Thursday, February 26, 2009

Statements from UConn

I love my job, love writing and love reporting. I'm very proud of my occupation as a sports writer and won't apologize for my career in the field. Yet occasionally, there are aspects of the media that really bother me. Contradictions, really. Like why the media (and fans) crucify Major League Baseball players for past use of steroids yet completely burying their collective heads in the sand as the most popular league in America, the National Football League, swims in a sea of HGH and performance-enhancers right in front of everyone's eyes.

And now, this recent Jim Calhoun controversy. Not sure how this thing has blown up as much as it has. Not sure how Calhoun seems to have become some sort of poster boy for being out of touch with the current economic crisis, and for coaches who make too much money.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ken Krayeske had the right to ask the question he did, though it should have been done one-on-one and not in the grandstanding manner by which he chose. And Calhoun could have handled the situation better, as well. Short of that, Krayeske is proving more and more, with each interview he gives (freeing all non-violent prisoners in Connecticut?) that he is a fool and a fraud. And Calhoun is being unduly pilloried for last weekend's rant.

The Ken Krayeskes and Jason Pages of the world will likely brand me some sort of Calhoun lackey for that statement, but that's my educated opinion.

Anyway, here are statements released by UConn from president Michael Hogan, athletic director Jeff Hathaway and Calhoun on the subject that won't die:

Coach Calhoun is a valued member of the UConn community, a Hall of Fame coach with two national titles to his credit. His salary reflects a fair-market value and his teams generate considerable resources for our Division of Athletics. In addition, while the current controversy may cloud the facts, Coach Calhoun and his wife give back to our community in many ways – through the time, energy, and personal donations they invest in important charities. We at UConn (and the charities to which they give so generously) are grateful for their contributions and support.

As to the controversy over Coach Calhoun’s recent press conference, the question he was asked about his salary was perfectly fair, although the reporter, as Coach Calhoun suggested, might have found a more appropriate and less provocative setting for his inquiry. I am sure that we all regret the controversy, including Coach Calhoun, and I can assure you that we will continue to encourage all members of the UConn community to resist temptation and treat others in a judicious and respectful manner, no matter what the circumstances.

Jim and I have talked on a number of occasions about the debate over his comments from last Saturday. It is clear to me that Jim is now aware of the potential impact his comments may have had.

We are in agreement that in challenging and emotional settings we must always be sensitive to the manner in which we make our comments and how others may interpret them.

Everyone would agree that Jim, Pat and the entire Calhoun family are passionate about their commitment to assisting and participating in the many charitable endeavors associated with our University, the state of Connecticut and on the national level.

The significant contributions of Jim’s 23-year tenure at UConn have provided our institution with a nationally ranked men’s basketball program along with a platform to showcase our outstanding academic institution and serve as a rallying point for students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and the state of Connecticut.

I am confident that Jim understands the impact of his comments from last Saturday and I believe with this behind us, Coach will now be able to focus his attention on the remainder of the regular season and the postseason ahead.

It has become clear that my comments have been misinterpreted by some as being insensitive to the current economic climate that those of us around our country and here in Connecticut are all facing.

I believe I have a duty, responsibility and obligation to support the state I love and the many people and organizations of Connecticut that are in need. I look forward to continuing with the same amount of passion and commitment to assist people and causes that are important to me and my family.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave two problems i have about this whole Calhoun backlash,

1) Ken Krayeske disrespected Calhoun, therefore Calhoun disrespected Ken back, and frankly what he said wasnt bad at all. Didnt Roy Williams just say F*ck during his post game conference?

2.) People are actually taking Calhoun seriously when he said he isnt giving any money back because he needs to retire someday.

Shouldnt the Govenor and all the other reps from CT understand what kind of person Ken is after he got arrested before? Also do they not understand that in CT Calhoun is more respected and liked then them?

9:59 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

It's a complicated topic with a million different angles to take (what about Geno and Edsall? doesn't UConn men's basketball pay for non-revenue sports? don't numerous other college coaches earn as much if not more than Calhoun? is Calhoun's salary really from state funds? why would anyone give money back from a contract they signed a while back? etc., etc.)

My main point was simply to question why this particular story (like certain others) has been blown so far out of proportion.

10:36 PM 
Anonymous Jonathan S said...

I'd be interested in seeing what other men's college basketball coaches earn. If anything, I'll bet it shows Calhoun as underpaid.

11:41 PM 
Blogger john said...

hathway is the problem here.....everyone knows calhoun and even geno are the real Pres and vp

12:38 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce Pearl makes $2.3 million a year. It includes a $250,000 bonus and an upfront retention bonus of $1.5 million. 1.6 seems rather paltry.

12:42 AM 
Anonymous Jazzy Jeff said...

Frankly, this whole thing is getting blown way out of proportion. I just read on that a few local politicians in CT want Calhoun reprimanded. Oh really? for what? Give me a break.
Salaries a tricky issue these days, i guess especially because of the economy. And even though Calhoun is a state employee and should be scrutinized as his salary does come from our tax dollars, you also have to take into consideration that he probably makes more for the University that he is compensated for. And when i say "he", i mean the program. But quite frankly, he is the one that brought the program from obscurity to stardom. Without the national spotlight, there's no way UConn would pull in the revenue it does. Just look at how many nationally televised games UConn has this year. I'm not quite sure how much the school gets for the nationally televised games, but I'm sure its not pocket change.
Was the reporter justified in asking the question? Sure he was. I don't think I would have if I was a reporter. But if Calhoun had just responded more calmly and said thats not appropriate to discuss, I think the whole thing would of been over with long ago. He shouldn't have lost his cool and he's to blame for allowing this to get out of hand. But, honestly, I don't really care if he makes $10 million. I mean, who the hell is going to request a cutback in salary because of the economy? Why is Calhoun being made a poster boy. Ridiculous. What's more troubling? I wrote this comment when I really dont even care. And I don't want to pay attention to my law professor.

9:18 AM 
Blogger Kool Mo-C said...

Your point about the media is an important one. I would add to that that this situation is, in part, due to the increasing sound-byte-ification (pretty sure that's not in the Funk and Wagnalls) of our media. With the proliferation of the 24-hour news cycle, talk radio and a variety of other forms of media (including, I suppose the internet) stories increasingly rely on one or two specific sound bytes taken out of context. Thus, Calhoun's "not a dime back" and retirement reference is stripped of its sarcasm and bandied about until its meaning is almost entirely a construction of the media outlets covering the story, rather than Calhoun himself. It seems like the meanings of the actual interactions in the original situation have completely taken a back seat to the reified interpretations of the media.

2:25 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kool Mo- yeah....nice essay. sounds like youre writing a paper for school...

9:11 AM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Kool-Mo C, that was one of the more articulate comments I've ever read! Lots of S.A.T. words there! Good work.

As your near namesake, Kool Moe Dee, would have said, "How ya like me now?"

9:43 AM 
Blogger Todd Parmelee said...

I find it funny that Krayeske slipped through the cracks. Reading his blog this is not his first run in with UConn sports or Jim Calhoun. On his blog he writes about attending the UConn bowl game in Toronto and getting into with Mike Enright.
Let's face it, Calhoun can be stubborn and arrogant, but to some extent he has the right to be. I think the forum was not appropriate for his line of questioning. The funny thing is I did not see one reporter go and talk to Krayeske after the Calhoun press conference. I was the only one that did. I told him straight up to his face that I did not think he chose the appropriate forum. I even compared him the Iraqi shoe thrower. Where were the rest of the UConn reporters? Interviewing Hasheem Thabeet about his double-double? I think you guys dropped the ball.

9:47 AM 
Blogger David Borges said...

It never crossed my mind to interview Krayeske after the incident. It wasn't the first time I've heard a stupid question in a press conference, nor the first time I've seen Jim Calhoun yell at a reporter. I had no inkling this would blow up the way it did and have the legs that it still does.

10:10 AM 
Blogger Todd Parmelee said...

Krayeske did insult the entire group of UConn beat reporters, that is why I was surprised that no one talked to him.

I wish I could make the game today, I will miss the March Madness atmosphere.

By the way nice music. Email me at if you have any gigs in Connecticut coming up.

10:21 AM 

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