Posts Tagged ‘ncaa’

Tweeting the Blues

// March 21st, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

For all those suffering from a busted bracket, I offer you these Tweets of wisdom.


FSU/ND - Game ended just in time to attend the grand opening of the Big East’s new restaurant, Overrated.


Illini/KU – After falling to NIowa last year, KU can’t be thrilled about a road to the final 4 paved with underdogs.


Marquette/Cuse – It’s my fault Cuse. I know better than to trust you but come tournament time…I just can’t quit you.


VCU/Purdue – Matt Painter couldn’t draw up a way to stop the kid that Samuel Jackson kicked off the team in Coach Carter..Really??


Arizona/Texas – Out of work Charlie Sheen should team up with Rick Barnes for a new show called Winning and Losing.


Ohio State/George Mason – Larranaga’s inspirational pregame speech wasn’t as effective as Sullinger’s in game version “It’s over, yo.”


UW/UNC – Would have loved to see UW get the 1.5 they deserved to try and tie it up. Especially since UNC’s D is easier than a Kardashian.


Duke/Michigan – @Duke in 2010 Butler came w/in an inch, now Michigan…what’s next? We find out Singler is dating Adriana Lima?

Still depressed? Check out who your favorite NFL team should draft at and follow us on twitter @ultnfldraft


Real Headliners

// March 10th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

These were among the top 5 headlines at last night at 10 o’clock.

1 - Spoelstra downplays Bosh’s Gripe on role. 2 - Report: Ex-Buckeye lawyer sent  Tressel email. 3 - Union: NFL lowers price but info still lacking. 4 - Report: Cabrera belligerent on night of arrest. 5 - NCAA rules Jones ineligible; Baylor appealing.

Let’s take a closer look at these “sports” stories.

eric-spoelstra21 – Refers to Eric Spoelstra’s attempts at damage control after he has lost his locker room in recent months. This story, (Check out Seth Newton’s excellent piece ‘The Miami Meat Has Gone Bad” posted on the FWG network this morning), was about the Heat’s continued off the court issues. We are witnessing one of the most exciting NBA seasons in recent memory, and the top NBA-related headline had nothing to do with anything Dr. Naismith had in mind while inventing the game in 1891.

2 – A big time college coach has done something wrong. Yawn. And lied about it. Double Yawn. (Insert annoying blowhard debate over validity of charges, fairness of punishment and sanctions, and effect on the Vest’s reputation as an upright beacon of coaching in a continually murky NCAA world.) Well, as I said in an earlier piece about Jim Calhoun’s suspension (‘Non Compliance Alleging Assh#@es), I am inclined to side with the coaches on these matters. But despite my defense of Calhoun, or Tressel, or whoever violates article 12-56-9900a-2 next week when he fails to tie his shoes using the NCAA prescribed; loop, swoop, and pull method, I am sick of these stories. They say those who can’t do, teach. It seems to me that we have become a society where those that can’t play, legislate all of the joy out of the game that shunned them. Or they write about it, but that’s neither here nor there.

3 – We all know the story with the NFL. They are nearing a lockout because the players and owners can’t seem to reach an agreement on how to split up the billions, and billions, and billions of dollars generated by the league each year. The only thing this story has to do with sports is that it indicates there is a possibility of there not being any football to watch in 2011. Deep down we also know that these rich men are not going to leave a year’s worth of revenue out there just to prove a point. Hollywood is still feeling the effects of the Writer’s Strike, and the NFL isn’t foolish enough to ignore the writing still etched on the wall. There will be extension after extension to the imaginary deadline they have given themselves, a deadline that is meant to give a sense of urgency to media stories like headline #3. At the end of the day, with all the talks of collective bargaining and revenue sharing, it has nothing to do with anything we used to consider sports.

miguel-cabrera-mug-shot4 – Miguel Cabrera was arrested in Florida on February 16th for drunk driving. Since it is the start of Spring Training this could technically be called a ‘Baseball Story’. However doesn’t running a story, a headline on your front page no less, about someone getting arrested a month ago seem a little gossipy? Like a bunch of middle school girls who don’t want anyone to forget that Suzy crapped her pants in the fourth grade. I am not blaming ESPN, we are all guilty. We have been conditioned to want to know more about what happened when an athlete goes off the reservation. But is what Cabrera said a month ago, while being arrested for drinking and driving, really an interesting sports story?

Ok so Cabrera told the cops to “f-ing shoot me.” That’s actually pretty interesting but wouldn’t it have been just as compelling a month ago? The story belongs on TMZ or Cops, but only in today’s reality TV controlled society could it slide under the umbrella of sports.

5 – Baylor’s Perry Jones was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because his mother accepted a series of short term loans from Jones’ summer league coach. Jones had no knowledge of the loans and didn’t benefit from them in any way. From what I have read, this amounts to the equivalent of Jones being suspended because his mother ran out of gas and his coach offered to loan her gas money. Or she couldn’t find her wallet at a local BBQ joint and he spotted her 5 bucks for brisket. This not only has nothing to do with sports, it’s so ridiculously arbitrary that one has to wonder whether the NCAA is just a group of bitter men who were picked last in kickball, twisting their mustaches in some dark basement, formulating diabolical plans to punish the cool kids.

I had no idea what my parents were doing with their money when I was a teenager. Why should Perry Jones be punished because his mom asked a friend to spot her some money? This story makes me angry, not quite Tiki Barber coming out of retirement because he is somehow broke angry, but definitely writing mean words angry. But it has nothing to do with anything that happened on a court, field, diamond, course, track, or rink. It has nothing to do with what I would have called sports when I was a kid.


There is excellent basketball being played in the Big East Tournament. Look no further than the great UCONN/PITT and St John’s/Syracuse double header today. The Knicks are relevant again, with Carmelo thriving on basketball’s biggest stage. The Lakers have rattled off the most undocumented eight game winning streak in history. Kevin Love has been banging out double doubles like Charlie Sheen bangs hookers and lines of coke (sorry couldn’t help myself), consistently and without remorse. For 52 straight games Love, who many thought didn’t have the athletic ability to play in the League, has been among its most outstanding players.

If none of that grabs you by the booboo, then maybe this will.

In Fennville, Michigan an undefeated high school basketball team honored fallen teammate Wes Leonard by sending four men onto the court to start their state tournament game. Leonard collapsed and died after making the game winning shot last Thursday. The team, playing through the unimaginable pain of having lost a friend, and teammate, banded together and beat Lawrence High to move into the second round of the state tournament.

espn_g_fennville02_3001A group of young men coming together in the face of an unspeakable tragedy, and honoring Wes Leonard with their performance, is the kind of sports story that I hope I never have to hear again. But it makes me feel empathy, and a sense of pride for a group of people I have never met. It reminds me of the places sports can bring us and of the great power that sports have to inspire us, and lift us up when it would be easier, and understandable to lie down.

The stories from Fennville expose the five headlines I found at 10 pm last night for their lack of anything that brings us even close to those places, or anything I would have considered sports when I was a kid.


An Honorable Message

// March 3rd, 2011 // 7 Comments » // Uncategorized


Only four days after helping his team silence The Show at #4San Diego State, BYU starting PF Brandon Davies (the 3rd best player on the team) was suspended for the rest of the season.

When the news came out I imagined the worse.

Driving drunk into a group of elderly Mormons? A coke binge in a church? Some unsavory allegations of sexual misconduct? Clubbing a baby seal for a biology project?

No debauchery seems too absurd to be true anymore.

I half expected Davies to come out during Charlie Sheen’s interview sporting his best hangdog expression while admitting to being the second snorter in the Eloise Suite.

Last night I learned the true nature of Davies crime. The crime that warranted his dismissal from a Cougar team that is poised to claim a #1 seed when the brackets come out in a few weeks?

According to an ESPN Report, Davies was “Booted for having sex.”

Now as a sports fan in 2011, I’ve learned how to gauge a tagline. “Accused of” usually means there are a few eye witnesses and so and so is really guilty, but probably won’t get convicted of any wrong doing so we shouldn’t risk slandering him. “Incident” is usually referring to A) a strip club, B) cell phone camera, C) a hooker, or D) a bad drug, like cocaine. “Issued a Public Apology” means you absolutely did whatever you are being accused of, and are now desperately trying to save face by grabbing onto Jesus like Sarah Palin does with any opportunity to stay in the public eye. It’s desperate. It’s transparent. Yet somehow no one ever seems to questions their motivation. They get to just go back to nailing fade away jumpers, throwing touchdown passes, and exploiting their family.

“Booted for having sex.” It was so strangely simple, so free of ambiguous buzz words that I knew exactly what it meant.

Brigham Young University has an honor code that outlaws students from having premarital sex, and demands them to “live a chaste and virtuous life.” Every BYU student signs that honor code, including athletes who on most Division 1 campuses, would only get a perfect attendance award in premarital sex.

These kids make a conscious choice to attend school, and play sports in that environment. No one held them down and forced their eyelids open, while they watched hour after hour of Mormon home movies. When you sign up for the marines you’re acknowledging you may have to shoot your gun right?. When you agree to embarrass yourself on reality television, the cameras are going to shoot you sloppy drunk, doing any number of things and/or people you wouldn’t want your mother to see you doing aren’t they? When you walk in eyes wide open, it is hard to feel sympathy when you fail to live up the guidelines that come with that choice.

Brandon Davies, like all of his classmates, wanted to live by that code. And I don’t want to hear that it was the only school that he could have played ball at. He had choices. If my skinny, six foot, lactose intolerant (if lactose was one of the ingredients in vertical leap), shade slower than average ass had choices, than a 6’9” 235 lb power forward definitely had choices. He wanted to be held to those standards so badly that he took out a pen, and agreed to keep his pencil in his pocket.

The way I see it, the only mistake Brandon Davies made was setting himself up to fail. Like those of us who wake up with a hangover and proclaim “I am never drinking again”, he put impossible restrictions on himself. A 6’9” Division I athlete who appears on national television is a giant lightening rod for female attention.

Before you label me sexist for assuming all girls would jump at the chance to ace a school spirit exam for a starting power forward, think about it ladies. You chase after some fugly looking guys.  I am not judging, and by all means for our sake, embrace this practice until further notice. But don’t tell me that upon spotting him towering above the crowd at your favorite bar, after you’ve just slammed down your tenth shot of Jager, you wouldn’t be inclined to back that thing on over to Mr. Davies instead of the spaz in the Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt or the guy who just took his shirt off so you could see his sweet new tattoo.

I doubt most of you would do it tomorrow, but in college all bets are off. You’re college memories are like Tivo. No one can judge you for what’s recorded on there, (“I swear honey, I don’t know how America’s Next Top Model got on there”) and you have no problem fast forwarding through the parts you don’t like. Average looking, average sized chumps who aren’t on TV get girls in college because there’s enough attention to go around. There is a trickle down affect from athletes, rich people, and the genuinely attractive that lands like a glob of bird shit on their awkward shoulders.

Brandon Davies, knowing that he was walking a fine line, gave in to that attention and got a girlfriend. Then proceeded to have sex with his girlfriend, and it may cost his team, and soon to be player of the year Jimmer Fredette, a shot at a deep run in the NCAA tournament. A run which could have netted the school millions, boosted enrollment, and helped in recruiting all the other blue chippers with blue balls.

Now, he will walk around the Provo campus, still a lightening rod, but for scorn instead of female affections.

As a basketball fan, and as a man, I feel sorry for Brandon Davies because of how it went down.

But I respect BYU for standing by the code that they enforce with their students. To give Davies a pass because his absence will hurt the basketball team, and could cost the university money, would have been the kind of hypocrisy that in today’s world we have become far too familiar with.

BYU may now be in for an early exit from the madness of March, but no matter how things play out on the court, the Cougars should hold their heads high.


Non. Compliance. Alleging. A#*H@#*S.

// February 23rd, 2011 // 9 Comments » // Uncategorized


As someone who grew up playing, watching, living and breathing basketball, Jim Calhoun has been a part of my life for almost 20 years. Calhoun recruited Reggie Lewis, my favorite Celtic as a kid, to Northeastern before taking the head coaching job in Storrs.

He has been the coach at UCONN since I was 4 years old. In that time he took the program from a Big East bottom feeder to a perennial power house. Ever since recruiting Bridgeport’s Chris Smith, Calhoun has attracted blue chip prospects by the handful. After Smith, who led UCONN to the Big East Championship and a Sweet 16 birth against Duke in his sophomore season, there was Donyell Marshall, Clifford Robinson, Ray Allen, RIP Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Caron Butler, Rudy Gay, and Emeka Okafor.

Clearly Calhoun has some serious game when it comes to recruiting.


The NCAA has suspended Calhoun for the first 3 Big East games of 2011-2012 for “failing to create an atmosphere of compliance.”

Failing to create an atmosphere of compliance? Sounds like something one of the Borgs would have said to the crew of the Enterprise, or something that would have been used to justify the burning of a beloved book.

I have no idea what an atmosphere of compliance is, and frankly I don’t care. Calhoun has admitted that mistakes were made in the recruiting process, but insisted that he is not, nor has he ever been a cheater. I not only believe him, I blame the NCAA.

The rules should be designed to protect our athletes, promote fair play, and ensure the integrity of college sports.

They should not be designed to ensnare quality coaches who have devoted their entire lives to teaching a game that they love.

The NCAA has made a habit out of stealing headlines with their investigations. This past fall, Cam Newton got burned at their stake for the sins of his father, and it nearly derailed his career. It is time for the NCAA to learn its place.

We don’t watch sports to hear about sanctions, probations, and atmospheres that lack compliance.

We watch sports because we love what they bring into our lives; the competition, the excitement, the athletic ability that has left most of us years ago, if it was ever present at all. The NCAA is taking the fun out of sports. The NCAA is gradually turning college sports into a police state, where each day gives us a new court case to consider.

Maybe he made some mistakes, but Jim Calhoun is no cheater.

Shame on the NCAA for dragging his name through the mud in the interest of something so ridiculously obscure as an atmosphere of compliance.

Leave Reggie Alone

// September 13th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized


Like some bad deleted chapter from “1984″ the University of Southern California continues their attempts to erase the Reggie Bush era from our memories.  This weekend the Trojans removed Bush’s jersey from his tenured position juxtaposed to fellow Heisman winner Matt Leinhart in the Colosseum (just in time for Saturday’s home opener against Virginia).  This comes after the USC’s copy of Bush’s Heisman Trophy were removed from Heritage Hall on campus.

I have to pause and ask myself, “Isn’t all this just a little bit ridiculous?”  I know that the school is trying to do all the can to comply and cozy up to the NCAA, but shouldn’t they be standing up for a player who brought so much notoriety and attention to the University?  NCAA “violations” are one thing, but denying that he ever existed is a slap in the face to what he did for USC while still a student-athlete.

When will a school finally decide to cut their own path and honor players for the amazing accomplishments they …uh…accomplish while enrolled.  The NCAA can have their sanctions, their disillusions of “amateurism”, but why can’t USC (or any other university) stand up and tell them where to stick it?  Keep Reggie Bush in the record books, in Heritage Hall, his Heisman on display.  All the real players and people that matter know what it is like to be a part of a major college football program, his accomplishments are just that: his.  No amount of scrubbing the history books can erase that truth.

The Decade’s Definitive “NFL All-Bust Team” Part II: Defense

// April 28th, 2010 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized

pacman-jonesToday we are running Part II of The Decade’s Definitive NFL All-Bust Team over on FWG-NFL we’ve combed over thousands of possible candidates to bring you the 11 best (or worst, depending on how you see it).  The young man above is Adam “PacMan” Jones.  While you should go and check out the rest of the picks here I’d like to share with you a story about my time, albeit brief, with Mr. Jones.

PacMan, as he was known then (before the second coming of Adam), was a standout DB for West Virginia.  They came to  Rentschler Field in 2004 to play us (UConn).  If you didn’t guess, now you know; we got blown out.  Not even close.  Even with future NFL Draft picks Dan Orlovsky and Alfred Fincher, we just couldn’t match the speed or athleticism of the Mountaineers, who were led by that young stud on defense; PacMan Jones.

Well come the 3rd quarter, frustrations were high with our linebacker (and now CFL player) Mo Lloyd. Mo was a tremendous talent, and would go on to set the record for tackles in Motor City Bowl.  Anyway, Mo was jawing at PacMan, I believe it was a special teams play, when PacMan retailiated not with words (that 3rd grade vocabulary must have eluded him) but  by spitting in Mo’s face and following it up by grabbing his facemask.

In the NFL, where character is king, I’m not sure how they missed this red flag.  But their mistake is our reward, which is why I’d like to extend an heartfelt congratulations to PacMan, as he now sits perched high atop our list of the greatest NFL Busts of all time.

Penn Football Players Death a Suicide

// April 28th, 2010 // 9 Comments » // Uncategorized

owen-thomasI hate news like this.  And I hope that Owen Thomas’s family is okay right now.  I hope this sheds some light on a major issue in the NCAA:  There is absolutely ZERO mental health evaluation.  Millions of dollars spent on training facilities, weight rooms, state of the art rehab, but absolutely no institutions set up in place to help players cope with the stress of major college football, even at the Ivy League level (as was the case with Thomas).

Not to mention that every medical study on concussions includes some research/diagnosis that points to depression as a result of traumatic brain injury.  I’ve brought it up before, as have others.  Hopefully now the NCAA will pay attention to their athlete’s, doing something with athlete’s best interest in mind.

Expect a full write up on NESN this week.

[Penn Player's Death Ruled Suicide]

UConn Beats South Carolina, Redeems The Big East

// January 4th, 2010 // 9 Comments » // Uncategorized


As many of you know I went down to Alabama for the bowl, I began tweeting my adventure, and then like a sick twist of fate to my blogging soul, my laptop and cell phone (excuse me, PDA, ehem, Smartphone) died.  And I was left for the rest of the trip, living like I was Amish.  Although it did allow me a few opportunities to better collect my thoughts.  So here they are.

1.  It is always good getting to go back and see your old teammates.  A slightly slimmer Rob Lunn was able to appreciate just how truly athletic and…well…huge our UConn offensive and defensive line is.  And, after watching the game, I have a feeling that Steve Spurrier was equally surprised.

2. Maybe instead of living my life based on stereotype and broad, sweeping generalizations, I should have checked  That way, instead of arriving in Alabama without even so much as a proper jacket, I would have been prepared for 30 degree weather, while I sat there shivering.  Although, I was kept warm by the dismantling of the Gamecocks.

3.  Leave no doubt.  Next years D-Line will be even better than this year.  Sure, UConn loses Lindsey Witten to the NFL, but Kendall Reyes at 2 sacks (shoulda been 3), and they’ll be moving Greg Lloyd to defensive end, which should have the same effect as when (now Jacksonville Jaguar) Julius Williams was moved from ‘backer to DE.

4.  Did anyone else think it was a little premature of Spurrier to go for it on 4th down that early in the game?  Make it and your Belichick, get stuffed, and you’re Norwood.

5.  I was on the field after the game, and got to have a quick word with a Papa John’s official, who I think had something to do with media relations.  I asked him “do you think it would be cool if I asked Head Ball Coach for his autograph…” (I was insinuating that it might be a bad time, you know after the embarrassing loss and all) he replied, “You kidding? Go for it!  But, I’d hurry up and catch him, knowing him he’ll be on the golf course, grabbing a “quick-nine” before you can say Gamecock!”

6.  You want to talk about southern hospitality?  Go to Birmingham, Alabama.  I got off the plane and random strangers approached me saying “Welcome to Alabama, son”  Friendly? Sure.  But I had to ask, how did they know I wasn’t from around there? Was it my suitcase?  My superb dental work?  The world may never know.

7.  If you ever get a chance to go to Jim and Nicks BBQ, run…don’t walk….to the nearest location.  Order the Pit Master plate, and call me in a few days after your food-coma has subsided.  Holy crap that was good food.

8.  Coach Edsall was pretty emotional about the win in the locker-room.  I know Mike Enright (UConn media relations) was a little wary of me being in there, now that I am off the payroll and all, but I’ll leave what was said to stay in that stadium.  I will say this, talking with the guys and even players parents, I heard one particularly touching story, the quote isn’t verbatim, but it’s close enough:

“You know, Coach makes sure we know it all the time now.  We all know everyday that he loves us.   There is no question about that.  I’ll be walking through the facility, and instead of passing by, he’ll stop, look me in the eye and say “I love you, how’s your day.”  He’s genuinely interested in how I’m doing, and I know he cares not only about me as a player but as a person”

9.  I had a lot of people come up to me, my dad, and my grandfather and express your love for the blog.  I really appreciate it.  Even the guy who was waiting to fly standby, who got bumped by me, told me he loved it.  So dude, thank you.  And, if it is any consolation I ended up not only getting delayed into Boston by 4 hours, but on the ride home I was smushed into a window seat by a drunk Florida fan, who proceeded to use me like a pillow and reeked of beer, stale chinese food and mothballs.  I wish was lying, but even my girlfriend (the saint who picked me up at 3am) asked me if I’d been eating Mushu Pork.

10. Not that I am Nostradamus or anything, but when I did the interview on WTIC (if you have a copy/link email me) I told everyone that giving Todd Orlando that much time to prep for a team was unfair.  Well, I think I was more than right.  UConn’s defense was lights out all game.  Perhaps Tywon Martin put it best after it was all said and done:

“Those dudes (USC) tricked me”
“How So?”
“Dog, I thought they were gonna be unreal…we watched the tape, man.  They freakin’ tricked me”

11.  I am really proud of Husky nation, and to have ever been a part of that program.  Enjoying a game from the stands is a new, but great thrill for me.

Tim Tebow States The Obvious, NCAA Probably Appalled

// August 31st, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized


Listen, I’m not going to say I told you so, but  I told you so.   Tim Tebow came out in his interview with the New York Times and offered this exchange:

NYT: How close are you to graduation?

Tim Tebow : I’m going to graduate in December.

NYT: A light semester coming up, I assume?

TT: Yeah.

NYT: Ballroom dancing like Matt Leinart?

TT: (laughs) Easier.

NYT: What do you have?

TT: I guess the class that I would have is senior seminar. It’s one hour and one credit. It’s on Tuesday afternoons and we have practice. I’m going to work around that with the professors. I’m going to do whatever my counselor sets up. I’m a football player this semester.

You know, I did the same thing my senior year.  My class was one credit, it met once a week, and you know what our assignment was?  Start a blog (and that’s how this dream was born….)  Matt Leinart took ball room dancing, I took blogging 101, and Tim Tebow is taking a “Senior Seminar” (That’s SEC-Speak for, “I’ll see ya, when I see ya”). Just about every 5th year player takes this route, a candid Tim Tebow is not the exception, although this kind of honesty is a breath of fresh air.  But I know the NCAA doesn’t like the shroud of academic-amateurism to be lifted (it’s like lookin up their prom dress revealing that naughty ugly truth), so I’m sure somewhere in Indianapolis, NCAA officials are stewing, probably forming some committee (”Tebow-Gate!”), to pass some rule, freedom of speech be damned, hereby forbidding any collegiate athlete from stating the absolute obvious.

Suing the NCAA

// May 19th, 2009 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Do you know Sam Keller? Probably not. His days on the gridiron have passed, but his football legend is just being written. That’s because Sam Keller is suing the NCAA.

After a promising start to his career as a quarterback at Arizona State, including starting as a freshman in 2003, Keller was soon relocated to back up duty. He eventually suffered a season-ending hand injury and transferred to Nebraska for one season. He subsequently went undrafted in 2008, and was cut by the Buccaneers and Raiders in the preseason.

This is the story for many college athletes, myself included. The fame and fortune do not always find you. Not everyone signs a million dollar contract.

Read the rest HERE