Athletics v. academics at UAPB | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Athletics v. academics at UAPB

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 12:01 PM

The thread on college football coach pay prompts a reader to send along Sports Illustrated's story on the basketball vagabonds from UAPB, who played 11 straight season opening games on the road in return for cash guarantees. The team is currently 1-11.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff, like many in the SWAC, play several "guarantee" games against larger conference opponents to make money for their athletic departments. The Lions took this approach to the extreme this year, scheduling 11 nonconference games as "guarantee" games, meaning they earned a check for their trouble. The upside of the arrangement is money. At about $70,000 a game, Arkansas-Pine Bluff can pocket money the entire athletic department uses. The downside is the strength of schedule and reality that even the SWAC favorites, as the Lions are, can enter league play at 0-11.

"(The players) understand what we are doing and why we do it, but at the same time, you have to go out and play regardless," Ivory said.

Eight of the 11 nonconference games were against Pac-10, Big 12, Big Ten or ACC opponents, a murderous stretch even the best teams in the country wouldn't survive. The Lions lost each game by between 10 and 20 points -- no embarrassing routs, but no close calls either.

Comments our blog reader, a former scholarship athlete himself:

I wonder how these kids are able to even study or go to class, and what about the blow to the ego of these kids for being the laughingstock of the campus for being the sacrificial "easy win" lambs for top NCAA basketball programs such as Michigan, Arizona State, Ga. Tech, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Kansas State?

 

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