly, you might be able to generate support for a good FCS program but if you cut and aren't competitive you're really going to struggle for support at a shitty FCS program.

Could shaving funds have been enough to save the baseball team?  I don't know that.  But, I do think it's clear that we're not voluntarily going FCS.  It might happen anyway, but we're going to fight it all the way.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

New Football Verbal: Nick Mosley



The football program continues to get verbal commits for the class of  21.  It is our 9th verbal.  Last year, I counted five about this time but we got four on the same day on May 30.

His name is Nick Mosley from Pickerington Central HS.  His school won the 2019 D1 state championship and have won twice in three years.  He's a RB, 6'1" and 195 pounds, with offers from Akron, Ball State and WMU, according to 247.  This local news story said he had 7 MAC offers.

He has a 3-star ranking from 247.  At one point, he was a top 40 prospect in Ohio.  

After five games as a junior, he had 631 yards, with a 6.4-yards-per-carry average, and scored 10 touchdowns on a team that apparently likes to distribute touches among several players.  Going into the title game he had 1,394 yards and 22 touchdowns.  He also scored in the state championship game.

He's had some tragedy in his life.  His older brother died of brain cancer at the age of 13.  Here's a quote from his Mom, if you're wondering about the person Nick is:
“The boys had a few private conversations when Branden was still able to speak and I never asked what was said, but I can only assume Branden was telling Nick what he expected from him,” said their mother, Angela Mosley. “When Branden died, Nick stepped right into all those roles seamlessly. Nick practically became Branden. They’re so much alike, it’s almost ridiculous. But that’s not a bad thing at all. I’ve been blessed to have three great kids.”

Welcome to the Falcons, Nick.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Falcons With New Football Verbal: Jaison Patterson


The class of 21 has another football verbal.  Jaison Patterson is an all-purpose back from Ed White HS in Jacksonville.  He's the second recent commit from Jacksonville. In fact, he played against Mandarin, where Jaylen Smith played. Right now, four of our 7 commits are from outside our more traditional area.

Ed White was one of the astronauts killed in the pre-launch accident with Apollo 1.

Jaison is 5'11" and 180.  He had offers from (according to 247) Illinois, Liberty and Troy and he's a 3-star recruit.  In fact, the Illinois offer was reported to be on April 4.

He also played baseball and was apparently a decent wrestler.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jaison!





 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Summey Leaving BG for NC State


BG assistant Mike Summey is heading to NC State, his alma mater, to be an assistant coach.  Summey was the student manager at NC State, starting his coaching career.  He came to BG with Coach Huger.  

I had some interactions with Coach Summey and he was always very approachable and interesting.  Obviously, I wish him the best.  A move to an ACC school--and your alma mater--is a huge career step and I'm happy for him.

This leaves a vacancy on BG's staff.  It will be interesting to see.  The last time there was a vacancy BG promoted from within (Noon).  It might be tough to do a full search and there might be someone on the current staff who would be a good fit.

Best of luck Mike.

  

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Falcon Football Verbal: Zach Russell

BG has its 7th football verbal today. His name is Zach Russell and he's from Paintsville, KY, where he attends Johnson Central High School.  You might not be surprised to find out he plays TE.

I'm not usually a highlights guy,  but I watched his film and he runs some good routes and destroys some guys on blocks.  Just blows that out of the way and further.

He's 6'3" and 220 pounds.  He had offers from Akron, Army, Coastal Carolina, EMU, Illinois State, Ohio University, SEMO and WMU.  So he was on a number of team's lists and that Army offer would tell you he's a good student.

He played both ways in HS--also on the DE--and his team was the 4A State Championship.  That's the second-highest classification in the state.

He's not going to have much in the way of receiving statistics because his team hardly passed at all.  They only threw five times in the title game and twice in the final.

He did make all-area as a defender.  He made all-Mountain from another paper on the offensive side of the ball.  What you have here is a football player.

The current roster has 8 TEs, not all of them on scholarship.  Motes and Morris are seniors.  To date, he is the only one in the class of 2021.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zach.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Falcon Football Verbal: Jaylen Smith


Jaylen Smith has committed to BG.  He's a WR from Mandarin HS in Jacksonville.  Right now he has no stars on 24/7 but all of our other players started that way but they all have 3-stars now, for whatever that is worth.  Jaylen is 6'0" and 170 pounds and had offers from FIU and South Alabama.

Of our six verbals to date, two of them are WRs, where BG has an immediate need to get numbers up, even with the number of 12 sets we play.  BG had 6 WRs in last year's class.

Mandarin won the 8A state title in 2018  in Florida. They made a playoff run last season.  That's the biggest category and its a big deal.  It was their first state title.  The QB from that team is headed to Georgia.  There's no season-long stats for Smith, but he's all over the place with scoring plays.  In this game he was 7 for 117 and a TD and he's referred to as Beck's favorite target.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jaylen.

Terrific Sadness Today

Well, yesterday was not a good day.  Not to be negative, but we might want to get used to it.  Very tough times are on the way, I fear.


To start with, four people I know closely and care about lost their jobs .  That's a personal thing, but they're good people and sometimes that's not enough and I know that people you care about are in the same boat and even you might be in this boat.

It's awful.

And then the news from BG about the baseball program.

That's a wow.  I'm terribly sad.  I'll go into more about that in a second, but I don't want anyone to think those feelings are a criticism of what happened.  These are incredibly difficult decisions and painful and they are going to come for a while. While it makes me sad, I am 100% supportive of the decision and the people who made it.  I am sure that it was the right thing to do for the university.

I'm glad I didn't have to do it.

Think of the man who did.  Bob Moosbrugger made an incredibly difficult decision for him as a person.  A former BG baseball player, he may well have burned his relationship with all his teammates and fellow alumni.  Some of them--or many--will view him as a traitor.  He ended something he loved and I cannot imagine how many nights he spent staring at the ceiling over this.

These times are calling for true leaders.  People who put their organization and the people they serve first.  Who act with courage and purpose.  Who shoulder burdens, not avoid them.  

We have that kind of leader in our A.D.

I have so many memories of going to games at Stellar Field. 

I can remember my Father taking me there--that's how long ago it was--and when I saw the programs in that little box they had at the top of the ramp, I was thrilled to find out they were "free."  I'd be about 8 at this time.  I remember seeing Paul Miles--my hero at that time--make what my Dad said was a "circus" catch in LF.

Later, after my Dad died, a family friend used to pick me up from the babysitter and take me to games.  Later, I rode my bike out every day after school.

You couldn't keep foul balls but they gave out a twizzler when you brought one back so the kids raced each other to get them.  Not me--I was too interested in the games.  I was also slow.

In the older days, when the sun was out, some students would bring a keg of beer and sit in the stands with it.  They'd verbal the opposing team...not dirty, but super funny and the other team's crowd would get into it.  Good, clean fun.

I remember Larry Owen hitting a walk-off homer once.  He was always doing that.

I saw Kip Young play.  Hershiser.  Larry Owen.  Andy Tracy.  I met John Knox once.  I saw Jeff Jones pitch a bunch. I'm sure I saw Roger McDowell but I honestly don't remember that.  Grant Jackson's nieces were my babysitter.

When I was in junior high, I used to hang around the bullpen.  There was a backup catcher on the team named Ron Ullery and he was a Reds fan like me and he and the other pitchers and the guy spotting them would talk about baseball and they were very nice to me and made me feel really good and for all I knew at that time, they were major leaguers.

I worked the scoreboard a couple times.

You could really work the umpires over in that setting.

There were crazy days when the wind was blowing out and it was barely baseball.

It made me so happy.  That's what I remember.  I remember so much and there's probably more.

Now, of course, it has ended and that makes me sad.  But we can't keep things alive for the sake of nostalgia.  Real decisions have to be made for today's world and today's world is not a good place.

Danny Schmitz.  He's the longest-serving coach in BG history of any sport.  He's had great success.  And he's beloved.  In the community, by former players.  He's a good man and I can't imagine how it feels today for him.

Same for all his former players.  And current players.  This is just awful all around, a true sense of loss for so many people.

I was thinking...the news came out earlier yesterday that the football team won't stay in hotels the night before home games anymore.  It was hard to give a shit about that by the end of the day.

It was a rough day. Baseball was BG's first sport. If we're going to marshal one thing, we are going to need to make it our resilience.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

MAC Makes Significant Changes

And I suspect they won't be the last.  It has been bad until now and I fear it will only get worse.  I do think there will be football this fall...though if it happens I suspect no fans will be there.  And that's just a little more likely than not.  There are severe budget issues, sports are in danger.


Let us hope for the best.

The MAC announced some pretty significant changes today.  Let's take a look.

The most significant change to what we follow here had to do with men's and women's basketball.

They've reduced both tournaments to 8 teams.  No Monday night games....all 8 teams straight to Cleveland.  

I think this is a fine thing.  Nobody likes those Monday games, there are rarely many fans there, at least 2-3 teams had really bad seasons and I think most of them want it to be over.  In the modern era, (the tournament in Cleveland), only two teams (in MBB) ranked below 8 have made the finals:

OU 2010 #9, won, went to Sweet 16
Miami 2000 #9, lost

I think it will create some more Thursday upsets.  Playing Monday and then playing Thursday was a big disadvantage, so this could create some more dramatic games on the first day in Cleveland.  It also eliminates an issue with re-seeding, where the #1 seed was not guaranteed to play the lowest seed.

It also rewards the regular season, which I am always in favor of.

And it will create an exciting piece of drama as teams battle for the #8 slot.

They got rid of divisions, which was long overdue.  They had no meaning anyway, except for allowing Reghi to talk about someone having a shot to win the MAC West.  No other conference was using them and it was time to go.  Beyond eliminating something dumb, it also will help create fairer scheduling by distributing the games a little better.

Speaking of scheduling, the MAC will also go to 20 conference games. A lot of bigger conferences are adding conference games as well.   I like this.  Most of the MAC teams have trouble scheduling home games OOC and have to pay them to come, which costs money people assume they aren't going to have.  Again, if we had a really thrilling OOC schedule, this would be tough, but we don't.  In conference play is typically great and more of it is good for me.

We still expect EMU to play 4 NAIA teams.

So that's the change to basketball.

Meanwhile, the post-season MAC tournaments have been greatly reduced.  There will be no post-season tournament in:

Baseball
Softball
Men’s Soccer
Women’s Soccer
Men’s Tennis
Women’s Tennis
Women’s Lacrosse
Field Hockey

I remember when they started baseball.  It was actually a reaction to the unfair impact rainouts were having on determining a champion.  Anyway, from now on the regular-season champion will get the NCAA bid in all of the sports listed above.

The other championships were all shortened or have reduced teams.

So off we go.  These changes are in for four years.  Hold onto your hats....these times they are a'changin.