Write On Grrrl

Voice of Empowerment. Not reason.

March Madness

Gimme some stats University of Rhode Island.

Not the overall record of Jim Baron in his eleven years as head coach of the men's basketball team: 184-166. Not the times that Baron was awarded Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year: Three. Not the number of seasons that he coached his team to twenty plus wins: Six.

I don't want to hear about this year's losing record, during a time of complete and total team rebuilding: 7-24. And please don't bring up the amount still owed to Baron, to be paid in addition to the salary for an incoming coach: One million bucks.

What I want to know, as an alumni of URI, is the number of players that not only stayed in school during Baron's tenure, but graduated, you know, with a college degree.

Call me silly, but isn't that the true objective of an institute of higher learning? That all students, athletes or not, achieve a quality education? Coach Baron got it. He understood the importance of not only obtaining an advanced degree, but using basketball as a means to get it done.   

URI leadership? Not so much.

"Right or wrong, a Division I basketball program these days is judged on, 'Did you make the tournament or didn't you'," said University of Rhode Island athletic director Thorr Bjorn in Monday's Providence Journal.

Wow. So, with that, we'll be seein' ya, Coach Baron. Nothing personal. It's just business.

But it shouldn't be.

Coach Baron did a rare thing during in his tenure at URI; he conditioned his players to see hoops as a jumping off point for life. And in a culture based on instant gratification and impatience, yeah, much like that displayed by the URI top brass, ready to judge the success of their program on a single NCAA appearance, Baron showed true character.

It could have been a great moment for you, URI--an opportunity to change a bit of college sports culture.

But you, like so many before, blew the call.