Showing posts with label College Basketball. Show all posts
Showing posts with label College Basketball. Show all posts

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Did That Team That Nobody Likes Win?

I am not a March Madness kind of fellow. But if that team that plays for that school you went to won, great. If they lost, well, bummer, man.

There is a huge disconnect between the reality of college sports and the overall college experience. I read a side item earlier about Lamar Odom and how he went to a college on the east coast. He was not a good student, but he was great at basketball. He maybe lasted a year with that team, left no mark on that school, but they go crazy for him and love him anyway. What is there to admire? That's where he stopped on the way to going to the NBA. He didn't graduate, he didn't stick around and help the team win a lot of games. One and done, baby.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Will They Up the Bracket?

Put this down as the beginning of the next phase of insanity in the NCAA:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Michigan State Fails to Get a Decent Logo

The old Michigan State Logo (Above) and the New Michigan State Logo (Below)

Sounds like someone is upset:
Last Thursday, the US Patent and Trademark Office posted on its website a new logo registered to Michigan State University for use in intercollegiate athletics. This is approximately their 4,328th new logo scheme in the past 20 years. Not a big deal, right? Athletic teams tweak their logos all the time. Hey, some NHL teams have so many logos and alternate sweaters they could probably wear a different uniform every game.

Well, some Spartan fans aren't taking too kindly to the change. And by "some," I mean "at least 17,548," because that's how many people have joined the Facebook group protesting the change. That's a big enough movement to get Tom Izzo's attention.

Of course, those disgruntled fans probably won't like what Izzo has to say:

"For all of you out there that are complaining, shame on you, because ... we are trying to do what's best for Michigan State University, our athletic department and the great people that we associate with and Nike's done a heck of a job," Izzo said. "Mark Hollis and our president have done a heck of a job and if somebody out there is looking for my support on this mad about the logo, find a new basketball coach because this guy is going 100 percent with our athletic department, our athletic director, our president and I think this is going to be one of the greater moves we've made."

So I guess there's a lot of mutual de-friending going on at MSU right now. Izzo sounds cranky, but I would too if my in-box got flooded like I'm sure his has.

The older logo is more fluid; the newer one is "blockish" and less inspired. It's as if someone cut out green pieces of construction paper and glued them down without really trying to give it some sort of design. Each piece is the identical distance apart; changing the angles and distances between the parts might have made it look a little better; I don't know. The new logo incorporates a lack of proportionality. Think of how a Ford Crown Victoria looks next to a Mazda RX-7. The high notch above the face guard on the new logo must have been someone's idea of incorporating a touch of the film "300" into the new logo or something; why bother going for an attention to historical detail like that when virtually no one really knows or cares what a real Spartan combat helmet looks like. The old logo was a fluid, smooth, easy-to-recognize image. There was a plume, a face guard, and that's it. This one incorporates the blockish piece between the plume and the helmet itself--one of the ugliest and least-competently added pieces to the entire logo.

The only people laughing are Michigan fans, of course.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bad Sports Writing From Ken Davis

Who hired this hack to write about sports?
Before Kentucky and Connecticut come together Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, coaches John Calipari and Jim Calhoun face a big decision. Will they choose the path of truth? Or will they opt for that road called Political Correctness?

Two years ago, when Calipari was still at Memphis and the Tigers defeated UConn in the 2K Sports Classic, they went all PC on us. Wouldn’t it be more fun this time around if these two highly successful coaches decided to bare their souls and talk about how much they dislike each other?

Maybe it’s old news. After all, the ill will between these two is rooted in activity that took place 20 years ago, before either coach rose to national prominence, before the conference championships, and Final Four trips. Calhoun, who has won two national championships, was on the verge of greatness at UConn. Calipari, who has had two Final Four trips vacated by the NCAA, was just starting out at UMass. Calipari wasn’t a real threat yet, just more of an annoying gnat that Calhoun kept swatting away.

They didn't go "PC" on us, as in "politically correct." They acted like adults.

Some of the absolute worst sports writing in the world takes place on MSNBC. Ken Davis is trying to race to the bottom and lie down in the gutter with Mike Celizic. Really, this is just awful, awful sports writing. This is as bad as it gets--trying to use column inches to start a nothing rivalry between two coaches who know better.

Someone needs to keep Ken Davis away from college sports. He has no business writing about amateur athletics if that's how he views sportsmanship.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Duke Gets Hammered

Early season rankings don't really mean anything, do they?
Even after the game, Trevon Hughes had all the answers.

Hughes had 19 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and Wisconsin's 73-69 win over No. 6 Duke on Wednesday night snapped the Blue Devils ' perfect mark in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

''The Big Ten's never won, and I think we won it?'' teammate Keaton Nankivil asked postgame.

There was Hughes, right on cue: ''Yeah, and the first time Duke lost.''

With Illinois' 76-74 rally over Clemson and Ohio State's 77-64 victory over Florida State in the final game, the Big Ten won the 11-year series for the first time, 6-5.

''I'm proud to be a part of the conference when they win something,'' Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. ''We're in it to try to win it.''

It was especially sweet for the Badgers (5-1), who never trailed and got a measure of payback against Duke (6-1) after being routed 82-58 two years ago in a challenge game in Durham, N.C. Wisconsin's win ended the Blue Devils ' 10-0 streak in the annual event and helped end the ACC's perfect 10-0 record as well.

The Big Ten/ACC challenge has always been a chance for Duke to show the basketball world what they're made of.

Apparently, the answer is, not that much this season.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Didn't I Tell You Michigan State Wasn't a Number Two?

When I saw Michigan State play earlier this season, I said to myself, there's no way this is a number two team right now:
Erving Walker hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:56 left and Florida hung on to upset No. 2 Michigan State 77-74 on Friday night in the Legends Classic.

Walker finished with 12 points to help the Gators (5-0) remain undefeated.

Durrell Summers missed two last-gasp 3-point attempts in the final minute.

The Spartans (4-1) missed their chance to give coach Tom Izzo a record 341 victories at the school. Izzo will get another chance Saturday.

Chandler Parsons scored 14 points to lead the Gators. Walker hit his 3 from beyond NBA range in front of Florida's bench for a 72-71 lead.

Kalin Lucas scored 20 points for the Spartans.

The Gators will play Rutgers in the championship game.

Michigan State was knocked off because of some incredibly sloppy play. They hacked the Gators with bad fouls down the stretch and committed a whopping 23 turnovers. The Spartans also missed eight of 10 3-point attempts.

That's not to say that Florida is automatically that great, either. I hate early season rankings. It's nice to get some attention and give the players something to defend, but it seems unrealistic to say that Michigan State is now going to have something of a letdown of a season if they don't climb back up in the rankings. Wait until they have a half dozen Big Ten games under their belt.

What I'd really like to see are games with teams from all the big conferences in the next few weeks before I sit down and start thinking about who's good and who isn't.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Michigan State Doesn't Look like a Number Two

I know what the score was at the end of the game, and winning is what matters. But I watched this game:
Michigan State’s winning streak at home against nonconference teams was in jeopardy.

The second-ranked Spartans — and their fans — refused to let it end against Gonzaga.

Durrell Summers hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a few minutes left, made two at the line in the final seconds and finished with 21 points and a career-high 11 rebounds to help No. 2 Michigan State rally for a 75-71 win over the Bulldogs on Tuesday night.

Kudos to Michigan State for getting the win, but, please. Please.

Michigan State and Gonzaga were awful last night. The refs didn't help. The quality of play was really not very high, even for the beginning of the season. It seemed like an off night to me, and I was disappointed in this particular game--I hope the other games that were played yesterday were better.

Even Tom Izzo said that his team didn't play very well. There were a lot of missed shots that should have been no-brainers. One handed dunks that clanged off the rim, fouls that were called by the refs that weren't even fouls, and what really tells the story of the game are the missed threes by Gonzaga.

No way is Michigan State a number two. This is why early-season rankings mean nothing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Well, That's the End of Isiah Thomas and his Wonderful Coaching Career

The absolutely stark raving look of terror and confusion on this poor young athlete's face is the reason why Isiah Thomas should be encouraged to give up any pretense of being a coach. The poor kid looks like he's being told to bounce the ball with his forehead and run down the court with his shorts down and his arms flapping so the opposing players won't know how to defend him.

When will someone step in and tell Thomas it's over?
Three games into his college coaching career, Isiah Thomas was already asking for mercy.

Midway through the second half of Florida International's 81-49 loss at Tulsa on Sunday, Thomas motioned toward his counterpart as if to ask when he'd take his starters out.

A few minutes later, he got vocal with his request, shouting a few words in the direction of Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik.

At that point, FIU (0-3) was down 63-25 with 8:59 to play after being outscored 27-5 to start the second half.

"It's a 40-minute game. If you want the truth of it, go back to the (North) Carolina game Monday night, when Carolina was pressing them with 3 minutes left," Wojcik said, referring to FIU's 88-72 loss at North Carolina. "I don't press, and I don't embarrass anybody. But it's a 40-minute game, and I'm in this game to get better.

"I've never seen anything like that. It was very bizarre."

You've never seen anything like that, coach, because Isiah Thomas is not a coach. He's a train wreck, trading on a professional resume that is diminished by the day. I don't know who runs FIU's athletic department, nor do I care, but this experiment needs to end, and soon, otherwise your program is going to be damaged for years. Years.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kudos to the NCAA

Although I don't think this goes far enough, at least someone is paying attention:
Kentucky point guard John Wall has been cleared to play by the NCAA.

The school announced Friday that the 6-foot-4 freshman must sit out two games and repay almost $800 in expenses incurred during unofficial visits to schools during his junior year at Word of God Christian Academy.

Wall's status had been up in the air as the NCAA investigated the relationship between Wall and Brian Clifton, his former AAU coach. Clifton was a certified agent for a period during Wall's recruitment, and the NCAA looked into whether Wall accepted any illegal benefits from Clifton during that time.

Wall will miss an exhibition game against Campbellsville on Monday and the season-opener against Morehead State on Nov. 13.

Two regular-season games, please. Exhibitions don't count.

Thank you for paying attention, NCAA. Now, please keep everyone as honest as you can.

Anything Goes at Kentucky

I'll let Sports by Brooks do the talking:
Well, for once it wasn’t a Twitter post that started a huge controversy with an athlete. It was just the little ol’ lead of this LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER story on Kentucky basketball, in which Wildcats beat reporter Jerry Tipton noted that forward Patrick Patterson drove to Wednesday’s Blue-White game in a brand new, rather expensive truck.

Forgive Reggie Bush if he’s unimpressed. But folks in Kentucky are sure talking about it. And Patterson’s mom is more than a little P.O.ed. Was Tipton’s lead written to provoke controversy? (Heaven forbid!). Or was it an innocent observation? By the way, Patterson’s mom says the report isn’t even true.
Tipton’s lead in today’s HERALD-LEADER:

Patrick Patterson drove to Rupp Arena for Wednesday’s Blue-White Game in his new Lincoln Mark LT. The black truck was not the only difference for Kentucky’s big man.

“I’ve got a new game to go with my new car,” he said. “I’m trying to show the new areas I’m working on.”

Then, this:

For Patterson, the fun figured to continue as he climbed in his new black truck and drove away.

“He just gave in,” Patterson said of his father finally fulfilling his pleadings for a new vehicle. “I’m ecstatic.”

I didn’t see that graph about his “father finally fulfilling his pleadings” the first time I read the story. Perhaps I just missed it … or perhaps Tipton added it later. Anyway, Tipton has somewhat of a reputation for stirring controversy. It’s hard to believe that he didn’t realize that mentioning a college player with a brand new Lincoln Mark LT would be like poking a hornet’s nest.

If you believe this sort of thing really goes on, you have to say to yourself--why do they get away with it in Kentucky? And the season? The season hasn't even started. I totally discount the damage control brought into play here by the athlete's mother. That's all it is--damage control. College player gets a free vehicle. (Hey, Maurice Clarett, how does that work again?) College player drives it around. Someone starts asking questions. The Kentucky Basketball mafia closes ranks and the Kentucky media rolls over fast. The NCAA goes back to hounding nobodies.

They have always gotten away with it. This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Rules Apply to Everyone But Kentucky

That didn't take long:
Kentucky's John Calipari raved about the development of highly touted freshman guard John Wall Thursday morning during media day for the Southeastern Conference. Hours later, a report surfaced that his prized recruit might not be eligible to play.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive told that he believes the NCAA's agents and amateurism group -- not enforcement officials -- are looking into the eligibility of both Wall and Mississippi State freshman Renardo Sidney.

"Those are amateur issues that arose prior to their coming to our schools," Slive said. "Those are strictly amateurism issues. As we told our people, somebody needs to determine if they are eligible. It's not relative to you, it's relative to them."

An SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said he could not confirm the eligibility issues to The Associated Press, and Slive was not available for comment.

Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy said the school had no comment, but added all players are considered eligible unless it is otherwise noted. Calipari did not respond to a text message from The Associated Press. reported that Wall's AAU coach, Brian Clifton, was a certified agent from 2007-2008. That would constitutes Wall accepting illegal benefits from an agent under NCAA rules. If the benefits are more than $101, a student-athlete has to repay the value of the benefits and be subject to suspension for at least 10 percent of the team's regular-season games.

Wall was one of three freshmen from the nation's top recruiting class who were penciled in as starters for the Wildcats when their season opens Nov. 13 Morehead State.

Of course, Coach Calipari is not involved, and his hands are clean. Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One Violation at Kentucky and Calipari Should be Banned From the NCAA

They are freaking out in Kentucky over basketball, and more power to them. I've been to Kentucky. Enjoy whatever makes you happy, I guess. The problem is, by hiring John Calipari away from Memphis right as Memphis was having an entire season voided by an academic scandal, Kentucky has brought in a coach of unquestioned talent and highly questionable ethics. When you read this, you can understand the fever pitch and the ethical blind spot they seem to have in Kentucky:
I was in Lexington at the end of the 2008-09 regular season, there to see Billy Gillispie star as the dead man walking. Just two years earlier, he had hosted a love-in Big Blue Madness of his own. Now, the Big Blue Nation was just plain mad.

The tension was palpable, the uncertainty choking for the university administration.

People were disappointed, disgusted and, ultimately most damning to Gillispie, disenfranchised. He had done nothing in their eyes to curry favor or patience, remaining aloof and brusque at a program where public relations -- and here, that is just what it says: relating to the public -- is as important as diagramming a winning out-of-bounds play.

Was it that bad? Not really. Gillispie probably was never going to get the PR part of the job. But the man can coach, and perhaps with time and better players, he would have shifted the imbalance in the wins and losses columns, which would have gone a long way toward generating forgiveness of his off-putting personality.

And there are plenty of programs that gladly would have taken a collective, calming and cleansing breath for a coach who a year prior was the conference's coach of the year and in the NCAA tournament.

But Kentucky is not most places.

More importantly, it doesn't want to be.

"In Kentucky, you can't love your grandmother more than basketball,'' said Van Florence, the 30-year president of the Committee of 101, the UK booster organization. "And if you did, your grandmother would tell you you're stupid.

"Having a couple of winning seasons at Texas A&M or El-Paso doesn't equate to nothing to these people. They equate to Carolina and Kansas. They don't give one damn who's in the Big 12 or who you beat in the Big 12. Until you've beaten Louisville and Indiana and UCLA and Kansas, you haven't proven a damned thing. That's what this program is about.''

All that anger, frustration, embarrassment and sadness served as the perfect backdrop for the white-horse ride Calipari has taken into town.

He, too, can coach. While many question his methods and scoff at the "program rooted in integrity'' line in his Friday night speech, there is no arguing his ability to X and O.

Calipari should be banned from the NCAA if he has even one infraction at Kentucky. The good people of Kentucky have confused Kentucky Basketball with a professional sports program--it is anything but. There's nothing wrong with insisting on winning, but if Calipari has to cheat to get there, the NCAA needs to step in and calm the waters by shutting Kentucky down for a season--yes, give it the death penalty--and bring some perspective back to the program. I have no problem applying this standard to any other program where coaches and boosters are cheating and ruining the integrity of the game. I have no problem at all with that. Any program that even seems remotely dirty, go ahead and clean house. I have a sneaking suspicion that we are due for another 1951 in Men's college basketball.

The only reason why I'm singling out Kentucky is because of the sordid history of the program, and because of what Calipari left behind in Memphis.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not One Word of Profanity

John Wooden last remembers using profanity in 1924, and there's only one man in the world I would believe, and that's Coach Wooden.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Coach Bobby Knight Should Tell Indiana to Kiss His Backside

Really, where was the loyalty?
A little over a week ago, Indiana University announced it would be inducting Bob Knight into its Hall of Fame. In the nine days since then, there has been no shortage of discussion around the state of Indiana, message boards, newspapers and local talk radio. Normally, the induction of someone with Knight's accolades wouldn't cause such a stir. He won three national championships, 12 Big Ten titles and went to the Final Four fives times in 29 seasons at Indiana. He's currently the winningest coach in Division-I history.

But that doesn't tell the whole story, of course.

Everyone who follows college basketball knows the general story of Knight's ugly divorce from Indiana, as he was dismissed by then-President Myles Brand in September of 2000. Since then, Knight has refused to acknowledge anything about Indiana University or his time there in any public forum. Thus, it's pretty easy to see why there is such a debate on whether or not he'll attend his own induction.

Who stood up to Myles Brand? Who stood up and said that Coach Knight should have stayed at Indiana? The fans certainly did. But did the University officials, who will benefit from any appearance by Coach Knight, stand up for him? Or were they rolled by the ESPN-fed shark frenzy that created a tsunami of phony outrage? I can guarantee you that if ESPN were running stories, quotes, and recurring highlight reels critical of a Coach Knight appearance, they would be hiding like terrified bunnies under their well-appointed desks.

Who will point out that Brand's tenure as head of the NCAA has allowed programs, coaches, schools, and amateur athletics to run wild and commit offenses far worse than anything Coach Knight could have ever cooked up on his own? You have schools being forced to give up wins. Okay, that's great. Why are they still playing? There used to be a thing called "the death penalty." How about we have one for Indiana, Kentucky, Memphis, UConn, and whoever else has been running fast and loose with the rules?

Do you know why Coach Knight should laugh in the face of Indiana University? Because that great disciplinarian, Myles Brand, allows Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Bob Huggins, and a host of others to continue coaching in his vaunted NCAA. Because Brand allows college football programs to continue to run wild and get away with all but murder.

I'll let Dr. Boyce D. Watkins explain why Coach Knight was never the problem, but was, to put it mildly, a rare and unique example of how the NCAA is supposed to work:
...I believe that Myles Brand, in spite of the propaganda exercise performed by he and CBS Sports last year (in an attempt to refute my analysis), knows that he would never allow himself or his coaches to operate under the same constraints, penalties and exploitation placed on athletes and their families (especially if his mother were getting evicted, as many of these players come from poverty). In fact, I found it quite ironic that nearly every participant in the CBS sports special was earning at least a few hundred thousand dollars per year while simultaneously explaining to athletes and their families why they shouldn’t get any of that money.

Beyond paying the athletes, I would make a decision: either the NCAA is going to be a professional organization or an amateur one. It’s not going to be a hybrid. A truly amateur organization doesn’t have coaches earning as much as $4M dollars per year. Coaches earn no more than, say, $80,000 per year.

-- An amateur organization doesn’t fire losing coaches with high graduation rates and reward winning coaches with low graduation rates -- any coach hired by the NCAA is expected to not only teach at the university, he/she is expected to ensure that academic achievement is first and foremost in the life of each athlete.

-- The rules should disappear: why can’t players transfer to other schools without being penalized? Coaches leave in the middle of the season all the time. Why is it illegal for athletes to receive compensation from outside entities? Coaches take money from whomever they please. Athletes are given the same responsibilities as adults, told to behave as adults, yet we put rules in place that treat them like children. Again, anyone who exploits another human being, whether it’s the NCAA or a corrupt warlord in a third world country, is going to place constraints on you and then guise his/her motivations by claiming that the rules are in place for your protection. That is the consistent theme of the NCAA’s justification for controlling their student athletes. But their desire to protect the athlete goes out the window when an athlete gets into trouble, loses his/her eligibility or loses his/her scholarship for not being able to perform on the field.

-- The NCAA needs to redefine its mission and be honest with the world. Right now, it is an elephant with bunny ears, swearing that it’s nothing but a harmless little rabbit. The truth is that the NCAA is exactly what it appears to be: a professional sports league. So, rather than allowing me to become the head of the NCAA, I would rather be the head of the House Ways and Means Committee, which initiated an investigation into the NCAA and began to question its non-profit status. A bureaucratic beast that has grown so deformed with contradictions needs to be deconstructed and rebuilt in a model of fairness. As it stands, the NCAA exists in stark contrast to the values most of us embrace as Americans. I’ve seen it up close over the past 15 years and it bothers the heck out of me.

Coach Knight graduated student athletes, kept his program clean, played by the rules, and got run out of Indiana for nothing but political correctness and for being everything the Myles Brand detested in a coach--a competent educator and disciplinarian who could teach, mold young men into something, and blast the ridiculously incompetent and narrow-minded sports media establishment while enjoying the hell out of himself.

Coach Knight, tell them to kiss your ass.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Of course it has been hell on your family, you moron

Louisville Mens Basketball Coach Rick Pitino is lucky to have a job, period. Were it not for the low standards and overwhelming emphasis on winning no matter what, no decent school would have kept him on for the upcoming season. That is not to say that he couldn't have signed on somewhere else in a few years and gone back to coaching. No, it's the lack of accountability for what he did that stings here. He's paid no price, other than a personal one, and, of course, he's complaining about that in the media:
Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday a sex scandal involving a woman accused of trying to extort him has been "pure hell" for his family, and that the airing of her claims made him angry enough to speak out against his lawyer's advice.

Pitino spoke at a hastily called news conference hours after Louisville police released audio and video recordings of phone calls and an interview with Karen Cunagin Sypher, the woman at the heart of the scandal. Pitino has told police that he had sex with her six years ago.

Sypher claims in the interview that Pitino sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors did not pursue charges against Pitino, and Sypher is now accused of trying to extort millions from the coach. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying to the FBI.

The coach lashed out at the media for again reporting on her accusations by airing clips of the interviews Wednesday.

"Everything that's been printed, everything that's been reported, everything that's been breaking in the news on the day Ted Kennedy died is 100 percent a lie, a lie," Pitino said. "All of this has been a lie, a total fabrication of the truth."

The married father of five, who's also a devout Roman Catholic, said the scandal has taken a heavy toll on his wife and family.

"It has been pure hell for her and my family," he said.

"I admitted to you I made a mistake, and believe me I will suffer for that mistake," he added.

If you're contrite and attempting to rehabilitate your image, you do not lash out at the media. You roll over and take it and try to behave in a humble way.

Not so with Pitino. This is becoming a farce. He isn't sorry about anything, other than the fact that his image has taken a hit. He's not the choirboy. He's like any other middle-aged man in America who has sex in public with someone who is not his wife and then has to pay hush money to in order to keep from being held accountable for his lapse in judgement.

It's also very, very clear that when you're the head coach, you get preferential treatment:
In an interview with police that was not taped but was summarized in a police report, Pitino said the encounter with Sypher was consensual. Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said Pitino's interview wasn't taped because his attorney accompanied him to the interview.

Why not? Is it because he was simply being asked questions and wasn't suspected of anything? Because I will bet you anything you want to bet that it was favoritism and it was designed to try to keep him from being held accountable or liable in a civil suit of some kind. When the police start treating lawyered up VIPs different from the rest of us, it means something is afoot. Good for Pitino--he was able to bring his lawyer to an untaped, friendly conversation with the police when he wasn't suspected of anything. People of means, they get all the special breaks. It certainly could be an innocent questioning procedure, now could it?

If I'm having any kind of conversation with the police and with my lawyer present, I think I'd want to have it taped, provided I was innocent. I think I would want to have that record of the proceedings in order to keep from being accused of something I didn't do, especially if I was innocent. Now, given all that, how innocent is Pitino, when you get right down to it? Why bring a lawyer and then why not tape it? Weird.

Is it asking too much for the NCAA to do something here? Perhaps gagging Pitino would violate his right to free speech. It's not like someone should keep him from speaking out--it's just that, every time he does, he reminds people of why Louisville should have fired him in the first place. He does not get that his public stance right now should be one of relief and humility, not defiance and anger at the media for simply doing their job.

If the NCAA can go after assistant coaches for minor recruiting violations as if the Republic is about to fall, perhaps they can look into how a big-time coach runs his affairs while professing to be a role model and an educator and a shaper of young men's character.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Time to go after corrupt programs

If the NCAA doesn't start punishing schools soon, the backlash is going to overwhelm the major sports. And, let's face it, there may be cheating in every college sport of some kind, but we're really only talking about college football and college basketball.

Florida State University is about to be stripped of victories in football, and this comes on the heels of seeing Memphis stripped of 38 wings in basketball:
A top official at the NCAA said a court ruling Thursday that documents dealing with cheating at Florida State are public records sets a precedent that will "rip the heart out of the NCAA" and its efforts to ensure competition is fair and equal.

David Berst, the NCAA's vice president for Division I, said few witnesses other than school officials and employees would be willing to tell what they know about cheating, whether in recruiting, academics or other areas, without the promise of confidentiality.

"We could see copycat efforts in other states," Berst said. "Yes, I believe that would rip the heart out of the NCAA."

His comments from the witness stand came soon after Circuit Judge John Cooper rejected the NCAA's claim that the documents in the Florida State case are not public.

Well, of course they are. Florida State isn't a private university. Lawyers--they think they know the law or something.

Coach Bobby Bowden is slated to lose as many as 14 victories--a staggering number for a coach in the twilight of his career. Joe Paterno will rise to the top of the heap if this happens and if Bowden cannot coach long enough to outpace him. I don't see it being very likely.

The NCAA is being run like a clown circus, and the last few years have seriously tarnished any credibility that the ailing Myles Brand may have brought to it. Allowing schools like Florida State to continue competing is a farce. That John Calipari is allowed to walk away from the debacle at Memphis and go to the oft-sullied Kentucky is tragic for the credibility of the sport. It's not Calipari is a first-time offender. More schools need to be handed "the death penalty" to get them back in line.

UPDATE from Fanhouse:
An annoyed Florida State President T.K. Wetherell wasn't in a forgiving mood Friday.

Not when it came to the NCAA's terse stance that suggested the Seminoles could be deprived of their rights of due process within the governing body or, better yet, they could simply leave the NCAA -- all because FSU must abide by the state's public records law.

A Leon County (Fla.) circuit judge ruled Friday the NCAA must publicly release documents on FSU's appeal of an academic cheating penalty. Circuit Judge John C. Cooper also criticized the athletic organization for making underlying threats against the university.

Wetherell, who has been at odds with the NCAA on past occasions -- he led the school's fight to keep its "Seminole" nickname -- criticized the NCAA's threats against FSU.

"I cannot accept or believe the statement by an NCAA official that the NCAA would take away the due process rights of a Florida public university because that university must abide by public records law," Wetherell said in a prepared statement. "Nor do I accept the statement made in court by an NCAA representative that FSU (and therefore all Florida public universities) has the option of leaving the NCAA if they want to abide by Florida's public records law.

"There will undoubtedly be changes suggested for the NCAA infractions cases and appeals involving public records issues. I will send a letter to Myles Brand, requesting that the NCAA Executive Committee look into this matter as soon as possible because it impacts all Florida public universities that are members of the NCAA."

FSU has already transcribed one of the NCAA documents and released it to the public in a redacted form. The second document (350 pages) is the official transcript made by the NCAA of the Committee on Infractions Hearing of the FSU matter in October 2008 in Indianapolis.

Wetherell says the court case could have been easily avoided, pointing a finger at you-know-who.

"Statements made by the NCAA continue to disappoint me," he said. "It could have resolved this whole crisis long ago by giving us hard copies of the documents the news media had requested."

Leave the NCAA? Isn't that worse than the death penalty? Wouldn't that mean that Florida State couldn't play any college team in the country? Is Florida State going to become an NFL franchise?

The mind reels...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's in the Water in Kentucky?

Is there anything that will get you in trouble with officials in the State of Kentucky? Is there any standard of conduct whatsoever for someone who coaches basketball at the collegiate level?
Memphis will be forced to vacate the record 38 victories from its Final Four season of 2007-08, according to a report by the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The newspaper, citing a source close to the situation, said on its Web site Wednesday night that the NCAA will on Thursday release findings of its investigation into violations committed by the program.

The NCAA investigated whether someone took the SAT exam for a player on that Final Four team. Memphis was notified of potential violations in January and met with the NCAA in June.

Memphis finished 38-2 in 2007-08, setting the NCAA record for wins in a season. The Tigers lost 75-68 to Kansas in overtime in the national championship game.

It would be the second time both Memphis and former coach John Calipari had to vacate Final Four seasons. The Tigers were stripped of their 1985 appearance and Calipari's Massachusetts team lost its 1996 berth.

Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson, coach Josh Pastner and a spokesman for the team couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Calipari, appearing at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday, had no comment because the report had not been officially released but did say he would be "disappointed" if Memphis was stripped of its trip to the Final Four.

Mitch Barnhart, the president of Kentucky who hired Calipari away from Memphis earlier this year, told the AP last week he's not concerned about the potential violations that became known only after Calipari was hired. The coach has not been deemed "at risk" by the NCAA, and Barnhart stressed Calipari is eager to help the Wildcats win the right way.

In Kentucky, basketball is king. Rick Pitino and John Calipari are gods walking the Earth, impervious to accountability. These men can say or do whatever they want and they will never be held accountable. Don't even begin to argue that a basketball program stripped of 38 victories because it was rife with academic cheating should not reflect upon the coach of that program. Academics, coaching, and ethics are all wrapped up as one, and if that coach didn't know, then that coach is either lying or incompetent. That should preclude that individual from having anything to do with collegiate atheletics, period. End of story. Clem Haskins can help you sort that out if you need help with it.

The next time some blowhard on ESPN or any other sports channel or forum goes off on Bobby Knight, tell them to shut their pie hole and hold up as an example the disgraceful conduct of Rick Pitino and John Calipari in the corrupt and venal state of Kentucky. (Yes, Jay Mariotti is the blind pig finding the acorn with this one and gets one right).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let's Reserve Judgement Until We Know...oh, crap.

Sadly, it doesn't get any more unsavory than this:
Louisville coach Rick Pitino told police that he had consensual sex with and paid for an abortion for the woman who has been charged with trying to extort him, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Tuesday.

Karen Cunagin Sypher was federally charged in April with demanding cars, tuition for her children and finally $10 million. Police interviewed Pitino regarding the incident last month, and according to the newspaper, he said that he gave the woman $3,000 to have an abortion.

Police records obtained by the Courier-Journal show that Pitino said he had sex with the then Karen Cunagin at a Louisville restaurant where he had been drinking on Aug. 1, 2003. He denied Cunagin Sypher's allegations that he raped her at the restaurant and then again later at a different location.

Pitino told police that Cunagin Sypher called him about two weeks after the initial encounter and said that she was pregnant. They arranged to meet at the condominium of Louisville strength coach Tim Sypher, whom she did not know at that time but would later marry.

According to the police report, Pitino said Cunagin Sypher had decided to get an abortion but claimed to not have health insurance. Pitino then gave her the $3,000. He told police that the two did not have sex at the condo or at any other location.

According to the report, Cunagin Sypher married Tim Sypher about six months later and, though she saw Pitino at team events, he claims there was never "any strange behavior." Cunagin Sypher and Tim Sypher are now estranged.

Cunagin Sypher reported the alleged rapes on July 9, about two months after she was indicted for extortion and lying to the FBI.

It was sort of well known that Pitino was having issues. Back in June, the intial reports came out that a somewhat nutty woman was giving him grief:
A 49-year-old former model and auto glass saleswoman who is accused of trying to extort cash, cars and a house from Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino says she has been set up.

Karen Cunagin (KOON-uh-gehn) Sypher (SEYE-fer) has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of trying to extort Pitino and of lying to the FBI. If convicted on both counts, she could spend seven years in prison.

She is free while awaiting her trial, scheduled to begin later this month, though her attorney has asked for a postponement.

Cunagin Sypher tells The Associated Press she is frightened but she wants to show her children that the justice system works.

Somehow, Pitino knew to turn to the FBI, and for that, he can thank television. On TV, the Feds always take the lonely, old, crazy lady and lock her up when she goes nuts and starts expecting to be taken care of. I don't know what to make of this. On the one hand, boy do I want to make jokes. On the other hand, what does this mean for Louisville in terms of the upcoming season? Is there time for Pitino to resign so that Louisville can recruit a new coach?

I think we miss the real issue here. And that's basketball. Nothing else matters. Will Louisville make a run this year and try to do some damage in the Big East? It's the toughest conference in men's basketball, I believe, and, really, when you get right down to it, Coach Pitino should have kept it in his pants.