Monday Musings: Vote of Confidence
As I said last week… I believe Bruce Pearl’s future at Auburn is secure for the time being. Last week, AD Allen Greene appeared on an episode of “Tiger Talk”, an in-house podcast, giving his support of the head basketball coach. The podcast was posted on the athletic department’s official website and can be heard here.
“The FBI investigation is a long process, and we’re going through that process to make sure that we, as a university, are doing what it is that we’re supposed to do to comply,” Greene said. “Coach Pearl has been excellent in that regard, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we continue to do the very best that we can to support [him], his staff and the student-athletes of Auburn University.”
These comments should not be taken lightly. With these comments, Greene provided his vote of confidence for Coach Pearl, and as long as no new details emerge from any investigation—FBI or university—you can bet that Pearl will back to sweat through his suit once again next season in Auburn Arena.
The feel-good story of the week… came when Tannon Snow smacked a pitch over the left field wall to give Auburn a 1–0 victory in the 12th-inning over Kentucky. Snow, a 2016 transfer from Washington, sat out last season after being diagnosed with epilepsy. Following Saturday’s game, she shared what it meant to her to be able to come back and win a game for her team.
“It’s been quite the journey,” Snow said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without this Auburn family. They’ve had my back through this whole thing. The support is unbelievable.”
After attending the first and second rounds… of the NCAA Tournament last week in Nashville, I saw firsthand just how power hungry the NCAA is during the month of March. In the 2016–17 fiscal year, the NCAA took in $1.06 billion in revenue—82% was generated by the men’s basketball tournament. And I could see why.
At each location, you’ll find the NCAA branding everywhere—on scoreboards, cups, jerseys—and it looks like none of the graphics or designs have been updated since the ’90s. Only official NCAA cups—branded with a Powerade logo—can be brought courtside. When security found a Red Bull can in the hands of a media member, they quickly told him to hide it or throw it away. Because god forbid a nonapproved NCAA product appears on television as the size of an ant.
This isn’t to say that I don’t understand why it’s necessary, because I do. I understand that such a large source of the NCAA’s revenue each year comes from television and sponsorship rights for the men’s tournament. I also understand that the vast majority of that money is then distributed to conferences and individual institutions. I just found it to be incredibly insightful to see just how strict the NCAA’s tournament coverage is in person.
March Madness is the NCAA’s cash cow. And believe me, Mark Emmert will protect it with his life.