Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Split the Cup

Nick Schwiegger

The Bushnell Cup is going to be a shared award for the second year in a row.

Dartmouth’s Nick Schwieger and Harvard’s Gino Gordon were named co-winners here in Manhattan earlier today.

Both are great players and deserving of may kudos.

But it’s hard not to take this news as the “third strike and its out” for this entire process.

Strike one was when major Columbia stars Sean Brackett and Alex Gross were both not on the list of four finalists for the Cup.

Strike two was when Princeton WR Trey Peacock, the 0-7 in the Ivies Princeton, DID make the list.

And I consider this strike three; splitting the award between a player like Schwieger, who absolutely made a bigger impact on his team, and Gordon, who had a solid, but not exactly remarkable, season on a Harvard team that dropped off in overall quality this season anyway.

Let’s hope the Cup goes to one clear cut winner next season, (and preferably one wearing light blue). Thia year though, Schwiegger should have won it alone.

Columbia held its own awards dinner last night.

Snubbed by the Bushnell voters, Gross won the prestigious Sid Luckman Award as MVP of the Columbia football team.

Brackett was the well-deserved offensive MVP award winner, and I particularly liked the Most Improved Player nod going to WR Kurt Williams.

But the highlight of these awards for me is the recognition some of the less well-known players finally get.

Guys like graduating seniors Nathan Lenz and Daniel Myers were great sparkplugs this season and in seasons’ past. So their awards mean a lot.

And on the other end of the spectrum, we have the Heisman Trophy race.

It would be absurd if the award goes to anyone other than Auburn’s Cam Newton.

But Newton represents everything that’s wrong about big-time college football right now, as it seems almost certain that one of his family members basically shopped him around to various BCS schools for cash.

Cam Newton seems like a decent enough person himself, and I have no idea whether his personal character or academic abilities are wanting in any way.

But this young man is setting himself up for a professional athletic career only.

That’s bad news, as most of us just how successful most recent Heisman winners have been in the NFL.

If you’re an Ivy recruited athlete or a parent of one reading this blog, pat yourself on the back for insisting that your son or daughter takes care of their future prospects first before opting for the ephemeral limelight of “big time college” athletics.

If more people like you followed your lead, the whole debate about whether college football is really just a pro sport would be moot.


At Tue Dec 07, 08:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you Jake. We have a son playing football at Columbia and the recruiting rule in our home was you may not go to a school to play football that you would not have otherwise chosen to attend except for football. There were a few FCS scholarship schools that were tempting with offers, but none that were discussed previously. We feel our son will be best prepared for life for having attended Columbia, become friends with many great young men and women, and experienced living in NYC.

Unfortunately, at the BCS school level, many of the young men only attend college to have extended viewing for the scouts. Some come from backgrounds where this is the way out of a specific situation, but with the graduation rates reported too many of them never finish their degree, and for the vast majority, that is what they really need.

In my opinion, pure college athletics are gone at these schools with the transfers and no pretense that these young men are attending for the education, but that is my opinion, and I am loathe to judge other families that are in different situations.

The NCAA has made decisions that show that money drives college sports. Look at the number of bowl games and the records of those playing. Does anyone really think the NCAA basketball tournament really needed to go to 68 teams? Like it or not, there are very few universities where the term student athlete means something, and fortunately Columbia is one of the few.

At Tue Dec 07, 09:31:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comments from the parents of a current player. As a loyal alumnus I want you to know that there is a vast body of us out there who really do appreciate what families like yours, and your children have done for alma mater.

At Tue Dec 07, 10:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great thoughts on Bushnell Cup. Schweiger was the best player I saw perform in this league this season. His performance against CU was tremendous and well worth the price of admission.

It brings me to comment on the student-athlete idea as well. There is an annual lament of the loss of the student-athlete and the mercenary nature of college sports, especially football. I agree, college athletics at D-1 level appears unconcerned with the academic portion of the student's experience.

However, when given an opportunity to support those programs or conferences that do it right, such as Ivy or Patriot, those voices are silent. If the glory of student-athlete competiton is important to you and a part of what you want to see in higher education, go to the games. It is even better in person and will affirm your decision. The quality of play in the Ivy League, at least, is substantial. The game experience is awesome and giving support to the athletes is rewarding.

Next season make a commitment to attend at least one home game. Make it early in the year becuase you will want to return.

At Tue Dec 07, 10:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of student athletes, I understand that Nick Hartigan graduated from Harvard Law School and is now an associate in the DC office of one of the country's best law firms. As good as Schweiger might be, he really isn't in the same league as Hartigan as a runner.

At Tue Dec 07, 11:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

article on "over-staffing" of FB coaches includes Columbia:

At Tue Dec 07, 11:25:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possible recruit from TN:

At Wed Dec 08, 02:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schweiger not even in Hartigan's league? Hmm. For sure, he is a different kind of runner. But shouldn't you wait for Schweiger's senior season before you start weighing in with a comment like that? If you compare Schweiger's junior year stats against Nick Hartigan's junior season, they are actually better. Much better yards per carry, and just 81 yds shy of the rushing total (of course, Schweiger played in only nine games). Now, Hartigan had a tremendous follow-up senior year on a great Brown team - he was fantastic. But maybe hold off on the definitive statements until Schweiger has hung them up, right?

At Wed Dec 08, 07:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AD Pat Haden of USC expressed surprise that Cam Newton was essentially let off the hook for the transgressions of his father. Haden correctly noted that, in the case of Reggie Bush, the player and the USC program were harshly penalized for improprieties involving family members. And that's the way it must be.

It is not feasible for the NCAA to monitor, regulate and punish family members or fans. All the NCAA or any regulatory body can do is make it clear to players and their coaches that THEY are responsible for the actions of their family members and alumni boosters. It's up to the players and coaches to relay the regulations to overenthusiastic promoters within either player families or alumni boosters.

Nobody has denied that Cam Newton's father shopped his son to Mississippi State, not even the father himself. And now the NCAA says, "eh. . . that's okay, it doesn't look like Cam himself knew what was going on. . . heh, heh."

Consider Pandora's Box to be wide open now. I want to see the NCAA's reaction when Reggie Bush next protests, "I just thought that my mother was driving a nicer car and living in a nicer house. I figured that she had gotten a raise at work. I had no idea."

At Thu Dec 09, 01:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a completely PC copout for the Ivy League to award two players the Bushnell. Totally cheapens the award and the accomplishment.

At Thu Dec 09, 02:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The editorial by Easterbrook on ESPN.com (posted here by Anonymous 8:22 AM on 12/7) is a good one. All of us who read and post on this blog appreciate the student-athletes who work hard and represent the Ivy League so well. They reflect what is good about college athletics.

But it is absolutely a fair question to ask, "Yes, but at what cost?" Easterbrook examines the personnel and cost involved in providing a full experience for college athletes and then compares that to what it costs to staff the English department.

It is a sobering comparison. At a time when a flood of statistics indicates that American students at the grade school and high school levels are huge underachievers on a global scale, it's reasonable to examine how we spend money in university budgets.


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