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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your comments on the Walz reprimand...the credibility of Facebook and Twitter

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THURSDAY FROM CARDINAL COUPLE:

-The sequence of events leading to the Walz reprimand.

-Reader comments on the Walz reprimand.

-The questionable nature of electronic following.

WE have received several e-mails concerning the NCAA announcement Wednesday of a public reprimand of University of Louisville head women's basketball coach Jeff Walz for
actions during the NCAA Tournament game against Gonzaga. Just to set a backdrop for the
issue...here is the sequence of events that are involved.

MARCH 26th., 2011
-4:38 left in the first half. Asia Taylor makes a layup to make the score 27-21 Gonzaga.
-4:29 left in the first half. Asia Taylor is called for a foul. Her first, team third.
-4:29 left in the first half. A technical foul is assessed on the Louisville bench.
-4:29 left in the first half. Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot makes a free throw. Gonzaga retains possession of the ball. 28-21 Gonzaga leads.
-4:08 left in the first half. Gonzaga scores on the possession from a jumper by Janelle Bekking. Gonzaga leads 30-21.

JULY 13th., 2011

-The NCAA announces a public reprimand on University of Louisville head women's basketball coach Jeff Walz and Baylor University head women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey for events that occured during the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

-The technical was assessed after Walz was reported to have used profane and abusive language toward game officials, individuals seated at the scorer's table and on the team bench, as well as kicking the scorer's table. These events occurred after Taylor's foul.

-UofL athletic director Tom Jurich says that the athletic department accepts the NCAA's assessment and that it has addressed the matter internally. He declined to reveal any specifics. He also commented that:

"Anything we do discipline-wise, we keep it internally. Jeff is very aware of the situation. Everyone was very upset with the officiating. There were probably better ways for him to express himself, and he understands it." 

-Walz says the stress of the NCAA Tournament was ratcheted up because of Monique Reid's
injury. The team's leading scorer played only five minutes because of a groin injury she suffered in warm ups.

"I've had conversations with the administration. I'm quite aware of things that I'm planning on working on for next season. Unfortunately, it was a very stressful game having lost Monique. I'm really excited about this season. We're planning on moving forward." Walz commented about the incident.

NCAA Bylaw 31.1.10.3 states that:

"Penalty for misconduct." One of these penalties is a public or private reprimand of the individual." (Even if it takes four months...)

Sorry, but we call "shenanigans" on this move....it could have and should have been a private reprimand...an option available in the by-law.

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So, what are you saying about this incident four months after the fact?

Kerry W. (Louisville) writes:

"This is total and utter bullshit!  Hasn't the NCAA got anything better to do than to slam dunk one of the best coaches in women's college basketball?  What's next, they
reprimand players for chest-bumping after baskets? They're already calling technicals on Kyle Kuric for spectacular dunks. Grow up, NCAA! "

(Anonymous) comments:

"I am a referee. I will take a certain amount of criticism from a coach but if profanities or obscenities are directed at me personally, I call a technical. I'll listen to observations and comments on how I handled a particular play or action on the court and I tolerate a lot of things. Cursing, though, is one aspect I have no tolerance for."

Connie G. (Radcliff) says:

"What Walz did is minor compared to what guys like Bobby Knight or Bobby Huggins have done. They called the technical and they should have just left it at that. To drag it through the mud now is ridiculous. Maybe the NCAA should review that game film and reprimand the officials, They were awful!"

Charlie D. (Spokane, WA) relates:

"I was at that game. I am a big Gonzaga fan and attend all the men's and women's Zags basketball games. Walz was out of control. The punishment fits the crime. You got a good coach in Jeff Walz but he needs to take some anger management classes. There were bad calls in that game against both teams but you didn't see (Gonzaga head coach) Kelly Graves fly off the handle."

So, with this...we here at CARDINAL COUPLE are going to close the book on "Walz-gate". We much prefer to look toward the future and the potential that exists in this upcoming flock of Cardinals. The season should be an exciting one, the fan base is chomping at the bit to get things going and as coach says..."Let's move forward." 

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We get e-mails each day about things surrounding the women's sports programs at UofL.  The overwhelming majority of them concern the women's basketball team. An area that seems to be a favorite with a lot of our readers is relaying comments made by athletes on popular venues like Twitter and Facebook.  More than once, we've followed up on the "he said that she said" scenario with our campus contacts and trusted sources but have found no credible proof that these comments hold any water. Occasionally, they do...but if we were to go with every item that we receive without fully investigating the claim...we'd be putting a bunch of horse manure out there. (Some say we do that, anyway...)

We don't follow anyone on Twitter. Maybe we're behind the times...but as a sports information director once told us..."if it's important, we'll send out a press release."

Facebook is a social network we are a part of. We like to relay, at times, what is being covered at CARDINAL COUPLE to our Facebook firends. We also like to follow our friends and their comments on Facebook. We don't have a large "friends" list on Facebook...don't see the need for it...but we'll usually "friend up" with someone if they send a request and we have a general idea of who they are. We don't go "soliciting" random friends, but we've been known to send friend requests to people we know.

Sometimes, it gets into the issue of plausible deniability or accuracy. As a free access site, we don't restrict who can read CARDINAL COUPLE...and we don't berate aggregates out there who re-post our articles. We do try to exercise caution, though...on dubious social network comments, claims and and controversies. It's called responsibility.

Sometimes, we goof up and ask the wrong question at the wrong time. We've been reprimanded for going to sources or other sources of information by those sources in attempts to verify or get guidance on how to handle an possible issue or situation. Nobody's perfect. Some lines shouldn't be crossed. We've learned some tough lessons concerning this. We've...unfortunately...burned or damaged some bridges because of this. We can only try to do better and gain knowledge from errors. Even Derek Jeter strikes out occasionally...

Where does all this fall, then...in terms of administrative policies and monitoring or guidelines on what an athlete might comment or say on one these networking venues?  Should a university suggest or impose restrictions on what a student/athlete can or cannot say on one of these social networking sites?  Are there guidelines in place at some institutions about the "do's and don'ts" of social networking? Do you believe every "tweet" or Facebook post you read?

Information has come a long way from the days where certain newspaper reporters would tape quarters to pieces of paper and slide them under players' dorm room doors with their phone numbers attached. The question is...where are we headed? Freedom of speech is one thing. The best interests of an organization or program is another. Where do you paint the caution line?

For a lot of fans, it's all about the information. As soon as possible and as much as possible. It's the information age and there are plenty of ways to get it. What should and should not be released, though...and when?

That's a question for greater minds than ours. (And there are plenty of those out there...)
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