Monday, August 06, 2007

Summitt right to cancel series with UConn

To the Editor:

David Climer's opinion article regarding the cancellation of the Tennessee-UConn women's basketball series is a fine example of what is wrong with college athletics — too much emphasis on playing the game and too little emphasis on playing the game the right way ("Summitt wrong to cancel UConn series," June 18).

There are things that happen in college recruiting that reach beyond the scope of decency, and that line has been crossed. Coach Pat Summitt doesn't have to explain her reasons for canceling the series — her silence tells the entire story, and it's a shame that she's taking the heat over this.

Geno Auriemma should hope that Coach Summitt remains silent, because when the real story breaks, he will be the one who will have to face some tough questions.

That moment, in contrast to what David Climer and many fans across the country believe, will be the dark day in women's college basketball.

Canceling UConn series Summitt’s folly
by David Climer

Over the course of her remarkable career, Pat Summitt has won games, influenced people and generally been the guiding light of her chosen profession — coaching women’s college basketball.
She helped build the game.
Recently, though, Summitt did something very, very bad for women’s basketball. She canceled the long-standing series between Tennessee and Connecticut.
Summitt doesn’t make many mistakes but when she does, it’s a doozy.
The series was canceled without any explanation from Summitt or UT. UConn officials said they were simply notified the game would not be on the Lady Vols’ schedule this season. That was it.
What motivated Summitt, coming off her seventh national championship, to hit the delete button? Some believe it is her personality conflict with UConn Coach Geno Auriemma. But in recent season, the two seemed to have buried the hatchet.
More likely, it centers on some hard feelings lingering from a major recruiting battle. The Lady Vols lost Maya Moore, the consensus national player of the year, to UConn.
Whatever the reason, canceling the UT-UConn series is bad for women’s hoops. It is one of the few regular-season games that gets national attention. Casual and non-fans of the women’s game sat up and took notice when the Lady Vols and the Huskies played.
Now, we’ll have to wait until tournament time and see if the fickle bracket aligns the two programs.
Pat Summitt doesn’t lose often.
But she lost face on this one.
Big time.

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