Men’s basketball coaches from Division I private universities Belmont, Vanderbilt and Butler, along with ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes, shared their perspectives on being truthful in athletics as the Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics and Belmont University Athletics hosted their first Integrity in Sports panel discussion Wednesday in the Maddox Grand Atrium.
NewsChannel 5 sports anchor Steve Layman moderated the discussion among the men he dubbed “caretakers of the game.” The panel debated the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics and maintaining integrity and honor amidst growing pressures to win. Participants also discussed how integrity spans recruiting, practice, scheduling, road travel, balance with academics, NCAA compliance, coaches’ personal conduct and student behavioral issues.
“Things aren’t going to change until the coaching heroes talk about doing things honestly and decently,” said Belmont University men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd. “College athletics is supposed to be a part of the college educational experience, and coaches should be held just as accountable as the mathematics professor.”
Byrd added a university’s athletic integrity starts with its hiring of coaches.
Butler University men’s basketball head coach Brad Stevens said instead of simply sitting in the rows behind athletic teams in arenas, university presidents and athletic directors should not “waver in accountability in day to day” and be the “tone setters” to trickle down the way they want student athletes to be treated and to behave.
The coaches also discussed a “win at all costs mentality” that pushes some coaches into compromising to keep their positions and how social media and bloggers amplify wins and losses taking them beyond the court. (more…)
Team defeats Harvard, Butler, Notre Dame based on academic standards
InsideHigherEd.com—an online source for news, opinion and jobs for all of higher education—released today its own picks for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket and selected Belmont University to take home the Championship Trophy, at least according to the team’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR). The site annually completes an NCAA bracket based on each team’s academic performance, and for the past two years the winner of its Academic Performance Tournament bracket has played in the actual championship game.
A team’s APR is a measure of eligibility and retention for Division 1 student-athletes that was developed by the NCAA. Belmont’s men’s basketball currently boasts a perfect 1000-point APR as well as a 100 percent graduation rate. Even those numbers still made the Academic Bracket a challenge as the Bruins were matched by Notre Dame in the Sweet 16, but Belmont pulled through with a tiebreaker based on federal graduation rates.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “I’ll be the first to admit my love for basketball and the joy it brings to see our players compete. However, nothing makes me prouder than seeing our students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs, an effort that begins in an academically challenging environment. Our scholar-athletes’ performance in the classroom indicates to me that their future success is ensured, regardless of game scores or tournament bids.”
Men’s basketball Head Coach Rick Byrd added, “We appreciate Inside Higher Ed recognizing Belmont University and our men’s basketball program in this fashion. We are proud of the academic success that our players, both past and present, have achieved.”
Athletics event to benefit Nashville Special Olympics
Student athletes will compete off court and away from fields in Battle of the Bruins, the first student-athlete talent show, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the Curb Event Center. All 11 of Belmont’s athletic teams will be represented on stage.
“This is also something fun for the athletes to get us all together because we are traveling a lot so we don’t always get to interact across teams. And it also will allow other students to know who we are when we aren’t playing sports,” said Jennifer Newnan, a senior on the women’s golf team, who will dance during Battle of the Bruins.
The talent show is presented by Belmont’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Among the performances are skits, dance routines and musical acts. Judges are three members from Diamond Rio, Golden Tate of the Seattle Seahawks, alumna Melinda Doolittle, Allison Demarcus and Special Olympic Star Josh Putnam. The athletes are competing for Bruins Supporting Bruins points, an initiative to get athletes to attend each other’s sporting events. At the end of the year, the most supportive team is rewarded with a dinner.
“Belmont is such a unique place with so many people that are musically talented. This talent show will give athletes a chance to show their natural talent, like singing or dancing or playing an instrument, that they usually cannot show off because they are busy with practice and games. Athletes are naturally talented and competitive, so this is a good fit,” said Morgan Gilman, a graduate student studying sport administration, who has been instrumental in the planning of Battle of the Bruins. While a swimmer at the University of Illinois, she and teammates hosted a similar talent show as a philanthropy event. She translated that event into Battle of the Bruins.
Belmont Athletics, along with corporate sponsor Cowan Benefit Services, has initiated a “guest coach” program at men’s home basketball games to honor a Belmont faculty or staff member.
The honorees are selected through a nomination process done by SGA where Congress members are invited to suggest a nominee and discuss what impact the individual has on the Belmont community and why he or she should be chosen. Congress then decides on that week’s Guest Coach recipient.
SGA President Rachel McNabb said, “It is such a rewarding moment to be able to reflect and share stories as to how so many professors have impacted the lives of Belmont students. I know that myself, Cabinet and Congress feel blessed to have the opportunity to give back to our professors in such a small but significant way. “
Director of Athletic Marketing Jimmy Frush said that the main objective of this program is to do something that publicly recognizes what faculty and staff do on a daily basis for their students. The recipient is joined on the court by an SGA member to be recognized before the starting line up and receives a block of tickets to the game, a T-shirt and a basketball signed by both coaches Rick Byrd and Brittney Ezell.
Dr. David Julseth, chair of Belmont’s department of foreign langugage, was honored at the 2011 game against Trevecca, and Dr. Julseth said being presented was one of his favorite parts of the 2011 semester, especially because the nomination came from students.
When asked about his advice for Coach Byrd, Dr. Julseth said, “I attribute our overwhelming win against Trevecca (86-61) to the fact that, as guest coach, I cheered from a safe distance and let Coach Byrd do his job.”
Upcoming honorees include Amy Hodges Hamilton (Jan. 28), Mary Rau-Foster (Jan. 30) and Thom Storey (Feb. 6).
Past honorees for both the 2011-2012 and 2010-2011 seasons have included David Julseth, Bob Byrd, Sue Trout, Jeff Cornwall, Don Purdy, Nathan Griffith, Robert Lambert, Sarah Ann Fleming, Regine Schwarzmeier, Beth Woodard, John Gonas, Vaughn May, Harold Fogelberg, Colonel James Cook, Mike Pinter, Joseph Byrne and Shelly North.
Belmont University honored its freshmen class during the third annual First on the Floor on Mon., Nov. 28 at the Curb Event Center. A Belmont tradition, First on the Floor gives freshmen the opportunity to line the court and kickoff the men’s basketball season.
About 500 freshmen participated in the event, which included food, face painting and a chance for them to learn Belmont cheers before Belmont defeated Trevecca 86-61. The Bruins and Trojans, former NAIA rivals prior to Belmont’s move to NCAA Division I, had not met since January 1997.
Belmont has now won 17 consecutive home games dating back to the 2009-10 season.
Belmont (3-2) returns to action Thurs., Dec. 1 against Kennesaw State. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m. CT at the Curb Event Center.
Click here to read more on the Bruins victory over the Trojans.