Rather than being featured on morning drive or some other desirable and prominent time slot at his station, Henry Lake is heard during America’s most segregated hour — 11 am Sunday mornings. Since he joined the station in 1998, Lake is KFAN-FM’s most underused personality while other less-talented folk get prime air time.
Lake recently responded to our rapid-fire questions on several hot topics of the day. Sometimes we agreed; other times we didn’t.
Topic: All college student-athletes should get paid.
“They are bringing in so much money, they should get paid,” says Lake. “I’m with you that kids should get some sort of stipend when it comes to them on the college campus.”
However, View wants all players, no matter what sport, to be paid. Lake advocates for only the athletes in the top revenue sports, namely football and men’s basketball, receiving stipends.
“[Other sports are] not as attractive and generating the same type of revenue, so they are not in the same situation as football and basketball,” notes Lake.
Topic: College conference realignment and expansion — will the not-too-distant future only include a few super-conferences?
“It is irritating to see some of the traditional [conferences] we all grew up watching kind of go away,” says Lake. “It is going to be weird to see teams like Syracuse and other universities go away from being in the Big East conference — it doesn’t sit right with me.
“It’s all about money,” Lake continues. “These universities and conferences are all about getting a big payday. That’s the way it’s been going the last couple of years. Some universities are positioning themselves just for football.”
We both agree that television “is what’s generating this” — reportedly each Big Ten school got at least $21 million last year from the BTN, formerly the Big Ten Network. The Pac-12 is soon to unveil its own network, and the SEC has one as well.
“It’s one thing to have a Big Ten Network and a Pac-12 network, but a Longhorn Network?” notes Lake on the University of Texas starting its own network. “That changes the entire landscape for what universities are trying to do.”
Topic: Who really won, the NBA players or the owners?
“I communicated with a couple of basketball people throughout the league, and they told me that…the owners were in a much better spot [during labor negotiations] because the NBA was losing money,” Lake points out. “The players didn’t necessarily lose, but they didn’t necessarily win either.”
View believes that despite a new CBA, the NBA is essentially two leagues — one that consists of a few glamour big-market teams, and the other containing the remaining small-market teams.
“I don’t think the new agreement is going to change anything,” agrees Lake. “It does leave a bitter taste in my mouth to see my favorite player, Chris Paul, leaving New Orleans, a city that has been starving for [a winner], and go to the [Los Angeles] Clippers.”
Topic: Gophers men’s basketball — without Trevor Mbakwe
“They have changed some things” to compensate for not having Mbawke’s strong post presence, notes Lake. “But I think it is going to be very tough for them getting into the tournament this year. They always were one of those teams on the fringe making the NCAA tournament” before Mbakwe’s season-ending injury.
Topic: Has Coach Tubby Smith’s seat gotten hotter after five years on the job?
“The honeymoon period absolutely is over,” says Lake. “He recruited some players who didn’t pan out here in terms of discipline — that’s one thing. But those who have been in the mix and are playing now haven’t really improved their game and developed at the rate we thought they would, like Ralph Sampson III. I think Tubby needs to deal with that head on.
“In regards to him coaching at a high level, he’s doing the best with what he has on the roster,” surmises Lake. “He is showing that he can flat-out coach. But in the recruiting aspect, he is going to have to step up his game.”
Topic: Have we heard the last of such ugly, sordid stories in college sports as the child abuse allegations levied against two former college assistant coaches at Penn State and Syracuse respectively late last year?
“That’s a tough question,” admits Lake, who doesn’t see the two incidents mirroring each other. “I don’t know if we are going to see a whole lot of this stuff come out of the woodwork.”
Women’s hoops are like a Mamas and the Papas’ classic hit. It’s “Monday, Monday” as Big Ten women’s basketball games are now featured on BTN every Monday through the end of the regular season at 6:30 pm Central time.
But the remaining six days are for men’s hoops? Is the network practicing segregated programming?
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.