A Shocker In Evansville

A little over 2 months ago, the Evansville Aces traveled to Rupp Arena to play an early season “sacrificial lamb game”.  To everyone’s surprise the Aces defeated the Wildcats 67-64.  The Evansville coach on that day was Walter McCarty a former star player for Kentucky.  My takeaway from that result was that Evansville was going to be pretty good this year.  That turns out not to be the case; as of this morning, Evansville’s record for the season is 9-11.

I mention that because a headline caught my eye saying that Walter McCarty had been fired earlier this week “amid misconduct allegations.”  I thought those allegations would involve recruiting violations and that was how he managed to get the team in a position to hang with Kentucky – – but then I looked at the Evansville schedule:

  • Not only are they only 9-11 on the season, they are on a 7-game losing streak against mediocre opponents.

So, I clicked the link to find out what was going on there and learned:

  • It turns out that McCarty had been warned about “inappropriate off-court behavior with members of our campus community” back in December and put him an administrative leave.
  • An investigation turned up “additional reports of alleged misconduct” by McCarty and that based on the facts uncovered to date, the school felt it necessary to terminate McCarty immediately.

Since the university went out if its way to make a strong yet vague statement here, I do not know what McCarty is accused of having done.  But I’ll bet it was a doozy…

The other outrageous college basketball story of the day relates to the brawl that broke out at the end of the Kansas/Kansas St game.  I am sure you have seen the happening, so I need not describe it.  Clearly shown is Kansas center, Sylvio DeSousa with a small stool raised over his head looking as if he was going to go “Myles Garrett” on someone.  Someone knocked the stool from his hands before he could strike.  For this De Sousa got a 12-game suspension meaning he will be allowed to play in the basketball tournament.

  • Personally, I think he should be suspended permanently.  He was as much the instigator as anyone for the brawl and then there is that scary moment when he has the stool raised over his head…
  • Moreover, De Sousa has already been given a “second chance”.  He was directly implicated in the improper recruiting mess uncovered by the FBI probe into college basketball recruiting.
  • What does he need to do to be told that he is no longer welcome in college basketball?

In about 3 months, we will experience the spectacle that is the NFL Draft for 2020.  The Draft is important to the teams and the NFL has turned it into a TV extravaganza; last year, more people watched the NFL Draft than watched an NBA playoff game on a competing channel.  This year, the league and the host city are going to take advice from celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, and “kick it up a notch”.

The 2020 Draft will be held in Las Vegas – a city that certainly adheres to the adage that ”Nothing exceeds like excess.”  Here is a rough outline of what will take place:

  • The venue will be the lake in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
  • The Commish and other league functionaries will be on a float in the middle of the lake.  When a player is selected, he will be taken to the float on a boat.
  • The Bellagio is pretty much in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.  Organizers expect 400,000 guests for that weekend; and for them to have even a fighting chance of seeing any of the proceedings, that means the Strip will be closed to traffic for the 3 days of the draft.  [Aside:  If you have never been to The Strip, let me assure you that it is a heavily trafficked roadway.]
  • In addition, to ease preparations for the draft and the dismantling of all the stuff, The Strip will be reduced to one lane each way for an undetermined period of time before the draft and for about 3 days after the draft.

The NFL has come along way in just a few years.  About 5 years ago, the league would not allow Tony Romo to be a part of a Fantasy Football Convention in Las Vegas because of “close ties to gambling”.  This year, the league will be part of a show that will close The Strip for 3 days.

You may think that all this revelry is part of a way to assist the Raiders in their move to the city in the Fall.  I don’t think that is necessary considering:

  • Reports in the Las Vegas Journal-Review say that the Raiders have sold out their PSLs for the new stadium and that the pricing for those PSLs allowed the Raiders to exceed their budget for that line item.
  • PSL prices ranged from $5K to $75K and the Raiders took in $475M in PSL sales when they were expecting to sell a total of $250M.

Finally, Dwight Perry had this insightful comment in the Seattle Times recently:

“Customs officials seized 154 pounds of bologna at the Mexican border.

“Or roughly two hours’ worth of Bill Walton game commentary.”

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



7 thoughts on “A Shocker In Evansville”

  1. Any chance that the Big 12’s “leniency” might have been influenced by their concern that without
    DeSousa and others Kansas might not have made the NCAA tournament, thus depriving the conference of some cash? (Asked with my tongue firmly tucked into my cheek.)

    1. Jess:

      That would certainly be motivation for Kansas – – but it was the Conference that issued the suspension and it is doubtful that the Big 12 is worried about Kansas getting in. Personally, I see this as an extended case of enabling a man-child.

  2. You were kinder regarding Sylvio De Sousa’s role in starting that brawl than I would have been. And I cannot imagine the logic that supports allowing this repeat offender to return to the court this season.

    1. Doug:

      I believe he should be out of college basketball permanently. If he wants to continue to live on the edge of rules, he can take his game to the NBA or the G-League or the Mongolian Basketball Association.

  3. I would agree about the assessment of De Sousa, given that the play ending the game was one where the K-State player drove to the basket for a completely meaningless layup. Almost everyone other than Danny Ainge (another famous hothead) would have ignored it, and even Ainge would not have gone nuts like this. Something is not right with De Sousa and I would think rage management should be part of any preconditions to lift the suspension.

    The First Law of Dirtballs from my years in the service says that dirtballs will always give you another chance to discipline them. I cannot see De Sousa in his current state sitting quietly until the conference tournament (and remember Kansas is a lock to dance until proven otherwise), it’s more likely he will make news in a way to make the staff dismiss him from the team. One only hopes no one else is hurt by whatever event that is.

    I also think that your reading of the tea leaves in UE’s statement is correct. There is a rather short list of behaviors that will get immediate action like this, usually involving violence (threatened or committed) or other fundamental violations of the social contract (like underage entanglements or worse) that point to a clear and present danger to the campus community. Pretty much everything else would get the “innocent until convicted” line. While administrative actions like the warnings McCarty are generally private, I would expect the slime will ooze out either from leaks or from litigation filed over the termination. I’m not sympathetic to McCarty unless the legal record show bad behavior by Evansville administrators wanting to railroad him out.

    While the Raiders sold out their PSLs, let’s see if that is still true two years down the road when the fans here get tired of flying to LAS.

    1. Rugger9:

      Your point about Raider fans flying to Vegas for games is on point. there have been articles saying that the “members” of the “Black Hole Brotherhood” (to coin a term) plan to show up en masse for games in the new stadium. I assume that most of those folks have actual jobs which might require them to be “available” on Monday morning. I am sure there are plenty of flights form Vegas to the Bay Area, but making that trek late at night 8 time a year might get a bit old.

      I am a bit surprised that there have not been any significant reports of “what happened at Evansville” by now. The silence from McCarty and/or any of his representatives is particularly odd…

      1. That tells me that whatever the event was, it would involve some sort of protected information that cannot be revealed and since there was a formal warning issued it’s likely to be ugly as well as pervasive.

        When dealing with academic institutions there are more rules than usual in this regard intended to protect the students (as they should) regarding disclosures of identity and embarrassing circumstances. My guess is that someone that is in a protected class is involved (minor, DV victim, etc.) and I would say that McCarty’s silence is an indication that his team figures it would be worse for him to complain than to just go (I wonder if there was a buyout?).

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