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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on Scott Ostler, Lone Star Park, NCAA, NFL Europe and MLS p

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posted on Oct, 28 2004 @ 06:25 PM
I don't know how things are in the area where you live; but around here, there is a tsunami of political advertising on TV stations. I've tried to ignore as much of it as I can, but I'm afraid they have begun to take hold of my subconscious. I feel compelled to tell you that I am The Sports Curmudgeon and I approved this rant...

One week ago, Scott Ostler wrote a column in the San Francisco Chronicle saying that if he has a vote for the MLB Hall of Fame in 2011 or 2012 when Barry Bonds is eligible, he will not vote for Bonds. He spent the column outlining why he would make that choice and why Bonds would have had his vote had Bonds retired about five years earlier.

I mention this column specifically because it is the basis for Scott Ostler's next column in which he responds to the "high volume of emotional e-mail in reaction to that column". Evidently, people who are staunch fans of Bonds were more than just a tad upset with the first column and sent him missives suggesting that he do some outrageous things to himself such as sticking a shotgun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. He spends the rest of the column answering some of the "misconceptions" that were contained in readers' e-mail messages and it is an outstanding piece of work. His response to readers' allegations of racism and his explanation of why "innocent until proven guilty" is not applicable here are really outstanding.

Let me move along here to one of my least favorite organizations on the planet, the NCAA. Over the weekend, they decided that there was no impropriety involved in Rick Neuheisel's participation in those NCAA bracket pools and he was exonerated and it now on track to get another coaching job in college. Since I believe that betting on NCAA bracket pools is a foregone conclusion anywhere other than in the NCAA offices itself, you might think that I agree with this decision. Well, I don't.

Part of the basis for the NCAA's decision is the fact that the University of Washington compliance official erroneously wrote a memo saying that such behavior was allowed. I don't doubt that the memo was written and I don't doubt that the person how wrote it was the compliance officer. But just suppose that Michael Milken's lawyer had told him that everything he was doing was just "hunky-dory". Would that mean that Milken would have been shielded from blame? How about John Gotti's lawyer?

One other thing that is wrong with the NCAA ruling is that the NCAA extended the University of Washington's probationary status for two more years and the reason was that the institution failed to "monitor the football program". Excuse me, but who was in charge of the football program at the time - when he wasn't busy filling out his bracket pools?

An AP report on this situation said:

"The NCAA also cited the football program for undercharging recruits and their parents for rides in a 65-foot yacht and other private boats between 2000 and 2003, and for allowing impermissible contact between a football booster and recruits."

Neuheisel was the coach from 2000 to 2003 when all this happened. If the university failed to monitor the football program to a degree that earns an additional two years of probation and you want to argue that Neuheisel was unaware of what was going on, then de minimis he is also guilty of not monitoring the football program that he was directly in charge of. Woody Paige once hung the moniker Rick New-weasel on this coach who seems to be hounded by rules infractions wherever he goes. I think that name is very appropriate indeed. But the NCAA can't seem to figure out how to enforce its own rules in a manner that will make it less likely for others to break them in the future. If coaches and ADs got minimum five-year suspensions without pay for serious violations of NCAA rules, there would be less cheating. If universities had to forego all TV money and pay back any bowl money earned during years where violations occurred, the university administrations would awaken from their slumbers and see to it that programs were a lot cleaner. But once again the NCAA pats itself on the back with pabulum findings and issues a statement about the evils of gambling - which is NOT what all this is about.

Says the NCAA:

"Sports wagering is a problem that continues to threaten the well-being of student athletes and coaches and the integrity of intercollegiate athletics."

Memo to NCAA:

1. No athlete's well-being was threatened in the University of Washington matter.

2. No coach's well-being was threatened either.

3. If there is a threat to the integrity of intercollegiate athletics, it stems from your arbitrary and capricious rules and your feckless enforcement endeavors.

In another move that demonstrates how useless it is, the NCAA just announced a reprimand and fine for the football coach at Central Oklahoma "for a violation of the NCAA's sportsmanship and ethical conduct principles." Did someone in the back of the room ask, "So what's the problem here?" The incident occurred in the 2003 Division II Football Championship playoffs. That's a year ago in case you do not have a calendar in your line of sight. How long can it take to determine that someone violated sportsmanship and/or ethical principles? And if the integrity of intercollegiate athletics is something to be defended at all costs, how can someone who has violated ethical principles still be in the coaching business? The NCAA enforcement people and the adjudication mechanisms there are about as useful as a snooze button on a smoke detector.

The Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe have folded. That leaves NFL Europe with several teams in Germany and the Amsterdam Admirals. At what point should we just declare this experiment in "seeding NFL football" into Europe a failure?

MLS began its playoffs last weekend. One team in the playoffs has a record of 8-13-9. I don't know - or particularly care - if that means 13 ties and 9 losses or 13 losses and 9 ties. Here is what I know, the New England Revolution played 30 games and won 8 of them; that qualifies them as a playoff team in MLS. Pardon me while I yawn.

Finally, here is another comment on Barry Bonds and steroids coming from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

"A published report indicates a trainer has linked Barry Bonds to steroids. In other news, visual evidence apparently has linked sunrise to daylight."

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon

[Edited on 28/10/04 by TRD]

posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 06:27 AM
WOW....i must say i agree with all your comments, the university of washington mess is a fine example of what is wrong about college sports today, the boat trips were to get the players across lake washington for a team reception at a boosters home, on i believe mercer island...a very minor infraction in my opinion. neuheisel KNOWS, or should know the ncaa rules covering gamblingm it wasn't a five dollar office pool he was in, it was a high stakes pool with other high rollers, rick will surely be signed to another big contract somewhere down the road and as he did here and at colorado he will screw the college over again and then go somewhere else, the coaches must be held accountable, the far worse offense at the university was a doctor who worked with the womans softball team who was giving them steroids by the handfulls at the same time neuheisel was doing his thing with the football team, what is the common denominator in all about the now retired ad barbra hedges, all this occured under her watch, of course she knew nothing of any of it, she is gone now as well but her legacy continues with penalties and probations for the university....
as for the bonds case i would really like to read the column, any chance you could post what was written?
enjoyed your first post, hope it is the first of many

posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 04:48 PM
Scott Oslers column..

Bonds won't get my vote...Click Here

Some readers still don't get it about steroids...Click Here

More to come from The Sports Curmudgeon soon!

posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 08:04 PM
thanks for posting the links, i agree with everything that oster says in the 2 colums, like it or not sports heroes are heroes, and they should always remember that, as adults we can deal with the blemishes on our heroes, because we know that they are human just like us but too many kids want to be just like them, the sport is bigger than the athelete, and if a sport has lost it's integrity it has lost everything

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