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UF’s Donovan Not Happy About Thursday-Saturday Turnarounds

Kevin Stallings, you’ve got company.  Yesterday, Florida’s Billy Donovan voiced his concerns about the quick Thursday-Sunday turnarounds that some league teams are having to deal with this season.  Rather than suggest that his team is at a disadvantage, Donovan used another team as an example of the difficulties of the turnarounds (possibly because he’s 9-1 in such back-to-backs). 

Donovan specifically mentioned Alabama — a team that hosted Vanderbilt at 7pm last Thursday before facing Kentucky at noon on Saturday. 


“If you’re trying to get more teams into the NCAA tournament, don’t put the teams inside your league into a competitive disadvantage.  That’s my only problem with it, where teams are at a competitive disadvantage…

There’s got to be some level of balance there.  The league needs to look at those situations where maybe there’s a clear, distinct advantage.  I think an advantage sometimes is if a team’s playing a late-night game on Thursday night, there should be some rule put in that you’re not going to play Saturday until after 4 or 5 o’clock.  I’m using Alabama because it just happened.”



We’ve got no problem with Donovan’s suggestion that the league try to implement rules regarding start times.  We’d suggest going to a pure 48-hour rule.  If a team plays at 7pm Thursday, it couldn’t tip before 7pm Saturday.

Unfortunately — and we’ve said this before — that’s not what television executives want.  And while TV execs may be paying for Alabama, Florida, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas during football season… they’re paying for Kentucky’s brand name during hoops season.  Like it, don’t like it, that’s a fact.  Kentucky versus anyone is likely a better ratings draw national than any other SEC school versus any other SEC school. 

Donovan knows this.  “Kentucky’s program is extremely valuable and important to our league and their success is important to our league.  There’s no question about that.  And I’m sure ESPN wants (them), but ESPN also has a Thursday night game, too.”

Sadly, what coaches and fans seldom realize is just how difficult in-conference scheduling can be.  Until every team plays every other team at home and on the road, you’re always going to have complaints.  And even then some would bark about who’s facing who early in the season, late in the season, in back-to-back games, etc.

SEC spokesperson Craig Pinkerton told The Gainesville Sun that the league has certain parameters it must live within regarding Thursday-Saturday turnarounds.  But, “While we make our best efforts to balance out the Thursday-Saturday tandems amongst all of the team, we can’t always make it perfectly balanced.”

Of the major BCS leagues, only the Big East requires its teams to face fewer two-day turnarounds than the Southeastern Conference.


(For some reason I’d initially headlined this piece “Thursday-Sunday Turnarounds.  Obviously, it’s Saturday as is written throughout the piece.)

 


19 comments
Dynamite fan
Dynamite fan

O I C Stallings is a whinning crybaby and Donovan makes some good points?? Alabama and Tennessee both ran out of gas vs. UK What is the record for teams doing the Thursday-Saturday Turnaround BTW?? So far it's 1-3 since Vandy lost Saturday also which will cost them a NCAA Tourney bid.

FourThinInches
FourThinInches

You all need to put a lid on it. You whine and whine about how getting on ESPN is good for recruiting, exposure, and good for the program. But no one wants to watch you. Im talking about Vandy, and the ENTIRE SEC West. Want to be on TV then play the thursday games. UK is #1 and everyone watches them hoping they lose so ESPN gives them the best spots(super tuesday).

Lets talk about whining. What a bunch of sissy SEC coaches. UK fans dont whine about playing NOON games EVERY saturday in football. Its so fun tailgating at 9 AM!!!!!!!!!!! My friends and I bring Orange juice, bacon, and eggs. We have a good hearty breakfast and then file into the stadium at Noon to watch the cats! Lets also point out that UK games are never televised. Unless you have the DTV sports package like me you can't watch them outside of Lexington. You don't hear us whining like the rest of you pansies about not getting on TV and why are recruiting sucks.

SEC fan
SEC fan

In other words, John, if ESPN said we would like Kentucky to play one extra home SEC game each year because it would be good for our schedule and besides, we pay you guys alot of money, that would be OK too. After all, if one team gets a competitive advantage due to TV demands, so be it and people shouldn't complain about it. I would love to hear the complaints from the Kentucky faithful if the reverse were true and they had MORE Thurs-Sat. turnarounds than other SEC schools. The howls would be LOUD and FREQUENT.

AGator
AGator

Is there a TV reason for Kentucky to play on Wednesday instead Thursday? People would still watch them if they played on Thursday wouldn't they?

FallsChurchDore
FallsChurchDore

As Donovan said, ESPN has Thursday night games, too. No reason the Cats can't play on national TV on Thursday before playing again on national TV on Saturday. It is telling that the only Thursday game that Kentucky plays is the last Thursday of the season, followed not by a Saturday game but by a Sunday game...then followed by 4 days off before playing on Friday at the SEC Tournament.

dee6634
dee6634

You seem to have a different attitude about Donovan complaining vs. Stallings whining. Interesting.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Vols fan...

You seem to be putting words in my mouth -- as so many often do. I didn't say it was fair. I said TV is the reason for the situation and that scheduling isn't as easy as everyone thinks and that regardless of the schedule someone would always complain.

Would UK folks complain if the roles were reversed? You betcha. And I'd write: It's because of TV, scheduling isn't as easy as you think, and someone's always going to say they're getting shafted by the schedule-makers.

Not sure what complaining UK fans would have to do with what I wrote.

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

dee6634...

Yep, it's 'cause I'm a big Gator fan. Add them to the list.

Actually, I made the exact same points here that I made in the previous post. Scheduling isn't as easy as coaches think and they would find reason to complain no matter what.

I will say, however, that Donovan was MUCH more diplomatic in his comments than Stallings. Stallings suggest Kentucky was catching too many breaks. Donovan was talking about the situation and using Alabama -- not his own school -- as an example of why it's tough. When ASKED about Kentucky, he then praised their program, made it clear that he understood their television drawing power, and then suggested ESPN has Thursday night games, too.

If you don't see the difference in the way the two men handled this one issue, then that's on you.

Interesting.

John

SEC fan
SEC fan

Just a simple question: Shouldn't the SEC insist on a schedule that does not give one team a competitive advantage for two years in a row, (regardless of how much money the networks pay it) and is it simply too difficult to equalize this so that nobody gets an unfair advantage due to TV demands? I don't think that is too much to ask. The SEC certainly promptly addressed Alabama's complaints about their football schedule. Guess we will see whether the SEC takes a similar approach to this problem or not, won't we?

TheTruth
TheTruth

@John at MrSECKevin Stallings didn't "complain" about it. He was asked directly about it by a reporter, just like Donovan was. He simply answered the question....honestly, I might add.

SEC fan
SEC fan

When you don't have a plausible, sensible reply, attack the other guy's team. That's beneath the intelligence level of an engineer. You guys are generally pretty bright. "you guys" aren't demanding anything from ESPN or even the SEC for that matter, just stating the obvious that all teams should face equal schedule hardships, regardless of records or attractiveness for TV coverage. Don't think that is asking too much but apparently, others do. As for attacks on TN & NCAA trouble, remember who your coach is and be careful throwing stones.

FourThinInches
FourThinInches

@SEC fan Come on man. your team is below .500 and your getting TV time for basketball games. I don't know why your complaining. Everyone gets to see your new coach, and that Stokes kid with the size 20 shoes they talk about the entire broadcast. Your program just embarrassed the SEC with the Bruce Pearl Fiasco and your still getting National TV time.

Now im an Engineer by profession and not a TV exec. But, ESPN only has X amount of spots to show games. Top ranked teams are the big draws and get the special preferences for TV times, gameday, and the level of analysts covering the games(dicky V.,all the way down to doris burke). If you really think your program has enough pull to make demands of ESPN then do it. But they will just drop you from TV, and you can play your games on Wed. and Saturdays and lose all your recruiting advantages. 1 extra days rest worth all not being on TV at all?

@John at MrSEC Not personal insults or anything of that nature. Just a generalized perception from the alumni/fans of the other 11 teams. I believe you had some articles titled along the lines of, "Its October and UK fans have given up on football and are ready for basketball." When we did our Midnight madness, or whatever. Our football team was god awful, our offense was like 119th in Division 1 at one point. Do not what team you root for John, but as a UK fan I can only take so many 3 and outs before I just stop watching them all together. The South Carolina game where we had like 50 total yards of total offense was when i stopped tuning in. There is always next year. Love your website by the way!

SEC fan
SEC fan

To say that this inequity is either "in the eye of the beholder" or "simply inevitable because of TV demands" is, in my opinion, unacceptable and either due to denial or an intent to give one school an advantage. Further, to suggest that Kentucky is somehow "entitled" to this advantage because they have less football games televised or because it is a valuable TV asset makes very little sense if you look at it objectively. Finally, regarding Stallings and public vs. private complaints, far be it from a Tennessee fan to defend a Vandy coach but one should probably ask why does he HAVE to complain about it at all? Isn't it obvious that playing a road game on Thurs evening then playing a Sat game at 12N puts that team at a competitve disadvantage? So if so, then why didn't SEC office see that and make sure ALL teams have equal numbers of these turnarounds?

SEC fan
SEC fan

@FourThinInches@John at MrSEC Just don't think either of you get it and maybe, don't want to get it either. Two weeks ago, Tennessee's BB team returned from Starkville,MS after tough game that came down to last possession arriving in Knoxville at 3AM Fri. then had to tipoff vs Kentucky at 12N on Sat. and played a tough game before losing in last few minutes of game. Would that have happened anyway? yes, probably and do other teams face similar circumstances and win? sure. It is not an issue unless some teams have to deal with it and others do not. I repeat, it is not an issue if the schedule is equal for all teams.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

FourThinInches...

If you could please point to a single story where MrSEC.com has "made fun of UK for being a basketball school," I'd like to see it.

John

FourThinInches
FourThinInches

@SEC fan@John at MrSEC uk gets screwed in Football, the rest of the SEC gets screwed in Basketball. I don't see the problem. Considering all of you including mrsec make fun of uk for being a basketball school. Do I think its fair you have to play Thursday and Sat? No. Do I think most of the schools in the SEC should even be on television? No.

Guess what. In the NCAA tournament you only get 1 day off before your next game. Granted there is no1-2 hour plane ride involved. But you guys are acting like your teams are on 12 hour road trips to get to their game. They hop on a plane for a couple hours.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Vols fan...

I'm for a fair schedule. How silly to suggest that I'm not.

But I also know no one will change this year's schedule in January. So the league's coaches should air their complaints behind closed doors at the SEC Meetings if they have issues. Otherwise, they sound whiny. Why wasn't all this discussed when the league's schedule was announced last year? Why now?

1. Kevin Stallings complained, something he's wont to do. (Poll media members and see which SEC coach is best known for his yearly complaints.)

2. Because Stallings talked about the issue, we in the media have been asking every coach about it. Some -- like Donovan -- bit on the question. I'm guessing more will.

And I've never met a fan yet who didn't think someone else had an easier schedule than his team.

Handle it behind closed doors in Destin.

John

SEC fan
SEC fan

@John at MrSEC The reason that we are discussing it is because it is an obvious competitive advantage to at least 2 SEC coaches (bet it would actually be 11 if all were polled) and almost all of your readers (except for a few KY fans and even they ackowledge it to be an advantage) so one has to wonder why it seems obvious to everyone except you. Why would you not want a fair schedule for all SEC teams?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Vols fan...

I could see that, but what everyone is missing is this -- competitive advantage is in the eye of the beholder. Some might see back to back road games as an issue. Some would see Saturday-Thursday turnarounds as an issue.

The league's coaches and AD can address this at the league meetings in Destin. They have that chance every year. Why we're talking about this every 2 days in the middle of the season, I don't know.

John



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