McCollum's Column: UCA, NCAA, realignment and college baseball in these ‘Appetizers’


Serving a piping hot batch of “David’s Appetizers,” assorted musings and observations from the sports scene:


It was time to pull out the hot putters Monday at the University of Central Arkansas’ Purple Circle Golf Tournament at Centennial Valley Golf & Country Club.

That didn’t relate to skill. It related to being hot as golfers sweltered through the morning session and melted during the afternoon session in heat and humidity not often experienced for another month.

Former UCA basketball standout and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, listed as a special guest, did not make the tournament because of last-minute personal issues.

The tourney, a major fundraiser for the Purple Circle Foundation, attracted 40 teams for the two sessions with most of the UCA athletic staff participating on various teams.


As he found a shady spot after the morning round, Brad Teague, UCA athletic director, summarized a variety of current topics in a brief interview:

COLORADO: The Bears are scheduled to play the University of Coloardo in 2013. Teague said Colorado moving from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 should not affect that contract. 

“It would only affect that if they played more conference games,” Teague said. “But in any case, I imagine they and the other teams, will keep their (Football Championship Subdivision) games. Those were scheduled for a reason.”

APR: The latest APR ratings released by the NCAA are actually a year behind for the 2008-2009 year.

“We’ve just turned in ours for this past year and we’ve in good shape,” Teague said. “Our coaches have figured it out that what this is about is graduating kids and keeping them at your institution. We’ve gotten better every year. I don’t see any issues in the future. When you have new coaches and a new system, you’re going to have attrition and players will leave for various reasons. The whole point is what you do over multi-years; the four-year average is what can get you in real trouble.”

As an example, Teague noted that women’s basketball was the lowest-rated women’s sport for the 2008-2009 period with an APR of 913. The figures turned in this year had the women’s basketball at 980 with 1,000 being a perfect score.

VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT: Teague said UCA bid on hosting two Southland Conference tournaments for 2011, volleyball and softball. It was awarded volleyball.

“It’s great for the program to get volleyball at our first opportunity to host a conference championship,” Teague said. 

Because of required seating, the tournament will have to be held at the Farris Center, meaning the basketball teams will have road games that weekend.

OFFICIAL NCAA CERTIFICATION: UCA is expected to be officially certified as an NCAA Division I member by late July. Teague said UCA officials have given their final report to an consulting firm, which will prepare it in proper form for the NCAA certification committee, which meets later this summer.

“I’m nervous about it for the sake of being nervous,” Teague said, “but we have done everything we have been asked to do and have done it well. I don’t see a single thing someone can point to that would hold us back.”


Many observers conceded that the NCAA Super Regional between Arizona State and Arkansas was indeed a “super” regional, probably the best in awhile. 

It also meant sleep-depravation for alot of us: three runs and 24 innings deciding things.

The Razorbacks were feisty but they were erratic in the field most of the season. They had some good pitchers but not the great “shut-down” pitcher beyond possible Drew Smyly. Their staff overall didn’t seem the type to carry a team all the way.

The Hogs probably lost that region earlier when they didn’t finish the season strongly and lost two straight games in the SEC tournament, which put them directly in the path of Arizona State, a regular to the College World Series and a solid group that makes a team pay — both with small ball and the long ball — for every mistake.

This was college baseball at its craziest and most exciting.

It was a good season. The question now becomes, with the number of players and recruits drafted, what will be left for next year.


I think I’ve seen it called one time in about four years. Then, it happens twice in the same game to the same batter (Brett Eibner) in the Arkansas-Arizona State game. There was nothing flagrant, particularly the last instance, when Eibner, a tall guy, struck out started to walk across the plate and ducked. Technically, it could have been called.

But in a regional that tightly contested, it’s cheap. It’s a game for the players, not the umpires.


At one point Monday, ESPN was reporting that Texas was headed to the Pac-10 while CBS and other media were reporting the likelihood of the Longhorns staying put in the Big 12 minus two.

That’s how fast-developing the situation was developing over the weekend.

UT officials like controlled and they controlled the situation and the last-ditch offer by Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe apparently gave them what they wanted, which is the right to have their own TV network (not offered by th Pac-10 and one that could bring in $3-5 million a year) plus the Longhorns would receive $20-25 million in the new TV contract. Texas A&M and Oklahoma would reportedly get $20 million from the new Big 12 (10) TV deal. The remaining seven schools would get $14-17 million a year but are willing to sacrifice a few million to keep the conference together and it automatic BCS berth.

The interesting part of this, and it reflects the challenge of modern communications, is a website/blog has seemed to be ahead of the major networks in its reporting of the situation.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or



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