Overall, the Big Ten’s composition is such that a couple of teams that look to be bottom-half teams could sneak up and snag a top half (and tournament) spot, especially with some consensus top-half teams we have concerns about, such as Nebraska. We see Minnesota as a bottom half team (around 10th), but there are several areas where, if they perform well, they can elevate their standing. Two of those are discussed below: 2-point field goal percentage and Amir Coffey’s usage.
Just prior to the start of the 2016-17 basketball season last November, we stated that Richard Pitino was not on the hot seat. There were three reasons for this: the team’s outlook, his large buyout, and the program’s APR.
Our claims that most people were underestimating the team and that they projected to be set for a strong 2017-18 were proven to be true. From here, things could continue to go well (e.g., a strong 2017-18 season, great success on the recruiting trail), or they could become more challenging.
However, due to the other two issues, the seat still probably won’t get hot soon even if team performance and recruiting go south.
Pitino Not On The “Hot Seat”; Gophers 2016-17 Outlook
Many preseason “coaches on the hot seat” articles list Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and state that a poor season on the court would spell trouble for Pitino. We believe the only way Pitino would be on the hot seat is if there are continued off the court issues for the program’s student-athletes. There are a few reasons why we don’t see Pitino being on the hot seat absent off the court issues. Those reasons are listed below.
Late last summer, Minnesota entered into an amendment with Pitino which effectively caused his buyout to skyrocket should he be fired without cause. If Minnesota were to terminate Pitino’s employment next March, the buyout would still be nearly $6 million.
They Said It: Amy Phenix
The Board of Regents (“Board”) effectively approved the contract extension of Richard Pitino on August 14, 2015. The Board delegated authority to the President, who delegated to his Chief of Staff, Amy Phenix. Ms. Phenix signed under the big block letters, “REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA.”
The timing of certain members of the Board voicing their concern about Pitino’s contract and their claim of a lack of a role in approving it is a topic for another day, but one which certainly is deserving of further discussion.
Now, let us move on to the topic of this article: “They Said It: Amy Phenix”
In a Star Tribune article published on March 31, 2016, Chief of Staff Amy Phenix explained, “The reality is you’re very rarely going to fire someone not for cause in year one of a contract extension,” she said. “It’s just highly unusual.”
Let’s quickly explore what “the reality is.”
Continue reading They Said It: Amy Phenix
Minnesota Athletics: A Leader in Debt
The University of Minnesota has already scaled back its initial plans for new athletic facilities, but many are pushing for construction to begin within the next two months. The (current) initial phase is estimated to cost $150 million.
The U has reported private contributions of approximately $70 million, but much of that amount is only pledged, with agreed-upon cash payments to be made over the next decade.
It appears that the Athletic Department will need to take on more debt in order to move the project forward in the near future. So, what has the U’s debt load looked like as compared to its Big Ten peers in the past and how might things look in the future? Today, we look to answer those questions.
Ask LNH: Can all Gopher Newcomers Play in Spain?
The Minnesota Golden Gophers will travel to Spain in August for a foreign tour. Based on this year’s roster make-up, we believe this timing is optimal for the program.
Media reports and many fans say that all Gopher newcomers, including transfers who will sit out a year in residence in 2015-16, will be able to take part in practice prior to the trip and travel/play in Spain.
Thus, the question: Can all of the new Gophers really play in Spain?
The short answer is “no. ” Details can be found below…
Gopher star and senior guard Rachel Banham tore her ACL and is done for the year. As we’d expect, the traditional media is baffled by what this means in terms of a potential hardship waiver. Some are saying they don’t know, others are providing incorrect information.
We’ll step in and help.
There are several requirements for a medical hardship waiver. The one at question – for some – is the 30% rule. A player can participate in up to 30% of a team’s games and still be eligible for a hardship waiver (and they must also meet all the other requirements, of course).
Not only are there are nuances as to what is counted as a “game” in the calculation, but the math used per the NCAA Bylaws isn’t an example you’re going to see used in the classrooms of America. Due to time constraints, we’ll explain this one fairly quickly: Minnesota has 30 regular season games scheduled. In addition, they have the Big Ten tournament.
By rule, a conference tournament counts as one game. Thus, the denominator in the calculation is 31.
31 games multiplied by 30% is 9.3 games. By NCAA rule, this is rounded up 10. That is, the maximum number of games a Gopher can play in and still be considered to meet the “no more than 30%” requirement is 10 games.
Banham has played in 10 games.
Accordingly, we see no mystery here. Based on NCAA Bylaws and the nature of the injury, Banham’s hardship waiver request would be a simple administrative task.
Had the injury occurred one game later, she would not have met the requirements. “Timing is everything.”
For those with additional questions regarding hardship waiver requirements, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sharing Options:
The State of the Gophers
“How the team performs over the next two years is important, but the roster outlook – including the program’s standing with recruits – will be highly relevant in evaluating Pitino’s performance two years from now.”
The selection of Richard Pitino
Pitino is a good coach and can become a great one. Excluding long-established D-I coaches, there are few other options that we’d put on the same level as Richard Pitino who were possibilities for Minnesota when hiring leader of the men’s basketball program. It was an intelligent hire. Nothing is promised, but we like Pitino as much or more than other options.
Recruits won’t fall into his lap
Being the son of Rick Pitino has its advantages, but few if any kids will come to Richard Pitino just because of his last name. He’ll need to work hard to earn everything he gets. We believe he can eventually be highly successful in the area of recruiting, but it won’t be because of his last name.
Continue reading The State of the Gophers