When I used to watch Sesame Street with my kids when they were young, they would often play a game where the song that accompanied the picture on the screen was:
“Three of these things go together
Three of these things are kind of the same
One of these things just doesn’t belong here
Now it’s time to play our game…”
Today, thanks to the NCAA we can play a version of that game where nine of these things go together but one is not the same. The NCAA announced that 10 schools will be ineligible for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament next March for failure to achieve satisfactory scores in terms of Academic Progress Standards. Those schools are – - in alphabetical order as homage to Sesame Street:
Arkansas – Pine Bluff
Cal State – Bakersfield
Mississippi Valley State
North Carolina – Wilmington
Texas A&M – Corpus Christie
UC – Riverside
The first nine entries on that list are schools/teams with no chance to win next year’s tournament. The last entry on the list – UConn – has won the tournament three times in the past. The NCAA is often accused of abusing smaller schools that violate rules while letting the “big boys” take a pass. Well, in this one instance, one of the “big boys” got its knuckles rapped.
For the record, Academic Progress Standards intend to measure the classroom performance of all scholarship athletes on all teams at all Division 1 schools. Measurement is done term by term and the current data which knocked these ten teams out of consideration for next year’s March Madness cover the time from the 2007/08 school year through the 2010/11 school year. In order for a school to earn a banishment from a tournament – - or a bowl game should it be the football team in violation – - it means that the school has not met the NCAA standard for three consecutive years.
Andy Geiger used to be the Athletic Director at Ohio State and Stanford and Maryland. His résumé is impressive. Recently, he took the job as Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee on an interim basis. For whatever reasons, there has been more than a lot of turnover in the job at that school in recent years and Geiger agreed – - at age 73 – - to come out of retirement and get things organized there. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
“… in the absence of a renewal or prior termination, Geiger’s appointment lapses on June 30, 2013.”
My guess is that his top priority is to find a person to take the job from him on something resembling a permanent basis so he can then go back to enjoying his retirement.
I have often said that the trend towards non-stop entertainment at sporting events detracts from the events themselves. The game is no longer a sufficient reason to go to the stadium or the arena; now we have to have the game “presented” to us. Here is an item from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald that helps me make my point about distractions:
“So an 11-year-old girl falls 18 feet onto concrete (she’s OK) while on the rock-climbing wall at the new Marlins ballpark. My first thought: Why the hell is there a rock-climbing wall at the new Marlins ballpark!? When did sports franchises become so desperate to attract and amuse fans that the team and game were seen as insufficient? Rule of thumb: The only wall that should be climbed at a ballpark is the outfield wall, by outfielders.”
For those of you who have been in withdrawal for NFL action since the Super Bowl – - and here I mean wagering action – - fear not; wagering opportunities are on the horizon and if you listen carefully, you can hear the siren call of betting lines. The opening lines for Week 1 of the NFL games are out there just in case you might want to get in a bit of “early action”. In no way would I suggest that anyone make such a wager on games involving teams whose make-up you cannot possibly know at this time. But just for fun, here are a couple of the lines for Week 1 with a few comments:
Washington at New Orleans – 9 (51.5): Oddsmakers must be pretty confident that Drew Brees will be under center for the Saints and at full efficiency. In addition, the oddsmakers must think that Robert Griffin III will still be in “learning mode” with the Shanahan Offense in Washington.
Pittsburgh at Denver – 2 (45): That line can only mean one thing:
Oddsmakers believe that Peyton Manning’s neck injury is fully healed.
Miami at Houston – 6.5 (44): The oddsmakers must have missed the story that Chad Ochocinco signed on with the Dolphins.
Finally, here is Dwight Perry’s take on Chad Ochocinco’s signing with the Dolphins from the Seattle Times:
‘Chad Ochocinco’s decision: He’s taking his baggage to South Beach.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………