Category archive: Illinois Fighting Illini
For our introductory column here at "The File," we're following the money in the BCS. So when we saw President Obama welcoming the BCS champs of Alabama to the White House in March, it made us wonder: How much does the ultimate photo op cost? Here's how that $97,327 total breaks down:
$79,314: A chartered plane from Tuscaloosa and back again
$3,500: Four buses to transport the team to and from the airport
$6,000: Four more private buses to tour the team around D.C.
$1,671.30: Bill from Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security Special Ops, for crowd control
$3,512: Breakfast, Classic Fare Catering
$3,329.95: Lunch tab from Chick-fil-A
As for the president's description of Nick Saban: "There aren't too many coaches in the country who have the knowledge, the motivational skills, the program discipline to win two national championships in six years."
When Tim Tebow sneezes ...
Last September, Tim Tebow was laid low by a flu-like bug that ripped through Florida's roster. Did that mean he was sidelined? Nope. To keep the QB in the lineup against Kentucky -- and avoid having him infect the rest of the team -- the Gators paid almost $10,000 for a private plane to get Tebow to Lexington, according to documents provided by the Florida Athletic Department. Although school officials blacked out Tebow's name on this official flight itinerary, his stats were bold-faced news: 123 yards rushing, 103 yards passing and three TDs in a 41-7 win. Florida clearly figured it was worth an extra $42.50 a yard to have Tebow in the lineup. Heisman voters, not so much.
He works every Michigan State home game, stars in "SportsCenter" commercials and twice has been named Muscle & Fitness magazine's "buffest mascot." That's a lot of wear and tear on Sparty, as we found when we sent a public records request to Michigan State asking for the cost of a mascot makeover. (We're pretty sure it's the first one like that MSU has received, as evidenced by the assistant who kept saying, "What do you want again?") If you've ever paid $2,650 for a pair of leather boots, you know what it's like to dress for a capacity crowd of 75,005.
Big Ten chief no fan of the press
While the game of musical chairs called BSC realignment was in full swing this summer, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was hunkered down in his office, trying to keep a wall of silence around the negotiations.
This March 3 e-mail from Delany to his conference athletic directors -- obtained through a freedom of information request to a Big Ten school -- shows that Delany was just thrilled that Ohio State president Gordon Gee and Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez refused to talk to a Chicago Tribune reporter doing a story on the expansion.
"Fyi -- I appreciate Gordon and Barry being unavailable for this story per my request as we move our process forward," he writes. "I made myself unavailable also and it had the consequence of making me a focus of the story. To reiterate as a collective we have no conference stake in contributing either on or off the record or via background on these stories."
Delany goes on to suggest that talking to the press, among other things, is "an affront to those who are practicing discipline by refraining from commenting [and] inconsistent w [sic] the protocols of collegiality and trust which are the foundational elements of moving big and meaningful issues thru a governance system such as our own."
To see more bad grammar, and the five reasons Delany doesn't like the press, you can read the full text of his e-mail here.
Think your office feels like an equipment locker? Take a look at what it takes to outfit a real one. We asked Texas to tell us what's in its spring locker stockpile and got back a 28-page response listing everything from visors (181) to practice jerseys (197) for 111 players and 14 coaches. The Longhorns did such a painstaking job, we didn't have the heart to ask for the number of mismatched socks.
Public information research by Dale Brauner, with assistance by Benjamin Arledge.