I am going to take the opportunity of an uncertain writing schedule for the next week or ten days to clean two items off my clipboard that have been gathering dust. Normally springtime is the region of the calendar for such tidying up but these things will not survive until then. So, here goes…
The NCAA has sent a “notice of allegations” to Rutgers University indicating that the NCAA believes the Rutgers football program committed 7 violations of the NCAA rules in the last five years. One allegation is that an assistant coach committed an academic violation pointedly aimed at keeping a player eligible and that another coach had some improper recruiting contacts and that there may have been some hanky-panky going on between recruits and “football hostesses”. It is all rather run-of-the-mill stuff and the allegations all focus on events under the previous head coach and coaching staff. You can read the report about all this here.
I can imagine that many of you are wondering why this is even marginally interesting. Think about it for a moment. Rutgers football was – allegedly – skirting the rules in recruiting and in maintaining eligibility for players who went onto the football field this year and soiled themselves on a fairly regular basis. Those guys could not even cheat effectively. Last season, Rutgers was 2-10 and for the season, this was the composite score:
Opponents 450 Rutgers 178
Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald had this comment related to Rutgers football recently:
“At halftime of the Big Ten championship game, two students competed to see who could throw the most footballs through a giant Dr. Pepper can. This is also how Rutgers made it into the conference.”
The latest brouhaha regarding the NBA came about a week ago, when the Cavaliers went to play the Grizzlies in Memphis for the only time this season. People in the area bought tickets to see the Cavs and specifically to see LeBron James; after all, fans of the Grizzlies do not get to see a player of that ability on a routine basis. The problem is that the Cavs decided to give some players a day off on the occasion of that game in Memphis. The Cavs did not even bring LeBron James or Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love to Memphis. Fans who paid “premium game prices” for tix did not even get to see those guys sitting in street clothes in the bench area. The fans sort of felt like they had been “baited and switched”. Truth be told, they were…
However, the anger seemed to be directed at LeBron James for this fan unhappiness. LeBron is 31 years old and since the Cavs’ objective for this year is to defend their NBA Championship, it is reasonable that he will get some time off during the season. His real work does not even begin until late April 2017. He is not the perpetrator of the “bait and switch” since he did not suggest to the Grizzlies that they put the premium price tag on the tix for that game nor does he have any obligation to the folks who own or run the Grizzlies.
More than a few commentators have said that the NBA “needs to do something about this”. I heard exactly no suggested “somethings to be done” that were enforceable or even particularly practical. Personally, I think the problem is rooted – as is generally the case – in money. The NBA plays an 82-game regular season schedule and most players need time off during the season for some “mini-R&R time”. If the regular season were shorter, most of those players would not need the time off and there would be less complaining about scheduling that involved back-to-back games. However, this is the point where money enters the arena. If the NBA were to cut the regular season to – let me pick a number and say 58 games, home-and-home with every other team in the league – there are 2 certainties:
- Revenue would go down.
- The owners would not do that willingly and the players would not like the reduced salary cap.
So, there you have it. This is a “problem” that is not going to go away. So, the next time it happens, can we please not revisit the same discussions we had this time? This is a financial/economic issue and it will not be resolved based on a new rule from the NBA Front Office with or without the concurrence of the NBPA.
Since the Cavs also left Kevin Love at home for that game in Memphis, let me include this comment about Kevin Love from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“Being nephew of the Beach Boys’ Mike Love has its advantages, but it doesn’t necessarily extend to musical skills.
“Cleveland forward Kevin Love says he went through a teen phase when he hounded his parents into buying him a guitar for Christmas.
“’It’s safe to say that didn’t last long … maybe two weeks,’ Love told SI.com.
“So sad when you realize all you’re ever going to be is a 6-foot-10 multimillionaire ballplayer.”
Finally, another definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Accountant: One of a mysterious race of mole people who resurface once a quarter and charge you to use Quicken.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………