Shades Of Lying…

I was reading an Internet message board yesterday and a “debate” was raging about the severity – or lack thereof – regarding the punishment meted out to Urban Meyer.  That sort of debate is futile and feckless; no amount of Internet gnashing of teeth is going to change it.  However, there was an interesting eddy current in that “debate” wherein proponents of the punishment as it stands and opponents squared off.

  • A key element of this “eddy current” had to do with the less-than-truthful statements Urban Meyer made to the folks at Big 10 media day and then to investigators.
  • Meyer’s proponents argued that he did not “deliberately lie” in these situations.

Since I do not have a dog in that fight – and I recognize that none of my spleen-venting would change even an iota of the outcome there – I read the arguments and counter-arguments for what they were and took them to be what the writer intended.  And then I asked myself this question:

  • Is there really a difference between “lying” and “deliberately lying”?
  • Can one lie about something “accidentally” or is an “accidental lie” just giving the wrong answer to a question or making an incorrect statement?

Brad Dickson, formerly with the Omaha World-Herald had this Tweet regarding the bottom line for the Urban Meyer Saga:

“Breaking news: Urban Meyer has been suspended for almost as long as the average booth review takes.”

Enough of that stuff for the day; the weekend is coming; no one needs to encumber one’s cerebral cortex with that kind of nonsense.  So, let me turn now to something far sillier.  Last night, there was a headline on an article at that read:

  • Terrell Owens is still ripped and can outsprint P.K. Subban

For those who are not of a hockey persuasion, P.K. Subban is a very good NHL player.  And that headline is about content-free as this one might be if any headline writer were dumb enough to write it:

  • 70-year old Bobby Orr can still skate backward faster than Terrell Owens

[Aside: And I’ll bet 60-year old Jerry Bailey can ride a thoroughbred better than T.O. too…]

The Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson winner-take-all match play contest will happen on Thanksgiving weekend.   I have already stated that I have no interest in watching two fading stars go at one another to see which of them is the “least-worst” on a given day and that the “winner take all aspect” of this match would be a lot more meaningful if each of them were putting up the millions of dollars in the kitty out of their own funds.  It should not be news to anyone that the funding for this event will not be as I just described…

There is something more going on here.  This is going to be a pay-per-view event.  So, the golf-goofs who want to see this nonsense are going to have to fork over their own money to watch it.  And I doubt that any of them are going to give this consideration as they decide if they are going to pay whatever the cost of the pay-per-view is:

  • TNT is putting up $9M plus production costs for this event.  If TNT makes money on this, they will be motivated to find other “golf properties” to put out there as pay-per-view events.
  • Once they exhaust all the match-play pairings that even the golf-goofs would care about, why not put the US Open on TV in pay-per-view mode?
  • Don’t tell me this can’t happen.  That is exactly what happened with boxing.  First, only heavyweight championship bouts were pay-per-view; then Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran came along…

The folks who pay to watch this are playing with fire…

The NCAA has ditched the RPI – the Rating Percentage Index – as a tool for deciding which college basketball teams get seeded into March Madness.  The RPI was created about 40 years ago and it has drawn fire from many quadrants over the years; now it is history. The NCAA has replaced it with NET – the NCAA Evaluation Tool.  Components of the NET scoring include:

  • Game results (straight up wins and losses)
  • Game location
  • Strength of schedule
  • Quality of both wins and losses
  • Net offensive and defensive efficiency – – AND – –
  • Scoring margin.

Hold on there, Hoss…  Is the NCAA going to incentivize teams to run up the score in cupcake games to enhance their NET scoring?  Fortunately, when you look a tad closer to the details here, scoring margin will count – – up to score differentials of 10 points.  So, it will not matter if One-And-Done University beats Disco Tech by 45 points or 55 points in a December game.  In the end, the NCAA Selection Committee will also take these factors into account when making the final decisions on inclusion or exclusion from March Madness;

  • Player/coach availability – – Did the most dominant player break an ankle a week before the regular season ended?
  • Teams’ road records – – Remember, March Madness games are supposedly not home games…
  • Head-to-head results when available and common opponent results when available.
  • Conference records

All of this sounds like a major step up in terms of the quality of the selections that will emanate from the Selection Committee next March.  Call me a skeptic, but even if all of this data were presented openly and the full deliberations of the Committee were broadcast in real time, there will still be screams on the Monday after Selection Sunday over “who got snubbed”.

Finally, Brad Rock has this comment in the Deseret News recently about former college basketball hero, Jimmer Fredette – now plying his trade in the Chinese Basketball Association:

“Jimmermaniacs are demanding Fredette get another shot at the NBA, despite the fact he’s 29.

“But don’t plan on it. Chinese officials are threatening a 25 percent tariff if he returns to the United States.”

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



6 thoughts on “Shades Of Lying…”

    1. Last week we learned that truth is not truth. It’s possible we have slipped over the edge.

      1. Doug:

        In a world where one can abide “alternative facts”, I guess truth is not necessarily truth.

    2. Jim:

      When this story broke, I argued that of course he lied at medic day because football coaches ALWAYS lie and it becomes their default mode of communication in settings where they would prefer to be elsewhere. That does not – however – mean that the lie was unintentional. He lied because he did not want to tell the truth about what he knew and what he did about it.

  1. Years ago I tried building a metric based ranking system. I had all the mainframe power I needed in our Bell Labs center. My bosses even OK’d the project because I was using a new UNIX based DB. But, no matter how much we tried, we could not remove the subjective aspects of the algorithm completely. Every ranking system has to have a starting point and it takes a while for those decisions to weed themselves out of the model. Inevitably, you have to accept that someone(s) will be looking at team A and saying they are better than team B.

    1. Doug:

      Agree completely. AND, if the people making the selections are indeed diligent (have watched plenty of games) and are indeed objective (no conference affiliations or anything like that), then I have NO problem with them making their decisions without fear of being over-ruled. My problem is that the selectors do not always meet my two criteria of diligence and objectivity.

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