The effects of freefalling markets and a stagnant economy have been felt from Wall St. and Main St. to Chapel Drive and, now, might have moved to Cameron Indoor Stadium. On Thursday, when the Dow dropped 678 points, the NCAA changed some of its travel policies. Specific schools pay for travel for every game but national tournament contests—and for those games, schools will be forced to be more frugal. Under the new stipulations, Division-I programs will be mandated to:
Drive, not fly, to NCAA competitions within 400 miles, rather than 350 miles
Travel to airports 150 miles away, rather than 120 miles, to find cheaper airfares
The changes shouldn’t be earth-shaking, but it still is notable to see how the seemingly sheltered world of college athletics have been affected like anything else. We’ll have more about how the global financial chaos will impact Duke Athletics next week, after we cease production for two days for Fall Break.
I met with Kevin White, Duke’s first-year athletic director, Monday morning and started talking about books, as we did in our last conversation in June. White told me he had time to read two books on his way to and from Beijing, where he watched Mike Krzyzewski in the Olympics for about five days. He read Jim Nantz’ “Always By My Side” there and Tim Russert’s “Big Russ and Me” on the way back.
White had some nice things to say about the late Russert, as he became friends with him through–what else?–Notre Dame Football. I’ll let the man speak for himself in the clip below:
Director of Athletics Kevin White promoted veteran Senior Associate Director of Athletics Chris Kennedy to deputy athletic director in a statement Tuesday. Kennedy, an English professor and Duke athletic department member since 1977, served as interim athletic director after Joe Alleva left for Louisiana State University and before White was hired from Notre Dame. Kennedy will still be responsible for day-to-day operations, compliance and academic support.
In other athletic department news, White announced the hiring of former Notre Dame staffers Stan Wilcox and Boo Corrigan as senior administrators. Corrigan is the son of former ACC commissioner and Duke graduate Gene Corrigan, who served as a consultant in Duke’s search to replace Alleva and seemed to play an instrumental role in bringing White to Duke.
Duke’s Department of Athletics announced Friday that it has commissioned video display manufacturer Daktronics to design and install a new center-hung scoreboard for one of the most famous college gymnasiums in the country. The 14-feet wide, 15-feet tall system will include new LED screens capable of flashing statistics and instant replays. The project is expected to be complete by the beginning of the 2008-2009 season.
The Chronicle of Higher Education posted this report today, dated for its August issue, which highlights the skyrocketing costs incurred by athletic departments across the country to attract the nation’s top talent. The article, entitled “Have Money, Will Travel: the Quest for Top Athletes” cites that Duke’s recruiting budget of $1,245,300 has grown a staggering 229% since 1997, which is the fourth highest jump in spending among the 65 BCS schools over that time frame. In case you’re interested, Tennessee has the largest annual recruiting budget, spending $2,005,700, and the University of Maryland has had the highest spending jump over the past 10 years, increasing its budget by 277%. The ACC ranked third among the BCS conferences in spending, with the SEC blazing the money…er…recruiting trail.
It was no coincidence that newly hired Director of Athletics Kevin White held his first media luncheon today in the Yoh Football Center–the former Notre Dame athletic director understands the need to back David Cutcliffe and his program. Some quick notes from today’s meet-and-greet:
White is a major part of the national scene of athletic directors (he’s even president of NACDA), and has been jet-setting quite a bit. Now that he’s back in Durham and settled in an apartment while looking for more a more permanent residence, he is ready to “dig in.”
One of the topics that came up during lunch was his desire to formulate a facilities master plan. Similar to “Unrivaled Ambition,” the department’s strategic plan that was developed earlier this year, the facility master plan would help ensure that Duke’s facilities keep up with the years and the growing demand. Right now, White is most interested in what can be done to improve Wallace Wade. “It needs not a face lift, but a makeover,” he said.
Former athletic director Joe Alleva spent 32 years at Duke, and 10 as Director of Athletics. He considered himself a Blue Devil man, loyal to Duke. But in just two months in the same job at Louisiana State University, Alleva had some choice words that likely won’t sit well with Duke supporters.
“The passion for LSU is just phenomenal, it’s mind-blowing,” Alleva told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. “That’s the biggest difference.”
Reporter James Varney pressed him further, asking Alleva to compare the “passion” to that of Duke’s rabid basketball fan base.
“Even then, it’s not the same,” he said.
What do you think of Alleva’s statements? How does the passion of Duke fans relate to that of other fans?
Most importantly: Is Alleva simply saying what he needs to say to blend into the Bayou?