The Dawn Of A New Movement ?

Perhaps we are witnessing the birth of a new social movement analogous to the #meetoo movement that seeks to empower sexually harassed/assaulted people to make known their abusers and the abuses they have suffered.  Call it the #ustoo movement and let the movement represent college football players who have suffered hazing and torment as the form of abuse.  The ongoing saga at Northwestern that I wrote about earlier this week could be example number one in the #ustoo movement and yesterday news came of example number two.

Former players and former staff members at the University of Minnesota allege that head coach PJ Fleck is running the team as a “cult” and that the locker room is filled with “intimidation and toxicity”.  One former player said that Fleck interfered with standard medical protocols trying to get players back from injury sooner than normal by “minimizing the seriousness of some pretty horrendous injuries”.  In addition, there are stories of something called the “Fleck Bank” whereby players could earn brownie points they could use later to offset discipline for things like a failed drug test or some other violation of school or team rules. had a report on this yesterday.  That report said that CBS Sports had received a memo from a former football staff member back in 2018 saying that the team medical staff was illegally prescribing a powerful anti-inflammatory/pain reducer and that the team medical staff routinely circumvented the best practices laid out by the NCAA Independent Medical Care standards.  Here is a link to that report from yesterday.

Interestingly, the school did not issue a statement saying they were going to investigate these assertions.  Instead, this is what Minnesota’s AD said:

“P.J. and our program are unique.  They put themselves out there in new and different ways — but always in a first-class manner — and after nearly seven years, it is clear to me, that is what makes P.J. and our program so successful.”

Two comments here:

  1. “Unique” is not a synonym for “good and proper”.  Ted Kaczynski was unique.  Charles Manson was unique.  Vlad the Impaler was unique.
  2. As to Minnesota football being “so successful”, they have not been to a meaningful bowl game since the Gophers won the Rose Bowl game in 1961 and that includes the 6 seasons under PJ Fleck.

The other big news from yesterday related to college football was that Colorado was leaving the PAC-12 to join the Big-12.  This is sort of a “back to its roots” move by Colorado in that the Buffaloes were members of the Big-12 and its predecessor, the Big-8, from 1948 to 2010.  Colorado has not set the world on fire in its time in the PAC-12; its cumulative conference record since joining has been 27-76.

Colorado will transition its schedule by 2024, so this is not looking like a long and drawn-out process.  The Big-12 has already added 4 teams for the 2023 season:

  • BYU
  • Cincy
  • Houston
  • UCF

The addition of Colorado will put 15 teams in the Big-12; odd numbers in conferences make for difficult scheduling problems so do not be surprised to read about the Big-12 courting some other school – or maybe 3 – in the near future.

Colorado has gotten some national attention in the last several months by putting Deion Sanders in charge of the football program there, but Colorado football has not been anything special on its own for decades.  So, I don’t want to imply that the PAC-12 losing Colorado is a mortal blow to the stature of the PAC-12.  But it may just be a tipping point.

I said above that the Big-12 might be interested in expanding by another 3 teams to make it an even 18 teams in the conference.  Imagine for a moment that is the case and the Big-12 begins to schmooze the other 3 so-called “Four Corner Schools” – – Arizona, Arizona St. and Utah.  If all the “Four Corner Schools” – along with the already departed “So Cal Schools” – defect, the entire South Division of the PAC-12 will have jumped ship.  And that would be the de facto demise of what Bill Walton likes to call “The Conference of Champions”.

Moving on …  The Boston Celtics just gave Jalen Brown a super-max contract worth $304M over 5 years.  The payout breaks down like this:

  • 2024-25: $52.4 million
  • 2025-26: $56.6 million
  • 2026-27: $60.8 million
  • 2027-28: $64.9 million
  • 2028-29: $69.1 million

Here is what I do not understand.  Jalen Brown is a really good player – – but he is NOT the best player on the Celtics’ roster.  That would be Jason Tatum who will be playing out his contract next season and will be looking for a huge payday next summer.  Can the Celtics afford to have two players on the roster making $60M per year – roughly.  And if they can afford the cost, what does that mean about the efficacy of the NBA’s salary cap rules?  The NBA salary cap for 2022-23 was $124M.

Finally, here is an entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Amish:  A sect of self-sustaining people whose way of life is so different from the current ideological mainstream that it’s a wonder nobody’s bombed them yet.”

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



2 thoughts on “The Dawn Of A New Movement ?”

  1. You knew something was amiss in the PAC-n when the SDSU move collapsed at the last moment. It seems logical for Utah, AZ, and ASU to join the Big-n+ and leave Cal, Stanford, and NW schools to themselves, but logical ain’t always obvious.

    1. Doug:

      I think the “4-Corners Schools” go to the Big-12 or the Big-18 if you will. THEN, the Big-10 grabs Stanford and Cal – – and the SF/Bay Area TV market – – and that leaves the two Washington teams and the two Oregon teams in the lurch – – for a while.

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