Monday, July 30, 2007

Credit Where It's Due

Kevin White's been taking a beating on this blog recently, so fairness dictates he receive the praise due him when so warranted. And now so warrants.

ND announced a 20-year contract extension to ND's football series with the University of Michigan, which means ND and the Wolverines will meet on the gridiron uninterrupted through 2031. According to folks on campus, one of the prime movers in this deal is telling folks that not only will the regular home-and-home schedule continue (meaning White did not acquiesce to Bill Martin's request to switch the order), this deal does not replace the reported series with Oklahoma that will take place in 2012-13.

With all the commentary about 7-4-1 and barnstorming coming out the Joyce Center in the last month, this is a breath of fresh air. This ensures ND will have at least one marquee opponent at home each season and will have at least two overall each year. It also shows a willingness to go beyond the two, although how that will jive with the other announced plans (three Big East squads, Integer responsibilities, 7-4-1) remains to be seen.

As it stands right now, this is a Good Thing, and when people do Good Things, they deserve a pat on the back. So this is mine. Excellent job, Kevin. Keep it up.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its about time you give this guy a little credit. All you guys have been doing lately is slamming a guy who has the whole athletic department heading in the right direction. Maybe its time to pick on someone else!!

7/31/2007 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I agree with Mike. Having the USC and Michigan series is a good anchor in formulating the rest of the schedule. It is also a good idea to get an excellent name opponent like Oklahoma as a third name game. But, KW, let's loosen up this tie to Stanford.

7/31/2007 06:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not be so confident when saying that White has the "whole athletic department heading in the right direction", as the most recent year of sports was lackluster for ND compared to some other recent years. However, this Michigan contract is a positive move that White can hang his hat on. But he needs a lot more hat hanging moves before we can embrace him as a solid athletic director who cares deeply about the school's tradition, particularly in football.

7/31/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to man up.

7/31/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is more to the athletic program than football and overall kw has lead the athletic program in the right direction.

7/31/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But, KW, let's loosen up this tie to Stanford."

I don't think that will happen, but we'll see. CA is still a major recruiting area for football talent. The ability for ND to hit Northern CA and Southern CA in alternating years is ultimately good for recruiting and alumni relations.

7/31/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you. It gives your criticisms more weight when you demonstrate, as you have here, that you are not simply carrying a chip on your shoulder. In fact, you are genuinely evaluating each decision as it comes down, rather than waiting for a chance to attackt the next announcement. Excellent post. Much respect.

7/31/2007 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

How would you react if, as a sweetener to the deal, KW agreed to accept even fewer tickets for ND fans for games at the original ND Stadium in Snob Arbor? ND already suffers from a disproportionate arrangement.

You and most others at ND ripped KW a new one for not taking best advantage in the Adidas deal. What if KW made concessions to achieve an uninterrupted deal? I'd check it out before pontificating.

Heck, why aren't you up in arms that he didn't address the existing ticket inequity? After all, they need us more than we need them, right? Just as the BCS needs us more than we need them, right?

It wasn't/isn't enough for you that ND got a fair, if not pretty good, deal out of Adidas years ago. Y'all continue to be outraged over the BCS deal. Why isn't the same exacting standard applied to this latest UM series extension?

7/31/2007 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those who say KW does a good job with the "other" (non-FB/BB sports).. I agree, and that's good. But I think with the caliber of applicants and the funding available to ND, that staying competitive in those sports is something most ADs can do.

What is also very important is that KW do a good job of managing FB and BB. THAT is an area where I think his performance has been very poor. Let's take football. In addition to running an organized administration (which by all accounts he does), his major responsibilities include
(1) Who he hires to coach
(2) How he markets/brands ND in the media,
(3) How he generates revenue
(4) How he schedules and maintains our independent status.

Let's go through the record.

(1) Coaching.. Extended BD's contract, then fired him. Didn't start the coaching search until after the season (why is that so important again?? Nobody's hating on Florida's AD for lining up Meyer early). Hired O'Leary (even with a good resume, a mediocre hire). Hired Willingham (a bad hire). Large payouts to both. Voted to retain Willingham. Publicly struggled to find a coach before being VERY fortunate to stumple upon Weis. I give him an F in his most important duty.

(2) Marketing ND. He doesn't understand what ND is about and it's frequently plainly obvious. He has frequently failed to respond appropriately to negative coverage (Willingham firing, etc.) He just isn't very good at with the medio or at PR, it seems.

(3) Generating revenue. He has given up huge concessions ($10 million BCS, apparently Adidas deal, large payouts, Weis extension) while bleeding the goose that produces the golden eggs (the fans, supporters who have to put up with neutral site games, decreased tickets availability, possibly more ads and a jumbotron, etc.)

(4) Scheduling... Still no reason for the flawed scheduling philosophy. Or why we are roped into playing 3 BE teams.

So just becaue he managed to sign Michigan to keep playing us (it would be ridiculous if he cuoldn't), I'm not ready to say he's a good AD.

7/31/2007 06:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND football should be playing the best teams in the country as much as possible. The Michigan deal is a great affirmation of that. It'd be great if we could keep Oklahoma in the plans and other great programs too.

7/31/2007 07:45:00 PM  

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