Is It Time To Change Conference Tournament Formats?

May 27, 2015 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Editorials, Softball · Comment 

Jaguar_Logo_720x544Though South Alabama’s baseball team was not selected for the NCAA Tournament, they did achieve more this season than many thought they would. Going into the season the league coaches and media voted the Jaguars to finish seventh in the conference. How wrong were they?

Probably one of the most telling weekends of the season was when the Jaguars seemingly came out of nowhere and seized first place in the conference and did not look back until the regular season ended and they had taken the regular season title with them.

And they were playing their best ball at the end of the season.

They tore through the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Well, until the conference championship. But even that was a heavyweight bout. Tied 1-1 in the top of the 12th inning and Louisiana-Lafayette used a grand-slam home run to defeat the Jaguars. Unfortunately that left USA one win short of making the NCAA Tournament.

But could it be time to change the conference tournament formats?

The NCAA Regionals are a true double-elimination tournament where you could have a school face defeating a team twice on the same day to advance to the Super Regionals.

South Alabama was on both sides of the debate this season. The Jaguar softball team lost to Lousiana-Lafayette in the conference championship play-in game and lost. They then had to win the losers bracket to earn the right to a rematch with the Ragin’ Cajuns in the conference championship game. In that championship game the Jaguars held on to defeat the Cajuns, who were undefeated in the tournament, and take the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

But they have been on the other end of the of the same situation in recent history too. Against the very same school too!

So I ask again, should the conference championship game be winner-take-all or should they take the same approach as the NCAA Regional tournament and be a true double-elimination tournament? The current format, for those that do not know, is a single-elimination first-round followed by a double-elimination tournament until the championship game which is a winner-take-all game.

Either way, South Alabama would have been affected this season. The baseball team would have had a second shot at defeating the Cajuns for the automatic bid and the softball team would have needed to defeat those pesky Cajuns a second time to earn the automatic bid themselves.

Would the results have been the same? We won’t know.

Online Publication Expects USA Football Attendance to “go down over the course of the season”

October 15, 2014 · By · Filed Under Editorials, Football · Comment 

One online publication wrote that South Alabama’s attendance increase this season has been skewed by the “hordes of Mississippi State fans” who attended the Jaguars first home game this season for a sell-out record crowd of 38,129. They then pointed to the 11,348 for the following game against Georgia Southern and expects the USA’s attendance increase statistic to dwindle down the rest of the season.


Residents will tell you that Mobile has traditionally been a fairweather sports town. Unless your cry is “roll tide”, “war eagle” or involves high school football, Mobilians tend to only show up when you are winning and/or playing the “big dogs” as they would say. But South Alabama is working hard to build their fan base and change that mentality a little bit.

Many use the excuse that the location where Ladd-Peebles Stadium is located and the condition of the stadium as two major reasons why they do not attend games. Many hardcore fans realize that if it wasn’t for the city of Mobile having Ladd-Peebles Stadium it would have been exponentially more difficult to have started football a mere six years ago.

Having an underutilized 38,000 seat stadium in your back yard is an envious problem to have, many would say.

Many of those same fans who use the excuse of the stadium and location criticize the University for not building an on-campus stadium. But former Sun Belt Member Florida Atlantic, who started football in 2001, finally built an on-campus stadium that seats 29,419 in 2011 at the cost of $70 million. Director of Athletics Joel Erdmann is asked about an on-campus stadium on a regular basis and one of his standard answer is along the lines of “if you give us the money, we will build it.”

Is this how we want to be known?

Do we want to be known as the fairweather town where good things quickly blossom but fades due to neglect? (Not that I think South Alabama football will fade, it is college football deep in the heart of probably the nation’s most avid fanbase.)

Promised attendance will not get the stadium built any sooner. The only thing that will get a stadium built sooner rather than later will be strong attendance. And money, money will definitely get it built sooner.

If you have several million dollars laying around waiting to be put to good use, I can put you in touch with Dr. Erdmann in a heartbeat. He will probably put your name on the stadium too.

Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2013 · By · Filed Under Editorials · Comment 
Photo of the Moulton Tower dedication Friday Oct. 8, 2010. | Photo credit Press-Register/Victor Calhoun

Photo of the Moulton Tower dedication Friday Oct. 8, 2010. | Photo credit Press-Register/Victor Calhoun

Today marks the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. This holiday is celebrated on July 4th to honor the date when the delegates agreed, after two days of debate, on the wording of Thomas Jefferson’s text.

The Declaration was signed by a majority of the 56 delegates a month later on August 2, 1776.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” the final edition of the Declaration read.

Those poetic words were enough to spark a riot in New York. When the future George Washington read the words from a copy of the Declaration that had it to the city on July 9, the cheering crowd at City Hall would proceed to dismantle a statue of King George III. The metal from it would later be used to make about 42,000 musket balls for the Continental Army.

Happy Independence Day America. May we forever be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Have a happy and safe 4th of July Jaguar Nation.

Declan Sullivan incident being forgotten

November 19, 2010 · By · Filed Under Editorials, Football · Comment 

Note: This article is an editorial from our head writer.

Since the allegations and inside information started leaking out about Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton, the Declan Sullivan incident has faded from the memory of college football fans. However, I felt like I should write something about this because I think nothing is happening up in Indiana to address this.

Yes, OSHAA is looking into this however it is clear as daylight that several layers of security was completely overlooked in his death. According to the Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick recounted his time at practice that day. He claims that when he was there, it was calm. However, it was known that the winds had been and were currently very gusty in the area as a very powerful low pressure system was moving through the area.

It was Coach Brian Kelly who decided to practice outside on that blustery day. Some in attendance of the practice said that it was very difficult to complete passes with the gusty wind. He should have been mindful enough to get the video cameras down off of the scissor lifts, however he did no such thing. Anyone who has watched Brian Kelly coach gets the sense it’s his way or the highway. He has no visible compassion for his players or his coaches. When the coach has a 5 yard buffer zone on the sidelines at all times, you know there is something about the guy the player and coaches do not like.

The next line of defense would be the equipment manager. As the name implies, he is in charge of all equipment from the footballs, the yard sticks, practice equipment and that would also include the scissor lifts. It is his job to know the safe operation of the equipment. If a graduate assistant, coach or player were on a golf cart and were using it in a manner that was unsafe, it is his responsibility to stop it and prevent it from happening again in the future. In this case, he was supposed to know that the scissor lift is only rated to be used in conditions where wind is speed is less than 25 miles per hour. Also I do not know where the scissor lift was being used, but I would harbor a guess that it is at least recommended if not required to be used on a solid, level area. Something like concrete or asphalt. Thus the equipment manager could have made the call at any time to get Declan and any other video camera operator off of those lifts.

Finally, probably the first line of defense would be the video coordinator. He could have stood up to the coach and told him that he felt it was unsafe for Declan to be up in a scissor lift in the conditions that they were suffering. Video, or football for that matter, is not worth a kids life. Was standing up to Coach Kelly that difficult? Was he afraid for his job? He was the first person in a series of responsible adults who could have avoided this tragedy.

Some people across the nation spoke out by saying that Declan should have refused to go up or got down on his own accord. Some people are mature at 20, others take a little longer. Twenty is an age where we are becoming adults but are still inclined to do some nutty stuff. Kids like Declan typically do what they are told to do, because they have a trust in their superiors that they would not put them into harms way. This trust was clearly broken.

Most kids would opt not to work while going to college. He could have pursued his love of film and video without working for the football team and making money. If he really needed the money to make ends meet while he was studying at Notre Dame, a responsible person would trust their superiors and do what they were told so they could continue their education. So I do not agree with those who would say that he was to blame entirely. I agree he could have came down or refused to go up in the first place. After all he did post the following messages on facebook and twitter: “Gust of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work… I guess I’ve lived long enough :-/.” and the following not long before his tragic death: “Holy f*** holy f*** this is terrifying.”

What I have been saying since shortly after this incident happened and what I continue to proclaim is that Athletic Directory Jack Swarbrick, Head Coach Brian Kelly, the equipment manager and the video coordinator should all be fired. A young life was cut short by complete disregard of duty by people who were in charge. Any one of those four people mentioned could have stopped the incident from happening. Is it the case that three of those four were afraid to stand up to “General” Kelly? Because head coaches have become the equivalent to Gods in some places, are people afraid to stand up to them?

One case in point is TCU and their coach Gary Patterson. Patterson ‘verbally accosted’ a TCU doctor over a player being diagnosed with a concussion. According to the AMA, if a player loses consciousness, he is automatically considered having a concussion. Additionally the player had an unsteady gait and a few memory problems. Which are two diagnosis points for a doctor to determine if a player has a concussion. However, Coach Patterson said that “As far as I’m concerned Wesley was fine 10 minutes after he was hurt.” However the doctor stood up to the coach, and rightfully so in order to protect this players health and potentially his life.

Notre Dame should hold the persons responsible for this tragedy. I would dare say that a fairly strong case could be made that Coach Kelly was guilty of willful negligence which caused a death orĀ  possibly even involuntary manslaughter.

Notre Dame should take action immediately and do the right thing. If all four are not fired, then at a minimum that Athletic Director and the Board of Trustees should step in and get rid of the rest. Kevin McGuire from posted that, according to a source, that a number of boosters pressured the AD to ask Kelly for his resignation. Then as many as 20 boosters asked Swarbrick and Kelly both for their resignations. Additionally, Notre Dame examiner Shawn Lewallen also posted a very similar article a day or so later with a similar number of boosters. In this case, I really hope the boosters put enough pressure on that they succeed.

What do you think?

Links to similar articles calling for Brian Kelly’s and Jack Swarbrick’s resignation or outright firing: