What They’re Saying About The NCAA’s Latest Decision On UConn

by Categorized: APR, Jim Calhoun, NCAA, UConn men's basketball

Here is some reaction to the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance’s decision to deny UConn’s final appeal for a waiver.

Gov. Malloy: (shout out to The Courant’s Jon Lender for this one)

“It’s outrageous. It’s almost as if they’ve decided to get UConn one way or the other. … The NCAA “can’t get out of their own way. “I think I have the same reaction a lot of people have when they understand what’s going on. For the first time in its history, the NCAA is making a retroactive application of a new rule.   They modified a rule without modifying the time in which he comes into effect… They changed the rule and didn’t give people time to adjust to it. … They are breaking their own precedents to bring this about. …“UConn has cleaned up its act  and now the NCAA is “punishing a bunch of kids who have absolutely nothing  or very little … to do with the failures of the past.”

The NCAA (via spokesmen Erik Christianson, Chris Radford)

“Schools have known since 2006 that APRs below 900 could result in serious penalties including postseason restrictions.  The same standards are applied to each institution; to ensure all data are comparable for each team, there is a necessary lag time in calculating all the scores at a national level.  Also, in UConn’s first waiver denial, NCAA staff noted the men’s basketball team’s overall lack of academic achievement and minimal academic progress over several years.”

“CAP will continue to review policy matters, including examining what years of APR scores are used to determine the multiyear APR score for all teams.  While it is possible CAP or the Division I Board of Directors could amend existing policies, it is not expected that either body will make any changes that could affect UConn or any other team facing a postseason restriction next season.  CAP meets again April 23-25 and in July, and this next meeting will be dedicated largely to hearing appeals from schools facing serious penalties.”


UConn president Susan Herbst (via UConn):

 “I am very proud of our current men’s basketball student-athletes, who have worked hard in the classroom and enjoyed academic success. It is disturbing that our current players must pay a penalty for the academic performance of students no longer enrolled. As I have said repeatedly, no educator or parent purposefully punishes young people for the failings of others.”

New AD Warde Manuel (teleconference with reporters)

“It’s a frustrating time for me. What I am totally frustrated [about] is really how they have implemented this rule without notification of its membership. I never, ever remember, and nobody can tell me of any legislation that has been made effective retroactively and has this kind of effect on student-athletes.”

Jim Calhoun (via UConn):

“While we as a University and coaching staff clearly should have done a better job academically with our men’s basketball student-athletes in the past. The changes we have implemented have already had a significant impact and have helped us achieve the success we expect in the classroom. We will continue to strive to maintain that success as we move forward.”

Jeremy Lamb (shout out to FoxCT’s Audrey Kuchen)

“It’s a tough time for us right now. … We’ve got to come together. We’ve got to keep working hard on the books and see what happens. There are a lot of rumors about guys leaving. Not really sure right now, I can’t say much. I don’t really know.”







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18 thoughts on “What They’re Saying About The NCAA’s Latest Decision On UConn

  1. buddy

    Unfortunately the blame for this problem clearly falls on the coaching staff. Since it appears that there will be no way to get the NCAA to change it’s mind, it is probably a good idea to encourage the coaching staff to leave and start over. Maybe in 4 or five years, UConn basketball can be relevant again. Also, given the lack of support from the Big East conference, UConn should continue to lobby aggressively to get out of this conference.,

    1. Ed

      Because the NCAA is a student averse organization only concerned with supporting schools like one and done Kentukapari, we feel that a school like UConn who has addressed the issues from the past should be penalized. Please enlighten me….why should student athletes that are currently enrolled and eligible be punished for the sins of players from years past??? So lets see….you purchased a used car (accepted a scholarship) …..the person you purchased it from ran a few stop signs(past athletes) but you have to pay the fine… On what planet does that make sense?????

      From an administrative or coaching standpoint fine. Penalize them, not the student athlete.

      1. Steve B.

        The program is being punished and unfortunately that means the current players who may be doing the right thing have to deal with it. USC and it’s players were punished for something Reggie Bush did years ago. Was it fair to the current team, maybe not. But the program itself needed to be punished for not controlling certain things. Just like UConn should stop crying and take their punishment for Calhoun and crew not taking care of things the way they should have. UConn didn’t react to anything until the threat of punishment so let’s not pretend that all of a sudden they’re so concerned about the “student” part of the athlete. They are just trying to save themselves at this point.

  2. Dick

    Are we the only DIV 1 school with this problem? How widespread is this and why are we the only school making headlines?

    1. Brian

      @ Dick I believe there are 13 other schools that this rule will affect next year. @ Buddy that’s a looney comment let me just take a stab in the dark and guess that you don’t like Calhoun, Or maybe just a troll trying to stir things up. Point is the NCAA has created an unfair policy. It is absolutely ridiculous to implement a policy such as this and and make it retroactive so as to not give schools time to correct it which by the way Uconn has done and then kids who had nothing to do with past apr get punished for it. The low apr goes beyond the Coaching staff. Uconn had 2 people in their compliance department and when 1 of them left Hathaway did not replace the other leaving 1 part time person for compliance when most other schools have at least 5 full time people in their compliance department. Calhoun is not leaving my friend he said last year he plans to complete his contract and this team will be relevant next year regardless of what the NCAA does.

  3. Dave

    I wish this necessary lag time in calculating scores could be explained a little more. What is so difficult about calculating APR scores that makes it necessary to go back 4 years? I bet there might even be some retired uconn basketball players that could come up with this score more quickly.

    1. Perry Mason

      @Dave: “What is so difficult about calculating APR scores that makes it necessary to go back 4 years?”

      The answer is: Nothing. The NCAA wants to look like it actually gives a sh*t about the “student atheletes” (or as reasonable people might call them call them “uncompensated labor force”). This is all political and only for the sake of saving face.

      Dom… you seemed to accept Alex Oriakhi Sr.’s explanation of his “slavemaster” tweet. You rethinking that stance now, based on his courant.com rant this morning?

      The ironic thing is that if anyone has a “slavemaster” mentality, it’s not Jim Calhoun, who I’m sure would gladly let the atheletes be paid if he could, but the NCAA, which pockets 800 million a year while its labor force is compensated with scholarships only valued at maybe 40-50K a year at the BEST schools, and only 20K at a school like UConn, where in state tuition is available.

  4. Teo

    Why are virtually all other schools able to avoid the post-season ban? Come on, now. It’s a college. Yes, there are challenges associated with big-time hoops, but you have to know that you have to keep kids eligible, academically, in order to be a part of college basketball. I don’t accept Oriakhi’s assertion of “slavemaster.” I don’t accept that the players should necessarily be paid, either. But I do think that the schools have a responsibility — an imperative — to educate and graduate those athletes.

    Look at the job market today. Who is working? Kids with college degrees. Today’s numbers show this. The growth in jobs is taking place, primarly, in jobs that require at least a college degree. So for UConn to go through years and years without graduating more than 1 or 2 out of 10 athletes going through the program is an embarrassment to the state, the university, the Big East Conference. Period. It’s actually refreshing that the NCAA did crack down (for once).

    That said, I sympathize with those who believe that they’re picking on Connecticut. Put differently, this post-season ban for academics would not happen to a Southern Cal or an Ohio State, markets that are larger and schools with more established alumni bases.

    But, all the same, this is a penalty for non-compliance with a standard. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach. It’s about time. If this APR penalty is consistently enforced, look for a less attractive tournament (or some widespread academic fraud or a lot of one-and-dones). Not everyone can graduate from UConn. It’s a high-end public school and the kids who attend are bright. But the school should be recruiting kids who can graduate.

    1. Perry Mason

      @Teo… give one good reason why they shouldn’t be paid? They play basketball, see provide a service, in an industry that makes nearly a billion dollars a year off their sweat. THE PLAYERS are the main draw, THE PLAYERS are the reason why there is revenue from advertising and ticket sales, NOT the corporate fatcats like Mark Emmert running the show back in Kansas at NCAA cartel headquarters.

      The only reasons anyone can ever give for not paying players is that it couldn’t be called “amateur” anymore (WHO CARES?), and that this is the way its always been.

      1. teo

        I think that it would be hard to manage the payroll. If they wanted to pull the Urban Meyer routine and just have scholarship folks get a stipend of a few hundred per month regardless of ability, it would work and it would make sense because the athletes, many of whom come from poor backgrounds, would not be tempted to sell their stuff — jerseys, goodies from bowl games, etc. — to survive.

        But where it gets tough is when you say, “Kemba Walker is a great draw. He deserves $25,000 per month. Joe Schmoe blows. He deserves $300 per month.” And under your logic, Kemba deserves the big bucks but Joe doesn’t because Joe’s not the primary reason for basketball viewers.

      2. John

        If they don’t want to pay the kids directly, then they should stop the stupid, arbitrary rules that stop the students from taking advantage of their talents and profiting from them. For instance, if you have personal items you want to sell, and their are fans that want to buy, why should you be stopped from doing that? If an agent wants to pay you money because they believe you will have a profitable pro career, and yo decide to enter into an agreement with that agent, why should you be penalized? Think about it this way: if you were a law student and some big law firm came to you two years before you graduated and said “hey, you’re such a talented young lawyer in the making, we want to pay your college tuition, give you a certain amount of money as a signing bonus, for the promise that you come work for is” the agreement would be hailed BY THE UNIVERSITY. And, of course, you would be allowed to do it. Yet, if you’re, say, Jeremy Lamb and an agent wants to secure you as a client now, you somehow are prohibited from making money off your abilities? Its not just absurd, it’s downright wrong. The NCAA is making BILLIONS and them preventing kids from making money off their own talents?

  5. John

    Teo: please explain to me why it is the obligation of the program to graduate it’s players? Is it the obligation of the university to graduate students? Of course not. This is the absurdity of the NCAA system…..the idea that students are punished on a variety of ways to continue a public facade that this is about something other than athletics.
    Look, here’s the deal: every kid recruited for basketball and football at the college level is recruited because of what they can do ON THE COURT, not the classroom. There isn’t one schooling the nation, not UConn, not Duke, not Notre Dame, that is recruiting a kid because they expect him to become the next great lawyer. So, here is the REAL system in place: the schools invite these kids to play basketball/football for the university, which brings in MILLIONS and also serves as the best public relations tool for all these schools. In return, the athlete has an opportunity to learn his sport under the nest coaches in the nation and, IF THEY CHOOSE, to get a quality education. If they decide they want to take advantage of that opportunity, great, but that’s the choice EVERY student makes. A University gives you the opportunity to get an education. If you don’t, that’s your fault. If you decide to leave to play in the NBA or overseas, thats your choice. If you decide that you’re not getting enough playing time and transfer, that’s your choice. The point is, as long as the student is given the opportunity to get an education, and the coaching staff sets up a support system that allows the possibility, that’s where their responsibility ends. What is the problem with that? Why is that a disgrace? Who, exactly, is hurt? Certainly not the university. Certainly not the student, many of who wouldn’t even get the opportunity to begin with.
    The disgrace is that anyone allows the most corrupt organization in America – the NCAA – to continue to wreak havoc on the lives of young men, who they are claiming to care about, and on who’s backs they make BILLIONS.

    1. teo


      Let’s just start with the economics of the system. Jim Calhoun makes around $2.7million per season. Now, how does the university cash flow this? It sells tickets (obviously) and broadcasting rights and it participates in post-season tournaments.

      CBS pays the NCAA around $500,000,000 each year over 11 years to broadcast the tournament. For each tourney game, each school receives around $250,000. It shares that revenue with the conference which distributes it to members, but of course, the university receives a cut of every member’s tournament revenue, too.

      We don’t yet know the payout for 2012 but in 2011, the Big East made $26 million.

      Then, there is the gate. Just to make it easy, assume all the games are played in Storrs. Gampel seats around 10,000. At $30 per ticket and 20 games, that revenue is $6 million. So, add the gate to the NCAA tournament revenue of $2 million and you throw in some television revenue and, according to Forbes, UConn generates around $7.5 million per year in hoops revenue.

      Other than scholarships and incidentals — flights to and from games and the like — the kids don’t get anything from the revenue. But they are promised a shot at an education.

      That is where the fallacy begins. You see, John, there are 300 schools in D1 that are eligible for the college basketball tournament. 300. How many are banned next year? That would be 13. UConn is one of just 13 schools banned from the postseason because the university does not do enough to get the kids to graduate. Now, to your point, certainly the kids have to take the academics seriously to graduate. The university’s not going to hand out Bs just because you play hoops.

      But given the hectic travel schedule and the media demands and the practice time and the like, it’s essential that the school do everything it can to get the kids to graduate. That’s not what’s happening. In fact, for the last decade, the kids have not done much to graduate and the school has done less to get the kids to graduate. Calhoun’s Black athletes have a 15% graduate rate. Now a few have made it and are getting paid. But many haven’t and that is the problem. THe money keeps flowing in but the school doesn’t do much to get these kids to graduate.

      The college degree — especially one from University of Connecticut – is valuable. It pays for itself many times over. The school should not be recruiting kids that cannot graduate from Storrs. Georgetown graduates kids. Marquette graduates kids. Duke graduates kids. Carolina and Berkley and Michigan all graduate their college basketball kids. UConn has to change. They have to keep the kids on schedule to graduate.

      1. John

        Teo: Not sure what your point is in terms of the economics, but you seem to be agreeing (or at least your numbers are agreeing) that the university makes millions off these athletes and, by extension, the NCAA makes billions ( Forbes released numbers this year showing that the Tournament made more money than any other post season other than the NFL post season). That is an inherently unfair system that prevents students from capitalizing on their OWN talents while everyone else makes money hand over fist.
        However, to your point about academics: you can’t honestly be naive enough to believe that places like Kentucky or Syracuse are doing a better job of “educating” their “student athletes” than UConn, can you? The numbers you have quoted in regards to the APR are inherently flawed because, as I have stated previously, they include students who have transferred and students who have chosen to play professionally. You say UConn isn’t doing enough to educate these students. How do you know this? In CNN’s recent supposedly scathing look at UCOnn, they interviewed Jonatham Mandlelove. He ADMITTED that UConn had provided tutors and help, but that he still struggled. Maybe he just couldn’t do the work. He wouldn’t be the first student, athlete or otherwise, to find that college work wasn’t a fit for him. Maybe (as has been rumored) Mandlelove just didn’t take his studies seriously. Irregardless, the University and athletic program, by his own admission, provided help. They also provided him three years to get both his athletic and academic ship in order. That, in my book, is affording a young man a golden opportunity. Whether he was unable or unwilling to capitalize, it’s not the fault of the university.
        You also state that the university should recruit students who they know can graduate. I could not disagree more. Think about what you are saying. What you’re saying is, limit the opportunity to get a college education and/or advance as professional athlete to those who would get that opportunity regardless of their athletic skill level. So, do we really care about the kids here? Because, under your plan, the “students” you’re worried about wouldn’t even get a chance at a college education in the first place. I would much rather the school give a kid who wouldn’t normally get into the school a chance.
        You say “some” have gone on to play professionally. Do you how many? Which players? You realize that playing professionally doesn’t just mean the NBA, correct? Many, many, many former players have gone on to play in European, Israeli, even Chinese leagues. More recently, they have played in the D-League. They might not have left school with a degree, but they left with a chance to play the sport they love professionally for more money than 99% of UConn graduates will make in their chosen professions.
        As far as why UConn is one of only 13 schools to suffer the consequences of this new rule, well, there I agree. UConn obviously didn’t do a good enough job of figuring out a way to manipulate the system to ensure that their APR stays in good standing. Or, do you believe that of 300 schools, only 13, including UConn, are doing a poor job of actually graduating their athletes?
        If you can show me evidence that UConn and the coaching staff actively impeded an athletes ability to receive a quality education, then we can have a conversation about right and wrong. But, even if we are to believe the absurd tale that schools like Michigan are producing scholar athletes while UConn is producing dunces, it still doesn’t negate the overriding point: it should not be the job of the NCAA to hand down punishments because of matters of education. Let the universities educate their students.

  6. Pete

    Malloy needs to look in the mirror when he talks about the unfairness of retro-activity.

    “For the first time in its history, the NCAA is making a retroactive application of a new rule”

    His massive paroll tax increases last summer were retroactive back to Jan 1 2012.

    1. Nick

      Well said. Malloy is a hypocrite, and his voice in these proceedings will only make things worse. The NCAA will simply say to Malloy… “you did it, why cant we? Now shut up!”

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