Thoughts on the UNLV basketball follies

Big hoopla today, surrounding the once proud and nationally prominent basketball program, with the news that recently hired Chris Beard will abandon UNLV to take the head coaching job at  Texas Tech. Beard had the UNLV job for about 6 days then Texas Tech came calling with bags of money UNLV couldn’t match and the deal was sealed.

Some feel UNLV was used, abused and left holding the lesser bag of money………..but is this really a 20+ year mistake by all involved at UNLV.

  1. Chris Beard has exactly ONE season of head coaching experience – this was this recent season where at Arkansas Little Rock he cobbled a team together in hasty fashion and got them to win 30 games, and even upset Big Ten Conference Purdue in the NCAA tournament! Nice year coach. But was this the norm or was it a one yea fluke ?!?! Beard came into that program late, much like he did at UNLV and will do at Texas Tech. He went the quick fix route by taking any transfer player and grabbing whatever Junior College players he could get. It was far from a normal program building recruiting process. So bottom line is, yes he did well in his ONE season, but could he sustain that winning over a number of seasons. Who knows, he left.
  2. With the defection by Beard to Texas Tech, the Red Raiders will send a check to UNLV for $1,000.000! Not a bad windfall for an athletic department that loses money pretty much every year. Let’s not forget that UNLV is still and will be paying off the remainder of the Dave Rice contract after Rice was fired mid-season. So maybe that million dollars will go to settling up accounts with the last coach.
  3. UNLV had a deal with Beard that paid him $900,000 base per year – Deep pocketed Big Twelve Conference member doubled that amount to $1.8 million. That’s the beauty of being in one of the big money conferences, those schools can toss the money around where UNLV can’t. No way could UNLV counter that amount of money……..thus is the onus of being in one of the “have not” conferences that get crumbs while the major conferences rake in 90% of the money.
  4. Texas Tech just paid double that UNLV would have paid for a coach with all of ONE season of head coaching experience at the Division I level. UNLV was rolling the dice, now Texas Tech has the dice with twice as much on the pass line.
  5. The UNLV job ain’t what it used to be – Go back 25 to 40 years and college athletics was more of an even playing field with respects to television revenue paid to conferences and athletic departments. Times have changed, the money flows to the top now in amounts that have created a “Have” and “Have Not” class system in college athletics. Sadly UNLV is firmly inhabiting the “Have Not” level where schools like UNLV get a pittance of TV revenue compared to what the “Have” schools get.
  6. Football = TV revenue money – Football drives the money in college athletics. Conferences have expanded, have made their own TV deals, started their own conference networks all in the effort to maximize TV revenue for their member schools. And what did UNLV do for football since 1984 to 1996? Nothing. UNLV basically ignored football for 22 years while riding the success of the basketball program. And now those 20+ years of ignoring football are haunting and even killing UNLV.
  7. By ignoring football UNLV was unknowingly sealing its fate. A perennially lousy football program, with little to no investment in facilities has led UNLV to this point. UNLV is now at the point it is a stepping stone for coaches moving up the ranks and furthering their careers. Had Chris Beard been successful at UNLV for a period of time, it was only a matter of time until a money conference program offered Beard a big boost in pay to leave.

Such is the situation at UNLV and for the school that weren’t fortunate to make the cut and land in one of the five big money conferences……..UNLV is down to paying what it can for who it can an if the coach wins, UNLV can’t compete with the money program. All this is the result of UNLV ignoring football for 20+ years.














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