- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Of course he isn't. He's Mark Hollis.
In the past five years, when the Michigan State athletic director has an idea, no matter how farfetched that idea is, he usually sees it through to fruition. The Carrier Classic, the Germany army base game, etc. -- these are all things that required some measure of (cliché alert) outside-the-box thinking, and all things that probably had any number of excuses to fail. But they didn't.
So, naturally, when Hollis hears the kind of criticism he received for his latest idea -- wherein eight college basketball teams play four staggered-start games in Cowboys Stadium in front of armed forces -- he does not seem the least bit deterred. From WXYZ.com:
"It's like anything else. It's different. Reaction goes two different ways. Some have looked at it as the 'circus-type' activity that maybe doesn't have a place in college sports," he said. "But sports are supposed to be the diversion. They're supposed to be something that's different."
His phone hasn't been solely ringing off the hook with harassment. His reputation wouldn't merit that feedback. There's been legitimate interest from major programs across the country.
"Some of the reaction was obviously negative, but then I've also had 15 or so basketball coaches contact me and say, 'If this thing goes forward, we want to be a part of it.'"
Well, OK, first things first. Just because college basketball coaches agree to it does not make it a good idea. They just don't want to be left behind. I'm pretty sure if we all started acting like playing Dishonored in my basement was good for recruiting, 15 of the country's most respected coaches would fly in tomorrow. They might hate the idea. But if it's happening, they'll be damned if someone else is going to be there instead.
Coaches' willingness to participate doesn't make it a good idea. Nor is it a good idea because of its sheer creativity. Or because people who don't otherwise notice the beginning of the college basketball season without something shiny to look at can slap, "Hey, sounds cool, why not?" into a blog post next to a picture of Johnny Manziel's girlfriend.
I'm not sure it is a good idea. It is a bit over the top. It does feel like a step in the direction most college basketball fans are probably hoping we don't take; we'd prefer regular old basketball arenas come back into vogue. Even if those things are true, like conference realignment, it's probably going to happen anyway.
But Hollis' plan is also nowhere near worth the amount of scorn it's received thus far. You can dislike the showmanship, and you can call it silly, but let's not pretend it's the end of the sport as you know it. Everybody take a deep breath, huh?