Long Time Coming ….

Long Time Coming

In the aftermath of another gun tragedy , we have the President making a complete @ss of himself once again. One year removed from the Pulse Nightclub Shooting , Donald Trump and his minions were once again looking to place the blame at the doors of a terrorist cell in the responsibility for the Mandalay Bay Resort shooting in Las Vegas , Nevada , without their being any evidence to substantiate his thoughts. Bear in mind his recent criticism of the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico smacked of a petulant child , who doesn’t wish to told of their bad behavior. It seems that the President would rather make comments without first taking in all of the facts and it has led to justified criticism of not only himself but also members of his Cabinet and inner circle of advisers .


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Away from the daily bind of national news , the NFL is still in a state of discord as the impasse has been widened by Donald Trump’s comments about the players as well as his calling for players who fail to stand when the national anthem is being played, he states that they ought to be fired . Clearly , for a failed former owner of an AFL (American Football League) franchise , a league which is now defunct, there is a great deal that the President simply doesn’t understand about the NFL and how it conducts business. Perhaps he also needs to be reminded , the US Congress allows the league (NFL) to remain tax-exempt due to their antitrust status ? As for the NFL itself, perhaps due to indifference, lack of quality games or just the fact , fans are sick and tired of sports now being embroiled in politics, viewership is down for the games televised. Comparisons with regard to game attendance can be measured in a number of ways . If things carry on as they are , I believe the NFL will be able to weather the storm. In reality however, the attention and memory span of the fans remains exceedingly short in terms of history and acts of social activism when it comes to athletes.

We’re now four games into the NFL season and several teams have failed to meet expectations , including the reigning Superbowl champions the New England Patriots (2-2) . Sixteen and 0 (16-0) won’t be ion the cards for this season as I believe the team will be no better than 11-5 or 12-4 . Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t his customary self , but what might be more worrying is the fact the Patriots’ defense has become so complacent and lackluster. Bill Belichick and the team will be back on the field this weekend for their week-five contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night , 5th October, a game being played at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida.

Through one hundred and sixty-two games, we saw a great deal of inconsistency as well as mediocrity from baseball’s teams. Divisions were up for grabs and there were no real major surprises when it came to the divisional honors . Teams making the wildcard berths were something of a surprise , with the New York Yankees perhaps being the biggest surprise of them all. Personally, I didn’t feel the team was up to the task of challenging within the AL East , as I felt their pitching was so vulnerable. However, a glorious season from Aaron Judge who led the AL in home runs , as he was ably abetted by teammates Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious .

Having made the MLB Postseason the New York Yankees will find themselves up against the Minnesota Twins in a single-game eliminator , with the winner moving on the Divisional Round of the postseason. The NL Wildcard game will see the Colorado Rockies taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday 4th October .

There is no doubt in my mind the two favorites within the NL , the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are on a collision course meeting in the NLCS , but first , both will have to get past their respective opponents in the divisional round of the postseason. They have been by far the two best teams within the NL and that is with due respect to the Washington Nationals , but at the end of the day , these two big-market teams seem destined to meet in this championship series.

A giant shadow has been cast over the entire Atlanta Braves’ organization with the abrupt resignation of GM John Coppolella . The ball-club was under investigation by baseball’s league hierarchy after it was revealed that Coppolella might well have been making illegal payments to procure players through the international market-place . If the league’s investigations substantiate these allegations , then there could very well be some serious ramifications for the Atlanta Braves. They could be severely punished for Coppolella’s actions, something which I find to be completely idiotic and asinine. Atlanta’s season was simply underwhelming , with the players rarely showing any competitiveness during 2017. Over their last ten games of the regular season the Atlanta Braves were a paltry 3-7 in those contests . Brian Snitker might well be shown the door as the Braves’ manager after such a disastrous season, where Sun Trust Park was sparsely attended in the ball-club’s first year of usage of the venue. While there seems to be a great deal of praise for the Braves’ farm system , considered to be one of the top-five farm systems in all of baseball. Even if John Coppolella was the principal architect of the system , it begs the question what has he done to acquire those players and others over the past three years ? This is something which baseball needs answers to and I don’t believe that Atlanta is the only organization operating under such a guise . They just happen to be the first ball club caught by the league.

Never let it be said that Derek Jeter will always seek to be a popular owner . In what will be his first role as one of the lead partners which purchased the Miami Marlins . Jeter is promising to make what will be the first of some very unpopular decisions . The former New York Yankees captain and star has let be known things are going to change , with the likelihood , several players on the current roster are likely to be traded. Atop of that list could very well be Giancarlo Stanton , the team’s highest paid , best and most popular player. Stanton still has ten years remaining on his current contract which pays him an average of $25 million a year. Details show that the slugger will be paid in excess of $28 million in 2018 if he remains on the team’s roster.

The Miami Marlins remain an unprofitable franchise, while also being among baseball’s least supported teams , when looking at the attendance figures for this and last season . From my own standpoint , I believe the $1.26 billion purchase price paid was far too much. Outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria will walk away with more than a pocket filled with cash., as he laughs all the way to the bank. Baseball fans are left scratching their heads, as another deceitful owner dupes the league hierarchy into stupidity. Rob Manfred remains as gullible and as out of touch as his predecessor , Bud Selig .

First and foremost Derek Jeter and his partners have an obligation to turn things around off the field as well as on the field. If it means stop the hemorrhaging of red ink by slashing payroll , then so be it , even if it means the for the sake of not being competitive for a couple of years.

Someone is going to be mighty upset this season within the world of basketball . The NBA off-season has been littered with trades sending players to new destinations . For some teams , they will be on the rise , while others will be at a standstill or simply regress. Take my word for it , neither the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will be winning more than thirty games this season. Their respective rosters are lightweight and will become insignificant by mid-season, just as they were last season . LaVar Ball might be singing the praises of his son, Lonzo Ball who was drafted by the Lakers. In some circles the young rookie is seen as the second coming of Magic Johnson . Tall praise indeed , but the team is nowhere as good as some might believe them to be. This will be a learning experience for Lonzo Ball and his teammates over the course of the regular season and at the same time , I am not so sure how Luke Walton will acquit himself. It was all well and good , being on a championship winning team with the Golden State Warriors., but when you take a step backwards and down, simply because , the heralded name of the Los Angeles Lakers is meant to mean something. You just have to remember it has been almost a decade since the Lakers made their presence felt around the league. The team would defeat the Boston Celtics (4-3) during the 2009-10 NBA Finals .

Even if the Los Angeles Lakers are waiting for LeBron James to bring his considerable talents to the City of Angels, I for one don’t believe the four-time League MVP will be coming to a team that is sparse on talent in so many areas of its game. Beyond Lonzo Ball , there  isn”t one player who one might suggest is a real game-changer by any stretch of the imagination . Granted all of the hype concerning Ball has more do with one or two games in the Summer League than his appearances for the Lakers in the preseason to date . Front office executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will be under a microscope this season. The Lakers have three more preseason games to find their groove before hitting the ground running, to begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in their home season opener .

Well, we had the hype , then the gripe and now the retirement. Floyd Mayweather (50-0) made light work of his opponent Conor McGregor (0-1) , with both fighters bringing home a six-figure payday from a fight which was short on excitement and thrills. The fact that UFC President Dana White chose to make refunds to fans who felt they had been misled and cheated with this alleged extravaganza . McGregor’s debut as a boxer was basically a sham , with the Mixed Martial Artist barely showing any boxing skills whatsoever. It was this type of incessant hype and bravado brought to the spectacle , which caused the fans to feel that they had been cheated. This fight was a frigging farce from start to finish and it should be seen as nothing more than that .

So let me get this straight , Adalaide Byrd , wife of a senior executive within the WBA was allowed to be a ringside judge at a world title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘ Canelo’ Alvarez ? This bout was well on its way to being one of the fights of the year , but the official result was somehow concluded to be a draw. Golovkin  clearly won the fight , but Byrd’s scorecard suggested the fight in her eyes was a ‘draw’ . Pardon me for saying this , but what the fuck is going on in the world of boxing ? Overpaid and over-hyped fighters and now this , a fucking judge , who on her best day couldn’t differentiate a dog’s ass from a hole in the ground.

Saul Alvarez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya are clamoring for a rematch and somehow while I think it is a possibility , I do hope that the proposed rematch is not staged in Las Vegas or anywhere in the state of Nevada ! The city and state may well be the Mecca of the boxing world , but it is also one of the most corrupt places on the planet , bar none. It’s not just the sport but just about everything the state represents along with the State Athletic Commission .

Andre Ward was a world champion in two weight divisions and he retired as an unbeaten champion. His decisive win over Sergei Kovalev for the World Light Heavyweight title was enough to seal his legacy . Ward was certainly one of the best boxers of his generation, but sadly, with his lacking the charisma and his bringing his religious faith with him into the ring. It did not provide for a great spectacle for the ordinary boxing fan. However, were we to only discuss his professional career, then we would have something to genuinely talk about. Andre Ward had a promising professional start in the world boxing , being a successful amateur and as well as a > former Olympic competitor. How Ward will be judged by boxing historians as well as the fans will be open to a great deal of debate and conjecture .

Jon Jones has twice climbed to the top of the Mixed Martial Arts’ world, having twice won the UFC Light Heavyweight Title , but as with his career, he is now open to the question . ‘ Are you a cheater Jon Jones ‘ ? Jones in his most recent bout challenged former champion Daniel Cormier , won the bout decisively with a technical knockout (TKO) , only to then to told, he tested positive for a banned substance. A second mandatory test nullified the first test result , but the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) recommended to the UFC and California State Athletic Commission that the right result be stricken from the record and be shown as a no contest.

Jon Jones (right) is seen here prior to his second fight against Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. Jones won the fight , only for it to be later revealed that he failed a drug test . This has been the second time the MMA fighter has failed a test under the UFC . A second test sample however came back negative but the damage had already been done to Jones’ reputation. He was stripped of his belt the bout was declared a no contest and he now faces a second suspension. Many of his contemporaries are calling for him to receive a lifetime ban by the UFC. If that were to happen the sport and in particular the UFC would lose one of its biggest attractions and stars

While Dana White has not recommended Jones be suspended , many of his contemporaries and former UFC stars are calling for a lifetime ban for the two-time former champion. Having won the belt in the octagon , Jon Jones has been stripped of the title and Daniel Cormier has regained the Light Heavyweight Title belt by default .

The UFC is now in a state of disarray , as two of its biggest stars at decisive points of their respective careers. Conor McGregor needs to remain in the UFC and away from the world of professional boxing, while Jon Jones has to rethink his whole professional mindset and whether or not he continues his professional career as an MMA fighter under the UFC banner.

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Which current or most recent sports’ story do you believe has been the most important, where there is substance to it all along the way ?

Tophatal …….

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If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

I have long-held the contention that the NCAA and just about everything it represents has been a charade and a farce! Furthermore , the apathy of the fans of collegiate sports might be just as asinine as the institution itself , without going into greater detail than suggesting that this charade now underway about a legitimate way of deciding a national champion at the FBS Level for football can be done with the empaneling of publicly respected individuals. It would not be so bad were it not for the fact the panel members sought are in some respects no more versed in collegiate athletics than perhaps a truck driver would be knowledgeable enough in providing you with his thoughts on molecular biology or Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the US economy and the country’s foreign policy.


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NCAA President Mark Emmert was summoned to appear at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC , where he was quizzed by members of the Senate Commerce Committee on the inner workings of the NCAA and the institution’s continued aversion to paying student athletes while in school.. One has to bear in mind, currently, Collegiate Athletics’ governing body is the main defendant in a class action lawsuit now underway in the US Federal Court , where a resulting loss could see the NCAA pay out tens of millions of dollars in damages for the use of the athletes’ likeness to market and sell college merchandize without their permission. This suit was brought by former UCLA and NBA player Ed O’Bannon , for what he says are purely for moral reasons and the fact collegiate athletics remains a complete sham without their being any clear transparency being shown by the NCAA and the major college conference and educational institutions in the way these monies are disbursed within collegiate athletics. I have read some of the most asinine claims and statements by conference commissioners and by fans, suggesting that the system itself is not broken , but the issues that continue to affect college sports, stems from the violations of the athletes themselves. Such a suggestion , is no more valid than making a claim, the NCAA can actually deal with their ongoing issues without any outside oversight. The NCAA failed the victims of the Penn State ‘ scandal ‘ miserably,without the university and the state’s governor Tom Corbett seeking to enact a cover-up, without the supporters of Joe Paterno trying to apportion blame elsewhere for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous actions and the lack foresight shown by the now deceased head football coach. The scandal, still permeates through the school’s campus and it can never be forgotten no matter how many changes are put into place by the Board of Trustees of Penn State.

Mark Emmert remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one, having succeeded the late Myles Brand as the NCAA’s highest ranking official. During his tenure, Emmert has shown that his interpersonal and communicative skills leave a lot to be desired without having to delve into his past administrative history , which seems to be littered with a great deal of controversy and claims of incompetence , graft and corruption. Perhaps, those were the qualifications sought by the executive search firm hired by the NCAA as they sought a successor to Myles Brand ? There can be no other reason for the hire than Emmert’s past actions and therein lies one of the numerous reasons why this institutional body cannot be taken seriously.

Emmert’s appearance in front of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee proved to be embarrassing and equally distasteful with the fawning of the members fawned over not only the NCAA President but also several current and former college athletes who gave testimony to the convened members of the congressional panel. Senator Claire McCaskill in her questioning of Mark Emmert concerning the issue of on campus sexual assaults which has been on the increase over the past decade, of which over seventy-percent (70%) of all sexual campus crimes go unreported , a staggering figure when judged against the national average. Emmert would suggest the NCAA does take the sexual assaults seriously, especially where the majority of the victims are women. Victims of such crimes are always reluctant to come forward and report that they are victims of rapes or an assault because they are not likely to be believed or subjected to further degradation by either law enforcement or the educational institution itself.

The NCAA, an institution primarily presided over by men among its most senior ranks, simply has no idea how to deal with sexual crimes, much less Mark Emmert being able to provide the Senate Commerce Committee with a satisfactory explanation about how the institution now plans to discuss future incidents of campus sex crimes. It should be noted, current Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault claim made by a female victim. The player’s legal representatives first suggested that the claims were false, only to then claim that the sex between the two , was consensual. Tallahassee Police Department came under severe criticism by State Attorney General Pam Bondi for the lackluster and lack of professionalism in the conducting of the original and later investigation for the Florida State player, who has since fallen afoul of the law for his theft of groceries from a well-known grocery store chain within the state of Florida. Winston’s public apology rings hollow, very much like the university’s failure in reprimanding the athlete for his actions.

Winston while remaining in school , can now look forward to a year in which he will look to heighten his value to Florida State, as well as looking to enhance his value as a future first round draft pick in the NFL Draft . Short term memory remains the norm within the NFL, no matter when there is said to be a lack of character among the prospective players looking to make their mark in the NFL. A cautionary tale can be provided with the fall from grace of New England Patriots’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez and his continued legal issues without delving into what were already clearly troubling signs during his collegiate career at the University of Florida . The excuses made by his former head coach, Urban Meyer and by the Patriots’ organization was simply another sign, where the NFL and another collegiate educational establishment simply did not care about a troubled individual with a litany of psychological problems.

The convening of a Congressional Committee and its empaneling can be about as insightful as watching paint dry or watching flies congregate around an elephant’s ass, as it begins to defecate. Which begs the question, why are these committee members there to begin with and how productive are they once in Congress? Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) , a fellow member of the Senate Commerce Committee, spent more time regaling the press , convened members and Mark Emmert about his collegiate career at Stanford as a wide receiver on the school’s football team, than asking any meaningful questions of Mark Emmert about the direction of the institution he presides over and the increase of sexual assaults on college campuses across the country. If that were not enough, Booker would go on to suggest that his college years were difficult, because he and teammates spent far too much time reading play books than studying. .Am I missing something here, but getting a free ride as a student athlete is nowhere as arduous as the congressman was trying suggest ?

Academic fraud on a college campus where a respected coach presides over a college program believed to be among the best in the nation ? Legends were built under Dean Smith , as he cemented a legacy and where fans got to see a young Michael Jordan excel at the collegiate level , garnering a national championship at North Carolina (Tar Heels)before embarking on his now legendary NBA career. Roy Williams, who took over from Smith’s successor Matt Doherty in 2003, was already a well-respected coach before coming to coach the Tar Heels’ program. Williams is now at the center of a scandal that is likely to blow the roof off the program in Chapel Hill as well as the Dean Smith Center where this storied program play their home games. Far be it for me to suggest, but Williams, his assistants and the school’s AD Bubba Cunningham will have a great deal of explaining to do if the allegations are proven to be true. Allegations leveled are of the head coach turning a blind eye to current and former players failing to meet academic requirements and their being widespread cheating, encouraged by members of the coaching staff, is unlikely to sit well with everyone , especially among the diehard Tar Heels’ fans.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP (Associated Press)

Dean Smith’s former players backing Roy Williams in wake of North Carolina’s academic scandal

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

Dean Smith is alive but absent, his remarkable mind ravaged by the effects of dementia. While that has caused deep mourning among those who know and love the legendary former North Carolina basketball coach, there is one small sliver of relief regarding his current condition.

He is unaware of the ongoing integrity crisis that has engulfed the program he built into a national model.

“I’m tired of it,” said former Smith-era player Richard Vinroot. “I want it fixed. I want it to end.”

The NCAA recently announced it has re-opened its investigation of an academic scandal at Carolina. That figures to follow the tracks of the school’s ongoing (and latest) investigation of itself. Those investigations follow the drip-drip-drip of allegations of classroom shortcuts – and other embarrassing headlines – at a school that once proudly considered itself the ultimate intersection of competitive excellence and off-court class.

“It pains me greatly,” Vinroot said. “I have such high regard for Coach Smith. I revere him.”

Vinroot is a former mayor of Charlotte and one-time Republican nominee for governor of North Carolina. Smith, a staunch and outspoken Democrat, cited player loyalty over party loyalty when supporting Vinroot’s gubernatorial bid in 2000.

That was Dean Smith, to those who played under him: a mentor and ally for life, extending well past the player/coach relationship. David Chadwick, senior pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte and another former Tar Heel under Smith, wrote a book, “The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith.” The first principle he cited: “The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty.”

“He had an unyielding loyalty to us,” Chadwick said. “That’s why we had that fierce commitment to him, because he had that commitment to us.”

Smith cultivated something of a Camelot aura in Chapel Hill – it was Duke before Duke, and before Duke had the taint of Corey Maggette and Lance Thomas to deal with. The UNC players and coaches were all part of something special, and forever bonded in the making of it. Which is why this disorienting journey from Camelot to crucible has the Carolina old guard dismayed.

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Farcical and downright stupidity can now be the only reason why many the Tar Heels’ former players are jumping to the defense of Roy Williams and the allegations being made. A scandal of this size came into being or compromised the integrity of the program under Dean Smith, but in many respects one should be at all surprised at the claims or allegations now being leveled at Roy Williams. He is simply one of many coaches within collegiate sports, who have conflicted with violating NCAA rules. Accountability and oversight was never the highest priority within collegiate sports and it will continue to be that way even with the NCAA flexing their muscles , but therein lies idiocy of that premise, as Emmert seeks to punish some programs with impunity while excusing others. Let us not forget also, the continued incompetency shown by the investigative arm of the NCAA, where the Infractions’ Committee, who having misplaced evidence in their investigation of the University of Miami program chose to make up and then proceed to lie in how they obtained the very same evidence.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala has requested an appeal of the decision of the NCAA’s probation and other sanctions placed on the Canes’ program , for which she has yet to receive a response from Mark Emmert or from a high-ranking subordinate within the NCAA. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body should have their antitrust and tax exempt status removed by the Congress, but with the lobbying power of the institution and the money spent to curry favor with the members of the House and Senate , the ongoing hypocrisy is likely to continue, while congress members play at the role of being tough legislators. In reality, they are nothing more than money hungry members, simply looking to prolong their stays within both Federal legislative chambers

Judge Claudia Wilken will preside over the case where Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff in a multi-jurisdictional proceeding . While the NCAA will fight the case as a defendant with the legal power at their disposal, I cannot help wonder, if Mark Emmert’s own efforts forestall the obvious, is simply another way of appeasing conference commissioners such as John Swofford, Larry Scott , Mike Slive and many of their peers. They are seeking to ward off this case, while trying to keep the monies pouring into their treasure chests . Billions of dollars are at stake and the chances are even with a loss , the litigation process would be prolonged with an appeal being lodged in the Federal Appellate Court . A loss for the plaintiffs and this all can be put to rest , with the stain and stench of the NCAA still within our midst.



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Are you of the opinion the NCAA represents the best interests of the college athlete? Alternatively, do you feel the institution to be outmoded, with far too much beyond its scope concerning collegiate athletics? Leave comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !


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(1) Jameis Winston of Florida State is seen here with team head coach Jimbo Fisher as the pair celebrate becoming BCS National champions in 2013 . The Seminoles had a tremendous season outplaying their opponents and performing to the highest of standards ending the year ranked number one in the polls . AP Photo/ Matt Mason ..

(2) NCAA President Mark Emmert is seen here addressing members of the Senate Commerce Committee up on Capitol Hill , in Washington , DC . Emmert faced some tough questions from certain members of the committee , but in large part there was a great deal of posturing by the NCAA President and his inquisitors . Getty Images / Mark Hurst …

(3) Sen. Claire McCaskill , D-Mo., asks a question of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice for defense secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. McCaskill relished the opportunity to quiz Hagel on the issue of Israel’s right to defend itself and brought similar determination in her quizzing of Mark Emmert as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(4) Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee members (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) , Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) listen to testimony during a hearing about the future of unmanned aviation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about the Federal Aviation Administration’s policy on unmanned aviation systems and about the privacy and freedom issues surrounding their use. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla

(5) Roy Williams head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels is now under siege with claims current and former players receiving monetary and unspecified gifts , as well as their being academic fraud within the basketball program , with certain members of Williams’ coaching being fully aware of the violations being perpetrated. Former Tar Heels’ player Rashad McCants has made a number of clams concerning the allegations without suggesting that he was in fact part of activities taking place . UPI / Chris Hendricks …



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Latest news from within the NCAA

It is what it is …………

It is what it is …………

Well the sports’ environment at present has taken a back seat to the NCAA Tournament , with the event itself , having provided the fans with a number of stunning upsets , while there have been some that were not totally unexpected . With the number one ranked Florida Gators having now made their way to the ‘Sweet Sixteen ‘ , the road in some respects does now seem all but clear , for Billy Donovan and his team to capture the program’s third national title in the past eight seasons . Were the Gators’ head coach able to manage that feat , it would certainly make him the school’s most successful coach in terms of national titles won , beating out the likes of Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier .


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From my own perspective , I believe Donovan the equal of both of the aforementioned coaches , albeit that, Meyer and Spurrier left Florida to further their careers , elsewhere . In the case of Urban Meyer, his departure and subsequent criticism of his former employers and the program he coached to two BCS titles , may well have more to do with his egotistical character and the level of criticism aimed at him , with the failure of Tim Tebow to become a resounding success in the NFL . A great deal of that criticism is more than justified , when you simply bear in mind that Tebow’s collegiate career while stellar , at the next level of his evolution , his game simply did not materialize into anything more than that of a moderately average quarterback , who could barely read defensive tendencies , much less make a pass attempt in excess of fifteen yards or more , without their being a tendency of an interception or the pass simply falling short of its target , but there were , the vast majority of less than intelligent Gators’ fans, still singing Tim Tebow’s praises as a player. With his career now coming to an abrupt end , he has now been hired by cable sports’ programming network ESPN to provide fans with his insight into the Collegiate Football and the games , where he will be covering . One can only wish Tebow, all the success possible in his new endeavor , in the hope that he is likely to be more successful in his new vocation.

With a number of programs now having fallen by the wayside, in this particular NCAA Tournament, by contrast , at this point last season , things in some respects were somewhat similar. Florida for its part, have more than justified that national number one ranking , and proof of that , come by way of their regular season schedule and their run through the SEC (Southeast Conference) ,where the team went undefeated , a first for conference play, within the Southeastern Conference. Leading the way for Florida, in terms of the team’s play , have been Casey Prather , Patric Young , Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin , but it has truly been a collective team effort , along with that of Billy Donovan and the coaching acumen shown by his coaching staff , which has taken them this far and proven their season-long dominance this year.

Through their first two games of this tournament, Florida has not truly been tested , with their first round contest against Albany NY being nothing more than a cakewalk , with their 67-55 defeat of that team , before facing an even less sterner test in taking down the Pittsburgh (Panthers) with another somewhat lopsided victory 61-45 . The Gators’ path to the ‘Elite Eight’ in the NCAA Tournament, will see them having to overcome the UCLA Bruins , in what is likely to be the best game scheduled during the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ .

Of the games , still to be played in the round of the Sweet Sixteen , beyond the featured contest, which I believe to be the best at this stage of the tournament. There are games between Iowa State versus Connecticut , Tennessee and Michigan , Louisville (Cardinals) and Kentucky , Baylor and Wisconsin , Arizona and San Diego State , finally Dayton versus Stanford . All great match-ups befitting a tournament, that now lures shall we say, degenerate gamblers into wagering billions of dollars, into the most lucrative sports’ event, for the gaming industry in North America .

Rick Pitino , as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, when he faces off against an old foe and nemesis in John Calipari , in a contest , of well-versed coaches , that will be a match of wits . What might also make this match-up also intriguing, with both coaches, having reached the pinnacle of collegiate coaching in winning a national title. Pitino, will now seek to take down a program , where, he was once a head coach and a well-respected one at that.

There are few coaches as well-respected as Tom Izzo within Collegiate Basketball and while one can be critical of the game at this level . It has to be said, that with the continued controversy of tainted programs , abuses of privileges and the ongoing issues of recruitment violations . Rarely, has Izzo’s tenure at Michigan St (Spartans) raised any suspicion of the program being mired, in any major impropriety. However, that is not to suggest, that Spartans athletics’ program has been pristine and above-board. Collegiate Athletics has become embroiled and awash, with far too much money , that the temptation to do something amiss, has become even more tempting than ever before. At the same time, the continued incompetency of the NCAA does not cover the distrust that the public has not only the entire landscape of college sports but also the hierarchical structure of the that particular body , under its current President , Mark Emmert , who came to the position, carrying a great deal of baggage of his own, concerning a number of improprieties and a lack communicative and administrative skills .

Izzo and the Spartans, while seeking to make their way to the Elite Eight, are not likely to have an easy time when they face the Virginia (Cavaliers) . Cavaliers’ head coach, Tony Bennett will undoubtedly want to pull off the upset , in taking the program this deep into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the very first time ever. The outcome of this contest, between Michigan and Tennessee , will definitely be predicated upon the offensive prowess shown by both teams and the coaching acumen of the respective staffs.

This NCAA Tournament has certainly lived up to expectations so far and the contests have provided the fans with a great deal more than most would have expected .

The big news within the NBA over the past eight days , has been the New York Knicks’ acquisition of Phil Jackson to head up the franchise’s Basketball Operations and being entirely responsible for all player personnel decisions. Jackson , himself, has been quick to point out, that the level of the play by the current roster has bordered on being inadequate and lacking the basic fundamentals , that the team itself , simply looks like a group of individuals at play on a high school playground. Subsequent to that statement by the Knicks’ front office executive , the players have responded in kind rolling off eight victories in their last ten games , perhaps reminding Jackson that they are capable of playing as a cohesive unit. As to what this might suggest as to the coaching strategies of Mike Woodson and his coaching staff , may well spell doom and his departure from the franchise at the end of this season. Woodson, might not be a proponent of the “Triangle Offense” and Phil Jackson has suggested that the scheme need not be adhered to, by the team, but , what he would like to see, is a great deal more resilience and tenacity from the players.

The New York Knicks’ continued malaise over the past seven seasons at least , has been brought on by the negligence of team owner , James Dolan and the litany of general managers heading up the front office during that time-span. Anyone who would try to suggest that under Isiah Thomas’ tenure , or that of Dave Checketts , Ernie Grunfeld , Scott Layden and in some respects Donnie Walsh , have in some way brought about some semblance of competitiveness to the franchise, need only look at the Knicks’ overall record from 1999 to 2013 and the number of playoff appearances made . In large part, the organization has spent more time acquiring nondescript talent and simply overpaying for the players assembled to represent the team during that time. It is certainly something, that will clearly have to be addressed by Phil Jackson and the staff that he will likely assemble to assist him in that stead, as he seeks to build a roster that will be viewed as a perennial contender, rather than being seen as an also-ran.

A playoff berth is now beyond the New York Knicks’ reach for this season, but in large part several players on the roster will be playing for their long-term future and livelihood with the franchise , in light of Jackson’s wish to revamp this roster. The team (29-41) at present , is lying in ninth place , within the Eastern Conference and three games out from that final berth , which is currently held by the Atlanta Hawks(31-37) as of 23rd March , 2014.

As if to further emphasize the numerous reasons why the Knicks have been woefully inept , consider the fact that at home, they are amongst the worst teams in the entire NBA , never mind the fact that they are simply unable to close out games, but yet the asinine analysis provided by on air commentators would have you believe to the contrary. Sunday’s six-point loss (106-100) at home at Madison Square Gardens in New York City, New York, to the Cleveland Cavaliers , is a damning indictment of not only the poor play of the New York Knicks , but also how damn awful , the Eastern Conference just happens to be overall , in terms of the poor play.

Inconsistency has now become the norm for the New York Knicks , while the air-headed print and television media within the New York market tend to be enraptured by Phil Jackson’s arrival , what they seem to be forgetting is actually how bad this team just happens to be and that is even with Carmelo Anthony having to carry his teammates on his shoulders for the majority of the season. One can choose to spin the tale of the New York Knicks for this season and then suggest that next year all of the events of 2013 , will be forgotten, because Phil Jackson , by then, will have begun to work miracles. Let’s get something clear, Phil can only work with the tools given him and what he has been provided with at this juncture , are a bag of nuts , bolts, and rusty tools, in seeking to get the job done . As to what transpires, in the coming months of this off-season, remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether or not, Jackson can indeed revamp an impoverished franchise, with them regaining some semblance of respectability.



Picture gallery .

The events of the NCAA Tournament, as they have unfolded, which result has been of the greatest surprise to you ? Which program do you now believe to be in the driver’s seat, with the easiest task of making it to the Final Four and then going on to win the Men’s NCAA title outright ? With Phil Jackson’s introduction as the new Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks , do you believe his task will be an easy one to turn things around for the franchise and how much time in your estimation, will it take for him to make the Knicks relevant and competitive ? Simply take time to leave a comment, as you see fit and thank you for the ongoing support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin, bottom, gets past Pittsburgh forward Lamar Patterson for a shot during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, March 22, 2014. Florida won 61-45 . AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(2) Florida coach Billy Donovan gestures during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux…

(3) Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin (5) and center Patric Young (4) talk on the court during the second half in a second-round game against Albany in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Albany, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(4) Louisville coach Rick Pitino , right, yells at guard Russ Smith (2) during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Saint Louis , Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(5) Kentucky head coach John Calipari works from the sideline against Wichita State during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. A highly rated Wichita State team that seemingly could not match the intensity shown by the Wildcats during this contest, which ended in disappointment for the Shockers. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……..

(6) Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison (2) passes the ball as Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet (23) defends during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(7) Tony Bennett head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers . Bennett’s team face the MSU Spartans on Friday , with the victor guaranteed a berth in the Elite Eight as the prize . AP Photo / Rafael Gomez …..

(8) Michigan State’s Tom Izzo whose long and proud coaching resume’ indicates an impressive track record . Getty Images / Keith Turner …..

(9) NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 23: Jarrett Jack (1) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …

(10) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony talks with New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson during the second half of the NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in New York. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 106-100 . .AP Photo /Adrian Miller …..

(11) New York Knicks’ executive Phil Jackson is seen here, inlaid, team head coach Mike Woodson’s ,whose tenure with the Knicks’ franchise now seems more perilous than ever , with the team not completely responding to his coach style, in spite of a recent impressive run of eight consecutive victories . Yet, the team’s home record remains one of the worst in the entire NBA and one of the numerous reasons why they have fallen out of contention within the Eastern Conference this season. It seems highly unlikely that Woodson will be returning to coach the team next season , with their being no guarantee whatsoever, from the front office , even if there have been some reassuring words coming from unconfirmed sources within the hierarchical structure of the franchise. AP Photo / Lou Mason …..


College Basketball & NBA related pieces :

The running of the Bulls

It’s that time of the year again , and things are said be right with the world ….

You can talk a good game but can you play one ?

Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth

Full steam ahead



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NBA results 23rd March 2014

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Failure is not an option

Failure is not an option

It is now nut crunching time as it relates to the NCAA Tournament and the brackets , and how the whole issue will be resolved . It is clear, that the adjudicating body that will come to their conclusions will never fully satisfy the analysts , fans or the media , no matter what decision is made . As a fan of College Basketball , this is simply the one tournament that I thoroughly enjoy watching from start to finish.


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Teams are jockeying , for the privilege, of playing in what I believe to be the best collegiate sports’ competition, on the collegiate sporting landscape ! Football may well be the most popular sport by far , but with their continued flawed system to determine a national champion , we will never get to a point where we are truly satisfied with a format. Even now, with a rather flawed, but some might say, a much a fairer system to be instituted in the 2014-15 calendar. Which will be solely driven , and formatted for the mere means of gaining tens of millions more sponsorship dollars pouring into the coffers of the BCS and their associate partners It now begs the question , what other asinine concept will be thought up the odious and rather archaic members of that institution ?

Personally, after that catastrophe of a national title game , where Notre Dame simply got their ass handed to them , I am beginning to wonder what the hell , are the polls meant to be about ! Hell, that team , in no way , deserved to be ranked at number one in the nation , at any point of the season , in spite of their unbeaten regular season schedule (12-0) . The fact that the Alabama Crimson Tide , rolled over their ass , like a tractor-trailer crushing road-kill, does create this widespread belief, that the “ Fighting Irish” were simply overrated and a complete embarrassment of that ranking prior to the BCS championship game.

With the recent “signing day “ and this belief , that one can assuage these recruiting classes to validate a claim , as which program was the “ best of the best “ in terms of their recruiting goals. Well, in many ways , it is like trying to suggest , are we ever satisfied with whatever we progress by the decisions made by the Congress and an administration . At the end of the day , it all comes down to the perceived talent , but more so the acumen shown by a head coach and his coaching staff. And at the top of the heap at present , is the name of Nick Saban , whose record simply speaks for itself , that now , nothing else, really needs to be said !

OK, so here we are and a competition initiated after MLB , and IBAF (International Baseball Federation) , and their complete lack of accountability and leadership being shown by both hierarchies , as it relates to the game’s ongoing morass in dealing with their approach on the use of PED’s . For years , the MLB hierarchy led by Bud Selig , simply stood by , and watched in amazement as hallowed records were simply “being ripped “ from the record books with sheer ease. The fact that disgraced ball player, Barry Bonds’ feat of 73 home runs still sits in the books , along with the career home run record , another record held by Bonds . I am beginning to wonder what the venerable Hank Aaron , must now be thing as he watches the game he graced so effortlessly, now become ” a complete sham”, while the salaries of the top players are now reaching ridiculous levels !

While the MLB Spring Training Schedule is in full swing , the World Baseball Classic is being simultaneously. Yet, lo and behold , Team USA , managed by Joe Torre , have seen their foray in this competition come to an abrupt end , with the team’s defeat at the hands of Puerto Rico in the quarter-finals of the WBC. Personally , this is the one competition that since its inception , it has been a downright failure , primarily because the fact Team USA , ranked #2 internationally by IBAF, has seemingly been a train wreck , in international play. Doubt my word , ask yourself this , when was the last time the national side won anything of note at the international level, featuring many of their best stars from the Major League Level ?

It certainly, has not happened in the Olympics, over baseball’s last staging , which before the sport being jettisoned by the IOC. Team competition for both baseball and softball at the Olympic level , last took place in 2008 , and at the behest of the IOC Executive Committee , led its President , Jacques Rogge , led to the dismissal of both sports from the Summer Olympics. Now you have Bud Selig and his IBAF counterpart, Ricardo Fraccari behaving like a bunch of clowns , as they seek the reinstatement of their sport as well as softball, back as part of the Summer Schedule of the Olympics. Meanwhile, self-styled World Baseball Classic , remains a mindless bore and eyesore , barely watched on television , with meager ratings coming by way of ESPN’s and ABC’s televised coverage. About the only ones being served by this utter nonsense are the corporate advertisers looking to make a quick dollar by way of selling their wares .

With the failure of Team USA making a successful run in the WBC , it begs the question , the boast of being world champions ? Albeit, at the club level , where does it place the country at the international level, even with the team’s ranking currently being ranked at number two . After this competition , it is becoming increasingly clear that ranking will slip , along with hyperbole over the country’s boast of being the best in the world .

We know of the aspirations of a number of teams this season with a great on their minds , as it relates to the World Series . Reigning champions , the San Francisco Giants , will be looking to make a successfully defense of the title they won with ease in 2012 , defeating the Detroit Tigers . World Series MVP , Pablo Sandoval , will undoubtedly be looking cement what was a tremendous postseason for the player and his teammates .

Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy , his coaching staff and GM Brian Sabean , will be looking to have this team prepared for the long haul of an arduous 2013 schedule . And for Tim Lincecum, a former Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009 . Last season was something of a misnomer for Lincecum , but he able to deliver for the team when they needed him most during the postseason.

Sabean and Giants’ managing partner , Larry Baer , have to be aware that the franchise will the ones with a target on their backs. Having won two World Series in three years , baseball has not had a repeat series’ winner , since the New York Yankees , won three in a row (1998, 1999 & 2000). And for the game’s most renowned franchise , there are now facing a time of uncertainty, with an aging roster at its core , and a great deal of uncertainty concerning the long-term futures of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez . And as one career winds down , with Jeter now in the twilight of his famed career , one has to ask who will now assume control and lead this team by example ? Certainly not Rodriguez , given his penchant for excuses , and seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for his own repeated mistakes. Less we forget also , Alex Rodriguez remains a flawed character , who has no desirable trait, and he might just be , the most despised player in the game today. It is my firm belief that the Yankees’ front office have erred in not rescinding Rodriguez’s contract in light of the latest expose’ in which this is the second time that the player’s name has been associated with a steroids’ investigation , after his admission of guilt to the use of PED’s in 2010, in which the third baseman confirmed that he experimented with steroid use from 2001 to 2004 , while playing for the Texas Rangers .

Rodriguez’s career in Major League Baseball, has been littered, with highs and lows , of which, many would consider career lows to be considerably more than the highs. I believe that perception to be true , primarily because of the player’s admission of guilt , and his use of steroids and the very fact that the suspicion still remains that he has never been fully truthful as to whether or not there was his continued use ! And that is in light of ongoing allegations concerning the third baseman and recent stories within the print and television media . What makes all the more disturbing also , remains the fact that Alex Rodriguez is the highest paid player in the game and whose career earnings will surpass a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) at the culmination of that career.

It should be of some note, that Rodriguez remains the only player in baseball history to have signed two separate contracts, where the team commitment on each occasion has been for $250 million. By return, for that investment , the player has rewarded baseball the teams and fans , with three MVP Awards , thirteen All Star Appearances , two Gold Gloves Awards , one World Series championship , active home runs leader (647) , as well as active RBI’s leader (1950) , and is now 99 hits away from reaching (37th all-time) the 3,000 hits’ plateau . Yet for all of those accolades , many fans believe the third baseman to self-absorbed , conceited , and not to be a great teammate , either with the New York Yankees or Texas Rangers. His relationship with Derek Jeter, is said to be fractured and one, which is day to day ,by most accounts , but yet, somehow the Yankees’ economic future will be based upon a player who remains a pariah within the game. Sidelined hip surgery and likely to miss the team’s entire regular season schedule. It can be said, that the Yankees will either sink or swim with the play of the players considered by Joe Girardi, that will give the franchise the best opportunity to win. And given the state of the team’s current pitching roster, I believe it will be a considerable task for the New York Yankees to overcome and win the AL East , much less gain a playoff berth this season.

The hyperbole was there , but now we’re beginning to see the character or lack of it thereof , as the New York Knicks (38-25) are falling from a lofty peak , falling from the sky, faster than a meteorite . And for all of the prognosticators , simply salivating over this team , primarily because of the assembly of All Stars , is simply and utterly asinine , when there is no body of work to go by ! That’s akin to placing an ugly chick in a two piece bathing suit and then to suggest, that she is in, with a favorite’s chance to win the Miss Universe contest. Not that anyone, would want to see this team strutting “ their stuff” on a catwalk, as it has been bad enough to witness their play over their last ten games , where they are 5-5 and losers of three straight . And need one suggest, that they are slipping down the Eastern Conference rankings , at a rather disturbing time in their schedule ?

Now the Knicks are having to serve the indignity of being without Carmelo Anthony , Tyson Chandler , and the vastly overrated and ailing Amar`e Stoudemire . Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson , now has to rally this team , simply take them to task over their lack of commitment to apply themselves far more aggressively as a defensive unit . Something of which , does not appear to be a part of the team’s psyche .

I get the feeling that this is not what team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald , envisaged from the New York Knicks this season ! They are likely to fall short of their goal, and that is to make a deep and spirited run in the postseason. They will undoubtedly qualify for the playoffs , quite possibly as the third, fourth or fifth ranked team within the conference , based on current standings and the play of several conference contenders over their last ten games.

A competitive NBA, needs a resurgent Knicks’ franchise to be an ever- present force within the game. Anyone who suggests otherwise, clearly has no understanding of the franchise’s economic impact to the NBA as a whole . And while we have seen the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and in recent years the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers. There is no denying , that with the Los Angeles Lakers (35-32) , Miami Heat , the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks , the NBA postseason , simply becomes nothing more than a crap-shoot . More often than not, many of the playoff series are understated , with somewhat lackluster play on both sides of the ball.

While the New York Knicks have their on-field issues , their conference rivals , the Miami Heat continue their win streak , which now stands at twenty one consecutive wins . Do you get the feeling that the Heat are simply strolling through the regular season without being overly complacent ? And while we are at it , is LeBron James on his way to winning his fourth MVP title , joining a select group of players with at least two or more league MVP crowns as their laurels ? James and the Heat currently have the third longest win streak (33) in NBA history , a record currently held by the ‘71-‘72 Los Angeles Lakers (69-13) .

Not one to kick an animal while it is down , but it appears that the Los Angeles Lakers’ season is now on the line . Currently sitting in the eighth spot of the Western Conference , and no discerning reason to believe , that they are still capable of holding unto that position. Kobe Bryant’s claims that the team is still capable of making the postseason, is beginning to look somewhat tenuous . The Lakers’ schedule doesn’t offer the players any great aid over the remainder of their regular season. When adjudged against that of the seventh placed Houston Rockets (36-30) and the ninth placed , Dallas Mavericks (31-34). And as we know, the Western Conference has always considered to be a dogfight , for all of the aspirants seeking to make the postseason.

Now while many have been critical of Kobe Bryant , and the fact he recently lashed out at his teammates for their lack of commitment . The player was sidelined briefly, but he gamely made it back onto the court to aid his teammates in a thoroughly competitive victory over the Indiana Pacers . Much of that criticism has been valid , yet it remains a matter of conjecture and speculation how this team can survive in its present guise . Dwight Howard remains an enigma , meanwhile, Steve Nash , as gamely a veteran , as the fans know him to be . It is clear that the Lakers , are a considerable distance from where they need to be. In spite of it all, head coach , Mike D’Antoni tries to stress that the team , are now getting into their stride. As an observer from afar , I have never been enamored with D’Antoni as a head coach , and I still feel that GM Mitch Kupchak and Senior VP Jim Buss have erred , first, in the hiring of Mike Brown , and then the hiring of his successor , Mike D’Antoni ! With a mere fifteen games left in the regular season schedule for the league’s thirty teams , it will be very interesting to see how not only the Los Angeles Lakers will fare , but also many of the championship contenders seeking to make a name for themselves this postseason.


By clicking on a frame you can view that picture in its formatted size. .

Picture gallery.

What if anything, are you most looking forward to , when the NCAA Tournament is off and running ? In addition, which teams do you believe will be making a strong presence in the tourney and why ? Do you also believe that the World Baseball Classic has been a worthwhile competition or simply a bust ? Finally , the New York Yankees , will this be the season where we see the team back in the World Series , or will they fall by the wayside ? Chime on in with your thoughts .

Picture and slideshow gallery details .

(1) Miami’s Durand Scott (1) reacts after making a basket as he runs past North Carolina State’s C.J. Leslie (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2013. Miami has moved on to the Finals of the ACC Tournament to be be played today , Sunday 17th March, 2013 , where they will play North Carolina . AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) Miami head coach Jim Larranaga directs his team against North Carolina State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …

(3) Puerto Rico catcher Yadier Molina ,left, pitching coach Rick Bones,center, and pitcher Nelson Figueroa celebrate after defeating the USA 4-3 in the World Baseball Classic second round Pool 2 elimination game between Puerto Rico and the United States at Marlins Park in Miami on Friday, March 15, 2013. AP Photo/The Miami Herald, David Santiago ….

(4) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, left, and former Yankees first baseman and current Miami Marlins hitting instructor Tino Martinez before a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fla., Friday, March 15, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(5) FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York. When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in December 2007, they expected him to set home run records . Now some in the team’s management hope he never plays again, so much of the $114 million he’s still due can be covered by insurance. Not only is he injured, he’s at the center of performance-enhancing drug use allegations. P Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(6) David Sierra , sits in his family owned realty company in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2013, displaying a photo of a flier that the management company passed out to tenants in an office complex where they rented space to Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch . New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez has denied a newspaper report on Tuesday that accused the baseball star of buying human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances from a clinic in the Miami area. The Miami New Times, an alternative weekly, reported that it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez , Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal from a clinic called Biogenesis, run by Bosch. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(7) San Francisco Giants, managing partner Larry Baer , right to left, Pablo Sandoval, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner’s Trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series . AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool ….

(8) New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 14, 2013. The Trail Blazers beat the Knicks 105-90 . AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens …

(9) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade lies on the court during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks in an NBA basketball game Friday, March 15, 2013, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps ….

(10) A healthy relationship ? Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, draws a play for center Dwight Howard as they sit on the bench in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Friday, March 15, 2013. Bryant and Howard the team’s two leading scorers are said to have a somewhat tepid relationship , but somehow things are said to be tenuous between the pairing. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …



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It’s not about the money is it? Hell yeah, why else would they play?

It’s not about the money is it? Hell yeah, why else would they play?

By Tophatal

The College Football season (D1) is already in full swing and the wherewithal of the teams as they pad their schedules in order to proceed up the rankings . Never let it be said that the NCAA in conjunction with the BCS doesn’t know a good thing when they see fit .College Football has exploded into a multibillion dollar industry that can simply exist by itself. However, the corporate executives on Park Avenue and further afield know that a tie-in with the NCAA , BCS or in fact a wildly successful college program can do them no harm . There are a multitude of sins come hand in hand with such an arrangement, that can lead to the gross violations and surreptitious behavior, that we have witnessed in recent years. And it has been the failure of the NCAA, as well as athletic directors and compliance officers at these schools that has led us to where we are today.


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Slide show .

NCAA President Mark Emmett and the body he presides over are toothless body, whose powers are rarely exhibited as warranted. OK, so a great deal will be made of the punishment handed down to Penn State but let’s face it, were it not for the public outrage and a certain amount of the empathy , the football program at the university would have been given the death knell . Not quite cast out in exile , it may well be several years before football at the Penn State can once again be looked upon with any reverence. Bill O’Brien has an unenviable task ahead of him , beyond succeeding the late Joe Paterno , as he also has to reinvent the sullied image and tarnished reputation of this once proud program. I firmly believe that he will succeed but that success will come along with detractors who are averse to change.

The acting AD David M. Joyner has been quick to show his support for the new head coach and his revamped coaching staff and that faith now seems to paying dividends . Beaver Stadium at College Park in Pennsylvania seems to have been revived with the fans now throwing their full support behind the Nittany Lion players . The team is off to a 1-2 start with their next scheduled game to be played this upcoming Saturday when they take on Temple (Owls) University at University Park, Pennsylvania . This game should give us a guide as to the progress being made by team and where they may well stand amongst their competitors within the Big Ten standings .

Matt McGloin is clearly being asked to lead and provide with the prerequisite leadership sought, as the program and the team undergoes a new chapter in its history. And the best way possible is for Penn State to win and at the same time show the pride and demeanor that clearly wasn’t present under Joe Paterno, as he and his coaches led the program into some unfathomable depths of despair while trying to gloss over the egregious and heinous actions > of Jerry Sandusky , most notably Gary Spanier and Tim Curley. It is extremely hard to fathom how both Curley and Spanier could be so nondescript and lackadaisical in their handling of the sordid affair that dragged down Penn State. The Freeh Report has done little to alleviate to the pain caused by all of the parties involved in this sordid episode , other than to suggest that there was no leadership or moral decency to be found from anyone in a position of authority. Such, are the vagaries and the Machiavellian maneuvers deemed necessary to pursue a cover-up.

Be honest here , hands up if you were ready to ride on the USC (Trojans) bandwagon because Lane Kiffin was selling you the fact that this team was ready to become a “world beater” ? Don’t be shy, man up, and show yourself. There is nothing more humbling, that a large dose of reality and being solidly kicked in the ass as well as by a nemesis who brings you back down to earth. Kiffin and his self-absorbed demeanor, were rendered less reverential in light of the Trojans’ 21-14 loss to Stanford (Cardinals) . And in one fail swoop, the chances of USC being a prominent factor in the BCS national title picture , resembles the chances of Donald Trump becoming a Democrat! And with that loss we may well seen the hopes of Matt Barkley dashed , as the presumptive favorite for the Heisman Trophy . The Trojans’ quarterback will have to play at an at exceptionally high level over the remainder of the team’s schedule if he is to have a remote chance of being an award winner , thereby adding to the Trojans’ legacy of producing Heisman Trophy winners .

Lane Kiffin’s career has been marred by a great deal of controversy and his departure from Tennessee (Volunteers) to become the head coach at USC after the departure of Pete Carroll, to return to the NFL . Kiffin’s abrupt and rather surreptitious move left a rather unsavory taste amongst the hierarchy at Tennessee, and certainly among the majority of Volunteers’ fans. The coach’s disposition for flouting the NCAA rules and then responding that he was unaware that there has been any transgression , shows Lane Kiffin not only to be somewhat economical with the truth but also a conceited son of a bitch ! How else would one describe the fact that on repeated occasions since his ascent to his current position , he has seen fit to endanger a program that has only just returned from sanctions imposed on it by the NCAA , while his predecessor and then AD Mike Garrett simply looked the other way, as the surreptitious behavior of several Trojans’ football players went unreported. As we all know former USC tailback Reggie Bush rather than face further embarrassment returned his Heisman Trophy —- (2005) after all of the furor of his career with USC and the alleged payments received by the player . A house was furnished to his family, which has since has been proven that the player profited from that gift. Something that Bush to this day, still denies any wrongdoing on his part, while only having offered a less than contrite apology for what he says were simply errors in judgment while at attending USC on a full scholarship.

The Trojans’ program is one of the most profitable and revenue driven programs in College Football, ranking in the top ten of all of D1 football. And though thePAC 12 is seen as the epicenter for college football in the West , in no way should it be deemed that the teams can be overlooked as non-contenders for the national title. Stanford, Arizona (Wildcats) , Arizona State , Oregon (Ducks) , Oregon State , California (Bears) and UCLA (Bruins), can be viewed as omnipresent forces within the conference.

Kiffin has been blessed with a talented team led by Heisman Trophy hopeful, Matt Barkley , T J McDonald, Silas Redd and slew of NFL hopefuls, who for the present will look to impress the NFL scouts while parlaying their college careers into something more tangible. The conference games will be also a telling mark as to whether or not the Trojans are a national championship-caliber team. From my own perspective I believe that USC , if they are to prove themselves worthy , they will have to win out , and simply win the PAC 12 championship game convincingly , in order to convince the BCS Committee of their worthiness as a national champion contender ! Having lost so early in the season isn’t necessarily such a bad thing but the manner of the loss and the opponent in question, certainly has hindered Lane Kiffin’s chances raising the national championship trophy.

If Lane Kiffin is said to be conceited, then Alabama’s head football coach, Nick Saban has to be looked upon as a conniving and disingenuous bastard! He has been known to be condescending, most definitely a liar, and if nothing else, someone who has willingly courted controversy solely for the sake of placing his himself for scrutiny within the public arena. There is no denying that as a college coach he has known considerable success having won three national titles over the course of his career but it has been his cold and calculating approach that has times alienated him with the press while he is beloved by the program’s fans in the state of Alabama. Last season , Saban brought the Tide program another national title, with their thoroughly lopsided victory over SEC rivals LSU (Tigers) —– 21-0 in the BCS national title game. That loss left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Tigers’ players and left Les Smiles smarting and somewhat dismayed in the way his team lost the game , having gone in as the decided favorites , due to an earlier regular season conference victory over Alabama in 2011.

In 2012, these two teams may well be clashing once again for the SEC championship title that might be seen as a precursor to another potential national title rematch. However, it is my belief that there may well be another SEC aspirants with something to say about that whole premise ! Florida , under second year coach Will Muschamp has his team playing with a great deal of zeal , with an improving defense and an offense , that is slowly finding a rhythm that will indeed serve them well, as they proceed over the course of their schedule. Will Muschamp has recruited vigorously, trying to avail himself of best talent available in order to make the Gators a competitive force once again. The program had fallen on hard times, since the departure of Tim Tebow in 2010, for the NFL . With Tebow’s departure , then came Urban Meyer’s abrupt and sudden resignation, subsequent retirement, un-retirement and then return to the program , only to then leave once again. Now, with Meyer having returned to the college game, where he now coaches the Ohio State Buckeyes. A betrayal that is not lost on the vast majority of Gators’ fans across the country who still feel aggrieved by Meyer’s actions.

Florida, is off to a 3-0 start with decisive victories over Bowling Green State, Texas A&M and Tennessee (Volunteers ). Next up for Muschamp’s players will be a 22nd September match-up against SEC rivals Kentucky (Wildcats) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium , in Jacksonville , Florida. It will be here that we should get to see whether or not, Jeff Driskell, Trey Burton , Mike Gillislee , Solomon Patterson , Josh Evans , and Jonathan Bostic are as good as advertised.

Things are genuinely great, when all three prominent Florida college football programs are riding high. The Gators are 3-0, as are Florida State (3-0 and the Miami Hurricanes (2-1) . Albeit, that the latter two programs are part of the ACC , it should be misconstrued that football isn’t part of the glamor of a conference primarily known for their renowned basketball programs . Jimbo Fisher has a top ten ranked team with ambitions on a national scale. And no doubt the Seminoles’ head coach would like to prove the naysayers wrong with a run to BCS Bowl prominence , with the ultimate goal , being a participant in the BCS title game. The results garnered by FSU through three games , are pretty impressive , and gives credence to the fact that Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff has this team playing with a great deal of guile . And a highly anticipated game against the Clemson (Tigers) this weekend should give the home fans a great deal to cheer about , when the two programs meet at Doak Campbell Stadium , in Tallahassee ,in Florida ,.

Miami’s off-season woes have been well chronicled concerning the mismanagement and non-compliance of the athletics department with NCAA mandates , concerning personal gifts offered to student athletes . School AD, Shawn Eichorst and university President Donna Shalala have simply buried their heads in the sand, while this sorry episode engulfed the program. What might be even more inconceivable is that head football coach Al Golden could have been conduit for much of the actions that went on , unreported , with an intermediary of the coach, acting as a go-between for the players and the now disgraced and federally incarcerated former Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro. And Shapiro has been naming names , embroiling current and former players to whom he paid hundreds , if not thousands of dollars , plied them with substantial gifts beyond what anyone could have deemed possible. Now as the school tries to distance itself from those issues , Al Golden still retains his position as the head coach. Miami did themselves no favors with their embarrassing 52-13 loss to Kansas State on the 8th September , before rebounding back to beat Bethune Cookman ….. 38-10 . Miami’s next meeting, has them tangling with fellow ACC rivals , Georgia Tech in a game that is sure to competitive, as it will be mean-spirited between these two high-profiled programs.

College Football is fraught with danger , not necessarily with regard to the endangerment of the players on the field . More so, it has to do with the corruption of the sport and the bear facts, that the major conferences within the game are simply driven by greed , power and the growing need to garner as much money as they can , while carrying on their business activities with wanton disregard of morals or ethics. The idiocy remains that so many fans are buying into this bullshit , while trying to suggest that this is simply the best way for the game to proceed. Clearly , there is not enough intelligence to go around , and it would appear that being apathetic is the choice that is preferably taken by many rather than seeing the NCAA , BCS and conference presidents act responsibly. Not to be left out of this all, are the well compensated coaches who simply are happy with their lot, no matter what idiotic changes are proposed.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Although we are only into the fourth week of a fourteen week schedule for College Football , what surprises if any , have come as a complete shock to you ? Which programs , do you feel will be vying for the national title, as well as the most prominent BCS Bowl games? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this topic and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .


Picture and slide show details below .

(1) NCAA President Mark Emmert , who succeeded Dr Myles Brand upon his death, to become the highest ranking executive of the NCAA . Over the years , questions have arisen as to the genuine willingness of that governing body to punish certain programs with impunity . Only light of the apparent outrage of the public did the NCAA punish Penn State for the egregious acts that took place and the conspiracy to cover up those acts by the highest ranked officials on the board of trustees of the academic establishment . AP Photo / Connor Gilchrist …

(2) Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, left, shakes hands with Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo before an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. The Nittany Lions would go on to defeat Navy 34-7 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(3) Quarterback Matthew McGloin (11) of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to Jesse James (18) during the first quarter against the Navy Midshipmen at Beaver Stadium on September 15, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Getty Images North America / Rob Carr ……

(4) Matt Barkley (7) of the USC Trojans tries to get a pass away after being hit during their final quarter of their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. .Ezra Shaw / Getty Images ….

(5) USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Matt Barkley during their loss to the Stanford Cardinals at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. Ezra Shaw / Getty Images ….

(6) Head Coach John L. Smith of the Arkansas Razorbacks shakes hands with Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide before a game at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Tide would go on to crush Arkansas 52-0 in a game that wasn’t even remotely close . Getty Images / Wesley Hitt ….

(7) Denzel Devall (30) of the Alabama Crimson Tide sacks Brandon Allen (10) of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0 . Getty Images /Wesley Hitt …..

(8) Jeff Driskel (6) of the Florida Gators throws under pressure from the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half of play at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. . John Sommers / Getty Images …

(9) Will Muschamp head coach of the Florida Gators reacts to a call by the officials during the first half of play a against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Getty Images / John Sommers ….

(10) University of Miami President , Donna Shalala , is seen here with the university’s AD Shawn Eichorst . The two have tried to distance themselves from the allegations brought about, after it was revealed that former Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro was guaranteed access to current and former athletes on the men’s basketball and football teams. Monetary gifts and loans were provided to these players by Shapiro. In the latest around of allegations , head football coach Al Golden has been embroiled in this mess , with the belief that he had a subordinate act as an intermediary between Shapiro and his players . Golden vehemently denies any wrongdoing on his part or that he was aware of any of his players accepting gifts from the now incarcerated Shapiro. Miami Herald / Antonio Echevarria ………




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One And Done …… Who Says ?

One And Done …… Who Says ?

By tophatal ………..

If there’s said to be a coach in College Basketball this season to actually not only produce but also win I would have to say that it would have to be John Calipari , without a doubt ! Considered a success where he’s been …… dubiously I might add when one considers the controversies that have surrounded the programs where he has been coach . That notwithstanding he has the Kentucky Wildcats’ program riding high , having posted a 30-1 overall , 16-0 within conference (SEC) .


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The Kentucky Wildcats’ team is one with a great deal of talent with a highly explosive offense that’s led by freshman Anthony Davis , alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist , Twany Beckham , Doron Lamb , Brian Long , Sam Malone and an array of highly talented players . That being said we simply know that once this NCAA Tournament is over en masse` a large number of players on the roster will declare their eligibility looking to make the jump to the pros and join the NBA in search rich rewards . And as we know John Calipari has never been one to stand in the way of his players seeking to earn their way at the college level , much less getting an education _____ or in reality simply catering to their needs in allowing them to be part of that ever-increasing “throng of players” who are one and done at the college level .

In September of last year Calipari and several of his coaching peers at the collegiate level within the world of Basketball , Baseball and Football took part in a symposium sponsored jointly by ESPN , Nike Inc and the NCAA . This symposium was organized to discuss many of the issues that seem to be high profiled within collegiate athletics today. Those issues covered a vast array of topics from student graduation rates , scandals that have embroiled many of the top programs within collegiate athletics and the rather “thorny subject ” of the student athlete being paid to play. Something I believe that John Calipari may well know a great deal about albeit that nothing has ever been thoroughly proven , in spite of the so-called in-depth investigations that have been conducted by the NCAA via their Infractions Committee . To my mind , having that in-house body investigate anything related conduct violations by an athletics’ programs is akin to asking the “Medellin Drug Cartel “ to conduct an audit of the illicit drug trade in terms of the transportation of narcotics up from Central America across the Mexican US border . Suffice to say , you simply know that there’s bound to be some sort of denial as to the vast irregularities or should one say the depth and lengths of the transgressions that are said to be taking place .

Now don’t get me wrong, the likes of Jeff Tedford , Bob Stoops , Calipari , Jim Boehiem , Rick Pitino and such ESPN luminaries as Kirk Herbstreit , Lou Holtz , Rece Davis and Mark Mays , may well mean well but I find it somewhat insulting to see these coaches and analysts summarizing issues that they simply have ignored all too often . ESPN cannot be looked upon as an institution much less a broadcast outlet that speak with any veracity upon many of these issues given the fact they now have several commercial tie ins with a number collegiate programs across the nations. Perhaps none more so than that highly publicized multi-year , two decade , $3 billion deal with the Texas Longhorns for a co-owned broadcast outlet —— Longhorns Network that was initiated by the school’s football coach Mack Brown and the school’s AD DeLoss Dodds .

George Bodenheimer , head of ESPN Sports and the outlet’s president John Skinner remarked that this was a new dawn in terms of collegiate athletics broadcasting when the deal was formally announced . Well given the fact that the broadcast through its sister network ABC along with ESPN , ESPN2 and ESPNU already has cast a wide net in terms of its coverage of collegiate sports , wherein the revenues that the NCAA is said to be in receipt in from the major networks and much smaller affiliates nationwide runs into several billion dollars , annually . And one wonders why the NCAA and major college conferences are awash with so much money ? Never mind the scandals that continue to surface each year that in large involves boosters , agents coaches and even AD’s , themselves . But at the end of it all it always seems to be the athlete that at times tends to be punished with impunity .

The NCAA’s “bark ” is actually worse than “its bite “ and that is strictly because its president Mark Emmert , simply isn’t the man with the demeanor to act with real authority ! Think of him as simply being a kitten with a bowl of milk always on-hand , nothing more , nothing less !

Now with the SEC Tournament now in full swing with all of the major powerhouse programs are now seeking to play themselves into contention not just with a view to the tournament but also as a possible last chance of gaining a berth amongst the sixty-five teams for the NCAA Tournament . It will be interesting to see how the Wildcats acquit themselves as the tournament progresses . Next up for the team after their 60-51 victory over the LSU (Tigers ) in the first round . Their next game will be in the semi-finals on Saturday 10th March, 2012 against a yet to be named opponent .

Would it be remiss to suggest that a great deal is expected of John Calipari and his team at this juncture ? Certainly all of the pieces are in place with a team that can defend as well as score with almost reckless abandonment . But that isn’t simply good enough when it comes to the NCAA Tournament because a team really has to come into the national championship hitting a real rich vein of form . Complacency has been the demon that has plagued teams seen as prohibitive favorites for the national title . And though it is hard to go against the grain and not pick the Wildcats , I simply get the feeling that they will undoubtedly go deep into the tournament but somehow there’s going to be a major obstacle placed within their way that they cannot overcome . As to who that might be is anyone’s guess at this juncture .

Would it be remiss to suggest that a great deal is expected of John Calipari and his team at this juncture ? Certainly all of the pieces are in place with a team that can defend as well score with almost reckless abandonment . But that isn’t simply good enough when it comes to the NCAA Tournament because a team really has to come into the national championship hitting a real rich vein of form . Complacency has been the demon that has plagued teams seen as prohibitive favorites for the national title . And though it is hard to go against the grain and not pick the Wildcats , I simply get the feeling that they will undoubtedly go deep into the tournament but somehow there’s going to be a major obstacle placed within their way that they cannot overcome . As to who that might be is anyone’s guess at this juncture . Now a 23 game win streak is impressive given the schedule of this Wildcats’ team it has to be said that beyond their in-house conference match-ups I don’t truly feel that Calipari’s players have at all been tested this season ! The team’s sole defeat came at the hands of the Indiana ( Hoosiers ) early in their schedule in a hard-fought and competitive game , which ended in 73-72 victory for Indiana .

At this stage of John Calipari’s career in spite of the controversies , it is hard to believe that in spite of the success he has yet to win a national title . His peers such as Jim Boeheim , Rick Pitino , Mike Krzyzewski , Jim Calhoun and Roy Williams and Billy Donovan have all been lucky enough to have cut down the nets on that final day of a national championship tournament . As of yet such an accolade still awaits the Kentucky Wildcats’ basketball head coach . Chances are that this season fate will either be kind to John Calipari , or it won’t . Your thoughts ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you believe that this national championship tournament will be the one where John Calipari will have the honor of cutting down the nets on the final day ? Or will that honor be bestowed upon another head coach of a burgeoning program ? Chime in with a comment as and when ready .





Picture and slide show details below .


(1) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 09: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the LSU Tigers during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …

(2) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 09: Anthony Davis (23) of the Kentucky Wildcats grabs a rebound against the LSU Tigers during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …….

(3) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 09: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts during the game against the LSU Tigers during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(4) Kyle Wiltjer (33) of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball over Justin Hamilton (41) of the LSU Tigers during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(5) Members of the LSU Tigers react after losing to Kentucky Wildcats 60-51 during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …….

(6) Anthony Davis (23) of the Kentucky Wildcats drives the ball around Justin Hamilton (41) of the LSU Tigers during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ….

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Reasons to love Erika Mayshawn ! Think of one at least , please ?


Black Rob ………………. ” Whoa ”


Jim Calhoun Is A Man Who Simply Lacks Integrity But Idiots Continue To Treat Him With Such Reverence !

Jim Calhoun Is A Man Who Simply Lacks Integrity But Idiots Continue To
Treat Him With Such Reverence !

If it’s not enough that the U ( Conn Huskies’) men’s basketball team is having a down year the immediate issues facing the program looks somewhat turbulent and uncertain future . Head coach Jim Calhoun has some health issues to deal with that will require the coach to quite possibly take leave of absence while undergoing back surgery and the complete recuperation process . At the same time the school had sought a waiver to make an appearance in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . The program having been denied that waiver by the NCAA in light of the U Conn’s academic problems concerning their players and that of the the athletics program as a whole . Now they seek the NCAA’s largess in order to perhaps be part of the NCAA Tournament based upon their supposed overall history .


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Poor academic standing amongst Calhoun’s players over the last few years and with the head coach himself , making few public statements as to what he and the school’s athletics director have done to reverse that trend _______ it has me wondering how it is that this coach is still revered ? Mark Emmert , president of the NCAA has stated that he would like a greater deal of accountability from the schools as it relates to the academic standards of the programs that the NCAA oversees. With the APR policy now in place it is amazing how many athletics’ programs across the nation that now fall below that criteria at the D1 level not merely within basketball but also within collegiate football and baseball .

The NCAA itself is not without blame as it relates to the continued mess that seems to completely engulf the collegiate athletics’ landscape . And it has become obvious that the collegiate sports’ governing body and specifically the Infractions Committee simply doesn’t have enough teeth as their bark is no worse than their bite when it comes to meting punishment for either repeated violations or for that matter even minor infractions that if anything the ‘ governing body should actually be severe in terms of a punishment . If anything that indicates how culpable and negligent the NCAA has been in acting appropriately in such matters . What might be even most obvious even to the most uninterested of observers and it is that college presidents , coaches and athletics directors would rather run the gamut of an investigation and scrutiny would rather endure that intrigue . Simply look at the actions that led to the investigations that engulfed USC (Trojans) , Miami ( Hurricanes ) , Penn State , Oregon Ducks , Ohio State Buckeyes and North Carolina (Tar Heels ) and Baylor Bears and their basketball program under former head coach Dave Bliss . The actions of the then head coach as abhorrent as they were , went unpunished by the college itself until it became abundantly clear that Bliss hid with so much intent a lot of the actions conducted by himself and a number of his assistant coaches in the aftermath of the “Carlton Dotson/Patrick Dennehy affair “ , which saw the former Bears’ basketball player indicted for first degree murder of a former teammate. Legal aspects asides , it is clear that the NCAA and the educational establishments would rather tip-toe around such issues rather than do what is morally right !

It is even more asinine to think that Jim Calhoun having lied to senior members of the faculty at U Conn over his actions concerning recruiting violations has led to nothing more than a slap on the wrist by the school and an acceptance from the NCAA that the punishment was acceptable . And though the U Conn Huskies as the defending national champions are having a rather innocuous season , it says a great deal that the story is more about poor play of the team rather than the continued suspense now surrounding the program . Herein , lies the caveat as the ensuing speculation continues as to the invitees for the national championship , it is now more about whether not U Conn makes it way in rather than there being little or no action taken by the school to improve the graduation rates of the collegiate athletes within the basketball program.

Now while the men’s basketball program now comes under even more scrutiny do you get the impression that women’s coach Geno Auriemma has anything to hide then there too some questions might need to be asked and answered . And as conceited as Geno Auriemma continues to be even his narcissism has become too much to bear . His contempt for a number of his opponents and specifically their head coaches , most notably Tennessee (Volunteers’) coach Pat Summitt . The relationship between the two coaches can be either described as being cordial at best or cool at its worst ! . Either way , there’s no love lost between the two renowned collegiate head coaches who between them have won more than a dozen national collegiate women’s titles between them .

Geno Auriemma , who has courted controversy over the course of his career isn’t happy unless his program is front and center where he can take all of the credit for their success rather than the accomplishments of his players , current and past .

Given the prestige of both programs under both Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun I do believe that these coaches have been given far too much latitude and when there’s an apparent controversy in the offing that pull down that aura of perceived invincibility then they tend to circle the wagons for all of the wrong reasons , rather than doing what is clearly right . Doubt my word then simply look no further than the actions of Donna Shalala , Shawn Eichorst , and also the board of trustees of Penn State and that of their late coach Joe Paterno ? I found it rather insulting to hear people come out in support of the now deceased coach , with there being little concern or compassion being shown for the victims of alleged perpetrator Jerry Sandusky . Someone please explain to me where common decency starts and actual apathy begins because this is now how I view these buffoons over this entire episode ! I wonder if they would have the same perception of the perpetrators behind the atrocities behind the attack of 9/11 ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you believe that the actions of Jim Calhoun have been above reproach as it relates to the lack of oversight concerning the basketball programs ? Also do believe that the NCAA should have far more wide ranging powers given the premise behind their entire existence ? By all means to leave a comment to your thoughts on the subject matter .

Slide show details below .


(1) Connecticut associate head coach George Blaney reacts as his team is seconds away from being defeated by Syracuse 85-67 in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli ….

(2) Connecticut players look on during the final seconds of an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. Syracuse won in 85-67 . AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli …

(3) FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2012 file photo , Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun yells to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgetown , in Washington. The University of Connecticut has proposed reducing the number of games it will play next season if the NCAA grants a waiver to allow the Huskies to play in the 2013 men’s basketball tournament. The school currently would be barred from the NCAA tournament, a penalty for years of below-standard academic results, but it requested a waiver last month. AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari …. ….

(4) Peyton Siva (3) of the Louisville Cardinals passes the ball while defended by Andre Drummond (12) of the Connecticut Huskies during the Big East Conference game at KFC YUM! Center on February 6, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ….






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Swizz Beatz …. “It’s Me Bi$ches /One Man Band Remix”


I Paid My Way To Get Here Bi$ch What Did You Do ?

I Paid My Way To Get Here Bi$ch What Did You Do ?

By tophatal ……….

There’s something to be said about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and over the ensuing weeks leading up to the start of the event teams will be jockeying themselves into position in order to receive that venerable invitation to be part of that tournament . That being said , how is it that the NCAA can simply have a tournament that for all sense and purpose seems to be fair and equitable for all of the fans who love the game but yet when it comes to College Football and its postseason charade they and the BCS hierarchy simply act as if they’ have their heads buried in the ground ! I know that money drives the whole system and in large part has led to the absolute corruption of the sporting landscape with the gross malfeasance that now exists and will continue to exist , as long as NCAA President Mark Emmert and that “alleged” esteemed body continues to do absolutely nothing to clean up collegiate athletics . That particular landscape is now littered with more controversy and misdeeds than could have been found while Al Capone , the mobster , ran the city of Chicago . Never mind the ” dead bodies ” and the sheer idiocy of the university presidents and athletics directors who now appear to be in complete denial . Further evidence ……… simply look at the actions of the University of Miami (Hurricanes ) , Penn State , USC (Trojans ) and U Conn to see exactly what is wrong with sports at the collegiate level ?


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Strangely enough while teams such as Kentucky (Wildcats) , Syracuse (Orangemen) , Ohio State (Buckeyes) , Missouri (Tigers) , North Carolina (Tar Heels) and Duke ( Blue Devils ) vie for the top spot in the Men’s rankings . It has to be said that in light of last year’s tournament , when the Butler (Bull Dogs ) swept their way through the Final Four and into the championship game against Jim Calhoun’s …. U Conn Huskies . The fans hopefully , will be blessed with something just as enthralling this season during the tournament which commences on the 13th March and ends with the National Championship game being hosted at the Mercedez Benz Superdome , in New Orleans , Louisiana on the 2nd April , 2012.

As for Butler under their young coach Brad Stevens and his young team have had to bear the misfortunes as they have become a target of the teams on their schedule now looking to say that they have slayed the once mighty upstarts. With an overall record of 13-12 and 7-6 within conference (Horizon League ) . The division is led by Cleveland State (20-4) who if they can manage to maintain their momentum could very well be a possible candidate for a berth amongst the 65 teams at the start of the NCAA Tournament . At a bare minimum , teams will have to at least have a win tally in excess of 20-25 wins to even be considered for a berth in the tournament that is unless they happen to win either division championship or conference tournament . And as of now things look rather bleak for Brad Stevens’ team and any possible ambitions that they might have of making it to the NCAA Tournament .

Last season the names of the players on everyone’s lips given the heroics of the team during the championship game were Shelvin Mack , Andrew Smith and Matt Howard . Mack now plies his trade with the Washington Wizards in the NBA having been taken 34th overall in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft . For the Bull Dogs this season the team is built around the talents of Chase Stigall , Smith , Ronald Nored , Kameron Woods to name but a few .

If the Big East , Pac 12 , ACC , Big Ten and the SEC are said to be the main powerhouse divisions within Men’s basketball . Then clearly the preponderance of teams that will take up the vast majority of the berths will come from within these divisions . I would certainly like to think that the Florida Gators led by coach Billy Donovan can lead his team deep into the tournament but much of that will be predicated upon the players getting into a rhythm of consistency that could lead to them winning the SEC Tournament itself. From thereon in, it’s simply about how you play , the ambition of that team and at this juncture Donovan I believe would like to add a third national title to his resume` !

At 19-5 , 7-2 within conference (SEC) . Granted, with the Kentucky Wildcats (24-1 [10-0]) led by coach John Calipari , whose team simply has been running rough-shod over opponents and leaving them as roadkill on the side of the road . An enviable match-up now, of the Gators and Wildcats would give both Calipari and Donovan a chance to gauge their respective teams and how they seem to be progressing as it relates to the season . Kentucky already has the upper hand , having defeated Billy Donovan’s players once this season with a resoundingly lopsided win 78-58. However , these two teams have a return date in Gainesville , Florida on March 3rd , 2012 when the outcome , Donovan hopes will be considerably different .

As an avid Duke Blue Devils’ fan , I have to admit the storied history of the program was one of the things that attracted me to Duke , and along with the the fact that Mike Krzyzewski was simply someone I felt at ease with , in terms of his demeanor as a coach ! Over the course of his career that has seen this respected giant amongst his peers lead the program to four national championships and multiple appearances in the Final Fours . That in of-itself doesn’t tell the whole story as it relates to Krzyzewski as he has also ensured that the graduation rates amongst his players is amongst the highest in the nation amongst college athletes but specifically amongst basketball. .

Though this season the Blue Devils have had their issues over the course of their schedule . The play of players such as Austin Rivers , Mason Plumlee , Seth Curry and Miles Plumlee gives the fans of the program hope that they can be a factor in this season’s NCAA Tournament . And while there have been detractors concerning the play of the team and a number of losses this season. Only an idiot would consider at this juncture to write off Duke basketball even before their season has come to a climax .

Now while Jim Boeheim has come under a great deal of criticism this season concerning his actions in leaping to the defense of his former assistant Bernie Fine and the accusations leveled against that assistant of sexual misconduct . With Fine having at first been placed on administrative leave , the now disgraced former coach has been summarily dismissed from the program . Boeheim for his part this year has surpassed Dean Smith in all-time wins , is now third amongst coaches and second amongst active coaches behind his Blue Devils’ counterpart , Mike Krzyzewski (920) . That however , is not what will define Jim Boeheim but what he brings to the table in terms his Orangmen this season .

If there’s one thing that Buckeyes’ coach Thad Matta has going for him it is that in Jared Sullinger he might just have the most well-rounded player the Big Ten Conference playing today . However , if Sullinger and his teammates are to survive the long haul of this season then they are going to have to raise the level of their play over the remainder the regular season . Seen as one of the early favorites for the NCAA Tournament given the amazing run at the start of their schedule Matta’s team has fallen back to earth in gaining a dose of reality. Now it remains to be seen how they acquit themselves as the season runs its course and the expectations placed upon Sullinger and the coach.



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The NCAA Tournament may well be the most admired and respected of the major sporting events that takes place over the calendar year . As a sports’ fan do you believe that the Men’s national basketball tournament has become an event that is to be admired ? At the same time with the money wagered on the NCAA tourney which by all counts ranges between $500 million to $750 million legally at establishments in the states where legal wagering on games are allowed . Strangely enough, the books at the various gaming establishments in Las Vegas stated that their take on the Superbowl won by the New York Giants was a mere $93.7 million ….. a figure I believe to somewhat on the conservative side given the magnitude of the game , the fan-base and viewership that there tends to be for the game ! Simply chime in with a comment as you feel befitting of this piece and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !





Picture and slide show details below .


(1) LEXINGTON, KY – FEBRUARY 07: Kyle Wiltjer (33) of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball while defended by Erik Murphy (33) of the Florida Gators during the game at Rupp Arena on February 7, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during the game against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 7, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …..

(3) Florida head coach Billy Donovan reacts to a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. Kentucky won 78-58 . AP Photo/James Crisp …..

(4) Bradley Beal (23) of the Florida Gators shoots the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on February 7, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …

(5) Brad Stevens seen here on the sidelines during a Butler Bull Dogs’ game this season . The team is having a difficult time of things as their schedule has progressed . In all likelihood the team could very well miss getting an invite for the NCAA Tournament . AP Photo …..

(6) In this Wednesday , Feb. 8, 2012 photo, North Carolina coach Roy Williams reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina went from nearly blowing out rival Duke to watching the Blue Devils snatch away a win with a last-second 3-pointer. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …….

(7) In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 photo, teammates hug Duke’s Austin Rivers (0) following Rivers’ winning shot to defeat North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina went from nearly blowing out rival Duke to watching the Blue Devils snatch away a win with Rivers’ last-second 3-pointer. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …….

(8) Duke’s guard Austin Rivers, right, shoots the game-winning basket over North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller (44) during the final seconds of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Duke won 85-84 . AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds …….

(9) Duke players celebrate after upsetting North Carolina 85-84 during an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds …. …..

(10) Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim reacts during the second half against Georgetown in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Syracuse won 64-61 in overtime . AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli ……

(11) Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine , right, knocks the ball loose from Georgetown’s Jason Clark , forcing a turnover to end the game in overtime, in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Syracuse won 64-61 . AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli …..

(12) Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger (0) holds his hip as he walks off the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 87-84 . AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …..

(13) Ohio State coach Thad Matta yells at his players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 87-84 . AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(14) Ohio State’s William Buford (44) shoots over Purdue’s Ryne Smith (24) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 87-84. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …..


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It’s Image First And Then A Matter of Perception …..

It’s Image First And Then A Matter of Perception …..

By tophatal ……..

November 7th 1991 should be a day that is synonymous with the NBA because that was the day when former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Ervin ” Magic” Johnson announced his retirement from the game , having contracted HIV the precursor to the full blown AIDS virus . Johnson since his retirement has been a staunch advocate of AIDS education , AIDS research and a philanthropist to numerous causes worldwide through his Magic Johnson Foundation . Now a multi-millionaire several times over, the former NBA player is now a very successful business entrepreneur through a multi faceted corporation that now bears his name Magic Johnson Enterprises Inc . The company now employs in excess of 15,000 people nationwide and through his latest endeavor Magic Johnson in association with Detroit native Dan Gilbert and Dave Bing , have joined the mayor of the city , in seeking to redevelop downtown Detroit , Michigan.


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Now inasmuch as I have enjoyed Johnson’s career as an NBA professional and his historical matches with sometime nemesis Larry Bird that simply heightened the presence before the Michael Jordan dominated era of the mid to early to late nineties . The shock of that announcement , that he had contracted the AID’S virus with the player stating he caught to the disease through his sexual proclivity in having sex with numerous sexual partners whilst on the road with the Los Angeles Lakers . Magic Johnson , a married man with two grown children and a devoted wife in Cookie Johnson , has been extremely lucky . His wife had she chosen to , could have successfully filed for divorce and taken half his considerable fortune which is now estimated to be in the region of $750 million . Johnson is still a well respected figure in the greater Los Angeles area and perhaps one the most beloved Lakers’ players of all-time .

A five time NBA champion , multiple MVP as well as Finals’ MVP winner . Magic Johnson’s career is littered with great achievements but perhaps as the player has stated , the Olympic gold as part of the USA Dream Team simply filled him with pride and his greatest professional accolade of all. That team was perhaps the greatest assembly of NBA talent in basketball history . Amongst those on that team roster were Karl Malone , David Robinson , Patrick Ewing , Michael Jordan , John Stockton , Chris Mullin and Scottie Pippen .. The team’s win at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain , if anything raised the profile of the NBA and its global presence because stars such as Johnson and Jordan. But if anything it is the former Chicago Bulls player who is more known across the globe .

Now one could choose to ignore Magic Johnson’s formal announcement as simply one of another player simply being caught up in another scandal of sexual impropriety . But here, it was more than an act of sexual proclivity but wherein , Johnson was announcing to the world he had HIV and which in its earliest form is the precursor to full blown AIDS . In the early nineties there was little that immunologists fully understood about the disease that would go on to kill in excess of 500,000 people over the next decade and where in certain parts of the world (African continent) it is almost a pandemic . The CDC , AMA , NIH as well as the UN (United Nations) have all conducted studies of the disease and how best to treat it . Anti-retroviral drugs such as AZT along with a slew of other drug cocktails is thought to be the best treatment to abate the spread of the virus and it has been this recipe that is thought to abate the spreading of HIV through Johnson’s body.

I cannot say that I feel any empathy towards Magic Johnson but the fact that the player had been in complete denial while still having the audacity to return home to his wife and having unprotected sex with her ____ having already slept with one of his numerous paramours. Does that remind you of anybody else ? Perhaps another well known sport’s icon who also happened to be at one time the world’s number one ranked golfer ? Tiger Woods may not have contracted HIV but his own sexual peccadilloes were no different from that of Magic Johnson, as both tried to initially to apportion blame for their actions elsewhere. And now while both individuals have acknowledged their misdeeds it has been their actions since that have created our own perceptions of both athletes . Woods is still thought of as a pariah amongst the public while the NBA great seems to be more beloved than ever before .

Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden are both well respected collegiate coaches. The former Florida State coach may well have been forced out of his position as the Seminoles’ football coach . But the drama and latest scandal now enveloping Penn State and its football program might just bring about the demise of the illustrious football coach Joe Paterno. It may not well have been what the coach knew but what he might not have done in acting appropriately and with due diligence concerning his former assistant Jerry Sandusky .

If you’re unaware of the latest happenings with regard to Penn State , well it is the fact that Sandusky has been indicted by the state attorney’s general’s office on 40 counts of sexual assault , sexual battery , lewd and lascivious acts on several minors encompassing a span of fifteen years from 1992 up until 2007. Pennsylvania State Attorney General Linda Kelly in discussing the indictment against Sandusky this past Monday in Harrisburg , Pennsylvania has publicly requested the assistance of the general public asking that any other victims of Jerry Sandusky’s heinous acts come forward in that they can further pursue charges against the former coach. One such incident details in great length an attack by Paterno’s former assistant that has the assailant forcing himself on a ten year old boy in the showers of an campus locker room. The coach is said to have forcibly sodomized the victim anally in this reported incident of 2002. This event is said to have been witnessed by Mike McQueary a graduate assistant at the time , who then reported the attack to Joe Paterno. The head football coach reported this event to Tim Curley , now the former athletics’ director who is now said to be on administrative leave . Also advised of this attack was the school’s vice president Gary Schultz . The university’s vice president has now retired , but it is becoming increasingly clear that both will have to answer a number of questions concerning both administrators not taking the appropriate actions deemed necessary . Curley and Schultz failed to advise law enforcement of the attack and other incidents that are said to have taken place on the campus of the university. So egregious were the actions of Tim Curley and Gary Schultz that the duo are also now under indictment in charges filed upon further in depth investigations carried State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan’s office .

Jerry Sandusky used his foundation The Second Mile Group to procure these young boys for his alleged sexual procurement for his activities . And the very thought that the coach used the campus as a place to actually perpetrate some of his acts was deplorable . Now coming to Paterno’s defense is Matt Millen an alumni of the school , which to my mind is asinine given the allegations that have been made ! If Millen , who also sits on the aforementioned foundation , himself should be very disturbed ashamed by these allegations , rather than jumping to the defense of his former coach’s defense. If anything he ought to be perturbed and angry by the complete lack of accountability , compliance and the protection of these young adolescents . But then again this is simply what I would come to expect of an odious and self absorbed asshole to begin with ! Was it not Millen who as the former general manager and head of Football Operations for the Detroit Lions in his short tenure , simply made that organization a laughing stock within the NFL fraternity with his lack of assessing personnel only to make some considerable dubious draft selections during his sojourn with the organization .

What is also now coming into question are the actions of Joe Paterno , what he knew and what he may well have failed to have acknowledged . His relationship with his former assistant defensive coordinator is said to be a very close one , wherein Sandusky is said to be a trusted aide and confidante of the legendary coach. I have long felt that Joe Paterno should have retired from the ranks of collegiate football !. Instead he simply glided along chasing down and surpassing the records of collegiate football wins at the D1 level .While the football program of Penn State is an illustrious one and its reputation has been solely built upon the achievements and success of Joe Paterno , it has to be said that over the past few years the success under the coach has been fleeting. The school’s board of regents were said to be discussing with their legal counsel what steps should be taken in light of this latest scandal that has the school embroiled in a mounting web of deceit and callous behavior that has decimated the lives of several young innocent victims and their immediate family. If out of loyalty and an act of friendship Paterno has erred in judgment in protecting Jerry Sandusky then the only alternative the now beleaguered coach has , then it is to immediately step down from his position as head coach of a program that he has overseen for over three and a half decades.

No one can actually suggest that Joe Paterno should be allowed to retain his position as head coach of Penn State in light of these allegations . And that is even if he is not directly involved with the acts of Jerry Sandusky , what we can view this episode another case of a coach simply blinded by his own success and someone who is complete denial as to the serious ramifications of the allegations and the damage it has done in tarnishing the school’s reputation. I know that there will be a solid throng of loyal supporters , Penn State students and alumni included of Joe Paterno , but surely now even they have to realize that it is time for the veteran coach to step down ? If they cannot see that the coach’s lack of forthright action and if anything evidence of real compassion . Either these individuals are that naive or they are completely lacking an iota of intelligence !

Now there will be a number of people asking how this will affect the recruitment of future prospects for the program . My question for those individuals is who well fucking cares ? Surely what has happened to these victims is far more worthy of their attention than the rather self serving asinine stupidity in thinking that a school’s football program is far more important than the sexual assaults perpetrated numerous young victims who were far too young to comprehend exactly what they were being subjected by a callous sexual deviant ! It has been this sort of inaction and denial that we have all seen perpetrated by none other than hierarchy within the Roman Catholic church and particular within several dioceses across the country (United States) over the past two decades.

Paterno’s weekly conference wherein he discusses the program with the local and national media has been cancelled but the coach’s son Scott Paterno is said to be arranging a private conference for the print and television media , whereby his father can answer all of the questions which one would expect will encompass these allegations . From my own standpoint if the questions are pointed then there is no doubt in my mind the Paterno’s will be advised by their own legal counsel on how to respond to any question that could very well implicate the coach and the state attorney’s office and their ongoing investigation. Alas, we have another collegiate program that is teetering on the brink because of its sheer ineptitude in doing what was said to be right .

So dire and acute is the situation that NCCA President Mark Emmert is seeking a private meeting with Penn State University President Graham Spanier to discuss the matter privately . Publicly Emmert has said little on the matter other than to suggest that until all legal avenues have been totally resolved he cannot make any specific statement as to the matter of guilt or innocence concerning all of the parties involved . Once again another faux-pas within the collegiate athletic landscape that the NCAA is now left on the outside looking in . How many more catastrophes and acts of gross criminality must there be , before this specific hierarchy (NCAA) actually pull its finger out of its own ass and act appropriately instead of simply lifting up that finger merely to check which direction the wind is actually blowing ? Is that too much to ask at this juncture ?


By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and I will do my utmost to respond with a succinct and noteworthy response ! .





Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Magic Johnson recounts his journey over the last 20 years, his retirement after contracting the HIV virus, during a Magic Johnson Foundation event in Los Angeles on Monday, Non. 7, 2011. Johnson shocked the world on Nov. 7, 1991, when he revealed his HIV diagnosis. In the 20 years since, the Lakers great’s strong health and tireless work in AIDS awareness have changed the world’s perception of the disease. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ….

(2) Magic Johnson takes questions from the media about living with the HIV virus during a Magic Johnson Foundation event in Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011. Johnson shocked the world on Nov. 7, 1991, when he revealed his HIV diagnosis. In the 20 years since, the Lakers great’s strong health and tireless work in AIDS awareness have changed the world’s perception of the disease. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ……

(3) Edison Learning President and CEO Jeff Wahl , left, and former NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson speak during a news conference announcing Johnson is lending his name and business prowess to an education company to benefit urban schools, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in Los Angeles. Magic Johnson Enterprises and EdisonLearning are forming a partnership that will concentrate on services to help urban school districts boost their performance and reduce dropout rates. AP Photo/Reed Saxon ….

(4) Johnson is seen here with his family , wife Earlitha “Cookie” Johnson , his son Eavrvin III, and adopted daughter Elisa . The former NBA star also has a son Andre Johnson from a previous relationship . Courtesy of BlackCelebs.com …. @ copyrighted material ……all right reserved

(5) Dan Gilbert, left, and Earvin (Magic) Johnson announce Thursday at Quicken Loans that Johnson has joined —- Detroit Venture Partners as a general partner. / Photos by SUSAN TUSA/Detroit Free Press ….

(6) TUSCALOOSA, AL – FILE: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State ( Nittany Lions) during warmups before facing the Alabama (Crimson Tide) at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. According to reports on November 9, 2011, Paterno will step down as head coach at the end of the season amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

(7) STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 08 Penn State University students sing outside of the home of head football coach Joe Paterno during November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(8) Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno talks from inside his home to a large group of students who gathered at his house on November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Behind Paterno is his son Scott Paterno . (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(9) Members of the media stand outside of Beaver Stadium after the school announced that Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno’s weekly news conference was cancelled, November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(10) Penn State football Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson turns away from the media after reading a statement announcing that head coach Joe Paterno’s weekly news conference was cancelled, outside of the Beaver Stadium, November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former football assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved in child sex abuse, Paterno’s weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(11) Penn State athletic director Tim Curley walks out of the Magisterial District Court after being arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law on November 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Curley and Penn State university vice president Gary Schultz have resigned, and will face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images ….

(12) Penn State university vice president Gary Schultz walks into the Magisterial District Court to be arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law on November 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Schultz and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley have resigned, and will face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky . Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images ….

(13) FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2011 file photo, Penn State President Graham Spanier, left, and Athletic Director Tim Curley, center, present head football coach Joe Paterno with a plaque commemorating his 409th collegiate win after an NCAA college football game against Illinois in State College, Pa. Curley is expected to turn himself in on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa., as he has been charged with perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law in connection with the investigation into allegations former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young men, the state attorney general’s office said Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. Getty Images/ Martin Scott …..

(14) Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno seen here at Beaver Stadium , College Station ,PA. Sandusky the former defensive coordinator and a close confidante of the octogenarian coach. Jerry Sandusky is now under several indictments stemming from a sexual assault dating back to 2002. However, there is mounting evidence to suggest that the state attorney’s office will also pursue other charges against the coach . AP Photo /Phil Rasmussen …..

(15) Linda Kelly, a longtime prosecutor in the Pittsburgh office of the U.S. attorney, appears at a news conference Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett announced he would nominate Kelly to succeed him as Pennsylvania’s attorney general. AP Photo/Marc Levy ….


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The Madness of King George …………..

The Madness of King George …………….

Contrary to popular belief baseball’s hierarchy does not possess all of the answers to what ails the game . If anything Bud Selig , the league hierarchy , teams owners and the union have found a way to make the game itself somewhat of a laughing stock amongst the vast majority of the fans . Those who take the opposite view , simply see the game as being under the premise of the glass being half full .


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If ever there was a cause for concern then it would have to be ongoing continued meltdown of the Boston Red Sox within the AL East as their wildcard lead over the Tampa Bay Rays seems to be melting like butter having touched a hot knife . Red Sox fans are either holding their breath with deep concern or they’re contemplating suicide . This team having lost three straight , including a rather haphazard and totally inexplicable 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park is now beginning to look like a rudderless vessel at sea. If this were the Titanic then all of the hands on deck would have bailed on this bitch long ago ! At this juncture I don’t know which is more painful to endure , having to watch the Boston Red Sox at play or listen to their fans now bitch and whine on the flagship radio station WEEI . Anyone who knows how passionate the Red Sox fans are will also know that when things are getting tough they can also be some of the most obnoxious fans within the game of baseball , not unlike the fans of their bitter rivals the New York Yankees .


Baseball fans stand to leave Fenway Park as Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves , left, and designated hitter David Ortiz react as they linger in the dugout after they were defeated 6-4 by the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

Though the front office doesn’t appear to be panicked into making any foolhardy moves , I can only surmise that team President Larry Lucchino , general manager Theo Epstein will for the moment continue to allow Terry Francona and his assistants to do what they believe to best to get this team back on track . The real struggles for the team does appear to the the inconsistency of their pitching in particular with back end of the rotation and that of the bullpen . But it would be remiss not to suggest that the team’s offense isn’t without its own challenges .

Now in terms of leadership on this team one would expect the likes of seasoned veterans Jason Varitek , Tim Wakefield , David Ortiz , Josh Beckett , Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford to be amongst the players seemingly having the wherewithal to step up to the plate as and when needed . But such has been the inconsistency of the team that it is hard to see how they can now fend off the Tampa Bay Rays without the aid of others within the AL East as that team embarks upon its own schedule down the stretch .

As the season moves into its final weeks this AL wildcard race is now heating up into a suspenseful thriller that now has all the makings of quite possibly becoming an epic battle. It would come as a complete surprise to me were the Tampa Bay Rays able to erase the two game deficit and somehow gain that wildcard berth spot ! I felt that earlier in the month the deficit would be too great a burden to overcome but little had I foreseen that the Boston Red Sox would be able to make such a damn mess of things . So much so , that should they actually derail the ambitions Terry Francona’s team , then I would be the first to offer a profound apology to one patron (SportsChump) who I doubted , when he stated ……. ” that the Rays weren’t about to go away at all ” . And that has clearly been the case here as the Tampa Bay Rays have hung around and caused mayhem amongst the Red Sox organization with their apparent will win to win and stubbornness in refusing to go away quietly .

Well with all of historical feats that tend to take place within the game one can’t deny that Mariano Rivera’s achievement in surpassing the time saves’ record (601) was something special . Indeed in passing Trevor Hoffman’s mark Rivera now adds one more indelible reason why he ought to be enshrined as a first time ballot Hall of Famer . Only a complete idiot would dare to suggest otherwise at this juncture !

As the postseason beckons I would like to think that the individual races amongst the players now becomes a major draw for our attention even more . Would it be intrusive to suggest that Justin Verlander has all but nailed the Cy Young award within the AL ? His closest challenger may well be CC Sabathia but unless the New York Yankees’ ace can do something spectacular then I seriously doubt that he will be able outshine Verlander’s sensational season ! As to the other individual awards those most certainly will play themselves out as the season winds down .

What can actually be said about the College Football Season that hasn’t already been said ? The polls have the usual suspects one might deem fit sitting atop of the tables in question . If anything however, it has been the ongoing divergence of communiques and views as to where certain football programs will end up with regard to a major football conference . So asinine has been the assertion of many of the conference commissioners to suggest that the invites for teams join them is purely being done to create a competitive balance ! The bottom line to this all is the simple one sheer avarice and greed . Never mind the fact that we have the rather gross litany of bowl games that clog up the college football postseason much like traffic simply congests the 405 within the state of California . What is ultimately gained from this all , is simply mutli million dollar payouts that in large part does nothing for the real benefit of the student athlete in spite of the public statements forthcoming from the NCAA and a number of college football coaches alike . When one considers how well these commissioners are compensated it begs the question who’s kidding whom here ?

Courtesy of ESPN & Associated Press

Four BCS commissioners made $1M

WASHINGTON — Four of college football’s six powerhouse conferences paid their top executives $1 million or more, an Associated Press analysis of tax records shows, far eclipsing the compensation of most university presidents.

A review of 2009 IRS returns, the most recent available, shows that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was the highest paid, receiving total compensation valued at $1.6 million, followed by Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford ($1.1 million), Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ($1 million) and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe ($997,000). The other two commissioners each started in July 2009, so their compensation figures are only for the last six months of the year: PAC-10’s Larry Scott ($735,000), and Big East’s John Marinatto ($366,000).

Those figures include base salary and benefits such as health insurance, as well as other forms of pay such as retirement and deferred compensation. On an annual or prorated basis, only Marinatto made less than the median pay of presidents of the nation’s large research universities, which was $760,774 in 2008, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey published last fall.

The new data about commissioner salaries comes at a time when, driven by a series of controversies at major programs, there’s a growing chorus about the problems of enforcing amateurism in college football, saying it may be time to rethink the system as everyone but the athletes are making big money.


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Conference commissioners such as Mike Slive , John Swofford , John Maranatto , Larry Scott and James Delaney have all tried to suggest that these maneuvers in engineering these moves are in the best interests of the collegiate sporting landscape .

With both Pitt (Panthers) and Syracuse now seeking to make the leap from the Big East to the ACC we are seeing seismic shifts in the collegiate athletics landscape . And with each college program’s intent to move there’s no denying that the statements being made by these commissioners has no veracity at all to it . There are moves adrift to lure the Texas Longhorns , Texas A & M , Oklahoma and Oklahoma State but the likelihood of that happening could very well be countered by moves made by a number of tv broadcast networks with a vested interest in seeing thing remain as they are .

From my own perspective it is my belief that things started to go downhill when ESPN sought to align itself with the Texas Longhorns their co creation of a sports network that will provide the sports programmer with exclusive content . The deal between the broadcaster and the Longhorns will net the university $300 million over the next two decades . but that by comparison is a meager sum for a athletics program that derives approximately $70 to $75 million annually in revenues . Mack Brown and the school’s AD Deloss Dodds had no hesitation in negotiating this deal to the benefit of the University of Texas . This is a harbinger of things to come within the environment of collegiate athletics but at the same time this certainly will not abate the express intent of these schools to make the leap from one college conference to another .

If the NCAA under its president Mark Emmert seems to be at a loss to show some sort resonance on this issue albeit that it is the BCS conference commissioners and university presidents who are now dictating what takes place within the NCAA’s midst. Emmert for his part has addressed one sensitive issue that deals with the payment for the student athlete while their collegiate career is in place . The push back began immediately with a number of coaches opposing the president’s initiative for no other reason than they would prefer the status quo remain in tact . As crazy as it might seem if coaches such as Jim Calhoun , Lane Kiffin , Chip Kelly and the potential allegations now surrounding Steve Spurrier of South Carolina can somehow choose to circumvent rules and not be punished directly for those violations then what does that suggest to you about the charade that is now being created as these schools see fit to act in the way that they are doing ? Not all programs are said to be malevolent but then again not all of these programs are always willing to abide by the rules . Now within the world of collegiate sports , if you’re not making money and not winning , then you’re not trying .

Courtesy of WTLX.com

I Hope We’re Not In Serious Trouble !

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – USC Coach Steve Spurrier briefly commented Tuesday on the allegations made by the NCAA against USC athletics.

He made his remarks during his weekly address to the media Tuesday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Monday, USC President Harris Pastides received a letter outlining possible violations the NCAA believes the school made have made between 2009 and 2010. The allegations involved players staying at the Whitney Hotel in Columbia for reduced rent and the actions of the co-founders of a group called Student-Athlete Mentoring FoundationPrevious Coverage: USC Receives “Notice of Allegations” from the NCAA” .

“I hope we’re not in serious trouble,” Spurrier said. “I don’t think that we’re going to be.”

On the Whitney Hotel allegations, Spurrier said he had no knowledge this was occuring.

“Obviously, we wish we’d have known what was happening, but we didn’t,” Spurrier said.

The coach said the situation would have to play itself out over the next several months.

In 1990, when he was at Florida, Spurrier was called before the NCAA’s Infractions Committee because of the alleged actions of his predecessor, so he has been through this process before.

“I don’t think it’s embarrassing to get a letter,” Spurrier said. “I realize these kind of things can happen.”

When asked if the allegations would taint his reputation, Spurrier quickly pointed out that none of the allegations involve him.


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Spurrier is now trying to distance himself from this latest faux-pas but here’s the thing the players in question were being housed in this hotel at a reduced rate and in some cases per gratis , which contravenes NCAA rules . Something of which I know the coach and his coaching staff must have been aware of and knew that this broke the rules but somehow the blame will be apportioned elsewhere by the coach and no doubt the faculty headed by university president Harris Pastides and school AD Eric Hyman . Somehow this atypical hypocrisy and idiocy will never cease to amaze me under any circumstance ! We have come to expect this as being part and parcel of everything that is contemptible within collegiate athletics , as no one is willing to be held accountable for their actions .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning what appears to disconcerting as to the Red Sox’s misfortunes ? Do you believe that they will be triumphant in obtaining the AL wildcard berth ? Also with the apparent intent of a number of collegiate programs seeking to move to another conference do you believe that the landscape of college basketball and football will be severely disrupted ? Also in light of the proposed moves do you believe that it will be of benefit to those respective sports ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the topics raised within this article as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………… https://tophatal.wordpress.com



Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Vladimir Guerrero (27) of the Baltimore Orioles knocks in Nick Markakis (21) of the Baltimore Orioles against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park September 21, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jim Rogash …….

(2) Baseball fans stand to leave Fenway Park as Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves , left, and designated hitter David Ortiz react as they linger in the dugout after they were defeated 6-4 by the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(3) Josh Beckett (19) of the Boston Red Sox regroups as Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles rounds the bases after hitting a home run at Fenway Park September 21, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …….

(4) Nick Swisher (33) of the New York Yankees is safe at second base for an eighth inning pinch hit double ahead of the tag from Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays on September 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

(5) Manager Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays walks to the mound to make a pitching change against the New York Yankees on September 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …….

(6) Jorge Posada (20) and hitting coach Kevin Long of the New York Yankees celebrate after clinching the American League East division against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …….

(7) The big screen at Yankee Stadium congratulates New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera after he recorded his 602nd career save as the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 in a baseball game on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……

(8) New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin (55) congratulates New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera after the Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in the first baseball game of a double header on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ………

(9) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees pushes his teammate Mariano Rivera (42) back towards the mound after Rivera broke the career saves record in a game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on September 19, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Rivera recorded his 602 save . Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …….

(10) University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. , center, Women’s Athletics Director Chris Plonsky , left, and Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds, right, announce the athletics programs will continue competing in the Big 12 Conference June 15, 2010 in Austin, Texas. Getty Images North America / Eric Schlegel …..

(11) From left to right, Mack Brown, Lynn Swann , Joe Paterno and President William Powers Jr. at the May 16 dinner benefiting The Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved UT Photo / Matt Hempel ……

(12) FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2011, file photo South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier talks his players during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Spurrier says he follows the rules and doesn’t believe South Carolina will face serious punishment as a result of the NCAA’s allegations regarding his program. The NCAA outlined three potentially major violations in its letter of allegations sent to South Carolina on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. AP Photo/John Amis ……..

(13) : Running back Marcus Lattimore (21) of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates a touchdown run against the Navy Midshipmen September 17, 2011 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks defeated the Midshipmen 24-21 . Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks talks with coach Ken Niumatalolo of the Navy Midshipmen after play September 17, 2011 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……..


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I Don’t Drink The Kool Aid Simply Because I Don’t Like It !

I Don’t Drink The Kool Aid Simply Because I Don’t Like It !

I’ve never been one for hyperbole myself but it appears that the analysts of ESPN would rather come out with some of the most asinine statements imaginable simply to create that furor media frenzy needlessly . The Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton is off to a tremendous start as a rookie for the team throwing for over 850 yards in his first two games as a professional . Granted, the number one pick overall in this past NFL Draft has been lauded as the best player available of the talent to be had . Opinions being what they are , there is no denying the player is something special but it’s one thing to show that prowess in the college game , within the NFL it becomes a whole new ball-game altogether .


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Slide show for your perusal .

Now as much as I respect the analysis provided by these individuals simply brought in to host these shows on ESPN but there comes a time when Chris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson make the statement that Newton should be seen as the “Chosen One “ amongst the players that were recently taken in this past draft . As talented as many believe Cam Newton to be , there is a growing belief that until he becomes more attuned to the NFL and his teammates then there’s no way in hell the Carolina Panthers will be viewed as a success in the NFL . Coach Ron Rivera and his coaching staff are in for an arduous season and though playing as well as can be expected the team has yet to register its first win in the NFL . At 0-2 there is a belief that once having notched that first victory the Carolina Panthers might just be able of acquitting themselves well in enough within their division (NFC South) and the league as a whole .

There’s no doubt that expectations were high for Cam Newton coming out of college given the success attained by the player while attending at Auburn . And now that player has to take his talents to the NFL he’s now being viewed as “The Messiah” and ” Prodigal Son” all rolled into one as the Carolina Panthers seek to become relevant in the NFL once again. Rivera and his staff sought to obtain the best possible talent available in the draft to complement an already experienced roster which has a mix of youth and seasoned veterans .

The Carolina Panthers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in week three that is bound to be of real interest to the Panthers’ fans. Jacksonville at 1-1 look to be a staunch test with coach Jack Del Rio and his team facing the challenge of taking advantage of the problems that have beset the Indianapolis Colts and make an outright challenge to the now presumed favorites within the division to win the AFC South the Houston Texans (2-0). As to whether or not those teams within the division can actually take advantage of the woes of the Colts remains to be seen .

From my own perspective , I do believe that Cam Newton can be a success within this league but he’s still a work in progress , as too is his Tim Tebow whose current status with the Denver Broncos seems to come into question with each passing week in the league. It simply has become idiotic to witness the sheer ineptitude shown by the front office of the organization led by EVP John Elway . Team owner Pat Bowlem and newly installed coach John Fox have certainly got to address this issue before it gets completely out of hand and sinks this organization to even lower depths than could be imagined . It is bad enough that the team’s incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton has performed miserably for the Broncos during the first two games of their season schedule .

Certainly for Tim Tebow , he has done himself no favors with his alleged poor performances during team practices but it seems somewhat hard to be believed . Either that’s simply due to poor coaching by John Fox’s coaching staff and in particular from quarterback’s coach Adam Gase or quite possibly due to the fact Tebow was simply coddled as a player by his former college coach Urban Meyer while the player attended Florida . Now while the fans’ calls seem to be for Tebow to be on the field , one simply cannot be sure that the player is a sure fire guarantee to be the presumed savior of this organization . Draft choices asides and the organization’s history in that field , it has been troubling to see the Denver Broncos struggle to make their presence felt within the NFL .

The Denver Broncos for their part have had something of an inauspicious start to the season with a 1-1 record within the AFC West where they sit jointly atop of the division alongside the Oakland Raiders , San Diego Chargers with the winless Kansas City Chiefs seated as the cellar dweller in a hapless division. Kyle Orton and the Broncos next play a conference game against the Tennessee Titans in a match-up that should tell us a great deal about the temperament of this Broncos’ team under the leadership of John Fox and his coaching staff.

Perhaps it’s me but with the NCAA —- football season now up and running is now filled with more scandal than collegiate athletics would willingly care to admit . With Butch Davis having been fired the school ( UNC[ Tar Heels]) is now having to endure multiple sanctions for violating NCAA rules with regard to recruitment violations and several other transgressions that the school’s now former AD Dick Baddour has seen fit to address before stepping down in his role . I am not about to suggest that this will be the last time that we will hear or bear witness to such indiscretions across the collegiate sports landscape . Suffice to say …… where there’s smoke there is fire and there are several schools at present in college sports either fanning the flames or simply looking to put out those flames because of their incendiary nature . Think Ohio State , Miami Hurricanes , Oregon and Boise State and USC (Trojans) ? Let’s just say that until the landscape is cleaned up with any sense of urgency we will continue to see such malfeasance on the part of these schools . Never mind that we have the idiocy of college football conferences simply looking to become bigger by luring teams from one conference to another , simply through sheer financial greed . It has absolutely nothing to do with bringing about a competitive balance because as we all know the system is skewered to favor the teams within the major BCS conferences in terms of college football . Anyone who believes otherwise obviously is living in complete denial !

Now while the various polls are now out there ranking the teams within D1 football , I am of the opinion that until we are at the midpoint of the season we will not truly get a true glimpse of how things are about to pan out over the course of the year ! Certainly the rankings seem to bear out what we have longed felt about a number of teams . Oklahoma ( Sooners) , LSU , Alabama , Boise State and Stanford seem to be the standouts this early in the season . And that is with good reason as each of the teams remain unbeaten but as they get into the meat of their schedule I would preface this by saying that one or two of those very same programs are likely to slip up . Whether it this upcoming week or down the line it remains to be seen .

For myself the college football season only becomes really interesting down the stretch of the schedule when everyone seems to be aggrieved once the BCS rankings simply skewers what many of feel to be to be a brokens system and what is wrong with college football to begin with . We know that the minnows of the game will never truly be given the chance to go up against the big boys within college football . Oh , once in a while when the beat writers and fans alike show their resentment , we may well see the subterfuge take place with a proposed match-up of one of those teams on the outside looking in , as they’re given the privilege of playing in one of the lesser tiered Bowl games or BCS games . But God forbid ….. we will ever see the day of seeing the likes of Boise State perhaps taking on Auburn or perhaps Florida for the BCS national championship . What do you think would happen then amongst the likes of conference commissioners or even an idiot such as Ohio State universtity President Dr E Gordon Gee who still believes that a program outside any of the major bowl conferences is not entitled to play for the national title ? I feel that Gee should simply stick to cleaning up what we now know to be an utterly corrupt athletics program , with both he and AD Gene Smith then stepping down in shame ! I mean only these two assholes could still maintain that they were completely unaware as to the deceit , lies and subterfuge that was taking place that was being orchestrated by the program’s former football coach Jim Tressel ! Imagine that ….. ?

Amongst the presumed Heisman Trophy candidates this season the names of Andrew Luck , Landry Jones , Marcus Lattimore , Kellen Moore , Robert Griffin , Trent Richardson and Chris Rainey are being bandied about . And though there may well be justification for those names to be mentioned let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet . It’s still too early in the season to be making these type of prognostications , so give it a while and let things simply play themselves out as the season progresses .


By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

Picture gallery for your perusal .

I know that Kool Aid can be viewed as a great elixir but in reality it’s all down to one’s preference . Do you like it sweet and mixed in with something else or do you simply drink it , as is ? It’s the same with the opinions that tend to be proffered up by the analysts on tv , so simply make of it what you will ? For myself , I tend to like my drinks shaken (preferably with alcohol) and not stirred much as in the same way as that fictional character James Bond does ! Which are you in that context ? Chime in with a comment as you deem fit with regard to the subject matter and anything else you deem to be pertinent .

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Seen here from left to right are ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman joined by analysts Mike Ditka , Keyshawn Johnson , Cris Carter and Tom Jackson . courtesy of ESPN …..

(2) CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers takes the field for play against the Green Bay Packers September 18, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Packers would go on to defeat Carolina 30-23 . Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(3) Quarterback Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs for a gain against the Green Bay Packers September 18, 2011 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(4) Fans wear jerseys in support of Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(5) Fans dispaly a sign in support of quarterback Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-22 at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……..

(6) Something of an ambiguous sign by fans in support of Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(7) DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos watches a video replay during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball and as he is sacked by Michael Johnson (93) of the Cincinnati Bengals in the third quarter at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The fumble was recovered by Domata Peko (94) of the Cincinnati Bengals as the Broncos defeated the Bengals 24-22. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(9) Wide receiver Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos tries to avoid cornerback Leon Hall (29) of the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(10) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Stanford Cardinal scrambles to pass during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 37-10 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ………

(11) Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones (12) fires a first quarter pass during an NCAA college football game against the Florida State Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Tallahassee, Fla. Oklahoma would go on to defeat FSU Seminoles 23-13 Getty Images / Ahmad Kilyan ……

(12) Running back Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks away from defensive back Ryan Downing (22) of the North Texas Mean Green and defensive back Royce Hill (21) of the North Texas Mean Green for a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter on September 17, 2011 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama would defeat North Texas 41-0 . Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images …..


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How High Is Too High And Where Should One Set The Bar or Draw The Line ?

How High Is Too High And Where Should One Set The Bar or Draw The Line ?

Well the short lived Labor Day weekend came and went in the blink of an eye . Not much to be had by way of the sporting festivities unless you were completely enthralled by the first week of the college football schedule ? For myself I simply am not overcome by the events to be had until the third or fourth week of the actual schedule and by then no doubt many of prognosticators out there are already telling us who will be on the bubble and who may well be simply be playing for their reputation. No doubt a case can be already made for Notre Dame and the fact that they suffered a rather embarrassing loss (23-20) in their home opener to USF of the Big East . Far be it for me to suggest that “The Fightin’ Irish’s program is no longer relevant but I simply refuse to see how NBC Sports can continue to gain any traction from televising any game of Notre Dame ! I understand that the school is still beloved by its alumni across the country but let’s get real here , with the coaches that have recently held tenure of the post as head coach of the football team , theirs is in essence, a really pitiful story and list of accomplishments .


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Slide show for your perusal .

Brian Kelly as the present incumbent as coach of Notre Dame succeeded Charlie Weis whose accomplishments with the school was simply to drag it down to such depths of mediocrity , that it is hard to explain how was as such , he was successful as as an assistant with Bill Belichick . But I guess when you’re simply being rewarded for riding on someone else’s coat-tails that basically assures of a well paid position at your next vocational stop off point ! Now with that being said I do believe that Kelly can turn things around for the program but herein lies the caveat for the school , in particular for Kelly , his coaching assistants and AD Jack Swarbrick . One understands that the criteria set for entrance into one of the nation’s most respected parochial establishments of higher learning is exceptionally high and those student athletes granted entrance are gifted . But I do feel that the school is now fighting a losing battle in terms of recruitment when adjudged against such powerhouse programs such as USC , Florida , Alabama , Penn State , Auburn and a slew of other programs across the country. Granted , tradition has its place within every sport and Notre Dame carries a proud tradition of success and scholastic achievement but that no longer seems to matter for the vast majority of the players who seek to use the school as a stepping stone for their upward progress to the NFL . And it certainly isn’t the case where two of the school’s most recent athletes to have made the jump to the professional ranks have been a resounding success with their respective teams.


In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

For Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate ——- the duo have yet to catch on with the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks . But it is still early days yet in both of their professional careers and it would appear that Claussen for his part may well be the one who has more to lose at this juncture . The young quarterback is second on the team’s depth chart in terms of the quarterback position with the Panthers having selected Cam Newton the number one overall in the past NFL Draft . For Tate he may well be able to provide the spark that the Seattle Seahawks need in order to make their offense much more potent . But I hardly think that either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst will be the cure for Pete Carroll’s need in a signal caller for the team .

As an Independent within the College Football Subdivision (D1 level) Notre Dame is afforded way too much prestige merely because of its name and the mere fact that as a school it’s literally bankrolled by NBC . One should not be at all utterly surprised by this when you consider that one the broadcast outlets most powerful executives is none other than Dick Ebersole the former head of NBC Sports and the creator of the network’s Olympic broadcast coverage . Ebersole has since been succeeded by Mark Lazarus and the Notre Dame television contract still remains in tact . Should the fact that Ebersole’s close affinity and ties with Notre Dame be misconstrued for sheer solicited bias and be seen as the primary reason why the school is s such a benefactor of the station’s largesse by way of its yearly multi million dollar television contract ? At some point NBC’s parent company Comcast may well want to review this matter and decide upon whether or not they are still in fact getting value for money in terms of their continued coverage of the school's football program. It's one thing when you're getting 5.5-6.5% ( Neilsens’ Ratings) point share but when it now borders on a mere measly 3.5% some questions will indeed have to be asked . As of yet nothing has been forthcoming by way of a formal statement from the broadcaster but one can surmise that nothing will be left off the table as they assess the strengths and weaknesses within all of NBC as a whole.

When tradition simply becomes long in the tooth insofar as Notre Dame is concerned should the public at large be asked to endure each season the football program be given unadulterated coverage in the way it has been by NBC ? Granted , the school still has its loyal legions of fans and alumni across the nation but in reality that simply counts for nothing when the school itself simply hasn’t been a part of the the college postseason fare in terms of a major BCS Bowl appearance in over a decade .

This season Notre Dame’s schedule isn’t one that can be looked upon with sheer gratification and the thought should they meet the bare requirement of having a 6 win season as part of that calendar they are automatically guaranteed a Bowl appearance . A 10 win season might just guarantee a BCS Bowl appearance but let’s not get ahead of ourselves at this juncture in terms of that premise ! The loss to USF shouldn’t come as much of a surprise albeit that Vegas had the USF Bulls as a 10 point underdog but then again Vegas is in the business of making money and not much else beyond that !

Brian Kelly and his coaching staff has a roster of players that will be looking to prove themselves . Certainly perhaps none more so than Dayne Crist , their senior quarterback on the team. Alongside Crist , also there are also fellow seniors , Matthew Mulvey , Andrew Plaska , David Pozluszny , Trevor Robinson , Chris Salvey , Ryan Sharpley and John Goodman . But this season simply won’t be about these seniors leading this team , it will however be about a collective effort in terms of the contributions all-round . If anything anything last season was proof of that for the team and the statistics posted over the course their schedule .

Having finished with an 8-5 record overall with an appearance in the Sun Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes which resulted in a 33-17 victory for Notre Dame . This season however , you can be sure that Brian Kelly will be hoping for a far more productive and successful season than last year. Anything less than a major BCS Bowl appearance has to be viewed as a major disappointment for a program that allegedly prides themselves on being amongst the elite within college football. But as I have alluded to earlier within this piece that simply is no longer the case ! The coach may well feel that the players (freshmen) recruited to complement his existing roster will be enough to make a full on run at the national championship or one of the major bowls but they will have raise the level of their play beyond what was exhibited against the USF Bulls .

The next scheduled game for The Irish will be against one of their most heated and some might say hated rivals __ Michigan (Wolverines) in Ann Abor , Michigan. With a national television audience and what is sure to be a stadium filled with rabid Wolverines’ fans , I am more than certain that Brady Hoke with have his team more than ready to acquit themselves against Notre Dame .

Amongst the players that Brian Kelly will be looking to also to provide some potency to the offense will be Michael Floyd whose own off the field issues have been well chronicled this season . But there can be no denying what the wide receiver brings to the game . He might just be one of the most prodigious talents within the collegiate football and his athleticism especially in the yards after the catch category makes him a desirable future NFL Draft prospect for a team in search of a wide receiver. My own feeling is that as good as this team may well appear to be on paper it can only go as far as Dayne Crist can lead take them ! He appears to be a player a player who is willing to learn and who applies himself to his craft but that in ofitself alone is all that is needed . It will be encumbent upon Brian Kelly , offensive coordintor and quarterbacks’ coach Charlie Molnar to have Crist and the other quarterbacks on the roster , as well as the offense well prepared. From a defensive standpoint also this team needs to be far more aggressive in its play if it is to have any chance being successful over the course of the season. I certainly don’t believe that the opponents that they will be facing will give any ground to Notre Dame . Most certainly not the likes of Michigan , Michigan State , Boston College , USC (Trojans) , Stanford or Wake Forest for that matter . It will be interesting to see how the team fares against these teams on their 2011 schedule and whether or not they are indeed good enough to mount a serious enough challenge for a BCS Bowl appearance , much less an actual championship run.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article and what if anything do you hope to see from the College Football season ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and anything else you feel pertinent with regard to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com



Picture and slide show details below .


(1) In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(2) SOUTH BEND, IN – SEPTEMBER 03: of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend , Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(3) Evan Landi (9) of the University of South Florida Bulls catches a touchdown pass under pressure from Carlo Calabrese (44) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USF would go on to defeat Notre Dame 23-20 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(4) Tommy Rees (11) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver as Trevor Robinson (78) and Braxston Cave (52) move to block against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(5) Theo Riddick (6) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaps to catch a pass in front of Michael Lanaris (55) of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(6) Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick (R) greets Brian Kelly as he is introduced as the new football head coach at Notre Dame University on December 11, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. Kelly most recently led the University of Cincinnati to two consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances including a perfect 12-0 record this past season. Getty Images North America / Frank Polich …….

(7) Dick Ebersol former Head of NBC Sports and under whose direction the television contract for Notre Dame was negotiated to cover the team’s football schedule . Ebersol’s successor Mark Lazarus was named by NBC Sports Group Chief Executive Steve Burke . The <a href="http://www.und.com/genrel/061908aab.html deal itself is set to expire in 2015 but there has been no indication that NBC’s parent company Comcast is willing to further tie itself to a long term commitment with the football program . USA Today / Mark Pitt ……

(8) Mark Lazarus successor to Dick Ebersol as Head of NBC Sports is seen here in London at a meeting of IOC Executives to discuss the 2012 Summer Games for which the broadcast outlet has the sole proprietary North American rights. AFP/Reuters/ David Morris …….

(9) Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish talks with Dayne Crist (10) during a game against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..


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It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up !

It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up !

Well the furor over the latest shenanigans of the Miami Hurricanes’ program carries on unabated and that’s largely in part to the claims now being made by incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro . University President Donna Shalala along with AD Shawn Eichorst and senior compliance officer David Reed all now seem to be a loss to explain what went wrong on the campus of the school during their tenure. I would suggest that there has been an environment of calculated misdeed that has been ingrained within this university for the better part of two decades ! And at no time has anyone within the athletics department faculty governing the program has seen to address this matter and stem the tide of malfeasance . So on goes this saga as Shapiro makes his claims that now have embroiled current and former players of the school’s football and basketball programs .


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As things now stand I certainly would like to see what the outcome will be after the findings of the NCAA’s now five month ongoing investigation. Mark Emmert has seen fit to have legal counsel undertake this exercise on the collegiate body’s behalf . At some time the NCAA will have to take a stance and make an example of the university, very much in the same as they had previously done with the SMU Mustangs over two decades ago.

It certainly will interesting to see if Paul Dee as chairman of the NCAA’s Infractions Committee will recuse himself from any deliberation , as it relates to the University of Miami when it comes to a decision as to what form of punishment will be levied against the school. Dee served as a former AD of the program and to my mind it would be seen as a conflict of interest , albeit that his tenure ended with the school over ten years ago . Pat Haden currently serving as the athletics director of USC would certainly have a valid claim were Paul Dee seen to be part of any discussion concerning what form of punishment if any is levied against the Canes. As chairman of the Infractions Committee he played his part in making sure that the punishment meted out to USC was severe , with the loss of multiple scholarships, postseason play in any football games or for that matter BCS sanctioned games . One cannot deny that the athletics director of USC would have a valid argument against Dee presiding over the deliberations as it relates to Miami but this is simply what we have now come to expect from the NCAA ! As the governing body of collegiate athletics this institution is simply bereft of any intelligence much less integrity to begin with. Much of this came into being long before succeeded his predecessor Myles Brand as the body was thought of as corrupt and open to any form surreptitious activity just as long as they were able to profit from those actions financially .

Did I miss something but overnight , did the sky suddenly turn a different shade of blue ? Suddenly the whole baseball world is awry as the game’s first player has tested positive for HGH . Minor league player Mike Jacobs has become the first North American athlete to test ” positive” for the steroid and it certainly doesn’t bode well for the claims now being made by the league and in particular Bud Selig ——— that baseball (MLB) has the most stringent drug testing policy in all of professional sports . Unfortunately, the game simply doesn’t test the players playing at the major league level , where the union’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits such testing but allows for it at the minor league level , ostensibly because of the power of the MLBPA (union).

Rob Manfred states that can foresee the day where the players at the major league level will be tested for steroids then quite possibly someone has failed to pass on that information to Michael Weiner and his members of the MLBPA . Given the fact that the league hierarchy has simply been powerless to even have the temerity to truly discuss the matter in depth with the union they have chosen instead to cower like a child in the corner that has been rebuked simply for doing nothing at all. Bud Selig is ” spineless” and it speaks to his incessant stupidity as the baseball commissioner ! And all this for an executive who’s compensated with an extremely exorbitant salary if the rumors are to be believed . It is said that Selig’s salary for the fiscal year ending 2010 hit $20 million . Given the team salary of the New York Yankees , that wage would place Bud Selig alongside Mark Teixiera , CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez and most certainly in line with the 15 highest paid players in the league .

If Bud Selig cares as much as for the game of as much he invokes the names of Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson , Hank Aaron , Willie Mays , Lou Gehrig and Sandy Koufax in the way that he has done . I certainly believe that the commissioner has simply been about creating sound bytes, merely for the sake of making them because he believes it is in fact what the fans would like to hear ! His actions hasn’t simply borne out what he aspires to see for the game .

Certainly if baseball wants to remain resonant amongst the fans then issues such as steroids and how best to deal with having a policy that is fair and seen as equitable in the eyes of the fans rather than the idiocy that we are now seeing . It is time now for the league hierarchy along with the team owners and the union to seek a remedy where there is some consistency as to how MLB addresses the issue of steroids and its testing policy. Perhaps it is the frustration of the fans who have seen Alex Rodriguez , Rafael Palmeiro , Mark McGwire , Sammy Sosa , Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds simply evade the wrath of the league in spite of either the allegations , speculation or proven case where these players’ names have been closely associated with presumed steroid abuse and the inevitable “Mitchell Report” which simply cast an even bigger cloud over the game .

Even with the advent of causing his school complete embarrassment Terrelle Pryor is in for a rough start to his NFL career. At the insistence of commissioner Roger Goodell the player will have to forgo the first five games of the NFL regular season . With the ongoing investigation of the Ohio State program and that is even school president Dr E Gordon Gee and AD Gene Smith now feeling that this sordid affair is now behind them . The school’s former football coach Jim Tressel has relinquished his role riding off into the sunset but knowing whether or not he will be able to hold a similar post at some point in the future.

Pryor’s agent Drew Rosenhaus now has to impress upon any team willing to take a chance on the player that his problems are far behind him . With the NCAA ,themselves having imposed a five game suspension on the player after he was embroiled in numerous allegations that upon investigation had been verified and found to be true. In light of that showing, the player decided to forgo his junior season with Ohio State and making himself eligible for the NFL Supplemental Draft . It is my belief that Rosenhaus will do utmost to sell his client as someone who’s capable of leading a team especially at the quarterback position . Pryor, himself , will have a hard time proving that he is the right man for the job. Quarterback’s taken in this past draft have found their way unto teams seeking either backups , starters or simply someone (third string) to carry the clipboard.

If Terrelle Pryor isn’t able to prove himself worthy enough of a starting position as a quarterback then there is always a possibility for the player to switch positions and become either a tight end or wide receiver . There’s an increasing belief that this may well be the best possible option for the player. Is Pryor good enough to have a successful career in the NFL ? Only time will tell but most definitely there is a great deal of intrigue being built up in anticipation to see how the player will fare. If he is unable to matriculate what was a moderately successful career at the collegiate level , step up within the NFL , then there’s every chance that Terrelle Pryor can become a star in the NFL .

Well now that Chad Ochocinco seems to have found a resting place for his languid career . I just hope that the player can live up to the claims that he’s a Canton bound future Hall of Famer ! Bill Belichick , his coaching staff and New England Patriots’ general manager Nick Caserio took a chance in acquiring the player via a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals . It certainly looks as if Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth another cast off who has joined the Patriots and found themselves welcomed , for both players this is their last chance at redemption.

In their first two preseason games of the New England Patriots seem to have hit their stride having not really lost a step from last season in spite of their postseason upset at the hands of the New York Jets .

Having decisively won the AFC East in 2010 with a 14-2 mark the letdown of that loss to the Jets remains fresh in the minds of the players , perhaps none more so than Tom Brady . The Superbowl winning MVP player knows that shocking loss and the fact that questions arose not simply about his play but the lack of heart from the team had many wondering if Brady’s heart was still in the game and not elsewhere . After-all , he’s now married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen , father of two children , has immeasurable wealth alongside Peyton Manning , the duo it has to be said are the ‘faces of the NFL’ .

Once again building through the draft and the acquisition of free agents seems to be the path that Bill Belichick seems to be taking . Complacency on the part of the team , the coach and his staff may well have the main reason behind the Patriots’ fall from grace last season. Certainly, this season the team will have to prove themselves worthy and in particular the new additions to the roster , notably Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth.

At some point during the season we well begin to discover what the New England Patriots will be about over the course of their schedule. Character , depth , heart and force are the traits I am hoping to see from the team ! A set-back for the organization and it’s once again back to drawing board , something I believe that neither Belichick or the members of the team will simply want . Their goal will be a berth in the Superbowl and the end scenario of this team raising the Lombardi Trophy .


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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit on this topic and other salient points you feel pertinent .

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Shawn Eichorst the current athletics directors of the Miami Hurricanes . Only in his current position for a little over a year , he succeeded Kirby Hocutt who now holds a similar position with Texas Tech . Miami Herald / Hector Garcia ……

(2) David Reed compliance director for Miami Hurricanes’ athletics program . It would be an understatement to suggest that Reed has simply sat idly by as the program has slipped down the ladder further into an abyss of shrouded malfeasance and lack of oversight during his tenure . courtesy of University of Miami . ……

(3) Mike Jacobs, seen here at Rockies spring training in March, says he took HGH to treat knee and back problems . Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

(4) Bud Selig , Rob Manfred and former MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA are seen here being sworn in before giving testimony to the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee up on Capitol Hill , Washington DC in 2008 . AP/Getty Images /Jamie Squires …….

(5) JEANNETTE, PA – AUGUST 12: Terrelle Pryor works out at a practice facility while quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson looks on on August 12, 2011 in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …….

(6) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) smiles as he talks to teammates Rob Gronkowski (87) and Sebastian Vollmer (76) in the huddle during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 in Tampa, Fla. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Buccaneers 31-14 AP Photo/Brian Blanco ……..

(7) New England Patriots’ Albert Haynesworth during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass. Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ……….

(8) FOXBORO, MA – AUGUST 11: Chad Ochocinco (85) of the New England Patriots talks with teammate Tom Brady (12) in the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 11, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 47-12 . Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …….


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Ah Those Lovable Scoundrels …….. !

Ah Those Lovable Scoundrels …….. !

It seems the depths of ineptitude continue for one of baseball’s great franchises in the Chicago Cubs . The ownership group led by Tom Ricketts sought to fire GM Jim Hendry after his seventeen years loyal service with the organization . Given the history of the players associated (Hall of Famers) with this organization many of whom have been enshrined in Cooperstown , at the Hall of Fame it has to be said that their fall from grace has been absolutely horrendous .


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I would hazard a guess that Tom Ricketts and the members of the family could no longer withstand the ridicule and the mere fact that the long faithful and loyal fans in attendance at Wrigley Field essentially had enough of the lackluster displays and the sheer ineptitude of the team and managerial staff . To say that this team has underachieved this season would be to suggest that Peyton Manning had an off-day at the office but that he’d been doing so repeatedly over the last decade. Highs and lows over the course their history , more lows than highs if anything but it has to be said that the Tom Ricketts had high hopes for the organization . And as we know the postseason hasn’t exactly been kind to the Chicago Cubs . There’s a saying …… “always the bridesmaid never the bride ” . In the case of the Cubs that hasn’t happened in over 100 years for this ballclub laying claim to the World Series .


Chicago Cubs interim general manager Randy Bush talks to the media before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

It’d be remiss to suggest that Jim Hendry might just be the worse front office executive in the game today but given the slim pickings in terms of the sheer ineptitude shown by the now defunct executive one might hazard a guess that Hendry’s name would be considered a worthy nomination. Cubs’ manager Mike Quade now has to endure a season of speculation as to whether not he’ll retain his job until the end of the year . And at this juncture no one can actually be sure of that , with no successor named to succeed Hendry , and no formal statement coming from the owners .

At this point it’s hard to say what the all consuming Chicago Cubs’ fan ought to expect from this organization . Certainly , ever since Tom Ricketts assumed control of this team having purchased the organization that had been placed into bankruptcy proceedings by then multi billionaire mogul Sam Zell . I am not about to suggest that Zell gave up on this organization by jettisoning the ball-club but you simply get the impression that the “curse of the goat” simply remains in tact. No amount of refurbishment to Wrigley Field can offset the ineptitude shown on the diamond by this team . What glimmer of hope there might have been, has been few , if at all ! Certainly from the future standpoint of the club everything points to the future as the moves made by front office and the draft choices made. The bright spots also are the prospects within the organization and its farm system where there appears to a number of players looking to contribute for the Chicago Cubs .

As we have all come to know injuries will play a part in team’s season and how the players they simply chooses to acquit themselves . There seems to be no real leadership coming from the veterans on this team and for the likes of Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Pena , Geovany Soto , Kerry Wood and Starlin Castro have offered little hope if anything to show the fans there’s imminent hope that things are about to make an immediate turnaround .

There are few teams within the game of baseball that in terms of attendance that can consistently draw in excess of 2,500,000 fans each season and the Chicago Cubs just happens to be one of those teams . Considered a big market team with a storied history , loyal supporters and litany of devoted followers nationwide it is extremely hard to see how a ball-club can seemingly remain in such an abyss of mediocrity. But herein , lies the drama and ever evolving cycle that encapsulates what the Chicago Cubs seems to be about.

The now infamous Steve Bartman ‘incident’ and his confrontation with Moises Alou over a fly ball in a postseason game played between the Cubs and Florida Marlins will go down in Chicago Cubs’ folklore. If ever there were a time to sympathize with the ball-club then that might have been it. Bartman was vilified not only by the fans , the city of Chicago but also the team’s broadcasters who covered the game.

Tom Ricketts may seek to promote from within in terms of a successor to Jim Hendry or they may well seek to go outside that comfortability zone and bring in someone with the experience they seek in terms of a front office executive. The opportunity is there for the right candidate but the speculation remains as to when a decision will be forthcoming from the ownership group.

One of the major fallouts from the whole unsavory episode now surrounding the University of Miami and its now soured athletics program could well be the form of punishment imposed on the school by the NCAA . Mark Emmert as president of collegiate athletics’ governing body that upon the finality of its investigations into the claims made by the now disgraced Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro , who is now serving a multi year sentence in a federal penitentiary will make a decision as to what punishment he feel is appropriate to be levied against the university. Watching all of this closely will be USC Trojans’ athletics director Pat Haden with the school having been severely punished in light of school’s own problematic program _____ in particular the football program and the allegations surrounding former player Reggie Bush .

Donna Shalala , Shawn Eichorst and David Reed in conjunction with Hurricanes’ football coach Al Golden have all tried to suggest that the school still has a great deal of integrity and that the students have been the embodiment of what character is all about. But such has been the systemic violations and the mere fact that the aforementioned quartet closely aligned themselves with one of the school’s major boosters in Nevin Shapiro , that it is hard to believe any statement uttered by Shalala and her subordinates.

Pat Haden having succeeded Mike Garrett will watch with a great deal of interest as to the form of punishment that is meted out to the university of Miami. Clearly with the sanctions placed upon USC , with the school having to vacate a championship season , multiple student athlete scholarships and postseason appearances _____ anything short of that as a form of action levied against the Canes’ program will be viewed as being biased . What might be even more suspect as this situation unfolds is that Paul Dee a former athletics director of the University of Miami now chairs NCAA’s Infractions Committee . My own opinion , is that Dee will have to recuse himself if a decision has to be made over a program that he was once an administrator of , as by perception alone , the appearance of a conflict of interest comes into being. Haden would have a valid point in appealing any ruling that Paul Dee is a part of , in rendering a decision that imposes any sanction that is viewed to be somewhat light in terms of its severity.

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA isn’t above some type surreptitious activity , given the inconsistency shown in the forms of punishment levied against certain programs. But herein lies my biggest concern , if the NCAA shows its unwillingness to punish the school with impunity then what does that say about that institutional body as a whole ? Mark Emmert and the institution he presides over (NCAA) not only has a credibility problem but also an image problem that certainly needs to be addressed. It’s one thing to suggest changes that he would like to see but at this moment in time the NCAA president has done little to suggest that he is indeed a man of action. Instead he seems to be ready foist upon the public meaningless and asinine sound bytes merely to curry favor with the public at large .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the firing of Cubs’ general manager Jim Hendry where do you now see the ownership going in terms of a successor and do you view Mike Quade’s job as still being safe at this juncture ? Also how do you team’s season panning out over the remainder of the year ? Do you also feel that any that Pat Haden will be justified in lodging an appeal should Paul Dee preside over any deliberations as it concerns the punishment that may well be levied against the University of Miami ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, left, and Fernando Salas celebrate the Cardinals 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs after a baseball game on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Jim Prisching …..

(2) Chicago Cubs’ catcher Geovany Soto, left, looks on as the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols celebrates his solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Jim Prisching ………

(3) Chicago Cubs interim general manager Randy Bush talks to the media before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

(4) Hendry (left) is seen here alongside Tom Ricketts whose family are the primary owners of the Chicago Cubs . Ricketts wealth came from the online stock trading company Ameritrade founded by his father patriarch J. Joseph Ricketts . The company now known as TD Ameritrade Inc. . Ricketts is also the CEO of Chicago financial concern Incapital LLC . He plays an active concern in both companies as well as the day to day operations of the Chicago Cubs of which each of his siblings are also involved with the organization in various capacities . AP Photo/ Matthew Barnhart ……

(5) Hendry ,left is seen here alongside now incumbent manager Mike Quade , center and Tom Ricketts , owner of the Chicago Cubs. There is now mounting speculation as to whether or not Quade will be retained by the club beyond this season . Interim general manager Randy Bush hasn’t indicated what the organization’s plans are other than to suggest the Mike Quade remains the team’s manager for the moment. AP Photo/ Rich Howard ….

(6) Donna Shalala right is seen here alongside former Miami booster and now incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro (center) . Shalala has tried to distance herself and the school’s athletics department staff from all of the perceived wrongdoings concerning Shapiro and his claims. Courtesy of Miami Herald .

(7) Paul Dee (background-far left) is seen here with Donna Shalala . Dee , now the chairman of the NCAA’s Infractions Committee would have to preside over the hearings concerning the University of Miami’s alleged improprieties . However, in lieu of this Pat Haden the AD of USC is questioning the impartiality that can be shown as Paul Dee once served as the athletics director of the Miami Hurricanes’ program . ……….. AP /Getty Images / Humberto Cruz …..

(8) Pat Haden the current AD of USC having succeeded Mike Garrett . He has been entrusted to clean up the school’s tarnished image in light of the violations and subsequent punishment meted out by the NCAA. The USC Trojans’ AD has made it public that he will be closely scrutinizing actions of the NCAA and how they treat the University of Miami in light of the allegations and any sanctions levied against the school. Also coming into question as broached by Haden will be the fact that Paul Dee as chairman of the Infractions Committee will preside over the hearings concerning the school . One has to bear in mind that Dee served as a former athletics director of the Canes’ program as well as teaching law at the school. AP Photo / Mitch Marshall ……..


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It’s Not What You Know But It’s Also Who You Know ….

It’s Not What You Know But It’s Also Who You Know ….

I must admit that few things to my mind have really changed since I lived in South Florida and was a frequent attendee to football games played by the Miami Hurricanes . Having moved from South Florida up to the central part of the state, I try when I can to attend a few scheduled games of the program. Not since the heydays of Howard Schnellenberger , Dennis Erickson , Jimmy Johnson and Larry Coker when the football program was winning national titles and lauded as being one the premiere college teams in the nation ___ has there really been much to laud concerning the the Miami Hurricanes . However in the last few years the program has seen a decline in its attendance , the loss of Randy Shannon because it was deemed he wasn’t high profiled enough to lead the team.


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With that fall from grace has come criticism from former players who are now lauded within the NFL or who have entered into the Hall of Fame but who still see the school as their fraternity of brothers . Players such as Michael Irvin , Ray Lewis and Clinton Portis have all been pretty vocal as to what they see as the way that things have been done wrong by the school. What no one can deny is the mere fact that the Miami Hurricanes has always been the center of controversy and some might say the school simply courted incidents merely to gain even more notoriety . Now comes word that the NCAA is conducting an investigation into the school and the fact that a now indicted felon Nevin Shapiro , who conducted a multi-million dollar Ponzi Scheme , is said to have lavished members of the football team with monetary gifts , invites to numerous sporting events whereby they attended per-gratis. It is also being alleged that Shapiro for his part made sure that students were aided in aided obtaining none specific off campus work for which it is unclear how the players were being compensated .

Courtesy of The Boston Herald

NCAA visiting University of Miami regarding allegations

By Barry Jackson and Susan Miller Degnan / McClatchy Newspapers

MIAMI — The NCAA is investigating claims that convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro gave gifts and services — such as use of a yacht — to Hurricane football players while they were attending the University of Miami, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation and Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez.

Perez said Monday she has been in contact with the NCAA, on Shapiro’s behalf, for several months and has conveyed Shapiro’s claims that more than a dozen former or current Hurricanes players have received gifts and other benefits that would constitute a violation of NCAA rules. Shapiro also has spoken to the NCAA directly, she said.

Perez said the NCAA informed her that it would visit the Coral Gables, Fla., university on Monday. When reached by phone Monday night, University spokeswoman Margot Winick said, “My understanding is the NCAA was on site, but we’re not prepared to comment now until we know what they’re looking into.”

Though there is a four-year statute of limitations on NCAA violations, Perez said some of the incidents occurred within the past four years, while others occurred before that.

“It’s not about giving money — it’s about giving favors,” Perez said of Shapiro’s allegations. “It’s giving suits, giving jewelry, paying for entertainment, letting them use his boat twice a week.”

Perez said she has not tabulated the monetary value of gifts and benefits that Shapiro said he gave players, but “it’s well over thousands of dollars. It took $2,000 just to fuel up the gas tank of the yacht at Riviera Club.”


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Somehow in the midst of this latest mea culpa that has embroiled the University of Miami , the school’s president former cabinet member Donna Shalala , now has to try allay the fears of the fans and public in general that the school isn’t once again embroiled in a mess of its own making . What I would like to know in all of this , is how is it that a school can allow either boosters or for that matter any individual full access to the campus merely to heighten their presence amongst the student athletes ? It is clear that problems will always continue to arise when such an incident as is now being reported concerning the actions of Nevin Shapiro ___ his interaction with the school. There is a great deal that we have yet to be made aware of concerning the ongoing investigation by the NCAA but it is now becoming clear that there were errors in judgment not simply by school but also the lack of accountability from within the school’s own system.

And this upcoming season coach Al Golden not only has to deal with these allegations now surfacing but he and his coaching staff will now have to how to get the very best out of a football team that very much underperformed (7-6) last year within the ACC .

If there’s one thing that has become abundantly clear with the college coaches be it within basketball or football it is that they are self serving and think of themselves above the law. In a recent symposium that was hosted by ESPN to which they had a number of well known coaches , college sport’s analysts participate in this panel. It became clear that Nick Saban , Mike Bellotti , Bob Stoops feel that they are not answerable for the actions of their respective coaching staffs or even where they may well have stepped into a gray area as it relates to the NCAA regulations .

Stoops, Saban and Bellotti stated that nothing gives them greater pleasure than meeting a potential athlete in the parents’ home and discussing their future . And as altruistic as that may well seem we all know what lies beneath the maneuvering that is made by these coaches. It certainly has nothing to do with the players actually gaining an education but more to do with how the school can gain financially from acquiring that athlete if they are especially talented in their chosen sport. I am not about to suggest that the antics of Nick Saban , Mike Bellotti or Bob Stoops are untoward , but it does beg the question when Nick Saban begins to state that the real issues facing the underlying collegiate athletics , is the mere fact that agents are ruining college sports through their illicit acts . I might hasten to add nowhere has Saban sought to question the actions of one of his former peers in Jim Tressel and his culture of deceit and likes while coach of Ohio State and the school’s football program. If nothing else Treseel’s actions were culpable and the inaction by university president E Gordon Gee and school AD Gene Smith left a great deal to be desired . And in the midst of this all has been the inaction of the NCAA and their complete lack of action when necessary .

At some point I would like to know when it is that coaches such as Stoops , Saban and Bellotti will choose to question either their own inaction or for that matter the lack of action by a compliance officer or an athletics director when they choose not to act appropriately in the case of their lack of not wanting to do the right thing ? If cases such of Ohio State and the ongoing investigation of Auburn as it relates to the Cam Newton’s eligibility status while attending the school . Gene Chizik the school’s football coach has denied culpability in any action that might have violated any NCAA rules. Chizik in a recent confrontation with a senior official of the NCAA had been quite vocal in asking why the body was still investigating the school , in the aftermath of Auburn’s own internal investigation. That official stated the NCAA wasn’t of the belief that the school’s own investigation was as thorough as they were led to believe and that was in light of further allegations that have since arised .

So the Bernie Machen the president of the university of Florida has let it be known that the SEC for the time being will remain a conference of twelve schools . As we know this is simply a university president posturing for the public at large . Machen knows that sooner or later the conference will have to be enlarged if it is to compete with the other major conferences bowl or otherwise as they seek to a greater source of the monetary pie courtesy of the nation’s sports broadcasters. The Texas A&M Aggies are being courted and a move into the ACC or but moreover the SEC would be highly profitable for the school. With the school’s highly publicized and successful athletics program it would prove to be a great coup for any conference acquiring the school. And it has to be said that the SEC would deem it more of a triumph than perhaps the ACC.

The SEC already boasting a plethora of top notch schools that have made the BCS national championship its own fiefdom over the past few years , they would welcome Texas A&M with open arms. But such a maneuver has to be achieved in a way that it doesn’t create a backlash against either the school or conference itself. Inasmuch as we have seen recent realignments of number of conferences , anyone who believes that it is being done for altruistic motives clearly can’t see the overall big picture. These moves aren’t being done to create a more competitive balance within collegiate athletics but merely to create an even bigger cash windfall for the schools and conferences in question. Collegiate athletics is simply no longer about the apparent education or producing more productive citizens but a way and means of garnering talent as production for the schools themselves and then on to the professional level for the students in their chosen sporting endeavors.

There’s a great deal of money to be made but on the face of it one at times has to question the motives of the schools when one tends to see little if anything that is tangible coming out as a bye product of the activities in question. So much so that now instead of the landscape being about competitive athletic prowess much of the dialogue surrounds alleged acts of malfeasance not only the part of the student athletes but in some cases the AD’s , coaches and compliance officers of the very schools themselves. And in the midst of this cesspool of deceit and corrupt action stands the NCAA at times playing Pontius Pilate one minute and then meting out punishment like Judge Roy Bean the next.

Mark Emmert as president of the NCAA, either has to act swiftly and corral the activities of the schools or he can simply keep the status quo as is , by looking the other way and then choosing to punish with impunity as he sees fit merely to create the perception that he and his esteemed body are not without power . But in reality we know that the NCAA has already aligned itself with the Devil , in this case their paymasters , the broadcast and cable networks who pay out hundreds of millions of dollars each year for the broadcast rights for collegiate sports. As to the money trail and where much of those funds actually ends up, is anyone’s guess at this juncture , even if we are being assured that is to benefit the schools and student athletes as a whole . We can only those establishments at their word but in reality in this day and age what can we actually believe ? It is not as if a university president or athletic director isn’t above being culpable in an act of stupidity or simply being naive to begin with ! Simply look at the actions of E Gordon Gee , Gene Smith, Jim Tressel , Butch Davis and Dick Baddour of the former athletics director of UNC and ask yourself who can you really trust to tell the truth ?