You Can Smell This One A Mile Away…

Yesterday, I read a report on CBSSportsline.com, which contained the following quotation:

“In an unprecedented move, the BCS has asked the Fiesta Bowl ‘to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game.’ “

Actually, I had to read that about three times to be sure that I had it right. Prior to yesterday, if you had asked me to name a situation where the BCS might immediately seek to seize the moral high ground with regard to any entity or school that participated in the BCS, I would have concocted a scenario where Jeffrey Dahmer had returned from the grave and taken over as the athletic director at one of the BCS Conference schools. If the BCS finds an action or behavior unpalatable, how bad does it have to be? Think about that for a minute. If a piece of meat is so rotten that a vulture will not eat it …

What happened at the Fiesta Bowl is that the folks who run it have found it necessary to fire their CEO, John Junker, based on findings and allegations of “improper campaign contributions”. [Aside: I presume that “improper campaign contributions” morph into “illegal campaign contributions” once a judge and jury become involved.] The BCS is willing to drop one of its cash cows – - only to replace it to be sure – - over this behavior and that means whatever has been revealed to the BCS Pooh-Bahs has to have been beyond rancid.

It is not certain that the Fiesta Bowl will devolve to a lesser status, but it could happen. Stay tuned…

Oh, by the way, how great would it be to find out the full list of names of the politicos who took those “improper campaign contributions”…?

For those of you who would like to see the “public version” report that the Board of Directors for the Fiesta Bowl received on regarding an internal investigation, here is a link.

Make no mistake folks, collegiate athletics are great fun to watch; and at the same time, they are a moral cesspool. So long as billions of dollars attach to the football and basketball games, the chances of that moral cesspool draining and purifying itself are less than minuscule.

The NFL/NFLPA confrontation continues with no significant change. The NFLPA is about to begin to provide players locked out with supplementary income from a fund that the NFLPA has been setting aside for a while now. In comparison with paychecks, these supplemental payments are surely better than nothing – - yet in reality, they are pretty meager.

Payments reportedly will begin on 15 April – - a date that has significant financial implications of its own for folks in the US – - and will consist of a maximum of 6 payments to the players so long as the lockout/work-stoppage continues. The maximum that any player can receive as a total of those 6 payments is $60K and that maximum would only go to players who had been on a 53-man roster for every game in the last two seasons. Considering that the NFL minimum salary was $325K for rookies in 2010 and was $845K for 10-year veterans in 2010, supplemental income checks that might total $60K are not certain to “meet expenses” for all the players.

The NFL and the NFLPA will continue on their scripted paths for a while more; this news is merely something that both sides had to anticipate as a necessary event along the way to meaningful talks to resolve the problems. However, this action taken by the NFLPA makes Adrian Peterson look even more stupid than before with regard to his comments about NFL players being modern day slaves.

    Memo to Adrian Peterson: When masters freed slaves – - sort of analogous to “locking out a slave”, no? – - was there an association of slaves out there ready to provide them with supplemental income payments to keep them going until they could find a new deal as a slave? I must have missed that chapter in American History in high school…

One veteran NFL player, Charlie Batch of the Pittsburgh Steelers, would probably qualify for the maximum payment from the NFLPA and he may need it. Even though Batch has been in the NFL for 13 years and once received a signing bonus of $10M, he has had to file for bankruptcy. That filing lists his debts at $8.3M and his assets at $2.3M. He owns/owned a real estate development company that recently defaulted on a mortgage and had to forfeit its interest in two dozen properties.

Another NFL veteran QB, Mark Brunell, has recently been through a bankruptcy proceeding demonstrating that bad investments can wipe out what appear on the surface to be earnings that ought to last through the lifetimes of at least a couple of generations.

I mention those two QBs not with the intention of mocking them in any way. There is no indication that either of these guys did anything improper or shady; what seems to have happened to them is that they put their money in the wrong place at the wrong time. The juxtaposition here that I find interesting is the comparison of $60K in supplemental income as opposed to their potential veteran minimum salary of $845K. That is approximately a 93% reduction in income…

On the other hand, there are reports that Cowboys rookie WR, Dez Bryant, is someone who might find himself in bad financial straits down the road – - and those bad financial straits could be of his own doing. Reports out of Dallas say that creditors have sued Bryant saying that he bought things on credit in 2009 and 2010 prior to signing his NFL contract and that he has not paid up yet. The suit claims that Bryant – - remember, this is prior to his signing an NFL contract – - bought $588,500 in jewelry on a credit line from one party and another $246K in jewelry bought on credit from another party. Bryant would not qualify for the maximum payment from the NFLPA since he was not on the Cowboys roster for every game of the last two seasons – - but even if he had been, those payments do not come close to paying off what these two lawsuits seek from him.

Finally, here is a note from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald regarding his lack of availability to become the new athletic director at the University of Miami:

“UM is narrowing its search to replace departed athletic director Kirby Hocutt. I have withdrawn my name from consideration. Interview didn’t go well. Probably wasn’t smart to tell president Donna Shalala she reminded me of a garden gnome.”

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

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Comments

  • Peter  On March 30, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Any business that would extend almost $600K in unsecured credit to a football player who has yet to sign a contract deserves to lose the money.

  • Steve  On March 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for the link to the Fiesta Bowl report. I skimmed through that report and it seems to me that the campaign contributions might be among the less egresious transgresions. I’m somewhat suprised that this went on for as long as it did without someone blowing the whistle.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Peter:

    Believe me, I do not feel sorry for jewelers who are still waiting to be paid; their extension of credit was voluntary – - and stupid.

    This does not auger well for Dez Bryant’ financial future once he stops playing football.

    Steve:

    Glad you found the link useful. There were indeed plenty of shennanigans goin’ on out in Arizona…

  • Rich  On March 31, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Well, at least we know where some of those big bucks the bowls make go. And some cynics thought money was being funneled to student athletes. Interesting report, and great job by The Arizona Republic.

  • Rich  On March 31, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Besides improper campaign contributions, money laundering may not be out of the question, along with perjury. Too bad I’m not an attorney…..I might then be able to understand and follow it all.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 31, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Rich:

    Remember, UConn lost about $1.5M by playing in the Fiesta Bowl last January. So you can’t even take some joy from the fact that a university was “profiting” from the activity.

    I would love to see some court cases with testimony under oath here. That might get the attention of even the NCAA Nabobs and the BCS Bozos.

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