Wagering On Professional Wrestling?

About 30 years ago, I was chatting with a colleague at work.  Turns out that he was a ‘rassling fan when he was young and had seen ‘rassling matches live at the Boston Garden in his youth.  He told me that there were people there who were actually betting on the outcomes of the matches between the likes of Bruno Sammartino and Killer Kowalski.  I mention this conversation because it demonstrates that if you wait long enough, even the most improbable things can take place.

Yesterday, I read on CNBC.com that the folks at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) are “in talks with state gambling regulators to legalize betting on high-profile matches”.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The “justification” used by the folks at WWE is that online gambling sites allow wagering on things like the Oscars and that major accounting firms provide the assurances that the outcomes are not leaked before the fact.  Ergo, the same sort of security assurances could be applied to the scripted outcomes of ‘rassling encounters making them fair and honest wagering propositions.

This is not a spoof; this is not something “reported” by The Onion; folks at WWE say “the marketplace is robust” for this product initiative.  Here is the link to the report that has me shaking my head in confusion even though 24 hours have passed since I first encountered it.

In college basketball news, Georgetown fired Patrick Ewing as its head basketball coach.  The Hoyas’ national presence as a basketball power is way in the past; the program was in shambles in the early 1970s when John Thompson, Jr. took over and made Georgetown a powerhouse.  Now, 50 years later, the program is in shambles again.

Last season, Georgetown lost all 19 of its Big East Conference games; this year, they won two of them; most nights, the Hoyas were simply outclassed and their season record was 7-25.  Some folks in this area suggest that the ghost of John Thompson, Jr. haunts the program; I think that is nonsense.  Thompson made Georgetown relevant initially by recruiting the local talent in this area and coaching them up to become NCAA Tournament fixtures.  Only then did he expand his recruiting efforts and coached up his teams to achieve excellence.  Georgetown coaches since Thompson retired about 20 years ago have not recruited locally nearly well enough and they have similarly failed in the larger arena.  If Georgetown has any aspirations to return to basketball prominence at the national level, the next coach needs to go back to the formula that works for a school like Georgetown.

The school is not an easy sell.  It has academic standards that will preclude the next coach from any chance of getting a subset of available talent.  Also, the school’s athletic department is not flush with revenue streams because Georgetown’s football program is not even close to being a moneymaker.  [Aside:  Did you even know that Georgetown fields a football team and played an 11-game schedule last year?]  The Georgetown facilities are not great; an on-campus gym would hold about 2,000 fans for a basketball game so the team has to play its home games at Capital One Arena in downtown DC where the 5,000 or so fans for a Georgetown game rattle around like a bee bee in a box car.

All of the above is not to say that Patrick Ewing should have been retained in his job.  From watching just a little Georgetown basketball over the past several years, his players did not seem to improve from year to year.  Ewing was a great player and – reportedly – was well regarded as an NBA assistant coach.  However, his ability to develop and improve the play of college kids was not obvious in his six years at Georgetown where his teams posted a combined record of 75-109.

I have long thought that great players usually make mediocre-at-best coaches.  My hypothesis for why that seems to be the case is that great players do things by instinct and it is difficult for that great player to explain to someone else how to behave with the great player’s instinct.  But that is precisely what a coach needs to be able to do – – teach and explain to a young player how to get better.  Maybe Patrick Ewing will get another shot at a head coaching job one of these days; maybe he will try some different approaches to coaching if he has that opportunity; maybe he will be an exception to my sense that great players do not succeed as coaches.

Next up …  Earlier this week, there was a headline on a report at CBSSports.com that read:

“Katie Ledecky’s nine-year winning streak on US soil snapped by Summer McIntosh”

Katie Ledecky is a swimmer.  She had a nine-year winning streak in US water but not on US soil.

Finally, apropos of nothing, let me close with this comment from author Jean Kerr:

“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin deep.  That’s deep enough.  What do you want, an adorable pancreas?”

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



6 thoughts on “Wagering On Professional Wrestling?”

  1. I do know that Georgetown fields a football team. The University of Delaware hired their Football SID, and when he was introduced, his first comment was “Did you know Georgetown has a football team?”

    1. Adele:

      I went to see a Georgetown football game in the mid-80s. Georgetown lost to Catholic University by about 6 touchdowns. The attendance at the game could not have been more than 1000 people and I remember that I paid $5 as my admission fee. It was “small-time” college football.

  2. At 78 years of age, could ex-Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim be talked out of retirement to coach the Hoyas?

    1. TenaciousP:

      That would be highly ironic given the intensity of the Georgetown/Syracuse rivalry.

Comments are closed.