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December 10, 2003 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-10

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RJe AIdbigan ~&ig
Wednesday
December 10, 2003
www.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com
Athletic department mistake forced men's soccer to play on road

I
41

By Elen McGarrity and Jim Weber
Daily Sports Writers
When it comes to sports, playing "what if"
just results in frustration. But it's hard not to ask,
"What if the Michigan athletic department had
placed a bid to host the fourth round of the
NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament?"
If it had, the Wolverines would have hosted
their game against Santa Clara on Saturday
instead of traveling to California, where Michi-
gan was eliminated with a 3-1 loss.
Following the team's win against Notre Dame
in the third round on Nov. 26, Michigan fans and
players celebrated not only because they had
defeated the No. 5 seed, but also because they
were under the impression they would be host-
ing the next round in Ann Arbor.
So when it was announced later that day that
Santa Clara - an unseeded team - would be

hosting No. 12 seed Michigan in the next round,
there was understandable confusion.
"We addressed it with the players ... The
team obviously had questions why the seeded
team had to travel to the unseeded team to play,"
Michigan coach Steve Burns said.
Michigan did not get to host Santa Clara
because of an error by the Michigan athletic
department before the tournament even began.
There are three requirements for hosting a game:
winning the previous game, being the higher
seed between the two competing teams and
placing a bid to host the game.
The men's soccer team filled the first two
requirements, but not the third.
Before the tournament begins, university ath-
letic departments are responsible for putting in a
bid for every round of the tournament they
desire to host. By placing a bid, a school promis-
es to pay the NCAA $5,000 to host the game if

its team is entitled to.
Michigan placed a bid to host the second and
third rounds, but failed to check the box for the
fourth round. Santa Clara's athletic department
placed a fourth-round bid and, as a result, hosted
the game although it was not seeded.
Executive Associate Athletic Director Mike
Stevenson said the first reason behind the mis-
take was money. If Michigan had placed bids for
the second, third and fourth rounds, it could
have potentially spent $15,000 if it qualified for
hosting all three rounds of tournament play. But
placing a bid itself does not cost anything.
Rather, it is a promise to pay the NCAA should
a team earn the right to host a game.
Stevenson also said that the department didn't
think the soccer team, which previously had
never made an appearance in the tournament in
its four years, would advance to the fourth round.
"We have a pretty good idea if our teams are

going to be good or not," Stevenson said. "We're
hoping to host a regional for women's gymnas-
tics, and (the season) hasn't even started.
"We were on the bubble - and I think
(Burns) would agree with this - that we would
be selected in the first place. And then we were
shocked that we got a first-round bye and that
we were selected to host in the second round."
Added Stevenson: "You can say we screwed
up, or, more realistically, you can say that we
had no expectation that our team would advance
that far. Obviously, we wish we would have (put
in a bid). We would like to have as many of our
teams play at home as we possibly can."
In the athletic department's defense, Steven-
son said that Michigan hosts more Big Ten Tour-
naments and NCAA Regionals than any other
school in the conference.
Although the NCAA paid for transportation,
the mistake forced the team to spend 12 hours in

flight and deal with less-than-ideal field condi-
tions. Santa Clara's Buck Shaw Stadium, which
currently doubles as a baseball field and used to
be the site of the Broncos' football field, did not
hold up well in rain that fell throughout the
game. The field was spray-painted green in the
many areas where grass didn't grow.
Had Michigan hosted, Santa Clara players
would have endured the flight and a tempera-
ture change: Saturday's high in Ann Arbor was
35 degrees, compared to Santa Clara's 65
degrees. -
But Burns did not want the mistake to be an
issue before the game, and he doesn't want it to
be used as an excuse after the loss.
"If there was a mistake made, it was made
and we don't dwell on it," Burns said. "It was
something unfortunate that happened."
Burns said he is confident the mistake won't
be made again.

I
4

bout
Blue, Trojans have
similar motivation
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
The Rose Bowl: the real national championship
game to produce the real No. 1 team. Or at least, that is
how Southern Cal. (No. 1 in both polls and No. 3 in the
Bowl Championship Series) is advertising the game.
But what if No. 4 Michigan wins the Trojan- and
media-anointed National Title II?
"They are one in both polls, and we are going to

Perry unbreakable, but
can he strike the pose?
By J. Brady McCollough 0 Daily Sports Editor

treat this as a champi-
onship game," Michigan
quarterback John Navarre
said.
Southern Cal. has been
treating this game like a
title game as well, but
while the Wolverines are
looking at just their oppo-
nent, the Trojans are mak-
ing it apparent their goal is
to win the Associated
Press title first.

fter Michigan's loss to Ohio State
two years ago, Chris Perry men-
ly began packing his bags.
Then a beleaguered sophomore,
Perry carried the ball six times, while
junior B.J. Askew ran 17 times in
Michigan's season-ending defeat.
The game was the nadir of a frustrat-
ing season - one in which Perry was
supposed to fill the shoes of the depart-
ed Anthony Thomas. Instead, he rushed
for just 495 yards and two touchdowns
on 3.8 yards per carry as Askew took
the load on his back.
"I was pretty close (to transferring),"
Perry admitted Monday, 2,699 yards
later. "I was not playing as much as I
wanted to. After I came here and
trained up, I thought I would play a
considerable amount, and it didn't turn
out that way, so I thought I made a
wrong decision.
"There were a few times early in my
career that I thought I would not finish
here."
Perry battled with the idea of trans-
ferring. He spoke with Thomas, run-
ning backs coach Fred Jackson and
eventually, coach Lloyd Carr. Perry
readily admits he and Carr "were not
the best of friends" at that point in time.
"He told me I needed to change my
attitude, play harder and be consistent,"
Perry said.

Perry's mother, Irene Perry, moved to
Ann Arbor so that she could be closer
to her son.
Irene told Chris upon her arrival
that she was in Carr's corner.
"After she said that, I really had no
way out," the younger Perry said. "She
said she supported him as long as he
didn't break my spirit for the game."
Two years later, Perry's spirit is at an
all-time high. After a prolific senior sea-
son in which his all-around game led
Michigan to an outright Big Ten champi-
onship, Perry will join Virginia Tech's
Kevin Jones and Kansas State's Darren
Sproles in Orlando, Fla., tomorrow night
for the presentation of the Doak Walker
Award, given annually to the nation's top
running back. He's been featured on
ESPN's Heisman Trophy presentation
promos but won't find out officially
whether he's a finalist until tonight.
Perry was asked Monday what
changed between Carr and him.
"I did," Perry answered matter-of-
factly. "He wasn't going to change. He's
been here for 27 years; he's not going to
change. I realized that, and I wanted to
prove him wrong and let him know that
I could be the back that coach (Jackson)
and everybody else thought I could be."
When asked if he thought he would
win the Doak Walker, Perry laughed
See PERRY, Page 17

4
I

NEw YEAR'S
DAY
No. 4 Mcbigai vs.
No. 1 Southem Calt
Tflme: 5pl.
The Rose B(owl
A BC

"If we win that football game, we feel like we'll be
the No. 1 team in the country, regardless of what the
other bowl is called," Southern Cal. coach Pete Carroll
said.
Carroll also hinted on ABC's BCS selection special
that his team would be a national champion after the
Rose Bowl was completed.
"They are going to have a lot of motivation coming
from coach Carroll," Michigan tight end Andy Mign-
ery said. "They are going to come out, and in their
minds, they are playing for the national title too."
But when Jan. 1, 2004, comes around, the Wolver-
ines will have just one thing on their mind: the Rose
Bowl.
"Once you get out there and hit heads for the first
play, you aren't thinking about that you aren't in the
national championship game," Michigan defensive
lineman Grant Bowman said. "There is a lot of stuff
surrounding who is number one and who should be
playing for the national championship, but once you
step on the field, you have to play football."
Despite what the game's result will mean, this is the
first time in three years that there will be a Big Ten-
Pac-10 matchup in the Rose Bowl - a tradition that
neither team has overlooked. This will also be the first
time any current Michigan player has been to Pasade-
na for a Jan. 1 bowl game.
"When you grow up in the West, this is the game,"
Carroll said. "That (matchup of Southern Cal.-Michi-
gan) is what we hoped could happen."

4

AP PHOTO
Southern Cal. wide receiver Mike Williams makes a one-handed grab in the Trojans' 52-28 win over Oregon State .

With two of the richest traditions in college foot-
ball, this game seemed to be a blessing in disguise for
a postseason marred by current and future controver-
sy.
"I think it is really neat," Bowman said. "We don't
get to control it, so we are going to play who we are
going to play. For me personally, I always watched the
Rose Bowl growing up and it was the Big Ten versus
the Pac-10. It always seems like a really great tradition
- it is as it should be.
"The Rose Bowl is where Michigan should be. We
haven't been there since I have been in school. To be
able to end my career out there, I don't think there is a
better way to do it."
Part of that career-ending experience will include a
few fun spots as well: Universal Studios and a trip to
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
"Those extras are very nice," Bowman said.

But the show on the field should be much more
exciting than misprints in newspaper ads and "Jay-
walking."
The comparison of wide receivers Braylon Edwards
and Mike Williams will be on the tongues of many
talking about the game.
"A lot of people perceive it as Mike Williams vs.
Braylon Edwards, but to be honest, I could care less;'
Edwards said. "If we get a win, and I have zero catch-
es and he has 200 yards, I am cool with it."
Michigan's defense will be doing everything it can
to make sure Williams doesn't have 200 yards.
"You want to bring your best because you want to
do the best for your team," Michigan defensive back
Jeremy LeSueur said. "You have to take it personal.
You have to do your job and make it happen. You want
to step up your game and perform well against that
other player."

BRENDAN O'IJNNELLLUaily
Chris Perry will find out tonight whether he is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

U

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