College notebook

Emmert says Fiesta scandal a warning

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / April 1, 2011

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HOUSTON — NCAA president Mark Emmert attempted to diffuse critics of the college football bowl system who point to the Fiesta Bowl scandal as an indictment of the football bowl system.

“You can’t indict the entire bowl system because of what’s gone out there,’’ said Emmert at his annual State of the NCAA/College Athletics address yesterday. “My hope is that it will also serve as a warning shot that every community that runs a bowl game makes sure they’re doing the oversight compliance and due diligence to make sure their bowl games are well run. We have reason to believe that’s not the case.’’

Emmert also said he supports any changes that require basketball players to stay in college for more than one season. “I’m in favor of anything that encourages people to stay in college,’’ said Emmert, who has been the NCAA president since last fall. “If there’s changes that encourage students to stay in school, develop, and grow that’s great. The so-called one and done phenomenon has taken on a bigger-than-life position in people’s minds about college basketball. I would very much like to not have that become the image of intercollegiate basketball, even though there are some who do that. But I’d certainly like to have our kids stay in college and prepare themselves for the rest of their lives.’’

Wildcats lead pack Not surprisingly, Kentucky, as the bluest of blue bloods of this diverse Final Four, leads the way with 14 Final Four appearances, UConn is second with four, Butler has made two (consecutive) and this is Virginia Commonwealth’s first trip . . . Although the age of Butler coach Brad Stevens (34) and VCU’s Shaka Smart (33) has been a hot topic, the record for the youngest coach to bring a team to the Final Four belongs to Robert Montgomery Knight. Knight was 32 years, 4 months and 29 days old when his Indiana team advanced to the Fiinal Four in 1973 . . . If UConn wins the national championship, coach Jim Calhoun, at 68, will become the oldest coach to win a national championship. Former Kansas coach Phog Allen was 66 when the Jayhawks won in 1952 . . . Making it to back to back Final Fours is unusual, but not rare, especially among the BCS schools. Michigan State did in 2009 and 2010, Florida in 2006 and 2007 (winning national titles as well) and UCLA did it in 2006, 2007, and 2008. But for Butler, a school from a mid-major conference (Horizon) is most unusual. The last mid-major school was UNLV in 1990 and 1991 . . . With No. 8 seed Butler and No. 11 seed VCU, along with No. 3 UConn and No. 4 Kentucky, this Final Four is the highest accumulated seed total in Final Four history.

Blodgett sounds off Former Maine women’s coach Cindy Blodgett said she was “fired without cause.’’ At a news conference two days after her dismissal, Blodgett said she was first told there was a divide in the locker room when she was asked to resign. She said after players rallied behind her, athletic director Steve Abbott announced she was fired because of the team’s performance. Her teams had a record of 24-94 in her four years — including 4-25 this season.

Thomas entering draft Washington guard Isaiah Thomas is forgoing his senior season with the Huskies and entering the NBA draft and will not return to school no matter what happens. Thomas has yet to hire an agent, but at the beginning of a conference call with reporters said, “yes, it is a goodbye.’’

UMass’s Mosgrove a hot shot Cerie Mosgrove of UMass won the women’s 3-point shooting championship at Houston in festivities leading up to tomorrow’s Final Four. Mosgrove, a Needham native, led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (49.7 percent) this season . . . Hofstra signed first-year coach Mo Cassara to a five-year contract through the 2015-16 season. Cassara, a former assistant at Boston College, led the Pride to a 21-12 record . . . Illinois coach Bruce Weber said he’s received calls about other coaching jobs, but doesn’t plan to leave Illinois . . . Wyoming hired Florida associate head coach Larry Shyatt as its coach. Shyatt agreed to a five-year contract . . . J.T. Durley and Graham Hatch scored 12 points each to lead a balanced offense, and the Wichita State Shockers overwhelmed top-seeded Alabama, 66-57, to win the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden.

Material from the Associated Press was used.