March Madness/The Red Line
Sundays are my Domestic Engineering Day, and rather pleased with the outcome of the Michigan-Florida regional final, I wasn’t terribly invested in the Duke-Louisville game.
So, at some point in the first half, I dragged myself out of the big chair to do laundry and turned off the television just in time to miss being introduced to the inside of Kevin Ware’s tibia.
I have not watched the video of the incident in question, nor do I intend to unless I swallow poison without ipecac syrup handy. It was bad enough that I accidentally clicked on a link with a picture.
It’s OK, though, because Adidas is selling a $25 T-shirt with a slogan and Ware’s uniform number that will surely be supporting his medical care and his education, in the event the injury is career-ending. Oh, that’s right. He won’t see a dime of it due to NCAA amateurism regulations.
Of course, Adidas is making a contribution to Louisville’s scholarship fund for every shirt sold. That’s all well and good, but it pales in comparison to the contribution Louisville makes to Adidas by giving them models for made-for-TV uniform stunts to sell shoes and other merchandise.
In Los Angeles, Steve Alford is the new coach at UCLA. Good thing he only signed a “letter of agreement” and not an actual contract extension last week at his old job at New Mexico. As far as I know, there is no lite version of the National Letter of Intent his players had to sign.
Across town, USC has already hired Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield, ringleader of “Dunk City” and living embodiment of the American Dream. A millionaire from his investments in a health care software company and husband of a model, he managed to climb about five rungs on the coaching ladder thanks to about three good weeks in a row. I’m a little jealous. I thought I had a good run back in December and nobody called from the Chicago Tribune. Not even the Fargo Forum.
In Alabama, reports are leaking out that Auburn paid players not to go pro and changed grades to pave the way for the Tigers’ 2011 BCS Championship, possibly the least surprising revelation in the history of the Southeastern Conference.
Obviously, the SEC has been the dominant force in college football, ostensibly because very little actual college is involved. At this point, I suggest we just call it Minor League Football and get it over with.
Rutgers fired its men’s basketball coach Wednesday after video surfaced of him physically and verbally abusing his own players in practice – in November. The handling of the incident appears to be proof that playing unscheduled dodgeball in practice is not nearly as big a sin as playing unscheduled dodgeball in practice on “Outside the Lines.”
The athletic director who allowed this to go on is believed to be safe from the ax, mostly because he helped negotiate the lucrative deal to make Rutgers the 14th team in the Big 10. There are so many ridiculous details in that sentence that I don’t even have any jokes.
Back when the NCAA launched its “I chose Division II” promotional campaign several years ago, I found it a little silly. But now it makes a lot more sense.
One of the nice things about being in a mostly Division II community like Houghton and Michigan Tech is the perception that this is a relatively low-bull zone. The basketball and football teams have two sets of uniforms and no one is attempting to get into the Big 10.
Next time you buy the tickets or expensive merchandise given value by the efforts of well-meaning but unpaid celebrity endorsers, remember the student-athletes and the efforts that gave them value. Be thankful that the world of college sports isn’t nearly as crazy as it looks and be thankful you didn’t see that Kevin Ware video.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.