Kelvin Sampson Is Looking For Work…

Indiana University bought out Kelvin Sampson’s contract over the weekend for $750K. In light of the lawsuit that Jim O’Brien won against Ohio State for wrongful termination when he was found to have violated NCAA rules, this buyout is probably a safe way out for the university. Whether or not you get a bit queasy when a serial rule breaker is able to walk away from this kind of situation unharmed and with $750K in hand, there is another part of the story that I find even more unsettling.

I read a report that one of the IU boosters is putting up $550K of this buyout. Obviously, this booster is completely within his rights to spend his money however he wants to spend it. Nevertheless, to say this is an unseemly thing to have on the record of any university would be an understatement.

By the way, what was that threatened boycott by the half-dozen or so seniors on the team all about? These players did not show up for practice on Friday of last week as a protest with regard to the buyout offer to Coach Sampson and the naming of Dan Dakich as the interim coach instead of another assistant coach that the seniors preferred. Then they traveled with the team for a weekend game (surprise, surprise!) and they played in the game (disgusting!). So, who should be awarded the Wuss of the Week Award here? The players for their threats none of which they backed up – - or the school for allowing them to play less than 48 hours after making those threats? Personally, I think there was enough “wussiness” shown here for everyone involved to share the award.

Last week I wrote that the NBA was beyond embarrassing. The fact that their rules actually allow Keith Van Horn to be traded to the Nets such that he has to show up and sit on their bench for a month in order to collect $4.3M and that act is what permits a trade to comply with NBA rules is horrific. However, the multi-team deal involving the Bulls and the Cavs may be even more horrific.

The Cavs had to sign a D-League player to their roster for a Friday night game against the Wizards last week just to have the minimum number of warm bodies on their bench for the game. The reason is that none of the players that they acquired in the trade on Thursday was yet eligible to play. No, the players were not protesting or dragging their feet. After all, getting from Chicago to Cleveland is not exactly the most daunting voyage in the world since Sir Earnest Shackleton last went to Antarctica. The reason is that the league had not cleared them to play because all of the players had not yet had a physical exam with their new teams and that meant it was still all up in the air.

So, the fans in Cleveland paid top dollar to see half of their team show up with a D-League guy to play the Wizards. Any chance the Cavs rebated part of the ticket price since this was clearly a junior varsity game and not what those fans who purchased tix in advance were paying for? If you believe that, you probably have this kind of bumper sticker on your car:

    Honk If You Love Peace And Quiet

Speaking of that Cavs’ trade, I’ve seen far too many articles written around the theme that team management finally went out and got poor LeBron James some help. Really? Ben Wallace was hardly the player he was made out to be in Chicago; Wally Szczerbiak is now with his fourth team in his career and his third in the last 25 months indicating to me that he might not be “special”; if Joe Smith played baseball, his nickname might be “Player To Be Named Later” because he’s been with eight different teams and has been with two of those teams twice; Delonte West has potential which means he hasn’t achieved bupkes as of yet. If LeBron was carrying the team by himself prior to this trade, I think he better gird his loins for a lot more toting after the trade…

The numbers are in on the NBA All-Star Game. The TV ratings were lower than they have ever been; for the last two years, the rating has been 4.3, this year they came in at 3.8. Fifteen years ago, the NBA All-Star Game drew a rating of 14.3. Five years ago, the number for the NBA All-Star Game was 8.2. Despite David Stern’s rose-colored glasses, the interest in the NBA All-Star game is plummeting. Half of the old XFL games in its one season of existence drew ratings near or above 3.8…

There is one Spring Training story that I do not understand. The Cardinals invited Juan Gonzalez to come to their camp and compete for a spot on the team. I believe that Juan Gonzalez has appeared in one game in the past two seasons and he has a history of not making it through a full season of baseball even when he was young. He was never a guy who you would put into a game in the ninth inning for defensive purposes, so what are the Cards thinking here? Is their minor league system so bereft of outfield prospects that they need to do this?

I’m not sure I understand the thinking of the San Diego Padres either. Jim Edmonds and Brian Giles used to be excellent players but both seem to be on the downside of their careers. On the mound, they are looking to have two “often injured pitchers” in their rotation (Mark Prior and Randy Wolf). Padres’ fans better hope their farm system is not bereft of talent at several positions…

Since this is the time when hope springs eternal for baseball fans everywhere and seems to flourish even more luxuriantly in Chicago Cubs’ land than most anywhere else, let me offer a proposition wager here:

    OVER/UNDER on the date when Kerry Wood suffers his annual season ending injury – - June 6th.

Brian McNamee says he shot Roger Clemens in the butt with HGH. It appears that he also shot Debbie Clemens in the butt with HGH too; and if that was not a more enjoyable experience for Mr. McNamee, then his is a sad existence. Roger Clemens says that the only thing he took as shots in the butt were Vitamin B-12 and lidocaine. Now, in light of the photos alleging to show that Roger Clemens was indeed at that party at José Canseco’s house ten years ago after he testified under oath that he was never at said party, I suspect that Clemens and his annoying attorney are wondering if there is a shot that can give him immunity to a perjury indictment.

Finally, here are two cogent comments on the Roger Clemens situation:

Did Roger Clemens attend Jose Canseco’s barbecue? Clemens should check with his appointment & inoculation secretary, Miss Remembers. [Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle]

Clemens is in new trouble over photos that show him attending a 1998 party at Jose Canseco’s house in Miami, which Clemens had denied under federal oath. I’m not sure what is more embarrassing. That he lied, or that he was at a Jose Canseco party. [Greg Cote, Miami Herald]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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