Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Geno's thoughts on Big East's last stand, Mike Rice situation

As one of my previous entries mentioned, one of the joys of covering the UConn women's basketball program is that when Geno Auriemma is asked a question he answers it, not with coach speak and walking gingerly around a subject but with brutal honesty.

There are times when it gets him in trouble and then there are times like today when he said things on a pair of subjects that many people probably think but are afraid to say.

We'll start with the irony that there are five Big East teams in the Final Four on the men's and women's side in what it the final season with the Big East as we know it before Syracuse and Pittsburgh head to the ACC, the Catholic 7 schools (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall.and Villanova) break off on their own and get to keep the Big East name. Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida will be joined by Louisville and Rutgers for one season before they head off to the ACC and Big Ten respectively. Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist and Temple will be full-fledged members beginning next season with East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa joining on July 1, 2014 and Navy joining in football only beginning in 2015.

"We have five of the eight national championship contenders are Big East schools so I guess a shout out should go out to all the (Big East) presidents to having the foresight to tear apart the greatest basketball conference that has ever existed," Auriemma said on a Wednesday conference call. But basketball coaches, I am sure Rick (Pitino) and Jim Boeheim, Muffet (McGraw), Jeff (Walz) and I feel that we wouldn't want to be anywhere else . We wished it didn't happen but we have no control over it. I guess it is a great swan song. If it is going to end,  it is a great way for it to end."

Then he was asked for his take on the situation with the Rutgers men's basketball program where a tape was released with head coach Mike Rice pushing, kicking, hurling basketball and unleashing homophobic slurs at his players in practice. Rice was let go by Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti after the tape went viral.

Auriemma made it clear that he feels there is no place for what he saw on the Rutgers practice tape. You could tell that is impacted Auriemma in a major way because on a couple of occasions, he actually lost his train of thought and jumped around a little bit which is highly unusual for him.

Here is what he had to say.

"I know each coach has their own line that they think is the acceptable line. That may be defined by how they may coach to get their team to be successful. Maybe some coaches are on the line, some coaches try to stay below that line ... I can't speak for other coaches for sure and believe me I have acted like an idiot at practice more times than I can ever recount but some of that stuff I saw and I have a friend of mine whose son is on that staff so obviously it is different for me thinking about if but if what I saw is accurate, and I assume that it is, there is no line that could be drawn that could make that behavior acceptable. I don't know where you could draw the line where you could say we were on the line or below the line. From what I have sen, that behavior is the kind of behavior ... My son played college basketball, I would not want any of my kids or anybody to be put in that situation ever."



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