Ask The Commish! (2/15/01)

Feb. 15, 2001

Each week, Commissioner Hansen answers questions from the fans, with the answers posted here every Thursday at Additionally, those persons whose questions were selected will be placed into a drawing to win their choice of a Pac-10 men's or women's basketball media guide! This week's winner was Willard Swinson, Jr. of Clinton, N.C.! Don't forget to submit your question for The Commish!

Kevin Schweitzer (Lebanon, OR)
What's your take on the number of Pac-10 men's basketball teams thatshould receive NCAA tournament bids? Who should get in?

Commissioner Hansen
At this time, it is fairly clear that the Conference�s 10 teams haveseparated themselves into two groups--those in the top five which have agood probability of being selected for the NCAA Tournament, those in thebottom five which do not. Oregon is a fine team, but it has struggledlately against the top five. A strong finish might give it an NCAAchance, but, more likely, it should set its objective as finishing with agood record and seeking an NIT bid. Arizona State also should be anattractive team to the NIT if it finishes with a winning record.

The top five teams appear to be virtually assured of NCAA berths based ontheir records and a look at conferences nationally--their attention nowis directed toward winning the Pac-10 Championship or a high finish inthe Conference and NCAA seeding. It should be a competitive and excitingNCAA Tournament, and we hope to be in the Championship picture.

Willard Swinson, Jr. (Clinton, N.C.)
The PAC-10 has a quality reputation as the best conference in all ofathletics, as well as academics. It is no doubt heads and tails above alldivision-1 conferences in any category possible. I would like to know howdo you or your conference plan to maintain such high and noteworthyachievements.

Commissioner Hansen
The Pac-10 has a fortunate combination of having institutions of greatacademic prestige, which can attract top scholars who arestudent-athletes, outstanding athletics facilities, generally excellentweather which allows extended sports seasons out-of-doors, a largepopulation base, and a history of winning national championships invirtually every collegiate sport at an unequaled rate. Those attributesalso have enabled our members to attract outstanding coaches. We hope tomaintain a competitive position in all of those categories and anticipatethat if we do so we will continue to be successful.

Gordon Unruh (Puyallup, WA)
So many years after the fact, do you now believe that the sanctionsplaced on the University of Washington in the early 1990's were reallyappropriate to the crime? I still feel (as an avid Husky fan) that thePac-10 over-reacted to what I remember as 'a loss of administrativecontrol' and issued what had to be considered as a death blow to the program. Our program made some serious mistakes. Yet were theyreally so different to the other Pac-10 schools? As I recall, even theN.C.A.A. was reluctant to follow and levied a much lighter response. Iwould appreciate knowing your opinion.

Commissioner Hansen
It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the Washingtonpenalties, but I must correct one impression you stated: the NCAA infact increased the severity of the penalties imposed by the Conference,it did not reduce or lighten them.

John Wagner (Monarch Beach, CA)
During the USC - UCLA game Thursday 02/08/01 some flash cards supportingthe USC Trojans were handed out free to everyone that wanted one whenentering the Sports Arena. Some of these were folded into paper airplanesby some of the kids and thrown out of the stands and landed on theplaying surface. The paper planes may have come from USC supporters but abottle that was thrown out on the floor appeared to come from the UCLAsupporters (section 5 or 6 loge level ) and almost certainly not a USCsupporter however the home team (USC) was penalized for it.
I think the rule is too blind. I think it's wrong to just assume the hometeam is in the wrong and to automatically call the technical fouls on thehome team.

Commissioner Hansen
You make a good point about the difficulty of determining who threw anobject when a crowd is about evenly divided between supporters of twoteams. Usually that is not the situation at a basketball game.Assessment of a technical foul against the home team provides greatincentive for home game administration to make a diligent effort to stopeveryone from throwing objects which could injure participants, officialsor other fans. That is about the only way the officials can hope toestablish a safe environment for the game. It also is important thatgame management review what the marketing department and/or spirit groupsplan to pass out to spectators. The latter bodies do not have the sameobjectives as game management, and this requires constant vigilance bygame management.


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