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  1. #1

    Cutcliffe Article

    I just read the Cutcliffe article posted on the DBR homepage and wanted to make a few observations, then ask some perspective.

    First from the interview and even the blog comments under it I can tell DC is respected in Knoxville by the UT staff, fans and boosters. Only time will tell if Duke made the best hire they could or if missed the boat again, but from everything I have read and heard I am impressed so far. I found it refreshing to hear him say Duke football will no longer be disrespected. I'm sure he meant that on the field too and after the faculty lashing out against all athletes following LAX I'm not shocked certain professors could care less about Duke football or in any other sport. I will say if certain coaches from other teams have lost respect over the years to the point where Duke football could be kicked around on campus it was definitely time for a change. I get this way every bloody year and with every new coach that's hired. I hear positive things and hold out hope things can get turned around. But with DC I'm more optimistic than I have been in a while, even knowing full well it will take years to get back respect lost over the past 15 years. All that being said I found one quote in the article very, well let's just say different from things I have heard over the last 30+ years....


    Will academics be a major hurdle in recruiting?

    "They don't all have to be great students. That's a misnomer and an excuse that's been used".


    I'm sure perspective has a lot to do with whether you agree or disagree with this statement. I mean we have all had it drilled into our heads that on average 15-20 of the top 25 basketball players in the nation couldn't handle the academics so they never get a look or an offer. And I guess the term 'great students" is relative as well. I've known people who weren't the sharpest tack in the box, but applied themselves in the classroom and went on to get a degree, sometimes two. But I'd be curious to know from Duke alums how much of your achieving a Duke degree was genuine intelligence and how much was bust glutimus maximus work ethic.



    1. Is DC off base in thinking an athlete doesn't need to be a great (or even good) student? How much are tutors able to assist athletes and how many does he plan on using?



    2. Duke is proud of it's academic reputation despite wanting to turn their collective heads so not to watch the bloodshed every football season. Is a little academic reputation going to be sacrificed in search of a few football wins? If so, besides the academics who would like to see all athletics gone from Duke; is that an acceptable trade off?



    3. Coach K despite flaws has focused on academics, even to the point of not hanging various achievement banners until certain players graduated. Does anyone get the feeling DC is going to bust his butt to make Duke a winner, but if a few guys who weren't / aren't academically qualified fall by the wayside so be it? I shouldn't read into statements, and I love hearing dedication and positives surrounding Duke football again. I just don't want Duke anything close to Miami, FSU or VT in the caliber of players they recruit and the courses (Basket Weaving 101) they can take to get by.

  2. #2
    I also had to do a doubletake when I read that response about academics. But from what I've heard him say in the past, what I think he means is that there are people out there that might be somewhat unimpressive on paper academically but who can still handle the academics at Duke and that academic standards should not be the scapegoat for poor performance on the field. It seems to me that he's basically saying as long as they can find a way to graduate, they're smart enough, and I would agree with him that you don't need a spectacular SAT score or gpa in HS to graduate from Duke. Most of it is just putting in the time, and as coach, he can have influence upon how seriously his players take academics.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Context is everything....

    Quote Originally Posted by Latta6970 View Post
    I just read the Cutcliffe article posted on the DBR homepage and wanted to make a few observations, then ask some perspective.

    First from the interview and even the blog comments under it I can tell DC is respected in Knoxville by the UT staff, fans and boosters. Only time will tell if Duke made the best hire they could or if missed the boat again, but from everything I have read and heard I am impressed so far. I found it refreshing to hear him say Duke football will no longer be disrespected. I'm sure he meant that on the field too and after the faculty lashing out against all athletes following LAX I'm not shocked certain professors could care less about Duke football or in any other sport. I will say if certain coaches from other teams have lost respect over the years to the point where Duke football could be kicked around on campus it was definitely time for a change. I get this way every bloody year and with every new coach that's hired. I hear positive things and hold out hope things can get turned around. But with DC I'm more optimistic than I have been in a while, even knowing full well it will take years to get back respect lost over the past 15 years. All that being said I found one quote in the article very, well let's just say different from things I have heard over the last 30+ years....


    Will academics be a major hurdle in recruiting?

    "They don't all have to be great students. That's a misnomer and an excuse that's been used".


    I'm sure perspective has a lot to do with whether you agree or disagree with this statement. I mean we have all had it drilled into our heads that on average 15-20 of the top 25 basketball players in the nation couldn't handle the academics so they never get a look or an offer. And I guess the term 'great students" is relative as well. I've known people who weren't the sharpest tack in the box, but applied themselves in the classroom and went on to get a degree, sometimes two. But I'd be curious to know from Duke alums how much of your achieving a Duke degree was genuine intelligence and how much was bust glutimus maximus work ethic.



    1. Is DC off base in thinking an athlete doesn't need to be a great (or even good) student? How much are tutors able to assist athletes and how many does he plan on using?



    2. Duke is proud of it's academic reputation despite wanting to turn their collective heads so not to watch the bloodshed every football season. Is a little academic reputation going to be sacrificed in search of a few football wins? If so, besides the academics who would like to see all athletics gone from Duke; is that an acceptable trade off?



    3. Coach K despite flaws has focused on academics, even to the point of not hanging various achievement banners until certain players graduated. Does anyone get the feeling DC is going to bust his butt to make Duke a winner, but if a few guys who weren't / aren't academically qualified fall by the wayside so be it? I shouldn't read into statements, and I love hearing dedication and positives surrounding Duke football again. I just don't want Duke anything close to Miami, FSU or VT in the caliber of players they recruit and the courses (Basket Weaving 101) they can take to get by.
    I think the quotation noted above is out of context. Coach Cutcliffe has said repeatedly that he does not want to lower the academic standards at Duke in order to recruit good football players. He has also said that among the top football players every year, there are some who are very good students. They just happen to have been going someplace other than Duke.... and that has to change.

  4. #4
    I also came away with a bit of a funny feeling after reading that article. But, Coach Cut has also said in the past that a Duke degree is a "positive"... or "gold"... when walking into a recruit's home. I took Coach Cut's comments in the past as him being TOTALLY committed to academics, while trying to win football games. I think his comment, somewhat out of context, means more that they don't have to be Rhodes scholars... but they still need to be Duke students... like the rest of the student body... where not 100% of them are "great students"... (my 2 cents) So, the term "great students" shouldn't be used as an excuse... like others have posted.

  5. #5

    Read The Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Devil in the Blue Dress View Post
    I think the quotation noted above is out of context. Coach Cutcliffe has said repeatedly that he does not want to lower the academic standards at Duke in order to recruit good football players. He has also said that among the top football players every year, there are some who are very good students. They just happen to have been going someplace other than Duke.... and that has to change.
    Normally I'd be the first to say something like that was taken out of context, but if you read the article...well that WAS the context. I agree with the other posters saying he probably means if the player can do reasonably well in high school then with hard work / study and perhaps some tutoring he can pass at Duke. The quote wasn't out of context per say, but I think he might have elaborated to keep the academic powers that be from having a stroke. Then again that's one of the things I REALLY like about DC, as far as I can tell he tells it like it is. Don't disrespect Duke, if you play for me you will get better but you will work your butt off and most importantly DO NOT take my parking spot!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Duke has definitely taken chances in the past with questionable students coming into our basketball program. For the most part, they've done remarkably well in the classroom at Duke thanks to the support staff, a lot of encouragement, and a healthy environment to push their individual limits. I would expect Coach Cutcliffe to do the same. We'll never be a school who lets in an entire recruiting class of academic risks (in relation to other Duke student-athletes), nor does anyone want to be that kind of school. But to take a chance on a player or two each class, I'm fine with that. As long as the school works its butt off to make sure that player gives back to Duke in the classroom as well as on the football field.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    "Duke has definitely taken chances in the past with questionable students coming into our basketball program."

    Can you definitely give some examples?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Beem View Post
    "Duke has definitely taken chances in the past with questionable students coming into our basketball program."

    Can you definitely give some examples?
    Off the top of my head, Chris Carawell and Will Avery come to mind.
    "There can BE only one."

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
    Off the top of my head, Chris Carawell and Will Avery come to mind.
    Sean Dockery comes to mind also and we know he turned out pretty well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latta6970 View Post
    Normally I'd be the first to say something like that was taken out of context, but if you read the article...well that WAS the context. I agree with the other posters saying he probably means if the player can do reasonably well in high school then with hard work / study and perhaps some tutoring he can pass at Duke. The quote wasn't out of context per say, but I think he might have elaborated to keep the academic powers that be from having a stroke. Then again that's one of the things I REALLY like about DC, as far as I can tell he tells it like it is. Don't disrespect Duke, if you play for me you will get better but you will work your butt off and most importantly DO NOT take my parking spot!!!!!!!
    Sorry I wasn't clear... I did read the article. What I was trying to say is that the article may be presenting the comment out of context. This is a fairly common phenomenon in news reporting.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by DevilWolf View Post
    Duke has definitely taken chances in the past with questionable students coming into our basketball program.
    There is a key difference between basketball and football, though - basketball typically has only 2-3 recruits per year, so the coach can really keep a close eye on everybody and "taking a chance with questionable students" typically only involves one student every couple years - at most. In football, there are something like 30 recruits a year - much harder to keep tabs on them. You could obviously just have more resources devoted to them, however. I'd be fine for "questionable students" to come to Duke football in the same numbers - one student every couple years. But for them to come in the same percentage as basketball isn't feasible.

    Let's all be honest with ourselves - the VAST majority of football players right now are far below the rest of the Duke student body. Are they much better students than most football players at other DI schools? Definitely, and their graduation rates and things they do after graduating certainly make us proud. Would the majority of them get into Duke without football? Obviously not. I think the admissions standards as they are know are as lax as they can go. I mean, they now usually require around a 1000 SAT for a football player (Vince Oghobaase had a 1020, for example; look at his scout.com profile) as opposed to the Duke student average of around 1480. All this information, I guess, is somewhat pointless for me to say anyways since I don't think Cutcliffe meant to suggest to lower the admissions standards. In fact, he has said he wants to uphold the current standards and doesn't want to use that as an excuse.

    I'm not attempting to diminish the quality of our football student-athletes - by and large, they try hard, are very respectable students, and I think they do a great job. There are also some who would have gotten in without football, and I am always astonished at those who do so well in the classroom with such a big time commitment (this goes for any varsity sport). I salute them!

  12. #12

    2-3

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    There is a key difference between basketball and football, though - basketball typically has only 2-3 recruits per year, so the coach can really keep a close eye on everybody and "taking a chance with questionable students" typically only involves one student every couple years - at most. In football, there are something like 30 recruits a year - much harder to keep tabs on them. You could obviously just have more resources devoted to them, however. I'd be fine for "questionable students" to come to Duke football in the same numbers - one student every couple years. But for them to come in the same percentage as basketball isn't feasible.

    Let's all be honest with ourselves - the VAST majority of football players right now are far below the rest of the Duke student body. Are they much better students than most football players at other DI schools? Definitely, and their graduation rates and things they do after graduating certainly make us proud. Would the majority of them get into Duke without football? Obviously not. I think the admissions standards as they are know are as lax as they can go. I mean, they now usually require around a 1000 SAT for a football player (Vince Oghobaase had a 1020, for example; look at his scout.com profile) as opposed to the Duke student average of around 1480. All this information, I guess, is somewhat pointless for me to say anyways since I don't think Cutcliffe meant to suggest to lower the admissions standards. In fact, he has said he wants to uphold the current standards and doesn't want to use that as an excuse.

    I'm not attempting to diminish the quality of our football student-athletes - by and large, they try hard, are very respectable students, and I think they do a great job. There are also some who would have gotten in without football, and I am always astonished at those who do so well in the classroom with such a big time commitment (this goes for any varsity sport). I salute them!

    As an art major my math (and yes English / grammer....sue me I went to public schools in the state of North Carolina!) needs refreshing and work. But if in a given year out of say 3 basketball recruits 1 might be a borderline student who is going to need tutoring and assistance. That would be one third of the recruits and of course 1 out of a 4 player basketball recruiting class would be one quarter. As stated nobody has a problem with letting those single players in each year in basketball because it's easier to monitor. Does anyone think Duke is going to let DC bring in one third or one quarter of his football players with borderline SAT's and / or GPA's? In a thirty person class for example that would be ten to seven and one half players. (At least with that 8th guy he's only going to need half the monitoring because he accounts for the .5 ) I don't know much about what governing body at Duke determines what players may or may not enroll and play for Duke. But I have a hard time seeing the powers that be allowing 7-10 players each year in with borderline academics.


    Let me just say for the record if Duke can get a VERY tallented player or two ON THE FIELD who may need academic assistance BRING THEM IN! I just wouldn't want to see it for some 2 star (not my rating system) recruit just to fill a scholorship. The potential gains should outweigh the risks in my opinion from everythig I have heard about Vince O the guy is smart despite wat any GPA / SAT wants to say. You give Duke even two players that good each year and change will come, which will lure even more really good great players.


    On a side note I know the academics at many institutions don't like students in any sport / talent getting a free ride because they can play a sport, a tuba or twirl a baton. I'm just curious though, if a potential student ws highly gifted in mathmatics for example but English was a second or third language the powers that be would make accomidations would they not? Now nobody is going to give me a schlorship because I can paint like Dali, but life isn't fair. It's just my opinion that some "professors" and academics need to get over themselves and realize sometimes talent, athleticsm and beauty can get you into doors that even the smartest humans out there have a hard time opening. I'm glad Duke strives for education first and maintains their high standing in acadamia. But the last time I checked there weren't 20,000 screaming fans at the debate team challenge. And there haven't been 20,000 screaming Duke fans at a football game in God knows how long, but IMO there shoud be and hopefully DC can turn the lame horse in the right direction and get back in the race. I think DC and others think there are quite a few football players out there that applied themselves in the weightroom and on the field who could succeed nearly (or perhaps even more) with dedication inthe classroom.

    Oh, I have yet to read any comments. But one of the biggest problems IMO with Duke football over the last 20 years when facing other schools has to do with redshirting. Duke starts fresmen often times who are facing fifth year seniors. I know Roof was trying to get the ball rolling before he was let go. But has DC mentioned redshirting and his plans (if an) to impliment it?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Beem View Post
    "Duke has definitely taken chances in the past with questionable students coming into our basketball program."

    Can you definitely give some examples?
    Sean Dockery. A marginal student at best, but after meeting with Coach K he made a deal - button down his academics and we would offer. He did in his last year or two - did very well in high school - and went on for 4 years at Duke.

  14. #14

    parking spots

    I noticed the comment about "great students". It's worth keeping an eye on, but I doubt you'll see our graduation rates fall in years to come.

    Another interesting point: did anybody else notice that the car's Coach Cut had towed belonged to other coaches? At first I thought they just meant random people who are coming on campus to park, but it looks like he towed the car of the tennis coach or something. Seems maybe a tad bit petty.

  15. #15

    academics

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Beem View Post
    "Duke has definitely taken chances in the past with questionable students coming into our basketball program."

    Can you definitely give some examples?
    You can go back to Coach K's early days ... David Henderson was a very borderline academic admission. He worked his butt off -- at least twice during his freshman year, he struggled in games after pulling all nighters to study. He graduated on time and did well in life.

    Billy King was another borderline admission. Others have pointed out Sean Dockery, Chris Carawell and Will Avery.

    You've got to understand -- you can't just look at a low SAT and say that's the floor for Duke basketball admissions. Sometimes the staff will make exceptions, based on the player's ability to convince the staff and the admissions people that he's committed to athletics. Avery wanted to come to Duke in the summer before his senior year in high school -- because of his early struggles, he was given a list of requirements he had to achieve in his senior season before he was admitted. He did what was asked and got in.

    Of the real borderline basketball admissions, most have done very well -- Avery is the only one that I think let the staff down. Once he got here, he did the bare minimum to stay eligible, then after he decided to go pro, he didn't even do that.

    It's kind of funny, but most of the kids who have had academic problems at Duke were not the borderline guys. Back in the late 1980s, both Welden Williams and Phil Henderson were suspended midway through their freshman seasons for academic non-performance ... both were honor students in high school who could have qualified for Duke admission without basketball. Corey Maggette was a straight A high school student with a very high SAT (his other college finalist was Stanford) ...

    K has a lot of flexibility because he's proved that he's serious about academics and not just paying lip-service to the idea. Somebody mentioned his refusal to hang banners ... he also cancelled a summer tour of Australia back in 1994 because the team did not do well academically that spring. His graduation rate is superb -- hurt only by early NBA entry and transfers (although in almost every case, the transfers leave in good academic standing and graduate at their destination schools).

    But I think Duke fans should understand that he DOES recruit with some severe academic limitations. Too often I hear, "Well, if Sean Dockery could qualify, then he could have taken Player X." That's not true -- when a player is at a certain academic level, there's got to be some evidence of commitment to academic achievement before he can become a Duke target. There are players who have better measurables (SAT, GPA) than a Dockery who are not admissable to Duke. I know of at least one grade A big man prospect in the Class of 2009 whose name has been mentioned on this board who won't be coming to Duke because of academics.

    Cutcliffe deserves the same flexability as K has had -- and the same standard. If he can find kids who are borderline academically, but have a real commitment to Duke's academics, then he should be allowed to recruit them. But he's got to prove over the course of the years that his judgement on such kids is good and that they graduate at a reasonably high rate.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jtholland View Post
    I noticed the comment about "great students". It's worth keeping an eye on, but I doubt you'll see our graduation rates fall in years to come.

    Another interesting point: did anybody else notice that the car's Coach Cut had towed belonged to other coaches? At first I thought they just meant random people who are coming on campus to park, but it looks like he towed the car of the tennis coach or something. Seems maybe a tad bit petty.
    Yeah, I know tennis players and coaches that park in the "football lot" because it's right next to Ambler/Sheffield. I had just assumed that they were allowed to park there too...I guess not.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    Yeah, I know tennis players and coaches that park in the "football lot" because it's right next to Ambler/Sheffield. I had just assumed that they were allowed to park there too...I guess not.
    I think that the "football lot" is simply the parking spaces in front of the Yoh building. The parking signs definitely say they are reserved for the football staff.

    Are you referring to another parking area near the Yoh building?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by hughgs View Post
    I think that the "football lot" is simply the parking spaces in front of the Yoh building. The parking signs definitely say they are reserved for the football staff.

    Are you referring to another parking area near the Yoh building?
    Yeah, I know it says football - I just assumed other sports (e.g. tennis) could park there as well since I'd seen it happen. I'm referring to the lot just south of the IM building, right by the blue zone. If you look at this map:

    http://map.duke.edu/index.php?new.x=...-245.69&zoom=5

    The lot practically touching the IM building is the lot I'm talking about. It's also near Yoh. I'm assuming it's the same one...

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    Yeah, I know it says football - I just assumed other sports (e.g. tennis) could park there as well since I'd seen it happen. I'm referring to the lot just south of the IM building, right by the blue zone. If you look at this map:

    http://map.duke.edu/index.php?new.x=...-245.69&zoom=5

    The lot practically touching the IM building is the lot I'm talking about. It's also near Yoh. I'm assuming it's the same one...
    Gotcha, I'm thinking about the lot on the other side of the Yoh building, in Wallace Wade, closer to Cameron.

  20. #20

    Duke has shown a lot of flex in Football admits last 5 years

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    Cutcliffe deserves the same flexability as K has had -- and the same standard. If he can find kids who are borderline academically, but have a real commitment to Duke's academics, then he should be allowed to recruit them. But he's got to prove over the course of the years that his judgement on such kids is good and that they graduate at a reasonably high rate.
    And, based on what I understand, more flexibility than when Spurrier was coach.

    For example, a poster on TDD who appears to have good data posted that fully 1/3 of the football admits the last 5 years had SATs below 1000. Some even below 900. For example, an academic exception, based on an interview, was made for Thad Lewis, but not Armando Allen with SATs closer to 800 who attended the same high school but went to Notre Dame.

    Under current guidelines, our admissions office will bend pretty darn low.

    I think this is enough. Whether we risk enrolling kids who will not like the academic work load, who are ill-prepared for it, or admit so many marginal recruits that we even dilute the academic reputation of Duke Football alums, which I think is a risk.

    K has admitted some marginal academic students, but he has also admitted some stellar kids, and while the Football team used to have a higher SAT average than the basketball team, I believe it is the other way around now, and by a considerable margin. Zoubek with 1500s kind of helps, but kids like Paulus are not slouches either.

    If you look at the football team averages, ranges these days, I think you will find that we are not as highly ranked among D-1 programs as we were in 1997 when averages last were published, when we came second or third to Stanford.

    Back when such averages were maintained, I understand that Duke basketball was virtually always in the top 5. I do not think our Football team is any more.

    The Question is again, how far do you want to drop down, because there are problems in doing so. There are plenty of 3 star players out there with over 1000 SATs. IMO 1000 should be the cut off (it really is not anymore), with some provision for an interview, but only for kids who had pretty darn good high school GPAs or who at least attended more difficult high schools.

    I also understand that Cut is not fazed at all about his admissions guidelines in recruiitng Football players. In fact, I understand he rather prefers recruiting the somewhat smarter kids.

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