Fitts on Athletics

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jonathanjoseph
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:43 pm

Good interview questions by Scott Kushner. Horrific fluff answers from Fitts. I guess he gets a pass since he's just getting started but based on his answers you'd think Tulane athletics is already awesome, no need to change a thing.

http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/sp ... -addresses


jonathanjoseph
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:52 pm

Not to deviate too much from the topic of Fitts, but sure enough Rick Dickson has said something idiotic and blamed Katrina again.
Fred Dowler
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:30 pm

jonathanjoseph wrote:Good interview questions by Scott Kushner. Horrific fluff answers from Fitts. I guess he gets a pass since he's just getting started but based on his answers you'd think Tulane athletics is already awesome, no need to change a thing.

http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/sp ... -addresses
My thinking exactly.

Of course much remains to be seen and at the least every good will and fairness is to be extended. Nonetheless, hate to say so, but it almost appeared that those answers were the same as Rick Dickson would have said.
Tulane sports: small football stadium, very small basketball arena, w̶i̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶g̶r̶a̶m̶s̶, h̶o̶n̶e̶s̶t̶y̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶o̶u̶n̶t̶a̶b̶i̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ , but, hey, now there's tailgating.
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tpstulane
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:48 pm

Fitts gives me hope.
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:11 pm

Fitts: "In summary, our plan for athletics is the same as it is for the rest of the university: keep getting better in all measurable ways."

That's not fluff to me. OK so no new details but it is informative that he agreed to an interview about Athletics to be published on his first day in office. I must have missed his similar interview today about the medical school which is really the most important educational asset at Tulane. (Sorry, undergrads.)

That was truly the big objection and mystery about how SC managed athletics. He refused literally to accept mediocrity in any other area of University operations and the one that at least had the highest public profile (namely Athletics), he treated with at best benign neglect despite abominable results until the last several years of his administration.
jonathanjoseph
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:04 pm

lurker123 wrote:Fitts: "In summary, our plan for athletics is the same as it is for the rest of the university: keep getting better in all measurable ways."

That's not fluff to me. OK so no new details but it is informative that he agreed to an interview about Athletics to be published on his first day in office. I must have missed his similar interview today about the medical school which is really the most important educational asset at Tulane. (Sorry, undergrads.)

That was truly the big objection and mystery about how SC managed athletics. He refused literally to accept mediocrity in any other area of University operations and the one that at least had the highest public profile (namely Athletics), he treated with at best benign neglect despite abominable results until the last several years of his administration.
Good gracious that post reeks of kool aid slurping.
He refused literally to accept mediocrity in any other area of University operations
Are you not aware that the rankings for our academic programs has plummeted and the B school had a grade reporting scandal? I don't think you understand the meaning of the word "literally".
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:24 pm

lurker123 wrote:Fitts: "In summary, our plan for athletics is the same as it is for the rest of the university: keep getting better in all measurable ways."

That's not fluff to me. OK so no new details but it is informative that he agreed to an interview about Athletics to be published on his first day in office. I must have missed his similar interview today about the medical school which is really the most important educational asset at Tulane. (Sorry, undergrads.)

That was truly the big objection and mystery about how SC managed athletics. He refused literally to accept mediocrity in any other area of University operations and the one that at least had the highest public profile (namely Athletics), he treated with at best benign neglect despite abominable results until the last several years of his administration.
And since the medical school was mentioned, it indeed certainly is a high profile area of TU operations, too, and maybe it and athletics are the top two most high profile areas.

And, yes, the medical school is certainly traditionally something that's been very important at TU.

Though, how would you characterize Cowen's attitude toward the medical school? Would you say that that was an area where he was one to say "we can't accept being mediocre...we absolutely have to be super excellent...?" I'd say that that's a good question -- placing great emphasis on the medical school, from anecdotal evidence, does not seem to have been much of a priority with him (what exactly was a priority with him outside of service learning, cost cutting, finding ever more inventive ways to put the squeeze on alums to cough up donations and getting publicity for himself in whichever way possible?).
Last edited by Fred Dowler on Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tulane sports: small football stadium, very small basketball arena, w̶i̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶g̶r̶a̶m̶s̶, h̶o̶n̶e̶s̶t̶y̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶o̶u̶n̶t̶a̶b̶i̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ , but, hey, now there's tailgating.
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:35 pm

I've seen statements made over and over that Cowen was disengaged from athletics for a long time, and implying that that was a bad or unfortunate thing, and then that he became very engaged with athletics late in his tenure, i.e. a very good thing.

Utter baloney.

The best thing that a university president can do is bring in a competent manager for athletics, who has solid connections in the business and will bring solid coaches in, and then sit back, just as Tom Benson has Payton and Loomis running things with the Saints as they see fit.

If he has faith in his man Rick Dickson to handle athletics then he needs to leave him be to do just that. If not, then he needs to make a change. If Rick Dickson isn't handling athletics very effectively and then Scott Cowen declines to replace him and hire a new athletics director but instead "gets involved," well, that's got to be pretty poor management from the top management of the school.
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lurker123
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:52 pm

jonathanjoseph wrote:
lurker123 wrote:Fitts: "In summary, our plan for athletics is the same as it is for the rest of the university: keep getting better in all measurable ways."

That's not fluff to me. OK so no new details but it is informative that he agreed to an interview about Athletics to be published on his first day in office. I must have missed his similar interview today about the medical school which is really the most important educational asset at Tulane. (Sorry, undergrads.)

That was truly the big objection and mystery about how SC managed athletics. He refused literally to accept mediocrity in any other area of University operations and the one that at least had the highest public profile (namely Athletics), he treated with at best benign neglect despite abominable results until the last several years of his administration.
Good gracious that post reeks of kool aid slurping.
He refused literally to accept mediocrity in any other area of University operations
Are you not aware that the rankings for our academic programs has plummeted and the B school had a grade reporting scandal? I don't think you understand the meaning of the word "literally".
Look we all know that you dismiss or explain away anything that disagrees with your narrative, namely "SC and the Board of Admin. are so bad as to be literally criminally negligent in any and all matters and that Fitts will obviously be a puppet of SC and the Board." Did I miss anything under your tin foil umbrella?

Since you prefer to parse everyone's language, let's note there is a meaningful difference between "accept" and "perform."

The person responsible for the Business school grade reporting was fired and the Dean under whom it happened was demoted. Yes it happened on SC's watch so he's responsible as CEO but that doesn't sound like "acceptance."

SC expressed numerous times in public forums his frustration with the decline in Tulane's academic rankings as measured by US News and others. Did he succeed in raising them? No but again that doesn't sound like "acceptance." It is a lack of performance.

Fitts issued a general "Glad to be here" message today to the Tulane University community including alums. I assume you received it as we all did. That was fluff and SOP for virtually any organization that is not in a life-threatening crisis. Other than his Athletics interview in the Advocate, I am not aware of any other communication to the general public or other action he took on his first day in office. If you are, please share it.

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?

Again is it because it conflicts with your self-proclaimed narrative?
jonathanjoseph
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Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:18 pm

lurker123 wrote: Look we all know that you dismiss or explain away anything that disagrees with your narrative, namely "SC and the Board of Admin. are so bad as to be literally criminally negligent in any and all matters and that Fitts will obviously be a puppet of SC and the Board." Did I miss anything under your tin foil umbrella?

Since you prefer to parse everyone's language, let's note there is a meaningful difference between "accept" and "perform."

The person responsible for the Business school grade reporting was fired and the Dean under whom it happened was demoted. Yes it happened on SC's watch so he's responsible as CEO but that doesn't sound like "acceptance."

SC expressed numerous times in public forums his frustration with the decline in Tulane's academic rankings as measured by US News and others. Did he succeed in raising them? No but again that doesn't sound like "acceptance." It is a lack of performance.

Fitts issued a general "Glad to be here" message today to the Tulane University community including alums. I assume you received it as we all did. That was fluff and SOP for virtually any organization that is not in a life-threatening crisis. Other than his Athletics interview in the Advocate, I am not aware of any other communication to the general public or other action he took on his first day in office. If you are, please share it.

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?

Again is it because it conflicts with your self-proclaimed narrative?
If he didn't have anything worth saying, he should have declined or postponed the interview. Interestingly, no journalist has ever asked questions as difficult to Scott Cowen.

Meanwhile, you are the one parsing semantics, not me. Scott Cowen may have expressed frustration, but if he "literally refused to accept mediocrity" then he would have had the honor to resign and find better leadership that would have achieved better than mediocrity (Tulane fell short of achieving mediocrity during Cowen's tenure, BTW). But Cowen was just fine with mediocrity, as long as he remained well paid and in a position of power.

My goodness, does everyone who says they want to win get a trophy?
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:39 am

The interview is fine and appropriate.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:04 pm

lurker123 wrote:

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?
Thank you.

Sorry jj, I know you would have preferred that he would have announced that he was planning to sink the university's entire endowment into gaining P5 membership in addition to pressing for criminal indictments against both Cowen and The Board but it was only his first day.
Welcome to gotula.net, where it's never too late to mention Tanner Lee, Andy Cannizaro, Lindsey Scott Jr., Rich Rodriguez, David Pierce, or, of course, Scott Cowen. You see, no horse here is so dead that it cannot be beaten just a little bit more.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:35 pm

ajcalhoun wrote:
lurker123 wrote:

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?
Thank you.

Sorry jj, I know you would have preferred that he would have announced that he was planning to sink the university's entire endowment into gaining P5 membership in addition to pressing for criminal indictments against both Cowen and The Board but it was only his first day.
Has nothing to do with that. Tulane athletics stakeholders have been lied to and given BS answers for 15 years. Just think it's unfortunate that he gave a canned, fluff interview as his first.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:49 pm

jonathanjoseph wrote:
ajcalhoun wrote:
lurker123 wrote:

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?
Thank you.

Sorry jj, I know you would have preferred that he would have announced that he was planning to sink the university's entire endowment into gaining P5 membership in addition to pressing for criminal indictments against both Cowen and The Board but it was only his first day.
Has nothing to do with that. Tulane athletics stakeholders have been lied to and given BS answers for 15 years. Just think it's unfortunate that he gave a canned, fluff interview as his first.
WTF did you want him to say on his first day on the dam job? He showed knowledge of the situation. Understands athletics place, showed he is a fan of athletics and the school is dedicated. Jesus freaking christ man, your pessimism is relentless.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:21 pm

mbawavefan12 wrote:
jonathanjoseph wrote:
ajcalhoun wrote:
lurker123 wrote:

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?
Thank you.

Sorry jj, I know you would have preferred that he would have announced that he was planning to sink the university's entire endowment into gaining P5 membership in addition to pressing for criminal indictments against both Cowen and The Board but it was only his first day.
Has nothing to do with that. Tulane athletics stakeholders have been lied to and given BS answers for 15 years. Just think it's unfortunate that he gave a canned, fluff interview as his first.
WTF did you want him to say on his first day on the dam job? He showed knowledge of the situation. Understands athletics place, showed he is a fan of athletics and the school is dedicated. Jesus freaking christ man, your pessimism is relentless.
It's not pessimism, it's an observation. If you don't want to have people analyze your talking points, don't give an interview. Seems pretty simple.

If Fitts had an understanding of athletics, he'd know that the alumni are very angry about the situation and sick of being lied to. The continued message of "all is well" and "Tulane Athletics is better than ever" is clearly Cowen-speak and not the message that should have been sent. If Fitts didn't understand the situation with athletics, which is to be expected, a better response to Scott Kushner would have been "I'll go on the record after I'm able to assess the situation" or something similar. Going on the record with canned talking points isn't useful.

No where did I say this was anything other than unfortunate.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:31 pm

jonathanjoseph wrote:
mbawavefan12 wrote:
jonathanjoseph wrote:
ajcalhoun wrote:
lurker123 wrote:

Fitts doing only an Athletics interview with the media on his first day in office is an odd action to take if we are to assume in a knee jerk fashion that he doesn't care about Athletics and will simply continue on the same path as SC did for most of his time in office.

Obviously we need to let Fitts prove himself with substance but why be unhappy with what occurred today?
Thank you.

Sorry jj, I know you would have preferred that he would have announced that he was planning to sink the university's entire endowment into gaining P5 membership in addition to pressing for criminal indictments against both Cowen and The Board but it was only his first day.
Has nothing to do with that. Tulane athletics stakeholders have been lied to and given BS answers for 15 years. Just think it's unfortunate that he gave a canned, fluff interview as his first.
WTF did you want him to say on his first day on the dam job? He showed knowledge of the situation. Understands athletics place, showed he is a fan of athletics and the school is dedicated. Jesus freaking christ man, your pessimism is relentless.
It's not pessimism, it's an observation. If you don't want to have people analyze your talking points, don't give an interview. Seems pretty simple.

If Fitts had an understanding of athletics, he'd know that the alumni are very angry about the situation and sick of being lied to. The continued message of "all is well" and "Tulane Athletics is better than ever" is clearly Cowen-speak and not the message that should have been sent. If Fitts didn't understand the situation with athletics, which is to be expected, a better response to Scott Kushner would have been "I'll go on the record after I'm able to assess the situation" or something similar. Going on the record with canned talking points isn't useful.

No where did I say this was anything other than unfortunate.
All is well, that what he said?

If he was to gauge the alumni he would realize there is a small pocket that cares and is not happy but the vast majority simply doesn't give a sh$t, should he have said that? Again, what the hell did you want him to say? If he doesn't do an interview you would bitch....short of saying what Calhoun said, you bitch. His first day on the job he went out of his way to address athletics, can't you just cool it until the guy gets a chance to decorate his office. Relentless negativity.
jonathanjoseph
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:17 pm

mbawavefan12 wrote:
All is well, that what he said?

If he was to gauge the alumni he would realize there is a small pocket that cares and is not happy but the vast majority simply doesn't give a sh$t, should he have said that? Again, what the hell did you want him to say? If he doesn't do an interview you would bitch....short of saying what Calhoun said, you bitch. His first day on the job he went out of his way to address athletics, can't you just cool it until the guy gets a chance to decorate his office. Relentless negativity.
The relentless negativity does not come from me, it comes from reality. When someone at Tulane says "what we've been doing isn't good enough" and "I expect results and accountability" and "we have to earn our fans back by giving them a program that they can get excited about and represents the University" then I will have something positive to say about Tulane Athletics public relations.

Fitts obviously knows very little about Tulane athletics as of yet. He should have declined the interview until such a time when he did have his own thoughts to offer. Instead, he gave canned talking points to a particular audience that is furious over 15 straight years of canned talking points. A new message is necessary to win back the fan base and hopefully, Fitts will learn that quickly. As I have said repeatedly, this is just unfortunate, nothing more.

And there is no chance that I would have "bitched" if Fitts hadn't given an interview 8 hours into his tenure. In fact, that was the obviously appropriate thing to do.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:55 pm

I swear I posted this last night, but couldn't find it this morning. I guess that's a factor of 14 hours in and out of NYC with 12 of them high stress at Sloan Kettering CC. Oh yeah, and a couple of cocktails after the boys were asleep!

I'm ambivalent about Fitts' EMAILED reply to Kushner's questions.

On the one hand I think it speaks volumes that he went out of his way to get the response to Kush so that the article could run on his first day in office.

On the other hand I really didn't like that he said Scott Cowen is a well known and respected expert on intercollegiate athletics. Scott Cowen CLEARLY mis-read the tea leaves and did everything his first 12 years in office to NOT position Tulane athletics to be successful. His last 3 years he made a half-ditched effort, but probably too little too late.

Fitts claims to have spoken with other University Presidents about how to run a successful D1 program. I would hope he spoke with the President of Stanford, which is probably the best Private University with D1 athletics. They often win the Capital 1 award for most successful D1 athletics, and used to be a Peer academically (they blow us away now!) He should also talk to the Presidents of USC, Duke, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame. I'm sure there's more.

Now, if Fitts is truly the sports fan he proclaims himself to be, he'll be holding the Athletics Department much more accountable. I could give a rats behind about Baseball, sure I'd like to win, but I'm much more interested in the big 3 sports being successful. Fitts will have to fire Dickson, hopefully sooner rather than later, and then his AD will have to fire Conroy after we finish in the bottom 2 or 3 of the AAC in hoops. Dickson's replacement's first big hire will be a coach that needs to be really good recruiting and x and o's to bring respectability back to Tulane basketball.

I don't think day one is the time to come out and say "Tulane athletics has suffered mis-management for the past 15 years, and that's going to change in a hurry." I would have loved it if he did, but that's not how you earn respect and lead. Again, if he's the sports fan he claims to be, he'll want accountability. That was seriously lacking with CowDick.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:18 pm

DfromCT wrote:I swear I posted this last night, but couldn't find it this morning. I guess that's a factor of 14 hours in and out of NYC with 12 of them high stress at Sloan Kettering CC. Oh yeah, and a couple of cocktails after the boys were asleep!

I'm ambivalent about Fitts' EMAILED reply to Kushner's questions.

On the one hand I think it speaks volumes that he went out of his way to get the response to Kush so that the article could run on his first day in office.

On the other hand I really didn't like that he said Scott Cowen is a well known and respected expert on intercollegiate athletics. Scott Cowen CLEARLY mis-read the tea leaves and did everything his first 12 years in office to NOT position Tulane athletics to be successful. His last 3 years he made a half-ditched effort, but probably too little too late.

Fitts claims to have spoken with other University Presidents about how to run a successful D1 program. I would hope he spoke with the President of Stanford, which is probably the best Private University with D1 athletics. They often win the Capital 1 award for most successful D1 athletics, and used to be a Peer academically (they blow us away now!) He should also talk to the Presidents of USC, Duke, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame. I'm sure there's more.

Now, if Fitts is truly the sports fan he proclaims himself to be, he'll be holding the Athletics Department much more accountable. I could give a rats behind about Baseball, sure I'd like to win, but I'm much more interested in the big 3 sports being successful. Fitts will have to fire Dickson, hopefully sooner rather than later, and then his AD will have to fire Conroy after we finish in the bottom 2 or 3 of the AAC in hoops. Dickson's replacement's first big hire will be a coach that needs to be really good recruiting and x and o's to bring respectability back to Tulane basketball.

I don't think day one is the time to come out and say "Tulane athletics has suffered mis-management for the past 15 years, and that's going to change in a hurry." I would have loved it if he did, but that's not how you earn respect and lead. Again, if he's the sports fan he claims to be, he'll want accountability. That was seriously lacking with CowDick.
Yup. Well said.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:20 pm

On the one hand I think it speaks volumes that he went out of his way to get the response to Kush so that the article could run on his first day in office.

+1

Scott Cowen CLEARLY mis-read the tea leaves and did everything his first 12 years in office to NOT position Tulane athletics to be successful.

+1000

Stanford, which is probably the best Private University with D1 athletics. They often win the Capital 1 award for most successful D1 athletics, and used to be a Peer academically

Um, no. :lol:

Again, if he's the sports fan he claims to be, he'll want accountability. That was seriously lacking with CowDick.

I think we'll have this now, but moreso via the AAC commish than the Tulane administration.
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:06 pm

D knowing Tulane, RD and this athletic dept. I think it's a very safe bet he talked to the President's of SMU and Tulsa. I hope that's not the case but past history says that it is.
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Fred Dowler
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:48 pm

Dr. Rosenrosen wrote:On the one hand I think it speaks volumes that he went out of his way to get the response to Kush so that the article could run on his first day in office.

+1

Scott Cowen CLEARLY mis-read the tea leaves and did everything his first 12 years in office to NOT position Tulane athletics to be successful.

+1000

Stanford, which is probably the best Private University with D1 athletics. They often win the Capital 1 award for most successful D1 athletics, and used to be a Peer academically

Um, no. :lol:

Again, if he's the sports fan he claims to be, he'll want accountability. That was seriously lacking with CowDick.

I think we'll have this now, but moreso via the AAC commish than the Tulane administration.
Very valid point that Michael Fitts is only just getting started.

OTOH what he said did sound like exactly what I'm sure that Cowen and Rick Dickson would have liked for him to say. He could hardly have made a more solidly ringing endorsement of the regime -- not really a comforting thing to see from the point of view that you would to like to see changes being made, especially as regards the school's culture/philosophy toward athletics.

OTOH he's probably only talked with Cowen and Dickson and people who are strong supporters of theirs. Of course he's going to hear the side of the story that says that Cowen and Dickson have been doing great things and have everything well set up for the future.

Everyone's going to have to wait until the time if or when TU has a disappointing year in one or both of the major sports to see how he responds to that in order to really get a good read.

That exactly right about accountability...if there's going to be more of it, it's very likely going to be because of the conference more than because of an internal cultural change.
Tulane sports: small football stadium, very small basketball arena, w̶i̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶g̶r̶a̶m̶s̶, h̶o̶n̶e̶s̶t̶y̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶o̶u̶n̶t̶a̶b̶i̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ , but, hey, now there's tailgating.
DfromCT
Tsunami
Posts: 6311
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:50 pm
Location: Stamford, CT
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Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:18 pm

I can agree with the conference push argument. That's a HUGE reason I think we stand a better chance of the AAC becoming a P6 than we do getting into a P5.
" For every alum, no matter where they are...I want a football coach that's going to make Saturday something you anticipate and look forward to." --Troy Dannen

Thank you all for your support as my son Zach continues to beat leukemia
JDTulane
Riptide
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:08 pm
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Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:48 am

JJ is losing it. I picture his office walls covered with photos of Cowen, RD, and conspiracy theories.
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JDTulane
Riptide
Posts: 4370
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:08 pm
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Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:50 am

I bet youll drool over this site jj http://tulanelink.com
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