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NCAA tournament notebook: Utah's 1944 NCAA title team honored

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  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2013 8:55 p.m.

    The mathematically based Premo-Poretta Power Poll published in the ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia retroactively ranked teams for each season prior to 1949, and listed Utah as the number one team in 1944 and 1947. Also, the American Red Cross sponsored a postseason charity game between each year's tourment champions to raise money for the war effort. The NCAA champion prevailed in all three games. Hate all you want but those are the facts.

    Go Utes!

  • truthsandwich RANDOLPH, UT
    March 31, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    @notsodeepblue

    "BYU could've beaten any top five team in the country"

    LOL based on what evidence? The fact that byu was barely beating horrible teams says otherwise. They never even beat a team in the top 20.

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    March 31, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    Look at all these Cougie fans having hissy fits about Utah's 1944 National Championship in Basketball. They're just upset because Utah's basketball history buries BYU's basketball history. It doesn't matter how you spin it, the fact that Utah won the NCAA tournament and all NCAA Tournament Champions are given the title as "National Champions" since 1939. No wonder BYU fans are going into a frenzy.

    As for BYU's National Championship in football. I still haven't gotten an answer to my question. Who did BYU play in their so called "National Championship Game"?

    To WIN a National Championship in football a team must play the #1 or #2 ranked team in the post season. Did BYU play either?......Nope! So that means BYU didn't WIN a National Championship they were voted it by the media, coaches, and other organizations.

    Sorry Cougie fans!

  • DeepBlue Anaheim, CA
    March 29, 2013 6:21 p.m.

    lackoftruthsandwich

    BYU 1984 could have beaten any Top 5 team in the country, if they'd been given the chance. Nebraska and Washington were both invited to play #1-ranked BYU for a shot at the national championship and both turned down the invitation.

    The system doesn't prove that BYU wasn't the best, it only proves that BYU wasn't given as good opportunity to prove themselves.

    Washington finished #2 in 1984 after beating Oklahoma. A little over 8 months later, BYU STOMPED Washington 31-3, proving that 1984 was no fluke.

  • truthsandwich RANDOLPH, UT
    March 29, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    "emblematic of major college football supremacy"

    The trophy Alabam just recieved for beating the third ranked team in the SEC championship, followed by the first ranked team in an actual National Championship game- that trophy is "emblematic of football supremacy".

    The trophy byu got for beating a bunch of bad teams, and then another bad team in a horrible conference (they were literally on par with the WAC that year)- that trophy is more emblematic of a broken system.

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    March 29, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    GO_COUGARS!

    Actually, we beat the team that finished #23 in the final AP Poll, then beat the winningest program in major college football history, to complete a 24-game winning streak and earn enough respect from the majority of poll votes to be ranked #1 in both polls as well as being named national champions by three other prestigious organizations.

    Major College Football National Championship History
    YEAR / CHAMPION / SELECTING ORGANIZATION
    1985 Oklahoma AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
    1984 Brigham Young AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
    1983 Miami AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI

    A Crystal Football National Championship trophy, emblematic of major college football supremacy, sits proudly in BYU's Sports Hall of Fame.

    If that doesn't earn a team the right to be called National Champion, then nothing does.

  • GO_COUGARS! Provo, UT
    March 29, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    We beat the worst teams college football had to offer, and then played nobody for our bowl game. If that doesn't earn a team the right to be called National Champions then I don't know what does.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 29, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    StGtoSLC

    "Does the fact that BYU was voted number 1 in one of the weakest years of college football at that time devalue their award?"

    Do you have any proof whatsoever to back up that bogus "fact"?

    On the other hand, it's undeniable that 1944 produced one of the weakest fields of teams and players in college basketball history.

    The vast majority of schools had suspended their basketball programs, and the few teams still playing basketball consisted almost entirely of Freshmen and a sprinkling of Sophomores, including Utah.

    Utah played TWO college teams during the entire 1944 regular season - Idaho State and Colorado College - because there were literally no other college teams in the entire Intermountain area for Utah to play.

    Utah won the 2nd-rate tournament of the day, after LOSING in the premier tournament, finished 2nd in the poll, and weren't recognized as national champions by the only neutral organization that selected a 1944 national champion.

    By contrast, BYU 1984 was selected the CONSENSUS major college football National Champion by ALL FIVE major national organizations, including the AP and Coaches polls.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 29, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Cordon Bleu: "The NCAA rewriting history to retroactively award "their champion" a championship that wasn't considered a national championship at the time is silly."

    Sillier than people who most likely weren't around then retroactively rewriting history to devalue somebody else's accomplishments?

    Snack PAC: "BYU was the #1-ranked team in BOTH polls at the end of the regular season... You won the weakest NCAA tournament in history in 1944, nothing more."

    Does the fact that BYU was voted number 1 in one of the weakest years of college football at that time devalue their award? I would say it doesn't, but you're obviously trying to have it both ways, as are some of the Ute fans. Just a little perspective for everybody.

  • CordonBleu Park City, UT
    March 29, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    "College football has neither of them and that's why they're will always be controversy on who is the true National Champion. Utah won the NCAA Tournament in 1944 and the NCAA gives it's tournament champions a "National Champion" title since 1939."

    The glaring flaw in your "logic" is that there were two competing tournaments in 1944, and the NIT was considered the more glamorous and prestigious tournament of the two. Even Utah acknowledged that when the Utes turned down their invitation to the NCAA, so the Utes could compete in the NIT.

    The NCAA rewriting history to retroactively award "their champion" a championship that wasn't considered a national championship at the time is silly.

  • backpacn Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    A little perspective:

    The first NCAA tournaments were very small and restricted to conference champions. Back in the 30s and 40s, that was even more limiting than it would be today, because a lot of teams -- including powerhouse programs of the time like DePaul and Marquette -- played as independents. As a result, the NIT usually had a better field than the NCAA.

    Also, at the time, college basketball wasn't really a big deal in the sports landscape. Playing a tournament in New York, at Madison Square Garden, represented a chance for teams to get media attention and looks from NBA scouts that they might not have gotten playing in the widespread locations of an NCAA tournament.

    It wasn't until the 50s and 60s, when the NCAA added more automatic bids for conference champions and more at-large berths that the NCAA and NIT tournaments became even in prestige.

    Which of course begs the question, "Why was Utah even invited to the 1944 NCAA tournament?" since the Utes obviously weren't conference champions.

    Simple answer, because there were so few college teams still playing basketball that the NCAA was desperate just to get 8 teams willing to come to their tournament.

  • Snack PAC Olympus Cove, Utah
    March 29, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Bleed Crimson

    "BYU did not play a #1 or #2 ranked team in the post season..."

    BYU was the #1-ranked team in BOTH polls at the end of the regular season. Why would they have to play any specific team in the post season to stay #1.

    It's laughable that the Utes constantly cite rankings as validation for beating "somebody", yet pretend that those same rankings are meaningless as validation for teams that are ranked because those rankings are "VOTED" on.

    Try showing a little consistency.

    If BYU wasn't the #1 team in 1984, as you claim, how do you know that Michigan wasn't the #2 team?

    -------

    If "national champion" is a title given to all NCAA tournament teams, then why did Utah accept the invitation to play in the NIT instead. The evidence is incontrovertible that the winner of the NCAA tournament was NOT the defacto "national champion" in 1944.

    The Helms Foundation named Army(15-0), the 1944 National Champion and the final Converse-Dunkel Ratings for 1944, which ranked Army #1, confirmed the Helms Foundation's selection.

    You won the weakest NCAA tournament in history in 1944, nothing more.

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    March 29, 2013 12:43 a.m.

    @ TheSportsAuthority

    "BYU did WIN a National Championship in football".

    Umm....No, they didn't! Who did the Cougies play in they're so called "National Championship Game" that crowned them as champions?.......Michigan(6-6)? hahaha.

    With that said, BYU did not play a #1 or #2 ranked team in the post season which means BYU did not play for a National Championship and therefore did not WIN a National Championship. BYU's National Championship was VOTED by the coaches, media, and other organizations. It was not WON on the field!

    "Utah has NEVER won a National Championship is basketball".

    Umm...Yes they did! As I said before, "National Champion" is a title given to the NCAA Tournament Champion since 1939. This year marked the 75th anniversary of March Madness and it was great for the NCAA to recognize all 74 of their past "National Champions" and Utah was included.

    Poor Cougie fan in denial!

  • TheSportsAuthority Arlington, VA
    March 28, 2013 9:36 p.m.

    Bleed Crimson

    The truth is:

    BYU did WIN a National Championship in football.

    Utah has NEVER won a National Championship is basketball.

    Only an insanely jealous BYU-hating Utah "fan" would try to argue that the ONLY way of winning a National Championship is through a playoff or a tournament.

    It doesn't really matter whether the NCAA calls all of its tournament champions "national champions" or not, the NCAA tournament was still the little brother to the NIT in 1944. You don't "win" a national championship by LOSING in the big boy tournament and then winning in the LITTLE BOY tournament of the day.

  • nosaerfoecioveht NSL, UT
    March 28, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    I just want to thank all the haters for coming out and unintentionally showing how bothered they are by by Utah's 1944 Championship. This has been one of my favorite threads in a while. LOL :)

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    March 28, 2013 2:57 p.m.

    @ Scandrus

    "All you clowns that keep posting "NCAA National Championship" need to quit adding words that weren't there. The Utes won the 2nd class "NCAA Tournament". There was no "National Championship" associated with it until all you glory hounding Utes started rallying around it to try and embellish past glory".

    We'll stop saying it, when you BYU clowns will stop saying you "WON" a National Championship in football because you didn't WIN it, you were "VOTED" it. Deal?

    Winning a National Championship can only be done in a playoff or a tournament against the best teams in the country. College football has neither of them and that's why they're will always be controversy on who is the true National Champion. Utah won the NCAA Tournament in 1944 and the NCAA gives it's tournament champions a "National Champion" title since 1939.

  • Scandrus Cedar Hills, Utah
    March 28, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    All you clowns that keep posting "NCAA National Championship" need to quit adding words that weren't there. The Utes won the 2nd class "NCAA Tournament". There was no "National Championship" associated with it until all you glory hounding Utes started rallying around it to try and embellish past glory.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    March 27, 2013 6:19 p.m.

    Cougars, the Utes also won the NIT in 1947, so if you think the NIT championship is equal to or greater, then go ahead and acknowledge the 1947 championship (Which had pretty much the same starters.)

    Utes, many of you were downplaying the Cougars NIT Championships in 1951 and 1966. Not a smart move considering the Utes claimed the same title in 1947.

    Personally, I'm happy for the players of all these championship teams, as well as for the players on BYU's 1984 National Championship Football Team and Utah's two BCS Bowl winners.

  • uteBusters Park City, UT
    March 27, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    fuddy

    Look at all the uties pretending that they actually won a national championship.

    Sorry to burst your delusional crimson bubble, but the NCAA has no authority whatsoever to retroactively declare every NCAA tournament champion the national champion, especially when the NCAA was the little brother to the NIT back in the day.

  • Elmer Fudd Sandy, Utah
    March 27, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Look at all these Cougie fans in denial about the NCAA recognizing Utah's 1944 National Championship team as part of their 75 years of "March Madness".

    Our National Championship banner looks pretty good in the rafters of the Huntsman Center!

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 26, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    nosaerfoecioveht

    Don't kid yourself; winning the most watered-down NCAA tournament in history is a nice feel-good story for the Utes, but nothing more.

    It's laughable, though, that you completely dodged the question because you were obviously too embarrassed to give a straightforward answer.

    ----------

    2b

    Long on hyperbole, short on facts.

  • 2BCSWINS West of I15, UT
    March 26, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    @sports fan..."That's like trying to claim a D-1A national championship in football, by only beating Idaho State(twice) and Northern Colorado during the entire regular season, losing to the Alabama JV team in the first round of the D-1A playoffs, and then beating the Montana State JV team in the championship game of the D-1AA playoffs."

    I agree with you and that exact same statement can be used for the cougie 1984 season.

  • nosaerfoecioveht NSL, UT
    March 26, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    @SportsFan

    "How many college teams did the Utes play during the 1943-44 regular season?"

    Enough to win the 1944 NCAA National Championship- beating a stacked Dartmouth, and then beating the NIT champs as well.
    And apparently enough to make some cougs like yourself twist in the wind over their accomplishment 70 years later.

    LOL!

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    March 25, 2013 9:15 p.m.

    Look at Arnie Ferrin throwing up the U sign. You still are fresh Arnie. The longevity of these players is awesome. 90 years old and going strong.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    March 25, 2013 9:16 p.m.

    You got it right Elmer. This sort of thing happens all of the time.

  • agb Layton, UT
    March 25, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    I always thought the cutoff date for relevant history was the 1998 NCAA tournament. Guess its 1944.

  • talkinsports Gilbert, AZ
    March 25, 2013 5:55 p.m.

    Dutchman

    "After defeating Dartmouth in 1944 the Utes beat the NIT champs two days later..."

    It's funny how you carefully omitted a couple of key facts:

    First, that Utah LOST to Kentucky(38-46), the same Kentucky team that LOST to St. John's(45-48), before St. John's beat DePaul(39-47) to win the NIT.

    Second, that the NIT/NCAA game was an "exhibition" game organized by the Red Cross to raise money for the war effort. There was no "championship" riding on the outcome of the game.

    Trying to claim a championship by beating the winner of the NIT, after losing in the opening round of the NIT, would be like trying to claim an NCAA championship by beating the NCAA champion in an exhibition game, after losing in the opening round of the tournament.

    Utah lost any chance of staking a claim to the national championship when the Utes lost their opening game in the NIT.

  • Rockwell Baltimore, MD
    March 25, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    Dutchman

    Yes we all know about Dartmouth's "ringers", St. John's guard Dick McGuire, Cornell center Bob Gale, NYU forward Harry Leggat and Fordham guard Walter Mercer, who all finished the 1944 season playing for Dartmouth, while they were undergoing military training as Navy trainees stationed at the Hanover, N.H., college under the wartime V-12 program.

    What you left out was the fact that most of them didn't join Dartmouth until late in the season. The Big Green was hardly a well-oiled, cohesive unit, in fact, Dartmouth didn't even finish in the Top 5 of the final Converse-Dunkel Ratings for 1944, which had Army in first, followed by Utah, Kentucky, DePaul and Western Michigan.

    Army(15-0), btw, was the team selected by the Helms Athletic Foundation as the 1944 National Champion.

    Utah's Blitz Kids did indeed have a Cinderella ending to their 1944 season, it just didn't include winning a national championship.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    March 25, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    Rockwell,

    Some simple research on the internet would serve you well before commenting. Yes, there was a war on. Yes, the military, including the Navy, set up training camps on college campuses. Dartmouth was one of those naval training locations and they hand picked many of the athletes that played on the Dartmouth B-ball team. It was one of the finest, if not the finest, college B-ball teams assembled during the '40's including before or after the war. Utah defeated Dartmouth for the NCAA national championship with underclassmen, many of whom went on to serve in the military and then returned to the U to win the NIT in 1947. After defeating Dartmouth in 1944 the Utes beat the NIT champs two days later in New York thus earning, yes earning, the title of college basketball national champions.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 25, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    "In the 1940's, when the N.C.A.A. tournament was less than 10 years old, the National Invitation Tournament, a saturnalia held in New York at Madison Square Garden by The Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association, was the most glamorous of the post-season tournaments and generally had the better teams. The winner of the National Invitation Tournament was regarded as more of a national champion than the actual, titular, national champion, or winner of the N.C.A.A. tournament."

    —A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton

  • UoU 1991 Park City, UT
    March 25, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    Even if it wasn't a national championship, that 1944 NCAA Tournament Champion banner still looks SWEET hanging in the Huntsman Center rafters!

  • ND95CA Lincoln Park, IL
    March 25, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Don't understand what all of the fuss is about.

    The Utes made a nice little post season run, after an otherwise forgettable regular season, and they won the NCAA tournament, which, at the time, was the 2nd best tournament of the day.

    It wasn't a national championship, and it doesn't even come close to comparing to an NCAA tournament today, but it was an NCAA tournament championship.

    Let's just leave at that and enjoy.

  • PAC man Anaheim, CA
    March 25, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    Insecurity is us - the first comments from the kids on the hill SCREAM it:

    "this official recognition by the NCAA should put an end to all the BYU naysayers" - the NCAA trying to retroactively claim that they were the big boy tournament in 1944 doesn't make it so

    "Wow DNews! BYU bias at it's finest! Not once in this article did DNews mention that Utah's 1944 NCAA title was a National Championship." - that's because it wasn't a national championship

    "Hey DNews Dutchman and Fudd bring out a very glaring and obvious point. The DNews sport writers (all Y Alum) continually show their bias by just writhing about the Y." - need some cheese to go with that whine?; several DNews staffers are Utah alums

  • Y's little brother Sandy, UT
    March 25, 2013 12:10 p.m.

    Go Cougars!

    Unlike Utah's 1944 NCAA tournament winner, BYU's 1984 National Championship winning team played a full schedule against D-1 teams that included a Top 25 opponent, Air Force.

    And, unlike Utah, BYU was selected CONSENSUS National Champion by EVERY major national selecting organization and was officially recognized as the 1984 Major College Football National Champion.

    A Crystal Football National Championship Trophy, emblematic of major college football supremacy, sits proudly in BYU's trophy case!

    The only ones who feel insecure about it are our little friends on the hill who remain green with envy that their little johnny-come-lately program has never even come close to receiving such an award.

    Go Cougars!

  • SportsFan Orem, UT
    March 25, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    ssenhsillooffoecioveht

    The Utes got bounced from the NIT in the 1st round, barely won the NCAA tournament, then won a meaningless "exhibition" game to finish with a 6-1 record.

    Sorry to burst your delusional crimson bubble, but you don't win national titles with 6-1 records against teams composed mostly of Freshmen and Sophomores.

    The Utes won the 2nd best post season tournament of the day. The only reason they were even invited to play in a post season tournament was because the Utes were one of the very few schools still playing basketball in 1944. The Utes didn't even win a conference championship in 1944 because they literally had no conference to compete in.

    Here's a very simple question:

    How many college teams did the Utes play during the 1943-44 regular season?

  • GO_COUGARS! Provo, UT
    March 25, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    Our "national champ" 84 team was the only team to ever be voted that title without beating a single ranked team. We didn't play in a national championship game. We didn't play a single good team, ever. That has never happened before or since.

    Even the QB of our 84 team admits there is no way that what we did would be considered a national championship by todays standards. That's why we will always be insecure about it.

    GO COUGARS!

  • nosaerfoecioveht NSL, UT
    March 25, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    @SportsFan

    "How did Utah EARN a national championship?"

    They won the NCAA National Championship Tournament.

    Then two days later, they beat the NIT champs in front of over 18,000 people at the Garden.

    Let me know if there are any other simple questions you're having a hard time with :)

  • UteNationAlum Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 25, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    This feed is pretty funny on both sides. Thanks for the good laugh on a Monday morning!

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    March 25, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    "Arnie Ferrin, Wat Misaka and Herb Wilkinson received a warm round of applause as representatives of Utah’s 1944 NCAA championship team."

    I think it's great that Utah fans are taking pride in winning an NCAA tournament championship. They just need to be realistic enough to realize that Utah won the tournament in a year when the majority of schools weren't even playing basketball, when the NCAA was still in its infancy as an 8-team tournament still playing catch up to the NIT, and that winning the NCAA tournament did not make the winner the defacto national champion as is the case today.

    The fact that Utah chose the NIT instead of the NCAA because the NCAA wasn't willing to pay for Utah's travel expenses shows just how small and insignificant the NCAA tournament really was back in the day.

    Still, it's a nice little feather in Utah's basketball history cap and it's great that the NCAA gave the Utes their moment in the spotlight during an era when Utah basketball is no longer a factor in the post season.

  • SportsFan Orem, UT
    March 25, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Ufan

    It's nice to see that there are a least a few reasonable Utah fans who understand how silly this "winning" versus "voted" national champion argument is.

    There's absolutely no difference between finishing #1 in 1984 or 2012, especially in the AP poll, which is the poll Utah fans ALWAYS cite.

  • SportsFan Orem, UT
    March 25, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    navelvet

    "Utah EARNED their National Championship."

    How did Utah EARN a national championship? The Utes only beat TWO college teams during the regular season and the Utes won the 2nd-rate tournament of the day after getting bounced out of the premier tournament in the first round.

    That's like trying to claim a D-1A national championship in football, by only beating Idaho State(twice) and Northern Colorado during the entire regular season, losing to the Alabama JV team in the first round of the D-1A playoffs, and then beating the Montana State JV team in the championship game of the D-1AA playoffs.

  • Ufan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 25, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    Elmer

    "BYU didn't WIN a National Championship..."

    Actually they did, finishing with a 24-game winning streak, including beating THREE teams that finished in the Top 25.

    The Cougars WON the AP and Coaches National Championships in EXACTLY the same way EVERY national championship has been won since the first AP poll in 1936 - by winning enough respect by a majority of the poll voters to finish #1 in the final poll.

    It's laughable that Utah fans cite their #4 and #2 finishes in the AP as "legitimate", while refusing to accept the legitimacy of BYU's #1 finish in 1984.

    There's NEVER been an AP National Champion that hasn't been VOTED National Champion.

  • Elmer Fudd Sandy, Utah
    March 25, 2013 12:56 a.m.

    @ Y's Little Brother Syndrome

    "BYU was recognized as the CONSENSUS 1984 National Champions by ALL FIVE MAJOR national selecting organizations including the AP and Coaches Polls"

    BYU didn't WIN a National Championship, they didn't even play for one. The 1984 BYU football team was VOTED National Champions by those organizations. Being VOTED National Champions is completely different from PLAYING and WINNING a National Championship.

    The difference between BYU's 1984 National Championship in football and Utah's 1944 National Championship in basketball is Utah won their National Championship in a tournament, BYU got their National Championship by the polls.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 25, 2013 12:02 a.m.

    I have no problem recognizing BYU's 1984 team for what they accomplished. I have a friend who played on that team, and think it's pretty cool hearing some of his memories from that year. Were they world beaters? No. But they did what they had to do and a special set of circumstances played out fortuitously for them to gain recognition as national champions. I find it ironic and unfortunate, though, that those who benefited from those circumstances to claim that recognition today are so hardheaded to recognize a similar situation for a different team. And that obviously goes for the hardheaded Ute fans as well.

    However, this article is about the 1944 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP UTAH BASKETBALL TEAM. For great perspectives on this team, that "Reprieve for the Redskins" article is a great one, as is Sports Illustrated's 2010 story "Utah the First Cinderella". The second is quite long, but a very good read.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 24, 2013 11:52 p.m.

    Nobody is claiming that Utah's 1944 basketball team would beat the Miami Heat. But they earned every bit of praise and recognition that they are given as national champions by what they accomplished that season, as hard as that is for people that hate the University fight to deny it. In many ways, it parallels the 1982-83 NC State team in the adversity they had to overcome, some fortune granted them, and what they achieved in spite of the doubts.

    Interesting some would cite the war as an excuse for Utah achieving it, because the same war took almost all of Utah's entire team, forcing them to hold tryouts just to field a team. Another consequence of the war is that Dartmouth gained two all-american players because of the military training going on on their campus and the players had to transfer from their previous schools to Dartmouth. But Utah beat this team in the championship game. Also interesting to note that these "pickup" games were against teams that featured professional players.

  • Y's little brother Sandy, UT
    March 24, 2013 11:22 p.m.

    motorbike

    LOL!

    BYU was recognized as the CONSENSUS 1984 National Champions by ALL FIVE MAJOR national selecting organizations including the AP and Coaches Polls.

    Outside of the NCAA trying to usurp the rightful claims of teams who won national championships before the NCAA tournament gained acceptance as the premier post season basketball tournament, cite one single national organization that recognized Utah as the 1944 national champion.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 24, 2013 11:03 p.m.

    Sounds like a few people are extremely insecure about their '84 shampionship and are in desperate need of finding company. Sorry, no company here, 1944 is for real, just like the rest of Utah's rich tournament history. Deal with it Cougies.

  • Rockwell Baltimore, MD
    March 24, 2013 10:38 p.m.

    skywalker

    One would assume that a "naval vet", especially, would understand the insignificance of winning meaningless basketball tournament during the middle of a world war.

    It would be interesting to know what the actual SOS would be for a team whose entire regular season schedule consisted of THREE college opponents and EIGHTEEN pick up games.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    March 24, 2013 10:24 p.m.

    navelvet

    Not counting pick up games against "teams" like Bushnell Hospital and Ecker Studio, Utah won less than half as many basketball games in 1944 as BYU won football games in 1984.

    That's not hyperbole, that's an actual, verifiable FACT!

    After beating Idaho State(twice) and Colorado College(once), the Utes lost in the opening round of the big boy tournament of the day, before winning the most water-down NCAA tournament in history. The only thing the Utes "earned" was a meaningless banner from a meaningless tournament played during the height of World War II when most schools had suspended their basketball programs and the few teams still remaining were composed mostly of Freshmen and a few Sophomores, because every able-bodied man over the age of 18 was busy fighting or preparing to fight a world war.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    March 24, 2013 8:07 p.m.

    Scott:

    It wouldn't be the "same" asterisk, as that would have implied there was something undeserved about it. Utah EARNED their National Championship. The Indy-WACers did NOT. They backed into it, just like Hawaii and No. Illinois backed into their respective BCS bowls.

  • Scott Farcus Beaver, UT
    March 24, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    @ sammygwhizz

    "Something that happened 69 years ago and it still has an asterisk by it"

    Yeah your right! It's the same asterisk like the one by the 1984 football national championship that happened 29 years ago.

  • nosaerfoecioveht NSL, UT
    March 24, 2013 6:32 p.m.

    @Two For Flinch

    Thank you for mentioning that article from Sports Illustrated, it was a great read. I don't think a lot of the haters here realize that not only did Utah win the NCAA National Championship, they then beat the NIT champs in the garden two days later to remove all doubt. For those misguided and bothered cougs who are still trying to twist 1944 into something other than a National Championship for Utah, read the article and get back to us. Or don't.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    March 24, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    Something that happened 69 years ago and it still has an asterisk by it. LOL

  • Elmer Fudd Sandy, Utah
    March 24, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    @ Broken "Truth" Machine

    Sorry dude! The NCAA recognizes Utah's 1944 NCAA title as a "National Championship". Utah's 1944 team was recognized last night by the NCAA themselves during the Arizona game in Salt Lake City. You can spin it all you want. But the NCAA says differently from a Cougie fan in denial!

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    @ Truth Machine

    You are mistaken about how Utah's '44 season played out. Utah's record that year was 18-3. Utah's coach Vadal Peterson said the 'redskins' turned down a bid to the NCAA tournament because, 'they wouldn't guarantee us our expenses and they wouldn't give us a cut of the gate receipts.'

    After Utah lost in the NIT, Peterson got the call from the NCAA and after several hours of negotiation the NCAA agreed to Utah's terms. Utah then rattled off wins against Missouri, Iowa State, and Dartmouth for the championship.

    Two days later, in front of 18,125 people in the Madison Square Garden, Arnie Ferrin and the Redskins beat the NIT champion St. John's to capture what was called the unofficial college title. That is how the original Cinderella team found its slipper.

    There is a great article about it in the March 18, 1963 edition of Sports Illustrated called 'Reprieve for the Redskins'. I'm sure you could track it down fairly easily with your preferred search engine.

  • GoRed WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    March 24, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    @truth machine/duckhunter

    So, with your line of "reasoning", if BYU wins the NIT this year, then they are the rightful National Champions, right?

    Nice try.

    The bottom line is, the NCAA tournament winner has been acknowledged as the National Champion since 1939. Look up any national collegiate website for proof of this.

    As far as questionable National Chamipionships are concerned, that would be relegated to the supposed 1984 football "national championship" claimed by your school, who played a 6-6 Michigan team in a minor bowl and won by 7 points. Utah has more claim to a National Championship in either 2004 or 2008 than your school does.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 24, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    Truth Machine, the Helms Foundation was started to retroactively vote on the best basketball team prior to any national tournaments. The #1 voting is nice bragging rights, but is still debatable. Tournament results are not. Army may very well have been the best team in 1944, and deserving of a #1 voting, but they didn't play in a postseason tournament, so "champion" is a questionable title to give them. It's funny, though, that I've never seen West Point claim a national championship in basketball, but many BYU fans are up in arms about it.

  • Truth Machine Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    Utah won the 1944 NCAA tournament, NOT the 1944 National Championship!

    Even Utah's own actions prove which tournament was considered the elite tournament of the day. The Utes turned down their invitation to the NCAA to play in the NIT. It wasn't until after the Utes had LOST to Kentucky in the opening round of the NIT, that the Utes accepted an invitation to the NCAA after Arkansas's team bus crashed and the Razorbacks were forced to withdraw from the NCAA.

    Utah's Entire 1944 Season Record - 6-1

    Idaho State W 54-43 Salt Lake City
    Colorado College W 48-34 Colorado Springs
    Idaho State W 52-40 Pocatello

    NIT
    Kentucky L 38-46 New York, NY

    NCAA Tournament
    Missouri W 45-35 Kansas City, MO
    Iowa State W 40-31 Kansas City, MO
    Dartmouth (OT) W 42-40 New York, NY

    The NIT also declared their champion, St. Johns, as the 1944 National Champion.

    The only neutral organization to select a national champion in 1944, the Helms Athletic Foundation, named Army as the 1944 National Champion.

  • Scott Farcus Beaver, UT
    March 24, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    Hey DNews Dutchman and Fudd bring out a very glaring and obvious point. The DNews sport writers (all Y Alum) continually show their bias by just writhing about the Y.

    DNews needs to wake up and look at the number of articles written about the Y to the U. Hire some U sports writers, lets even it out.

    Your paper is Deseret News not BYU News. The first higher education institution formed in Utah was the UofU right here in the land of milk and honey.

    Fat chance this gets posted.

  • Elmer Fudd Sandy, Utah
    March 24, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    "Utah's 1944 NCAA title team honored"

    Wow DNews! BYU bias at it's finest! Not once in this article did DNews mention that Utah's 1944 NCAA title was a National Championship. A few weeks ago when BYU honored their 1951 NIT championship team and retired one or two of their players jerseys. The DNews instantly claimed they were National Champions when the NCAA tournament was more prestigious that year. But they refuse to give Utah credit for their 1944 NCAA title team that the NCAA themselves recognizes as National Champions of 1944.

    Like Dutchman said, the NCAA recognized Utah's 1944 team as National Champions. Even CBSSports had an Ultimate Bracket that had all 74 previous NCAA National Champions in their bracket and Utah's 1944 team was in the bracket.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    March 24, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    Well, this official recognition by the NCAA should put an end to all the BYU naysayers that have claimed for 69 years that Utah's 1944 national title was somehow not legitimate. Thank you Utah and the NCAA.