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Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024
The Eagle

TV game doesn't help AU's image

Did anyone watch the bizarre two hours that was the AU men's basketball team's televised contest at Loyola in Baltimore Tuesday night?

I doubt it, since this campus somehow gets three HBOs, but no Comcast SportsNet. But anyone who cares about the basketball program, the athletic department and the university should have watched - with disgust.

The Eagles were bad early, lending their jerseys to nearby Notre Dame Prep for the first half, which ended with AU down, 44-24, in a rare local TV game, one this still-winless squad (0-4) needed.

Still, because the team fought to close within one before losing, 68-60, it was far from the worst offender on this night - an evening that made AU look like the joke those "more prestigious" area schools label us.

I can't even take AU seriously after AU Athletic Director Joni Comstock duped play-by-play man Johnny Holiday. In a dialogue as fluffy as AU's first-half play, Comstock, when asked, said, "Yes," the AU student body fully supported her goals for the department.

Wait! Tennis- and Golf-Gate was just a bad dream? You mean all those town hall meetings and student rallies last year were nothing more than a good business day for Jamba Juice?

Right, and the men's hoops team is a favorite to win the 2006 Patriot League title.

It got worse, as Comstock struggled for words when asked to evaluate men's basketball coach Jeff Jones, who has four winning seasons but no PL titles in an over-hyped five-year tenure.

So she focused on Jones' playing career at Virginia? That's all great, except it was two decades ago. So long ago that current Maryland head coach Gary Williams was a young, developing head coach here. I hear his hair wasn't even gray then!

Guess what? Things change. Which is why a coach's distant playing experience is worth about as much as the tennis and golf programs were to whoever decided to cut programs with four of this school's couple dozen PL titles.

But I guess I am not the typical AU student - you know, one that's 100 percent behind Comstock.

In a further insult, AU apparently stole one of my B- high school PowerPoint presentations to use as its promotional commercial during TV timeouts.

It was just as I remember it: nagging computerized music, small and blurry bullet points, video clips that were poorly cropped, and an awkward narrator with just one line.

Yeah, maybe we don't get the same exposure as a big-time sports school and don't need a great commercial. But Loyola's 15-second spot looked light-years ahead of ours. Tell me, which school is trying to hype its quality communications programs? Which school has to look extra good to make up for the recent ousting of its corrupt president?

Back on the court, I just wonder why this team played so poorly - and more importantly, so flatly. Youth has something to do with it. But this was a first-half slaughter at the mercy of a team that, now 3-0, has more wins than it did in its entire season two years ago.

If this persists, Jones has to be held accountable, legendary 1980s college point guard or not. So do the assistants and the players, who both have more talent than this. So does Comstock and her department, which is still trying to transform AU into a legit basketball school. And so do the students, who proved last fall they can speak for themselves.

Too bad I was the only one watching. And too bad no one reads my stuff.


 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 


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