The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, October 11, 1993 - 3
Bo concludes with a look at the
issues of college football today
Close But No Sugiura
In the conclusion of his interview
former Michigan coach Bo
Schembechler comments on all as-
pects of college football, including
Michigan and the Big Ten, the Michi-
ganAthleticDepartment and his plans
for the future.
BOON... College Football
Daily: What is your opinion on
the trend toward superconferences in
football, possibly with a second tier?
Bo: Isee that as aviable answer to
those that don't want to have com-
petitive football. Those that do will
end up joining superconferences and
perhaps, if the NCAA doesn't give
rules too cumbersome to govern these
teams properly, they probably ought
to have their own governing body,
have a superconference in the west,
ttlwest, east and south.
D: Already you have the 12-team
SEC with its own playoff schedule.
B: The SEC is powerful there, but
they would probably have to integrate
some from the southwest because
there may be some teams in the SEC
that don't want to compete. Maybe
Vanderbilt chooses to go a different
route. Maybe Northwestern chooses
togo a different route. A lot of those
schools may choose to do something
else andif they do, that's fine. There's
another conference that they could
belong to. I'm talking about perhaps
60 of the top teams in the country,
something like that.
S-D: On another note, You always
talked about the officiating in college
football. Do you see that as having
improved at all?
'Generally the changing
of football makes the it,
reason is such a great
game is because It
does change. I mean, it
changes from year to
year and you had
better be up on what's
going on or you're not
going to be able to
B: Yeah. Nobody knew anything
about it until two hours before the
announcement. No athletic director
knew anything about it. I just think
that that gave notice to athletic direc-
tors that you're just an administrator.
You are not a leader of your athletic
program and the Big Ten conference.
They let us know; that finished them.
D: Okay. Which way do you think
the conference will eventually go?
B: If they could get Notre Dame,
go to 12. They can't get Notre Dame.
D: Do you see Northwestern in
conference, go to the Rose Bowl and
win the Rose Bowl. And if in the
course of events we're voted No. 1,
then we'll take the National Champi-
onship. But we don't line up to say
we're going towin the NationalCham-
pionship because if you do, you end
up not winning the conference, not
going to the Rose Bowl, not winning
the Rose Bowl and then end up with
nothing. Now, is that clear?
May I ask you this question? Why
are we in the Big Ten? To play for the
National Championship? Because
there will come a time when you may
have to make a decision as to whether
it's in my best interest to go for this tie
'When I was a coach I said that the ultimate
goal was to win the Big Ten conference, go to
the Rose Bowl and win the Rose Bowl. And If In
the course of events we're voted No. 1, then
we'll take the National Championship. But we
don't line up to say we're going to win the
National Championship because If you do, you
end up not winning the conference, not going to
the Rose Bowl, not winning the Rose Bowl and
then end up with nothing.'
B: I'm not close enough to judge
that. The only way you can judge that
is if you have spent an enormous
numberofhours studying game films.
I'm not doing that now so I wouldn't
even want to comment on officiating.
I could not answer that question no
D: You left with a rather large run-
in with the officials.
B: Not really,not the Big Ten that
much, no. I had arun-in on a guy who
called a holding call on a punt in the
Pac-10. I mean, if you want to call a
unm-in, that was a run-in.
D: There was a reprimand ...
B: Oh sure, but after I was Presi-
dent of the Detroit Tigers. That was
BO ON... The Big Ten
D: Similarly, how do you see the
Big Ten working out with 11 teams?
B: Well, that's going to continue
to be a problem. The conference
should have 10 teams or 12 teams.
Eleven is not the right number. It's
just logistically not right. These open
dates during the season, teams not
playing three (actually two, Ed)other
teams in the league. It's too unruly.
But of course nobody ever thought of
that when they invited Penn State.
They just invite them. Then, let's work
it out later.
-D: Was the addition of Penn State
a decent one?
B: I don'tknow. I think only time
will tell there and I think you'd have
to ask Penn State whether they're
happy with the arrangement, but, as
you know, no athletic director knew
anything about it until it was done. At
that point, in the Big Ten conference,
it was obvious to everybody that the
presidents were going to make all
decisions and the athletic directors
B: They would be the logical
D: But should the Big Ten be
adding and subtracting teams strictly
on their football performance?
B: No, they can't.They have to do
it on the basis of whether they are
similar academically to the other
schools in the Big Ten. If they are not
similar academically, then you can't
allow them to come in just based on
athletic performance because they
BO ON ... The 1993 Wolverines
D: Compare today's Michigan
team's personnel, its philosophy to
the teams in the Schembechler Years
when you coached. Especially in terms
of offensive and defensive philoso-
phy. The defense has gone to a more
attacking defense. The offense is ad-
mittedly throwing the ball a little more
than youused to.
B: Well, I don't think that you
could philosophize these. The phi-
losophy hasn't changed; strategies
might have changed a little bit, but
that's true of all of football. Football
is playing less and less with lead backs
and tight ends. We haven't changed
here in that regard and I'm glad we
haven't, because the the teams that
have minimized the importance of
those blockers have not been able to
mount the offenses that are necessary
to score 11 points and win.
Generally the changing of foot-
ball makes ... the reason it is such a
great game is because it does change.
I mean, it changes from year to year
and you had better be up on what's
going on or you're not going to be
able to compete and there's some
innovative things-a lot of no huddle,
probably increases the number of
passes, and a reduction in the number
of option plays. However, the moving
of the hash marks may bring the op-
tion back. I watch Syracuse run it
pretty well. I watch North Carolina
run it pretty well. There is some re-
turn to option football that teams with
D: Speaking of innovations,
Florida State runs no-huddle, shot-
gun passes almost every down. Is that
the future of football?
B: Only if I have (Charlie) Ward
at quarterback. If I don't have Ward,
then I don't want to depend as much
on one player in my offense. Now,
Ward is fortunate that he is also sur-
roundedby giftedathletes,but Ward's
danger is that he is a stone cold athlete
that can take and improvise play and
make it into abig gainer. That's where
he is a special talent.
D: Back to Michigan. What do
you think of the notion that the Rose
Bowl, unlike what you used to preach,
is not the ultimate goal any more, but
Michigan has to look beyond the Rose
Bowl to the National Championship?
B: You'd never hear me say that.
and win the conference, or try to win
this game in the National Champion-
ship, what are you going to do? I'm
going to win the conference.
.D: What about Michigan's funda-
mental problems? You always
preached proper tackling positions and
B: Letme tell you this. I am retired
from coaching. But because this is an
exceptional coaching staff - mark
my words -if we have enough talent
to improve and win the conference,
we will do it. The coaching will get it
done. Now, that's the way I feel. I'm
not going out here and say they miss
tackles because of this technique or
that technique because I'm not going
to get into that.
Because I don't know these indi-
vidual players as much as I should.
There may be some of these kids that
just have a tough time getting into the
positions they need toget into to make
these tackles. I don't know that, so
why should I try to judge what's go-
BO ON... Michigan Athletics
D: A couple questions on the fu-
Obviously, it'sin a transition, and it's
changed a lot since you left the A.D.
spot. How about incoming Athletic
Director Joe Roberson. What kind of
job do you think he's going to do?
B: I have no idea. I just met him
for the first time today. And so, I had
a nice conversation with him. I think
he's certainly a good person and ev-
erything but I can't answer that.
You've got to understand, I'm kind of
out of the main stream.
D: How about Michigan's con-
tinual renovation and expansion in
terms of sites. The football team now
plays on grass. They played on
astroturf when you were here. Yost
Arena, Varsity Diamond, Crisler,
they've all been renovated recently.
Yet, some criticize the amount of
money that Michigan pours into site
renovations. Do you think that in the
future Michigan should keep spend-
ing all this money on its facilities?
B: Well, if you're going to have a
quality, first-class program, you've
got to have quality, first-class facili-
ties. I think that's necessary. Whether
you want to or not, you have to spend
money to keep up the stadium. It's an
old stadium. You have to spend money
to keep up Yost Arena. It's an old
facility. You've got to spend money
to keep these facilities current. That's
just something that you have to do.
Maintenance is very expensive. There
probably aren't a lot of new facilities
that they're looking at.
Now I do know they're looking
for a tennis facility, and we have no
tennis facility. So, we're talking about
something we haven't got. You know,
it's not like we can fix up what we got,
because we don't have anything. So,
if in the minds of the people here
tennis is important, then we'll have to
BO ON... Bo
D: Are you still, in your heart, a
B: Always have been, always will
be. Football is my game. Football
coaching was my life. That hasn't
changed. That's why I still love to go
to games. I love to watch college
football. It's a magnificent game.
D: How have you changed? Are
you the same Bo as a person now that
you're not an active football coach?
B: Just age. I haven't changed
other than that. It's like I said, I'm not
in the pressure cooker like I was. And
so, that's different. That's different
for me than I've ever been because, I
was right in the middle of it for 37
D: Okay, but you still see yourself
as pretty much the same guy, to quote
your autobiography, the guy with the
B: Yeah, that's it. I was the guy
with the whistle. I never took myself
any more seriously than that. I never
looked like I was, or felt like I was,
special. I was just lucky enough to
coach here and hire good people and
get good players, have good relation-
ships, have a lot of fun and won some
games. That's it. I don't look at my-
self as anything other than that.
D: Lastly, what are your goals and
plans for the future, both personal and
professional. Do you have it planned
B: No. Right now, I'm, Ijust go do
the things that I enjoy doing. I was
over in Pittsburgh over the weekend
(of Sept.19), so you know what I did?
I went in and sat and watched Pitt play
Ohio State. The next day I went down
to Three Rivers and watched the Pitts-
burgh Steelers play the Cincinnati
Bengals. And I enjoyed it.
D: So do you plan on keeping this
office for awhile, working for Michi-
gan and things like that?
B: Yeah, and probably be here a
little less than I have been. Do some
other things. I may want to travel a
little bit more. That's the way I feel
now, but I don't have any specific
plans at the present time, as far as a
commitment that will be on a daily
basis over several years. I don't have
Now, I may go make some
speeches and do a little television.
I've done a lot of things that I would
never have done before. I was base-
ball sports casting, cameo appear-
ancein amovie (The Program), played
some golf, go to football games as a
spectator. Go to see some pro games,
do the Lions preseason (analyst role).
Those are just things that I want to do
and Ihave done them. I'm doing them
and I'll do some other things too that
might surprise you, you know what I
mean. That's my life now.
And, what's wrong with that? It's
kind of neat really. Now, probably if
I had my druthers, I should probably
have my own team coaching football,
and making that kind of commitment.
But that kind of commitment would
take all of my energy because when I
coached football, I did it seven days a
week, 12 hours a day. That's all I did.
That's all I did and loved it.
Making big bucks with
a straw and a Penny
have an idea.
Given the huge long-term salaries given to NBA rookies Anfernee
"Penny" Hardaway and Shawn Bradley, among others, I think I might
give this pro basketball thing a shot.
Let's look at this logically.
Shawn Bradley is a 7-foot-6, 21-year old who, if he wore felt, could
easily pass for a pipe cleaner. With the second pick in last June's NBA
draft, the Philadelphia 76ers had the choice of every senior in the country,
all the other college players who decided to leave school early (except for
Chris Webber, since he was already taken) and all the players in the rest of
the world who weren't already on NBA teams.
The 76ers picked Bradley, a guy who, if he wore a white shirt and pants
with red and white vertical stripes, could be a stunt double for one of those
bendy straws. Bradley spent the last two years of his life in Australia,
serving as a missionary for the Mormon church.
Lest I forget, he also spent it not playing basketball in addition to losing
so much weight from his thin frame that upon return, he probably could not
have passed for a straw, not even a coffee stirrer.
Before that, he played one season at BYU in the Western Athletic
Conference, a group of schools known for being in the West and for being
athletic, but not necessarily for producing NBA centers.
And before that, he played his high school ball at Emery High School in
Castle Dale, Utah. As Utah is probably closer to Pago Pago in terms of
basketball talent than it is to California, or most of the other continental 48,
it was even harder than it was at BYU to gauge exactly what sort of player
Bradley was and would eventually become.
So anyway, what I am getting at is that the 76ers had the choice of just
about everybody in the living world, and they selected Bradley, an
unknown commodity if ever one existed.
Guess what the 76ers spent on Bradley, a guy who, if you had him hold
out a bedsheet in his hands and tied string to his feet, would make the
mother of all kites.
Forty-four million for 8 years. That's right. The Sixers gave Bradley a
very long contract so that, even if he turns out to be a dud, they will still be
paying him serious moolah for a long time.
Friends call Hardaway "Penny," a name which might have had some
basis last week, but now no longer will. Hardaway was a student-athlete at
Memphis State University, a school that has the same initials as a certain
Midwestern college whose football team will cause us all some grief as
soon as the students at that school learn the complexities of area codes.
Besides that, though, I don't know too much about Memphis State,
other than the obvious (It is in Memphis and it is a state university). I do
know this, however: the Golden State Warriors had the third pick in the
NBA draft, right after the 76ers, and selected Hardaway.
However, the Warriors' management very much wanted Bradley on its
team, even though Bradley is an unknown commodity who will probably
have to have his name on his jersey done in agate type, not because
Bradley is a particularly long name, but because there just can't be too
much space between his shoulders.
But the 76ers said no, so they swapped the rights to Orlando along with
a few draft picks for the rights to Webber. It worked out nicely, because it
seems Orlando was hoping to get Hardaway all along.
So Orlando had to sign Hardaway to a contract. Like Webber,
Hardaway played for two years in college and practiced with the Dream
Team. So it looks like he has potential to be a good player. But basically,
like Bradley, he is an unknown commodity.
He, too, played in a conference, the Great Midwest Conference. So far
as I can tell, while the Midwest is great, Memphis is not in the Midwest,
and the extent to which Memphis is great is up for discussion. I digress.
However, the Magic feel a little more strongly about his potential than
do I. Last Wednesday, Orlando signed Hardaway to a contract worth over
$65 million. It is a long-term contract. Just like Bradley, if Hardaway turns
out to be a dud, he will still get a whole lot of cash, especially for a dud.
So here is my idea. As best my LS&A-educated mind can critically
analyze, the trend in the NBA is to find and sign picks, especially unknown
commodities, to long-term deals. Webber has picked up on this. He has
made it clear he will sign for no less than what Bradley did.
So I intend to enter the NBA draft. However, I will buck the practice of.
going to pre-draft camps and playing in front of scouts. We are dealing
with the thirst for unknown commodities, remember?
I am 5-foot-4. I weigh too much (probably about as much as Bradley).
And on a good day, I can touch my toes. As best I know, no one like me
has ever played in the NBA before, just like Bradley. I am an unknown
commodity deluxe. Who knows? Maybe, like they say about Bradley, I '
will revolutionize the game.
To make myself even more of an unknown commodity, I will go to
Australia and put on weight. I will stay there for two years and eat until I
approximate the shape of the Cube in front of the Fleming Building. My
personal fitness level will hopefully arrive at a point where, on a good day,
I will be able to see my toes.
Who would not want me? Pro scouts will say, I must have this kid. I
know nothing about him. What? He's from the suburbs? Even better. They
can't play basketball in the 'burbs.
I will get a long-term contract for zillions of dollars.
I will be the highest-paid dud ever. I cannot wait.
RICHARD E. NISBETT
Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor of Psychology
and Director and Research Scientist,
Research Center for Group Dynamics, institute for Social Research
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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF