23.3.10

WHAT'S THE DOMINANT STRATEGY? Connecticut basketball coach Geno Auriemman unloads on tightfisted administrators.

"Until more women's coaches are held accountable for wins and losses and style of play, there is nothing we can do about it. It's proven that the more programs that do that, the more people will come out and watch," Auriemma said. "Every men's program in men's basketball is trying to make the tournament. That's not the case with women's basketball. Until that happens, the sport will be in a little bit of a holding pattern.

Auriemma said the top players coming out of high school are going to a wider range of schools.

"The programs who might rank from five to 45 in the game are much more competitive than they once were. So the game is slowly getting there," Auriemma said.

Auriemma said any perceived stagnation of the game's growth is the fault of university presidents and athletic directors who do not respect women's basketball enough for it to succeed.

"What has to happen is that enough athletic directors and university presidents need to make more of a commitment to the women's game so they will put more pressure on their coaches to coach better. They don't put enough money into the programs to demand from their coaches that they play at that level."

All they are doing is fulfilling their obligation by having a women's program and making sure the kids graduate. They tell [the women coaches] they have enough trouble dealing with men's basketball and football, so don't bother me. So [administrators] would rather status quo remained. That would be unacceptable on the men's side, but they let it happen on the women's side."

There's accumulating evidence that the universities are losing money on the positional arms races called men's basketball and football, and the way to make the women's tournament something other than Stanford and Tennessee and Connecticut is to ... get into another positional arms race?

Um, Coach Auriemma, is the University of Connecticut attempting to be competitive with Northern Illinois in accounting or Michigan State in engineering or Wisconsin in chemistry or Penn State in economics? I leave the generalization of your argument to the reader as an exercise.

(Via Women's Hoops.)

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