John Thompson Jr. and Chuck Sapienza spent about 12 minutes on ESPN 980 Monday afternoon discussing the bombshell story that Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not permit any Terps team to play any Georgetown team until the men’s basketball scheduling dispute is resolved.
I will include many of the quotes below, because they are strong and distinctive and biting and the completely inevitable result of Anderson’s ploy. But suffice it to say that, by my count, Thompson used some version of the word “threat” at least 14 times in the segment. Including this bit.
“I’ve certainly never heard of anybody dealing with [a scheduling dispute] in a public format, not unless you’re trying to divert attention from yourself,” the elder Thompson said. “You know, that’s incomprehensible to me. Certainly — and I’m speaking for myself — I’m not gonna permit myself to be threatened, I can tell you that right now, by anybody that [wants] me to act on a threat. I don’t think that’s the intelligent way to do anything....
“I think that anybody who has any form of integrity would not permit themselves to be threatened, and anybody that has any form of intelligence would not attempt to do that, and particularly not in a public format, and particularly when you’re trying to educate young people in the art of negotiating and talking.”
So. Yeah. Georgetown-Maryland in 2043, right? Buy your tickets now.
On Kevin Anderson: “Who is Kevin Anderson? How long has he been the athletic director at the University of Maryland? He is a very, very exceptional individual. He’s capable of directing the athletics at two different schools.....Has he successfully directed the athletics at Maryland? Question, purely a question. He is capable of doing that and also directing the athletics at the University of Georgetown also?”
On Threats: “You definitely don’t make a habit of bending to threats, do you? Would you consider that a threat? Question, purely a question. I’m not talking about the results of the threat, I’m talking about do you consider that statement a threat? I mean, Chuck, I’m asking you a question, if I said to you that if you did not concede to my wishes then I am going to stop all the other announcers in this station from talking?”
On Basketball Scheduling: “I don’t know where ADs at prominent, at prominent educational institutions, do the scheduling. So it appears to me that that would be a coach and coach thing, not an AD and AD thing, from those who know. I made the schedule at Georgetown. Dean Smith made the schedule at North Carolina. Bobby Knight made the schedule, Coach K makes the schedule. I don’t think the AD makes the schedule at any of those institutions. I don’t know what Mark Turgeon does. I don’t know. It appears to me that the AD does it, if he’s threatening to stop the other sports from playing. I don’t know. I mean, I’m puzzled.”
On Non-Revenue Sports: “I just find it unusual. If what you’re saying is accurate, and that gentleman — what was the gentleman’s name again? — and that gentleman said what he said, you know, I just find it unusual that you would threaten to stop the other sports from this relationship that he considers to be so significant for one sport. If it’s significant for one sport, certainly it’s significant for those non-revenue sports too, it would appear to me.”
On Gary Williams and Maryland: “I love Gary. I think he’s a hell of a coach....I don’t know anybody at Georgetown that hates anybody over at Maryland. In fact, we have staff people at Georgetown that came from the University of Maryland, and so I don’t understand. John [Thompson III] likes Mark [Turgeon], thinks he’s a good coach, but I don’t know that Mark threatens John or John threatens him with any hopes of trying to accomplish anything. I have never heard — I have never heard — anybody over there say that any problems that they’ve had are unresolvable. I know a lot of things are attributed to me, things that went on, but a lot of people that those things went on with are gone and have moved on.”
On Negotiating: “These things happen with schools in negotiating contracts. What I would like for them to do is to put Georgetown in the ACC. Tell somebody to sponsor that....I still get along with Gary. We can debate and argue about whether we should play or don’t play. That goes with the business. All of that is jockeying. When people become emotionally attached to it, who don’t know what they’re talking about, it takes it to a different level, but I understand that. That’s a part of the entertainment. But I have never known for that to be something where it comes to a point of being threatened.”
On Diversions: “I’m trying to understand what is going on, and I don’t understand the logic in that kind of thing, unless it is used to divert personal attention from yourself, from things that you might be having a problem with yourself. That’s like a guy who’s cheated on his wife and then he comes in his house in the middle of the night and starts blaming the wife. He takes the sting out of what he has done wrong by diverting it to something else. I just don’t understand it. “
Exciting Conclusion: “I just think it’s degrading to give the impression that in order for you to be successful, you need somebody that much. I would be offended. I would be offended to think that in order for me to have success or me balance my budget, I’ve got to have this team on my schedule. There may be a lot of reasons why we would run around and say that we should play, and all of those things are debatable, but they are really spurred on by business folks. Let’s not kid ourselves. Not by the community. Not by what the neighborhood thinks is good for them. There’s a lot of things that the neighborhood thinks is good for them. What is good for the neighborhood is to educate your kids, have a good basketball program, and let those kids who you educate graduate from school. And if that’s not happening, then you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do, and you should focus on that more than you should focus on anything else.”