They did what and why? And their explanation, was what again ?

They did what and why? And their explanation, was what again ?

I have some serious misgivings when I read of the never ending idiocy happening within the world of sports . And nowhere, has it been more candid, simply sordid , and beyond belief than at the collegiate level . It is hard to understand how a bureaucratic monolith of an institution such as the NCAA can be allowed to operate in its present guise , while being so corrupt and completely damn well devoid of any intelligence and leadership . Countenancing this all in many respects has been NCAA President Mark Emmert , who says all of the thing, he believes the public wishes to hear , but lo and behold , he like many of his subordinates simply go out and their actions simply belies and undermines the good they seek to bring about and the changes needed to salvage the years of inaction , and the simply idiocy of the previous administrators of this institution . Emmert succeeded Dr. Myles Brand in November 2010, after his predecessor’s death due to pancreatic cancer .

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Since his rise to the position of NCAA President , Emmert has sought change , much of that primarily with regard to student stipends , said to be part of the change in culture and perception of the “paid student athlete “ , something that no one can now deny is actually prevalent at the collegiate level. Yet , it remains college sports’ dirty little secret , that they do not want uncovered , to then create the perception that they have been unwilling to do anything about the sordid underbelly college sports, beyond the prevalence of sexual crimes that has also become a part of the culture on college campuses across the country . And the apathetic view being taken by so many , is if it goes unreported , then it is not a statistic that we need to worry about . Nothing new , when you consider the fucking idiots in complete denial after the Jerry Sandusky “affair “ and the actions of the Penn State trustees and that of the late Joe Paterno .

Emmert’s rule within the NCAA, has also brought a great deal of criticism from insiders within the collegiate athletic body , as he has systematically removed trusted administrators and replaced many of them, with a number of bureaucrats . However , his rule has been described as being almost autocratic bordering on maniacal in some cases . And when things are said to be not to his satisfaction , he has been known to berate subordinates with such disdain that accusations of abuse can be leveled against him . Yet thus far , he appears to be like ” The Teflon Don” , as nothing ever seems to stick . He is however viewed by a number number of legislators within the US Congress as someone who has brought back some semblance consistency within collegiate athletics . Given the fact that , that the NCAA is granted non-profit status as a charitable organization , by the US Congress , rather than what it just happens to be , a commercial enterprises whose annual revenues runs into the tens of billions of dollars . Somehow , this must have escaped legislators such as Senators Charles Schumer (D-Ny) , John McCain(R-Az) , Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,) , Lindsey Graham (R-SC) , Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Jim Cooper (R-Tn) .

In recent months, Mark Emmert’s reign as the NCAA President has come under increased criticism after the mea-culpa and mistakes made by NCAA investigators and what was said to be their ongoing investigation of the Miami Hurricanes’ athletics’ program and the misdeeds of former Canes’ booster , now incarcerated felon , Nevin Shapiro . Claims of fabricated evidence and previous known associations with Shapiro , by several of the investigators from the NCAA’s Infraction Committee conducting the investigation at Emmert’s behest , questions the integrity of any impartiality and that of the NCAA , as an institution. Furthermore, it has been witnessed over the years that Collegiate Athletics’ governing body punishes with impunity programs it seeks to make an example of , only to allow other to carry on with their own nefarious misdeeds , away from prying eyes . How else can one simply explain the repeated occurrences of the U Conn Huskies Men’s Basketball program and the actions of former head coach Jim Calhoun ? Lies by the former coach as to player eligibility , recruitment violations , cheating scandals , all of which seem to have been overlooked by the NCAA and specifically by Emmert . Calhoun , has been succeeded by his assistant and former NBA player , Kevin Ollie , to lead the program , after his twenty six years with the U Conn program . Hopefully , Ollie will ring in a reign, where the program can be looked upon with a great deal more integrity , in spite of the success achieved with Jim Calhoun at the helm.

As to the situation with the Miami Hurricanes and the disruption caused, and the fact that former AD Shawn Eichorst , has since left the school , to hold accept a similar role with the University of Nebraska (Cornhuskers) brings about this question . How can the NCAA, now conduct any further investigation of the school in spite of the claims of Shapiro and the evidence he provided to the FBI and the NCAA , when the institution’s own investigative body cannot carry out and conduct an investigation , without their now being any perceived interpretation of impropriety ? A strong case can be made where Mark Emmert has countenanced this incompetence , because his own reign thus far has also been one of sheer incompetence without anything of tangible note being put into place to strengthen the integrity of the NCAA as an institution. Instead , the body in question is mired in and with incompetence , all too corrupt practices and the very fact that they continue to bleed their broadcast partners dry , by overcharging them for the content they provide to ABC/ESPN , TNT , Fox Sports , CBS Sports and NBC Sports .

Emmert’s career prior to his succeeding Myles Brand has been blighted by controversy and a great deal of incompetence on his part. And with the latest allegations now surrounding his tenure at the University of Connecticut , it begs the question , was there not a more qualified candidate , without this type of baggage to succeed his predecessor ? It is alleged that Emmert along with two other top officials at the university knew of the difficulties that had beset a $100 million construction project on the university’s campus , but somehow they chose to ignore the warnings of mismanagement that had surfaced , while failing to notify the board of trustees of the continued and growing problems surrounding the project including , that there were also actions of fraud by those said to be at the center of the allegations. It has now led to an investigation which will be carried out by the state’s Attorney General George Jepsen , at the behest of Governor Daniel Malloy . And all of this is now happening twelve years after this project first came into being , which would suggest to most conspiracy theorists that something was awry . What the fuck!

Courtesy of USA Today

Digging into the past of NCAA President Mark Emmert

The man entrusted as the NCAA’s moral compass is seen as both a deft manager with politician-like savvy and a self-serving salesman who escapes blame when scandal visits.

By Brent Schrotenboeur , USA Today

INDIANAPOLIS – Six years after Mark Emmert left his job at the University of Connecticut, the governor of Connecticut ordered an investigation into a massive construction project on campus that had been ravaged by scandal, including more than $100 million lost because of mismanagement.

To find out where things went wrong, the investigators looked at old papers of Emmert, who once supervised the project as UConn’s chancellor. They soon found a bombshell.

DOCUMENTS: Take a look into Emmert’s past

Memos from 1998-99 showed that Emmert and two other top UConn officials knew about the construction project’s big problems then, but failed to disclose them to the school’s board of trustees or the state legislature.

The other two officials ultimately resigned after being placed on leave. The third — Emmert — went on to become president of the NCAA.

“There is absolutely no question that he was briefed on the magnitude of the problem three years into it,” Jonathan Pelto, who co-chaired the investigation for Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, said of the findings. “He was in a position to blow the whistle and didn’t.”

COMING WEDNESDAY: How Mark Emmert has stirred up the NCAA during his tenure

Gov. Rell called the fiasco “an astounding failure of oversight and management .”

It had no bearing on Emmert. By the time the problems were found, he was long gone, having become chancellor at LSU in 1999. Connecticut officials said their efforts to question him about his role in the matter were unproductive.

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There are those who have suggested that Mark Emmert has brought back some of the integrity lost by the NCAA and collegiate athletics overall. I would beg to differ , as this simply more evidence a system that remains broken and where the Presidents and Chancellors as well as the athletic directors on the university campuses across the country have no wish to repair , because as long as that gravy train of , money arrives on time , and continues to meets their expectations , they simply could not give a shit , if Mark Emmert were a homicidal maniac or a damn child predator and pedophile .

The recent firing of Rutgers’ Men’s Basketball coach Mike Rice either has to be one of the most half assed decisions ever rendered by a person in a position of power . The school’s AD Tim Pernetti now states that insight he erred in not firing Rice earlier after repeated and misconduct by Rice against his players over the past three seasons dating back to 2010. If you have not seen the viral scenes since shown over the internet , the abhorrent behavior of the coach , and his repeated verbal and physical abuse of the players bordered on being psychotic and malevolent in its depravity . Throw in, the homophobic and racial epithets used by the coach and now asinine apology , indicates , Rice’s face saving exercise was insulting . And there are those who are of the belief that socially and racially that this country has made such great strides as how it views minorities and transgendered and homosexuals are still treated equally? Perhaps those who take a view to the contrary should take a look at the displays of Mike Rice and then come back with a comment .

Courtesy of ABC News

Fired Rutgers Coach Mike Rice to Receive $100K Bonus

By Kevin Dolak

Fired Rutgers coach Mike Rice is due a $100,000 bonus from the university for the 2012-2013 basketball season, a payout he would not have received had he been sacked when the tapes of his tormenting his players came to light in November.

The New Jersey school fired Rice, 44, Wednesday amid a quickly unfolding scandal that began when ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” aired footage of the coach’s pushing players in the chest, grabbing them by their jerseys and yanking them around the court. Rice could be heard screaming obscenities and gay slurs at players, including “f–king f-ggot” and “fairy.”

Rice earned $622,500 in 2012 and, as part of his deal, receives bonuses for winning games and graduating players. The $100,000 bonus results simply from his completing last season, as stipulated in his five-year contract, The Associated Press reported.

WATCH MORE: Coach ‘Deeply Sorry’ for Kicking Players

The school will pay the bonus because it’s contractually obligated to do so, Athletic Department spokesman Jason Baum told the AP.

It’s unclear whether the university is also obligated to pay for the remaining two years of his contract. He has not had a winning season in his three years at Rutgers.

The sudden firing of Rice has also led to calls from faculty, lawmakers and activists for further investigation into the school, and possibly more firings of the school’s top brass.

A group of 13 members of the university’s staff have called for the ouster of the school president, Robert Barchi, this morning, according to ESPN. In a statement released Wednesday, Barchi said he was informed of the video showing Rice’s actions in November, but did not personally view the footage until Tuesday, the same day it aired on ESPN. Barchi announced Rice’s firing Wednesday.

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Really ? Was Rice unto a new style of Dodgeball ? Ni##ga and Fag#ot Fairy Dodgeball ? Mind you , no Klan members took part in this exercise in cheap thrills an utter fucking stupidity . I wonder why ? Perhaps Rice didn’t have their number on speed dial ?

Rutgers’ President Robert L Barchi is now under a great deal of pressure to fire Pernetti , after his poor handling of this whole sordid affair . Tim Pernetti’s original maneuver of fining Rice $75,000 and a suspension of three games, obviously , had done nothing to alter the mindset Mike Rice’s continued behavior , even after , having those penalties levied against him , as he continued to chastise and assault his players physically and verbally . Once again , showing that for all of the testosterone driven fucking bullshit within sports, when it comes to common decency , there was none evident from anyone within the coaching staff of Mike Rice , much less amongst the faculty of the school. And while everyone now seems to be appeased by the coach’s firing , one could ask the question , why was such behavior tolerated to begin with and why did none of the players from years past not make the public , aware of this , rather than this all coming to the fore by way of several scenes being posted on the internet and there now being the evidence of the records retained by Tim Pernetti and made public for mass consumption .

With Barchi’s position now coming under pressure and calls being made within the New Jersey legislature for his removal . This whole episode could become even more dramatic and controversial than it has already been , with the ramifications being far-reaching and possibly altering the landscape of the Rutgers’ athletic program for years to come.

Sexism , racism it still exists , screw “ Title IX “ and what it’s said to represent ! In the aftermath of the firing of Bev Kearney as the coach of the Texas Longhorns’ Women’s Track program . A program that Kearney molded into being one of the best in the nation , having guided them to six NCAA titles during her tenure . The coach was fired , after having a consensual relationship with a student . At the time Bev Kearney , a divorcee , knew that her actions would be questioned and that character would come under scrutiny. However, what one should take into account while this all played itself out , a similar premise was also being played out with Major Applewhite , an assistant coach with Mack Brown’s coaching staff of the Longhorn’s renowned football program. If an initiative such as Title IX is meant to level the playing field for women within the landscape , then when it comes to morality , then why should it not be on an equal footing there as well ?

Applewhite for all of his acclaim, his actions , also entered into a consensual relationship with a student and also a graduate assistant , while at the time being married . The second of the two marital affairs , took place while his wife, Julie Applewhite was pregnant with their first child . Ho hum , you might say , but herein lays the idiocy of what has taken place . While Kearney was fired, for her relationship , Applewhite was promoted by Mack Brown to an assistant head coach. In amidst this idiocy and blatant act of sexism , comes the comedic analysis of Longhorns’ AD DeLoss Dodds and his comments, that Bev Kearney’s actions brought the Texas Longhorns’ program into disrepute . If that is the said case , then what do you believe his view of Major Applewhite’s actions were to said to have been ? Well , you’ve guessed it , Dodds has offered no comment , concerning the assistant coach , but if anything, he has probably congratulated the former Longhorns’ player , patted him on the back , and told him to “ keep on sowing “ and plowing “his wild oats” amongst the coeds on the Longhorns’ campus .

Kearney , under advisement , has spoken with several members of the legal fraternity, with a view to suing the state educational institution, and the possibility of seeking to being reinstated to her former position. However, with the faculty now circling to protect themselves , Dodds and Longhorns’ President William “Bill” Powers have sought to protect themselves and the university from any legal action by now suggesting that Bev Kearney kept her actions hidden and lied about it when first confronted . A claim , which Kearney completely denies and stands by to this day , in the aftermath of the new claims being made by Bill Powers and DeLoss Dodds.

I firmly believe that collegiate athletics has now become a cesspool of corruption at every level from conferences on down , starting with the faculty members through to their athletics directors , coaches , compliance officers , on down to the athletes themselves . Granted , as the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments winds down , with the nation in awe of both events. Don’t at all be fooled by the displays of sportsmanship and camaraderie being put on show. At the center of it all, are the millions of dollars to be reaped by the institutions in question are front and center for the participants in question.

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;(1) Mark A. Emmert, president of the University of Washington, speaks during a news conference after being announced as the president-elect of the NCAA, in Indianapolis on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. AP Photo/AJ Mast ….

(2) Dr. Myles Brand who preceded Mark Emmert as the President of the NCAA , collegiate athletics governing body that governs at the apparatus sports for the nation’s institutions of higher learning across the country . AP Photo / David Pearson ….

(3) Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken during a basketball fundraiser in 2008, in which the booster donated $50,000 to the program. . From left to right are men’s basketball coach Frank Haith , Shapiro and University of Miami president Donna Shalala . Shalala is holding Shapiro’s donation check. Haith has since been succeeded as the Canes’ basketball coach by Jim Larrinaga who guided the team to the Elite Eight in this year’s NCAA Tournament . The Canes’ football program is now under an investigation by the NCAA’s Infraction Committee . The investigation is now mired in a great deal of controversy with haphazard investigation procedures and claims of falsification of evidentiary records by the investigators , some of whom are said to have a known association with incarcerated felon Nevin Shapiro, who is now serving a multiyear sentence in a federal penitentiary . AP/REUTERS / Ephraim Moralez ….

(4) Mack Brown head coach of the Texas Longhorns’ football program is seen here alongside his assistant , Major Applewhite . Brown’s assistant promoted within the staff hierarchy was embroiled in two consensual relationship with students at the University of Texas . Senior faculty members DeLoss Dodds and Bill Powers have come to the defense of Applewhite , in light of his actions , albeit , that , they were not so courteous when it came to resolving a similar issue with women’s track coach Beverley “Bev ” Kearney . Courtesy of Longhorns Network @ copyrighted material ….. all rights reserved .

(5) Beverley “Bev” Kearney . coach of the six-time NCAA national champions of the University of Texas women’s track team . Kearney was fired from her position by Longhorns’ AD DeLoss Dodds for her involvement in a consensual sexual relationship with a student. Getty Images North America / Christine Parsons ….

(6) DeLoss Dodds , the athletics director of the University of Texas athletics program . Courtesy of Longhorns Network

(7) Mike Rice the now disgraced former head coach of the Rutgers basketball program. Rice was fired by AD Tim Pernetti after the resultant viral stream of the coach verbally and physically abusing his players . These actions have been taking place for a period of three years , during which Rice used racially and homophobic insensitive derogatory remarks to attack his players . Pernetti for his part has now admitted that he erred on the side of caution in not first firing the coach back in 2010 when the first of these incidents occurred , fining the coach a sum of $75,000 and suspending him for three games . New Jersey Star Ledger / Matthew Stiles ……….

(8) Mike Rice and Tim Pernetti are seen here after Rice became head coach of the basketball program . Since being fired, Rice has issued a less than contrite apology for his insensitive remarks directed at his players . New Jersey Star Ledger / ……….

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Tophatal ………………. 04/04/2013

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NCAA

How to win friends and influence people, and not necessarily be liked

How to win friends and influence people, and not necessarily be liked

by tophatal

I have long-held the contention that one of the boons to Collegiate Athletics is the very fact that the NCAA simply chooses not to monitor the actions of professional agents or for that matter maintain a register of licensed professionals working in that field . Instead, they choose to rely upon the various collegiate athletic directors across the diaspora at the D 1, D2 and D 3 levels, in terms of self-monitoring for such instances . Furthermore , the NCAA’s Infractions Committee as obsequious as they are , on their best day the investigators of that department within the NCAA are about as useful as the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) were meant to be , when they conducted their investigation into failed insurance giant AIG . The company declared bankruptcy protection (Chapter11) , having amassed debts exceeding $175 billion . In addition, as we know, the current Presidential administration , working in conjunction with the Treasury Department , House Appropriations Committee and Tim Geithner , Secretary of the Treasury. All three entities had to foment an idea that would see $200 billion of taxpayers’ funds being used to bail out the insurance giant. WTF! Nothing, is ever too big to fail , as it is really about the fu#king individuals who knowingly mismanage a company . In addition, for the idiots out there, who believe that a Republican is better placed than a Democrat to run a business , think again . It does not matter what your political ideology might happen to be, it is about the business acumen of the individuals and their ethics.

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It should be noted that in the months leading up to AIG’s failure , the SEC had a throng of auditors and lawyers going over the financial records of the company but somehow they were unable to find any wrongdoing on the part of any employee or senior executive within the company. Which is somewhat strange , when one considers that there are serious legal ramifications for a Chief Executive or Financial Officer to knowingly declare or sign off on a financial statement known to have been falsified . However , it should be noted that the law enforcement arm of the Federal government have been tediously slow in the indictment and prosecution of any Wall St or financial executive in the last four years . Suffice to say, the US Justice Department and their Criminal Division (White Collar Crimes’ Unit) will continue to move at a snail’s pace while Attorney General Eric Holder oversees that entire governmental agency.

The NCAA continues to egregiously fail the student athlete and will continue to do so , until they take a hard stance against the actions of the professional sport’s agent. Consider the most notorious issues that have faced a number of collegiate programs in recent years with the exception of the now heinous and unbelievable actions that surrounded the Penn State “ scandal “ . At some point an agent was most certainly involved and embroiled in the actions were said to be taking place. That was most certainly the case with the programs at USC (Trojans) , Oregon (Ducks) and Ohio State (Buckeyes) . In the case Ohio State , the former football coach Jim Tressel simply sought to look the other way as a number of his players within the football program simply side-stepped their responsibilities in upholding the NCAA rules that governed their scholarships . If that was not enough , the initial reaction of AD Gene Smith , had to be seen , to believed , as he implied that the rumors surrounding the football program were being blown out of proportion . Blown out of proportion, are you kidding me? With Urban Meyer having returned to his native Ohio , to succeed Jim Tressel as he head coach of the football program , is there anyone of the belief that the Buckeyes have learned anything from their most recent troubles ?

Moving at a snail’s pace is one thing but the NCAA has dragged its feet on another program that has always been a blight on Collegiate Sports. NCAA President Mark Emmert , for want of a better word remains an idiot , who while saying all of the right things tends not to act expeditiously when it is truly warranted . OK, so he chose to punish Penn State with impunity but were it not for the public outcry as to the vehemently heinous nature of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes and the apathy shown by Joe Paterno . One seriously doubts the penalties leveled against the school would be so swift or so damaging. The financial penalty of $60 million , and the loss of scholarships for the football program sent seismic shock-waves across the Collegiate Sports landscape. No-eligibility for Bowl games and the ensuing departure of players has all but left the football program for dead.

Top recruit , Silas Redd a 1,000 yard rusher for the Nittany Lions last season , has issued a public statement that he will be leaving the program , taking immediate effect , to now join USC (Trojans). For head coach Bill O’Brien , I can only surmise that with each step he believes he is taking forward , he is in fact taking several steps back as he sees this team further decimated . There now remains an even darker cloud hovering over Beaver Stadium in College Park, Pennsylvania,.

With USC (Trojans) now being Bowl eligible this upcoming season , not only have the PAC-12 inhabitants have something to fear about this team being reconstructed by Lane Kiffin and his coaching staff . The addition of Redd will be great asset to an offensive juggernaut led by the team’s quarterback , Matt Barkley . And the Trojans’ quarterback will now likely be seen as potential Heisman Trophy candidate for this season and a bona-fide top-five pick for the 2013 NFL Draft . .

As I alluded to earlier , the NCAA tends to move at a snail’s pace , like the top-heavy bureaucracy of the federal government. How long will it take that collegiate body to render their findings as it relates to the Miami Hurricanes football and basketball programs ? In light of the allegations made by Canes’ booster Nevin Shapiro , now incarcerated in a federal facility . The convicted felon claims that over the years he paid out tens of thousands of dollars in monetary gifts, procured prostitutes for players, as well making sure that their grades were fraudulently received. While at first, these claims were never substantiated , it was not until Shapiro saw fit to make his revelations public to a member of the FBI at the suggestion of lawyer , did anyone begin remotely takes these claims seriously. Hell , considering the Canes’ sordid history , it would not have surprised me if we found out that during the reign of former coach , Jimmy Johnson , his players were committing crimes , doing drugs and having sex with prostitutes ! Oh, but they were , so that is nothing new ! Fast forward to today, and what now makes this whole chapter so insidious. Well, it has been the very fact that AD Shawn Eichorst , head football coach , Al Golden and university President Donna Shalala , have tried to suggest that the Athletics Department , has always been in compliance with the NCAA’s rules . Well I guess , when you allowed Nevin Shapiro and agent Drew Rosenhaus free access to the university’s campus under the pretext that they are there as motivational speakers . Then, when the sh#t hits the fan, no one at all should be surprised at the outcome or end results. How can anyone in a position of power be so goddamn gullible? Shalala, for all of the excuses forthcoming from her office, remains an idiot! Shawn Eichorst, clearly is in a position that is way beyond his scope or understanding . Al Golden, now has to answer questions being raised concerning the fact he suborned the actions of his football players embroiled in this completely sordid episode. With each passing day, comes more claims from other sources concerning coach’s actions and what he may well have known . Claims are now being made that Golden had an intermediary , act on behalf of Nevin Shapiro to disburse cash to players on the basketball and football teams . Why, am I not surprised by any of this ? Shit, ” it is the Miami way of doing things “ and it has always been that way ! .

Money corrupts all , and in many respects , at one time or another all good things must come to an end . In the world of baseball that is now most certainly happening . Simply look at the moves that have been made by the teams divesting themselves of players because they have in essence given up on their season . Who knew that things would have taken such a turn for the worst as it now relates to the fate of both the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies ? The front office executives (general managers) of both teams have failed miserably this season, as they have spent capriciously to acquire talent , that simply has not panned out over the course of the season .

In the case of the Chicago Cubs, what took GM Theo Epstein so long before making the decision to trade Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers (59-43)? Surely, he must have known that this would be the best offer available , having assessed the others within his midst? With that , Rangers’ President Nolan Ryan can continue to act like a kid in a candy store, as he seeks to resurrect the fortunes of the organization . With Dempster, comes a player whose performances can be wildly inconsistent but when he is at his very best , he is among but a handful of pitchers who can befuddle an opposing hitter.

The Cubs will now start their rebuilding process in earnest, while the Texas Rangers seek to make their third consecutive appearance in the World Series . The events of 2010 and 2011 still causes a great deal of angst among the Rangers’ fans. Between now and the end of the Rangers’ regular season schedule will determine how far this team will go. Ron Washington and his managerial staff has an All Star caliber roster with the potential to win decisively . Yet somehow , this did not happen as expected, when in 2010 the team fell by the wayside to the San Francisco Giants. The lopsided series (4-1) was a match-up that seemingly had more to do with the pitching talents of the two combatants.

In 2011 , the Rangers’ second consecutive World Series appearance would pit them against the rather understated St Louis Cardinals , in what may have been one of the most extraordinary World Series’ finales of the last fifteen years . Those disappointments have not been lost on Nolan Ryan or GM Jon Daniels and the managing partners who make up the ownership group of this franchise .

If star power is what attracts the fans to a baseball franchise , then this team has a great deal of it . And none perhaps, shines more brightly than that of Josh Hamilton , who this season has been spectacular in so many aspects of his game . Hamilton, in the final year of his existing contract , becomes a free agent in 2013 . A decision will must be made, as to whether not the player will be re-signed by the organization upon the culmination of the season. The market dictates that the player’s agent Michael Moye ,will seek the market going- rate, and that is to make Hamilton amongst the highest paid players in the game . A ten-year $250-$275 million deal is not out of the realms of reality for the Texas Rangers’ organization , who are primarily bankrolled by the several multimillionaire backers who make up the ownership group. It should not be overlooked that the ball-club also has negotiated a two decade $3 billion television contract that nets them $150 million annually.

For now the biggest threat to the Rangers and their stranglehold on the AL West might well be the team’s complacency , as they have seen their divisional lead slowly be erased to the point where it is now down to three games (3.00) over their closest rivals , the Los Angeles Angels (57-47). And for Angels’ owner, Arte Moreno , there would be nothing better for him than to see his team —– upend their divisional rivals as the season meanders towards a resolution . . It is my belief that one of the two AL wildcard aspirants will come from within the division! . For now, we merely have to wait to see what transpires as the scenarios plays themselves out over the remaining weeks of the baseball schedule.

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Do take time to offer up a comment on any of the salient points raised within this article. Thanks as always for the continued support of the site as it has always been appreciated !

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(1) U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before the House Appropriations Committee Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill May 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Geithner testified a day earlier that the financial system is “starting to heal” and that major banks had raised $56 billion since stress tests were administered last month . Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla …

(2) U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (C) is greeted by House Appropriations Committee Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano (D-NY) (L) and ranking member Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) before a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill May 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Geithner testified a day earlier that the financial system is “starting to heal” and that major banks had raised $56 billion since stress tests were administered last month. Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke were the main proponents of the financial bailout that saw the sector receive an unprecedented $ 1.2 trillion ($1,200,000,000,000) used to facilitate the financial , auto industry and several other non-crucial sectors of the US economy . Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images …

(3) Penn State University President Rodney Erickson speaks to the convened press after the formal announcement had been made concerning the sanctions imposed on the renowned university program . It should also be noted that the Department of Education will also consider what actions they might also wish to take against the school . Education Secretary Arne Duncan may well seek advice from the agency’s own legal counsel before taking any action . AP Photo/ USA Today . Christopher Weddle …

(4) NCAA President Mark Emmert, right, gestures during a news conference as Ed Ray , NCAA Executive Committee chair and Oregon State University president, looks on at left, during a news conference in Indianapolis, Monday, July 23, 2012. The NCAA has slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all coach Joe Paterno’s victories from 1998-2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. AP/ Michael Conroy ….

(5) Silas Redd (25) of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the game on November 12, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. …. Getty Images / Justin K Aller …

(6) Nevin Shapiro (2nd from left) in this photo taken during a basketball fundraiser in 2008, in which the booster donated $50,000 to the program. From left to right are men’s basketball coach Frank Haith, Shapiro and University of Miami president Donna Shalala. Shalala is holding Shapiro’s donation check. Miami Herald/ Matthew Davies …..

(7) Miami (Fla.) head coach Al Golden declined to discuss in detail allegations in a Yahoo Sports article, telling reporters Monday at ACC media day, “We are moving forward.” Alleged improprieties are that Golden had an intermediary act as a go-between to disburse monies to players on the Canes’ football team . US Presswire / Sam Sharpe ………

(8) Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (hands up) celebrates with teammates Robbie Ross , left, Adrian Beltre (29), Texas Rangers designated hitter Michael Young (behind Andrus) and Joe Nathan , right, after hitting a clutch two-run single that drove in the winning runs in the team’s 11-10 victory in ten innings over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/John F. Rhodes …

(9) Albert Pujols (5) the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated at home plate by teammate Torii Hunter (48) after Pujols hit a home run against > Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers against on August 1, 2012 at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images …..

(10) File-This July 25, 2012 file photo shows Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster pitching during the second inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh. The Texas Rangers have obtained Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs, a move to fortify their rotation for the stretch run. The AL West leaders sent minor leaguer infielder Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks to Chicago as part of a deal Tuesday July, 31, 2012. Dempster, who had power to block deals, had refused to approve a trade to Atlanta last week. The 35-year-old right-hander was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 games for the Cubs and can become a free agent after the season. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(11) Texas Rangers’ team President & managing partner Nolan Ryan (left) is seen seated next GM Jon Daniels . In the ensuing years since the duo have assumed control of the franchise they have now made the ball-club a profitable concern, with one of the league’s highest per-game day average in terms of attendance at Rangers Ballpark , in Arlington , Texas. Now with a burgeoning payroll the front office will this season have to deal with the re-signing of impending free agent status of Josh Hamilton , who remains not only the team’s best and most popular player but also one of the most widely respected in the game . AP Photo/ Keith Morris …..

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Summer Walker

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake ………. !

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake …… !

So the fallout has began in the aftermath of the Boston Red Sox’ s abrupt ending to their season . With that now has come the animus , finger pointing of course the blame game . From the front office on down there is plenty of blame to go around from the executives through to the coaching staff and the gluttony of high priced players on this roster .

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Team President Larry Lucchino and the now departed general manager Theo Epstein had tried to apportion blame solely on former manager Terry Francona rather than the under achieving players such as Josh Beckett , John Lackey , Johnathan Papelbon and David Ortiz . Hints that Francona was going through marital problems , that he’d lost control of the team and the thought that Epstein and Lucchino had to sink to such levels merely to deflect the obvious that plainly put this whole mess was simply caused by their ostentatious spending in acquiring players who simply failed to deliver .

Principal partner John Henry , Tom Werner and their partners now have to deal with general manager search for a successor to Theo Epstein who accepted the offer fill the position vacated by former Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Henry after he was fired team owner Tom Ricketts . The beleaguered organization having not won a World Series since 1908 and they haven’t won an NL pennant since 1945. That sort of ineptitude and lack of success has sorely embittered the long suffering Chicago Cubs’ fans .

This season was once again one filled with sheer ineptitude on the part of the team and Mike Quade and his coaching staff offered very little by way of their managerial acumen in stemming the tide of mediocrity shown on the field of play. Players such as Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez simply showed that they had nothing to offer the team . Therein lies the actual absurdity of the organization during Hendry’s tenure as they simply overpaid for the acquired talent .

If Theo Epstein is to prove to be the wunderkind that Tom Ricketts believes him to be then the organization can look forward to some semblance of success though not immediate by any stretch of the imagination . This is a roster that needs to be assessed by the general manager and I would dare say that the coaching staff will be summarily judged by him also ! I certainly don’t believe that Mike Quade has the wherewithal to make this team a serious and perennial contender for an NL pennant or for that matter the World Series ! The team’s prospects and farm system has what we are told is an abundance of talent but in debating as to whether or not patience amongst the fans will be further endured as Theo Epstein seeks to turn things around .

Wrigley Field may well be buzzing with excitement during the offseason as the fans , beat writers and local sports analysts debate and prognosticate what they expect to see in the future from the Chicago Cubs. From my own perspective I say let them do whatever it takes for them to feel at ease , after-all what’s another half a decade of ineptitude worth to this organization to begin with ? I mean it’s not as anyone truly believes that this time next season the Cubs could be part of baseball’s postseason showcase to begin with !

So after what we are now being told the NCAA and their exhaustive investigation of Auburn and their football program have found nothing untoward concerning the school’s recruitment of their Heisman Trophy award winning player Cam Newton . Auburn coach Gene Chizik no doubt relieved by those findings and the fact this season the coach and his staff will be looking to get this team up and going as they embark upon their schedule within the SEC .

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA simply whitewashed this investigation but clearly there seems to be something awry with this all . There’s a saying ………” where there’s smoke there is fire ” . And in the case of the Auburn Tigers as it relates to Cam Newton and the continued allegations as to how the player was seemingly recruited by the school has brought into question how a number of programs go about recruiting student athletes. Allegations being what they are when it has been widely reported that Newton’s father Cecil Newton sought to sell ….. his son’s talents to the highest bidder . The elder Newton , pastor of a church , was reticent in explaining the allegations when first raised, as to his actions concerning Cam Newton being shopped around like an illicit weapon on the “black market”.

Auburn’s AD Jay Jacobs after the NCAA’s findings states that he’s completely happy with there were no major transgressions by the program. As crazy as this may seem , if the athletics director believes that minor transgressions are good for the school then what should that indicate about Auburn as a place of academic and sporting excellence ?

If the school moves on from this episode then what I would like to know is how the NCAA handles the next such incident concerning the recruitment of a visibly high profiled athlete. Mark Emmert as the NCAA president has repeatedly seen the body he presided over severely criticized for their lack of authority , real transparency and even the credence to actually be impartial . I will continue to maintain the the institution is archaic , bureaucratically top heavy and seemingly at time out of touch with reality . If the Infractions Committee of the NCAA a de-facto agency of the institution can come up with this finding given the supposed facts and their own apparent in depth investigation I would like to know how it is this very same unit can be so out of touch with the events that are taking place across the entire collegiate athletics landscape . At some point in the future I am wondering what their findings will be concerning the University of Miami and the school’s football program . University president Donna Shalala and school AD Shawn Eichorst have continued to deflect their actions and association with now incarcerated felon Nev Shapiro and the very that the former Canes’ booster had simply flouted his association with the players and paying them surreptitiously . At this juncture should we now expect anything else from the NCAA concerning another charade about to be perpetrated by them ?

Image is everything and then it can mean absolutely but that clearly now seems to be the case for NBA Commissioner David Stern . The league hierarchy is now locked into a really contentious battle of wills with the NBPA (Players’ Association [union]). Stern and his union counterpart Billy Hunter the executive director of the union are at logger-heads in trying to reach an accord that would be beneficial to both parties .

Derek Fisher the union’s president and vice president Roger Mason Jr have been adamant that their union is not about to acquiesce to any of the demands from the league hierarchy and team owners for an equitable share in the league’s revenues . If neither party can come to a compromise then in all probability both sides will have to present their case to federal mediator . If that is to be the case and a court appointed mediator presides over a hearing , which now seems to be a certainty , then any sort of binding agreement could very well be to the detriment of both sides .

If NBA and NBPA seek jointly to present their case to the the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) before a mediator where the judgment would doesn’t necessarily have to be arbitrarily binding rather than going through litigation within the US Federal Courts then things could very well be to both parties’ liking . I am not so sure that anything at this juncture by way of any compromise will be truly vested in by either side. David Stern’s intransigence and the very fact that a number of franchise owners have not been entirely happy with his handling of these deliberations gives further credence that it may well be time for him to step down . With almost two decades plus as the league’s commissioner he seen the NBA’s revenues grow exponentially from being a minor blip on the sport’s landscape to where it now ranks second in revenues ($4.5 billion annually) attained of the four major professional sports.

The NBA would like to see an equitable share in revenues rather than the existing ratio of 53/47 in favor of the union . From the outset a case could be made that the owners wanted this all to be dealt with expeditiously but with the teams now said to be on course to lose approximately $ 30 million a month for each month that the league is inactive. Dan Gilbert , Rich DeVos , . Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Gavin_Maloof , Peter Holt , Mickey Arison and James Dolan over the course of time may well feel that the current situation as it now stands cannot go on in its present format . Clearly not when the very viability of the league and a number of franchises are clearly at risk . Some semblance of common sense and sanity now has to come into play at some point during this whole facade if there is to be a regular to season within the NBA .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Of the points raised within this topic which do you believe to be the most pertinent ? And what thoughts if any do you feel about the NCAA’s findings concerning Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………

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(1) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona pauses as he speaks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. The Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) General manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox sits in the dugout before game two of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays during the at Tropicana Field on October 10, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to reports October 12, 2011, Epstein, who has one-year left on his contract with the Red Sox, has agreed with the Chicago Cubs to a five-year $15 million contract to join their front office, but compensation for the deal has not been reached between the two teams. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(3) Theo Epstein is seen here alongside Terry Francona at Fenway Park , Boston , Massachusetts , home to the fabled ballclub . Getty Images / Matthew Sharpe …..

(4) Red Sox owners Tom Werner (left) and John Henry held up the 2007 World Series trophy for the fans who lined up outside Fenway Park . Boston Globe /Matthew J Lee ……

(5) Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs, right, is congratulated by Koyie Hill (55) after getting the final out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Cubs won 6-2 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ……

(6) First baseman Carlos Pena (22) of the Chicago Cubs catches the ball as Jeremy Hermida (47) of the San Diego Padres dives back to the base during the game against at Petco Park on September 26, 2011 in San Diego, California. Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here with the team’s manager Mike Quade (center) and club owner Tom Ricketts. Hendry was relieved of his position as general manager by Ricketts in what as seen as an upheaval within team’s front office . Chicago Tribune/ Mark Salter ….

(8) Auburn coach Gene Chizik walks the sidelines during the first half of the NCAA college football game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Auburn would go on to lose the game to the Razorbacks 38-14 . AP Photo/Danny Johnston ……

(9) CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson (R) and head coach Gene Chizik look on as quarterback Cam Newton (2) of the Auburn Tigers accepts the MVP trophy after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images /Kevin C . Cox ……

(10) Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is seen here the school’s athletics director Jay Jacobs at Chizik’s formal introduction as the new head coach of the football team. An outspoken opponent of Gene Chizik’s hiring at the time was none other than Auburn alum Charles Barkley . AP Photo / Jamie Martin …….

(11) Derek Fisher , president of the NBA players union, talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. AP Photo/David Karp …….

(12) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, and his Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver leave an NBA labor talk meeting, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. Opening night was scheduled for Nov. 1. AP Photo/David Karp ……

(13) Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players union, arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ……

(14) San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano …….

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Scheduled game 14th October 2011

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Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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