I have written more than three thousand of these Daily Rants; and until today, I have never included a quotation from Bill O’Reilly.
“I consider myself a law-abiding person. But I’m exhausted. I don’t know where to put the bottles, newspapers, cans and other stuff for garbage pickup outside my house. The rules are so thick you need someone from M.I.T. to explain them.”
I think that I have mastered the rules of trash and recycling here in my community without having to resort to hiring an M.I.T. consultant but there are indeed situations where rules are so complex – and sometime so petty and meaningless – that one would need to be wary of breaking one or some of the rules at any moment. The NCAA rulebook leaps to mind here.
“The NCAA has suspended five University of Richmond baseball players because they took part in Fantasy football.”
Seriously, if Groucho Marx were with us, a duck would fly down and give the NCAA $50. This is stupid even by NCAA standards and that is saying a lot. Moreover, it is stupid even though I AGREE COMPLETELY with the NCAA’s premise here that Fantasy football is gambling. I also agree that it would be an assault on “the integrity of the games” if players were to wager on games in which they participate. However, these baseball players were doing something that is legal and had nothing to do with collegiate baseball – – let alone University of Richmond collegiate baseball.
I know; it’s in the rule book and they broke the rules. Nevertheless, if the NCAA is indeed an organization run by intelligent and rational adults – and many of their actions cast doubt on that premise – there should be a way for one of those intelligent and rational adults to call a time-out so that everyone can take a deep breath and recognize this simple fact:
The University of Richmond baseball team – and the program itself – gained no on-field advantage from the fact that five team members took part in Fantasy football.
The important issue here is contained in the phrase “gained no on-field advantage” because that is the only reason that there is an NCAA rule book in the first place.
Honestly, I have come to believe that the operating mode at the NCAA comes down to three simple steps:
The only way to conclude my comments on the latest NCAA priggishness is to recall an old headline on an article in The Onion. [Aside: If by some chance someone at NCAA HQS in Indy reads this piece, it is not a good thing to have your actions fit into a headline from The Onion.]
“NCAA investigating God for giving gifts to athletes”
Let me switch gears here and talk about the latest incident in the ongoing soap opera concerning where the Oakland Raiders will play football in the future. There is a group in Oakland – Fortress Investment Group – which is fronted by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott that seeks to build a new stadium in Oakland and keep the Raiders there. This group has been securing capital for the project and working with the city fathers in Oakland much more quietly than have the folks in Las Vegas. What just happened is that Fortress has now submitted – for the first time – a formal plan to the NFL for a stadium in Oakland where the Raiders could play. This plan has the support of the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
On the Raiders’ side of the table, Mark Davis has filed his request with the NFL to move his franchise to Las Vegas and the owners are scheduled to vote on that request sometime later this month. Pardon my cynicism here, but the addition of another player in the game here tells me that the NFL owners will find a way to kick the can down the road sometime later this month to create time to put the squeeze on the Las Vegas people and the Fortress people to sweeten whatever deal they are proposing at this particular moment.
The current plan calls for Fortress to construct a new stadium that will cost $1.3B on the site of the Oakland Coliseum where the Raiders currently play. The NFL dismissed this idea previously, but the formal submission of a plan to the league indicates to some that Fortress has addressed the concerns that NFL had with the general outline it saw previously. This story is not over; the fat lady has not sung; in fact, I suspect the fat lady is still in her dressing room putting on her make-up.
Finally, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com had this comment that will make you realize why the Oakland Raiders need a new place to play their home games:
“For $20, you can tour the stadium where the Raiders play. For $50, you don’t have to go on the tour.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………