Clearing The Clipboard…

As the year is drawing to a close, I’ll use today to clear a few small items off my clipboard to get ready for 2019 ranting…

The Chicago Bears are going to sell beer in cans not plastic cups.  The reason is that beer cans are more environmentally friendly – they are recyclable – and plastic cups are now seen as spawn of the Devil.  It was not all that long ago when all the momentum was to sell beer in plastic cups because when an angered and inebriated fan threw the beer container at an opposing player or official, the cup was a lot safer than a full can of liquid.  According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Soldier Field peddles about 20,000 cases of beer a year at the Bears’ home games – including exhibition games – and whatever other ancillary events take place there.  That amounts to 480,000 cans of beer.

  • That is a lot of “ammunition” to put in the hands of potentially angry spectators – and –
  • That is almost a half-million plastic cups that need not be used.

It turns out that Urban Meyer is not going to retire fully at Ohio State.  He will not be the head football coach, but he will stay on at the university and he will be teaching a course there – one that students can take for academic credit.  The course will be “Leadership and Character” and it will be offered by the business school at the university.  Given some of the off-field “issues” that Meyer’s players have had at Florida and the way he danced around candor related to allegations of domestic violence by one of his assistant coaches, the course title and might strike one as ironic…

If you ever have a chance, watch an NBA game on TV between the Houston Rockets and the LA Lakers.  Forget about all the nuances of the game and focus on this:

  • How many extra steps do the officials allow James Harden to take without a traveling violation – and –
  • How many extra steps do the officials allow LeBron James to take without a traveling violation?
  • For a single game, add those two numbers.
  • I’ll set the OVER/UNDER for that total at 50.5.

The NBA has deals in place with two “sports data providers” to distribute in-game official NBA data that can be used by licensed sportsbooks in the US for in-game NBA and WNBA wagers.  [Aside:  If you are even thinking of making an in-game wager on a WNBA game, please get yourself some counseling – quickly.]  This may seem like a small deal but data from betting shops in Europe and the UK indicate that live/in-game wagering has a larger handle than betting prior to the start of the contest.  Is this the harbinger of a major change in betting habits in the US?

In other news related to the NBA and wagering, the league announced about a week ago that it had expanded its partnership with FanDuel:

  • FanDuel had been the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the NBA and WNBA
  • Now Fan Duel is also the Authorized Gaming Operator for the NBA.

Best I can tell, here is what the expanded partnership does:

  • FanDuel gets to use the NBA logos and trademarks on all its basketball products and gets access to the NBA’s official data streams.
  • The NBA gets to be part of FanDuel’s process for creating new betting formats and new “gaming experiences”.

All of this gambling-related news comes because the Supreme Court struck down PASPA as unconstitutional earlier in 2018.  In tat decision, the Court said that Congress could act to establish regulations on sports betting – – but that the way they did it in PASPA did not pass Constitutional muster.  Well, the Congress appears to be taking that opening seriously.  A group of Senators will introduce legislation designed to provide US Government oversight for sports betting.  According to reports, the proposed legislation would include:

  1. A prohibition on sports betting for amateur sports except the Olympics and college sports.  [That means you will not be able to get down on a 12-and-under soccer game involving the travel team from your town.  Too bad…]
  2. A prohibition on sports betting by anyone under 21 years of age.  [I guess that makes sense … except people are eligible to vote and serve in the military at age 18 but they can’t make a wager on the Jets getting 4 points against the Bills?]
  3. A prohibition on sports betting by athletes, coaches, officials, and others associated with sports organizations.  [I hope that only means no betting on the sports they are involved with; a basketball player ought to be able to bet on horseracing and/or a football game without a problem.]
  4. A prohibition on sports betting by persons convicted of federal crimes related to sports betting.  [No problems here…]
  5. A requirement that sportsbooks use results provided by sports organizations or their licensees to determine betting outcomes through 2024 and then to set data integrity requirements for future times.  [Sounds like the lobbyists for the NCAA, MLB, MBA and NFL had an impact here.]
  6. An amendment to the Wire Act which would allow interstate sports wagering.  [No problems here…]

Frankly, other than giving the sports leagues legal authority to get themselves a regular stream of revenue from sports betting, I am not sure this legislation addresses much of anything important.

Finally, here is a commentary by Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Ten Byron (Ill.) High School football players were suspended for three games — the last of which was a 24-20 loss to Monticello in the Class 3A state-championship game — after they ran across a field naked with Oreo cookies wedged between their buttocks as a prank.

“That’s what you call a costly end-zone celebration.”

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



8 thoughts on “Clearing The Clipboard…”

  1. I am old enough to remember when two steps without a dribble was an automatic traveling call.

  2. As someone who has a friend who is a recently retired NFL line judge, I can convert that he was not permitted to go to Las Vegas for gambling, even spending time in the sports book with our annual, curmudgeon attended pilgrimage. He took that limitation of activity very seriously, cutting the appearance of impropriety as being tres importante!

    1. Gary:

      Allowing an adult – – who is sufficiently regarded to have good judgment that he is hired as an NFL official – – to make his own decision on visiting Las Vegas to gamble or not to gamble is fine with me. Making it a matter of Federal Law that he MUST not do so seems a bit over the top.

    1. david:

      Every OSU athlete who takes that course will do well; you can count on that. And it will all be hunky-dory with the NCAA because every OSU student can take the same course; it is not exclusively for athletes.

      I wonder how the OSU Faculty Senate will welcome their new member/colleague?

      I wonder how E. Gordon Gee – as former President of OSU and a vocal advocate of college administrators taking control over Athletic departments – would vies this appointment.

  3. About that proposed legislation….

    1) recognizes that the Olympics and big time NCAA sports are not really amateur events.

    2) Hey, that 20 year old who served 2 years in Afghanistan can’t buy a beer, why should he be able to bet?

    3) The athletes should be able to bet outside their sport. I recall Paul Pierce of the Celtics playing in the World Series of Poker…. he didn’t get far, but still.. he was properly allowed to play.

    That thing from Perry… was that a crack crackers crackdown?

    1. Ed:

      I think that proposed legislation is nothing more than a sell-out to the leagues so that they can claim a share of the wagering revenue even though they fought against sports betting for decades. Nothing else in there matters a whit.

      Your point about the WSOP is on the mark. It is OK for players, coaches and officials – who are adults after all – to gamble so long as it is not gambling on the sport in which they ply their trade. Imagine for a moment that 25 of the NFL officials got together and did a March Madness pool and Joe Flabeetz was the ultimate winner. Should those 25 officials – – and Joe Flabeetz as the winner – – be indicted for violating what would become a Federal Law? Nonsense!

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