The Indiana University basketball program has been in the news regarding NCAA violations laid at the feet of Kelvin Sampson. The level of embarrassment for the school should have reached “politician proportion” by now for a couple of reasons including:
1. The violations are the same ones Sampson committed at Oklahoma and got caught doing there.
2. Sampson used to be the head of the college basketball coaches’ group (whatever it calls itself) and spearheaded the “ethics efforts” there.
Based on what the NCAA sleuths say – and recalling that those folks are only even money favorites to track a wounded yak through six feet of snow – Sampson was less than forthcoming with them and with the IU administrators when all of these shenanigans first game to light. Lots of people have called for Sampson’s firing or for his suspension from the team at the very least. If the school finally gets off its collective duff and makes a decision on that matter one way or the other, it would behoove Kelvin Sampson to have a career option upon which to fall back. Here is a suggestion for his agent:
Pitch Kelvin Sampson to Verizon as their new spokesperson – just in case the “Can-you-hear-me-now-guy” ever gets caught in a compromising situation with a barnyard creature.
Mark Cuban is an IU alum. If you have read these rants for any period of time, you know that I think that many of Mark Cuban’s ideas are really out in left field and some of them are out in interplanetary space. Nevertheless, I have to applaud Cuban for a comment he made in GQ Magazine. Someone asked Cuban if he would be the sugar daddy that would help IU build a new field house and he said he would not. Here is his reason:
“People ask me if I’m going to be building a new Assembly Hall for them, and the answer is no chance. Of all the places you can put your money, it’s not the most effective place. I’m a huge IU basketball fan but I’m also a critic of the NCAA student-athlete hypocrisy.”
I am not sure if his criticism of the “NCAA student-athlete hypocrisy” is the same as mine, but it is clear from his statement that we both recognize the lunacy of the NCAA in that dimension.
ESPN has announced that it will reduce the role of Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya as sideline reporters on MNF next year. Might I suggest that they could take this concept to its logical conclusion and reduce those roles to ZERO and it would be a benefit for everyone – including Ms. Kolber and Ms. Tafoya? I doubt that anyone would misconstrue my position on sideline reporters; they are generally useless contrivances in a sporting event that serve only to interrupt the flow of the game and insert meaningless pap into the reporting. Every sideline reporting job should be eliminated.
Having said that, let me say that Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya are very good sports reporters and both of them perform very well in studio show settings or in discussion settings. [I do not recall ever hearing either do play-by-play, so I cannot say if either is any good at that.] If these folks are no longer encumbered by having to waste their time and ours with content-free sound bites from the sidelines, ESPN can use them in other setting where they might add to the entertainment and education of the viewing audience. Let us hope that is the case.
Now that I have said something positive about the movers and shakers at ESPN, permit me to let you in on some boneheaded thinking that seems to be ongoing in Bristol, CT. Dave Darling reported in the Orlando Sentinel that “…there are reports the network will bring back studio analyst Emmitt Smith.” Here is what I said about Emmitt Smith’s value in the studio back on 1 Feb 2008; I have not changed my mind:
However, Emmitt Smith is – plainly and simply – a disaster behind a microphone. If the US Congress ever passed a law making English the official language of the United States, Emmitt Smith on television might be considered a felony. I wonder if the person at ESPN who interviewed Emmitt Smith for the job and found Smith’s grammar, syntax and pronunciation of simple English words to be “insufficiently horrid so as to be instantly embarrassing” would stand up and identify himself/herself. If that person can be found, it should be a firing offense at ESPN.
Time for a surprise quiz, folks. Put your books and notes away. You have thirty minutes to answer the following question in 500 words or less:
What is the biggest waste of time and energy and the greatest contributor to the entropy death of the universe and why:
The Pro Bowl
“Educational materials” prepared by PETA
Congressional Committee hearings on baseball
Any random NCAA Study Committee?
Regarding the inability of sports figures to tell the truth these days, Brad Rock wrote and excellent column in the Deseret Morning News yesterday. I commend it to your reading.
Finally, here is another item from Brad Rock in another of his columns in the Deseret Morning News:
“And finally, Randy Spetman is gone as Utah State’s athletics director.
“Spetman took a similar job at Florida State this week — at triple the salary.
“Still, you gotta wonder: What is he thinking?
“If he wants a bad football team that is a shell of its former self and usually gets beat by its in in-state rivals, why leave Logan?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…