Thursday, June 7, 2012

Idaho State Observations & Conjectures

The NCAA investigating Idaho State (apparently triggered by a letter from former interim head coach Deane Martin), has been a hot topic on this blog and around the web on Idaho State sites and message boards. Everyone seems to have an opinion or thought on the topic, and that is what makes Idaho State's fan base one of the best certainly in the Big Sky.

Here are some of my thoughts, observations, and conjectures on the whole situation. Not I am not saying any of this is fact, only things that I think to be true about the whole situation based on what I have been told, what I have read, and what I can logically assume.

- Deane Martin knew about any violations relating to the booster well before his letter to ISU AD Jeff Tingey and to the NCAA. This booster activity was also going on while Joe O'Brien was the coach. In fact, it was pretty well known within the athletic department that this particular booster was friendly with the players, practicing with players at times, and doing other things which (at the very least) toed the line. However, nobody told him to stop, possibly because they liked the benefits that he brought, or they feared retaliation.

- If Martin had become the head coach rather than being passed over for it, it seems likely that he would never have sent the letter opening this can of worms. To be honest, it is pretty tough to conclude otherwise. You would have to think that this will hamper Martin's ability to get another job soon.

- The alleged booster and AD Jeff Tingey are friends, which may further be complicating (or maybe, did complicate) the investigation by Tingey into the matter.

- Tingey did not handle the initial letter from Martin very well, accusing him of making "potentially slanderous statements." Safe to say, this didn't go over too well with Martin, and he then sent the letter to the NCAA with the information.

- There are big concerns within the ISU fanbase on whether or not Tingey is the right guy to lead the athletic department. It seems like almost a given among people that family ties played a big role in him getting the position. While he has done some nice things, he seems to be in a bit over his head. If these allegations turn out to be true, many feel that should be a call for his job.

- Most of all, terrible luck for new head coach Bill Evans. He walked into what looked like a rebuilding situation, but also a situation that looked like he would have a fresh start with new staff, a lot of new players, etc. Instead, he is left to deal with this mess. Certainly this will have a big impact on his ability to do the job well.

Anything I missed or any assumption or conclusion you think I am coming to erroneously? Would love to hear thoughts and feedback.

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball


  1. Solid as always Jon. I have linked your piece to the Den.

    Thanks for the plug on ISU fans and the compliment. Bengal fans have not had much to cheer about over the last 30 years. Yet you can see by message board participation that folks care.


  2. An individual who used to work as a reporter for the Idaho State Journal said the biggest problem he saw at ISU was an apathetic administration. I think that's pretty spot on.

    Richard Bowen was hired as president in 1984, and his disdain for athletics in general was well known. He wanted all Big Sky schools to decrease scholarship numbers (which some say triggered schools such as Nevada, Idaho, and BSU to make a hurried move to I-A football), banned concerts at Holt Arena (which eliminated sources normally used to maintain the facility), and he limited the ability to fundraise (at the athletic department, as well as other departments).

    Unfortunately, Bowen was president for 21 years. This is when the department really began to tank. When Art Vailas was hired, it was slightly better. He took the chains off of the ability to raise funds, which is a positive. Unfortunately, Vailas originally spent all of his time trying to get a medical school at ISU. When the chances of that faded, he became embroiled in a feud which still continues against the faculty. His time and efforts aren't where they should be.

    Yet, we fans still care. Go figure.