Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers basketball, football and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Hello, chatters. Welcome to another week. Lots to discuss today. The SEC presidents and chancellors are meeting today and could possibly agree on a scheduling model for the fall sports calendar. Stay tuned in case there's breaking news on that front. We're getting closer to the scheduled start of Mizzou preseason camp, which is set to kick off next Friday. We've been previewing all aspects of the 2020 team each day in the print and online editions. We'll keep that up as long as there's football in the works. Let's get to your questions.
    Dave

    Thank you for doing this.

    I read that Blacksburg, Virginia, estimates to lose 70 million dollars (restaurants , hotels, etc...) if there is no football season, do business in Columbia also rely as heavily on a football season?
    Yes, very much so. The hotels in town rely on the six/seven weekends a year that Mizzou hosts football games. The bar and restaurant industry relies heavily on revenue from those same weekends. I don't have any figures at my fingertips this moment, but a canceled season or a season without fans will surely strike a major blow to the local economy in Columbia.
    Thank you for the chat.

    In the last 24 hours a couple of players opted out of the season, any news about the same possibility at Mizzou?
    Nothing to my knowledge of yet. I haven't talked to Drinkwitz since his last media availability. I spoke with defensive coordinator Ryan Walters a week ago and no names came up as players who would opt out for the season. I expect will see more across the country, but as of today I have not heard of any Mizzou players choosing that option.
    What is the newsroom policy? If your paper writes about every ignorant, dumb, and stupid statement that 20 year olds make, each edition would weigh five pounds.
    I presume this is in reference to Michael Porter Jr.'s comments about the coronavirus. I've had a healthy debate with colleagues on this topic. When a public figure opines about a newsworthy topic should we magnify his/her public platform, even if that person's opinion goes against the science that's been delivered by experts and reported by trustworthy sources? I can see some value in shining a light on opinions, like Porter's in this case, especially when he went on to say he's never been vaccinated ... and he has a history of polarizing/controversial social media statements. I also see the argument against giving more attention to takes like his. In this case, I wrote the story that we published online yesterday. By then it had been reported thoroughly in the Denver market and picked up by national outlets. For better or worse, he's still a bit of a lighting rod among our readership. The metrics on our site prove that. Online traffic alone shouldn't solely justify whether or not something is newsworthy, but people were clearly interested in the story.
    Dave

    Everybody is talking about football, but the future of college basketball also doesn’t seem secure for this coming season , if there is no vacancies ( hopefully this is not the case, as there has been some encouraging news about this front, in the past couple of week), and the fact that the basketball season starts around the flu season”, your take
    Football is the primary concern for colleges because it comes first on the calendar and it's a far more lucrative moneymaker at most if not all Power 5 schools. Like everything when it comes to COVID and the return to normal society, any activity that's more than a week or two down the road we just assume will take care of itself - as if the virus will just magically ... disappear. We know that's not true, so to your larger point, yes, college basketball should be a concern. Schools and conferences have already kicked around the idea of scheduling some games earlier than normal in order to give the schedule some gaps in case games need to be shuffled around. You could see nonconference games scrapped and a push toward conference-only scheduling. 
    Fortunately for college basketball, other sports are launching first - and the leaders in college sports can learn from what happens with the NBA, NHL, MLB, etc., over the next few months. 
    Dave

    You twitted something that Blake Toppmeyer wrote about kicking Mizzou out of the SEC, he is obviously joking, but is there some truth in his words, that the other schools at the SEC, don’t see Mizzou as a legitimate or equal peer, and even after 7-8 years has not accepted Mizzou as such?
    I have not heard that from folks who make decisions in the SEC. Blake is a good friend, smart guy, great reporter. I haven't listened to the podcast but traded some texts with him after he posted it. His main point was Mizzou is a better fit geographically/culturally in the Big 12. I can't disagree with that. I also agree that Mizzou made the right decision it had to make in 2011 when there was no guarantee the Big 12 would survive after losing Nebraska and Colorado and Texas/OU in talks with the Pac-12. 
    After eight years in the league, Missouri is happy to cash the SEC's checks, but MU is also spending more than ever before - and perhaps wouldn't be spending that much in the Big 12. So the revenue disparity argument in favor of the SEC is probably negligible at this point. In the Big 12, Mizzou football might be more competitive and Mizzou hoops might be more fan-friendly, both resulting in more school-generated revenue than what it's hauling in currently.
    Could you explain the top couple options the SEC id looking at in regards to how they may choose 5o play the season? No non-conference games, only 10 game conference schedule. Etc.....
    As Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger first reported yesterday, the SEC ADs favor a 10-game conference-only schedule. We'll see what the presidents and chancellors decide ultimately. If that's the model they approve, the next question is which 10 teams will you play? Will they stick with the eight opponents already on the schedule and pick two more from the other division? Will they scrap the divisions altogether and go with a schedule that's travel friendly for each team? 
    They could keep the eight games that are scheduled and have each team play the next two non-division opponents they have scheduled for 2021 and 2022. In Mizzou's case, that would be adding Texas A&M and Auburn. If you give Mizzou the two SEC West schools next-closest in proximity, it's Ole Miss and Alabama. 
    Hard to say what the ultimate plan will be. 
    If it's a 10-plus one model and Mizzou keeps one nonconference game, does it keep the trip to BYU or maybe the home game against Louisiana-Lafayette? Maybe we'll have some answers today. I'd expect some resolution by the middle of next week at the latest. 
    What compelled you to write about a former MU player's view pertaining to COVID-19? The tone of the article felt condescending towards his thoughts and title seemed to border clickbait material.
    I touched on this earlier in the chat. Porter is a public figure with a massive platform - more than 700K followers on Instagram alone. 
    I didn't think my story was condescending. He said he believes there's an agenda behind the virus and it's being used for population control. That falls in line with a lot of the debunked YouTube conspiracy theories that allege someone created the virus to control people. It's one thing to say politicians are intentionally politicizing aspects of the virus to divide the electorate. But that's not what he said. When a pandemic is twisted into reckless and kooky theories they minimize the impact the virus has on people living in the community. I'd like to know how he'd address NBA peers who lost loved ones to the virus or, as I wrote in the story, his former Mizzou teammate who lost one of his closest family members to the virus. 
    Do you think a player who decides to opt out of playing this year will be ridiculed and looked down upon by either his teammates or the coaches. If a good player ops out it could reduce the chances of the team having success and I could see where they may hold that against them.
  • No, not at all. No one is looking down at Buster Posey. People have valid concerns about their safety and their loved ones' safety. We don't know what's being said or how things are being handled behind closed doors inside college programs when it comes to taking precautions with the virus. If an athlete is ridiculed for not feeling safe in his sport, then those aren't the kind of teammates or coaches that athlete should want to play with.
  • I know you get asked this question every week, but do you think we will have many fans in the stands at football games or will there be any fans at the football game. Also do you feel like there's a possibility that conferences could possibly have a bubble City where they would all go there and basically be quarantined like NBA is doing?
    The bubble option makes sense for the pro sports but just isn't feasible for college sports. Here's why.
    1. Who's going to pay for it? The NBA spent a reported $200 million on its bubble in Orlando. College athletics departments are slashing their costs already and worried about having to pay their employees this fall.
    2. If you transplant college players in another city, you can no longer make the case they're "student-athletes" if you take them off their campus and away from classrooms. They're employees. And the NCAA and the colleges will never make that admission. 
    3. It's too damn late. The conferences can't get even get on the same page to put together standards and protocols for COVID testing. How are 60-plus Power 5 teams going to agree on where and how to house their athletes, their coaches, their staff, their trainers, etc., in time for training camps that are supposed to start in less than a week?
    As for fans in the stands, we're seeing some schools announce their plans for the fall. Ohio State is going with 20-percent capacity. I'll be mildly surprised if any schools go much beyond that threshold. No tailgating. I'm not sure how you enforce that, but that's probably going to be the standard at most schools based on what some have already decided. Ultimately, city and county regulations could decide how many people can gather for a public event, but unless we see a sharp dropoff in public health measures, I can't imagine seeing large packs of fans inside or outside stadiums this fall.
    Do you consider Brick Haley a good defensive line coach? I know he's been at Mizzou for a couple years and the defensive line has not shown anything the last couple years. Is this because he's a bad coach or just bad recruiting on mizzou's part?
    Not shown anything? Jordan Elliott was arguably the best D-tackle in the SEC last year and made major progress under Haley's watch. Kobie Whiteside has developed into an All-SEC contender under Haley's watch. It's fair to say the pass-rush production at defensive end has been disappointing compared to the assembly line of NFL players that came through there before Haley arrived, but I suspect that has as much to do with recruiting as it does player development. 
    I think it's fair to expect more from Haley's group overall, considering how well he's been compensated and how highly his peers and players speak of him. But I wouldn't go as far to say he's been a bust as a position coach. 
    I had to show proof of vaccination to attend Mizzou. Is there some reason basketball players are exempted from that requirement?
    Students at Mizzou can receive a medical or religious exemption when it comes to vaccinations.
    In response to the comment earlier regarding will the SEC ever accept Mizzou into the the SEC and actually respect them as an SEC team. The only way Mizzou will ever be welcomed and accepted as a true SEC peer is for Mizzou fans to start acting like SEC fans. Show up at the **** ball games instead of sitting on your asses at home. make some freaking noise in the stadium and stop acting like a bunch of bored students listening to a professor give a speech. And of course put a winning team on the field. once you win and act like the rest of the SEC and show up to the ball games then you will earn the respect of your SEC peers. Okay I've finished my rant.
    Mizzou was a great home environment in 2013-14 when the Tigers were winning the division. MU fans still generally travel well to road SEC games. Not all the road games but the more appealing destinations. 
    If I were giving advice to Mizzou fans, I'd be less consumed with what fans at other schools think about your fandom and level of SEC-ness and just support your program and have fun doing it. 
    If a team from Florida or South Carolina or wherever in the SEC can visit Columbia then why can’t central Arkansas? If you’re gonna play, play or just cancel the dam thing. Oh and Porter’s tweet had more truth than your coaching search conspiracy theory. Let me guess you think Antifa is a myth and only moms and veterans are getting gassed and rubber bullets shot them. So glad I don’t spend money for this trash
  • Some schools are canceling noncon games because they don't believe schools from lesser conferences necessarily have the proper testing resources. 
    My coaching search conspiracy theory? I don't follow. You mean the news I reported in December based on multiple sources intimately involved with the search process at the highest level and later confirmed by people throughout the athletics department? That report was as solid as it gets - and never denied by a single person at MU. 
    Thanks for reading! 
  • If SEC decides not to play a non-conference schedule and they get rid of the cupcake games that we usually have at the beginning of the season. Does that make it harder for the offense to get more acquainted with the new system? I'm sure coach drinkwitz would rather have a couple easier games to give his offense more time to gel. Especially considering it's a new system. Thoughts...
    Maybe he'd rather play Central Arkansas, but if he sticks around Mizzou long enough he'll have plenty of cupcakes down the road. This season is going to be so unconventional that first-year coaches are going to get a free pass anyway - unless their teams are woefully dysfunctional on an doff the field. And I don't expect that to happen at Mizzou. 
    Either way, this season's schedule wasn't going to be that easy up front. Yes, they open with Central Arkansas, but you've got Vandy in week 2 - that game did not go well for Mizzou last year - and then a trip to South Carolina in week 3. So, this team was going to be tested from the jump. 
    Does Mizzou basketball have any more scholarships available now that the three players have decided to return and not enter the NBA draft?
    No, they're at the 13 maximum for the 2020-21 season barring any changes.
    Dave

    Is Mike Alden still resides in Columbia and involved with mizzou?
    Yes, he still does some teaching at Mizzou and takes regular student trips to Vietnam through the school's Vietnam Institute of MU. He's not involved with MU athletics.
    I am a former Ohio State season ticket holder who knows many others. Gene Smith and his staff are getting an ear full about the 20% rule. One friend who checked to make sure he would have seats was told he would need to up his donation by $47,000!
    There will be lots of stories to write as Mizzou figures this out.
    Hi Dave. We belong in the SEC. Nobody was complaining in 2013 and 2014 when we were packing the stadium on consecutive SEC East titles. Give Drinkwitz some time before we all waste time contemplating our navels. Thanks
  • I hope you're correct. A relevant program that's competitive and has fans engaged is far more interesting to cover.
  • dave, many people say the strength coach is very important. wasn't pat ivey considered to be too important by some around the program?
    He was caught in the 2015 snare and wasn't in the plans for the post-Pinkel regime. It was a confusing time because after Odom was hired Ivey was initially told he could stay - and then that changed. I think it's as shame. Pat is as good of a person as I've come across in college sports and beloved by players. I do think there were times where some folks in positions of power thought he was too influential in his position. I'm not sure that was a fair assessment of the situation, but I know he's doing good things at Louisville now.
    I've written a lot about former players from the Pinkel years who have gone into coaching and almost every single one of them when you ask them who they learned from the most/who they try to model as young coaches the answers are consistent: Gary Pinkel and Pat Ivey. 
    The Sept 5 game is definitely off, right? That team isn’t playing football this fall. We haven’t they announced that?
    The Southland Conference has not canceled its season yet. So, Central Arkansas is still on the schedule ... for now.
    I thought that there was 1 MBB scholarship open since Okongo left.
  • Correct! My mistake. I had forgotten about Okongo's departure. Technically, yes, Mizzou could add another player, but Martin really favors a shorter bench this year. Don't  be shocked if there's some discussion about redshirting a player or two.
  • Why do you think the sports media skews so far left politically?
    I've been asked this a lot the last few months. I don't have an answer - and I can also tell you that your premise is not necessarily true. I've spent a lot of time in the South since Mizzou joined the SEC. And I can tell you there are a lot of sportswriters there who I would categorize as political conservatives.
    Can you imagine Barry Odom trying to navigate COVID as a head coach? The guy can barely tie his own shoes. It would be a trainwreck of epic proportions.
  • I don't know how to respond to that. Who exactly has navigated COVID well?
  • What do you think of mizzou’s chances of getting Lovett out of East St. Louis?
  • I've thought all along Mizzou was in great shape with the top East St. Louis targets. Obviously Keontrez Lewis picked UCLA, but Bush Hamdan and MU's staff have recruited Lovett hard since the staff came together. He's a major priority.
  • Speaking of Hamdan, I spoke to him today about his wide receivers. He's really bullish on this group. He spoke highly of all his wideouts, but some comments really stood out when it came to two players especially: Damon Hazelton and Jalen Knox.
  • Personally, I am tired of seeing anything about the Porters. It sounds like I’m in the minority.
  • "I don't know how to respond to that. Who exactly has navigated COVID well?"

    Eli "Big D" Drinkwitz

    The point was the Odom is the worst Power 5 coach in history. He couldn't walk and chew gum. He was would have made a bad situation terrible. CLOWN. SHOW.
  • The worst Power 5 coach in history who had a .500 record? 
    I can think of many worse. 
    OK, we've run out of time and questions. We'll do this again next week, perhaps on the eve of Mizzou's preseason camp. Stay tuned for updates as always.
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