Home > Illini, Illini baseball > Tuesday bits: Big Ten jilts Illini baseball?, APR released

Tuesday bits: Big Ten jilts Illini baseball?, APR released

Illinois baseball coach Dan Hartleb had a rough start to the spring as the Illini lost 21 of its first 32 games.

But Hartleb hasn’t had much to complain about during the last few weeks: his team won 11 of its last 14 games including its last five to clinch a share of the Big Ten championship, Hartleb’s first title in five seasons as head coach.

He voiced no quips about it during a Monday interview on the “Tay and J Show,” but Hartleb apparently was not pleased that the Big Ten did not have a trophy waiting on site during Sunday’s home game against Indiana in the instance that the Illini would clinch a share of the conference crown. After Michigan State lost to Northwestern and the Illini defeated Indiana on a Matt Dittman walk-off homerum to claim its first piece of a title since 2005, the players celebrated with a pileup at home plate.

But there was no trophy or championship apparel awaiting Illinois, and Hartleb told The News-Gazette’s Jim Rossow that he wasn’t pleased.

“It doesn’t hurt my feelings but it bothers me from the standpoint that our players worked extremely hard. It’s a lifetime memory,” Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. “Everyone should be treated the same. If you have five teams who win it, then you should have five trophies at those schools. Ship them in a box and have them on site and tell the schools to open them only if you win. Do something.”

Big Ten assistant commissioner Scott Chipman responded to Hartleb’s comments, telling The News-Gazette that the conference does not supply a trophy or apparel – such as hats or T-shirts – “unless a team can secure the title with a win. If a team is depending on another team to lose to clinch the title, then we hold off on shipping anything to the schools.”

I understand Hartleb’s complaints. He wants all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the title so his players receive their fair due for a tremendous accomplishment. But is the lack of a present trophy really worth a fuss?

Trophies sit on the mantle or behind a glass case to remind us of achievements, it’s not the trophies themselves that we remember. I’m willing to bet Dee Brown and Deron Williams remember Arizona and Louisville more than receiving the NCAA Regional Trophy or watching the Final Four banner rise at the Assembly Hall.

I’m sure the Illini baseball players will remember the dramatics of the title-clinching series against Indiana – Dittman’s Game 3 walk-off, a late Game 2 comeback, Casey McMurray’s Game 1 walk-off homerun and the ensuing pileup at home plate – more than the could’ve-been memory of hoisting a Big Ten trophy and posing for pictures.

The Illini players don’t seem to bothered. As senior pitcher Lee Zurresen (@illinipitch18) tweeted me on Tuesday, the Illini players stepped in for the Big Ten and produced their own championship shirts – albeit with just a black Sharpie marker and a white T from their own dressers.

APR released: The NCAA released the 2009-10 Academic Progress Rates. You can view the Illinois report here.

The Illini women’s golf and women’s gymnastics have a perfect multiyear APR of 1000. The men’s and women’s tennis, men’s gymnastics, men’s cross country and men’s golf teams also finsihed with perfect 1000 APR scores in 09-10. The men’s basketball team’s APR is 964 (in the 60th-70th percentile), while the football multiyear APR is at 949 (50-60th percentile).

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Categories: Illini, Illini baseball
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