The Indianapolis Star has been doing weekend feature stories on incoming IU and Purdue basketball recruits. Here is yesterday's Terry Hutchens piece about Christian Watford.
Big Ten expansion?:
First he was for it, then he was against it, now he's for it. Joe Paterno is talking about Rutgers again. It's nice of New Jersey Star Ledger columnist Steve Politi to suggest that Rutgers "should listen" if the Big Ten comes calling. I agree, except that I might replace "should listen" with "should praise Jesus, schedule a press conference, and Fedex the notarized contract to Chicago before someone thinks better of it." Does a foothold in the New York City media market (18 million strong, about 6 million of whom live in New Jersey) and the chance to stage a championship game mean so much that the conference should add a school that brings little to the table? Rutgers has been to the NCAA Tournament only five times in its history, fewer than any Big Ten team except for Northwestern. The Scarlet Knights rank #73 out of 107 I-A football programs in winning percentage, behind all Big Ten schools except Northwestern and IU, and would be the only Big Ten school that has never played in a major bowl game. Rutgers is a good school academically, but per the US News rankings, is roughly on par with Purdue, Iowa, IU, and Michigan State. Good, but not so overwhelming as to cancel out the lack of football and basketball accomplishments.
Underlying this offseason flurry of expansion talk is the suggestion that the Big Ten is severely hampered by the lack of a championship game. I don't see any evidence for the proposition. If anything, the absence of the "extra loss" provided by a title game may explain why the Big Ten has more BCS bids than any other conference and has had two teams in the BCS eight times in its 11-year existence). I'm not opposed in principle to expansion, but I don't think it's a necessity that justifies inviting a school that isn't a good fit either athletically, academically, or geographically. And while I hold Joe Paterno in high esteem, his sole focus on eastern schools makes clear that his motivation is based on his perception of Penn State's interests, not the interests of the conference as a whole.
Wait, this was a links post.
This is not strictly a sports story, but long-time IU administrator Terry Clapacs, who spent some time as the interim athletic director between the tenures of Michael McNeeley and Rick Greenspan, is retiring. He plans to write a book about the architecturual history of IU, which sounds interesting.