Some Things That Leave Me Wondering

Phillip Marshall ponders some interesting questions in his latest column.

Just wondering on a Monday…

I wonder why Auburn swim coach David Marsh is not in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame?

Marsh has won five national championships--three on the men's side and two on the women's side. The Tigers dominate the Southeastern Conference, by far the strongest college swim league in the country. Last year, they became the first combined program ever to win both national championships in the same season. There's a good chance they'll do it again this year. Last weekend, the Tigers swamped the opposition in the SEC meet in Athens, Ga. The men broke the all-time scoring record and, at one point, won a remarkable 13 consecutive events.

If Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame--and I have no problem with her being there--then Marsh certainly deserves to be there, too. Maybe some influential Auburn folks out there need to start a campaign for Marsh.

While they're at it, they might want to include former Auburn basketball coach Sonny Smith, women's basketball coach Joe Ciampi and senior associate athletic director and former baseball coach Hal Baird.

I wonder why interim president Ed Richardson doesn't go ahead and make a decision on the athletic director?

There seems to be little question that David Housel's days as athletic director are coming to a close. But Richardson has been strangely silent in public. When asked, he has offered no vote of confidence for Housel. He should either make his move or say he's not going to make a move. As it is, the athletic department is virtually paralyzed administratively and will be until Richardson makes the call.

I wonder how NCAA president Myles Brand kept from laughing?

Here's what Brand had to say recently. "College sports is not a business. It¹s about educating young men and women in the classroom."

Now, I am still naïve enough to believe that, in most places, it is partly about educating young men and women. But to say college athletics is not a business makes me wonder if Brand is really in touch with reality enough to earn his salary of more than $700,000 a year.

Not only is college athletics a business, it is a big business. Anyone who Doesn't believe that needs to check out how much it costs for mom, dad and a couple of kids to go watch a college football game on Saturday.

I wonder when Auburn is going to win consistently in basketball?

I don't buy the idea that there are inherent reasons Auburn can't be among the top basketball programs in the SEC. There is ample talent in Auburn's recruiting area. Like at most SEC schools, there is ample support when the team is winning.

Whether Cliff Ellis returns next season as head coach or not, there needs to be an administrative commitment to getting it done. The commitment has always been there in football. Now the baseball program has the finest facilities in the country. What about basketball?

Building a new arena isn't feasible, but upgrading the existing one is. Building a new practice facility to keep up with other SEC schools is feasible. Energizing the program is feasible.

I wonder why the recent court ruling said the NFL can't set its own rules.

I'm certainly no legal expert, but if my company or your company can set certain requirements for employment, why can't the NFL? If my newspaper can say you have to have a college degree to be hired, why can't the NFL say you have to be three years out of high school to work there?

I wonder who will be Auburn's backup quarterback?

With Josh Sullivan's decision to concentrate on baseball, redshirt freshmen Kelcy Luke and Brandon Cox will compete to back up Jason Campbell. Luke impressed a lot of people with his work on the scout team last season and might have a slight edge. But Cox, who has battled health problems for two years, seems to be rejuvenated. He is bigger and stronger and talks with a lot more confidence now. It should be remembered that he was the most accurate passer in Alabama high school history at Hewitt-Trussville.

Sullivan found out what a lot of players find out. Balancing two sports in college is extremely difficult and often impossible

Until next time…

Questions or comments for Phillip? Email him at

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories