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November 06, 1995 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-06

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, November 6, 1995 - 38

f " 1 6. 1

Darren to be Different
Blue spikers
have changed
record, too
T ere 's a reason why Greg
Giovanazzi looks so relaxed.
rue, looking and sounding calm
is part of the Michigan volleyball
coach's demeanor. However, there's a
reason why he can sit back during a
volleyball game with his legs crossed
and an arm over a neighboring chair,
sitting up only to give instructions to
his team every now and then.
It has something to do with winning,
which the Wolverines have been doing
more of this season. It has everything to
do with effort, which the Wolverines
have been giving each match - unlike
years past.
"It's been an unbelievably easy year
to coach," Giovanazzi said.
Giovanazzi's job wasn't nearly as
4un last year. Michigan went 9-23 that
,eason and was an abysmal 4-16 in the
,Big Ten, finishing in ninth place.
That wouldn't have been so bad if
t he Wolverines truly were that bad.
That was hardly the case, though, and
: Piovanazzi once criticized his players
:for the effort they were putting forth.
Coming into this year, something
: bviously had to change. And since
Viovanazzi wasn't going anywhere, it
:f vas incumbent upon the Wolverines to
'get their collective act together.
"We wouldn't beat a team today if
wve didn't have last year," Michigan
Setter Linnea Mendoza said. "We all
worked so much harder throughout the
spring, the summer, and we came in
(wanting) to win. We weren't going to
have that kind, of season again."
It would be cliche to say that their
hard work is paying off, but it would
also be true. The Wolverines are
currently 8-6 in the conference - well
behind front-running Michigan State,
which is 12-0, but definitely still alive
for a NCAA Tournament invitation.
Whether they get it or not remains to
be seen; Giovanazzi said it'll probably
take a 6-4 finish. But what's most
important to Giovanazzi is that his
players are focused in practice and
having fun during matches.
"It's nice to coach a team that's
having fun when (it's) playing,"
Giovanazzi said. "It's not necessarily
the winning; it's just the fact that
they're playing with passion."
Now, don't get Giovanazzi wrong.
Working hard and playing hard can be
satisfying to an extent, but if there's a
program that could use a few notches in
the win column, it's Michigan.
The Wolverines started the confer-
ence season fairly well, going 6-4, but
the fact that that is tied for Michigan's
a est start ever says something. The
,Wolverines have never made NCAAs,
and under the Big Ten's current double
round-robin format, they've never
finished higher than fifth.
But if you need more proof of
Michigan's lack of a winning tradition,
there's the Wolverines' performance
against ranked teams. In the program's
history (23 years), Michigan has only
two wins over ranked teams - or at
least it did until last weekend. The
Wolverines upped that number to three
- by defeating No. 21 Illinois Friday.
And they did it in the kind of match
in which past Michigan teams might
have been ready to head outside Cliff

Keen Arena and board the Commuter
'bus for home. The Illini smoked the
Wolverines in the first two games, 15-7
and 15-5, and led in the third.
"We weren't playing at all (in the
first two games). We were kind of out
in some other gym," Michigan outside
hitter Colleen Miniuk said. "(But) we
adjusted quite a bit in the third game to
what they were doing."
Besides the adjustments the Wolver-
ines made to combat the Illini, who
were scoring several points off of tips
and fades, something else contributed
to the comeback.
"It was the attitude out on the court,"
Michigan outside hitter Karen Chase
said. "Everyone was really supportive."
After come-from-behind wins in both
the third and fourth games - Michigan

Continued from Page 18
R: He did? (laughing)
D: What was your reaction to the an-
R: Well, it was kind ofashock. I wasn't
surprised he was resigning, I was sur-
prised at when.
It is a terribly wearing job. My job has
tensions and pressures and stresses in-
volved in it, but they're really very minor
compared to what the president ofamajor
university has to deal with.
He has to deal with my problems, he
deals with the hospital's problems, he
deals with the engineering college prob-
lems, he deals with the graduate school
problems, he deals with the legislative
I think I read, about the time that Jim
retired, the average tenure of a college
president was something like 3.7 or 3.8
years, and he's finishing his seventh.
So, I know he had been under a lot of
tension and pressure and it has worn on
him pretty heavily.
It would be dishonest to say that I had
been expecting his resignation inthe next
week or two, but I guess it wouldn't have
surprised me if he had said in March or
April this would be his last year.
D: Did you know about it before the
resignation was announced?
R: I knew the day before he was con-
sidering it; I knew he had done it when he
called me that morning, but I guess offi-
cially that was after he announced it, but
he was letting people who report directly
to him know so that they didn't have to
find out through the press release.
He hadhintedto me the day before, and
he let me know that morning.
D: Duderstadthad brought aplan to the
regents to bring the Athletic Department
more within University control finan-
cially, and that's going to votenextmonth.
R: No, that's not right.
He has not brought any plan, he has
asked for a plan to be developed.
It is really important to get this straight,
from my point of view. The Athletic
Department is part of the University, and
it is controlled by the president.
The issue has never been, at least since
I've been here, one of working with the
University. The question is, what does the
Board in Control of Intercollegiate Ath-
letics have as a control, and what do the
regents have?
That is what is trying to be sorted out,
and the regents obviously have the last
word in that.
A great deal of concern is that the
regents find out second-hand about some
things that the Board in Control has ap-
I can't remember what facility it was
that we took to the Board in Control and
it had been approved by the Board in
Control, but the fact is, even though it has
been approved by the Board in Control, it
has to be approved by the regents too, and
that's the final word.
As far as the regents are concerned,
they read about it after the fact because I
took it to the Board in Control first.
So, the issue really is how the regents
want to control, how they want to del-
egate to the Board in Control, not bring-
ing it into the University.
D: The two things that upset the re-
gents the most were the Nike deal and the
Gary Moellerbuyout. In hindsight, would
you have handled either differently?
R: No. The Nike deal was discussed
institution-wise with the people that
needed to be involved in it.
I mentioned it in a regents' meeting, a
meeting I was in for personnel matters.
I guess I'm surprised at the upset about
the Nike thing because it's a contract and
there are a number of things that people
have said about it that just absolutely

aren't so.
(They've said) this is the first time
we've had anything on our uniforms. Last
year we had Russell on the front, on the
pants; we had the swoosh on our shoes,
our socks and our wristbands.
Our helmet, which some people think
is so divine, that it couldn't possibly be
prostituted, that's what it used to look like
with the Bike advertisement on it (show-
ing a picture of the helmet with logo).
In addition to that, the contract doesn't
determine what goes on the uniform. They
help design them. The swoosh on the
uniform was already going to be there as
a result of Coach Moeller's contract with
Nike. It was already designed.
If you watched basketball last year,
you saw the swoosh on those uniforms,
and we didn't have a contract then.
That's one thing that's bothersome to
me; that people think this is a dramatic
change. The fact is, the manufacturer's
logos have been on everything.
If you've watched the women's soccer
team, they all have travel bags with
Addidas on the side. It's nothing new, it's
not all that dramatic.
To me the issues were two-fold.
To pretend that we're not commercial
is absolutely silly. We charge 100,000
people roughly 25 bucks ahead to get into


the stadium and then we sell them every-
thing we can possibly sell them, and then
we try to pretend we aren't commercial.
We are commercial.
The issue of commercialization has to
do with two things: One is, do you lose
control of your program, do you sell out,
in a sense, so that someone else is telling
you what to do.
Nike has never told us anything to do,
but do you know who does? Television.
Nike has never told us that we had to
play a game at 3:30, or last year we had a
Michigan basketball game and (televi-
sion) asked us to delay the start because
the Daytona 500 was being rained out.
Nike never does that.
If we've lost any control in intercolle-
giate athletics, it's to television.
It's kind of humorous when people
write to me saying they saw on television
the swoosh on the jerseys, and they're
watching the most controlling thing there
is out there.
Plus the fact that there are all kinds of
commercials on there that we wouldn't
allow on our campus at all. We have no
control over the commercials.
The second issue is who benefits from
the contract.
There are three possibilities. In the
past, the companies have done it. Bike
didn't pay us anything to advertise on our
The coaches, and I don't have to tell
you about some of the huge contracts the
coaches have, orthe student-athletes could
There is no question in my mind. It is a
very easy question to answer: the student-
athletes benefit from our contract with
No one gets a penny. We get a couple
of scholarships, a general residence pro-
gram that they're sponsoring, equipment
for all of our teams - not just the two
high-profile ones that are on television all
the time - and every penny of it goes
back into the support of the student-ath-
letes, and I consider that a big step for-
Now, the fact is that there has been
some concern expressed by the regents,
and others.
Maybe the regents will want to ap-
prove this kind of thing, if they do, that's
what we'll do.
But at that point and time, it was not a
necessity. We tried to inform them, but
they're the bosses.
D: So you feel that after the first year,
the Nike deal has been beneficial?
R: Absolutely.
When I began as athletic director we
had 11 or 12 individual relationships that
coaches had made with shoe or apparel
Nobody knew what those were, or who
was promising what to whom. Now we

have one and nobody else can sign any
except through the department.
So the first thing we wanted to do was
bring those things under control.
Second was to maximizethem. Ifwe're
going to do it, let's get the most we can out
of them.
And thirdly, to equalize it. I referred to
that a minute ago. It isn't just football or
basketball that has the equipment, the
other coaches ought to have it too, and the
Nike contract allows that.
I'm very happy with it.
D: Is it right that part of the deal with
Nike was to help in funding of another
women's sport?
R: No, they provided us with two
women's scholarships. We have desig-
nated them, or Peggy (Bradley-Doppes,
associate athletic director) has, I think
one has gone into women's basketball
and the other to women's gymnastics.
But no, they did not give us money for
another women's sport.
That's another mistake, and maybe I
misstated it early on, that we did this to
meet gender equity, and that's not so.
We were going to meet gender equity
whether we did this or not, and while this
helps our budget situation, it helps in an
overall sense, but not in any specific area.
D: Has gender equity been met?
R: It will depend what happens with
the NCAA.
First of all, with the proportionality of
gender equity, with the addition of crew
and at the NCAA they're going to add
some additional participation opportuni-
ties that could possibly provide us six
women's sports.
If that passes we will be in proportion
with gender equity.
D: One of the biggest problems in
achieving gender equity for most schools
is accounting for the number of football
scholarships to which there is no equiva-
lent for women. Do you think that foot-
ball should be disregarded when calculat-
ing gender equity?
R: Everything doesn't have to have an
equivalent. We have women's soccer but
we don't have men's soccer so we don't
have an equivalent.
I'm not sure that (football) needs to be
put aside; we're going to achieve gender
equity with it.
Now, it's only fair to point out that
Michigan is in a good position where we
are one of the wealthier athletic depart-
ments in the country, and that allows us
some flexibility that others may not have.
I guess I would not be one who would
think that you should take football out of
the equation.
D: Another thing that was done just
about a year ago was the Student-Athlete
Statement ofRights and Responsibilities.
Do you feel that it has been a success?
R: There are two or three things that

went together. The students' rights and
responsibilities, I think is one very posi-
tive thing we did. The alcohol policy is
another thing we did, and our mission and
vision statement.
All three of those were things that 1
think helped clarify what the purpose of
ourprogram is and therefore helped us set
our goals and objectives in the things we
wanted to do.
I think the particular value of(the state-
ment of rights) is that there is now consis-
tency among all of our teams.
It used to be that Coach X would set one
kind of rule and Coach Y would set
another kind of rule and if somebody got
in trouble they would say "Yeah, but so-
and-so on another team does it, and there
isn't any penalty."
That's still going to be somewhat true,
but there now is an overall umbrella that
says there is a certain responsibility that
goes with being a student-athlete at the
University of Michigan, and everybody
has a responsibility to that.
But it also is very careful to point out
the rights of students. They have protec-
tion under the law in certain ways; they
can appeal coaches decisions if that's
their choice, and that part's spelled out in
It's a matter of letting students know
what's expected of them, but also what
they're protections are.
D: Have you gotten positive feedback
from the student-athletes?
R: Yes, and also from the parents.
We give this to every coach at the
beginning of the year, and they talk about
it with their team.
I, then, along with a letter, mail it out to
parents, saying, "This has been given to
your student-athlete and I want you to be
familiar with it."
And I get some very positive feedback
from students.
D: Stepping outside the realm ofMichi-
gan, what do you see as the major prob-
lems in collegiate athletics today?
R: Well, I think it is the tremendous
overemphasis that society puts on athlet-
ics in general.
It creates a false world for both partici-
pant and spectator in many cases.
There seems to be a driving need in
America to find out who's No. I and it
puts tremendous pressure on the system.
The push for a football playoff is an
example of it.
My big objection to that overemphasis
is the pressure it puts on our young people
and our coaches. They are under a micro-
scope all the time
Most of our student-athletes are not
allowed, not by us, but by society to have
a normal life.
I just wish that the emphasis and the
pressure could be less and that focus
could be on the education and not the
D: I take it, then, you would be against
a college football playoff?
R: With a passion that you wouldn't
The first thing that's going to happen if
you do a college football playoff is that
teams are going to play non-conference

sissy schedules, like some do now.
You wouldhavetobeundefeatedt t
to the championship game, that's agi4.
Last season we played Boston Coll Z,
Colorado and Notre Dame. Why wdjjd
we do that if we had to win all of or
games? So pretty soon we'd start playing
"Outer Slabovia" and "Eastern Nothi "
and "Normal Nothing," and there re
schools that do that now.
Why do you want to risk your natiorl
championship by playing Notre Da i,
and why would Notre Dame.
That's the first thing that would *
pen. The second would be that chea g
would increase. At the end of the season
there can only be one success, and thes
who's No. 1.
Now, there's 15, 14 schools endp
winning bowl games. Even though your
season might have been a little disap-
pointing, you end on a high note.
It's just going to increase pressure en
the system, and I'm very opposed to that.
D: What about the positives in collee
sports today?
R: There are many positives. Oneof
greatest pleasures I get in this job is,"he
contact with the student-athletes; then-
thusiasm, the brightness, the compeli-
tiveness of some of these kids is just
One of the highlights, I had been atb-
letic director about three months wgn
the women's gymnastics team wentjo
Salt Lake City to participate in the n-
tional championships.
There were three schools that wre
head-and-shouldersaboveeverybody se
and the best our girls could do, witha
really good performance, was fourth,'
There were 12,000 people in the arena,
and our girls were just superb. They ypn
the crowd over, except those who had
partisan teams they were cheering for:
But they finished fourth and accepad
their award and sang the victors and ev-
eryone cheered and I wanted to stand up
and say, "They're mine, they're mine.
That's the kind of thing that is so grit
about it is to watch them do what theyd
done, be successful and have fun.
Intercollegiate athletics offers that as
an opportunity. So to me, the interaction
with the quality students is the high point.
D: Finally, how would you sum up the
state of Michigan athletics today?
R: Superb.
Last year we won six Big Ten champi-
onships, and Red Berenson and the hockey
team won the CCHA. We won seven out
of 21 championships last year and the
year before we won eight or nine out of
We are financially in good shape, facil-
ity-wise. Now that we are building a
tennis facility, we are going to have is
good a facilities as anybody around.
We have quality coaches and we attAct
quality student-athletes.
We have to solve some gender eqxity
problems. It's more than proportionality,
it's training and strength conditioning
and that kind of thing, but we're makiig
a lot of progress.
I guess I'm not totally objective about
it, but I think we're in pretty good sha.


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