Robert, the linesman's Comments

Posted Friday May 06, 2011, About: The ebb and flow of international competition
Many thanks to FRANK DEFORD for his excellent column on the subject at hand appearing on the SI tennis page today. I concur with his observations.
Posted Thursday May 05, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
Bill Hancock, Executive Director, BCS to DOJ: " Goodness Gracious" a gratuitous fool!!
Posted Monday April 25, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
Very much in agreement ................... you cannot exclude conference champs. That is what these kids played for all year. I would round it out to 16, a good number, with the highest polling teams which have not won their conference. Very fair
Posted Monday April 25, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
16 teams covers four weeks, Prelim, Q, SF, F. With 11 conference winners and five seeds, you should cover the top ten in the polls. After that, 11-16 will be determined with conference champs taking precedent. That is for selection. After that, the playoff committee determines internal seeding which as in NCAAB does not depart greatly from the polls.
Posted Monday April 25, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
I favor 16 teams which is eight first round games followed by 7 bowl games.

A playoff or tournament is to determine a champion. If you and the polls judge you the best, you should win. If you are sent packing you not only will not be the champion, but you will not be considered the best. Play with the words however you want but the truth is not kind.

You cannot adopt a mindset present in our schools today where everyone gets a trophy because we don't want losers and we certainly don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Is Butler better than Duke .................. perhaps not, but I would rate them even because Butler has shown how to step up and play worthy of champion calibre. Anyone who has participated in competitive sports will attest likewise.
Posted Sunday April 24, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
Default2 .............. In a Div1A playoff, the winner is the 1A champ! If better teams didn't come ready to play, that's their problem.

Of your 120 teams, about 20-25 win big and win often. Why would you be concerned with the
rest which only scrape the crumbs off the table? The champion should come from within the elite.

When you decide to support the 2011 Division 1A Playoffs, let me know and I'll arrange to get you the best seats in the Rose Bowl, with whom I have great influence, for the finals!
Posted Sunday April 24, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
Very feisty discussion .................... with all the talk of bribes, payoffs, favors, I thought for a moment we were discussing the Mexican 1A League. To those who think that's just fine ... on with the game! .... you are giving those in Washington who are following this, a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Some observations:

March Madnes IS a playoff. You win, you stay - you lose, you go home.

Whoever agrees the champion is the best team? If you live in Hartford, you do. I happen to think Duke was the best. But they didn'come to play that night and their second half was not exemplary of a championship team! You go home!

Be careful about comments on FCS vs FBS. In the last couple of years W&M beat Virginia and lost in the final minute to UNC. JMU beat the Hokies, Richmond beat Duke, and Appalachian St beat Michigan. Mixing them together is never viable though due to enrollment and school philosophy among other things.
Posted Saturday April 23, 2011, About: FCS playoffs, a tested formula.
Clarification..................... Is anyone listening? I meant NCAA primarily and any other distinguished entity designated with the care and well-being of our beloved sport ................and, uh, also, with the best interests of the paying public
Posted Saturday April 23, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
Cuban ................. Please explain, I would like to hear your reasoning why you give a thumbs down to the playoffs. Remember that the NCAA is totally behind basket, baseball, tennis, FCS and a myriad of other playoff venues in their bailiwick. Why are they outsourcing Div 1A? A writer described this as Roger Goodell relinquishing control of the Super Bowl to John Gotti. The only downside of the playoffs will be a lack of pockets for these corrupt folk to dig their hands into.

I highly recommend commentary on the subject at, Yahoo Sports 3/30/11. The writer makes some very pertinent observations.
Posted Saturday April 23, 2011, About: FCS playoffs, a tested formula.
I believe all the recommendations have been thoughtful and imaginative, my only opinion is keep it simple like FCS. Also suggestions made in 2009-2010 are every bit as valid now as they were when made. This is not rocket science.
Posted Saturday April 23, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
Troy ............ I believe disgraced is a bit strong but internal overhaul yes, and some people might even be in trouble with the law. I am all for bowls and I think they should definitely be incorporated in the 1A playoff format.

The FCS format has been an overwhelming success. Keep it simple and efficient. The only departure from that procedure would be to include 7 bowls in the Q, SF, F. I would keep the Rose as a permanent fixture for the final and rotate the others. You will see some extraordinary matchups and highly competitive contests, not like some of the dogs we've had to watch in years past. Also, in the first round, what a gas to see a Texas go up to An Arbor and play in 20 degree weather!

To your point of more smoke than fire, misapropriation of funds and lavish payouts go far beyond a little scandal. There will be consequences because the public has had enough of this crap going on many venues under their collective nose.
Posted Saturday April 23, 2011, About: FCS playoffs, a tested formula.
Great commentary ........................ is any one listening?
Posted Saturday April 23, 2011, About: PLAYOFFS IN ................. BCS OUT
It is very probable that in the next 30 days, the Orange and Sugar will be fully exposed. Good reference articles are Andy Staples SI 3/30/11, Business Insider 3/31/11, USA Today 4/22/11 and Forbes March. That will occur to facilitate individual legal action. The bottom line after this all washes out will be an overhaul of Bowl games in general. This will permit a playoff system to incorporate certain of those in their format (quarters, semis and final)
Posted Saturday April 16, 2011, About: The ebb and flow of international competition
Best answers so far: Paul Wachter, AOL News

1. US best athletes are not entering tennis. 2. Tennis is expensive in that high schools do not provide equipment as with the major sports. i.e. restringing costs $50. 3. Globalization - US player development inferior to that of other countries many of which just entered international competition in recent decades (Croatia, Serbia, Japan). 4. Other countries provide only soccer and tennis options creating a smaller universe and thus, a greater concentration of the country's best athletes with a greater individual reward.

Pure Country

6. US offers more sport choices thus diluting the talent pool in schools, especially for minor sports. 7. It is more advantageous to sign a professional contract that provides a pay day as long as there is satisfactory performance. Tennis has no such safety net.


8. Tennis offers an insecure future beforehand, as only the very few elite players make a decent living and after, as the number of tennis related jobs (coaching, academies, camps) is limited. 9. For the non-elite, the life style is pure drudgery.

Agree or Disagree, please opine ...............................
Posted Wednesday April 13, 2011, About: The ebb and flow of international competition
Last Wednesday the 6th, Wertheim said he would have profound answers as to what is causing the prolonged dearth of top ranked US players, men and women. He outsourced the answers to his readers: 1) be patient, they will appear - five are in the top 20 but don't be discouraged as four are soon to retire! ....... 2) the lack of tennis writers is the reason, because of our poor the showing, they are losing interst in covering tennis. This response is unbelievable!!

I wrote Wertheim immediately to please answer as promised using your vantage point as a professional reporter answer today. He treats deep issues with caution opting to not offend anyone. He is a some time dilettante preferring to write about social issues and circuit gossip in general.

Maybe Bruce Jenkins can take a shot at this.
Posted Sunday April 03, 2011, About: The ebb and flow of international competition
Pure country, I believe you nailed it with the economic arguments. About twenty players of the 100+ that participate on the ATP circuit, win big and often. The remainder collect the crumbs, have no endorsements and live in a shaky financial state. Add to that a less than desirable life style always on the road, on planes, in hotels and no social life.

What you suggest is a tennis future where Americans will not be reaching the upper ranking echelon.
Posted Saturday April 02, 2011, About: The ebb and flow of international competition
A 29-year old player ranked #14 is the best the USA has to show with another of equal age just behind. The skant number of "up and comers" mope about the court in a dispirited manner looking like losers before a match even starts. Our tennis future is ebbing badly. With the potential infrastructure the USA possesses to turn out quality players, this situation is not to be believed. The women's game has no one! I would certainly like to hear opinions from the great fans on this web. Also, Wertheimer and /or Jenkins should do some investigation ....................... we're in really bad shape!
Posted Sunday March 13, 2011, About: Davis Cup ..... the Pride of Tennis
Purecountry, I totally agree with your assessment of "incentive". The meaning can vary and its coldest and unfeeling form is when money enters. My interpretation in this venue is " We recognize your loyalty and sacrifice, thank you". Davis Cup in concept is similar to the Olympics , but in reality the participants are severely pressed by injuries, scheduling abuse (little time off) and they are professionals who do this for a livelihood - a far cry from the ambient that reined in the pre 70's.

My concept of incentive here is likened to the boss that gives an employee a paid beach holiday for his family , a reward for outstanding perfomance -- not monetary, not in his contract and totally unexpected. It's another way to say "Thank you, I value you".

Now if we can bring the ITF, dinosauric cousin of FIFA into real time, maybe we can stir up some excitement. In the last round of DC, I saw no television coverage of any type in my area.
I chimed in originally since it appeared that the integrity of the game was being addressed, not personalities/behavior. For the most part it seems to have swung to the latter.

If the sport has rules, or a lack of them, and enforcement, or a lack of it, that is what matters. Today, sport tennis is in serious trouble. When it is "under control", it is of no concern that one player is an S.O.B. and the other Prince Charming. As to talent, they both are where they are because of skill at the game.

There is nothing here that can't be remedied with experienced and competent officials and management.
Mac, I don't agree that it is a matter of sportsmanship or class ....... it is the conduct and organization of the game which we have written about. CHAOTIC!

* Coaches - The lines are blurred since coaches were allowed on the court. As usual, a poor decision.
* Time - You take what's given, nothing wrong with that. If you go over, you get penalized.
* Tape - A non-issue. You can use it on any part of the body you wish. Some should consider using it over their mouths!
* Trainer - If you have an umpire with authority, that will not be abused. A wimp will allow anything. From what I??ve seen this season, they should do psychological testing before allowing some of these people to sit in the chair.

Simple Solution: If there are rules, let's start enforcing them. And while they're at it, let's put together a tennis organization with top-down authority.
Posted Thursday September 02, 2010, About: Foot faults
This is a pertinent thread and the issue should be in the forefront. Last night didn't address regulation, but behavior. Roddick is above what he displayed.

The bigger question is integrity and the organization behind the sport. In the first case it's being threatened every day for lack of the second. There should be an all-encompassing ruling body with a Commissioner to enfore the rules fairly and quickly.

* Foot faults should be challengeable.
* The chair umpire must oversee the match with authority.
* Lines people should never be berated or dismissed without cause to placate the players.
* The mouthing-off has got to be dealt with to bring it to an end.

Last night was a black eye for tennis with the aforementioned behavior and the Milquetoast behavior of a gutless umpire Sport tennis showed once again last night that it is wallowing like a ship without a rudder.

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