Two days in a row, the International Olympic Committee has done something sufficiently noteworthy that I can start with it. At a convocation in Buenos Aires, the IOC decided where the 2020 Olympics shall happen. The three finalists were
Tokyo – the eventual winner of the balloting
Istanbul – came in second
Madrid – quickly eliminated from consideration.
Looking at that list of finalists, I think the IOC made the best possible decision. Madrid sits in the middle of Spain where the current unemployment rate is hovering around 25% and where the economy is in worse shape than was the Greek economy in 2004. Istanbul is a great city; I have visited twice and plan to go back again. Nonetheless, Istanbul is right on the outskirts of the Middle East and the political turmoil in that area of the world is not likely to be resolved by 2020.
I guess the only real “negative” you could attach to Tokyo as a venue would be the radiation leaking into the Pacific Ocean from that tsunami damaged power reactor and threatening to poison every fish living within 5,000 miles of the Japanese coast. That could be a real problem if the World Anti-Doping Agency declares any of those radiation products in the ocean as PEDs…
Quick Quiz: What should be the mascot for the Tokyo Games in 2020?
C. Let them fight it out and may the best monster win…
Meanwhile, a multi-part story is coming out on the Sports Illustrated website. The first part is up as of now; four more parts will appear over the next week. The series alleges major recruiting and retention improprieties at Oklahoma State with regard to athletes there. The period of time in question is a little over a decade and here are a few of the things Ok St. athletes received according to the reports:
Cash payments in the locker room
Payment for jobs players never actually did
‘Performance bonuses” – that might sound a bit like a bounty program
“Academic misconduct” – to include having others do coursework for players.
Allegations of drug use and even drug dealing by players.
Hostesses that provided sex as part of the recruitment process.
During the era covered by this investigative report on SI.com, (2000 – 2011) Oklahoma State has had three head football coaches.
Bob Simmons finished a 6-year tenure in 2000.
Les Miles was the head coach from 2001 – 2004.
Mike Gundy has been the head coach from 2005 until now.
Gundy will be an interesting figure to watch as the story installments appear and as other media outlets swoop in to gather information of their own. Mike Gundy has been at Oklahoma State since Bob Simmons resigned. Gundy and Les Miles were the two finalists in the hiring process to replace Simmons and when the school decided on Les Miles, they also hired Mike Gundy as the offensive coordinator. Then when Miles left after the 2004 season, Gundy “moved up”. So, he has been involved with the football program and the athletic department for the entirety of the time period of these reports.
Allow me to present five questions about this matter even before the full Sports Illustrated reporting is out and before we have heard much from Oklahoma State on said reports:
Is every allegation in the SI reporting going to be absolutely true?
Did at least half of the events reported here actually happen?
Am I shocked to learn that this goes on in a major college football program?
Is Ok.St. the only football program where I believe this happens?
Would much of the “evidence” presented here hold up in court?
Because I think you should go and read the article for yourself, let me provide my quick answers to the five questions above:
No. Yes. Are you kidding me? Absolutely not. No.
One reason to attach some credibility to these reports is that George Dohrmann has been involved in gathering the information and writing the story. Dohrmann is a Pulitzer Prize winner; a while back, he broke the story about the academic fraud in the basketball program at Minnesota while Clem Haskins was the coach there. That does not mean that Dohrmann cannot be wrong with regard to this story; however, the reporter’s reputation has to be considered in the way that you approach one of his pieces.
Finally, recalling that Mike Gundy once went on a manic rant targeted at a reporter who said negative things about a player on the Ok St. team, consider this item from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot recently:
“Child’s play: Urban Meyer has forbidden NFL scouts who drop by Ohio State from wearing blue. Because blue, you see, is one of Michigan’s primary colors. Is that silly enough for you? Meyer isn’t the first coach to demonstrate leadership abilities by acting like a fourth-grader.”
[Aside: Nor shall he be the last…]
But don’t get me wrong I love sports………