While I was on hiatus, September 19 passed into history and plenty of folks celebrated National Talk Like A Pirate Day. Brad Dickson took the opportunity to comment on that happenstance as follows:
“Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. I have a better idea. How about Talk Like an English Major Day.”
One other story that broke in my absence involves what appears to be the collapse of another pillar in the business edifice constructed by LaVar Ball. It has been a while since Lonzo Ball fired Alan Foster as his agent. Foster was a partner with LaVar Ball in the creation and development of the Big Baller Brand; Lonzo Ball has accused foster of “misappropriating” a little more than a million dollars of Lonzo’s money. That has apparently caused friction within the Ball family and that “drama” has yet to play itself out.
In the past week or so, the NY Post has reported that there are also financial irregularities surrounding LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association (JBA) – an entity that existed for a season even though you may not have realized it. The JBA was supposed to be the sporting enterprise that would strike a dagger into the heart of the NCAA because it was going to give top-flight high school players a way to play basketball and make money for that year they had to “cool their heels” between high school and the NBA. The JBA was supposed to be the death knell for college basketball’s one-and-done.
I argued when the JBA was announced with great fanfare that college basketball had a huge advantage over the JBA that was not likely ever to be overcome. College basketball has tradition and TV exposure and it would have taken the JBA years if not decades to approach college basketball on those dimensions. Zion Williamson is a perfect example; he had the option of playing in the JBA last year. Once the college season was over – as was the JBA’s season – how many basketball fans knew about Williamson as opposed to anyone and everyone involved in the JBA?
According to the report in the NY Post, many players were stiffed out of paychecks and some players allege that stats for the league were cooked up to favor those players that LaVar Ball and/or Alan Favor preferred. The report is based on interviews with 5 of the players in the JBA and a former employee of the league; based on those interviews, the author asserts:
“… a picture of the league’s rampant dysfunction and possible fraud becomes clear.”
Here is a link to the report. It is a sad commentary for many of the players in the league who were not paid what they were promised and who have now used up their NCAA eligibility by having signed a professional contract.
Recall about a month ago, I mentioned that Bob Davie – head football coach at New Mexico – convinced the Athletic Department to rescind a cost saving rule it had instituted and allow Davie and the football staff to have the New Mexico football team stay at a local hotel the night before home football games. The argument used then was concocted to make it appear that staying in that hotel the night before a game was a “player safety issue”. Let me just say that argument was “thin” and leave it at that.
There was a recent report based on requests for public records that shows what some schools paid to put up their football teams at local hotels the night before a home football game. One of the schools cited in the report was the University of Florida in the 2018 season.
- The team reserved 48 rooms in the hotel.
- Meals for the team – and staff – were catered.
- Cost of lodging and meals was approximately $6800.
Florida played 7 home games in 2018, so the hotel bills totaled about $48,000. Evidently, Florida was frugal in terms of cost containment here; the report cited another school – not identified specifically – that paid “more than a quarter million” in these lodging expenses. The report is based on records retrieved from 93 schools in Division 1-A and it goes into much finer detail than just the cost of the rooms for lodging the night before a game.
Here is a link to this report. I suggest that you take a few moments and read it in its entirety. The spirit of the NCAA rules about “student-athletes” is that the “student athlete” should not receive any benefit for being an “athlete” that is not commonly available to every other “student” at the school. When you check out some of these “perks”, you will see that the spirit of that NCAA regulation is often honored in the breach.
Last week, the Patriots released Antonio Brown and Brown announced his retirement from the NFL with the intention of returning to Central Michigan to finish his studies in pursuit of his degree. I really wish that I could believe this was the last we may have heard from and about Antonio Brown – but I seriously doubt it. Maybe the NFL needs a new “list”? It has the PUP List – the Physically Unable to Perform List; how about establishing the MUC List – the Mentally Unable to Conform List? Whatever…
Finally, since I began today with a comment from Brad Dickson, let me make this rant symmetrical and close with another of his comments:
“A headline in this morning’s Wall Street Journal: ‘Head Of Planned Parenthood Out After 8 Months.’ If it’d been 9 months you’d have had something.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………