A Genuinely Bad Idea …

As you know, I am not a big proponent of using gobs of tax dollars to build gaudy stadiums for sports franchise owners.  When Stan Kroenke opts to spend his own money to put up his new stadium and real estate development project in LA, I think that is a fine thing to have happen.  And, he should be allowed to reap whatever rewards/profits accrue to him as a result of his choice of investments.  I am not opposed in any way to the idea that rich people can get even richer as a result of their own investments of time, and money.

Normally, when a government entity involves itself – or is lured into involvement with – a stadium building discussion, things get very murky very quickly.  Let me say that I am not generally confident that government involvement in matters such as this is positive for communities and I am very leery of the efficacy of many regulatory environments.

I mention this because of an article at Bloomberg.com sent to me by a former colleague late last week.  According to this report, there is the possibility of a change in the Federal regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act that would allow banks to put money into “a qualified opportunity fund” that would be used to “finance improvements to an athletic stadium”  so long as that stadium is in a low/middle income area as delineated by the census.

There is room for debate about the rectitude of the Community Reinvestment Act and about its impact on cities and areas of cites in the country.  I don’t think there is a lot of room to develop alternative interpretations of the purpose behind the Community Reinvestment Act; the intent of this law is to require banks to use a portion their funds to finance projects that will improve low/middle income neighborhoods.

According to the article at Bloomberg.com, there are plenty of professional athletic venues that are in designated “opportunity zones”; and if the new regulations were to be adopted here are some ways that banks could discharge their responsibilities to use money in low/middle income neighborhoods:

  • Finance the upgrading of a sound system at a stadium
  • Finance a new “Jumbotron” in a stadium.
  • You get the idea…

This is not a step in a positive direction – – unless you are of the opinion that the Community Reinvestment Act itself is something that should be stricken from the books.  The idea that banks can comply with this law and “improve poor neighborhoods” with investments such as the ones listed above – and also reap the tax benefits that accrue to the banks from making such investments – is a corruption of the intent of that legislation.

President Reagan once said:

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

While I do not believe that is universally correct, I think it is an applicable statement to the proposed changes here.  If you want to read the Bloomberg.com article in its entirety, here is a link:

Switching gears … I mentioned recently that Mississippi Valley State is the only winless Division 1 men’s basketball team in the country at 0-13.  I don’t know why I went to see the details of that record, but a quick glance told me that this team has been hugely over-matched in multiple games this year.  Consider these data:

  • Cumulative score:  Opponents 1251 Miss Valley St.  558
  • Average margin of defeat:  53.3 points per game
  • Smallest margin of defeat:  10 points
  • Largest margin of defeat:  94 points    Yowza!

The Delta Devils have 17 regular season games remaining; all of them are Southwestern Athletic Conference games – – and then maybe a conference tournament in early March?  It certainly looks as if there will be some bleak times on campus in Itta Bena, MS over the next couple of months…

Tua Tagovailoa ended all the mystery and speculation and declared himself for the NFL Draft this year.  I think he made the right decision.  Lots of folks painted this decision considering Tagovailoa’s injury history at Alabama – – two ankle injuries and a broken hip.  I know that injuries are an important factor in NFL football, and I know that he comes to the league “pre-injured”; nonetheless, I prefer not to focus on that, and I wish him a long and productive NFL career.

I think Tagovailoa should be remembered for more than his leading a second half comeback for Alabama to win a national title game.  I think he is responsible for dragging Alabama’s offensive philosophy into the mainstream of college football.  Prior to his stewardship of the offense, Alabama was as close as one got to the famous Woody Hayes/Darrell Royal offensive philosophy:

  • Three yards and a cloud of dust.

Bonne chance, Tua Tagovailoa…

Finally, Bob Molinaro pondered this issue recently in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

Local ties: Now that school officials have named Bethel High’s gym after Allen Iverson, a clever reader wonders if they will allow the gym to be used for ‘practice.’”

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