Lions Roar Q & A 08-24-20

Thanks to all the Lions fans who submitted questions for this edition of the Lions Roar Q & A. LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens was kind enough to answers questions for the week.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted Spring sports in March, most respondents in an NCAA student-athlete well-being survey reported experiencing high rates of mental distress.  Does LMU provide student-athletes with access to mental health experts on a regular basis to help balance mental and physical well-being, particularly during the current pandemic?

This has been a very difficult time for all students, but especially student-athletes.  We are thankful to have excellent support services on campus.  In fact, just recently the Princeton Review ranked LMU’s counseling services 18th in the country.  We have held multiple team zooms and department zooms with Dr. Tracy Shaw and Dr. William Parham.  Dr. Parham has been a tremendous resource for us, and he is one of the best in the world. He is the NBA Players Association’s first mental health and wellness director and was recently named to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Mental Health Task Force.  We are fortunate that our student-athletes receive assistance from some of the very best in the world.

The NCAA is expected to release a final ruling some time in September on the start of the college basketball season.  It’s been widely reported that several Power Conferences in college basketball have had preliminary discussions regarding a “bubble” type setting for games.  How much steam does the “bubble” model for college basketball have and what implications would a model like this have on LMU and the WCC?

It is natural to think a bubble would work based on the success of the NBA.  The cost of the NBA bubble is estimated at over $150 million.  There are so many different models and versions of what constitutes a bubble.  Based on varying health guidelines across the country and limited travel, it does seem likely that there will be some modification to the season.  The biggest impact on college basketball thus far is the Ivy League and Pac-12 not participating in games until January 1st.  This has left holes in schedules.

What percentage of WCC basketball teams travel via charter flights and would this method of travel help with respect to safety during a pandemic? 

10% of WCC teams travel via charter on a regular basis.  I will let the readers determine which 10% they believe charters regularly.  In theory, this method of travel would provide more safety as you are not exposed to other passengers and do not have to go through the airport.

The West Coast Conference Commissioner’s Cup is an all-sports award presented at the end of each academic year to the league’s top performing school in conference play and is based on a point system, reflecting the finish of each team in conference play. How are points accounted for in sports where not all WCC teams participate? Does this create an advantage if a school is able to play in more WCC sports?

This is a great question and one I do not know the answer to.  Here is a release by BYU that has the standings from 2018-2019.  We are not measuring our success by how we finish in the Commissioner’s Cup, thus my unfamiliarity.   We want to be nationally relevant and do not want to define our success by how we finish in the WCC.  Our goal is to be the premier Division I-AAA school in the country.  The Director’s Cup is how we measure broad-based excellence. (2018-2019 standings).  Points are accrued in the Director’s Cup by appearing in the NCAA tournament in the sports sponsored.  In addition, we track where each sport finishes nationally based on the number of schools that participate, utilizing the primary accepted metric for that sport.  In men’s basketball we finished 2019-2020 in the 41% percentile, as we were 207th out of 353 in the NET rankings.

 The WCC recently postponed all conference fall competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Are LMU Fall sport student-athletes still on campus or were they sent home for the Fall semester? 

Los Angeles County did not permit student-athletes to be on campus until they released their higher education guidelines late last week (August 14, 2020).  Although it was extremely frustrating to navigate coupled with not being able to have our student-athletes on campus, we did not start training, which was a silver lining. We will begin bringing some Fall sport student-athletes back this week.  As of today, we are unable to train indoors inside Gersten Pavilion per county guidance.  The last five months has been like juggling chainsaws and fire sticks. 

If you have questions for LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens, Head Coach Stan Johnson, Iggy the Lion or anyone else in the LMU family, email us at lmulionsroar@gmail.com, and we’ll do our best to get them answered for you.

Go Lions!