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March 29, 2007
BOB WILLIAMS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to NCAA president Myles Brand's Final Four press conference.
We'll begin with some comments from Dr. Brand and then open it up for questions.
DR. MYLES BRAND: Thank you all especially for coming. I appreciate that. I also want to make it very clear and I want to thank Atlanta, the Georgia Dome, and particularly the local organizing committee. They've done a tremendous job. Dome looks great. Looks like we're going to have a terrific tournament. The local organizing committee has done a remarkably good job.
We don't expect less from them. They're very experienced, very good at it. We want to thank them and compliment them for the superb work they've done.
We're looking forward to a terrific tournament. It's really a national tournament in terms of who's playing. Very competitive teams. I expect all three games to be hard-fought. I'm looking forward to that.
I want to make a few comments in addition to the games themselves, and that is about academic reform, an issue that I think you all know I've been very much concerned about from the beginning of my tenure.
We are still in the middle of academic reform. We're making some progress, but there remains some very serious challenges, as well. The trends are upward in all sports, including basketball. Perhaps the most interesting, positive trend recently to understand is that African American Division I male basketball players, who make up 56% of the Division I teams, are improving their academic performance and graduating at higher rates.
Presently, African American basketball players are graduating at 42%, which is five points better than African American males in the general student body. That's using the federal rate, which is the lower rate that does not count transfers.
It was not too long ago, perhaps a decade or less, in which the rate for African American male basketball players was 35%. That is an increase, whereas the general student body has not increased, the African America male basketball players have.
Overall, when you take into account transfers, and we consider that a far more accurate way of counting graduate rates, for all of Division I men's basketball, the graduate success rate now is 59%.
Again, with regard to African Americans alone, the reason they are doing better is in part because of the support that the institutions are providing to them, but also because they're coming in with better academic credentials.
For example, the African American male basketball players are coming in with a mean average SAT score of 914. But the general student body, African American males, are coming in with a mean score of 868. The basketball players are actually coming into school better prepared at this point.
It is clearly true that African American male basketball players are graduating at a lower rate than white basketball players, and that is a reflection of the fact that African American males in general are graduating considerably below what the white population is. That's a general problem that our universities haven't resolved. I know many universities are working on that, but there's a lot to be done.
But the basketball players are doing better than the general population in that situation.
It doesn't mean that all our problems are solved, despite this good news, by a longshot. We're now in our third year of data collection for the APR, the academic performance rate. Some of our teams are doing well. Florida has a graduation success rate of 100%. Georgetown has a graduation success rate of 64. Ohio State, 38. UCLA 44. We have some successes there and some areas for improvement.
All four schools have APRs greater than 900, which is what we look for for the so-called break point for historical penalties, with Georgetown having a 963 APR.
This coming year, the first time the rule is in effect that student-athletes who are academically ineligible and want to transfer to another university cannot do so and receive a scholarship unless they leave the first university while academically eligible. That's an important change that we put into effect.
What that means, is say a student-athlete, whether it's basketball or any other sport, cannot decide the second semester that they're not going to go to class, but yet think they'll just go to another institution, whether it's for more playing time or whatever reason, and blow off the classes in the first institution. If you're not academically eligible, you're not eligible for a scholarship to that second institution.
We continue not just in basketball but in a number of other sports to still want to make sure that our student-athletes are successful. I think a good part of the issue focuses around how well-prepared they are coming into our universities. The NCAA has begun to look at that more and more in various ways.
For example, you know we are beginning to work with the NFL on youth basketball to assure that on the way through high school, our student-athletes are better prepared for college. We obviously have taken serious steps in terms of prep schools. We continue to review prep schools. I believe it's over two dozen at this point that we said we will not accept the credentials of the students who attended those.
There's another category which I think needs attention. We really haven't attended to it yet. That's what we sometimes call special admissions. This is a very complicated situation, and one that now I think we're beginning to look at. In fact, there is no national data on this. The reason there's no national data is that there's no well-defined concept of special admissions. Different schools use that term in different ways and have different criteria for special admissions.
To talk about my own experience in Indiana University, Bloomington, when there was a special admit, either in athletics or any other area such as music, the student had to have a faculty or senior staff mentor who would follow that student, particularly in the first year or two of their career, and assure a committee that they were performing academically.
That's a very restrictive type use of special admits. Other schools have a much more broadly based special admits. Sometimes legacies at private universities, that is to say those who are sons and daughters of alumni are considered special admits. Sometimes they're not. There's no special definition.
No institution collects data on this. Some who collect data, some private institutions, have not made that data known publicly. Because there's such a diversity of definitions, it's a very hard area to get your hand around.
But here is the key underlying principle, whatever you want to call this category of admission, whether it's student-athletes or others. No student should be admitted to the institution who doesn't have the capability of graduating and doing the work at that institution.
If you are admitting someone who is coming from an under-prepared environment, an environment for various reasons that doesn't prepare them for school, then the institution has the obligation once that individual arrives on campus to assist them through advising, through remedial classes if necessary. Summer courses is one good way to do it.
So an institution has an obligation to anyone who admits who doesn't have exactly the standard credentials but falls under the category of special admits.
However you define that, and I repeat that individual has to have the capacity to undertake the academic work and graduate in that institution or that person should not be admitted.
So I think we need to continue to look towards the front end of the admissions process to make sure that those who come into our institutions, basketball players, football players, musicians, all students whose come into our admissions process, have that capacity to graduate.
We continue to look at issues such as financial issues at the universities. We had, as most of you know, a presidential task force report on the financial issues, the approach that we're going to take. That is working its way through the NCAA various committees, and we will continue to monitor and make recommendations on that. My expectation is within the next 12 to 24 months, whatever we're going to be able to do in that regard will have taken place.
With that, I'll open it up to questions.
BOB WILLIAMS: Now we'll begin the question and answer period.
Q. Dr. Brand, we're close to the end of the first year where college basketball is operating under the NBA's high school 19-year-old rule, whatever you want to call it. Obviously bringing these young players in has helped the sport on the floor, but some have raised some academic concerns about what these student-athletes might be doing in the second semester, the spring semester, in terms of their academic work. What is the level of your concern, and are you totally comfortable with this rule?
DR. MYLES BRAND: Well, as you know, the NCAA has had no input into this rule either formally or informally. We were never consulted on it. We have no formal role to play because it's an exemption to Sherman Anti-Trust via management/labor negotiations. We are not a party to the school. Nonetheless, we're affected by the rule, as you correctly point out.
I think I would make two statements.
The first is, if there are individuals who are just looking at this as one and out, not taking care of business in the second semester, we have to deal with that. There may well be some of those. There's another, I would say, unintended consequence of the rule, which actually has a beneficial effect. We haven't yet fully seen that work out, but I think it's a critical important effect.
Namely, it sends a very clear message to young men, their families, third parties, that if you do think you can play in the NBA, and far more think they can than actually do, but if you do think you can play in the NBA, you're going to have to go to college for a year. That means you better prepare for the admission standards, and you have to be prepared to do the academic work.
So the message, I hope and I believe, is getting back to many of the high school students. And I hear earlier and earlier in their high school career, that even if they believe, correctly or not, they're going to play in the NBA, they will have to prepare for college.
Hence, they'll come into college better able to undertake the academic work. As we all know, the vast majority who come into college, even with NBA dreams, and I don't want to disturb their dreams for a moment, the vast majority of them will find they just don't have that very high level of elite athleticism that allows them to do that.
But now they'll be in college, they're prepared for college, and the likelihood they'll stay on is increased because they've prepared for it, and we hope that will show up in the graduation rates and the education of these young people.
Leaving aside the few elite individuals who think that they're not going to the NBA one year and having to spend it in college, not necessarily happy about it, and then blowing off the second semester, leaving aside that very small group of people, we're talking about a handful, I expect hundreds, maybe even thousands, over the years to be positively affected by this rule.
Now, if I had a vote, which I don't, and I told you I didn't in the beginning, I'd like to see it for more than one year, two years, three years. The football rule works well. We see a good graduation rate in football. Part of that is due to the fact the young men can't leave for three years. But I don't have a vote.
Q. Recently there has been news about face book pools, where athletes can enter an online tournament and win a prize. They don't have to wager anything. I'm asking you to clarify the policy. Right here I have in my hand a background statement on 2007 that says, and I quote, "It is a violation of NCAA rules for student-athletes, coaches and administrators to participate in bracket contests for monetary gain." That doesn't say anything about putting a wager. Can you clarify the policy?
DR. MYLES BRAND: Yes, I can. You are quite right to point out it's a violation of NCAA rules to put down a bet if you're a student-athlete or anyone connected with the athletic department. But in the case of face books, you're not putting down a book and you can win a prize, so that's not against the rules.
It's not against NCAA rules to enter those kinds of contests because you're not putting down a bet, and therefore you can't be leveraged into doing something you don't want to do.
However, a number of institutions have independently taken a stronger stand on that in which they say they don't want their student body to independently engage in those activities. Of course, it's open always to the institutions to pass whatever rules they think are appropriate.
Q. Don't they still have a possible stake and can gain from that?
DR. MYLES BRAND: Well, you can be the millionth entrant into a new supermarket and you'll win a prize. You're not risking anything by participating in it is the point.
Now, again, some universities find that it's uncomfortable to have their student-athletes participate, and that is up to them. But as the rules now stand, unless the membership changes, as the rules now stand, if you don't put something at risk, you don't make a bet, it is not against the rules.
Q. Curious about your feeling on the current regulations involving text messaging and recruiting, where you think things need to go there?
DR. MYLES BRAND: That's an area of great confusion. The fact is, text messaging has been discussed by our membership. They have not resolved it in their own minds about how best to handle it. There are some cases in which a great deal takes place, and that is a burden on youngsters, particularly if there's a fee attached to it, it could be a burden on their families as well. We don't quite have it amongst our members what's the right approach on that.
Moreover, text messaging may be last year. It may be we're moving on to a different means of communication electronically. By the time the NCAA gets clear about text messaging it won't even be used any more.
One of the issues that we face, and we all face, you in the media and we in the NCAA, is to understand how the new media is evolving and how to create fairness and how to project our rules -- our old rules into that new media that make sense, and that are not overly burdensome and not practically enforceable, on the other hand, it's fair to the student-athletes and doesn't allow for abuses.
I think we have a very hard job to do that, and we run as fast as we can to catch up.
Q. Dr. Brand, you don't have to walk very far out of this building to see how this event has changed in the last five years since you were last here. Could you comment on the growth of this event, the direction you're going in trying to make it more than just three basketball games?
DR. MYLES BRAND: Thank you for that question. It's an excellent question. I was reflecting upon that myself just the other day. You're right, the event has changed. I was here five years ago. I remember how it was. There were great basketball games, too. But it is more than three basketball games right now. It's turned into a several-day event with its own nature.
We try and make sure it has a collegiate flavor to it, that it is a family-friendly event, that there are lots of things to do for youngsters as well as families, as well as those who want to hear music. Last couple years we've started to have music. I think in Indianapolis last year we had very large events which we'll also have here as well.
It is evolving along those lines. I think our fans and our public enjoy it. Our task as that happens is to make sure at the same time that it is a collegiate event, that it keeps that feeling and flavor of college basketball. There are temptations and challenges not to do it that way. But we're working very hard to make sure that we keep the flavor and sense of the games as it grows to be more fan friendly.
Q. The University of Florida president is working on a proposal to create a Division IA football playoff. Have you seen his proposal? Do you have any comments on it either specifically or in theory of whether or not we should have that playoff?
DR. MYLES BRAND: I haven't seen it. I haven't talked to President Machen about it. The reason we don't have a Division I playoff right now is because the presidents don't want a Division I playoff. If they change their minds, and President Machen may be successful in changing their minds, and the commissioners of course serve at the pleasure of the presidents, we may well move in that direction.
If we do, I'm sure the NCAA, our national office, will be of whatever assistance that is asked of us. At the present time the presidents have made it clear that they want to emphasize the regular season. They don't see a IA football as a tournament sport so much as a sport focused on the regular season.
The BCS Bowls do bring together the 1 and 2 teams. At this point that's as far as they've wanted to go with it.
If they decide they want a small tournament, I couldn't imagine an NFL-type tournament emerging there, but if they do want a small tournament, we of course will be happy to work with them.
But really it's their decision. At least right now I don't see a groundswell. It's interesting the questions are being asked.
Q. Along the lines of the growth of the event, do you see the ancillary events, concerts, et cetera, other things that we see here at the Final Four, gravitating down to the level of the first and second rounds for those cities that host it in 2009, 10 or 11?
DR. MYLES BRAND: That's a good question. We're not there yet. Maybe eventually we will be there. Right now we're focused on the final weekend, Final Four weekend. That may not happen. Although we're beginning to see some enlargement of other events.
In Division II, we've brought together a series of championships, five to seven championships now each year, which we call a festival. It does have music. It's mostly for the student-athletes who are there. But I can imagine at one point that will blossom a bit and involve the greater community as well.
It's possible it will happen. There are no plans for it right now. It's not on the drawing board. At this point we are focused on this final event. The point that it is changing and be more fan friendly, that is our intent, that did not happen by accident.
Q. What level of concern does the NCAA have about parents becoming certified player agents while their child is still competing, or other players they're closely associated with, what issues that might raise?
DR. MYLES BRAND: That is a complex set of issues and I do have concerns about that. In basketball, especially, I have concerns about agents in one form or another directing their son's careers very early on as if they are only interested in professional athletics and not college-bound.
And parents, for better or worse over the last couple decades, have taken greater, greater interests in the athletic pursuits of young people. Sometimes that works, sometimes it does not. It sometimes disadvantages the well-being of the youngster.
I do have concerns. I'm not sure it's reached the level at this point of a dramatic problem, but it is something we'll need to watch carefully.
Q. I cover Kentucky. They're in a search for a basketball coach now. A lot of seven-figure money figures are being thrown around. This is old news, but with the Nick Saban contract at Alabama, how do you feel about the money that's being thrown around?
DR. MYLES BRAND: Yeah, the basketball coaches have not yet gotten to the Nick Saban level. What's happened is Nick Saban, the market between the NFL and the college coaches has collapsed. The pay rates for the very highest celebrity coaches are similar. We're seeing more and more movement back and forth.
When we were at a million dollars, which is an enormous salary for a coach compared to what faculty members make, for example, it probably was justifiable because there weren't very many of them. There are a number of people on all major campuses, including the ones in Kentucky, particularly when you look towards the medical school, who have compensation packages of that kind.
We always have to remember the schools aren't paying all these dollars. In fact, on average the schools only pay 25% of those large compensation packages. The rest are through media contracts and speaking engagements, but the compensation package is clearly very large.
I thought a million dollars was a lot. But when we moved away from that and moved, in one case a $4 million contract, I think we have to begin to ask some very hard questions. Whether you can justify it or not in terms of rate of return, and I can talk more about that if you like, whether we can justify it or not in terms of rate of return, it raises the question of propriety for colleges and universities.
I'm not sure you can justify it in terms of rate of return because, first of all, the seats are already sold and filled. There's a limit to how much you can raise prices, whoever the coach is. The media contracts often, mostly the conference and national contracts are not affected, and the local media contracts also don't have a great deal of elasticity.
Fund-raising would be the only area in which you might say certain coaches could bring in more money. That's controversial because many of these institutions are already working very hard to raise funds.
Let's say for the sake of argument you can make that up through additional fund-raising. I would believe that that could happen in some cases. Again, I want to say, you know, even if all that's true, I think you have to ask the hard questions. Is this the appropriate thing to do within the context of college sports?
Q. Along those same lines, Nick Saban's contract attracted the attention, there was news at that time of government interest into the size and scope of athletic departments. I wonder about your opinion of their insight to it and also the potential for taxation of athletic departments?
DR. MYLES BRAND: We have not had any follow-up since there was interest by former congressman Thomas in the House Ways and Means. As you know, or I expect you know they sent us a rather long letter, or at least his staff wrote that letter, and we answered in detail. Both the letter and responses are on our website if you would like to look at the details of that.
We have heard no follow-up on that whatsoever from either the House or the Senate. The issue seems to have changed when we moved from a republican Congress to a democratic Congress. At this point we have no questions on that regard or any follow-up.
What the issue was at the time, I believe, and your question I think is correctly directed, namely that it wasn't the NCAA national office, because we're basically a pass-through operation, 96% of all our revenue goes to the campuses, so we're basically a pass-through operation. It is the campuses that were actually under threat for tax structuring issues.
The two areas, amongst others, that probably would have been looked at, if that discussion had continued, would have been the deduction one could take in terms of boxes and so. Right now you can deduct 80% of the donation. That might come under additional scrutiny. At one point when this first came up many years ago, it was a hundred percent. Congress reduced it to 80%. It's possible that that could come under conversation.
And the other part was the ability to use tax-free bonds for facilities. That's really more of a state issue in most cases, maybe not all, but most cases, and it would have to be taken up state by state.
Those were the kinds of tax issues I think were on the table. But with the change in Congress, the change of leadership at the House and Senate, Senate Finance, House Ways and Means, we have not heard any additional comments about this, nor have we been asked about it from the Congress.
Q. A lot of the focus on the problem with few African American coaches being hired in football. A lot of the debate is focused on a so-called Rooney Rule, which I've read your comments on in front of the House subcommittee. The Rooney Rule kind of talks about who you would bring in to interview. A lot of times it seems to me these hiring decisions are made there really aren't any interviews, that it's talking to an intermediary, and an intermediary talks back. There are really no formal interviews. Maybe the ADs don't get to know as many candidates, many minority candidates, because the interviews don't take place. I'm wondering if you agree with that and if there's anything that can be done about that?
DR. MYLES BRAND: I basically agree with your analysis. I think it's primarily right.
The reason the college football community doesn't need the Rooney Rule is it has something in place frankly that's more powerful than the Rooney Rule, and that's public exposure through the Black Coaches Association, BCA, report card. In fact, 30% of the final candidates for last year for senior IA football jobs were African Americans and were interviewed.
African Americans were on 76% of the short lists, in part because there is a process evaluation as part of the BCA. That seems to be working. In fact, I believe it's more powerful and more effective than the Rooney Rule. Rather than a fine, which we have no ability to levy, our members would not give us that permission, of course, but the public exposure part, which is run by an independent group, the BCA, really has been effective.
So it's not a question of getting people in the door to be interviewed. It's a question of how does the process work so they can be hired.
Now, I think what you named as a process is rare but not unique. It does happen sometimes. That's an issue. I think the problem is not the interviewing, but the hiring. I think we've done well with the interviewing, we're just not getting the hires that we need.
One issue we're exploring in conjunction with others is to set up informal channels of communication and contact so that the athletic directors who are the main people who do the recommendations in the hiring process are acquainted with a broad range of candidates before they enter the process, so that when we go into it, make a recommendation to the president and the board, and that's where the primary recommendations come from, they have in the back of their mind as well as personal acquaintance, a broader range of people.
Some of our conferences are doing an excellent job. I pick out the SEC and the PAC-10 in particular. But all of them are doing a better and better job of setting up informal means by which the ADs and the coaches could come to know each other, even before there's a job opening. I think that set of issues in terms of getting people to know each other is a step forward.
Also the NCAA national office has a role to play, especially in providing a professional development opportunity, not necessarily in the X's and O's, these coaches are very good at it, but to be a head football coach at a major IA institution involves more than X's and O's. That person could well be the most visible person in the university for the entire state and have to work with alumni groups, manage a very large operation, not just a hundred athletes, but a very large staff and so on, do a lot of media work.
So we're helping those coaches I think to be better prepared for that. For example, Ron Prince, who went to K State as a head coach recently went through one of our expert academies. I think we can help prepare people. That combined with what the conferences are doing, and we'll support that as well in terms of bringing people together, I think we'll avoid the kinds of issues that you named. While it doesn't happen very much, if it happens once it's too much.
Q. Would you elaborate a little on the concerns you had about the propriety of the very large sums of money with coaches, and what might the NCAA do to address that?
DR. MYLES BRAND: The problem we face of course is the NCAA -- the national office can't do anything about it. The reason we can't do anything about it is we don't make the hires and we certainly don't set the salaries or the budgets of the institutions. Frankly, we should not do so. I don't think the national office, the NCAA, should have control over campus budgets or make the particular hires.
But I think we can ask some hard questions in the following way. I think we can ask the schools and the conferences to consider this. We can't pass any rules. It's called collusion, anti-trust. You can't limit salaries on a national basis or even a conference basis. But I think we can prompt our members and our conferences to say, At what point do you believe in your context for your institution, for your conference, that this does not make sense? Each school is going to have to figure that out for themselves.
Now we all recognize there are going to be fan and alumni pressures on the one side. There are going to be faculty and questions of propriety arising as well. So it's a complex issue. But I don't think -- this is my personal view. I don't think schools should be moving in this direction without giving it some deep thought and trying to work through in their own context the pluses, minuses, the balance. What are you saying about your integrity and value?
I can't draw the conclusions for them. They have to draw them for themselves. Certainly we've reached the point, even as I told you before, the return on investment makes sense, even under those conditions, we're beginning to reach the point in which you still have to ask those questions in your context on your campus before making the decision.
Ultimately I would suggest to you it's the board, not even the president or the AD, the board has to get involved when we reach that level of compensation.
Q. You said those packages are 75% outside of salary.
DR. MYLES BRAND: Yes.
Q. How could you regulate the coach's contract with a shoe company or with a TV station or anything like that?
DR. MYLES BRAND: You cannot. And you should not. Just as we don't regulate the compensation packages, universities don't regulate the compensation packages for faculty members. For example, if you're an academic physician, you're doing many procedures, you'll have a private practice plan which can easily give you a million dollars if you're an ophthalmologist or neurosurgeon or some such, cardiovascular. There's no way, either legally or in fact, a university can regulate that, nor can they regulate the compensation packages for coaches in this way.
What we require of coaches, which aren't required of faculty members and others in the university, is that disclosure. We believe that transparency, while it's not regulatory, helps I think set the tone. So we do require, and you print, what those compensation packages are. That will continue.
But the fact of the matter is you don't print or know about, and most of the time university presidents don't even know about, outside earnings from faculty members, law faculty, business faculty, so on. They do have rules about what you can do for outside earning. It's called the one-in-five rule for faculty. You can't devote more than one day a week to outside earnings if you're on full contract.
They do regulate the time spent, but the amount of money spent, compensation for that outside consultation work, is not regulated, nor should it be in the case of coaches. But we do make that information known, and that transparency is I think what we're talking about.
Q. One thing that has changed, the schedule. A lot of conferences have decided or are contemplating increasing the number of conference games their teams play. A lot of coaches at lower levels of the division would say there's a trickle-down effect, whereby if an ACC school, for example in two years has to play two more conference games that's two fewer games that it would play against a smaller institution, the so-called guarantee games. Does the NCAA have any opinion or input on that topic?
DR. MYLES BRAND: No, not directly. We do regulate, as you well know, the total number of games. There is a benefit I believe for having a full conference schedule. That creates competition. It does increase the sense of rivalry within the conference. I think that's good for the schools and good for the fans.
But there's an indirect way of doing it, too. I think your question hinted at that. Namely, when the basketball committee decides who to assign to the tournament, where to seed them, they do look at what the competition is. While that may help some schools in certain conferences, it may hurt others outside those conferences.
I think you have to have a balance. But we don't have any desire to regulate that. I think that really is a conference decision.
Q. Every time around this time of year we hear about the possibility of increasing the size of the teams in the tournament, the number of teams in the tournament. In your view, where are things headed?
DR. MYLES BRAND: We do hear about that sometimes about the time we select for the tournament, as well. In my view, and I'm not shy about saying this, the last thing we want to do is significantly increase the size of the tournament to 96 or 128 teams. I think that would take a very good tournament and weaken it in the eyes of the public and the selectivity involved in it.
I would be against that kind of watering down of the tournament.
However, having said that, there are probably things you could do moderately that may not have that effect and may even improve the tournament. For example, we now have one play-in game on the Tuesday. What if we had four play-in games? That would bring it from two teams to eight teams, six new teams. Is that a possibility? Would that strengthen the tournament? Do we have more parity now so that that makes sense where it might not have made sense a few years ago or a little longer? Do we have a bunch of bubble teams which deserve that chance?
I think those are fair questions to ask, that kind of moderate, careful review of whether we can move it around a little bit to even increase the competitive nature of the tournament more. I'm sure the basketball committee will continue to consider that. Last time when asked that question this past year they said no. But it's not off the table. I think in the future that may happen. There are no active conversations going on right now, but I think that that kind of conversation over the next few years may well take place.
Q. Over the course of the next year, the Men's Basketball Committee is going to be awarding future Final Four sites. The NCAA has expressed its desire to help with the recovery of New Orleans. New Orleans is certainly going to be in the bidding of that. All things being equal, would you like to see New Orleans receive a future Final Four site?
DR. MYLES BRAND: I have great empathy and admiration for what New Orleans has been doing in terms of its comeback. I know that in terms of athletic events, and other major events, the city has been very aggressive about it - properly so - and are doing a great job at it. I think we all have a warm spot in our hearts for New Orleans, myself included.
I don't get to vote on that committee. But I should tell you I'd be first in line to be there in the event if it happens in New Orleans because historically New Orleans has put on a terrific Final Four, terrific show, and we've always been happy to be there. Our basketball committee I'm sure will give it full consideration.
BOB WILLIAMS: Thank you all for joining us this afternoon.
End of FastScripts