A “Global Plea Agreement”…

There seems to be resolution in the Darren Sharper matter where he has been accused of drugging and then raping women in four different states. According to a report in the New Orleans Advocate yesterday, Sharper, his attorneys reached a “global plea agreement” with prosecutors in four states and Federal prosecutors (because there were drug charges involved here too) to resolve all of the cases. In yesterday’s report, the details of the plea agreement were not revealed. However, for a full synopsis of this wide-ranging set of circumstances, the report from yesterday is most useful. Here is the link:

Now today, the plea agreement details have begun to emerge. According to CBSSports.com this morning, Sharper will get 9 years in prison and lifetime probation for the guilty pleas. According to the report, this resolves the charges that he first drugged and then raped at least 9 women in 4 states. Now to me, that seems like a very generous plea arrangement from the prosecutors. Ignoring the Federal drug charges for a moment, the math here is that he gets 1 year per rape and that seems a tad light.

Given all the negative attention that has surrounded recent events involving NFL players – Sharper was in the NFL for 14 years – and violence against women, I would have thought that prosecutors would have been a bit more hard-nosed in this situation. Well, at least we can be spared the drama of Roger Goodell and the NFL imposing some kind of suspension on top of this deal and the subsequent outrage from people who are convinced that neither Roger Goodell nor the NFL can ever get anything right.

In other NFL news, the league has lifted the blackout rule for the 2015 season. That means that fans in cities such as San Diego, Oakland and Tampa – where games routinely do not sell out – may get to see their home games on network TV. I am not completely certain this is an unfettered blessing for some fans such as the ones in Oakland who will now see the Raiders 16 times instead of only 8. Given the way the Raiders have played for the last 10 years or so, fans there may have developed a fondness for those weeks of home games so that fans could stay home and watch good teams play. This is the mirror-image of the adage that every cloud has a silver lining. In this case the silver lining has a cloud around it.

In any event, the NFL will go without the blackout rules for a year and then “evaluate the impact” after the season is over. Let me tell you what the impact is most likely to be:

    Attendance in cities that sell out every game will be unaffected.

    Attendance in cities that do not sell out every game will decrease slightly – particularly in bad weather circumstances where there will be almost no “walk-up traffic”.

    Some season ticket holders in the cities that do not sell out will also stay home in bad weather situations or for some meaningless end-of-season games.

    Therefore, revenue for teams that do not sell out every game will go down very slightly.

    The fact that television rights provide the largest share of team revenue will be proven once again as no team will operate in the red.

If the NFL would like to name a committee to begin to evaluate the impact of the above, I will be happy to flesh out those 5 points for the committee members to give them a running start…

The league has another idea percolating with regard to telecasts for next year too. One of the London Games – the one in Week 7 between the Bills and Jags – will not be shown on standard TV and will not be part of the NFL Sunday Ticket package on DirecTV. The NFL wants the game to be on a “full digital platform” that can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection and/or by streaming. Stand by for more news about that initiative between now and October…

With the NCAA Basketball Tournament in full bloom, there is a little story in college basketball that has gotten about no attention. Let me do a reset for you here…

Geno Ford was the head coach at Kent State from 2008 – 2011. After that season he left Kent State to take the head coaching job at Bradley. The State of Ohio sued Ford for breach of contract and Ohio won a $1.2M judgment against Ford. That is unusual by itself but then Kent State moved to sue Bradley University for “tortuous interference” in the matter but then the Kent State side dropped the suit entirely about two weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin. So, the arrival of Geno Ford in Peoria to assume the role of head basketball coach at Bradley was a little out of the ordinary.

Now jump forward to 2015 when the college basketball season is over for all but the teams remaining in the various tournaments that are ongoing. Bradley University announced that it has fired Geno Ford as the head basketball coach. So what did Bradley get from Ford in his tenure there:

    Overall record was 46-86
    Missouri Valley Conference record was 19-53
    Record in 2014/15 was 9-24
    Missouri Valley Conference record in 2014/15 was 3-15.

So, is it just possible that one reason Kent State dropped its suit against Bradley was that it realized that one outcome might be that they would have had to take Ford back as their basketball coach and they did not really want him there in the first place? Just asking…

Finally, a note from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Cue laugh track: Darrelle Revis insists that it wasn’t the fully guaranteed $39 million that lured him away from the Patriots, but he returned to the Jets because, ‘This is where my heart is.’ They just don’t write lines like that anymore.”

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