Did you think that John Lickliter video was fucked up? Guess who else did: If you were hoping for some justification for your indignation at that weird John Lickliter spoof video thing, good news: Gary Barta's on your side. The athletic director said this:
"I’m going to stand on my feeling that it crossed a line," Barta said Thursday night. "It called out a student-athlete who didn’t deserve it. It’s one thing if we’re struggling and there’s something wrong and someone needs to report on it and if someone wants to get creative and call out me or call out our coaching staff, that’s one thing. But when it goes into highly criticizing a student-athlete, to me that’s just crossing the line."
Barta told the Presidential Committee on Athletics that he sent WHO-TV a letter asking for the station to issue an apology to John Lickliter.
"They took a student-athlete and did a parody or satirical piece and really were critical and ripped on the student-athlete," Barta told the PCA committee. "I’ve written a letter to the station, basically asking them to apologize to the student-athlete. It went far beyond, in my opinion, what would be deemed as acceptable."
As dissenting opinions go, Mike Hlas' is predictably better than usual, and he makes the point that WHO isn't automatically obligated to capitulate to Barta's demands:
I thought the video was kind of a cheap shot at John Lickliter. Saying he has had far worse things said about him on the World Wide Web isn’t an argument in this matter.
But here’s what I see as the cold, hard truth: If John Lickliter wasn’t Todd Lickliter’s son, no one at WHO would have bothered to make that video. When a coach puts his son on the court in Big Ten basketball games and that son has a rough game, insults will almost always follow. No matter how undeserved.
Murphy will likely apologize anyway; he's not the type to declare war over this, and he's already told us he didn't like the video. Still, this raises an important question: how much influence should an AD have over the media who cover his/her school? He can't single-handedly draw the lines, but if he has no say, then what's the point?
"Gary Barta, your thoughts?" PART 2: As if the sting of a local news station's satire weren't enough, Barta had to deal with an even more immediate and conspicuous effect of his basketball team's struggles: an entire section of Carver-Hawkeye Arena turned into an Illini student section. Barta continued the decidedly un-Bloodpunch streak by pointing out the two more immediate problems facing the program: attendance and performance:
"When they showed themselves in their orange gear, the fan in me got riled up," Barta said. "I didn’t like it. I guess I credit them for their creativity and getting it done. At the end of the day, they didn’t do anything wrong.
"We’ve got to take offense to it as fans, and I’m including myself, we’ve got to fill up the house so there aren’t tickets available."
Just before tipoff Wednesday night, Illinois fans dressed in Iowa gear revealed themselves as the "Orange Krush" before Iowa’s game against Illinois. The "Orange Krush" is the nickname for the Illini’s student section at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
From the sound of it, if they planned it months and months in advance and filtered it through several Iowa-based buyers, that would be good to know; it would adequately illustrate how impossible it would be to avoid such a situation without better attendance.
If, on the other hand, someone got an offer for about 160 tickets, all in one section, from somewhere in Urbana, and only for the Illinois game... look, I'm not saying we need to get a TSA thing going in the ticket office, but this is obviously less than ideal. The question Barta needs to ask is, "Can we practically prevent an embarrassment like that ever happening again"? Total guess here, but we're saying "probz."
Iowa's reports tend to indicate the former. Whew.
Just a reminder--Ron Zook's big thing was recruiting: Signing day has come and gone, and we're still just floored at how god-awful the Zooker's recruiting class is. Even when he went to Illinois, the general feeling was "yeah, he won't get the most out of these kids at all, but once he's fired, all you have to do is hire Urban Meyer and boom championship!"
That, um, hasn't happened; Illinois' vaunted 2006 class has come and gone without a bowl win, and this class is complete fucking garbage. We looked at it and clicked on a random 2-star recruit to see if the services were just docking dudes for picking a sub-.500 team like they used to do with Iowa in the early part of the decade. Alas, nein; check out this vaunted offer list:
Yes; Central Arkansas said no; Illinois said yes. It should be noted that the offer went to the young man as soon as Illinois snagged new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino from Arkansas; this wasn't some random "hey let's look for anybody" deal. Still, though. Central Arkansas said no, and Zook said yes. Ron Zook is like Steve Alford on steroids.
THREE YARD OUTZ:
Lord knows we'd be better off than with his cousin, Norwegious Unitarium: Iowa has apparently offered '11 TE/DE Christian French from Cedar Rapids. He's big, fast, and still learning football. He could develop into Jevon Kearse, and he could be as bad as the horrified, mouthbreathing commenters fear (end of the page). You'll want to read these, because, wow.
Lest we fall into the familiar trap of "Kirk Ferentz does things the way only he wants" The P-C has a good article about how Iowa adapted their recruiting strategy to accomodate the growing tendency of recruits to commit early. Wait, you didn't think Ferentz would rethink his entire recruiting strategy? You clearly spend too much time listening to idiot fans and not enough time listening to Ferentz.
And last, remember to support Haiti through the power of humor: You might think everyone's minds have been made up about Haiti. Wait until you see one Facebook user get converted to the cause in beautiful fashion (first item).