Gophers won't return to basketball team next season
FROM NEWS SERVICES update: April 11, 2009 - 12:14 PM
Gophers men's basketball reserves Travis Busch and Kevin Payton will not return for their senior seasons, according to a release from the school. Their scholarships were not renewed by coach Tubby Smith.
"We are grateful for what Travis and Kevin brought to the University of Minnesota during their time on campus," Smith said. Smith needed two additional scholarships to accommodate a four-man incoming recruiting class.
It was bad enough seeing a basketball coach being the highest paid "faculty" at the U. of Minn., but now, that individual is releasing basketball talent, to take on more promising, more talented individuals.
But aren't these supposed to be "student-athletes" so that if there's no academic problems, there's no disciplinary problems, the coach is complimentary, then they can stay for their final year and boost the graduation rates for b-ball; but instead it's into the ashbin anyway? Isn't there something basically wrong in that?
There's no suggestion of malingering, inattentiveness, or playing under capability - only not playing well enough to subjectively please Coach Smith with better prospects in mind. Academically they apparently are fine, or the coach is not saying otherwise - he's saying nice while you were helpful, others promise to be more helpful.
BOTTOM LINE: Is this a professional athletic franchise, or a university?
An apology to Coach Smith and the Golden Gopher Basketball program.
The error is Strib's not mine. I had a nagging worry after posting, whether one key fact unmentioned cut one way or the other, so I went to the Golden Gopher website.
Here, the U.Minn. athletic department reports, and the Strib sportswriters, for whatever reasons they have did not think the opening paragraph of the team's news release was relevant:
University of Minnesota men's basketball head coach Tubby Smith and the Golden Gopher basketball program today announced that guards Travis Busch and Kevin Payton will forgo their final season of eligibility at the University of Minnesota. Both players are seniors academically and are on schedule to graduate this spring.
That puts the announcement in a favorable, not unfavorable light. The team graduation rate is enhanced, each of the young men can move on to his life's work, and Smith is praisworthy in working out a situation of extra elibibility not needed to graduate on time. I have no problem with the situation, except that Strib, given the Clem Haskins problems the program had, should have been more comprehensive in the online report. Unlike a print edition item, online fitting things on a page along with paid advertisement is not determinative in shortening a story.
The Strib story was shortened leaving an impression of jetisoned young men. It is hardly so. Again, the program is not at fault.