UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood hosted his de facto State of the Athletic Department address with media on Friday afternoon. It was informal, so you could wear shorts.
The intention, Livengood said, was not to hold a news conference. The intention was to ask how the athletic department can better serve the media.
So he asked, and there was a comprehensive silence. And then one of the TV guys said it would be great if Livengood returned phone calls in a timely manner or whatever, and he said he would, or whatever.
More silence. And then it turned into a news conference.
Livengood touched on more topics than a Piers Morgan interview. What a lightning round this turned out to be. Budgetary concerns, conference expansion, NCAA compliance, the Mountain West’s lousy TV deal, the proposed on-campus stadium, the idea of the Rebels football team playing Wisconsin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the possibility of hosting an NCAA basketball regional over the NCAA’s dead body … the questions, like hurricane warnings, were widespread and they kept on coming, for more than an hour.
Every question was a good one, Livengood said. As Livengood always says. Sometimes the UNLV athletic director butters you up like he’s about to make you a great deal on a used Buick, and though every now and then it comes off as patronizing, it sure beats dealing with Mike Hamrick, Livengood’s predecessor.
Hamrick didn’t butter you up. Most of the time, he just burned your toast.
Some of Livengood’s remarks might warrant repeating at an appropriate time; the ones about the on-campus arena, perhaps not. Because though Livengood said it’s still a possibility, he didn’t say by what century.
At the end of the meeting, documents were handed out.
One contained facts and figures, some interesting, others not, about the athletic department. Did you know that every three years the athletic department is required to submit to an external audit of its compliance and academics services offices? Didn’t think so.
The other missive was printed in red and black ink with multiple fonts and little graphical icons. It outlined UNLV’s athletic goals for 2011-12 in eight areas: academics, compliance, competition, revenue generation, community outreach, equity and diversity, financial and objectives with marketing partner IMG.
The competition aims — 12 NCAA postseason team qualifiers, three Mountain West team championships, one NCAA team championship — are ambitious, to say the least. If you see Kendall Wallace shooting jump shots at Sunset Park, this would explain it.
Unfortunately, none of the eight pages of goals and intentions and aspirations included a notation to pave the parking lot at Sam Boyd Stadium.
■ If Tiger Woods decides to play in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, it will solve our PGA Tour stop’s attendance problems for one year. However, if Tiger does play here and doesn’t shoot bazillion under par like the pros you’ve never heard of, then he probably will be compared to the Michigan football team when it lost to Appalachian State.
■ Bishop Gorman lost a big football game against this team from Florida comprised of former Miami Hurricanes recruits, but the Gaels mounted a stirring fourth-quarter comeback, and it was on ESPN2. Though I normally don’t approve of minors who play sports being fussed over, the TV remained on until the final play, when the skinny kid from Gorman missed on a long field goal that would have tied the score.
■ Beginning Aug. 21, Kyle Busch of Las Vegas matched brother Kurt with his 23rd NASCAR Sprint Cup victory, lost his other driver’s license for driving 128 mph near a church and day-care center, got into another fracas with Kevin Harvick and broke Mark Martin’s record with his 50th Nationwide Series victory. In other words, it was an average Kyle Busch week.
■ The Javaris Crittenton charged in the shooting death of a 22-year-old woman was the same guy who joined Gilbert Arenas in the Washington Wizards’ locker room on Christmas Eve 2009 in re-enacting Aaron Burr’s 1804 pistol duel with Alexander Hamilton — and the same guy who had his shot altered by Joel Anthony with 16 seconds to play when UNLV beat Georgia Tech 67-63 in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
■ Two things that haven’t been said about Danica Patrick’s impending full-time switch from IndyCar to NASCAR: 1. Titillating Go Daddy commercials featuring the auto racing diva and other women in various stages of undress now will be shown on a tape loop during the Daytona 500, instead of the Indianapolis 500. 2. Simona de Silvestro — the “Swiss Miss” — remains the best female driver in the IndyCar Series.
■ The Battle for the Fremont Cannon between UNLV and UNR on Oct. 8 at Mackay Stadium in Reno will start three hours later than listed, at 4:05 p.m. instead of 1:05, giving fans of the schools an additional three hours to get liquored up in the parking lot and manufacture improvised exploding devices. Yeah, this sounds like another great idea.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.