Utterly Amazing

(Divorce: A Love Story, is now available. Did I mention it’s only $2.99 and that you can’t afford *not* to buy it?!)

Just a brief note, via Andy Schwarz, about Oliver Luck. Luck, the father of quarterback Andrew Luck*, is now a senior official with the NCAA. He’s a former athletic director and was, back in the day, a star signal-caller at West Virginia and, briefly, a pro.

Luck is, of course, an outspoken opponent of paying college athletes. He and Jay Bilas had a public debate last week about that topic, a summary of which, from my friend David Ridpath, you can read here.

Andy Schwarz flagged this comment by Luck:

“It would be a bad mistake to create campus employer-employee relationships with student-athletes,” Luck said. “… (Paying college athletes) would distract in a very significant way from pursuing what they really need to pursue – an education. … And we need to emphasize the value of that education.”

Schwarz also flagged this, from a recent Georgetown University Study:

The report details that 70 to 80 percent of college students are active in the U.S. labor market. That’s about 14 million people, or 8 percent of the country’s total labor force. About 40 percent of undergraduates and 76 percent of graduate students work at least 30 hours a week, with about 25 percent of all students simultaneously enrolled as full-time students and working full time….Moreover, many of these working students are EMPLOYEES OF THEIR UNIVERSITY (Andy’s CAPS).

Here’s what amazes me: How can anyone who has spent time on a college campus not know that many, many college students work, including for their universities? What kind of bubble must Oliver Luck – a smart man, I have no doubt – exist in, to be able to make such utterly clueless pronouncements about the reality of college life and college students?

It just baffles me.

On an unrelated note, the broadcast glitch last night notwithstanding, I thought the FOX crew did an excellent job calling Game One of the World Series. Buck did both his usual steady play-by-play job and also pitched with some nice analysis. He noted, for example, that with Ben Zobrist on second base through several late game at-bats, he’d probably seen enough pitches to have discerned the Mets’ signs. That was, he suggested, the prompt for a conference on the mound by the Mets to change those signs. Harold Reynolds, who comes in for plenty of criticism, did a really nice job of walking viewers through the approach of pitchers and hitters at-bat to at-bat, in a way that wasn’t banal. In other words, he provided real analysis. And Tom Verducci was excellent. When first-baseman Eric Hosmer misplayed an eighth-inning ground ball that allowed the Mets to score the then-go ahead run, Verducci nicely explained how Hosmer, a great fielder, might have trusted his hands too much on the high-hopper. Earlier in that sequence, he suggested that Juan Lagares, then on first base, would be well-advised to try to steal second. Verducci said he favored that strategy because it was 1) late in a close game, 2) the Mets were facing a phalanx of hard throwing Royals relievers and 3) the bottom of their lineup was coming up. In that circumstance, Verducci said, stringing multiple hits together would be tough. Sure enough, Lagares did then steal second and came around to score on the aforementioned errant grounder.

In other words, Verducci wasn’t advocating mindlessly for “small ball.” He was explaining the specific context within which it made sense to deploy a particular strategy.

It was a really entertaining game (I’m not a Mets’ fan, but am happy to pull for them on behalf of some long-suffering friends). And the experience – all five hours of it – was enhanced by the excellent work of the FOX trio.






  1. I can’t speak to how they did last night b/c I couldn’t hear in the bar. But in general, I find Joe Buck and Harold Reynolds to be terrible. Buck is a play by play who can’t help but throw in color, both in an annoying manner. And Harold Reynolds is a dinosaur who expresses contempt for those who aren’t “baseball guys”.

    1. I agree with you about both (probably not as strongly, but with the thrust of your criticisms). That’s what made last night so surprising. It really seemed like the goal was to just analyze the game, not use it as a platform for other things. I wonder whether Verducci’s presence helped the tone.

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