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Publicize coaches poll?

How should the NCAA handle the Coaches' Poll?

  • Leave it the way it is

    Votes: 11 25.0%
  • Review the votes privately

    Votes: 6 13.6%
  • Make the votes public

    Votes: 27 61.4%

  • Total voters


Staff member
Tourney Pick'em Champ
I'm curious what the rest of you think about the privacy of the coaches poll. There is a lot of talk about revealing which coach votes for whom publically. While this would address the issue of biased voting, I see a problem with it for two reasons:

1) It could have very negative connotations on the team and the community if a coach voted accurately for a team that he is supposed to dislike, such as Tressel putting Michigan high. Also, if Tressel puts them too low he will provide message board fuel for the other team during practices.

2) Coaches will stop voting for teams that they believe are worthy but might be viewed as worthy but would cause their votes to be questioned. For instance, if a coach thought Auburn was #1 that would immediate be a red flag on his voting record. But worse, lesser teams like Louisville will be ranked lower to save face.

Personally, I think that the votes should be reviewed, but by a select group that protects the privacy of the voters. They could hold them accountable but not cause public uproar over their votes.

No big surprise here, Fulmer wants to hide some more.

ESPiN said:
AFCA hands out surveys on poll ballot disclosure

Associated Press
<!-- template inline --><!-- insertinlineAd --> LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- College football coaches delayed a vote Wednesday on whether to release the ballots for their weekly poll, though some made it clear they strongly oppose the idea.

<!-- BEGIN INLINE UNIT --> <iframe src="http://adsatt.espn.go.com/ad/sponsors/utilities/espn/adslug_120_160.html" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" align="middle" frameborder="0" height="12" scrolling="no" width="1"></iframe>

<!-- END INLINE UNIT --> "I don't see how that could be anything but a negative," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said.

Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said, "I've got no hidden agenda, but you've got nothing good in it."

Just over half of the nation's Division I-A coaches -- 59 of 117 -- attended the final day of the American Football Coaches Association's annual convention in Louisville.

AFCA executive director Grant Teaff led a forum on the ESPN/USA Today poll, which came under fire after Texas overtook California for the last at-large bid in the Bowl Championship Series.

Six coaches dropped Cal below No. 6 in the final poll, prompting Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen and Cal coach Jeff Tedford to ask the 61 coaches who voted to disclose their ballots. The AFCA voted down the request.

On Wednesday, Teaff handed out a three-question survey to the coaches in attendance.

The survey asked whether the coaches would:<bullet></bullet>

release their ballots every week;
release their ballots at the end of the season only; and
<li>continue to vote if their ballots were ever released publicly.

Teaff said the rest of the coaches would receive surveys by mail. An official vote would not take place until all the surveys have been received, Teaff said.

"We're trying to make a decision based on what we think is best for our game and our teams and our players," Teaff said.

The AFCA twice rejected proposals in the past year to disclose the coaches' ballots publicly. Teaff said the more likely change this time was for the coaches to release their ballots at the end of the season.

"I don't think they're interested with dealing with it on a weekly basis," Teaff said. "I don't know why they would be."

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said publicly disclosing ballots would put coaches in awkward situations.

"If we release the polls, we're bound to our players," Tuberville said. "They're going to see how we voted, other coaches are going to see. There are a lot of things you don't think about."

Fulmer said revealing how coaches voted could create bad blood before games.

"If we're getting ready to play somebody or if you rank somebody ahead of your team, that's a bad message to your kids," Fulmer said. "It's different than the writers' [poll] because we're dealing with our peers. We're playing against them rather than just reporting about them. That's a big difference."

Teaff said a suggestion to delay the coaches' poll until October was dismissed. BCS officials have suggested they'd prefer to see preseason polls eliminated.

"The other issues are more important to us," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, NCAA president Myles Brand participated in what Teaff termed a "sobering" discussion about the academic reforms approved at the NCAA convention earlier this week.

About 30 percent of the Division I programs will receive one-time warnings from the NCAA, stating that if their graduation rates don't rise, they'll lose scholarships.

"There were some questions and clarifications, and I hope the coaches now understand what took place at the convention," Brand said.

Also, the coaches agreed to lobby for a fifth year of eligibility for players. Brand said the issue was not discussed at the convention -- and will not come up for a vote when the NCAA Division I Management Council meets in April.

However, Brand said the council will vote in April on a proposal to allow teams to play a 12th game every season, beginning in 2006.

Teaff said that if the extra game is approved, the fifth year of eligibility becomes vital.

"We have guys [coaches] who will redshirt 20 guys," he said. "When you take 20 guys off of 85 and you go to 12 games, it doesn't mesh. Something has to happen."
ESPN would love it. They'd stir the pot and try to create soap operas each week, instead of football games. What a waste of time that would be.

I say leave it alone. Let the SID's..I mean Coaches...vote however they want.

Although most of them don't look at teams they won't play in a given year.
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BB73 is dead right. So what if Cal got dropped in the final poll, they certainly showed true grit in their bowl game, didn't they? Seems they were ranked too high in the final poll.

Transparency has great virtue. Honesty cleans out rot. But this would only be another news bonanza for ESPiN.

Can you imagine, (breathless announcer) "Kirk, as you know Lloyd Carr voted OSU #2 on his ballot and 43 other coaches had them at #1. Wait, here's the coach now, Coach Carr, there have been allegations that..." Heck, I wouldn't even wish that on him! Wait, on second thought....
There is no doubt that some in the WAC, MAC and others vote themselves in blocks and higher than other coaches vote them and etc. But I would leave it alone.
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I think if you want anything even close to a fair ballot, it must by a secret ballot. That is the whole point, IMO. Now we could argue that the coaches shouldn't be the ones voting in the first place (fill in the myriad of arguments we have heard here), but for any balloting to be successful, it must be secret.
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Leave the ballots secret, otherwise it becomes bulletin board material.

Coach Alverez, "You see this guys? Coach Tressel thinks Michigan is a better team than we are! Go out there and show those guys what's up!!!"
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Good points on why to keep it secret. I may have pulled the trigger on my vote too soon. (I voted to publicize them) My thinking was, if you know you'll be held accountable, you'll be more likely to compile a reasonable looking ranking of teams.

Maybe the coaches poll should be private - as the points about bulletin board material etc are very valid - but the media poll public. After all, the media answers to no one but the public (if even then) and we have all heard stories of guys who say "I didn't vote for Ohio State at all because of the way Gieger handled the Clarett matter." (2003 polls, forget the voter's name) Make those schmucks accountable.
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i think you guys are missing the most important reason why this is secret.

look at our team this year. how do you guys think it would have impacted the team if they found out that tressel didn't even have them in the top 25 in the preseason?

the arguement of giving other teams something to post on a board and fight about is one thing. but the damage a coach could do to his own team would far outweigh this. secondly, if he ever voted his team other than the top of the list it hurts them. but if he makes such a vote because he needs to do so for team unity and not because he believes it... he is lying. this is a loose loose.
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Coaches Should Not Have A Vote

I believe coaches should not even have a vote. This is an archiac poll started long before the BCS. At one time when coaches had an 10-12 hour day and had to really work about eight months a year it made sense for the coaches to vote. Today it makes as much sense to allow the coaches to vote as it does to let the perverbial fox count the chickens.

Each BCS conference has millions of dollars riding on getting multiple teams into the at-large slots. The Big XII schools each picked up close to $1.2 million dollars with Texas going to the Rose Bowl. Is it not worth a little sacrifice in honesty for the Kansas, Baylor, or Iowa State (examples only - no idea how if or how they voted) SID to vote Texas higher in the polls than Cal when that kind of money can come into a program. That's the equivlatent of selling nearly 20,000 $65 tickets for a home game. For a lower echelon team those are significant dollars. It is true the Pac-10 could do the same and balance out the equation but not all teams vote and not all representatives would vote based upon their self-interest. To me the Coaches Poll has more bias than any.

Let the coaches coach and SIDs inform but keep them out of the vote. Writers follow the breadth of football to a greater degree than the coaches and are much more apt to watch early and late games than a coach or SID who are each too busy on game day to worry about Washington vs. Washington State. Half of the teams from east of the Mississippi are returning to their campuses during most west coast games.

On the other hand I believe strength of schedule is too overlooked. SOS is quantifiable. Unfortunately no coach wants a reminder that he has a cake schedule and his constate 3-0 start is about as solid as ice cubes floating in boiling water. SOS is a statistical measurement and yes, numbers can lie, but including a balance of five or six computer polls usually counters any regional programming prejudice and the ability to eliminate the highest and lowest ranking further validates the average.

Defining polls should begin no earlier than the first or second week in October. Straw polls can begin anytime but the later a poll begins the less likely an ND will be ranked in the Top 25 because someone named Knute or Horning was associated with them. We took a seemingly big fall last year when we went from #5 to out of the polls. Only after careful scrutiny did someone uncover that 14 seniors from the previous two years had gone into the NFL and that we might be rebuilding our team. Perhaps an actual ranking this past year would have alleviated some of the "pressure" from the players and incentive for our opposstion changing the tone and the outcomes of a couple of those ugly games played during the middle of our season.
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martinss01 said:
*Shrug* i think it would be easier to just hire me for oh say... 250k a year and i will handle the polls for all the coaches.

clean, simple, and transparent. everyone wins =).
Hey now lets not get in a bidding war over this .. that'd be like buying votes.

Personally, I'm in favor of making them public.
Knee-jerk reason number 1 -- If 2 SEC coaches say no to an idea for open disclosure it MUST be a really good thing they are opposing.

More reasoned rationales for open disclosure ...
There will not be any suspicion about whether a conference has grouped together to promote one of their own (B12 - Tejas).
There will be a record which the coaches can defend and not have to be coy about.

While I agree with others that there are some down-sides to this appeal for open disclosure I find some of the reasoning has questionable premises.
A -- Only way to have a fair ballot is to have a secret ballot. Just want to say that is not always true. You can have a ballot which is secret and underwhich the worst devils of someone's nature are protected. A black-balling if you will. Result a "vindictive" ballot where for instance a Bo ranks Woody's team way too low. (Or a Bowden ranks too low a Coker). Not suggesting that those specific instances arose, ever -- however, such action is given cover in a secret ballot.
Consider the following: While coaches are not elected representatives, they are in positions of power. If secret votes or ballots were the only way to go for fairness then we would prefer to have all decisions made in camera, whether in the Senate, or in the NCAA. What is ironic here is not that once we stray away from sports and into politics a lack of openness is un-American, what is ironic is the supposition that a secret society mentality is the best means to ensure fairness in collegiate athletics.
B -- A secret ballot protects a coach from revealing to his team how poor he thinks they are.
Well yeah, but does a good coach actually try and convey to a 0-3 team that he didn't vote USC number 1 this week? This one doesn't pass my common sense test.
The only time a team is completely unaware of how good they really are is before they have played a single game. Even then you've surely got a reasonable feel for how sloppy or how perfect in execution your team is. The feedback from the coaches is probably the team's best measure before the season starts. If they are having a hard time avoiding mistakes they will hear about it.
Once the season starts the team's ability to win on the field of play will underscore how well they are doing. That game day performance, good or bad, will be reflected in the polling position they receive from voters other than their own coach, regardless of whether they know how Jim or LLloyd or Barry or others actually voted.
C -- An open ballot provides another opportunity for a coaches vote to be used as "bulletin board" material by this weeks opposition.
He and roughly 120 other fellows share that opinion. How strong will that make this bulletin board material. Anyway, I'm pretty sure many motivational speeches for an underdog team are made each week in college football. Polls are likely already mentioned by some coaches.
I can see how under a unique set of circumstances a coach will say "even Barry doesn't think much of us - lets go and win one for the Gipper." If you want to avoid this one specific issue then reveal the voters opinions on a one week deferred basis. That satisfies the goal of maintaining open disclosure, while preventing some pre-game locker-room hyping of the opposing team's ranking, that week, of your squad.
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