By the way, firing Rob Chudzinski is a joke move by the Cleveland Browns. The entire season was supposed to be about the future (trading Trent Richardson) and he had the worst quarterback situation in the league. No one can win in that situation. Their franchise player, Joe Thomas was right when he said, “successful franchises don’t fire their coach after one season”. Well no one is confusing the Cleveland Browns with a successful franchise.
What the hell happened here? Seven floors above the iced-over Dallas North Tollway, Raghib (Rocket) Ismail is revisiting the question. It’s December, and Ismail is sitting in the boardroom of Chapwood Investments, a wealth management firm, his white Notre Dame snow hat pulled down to his furrowed brow.
In 1991 Ismail, a junior wide receiver for the Fighting Irish, was the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Instead he signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts for a guaranteed $18.2 million over four years, then the richest contract in football history. But today, at a private session on financial planning attended by eight other current or onetime pro athletes, Ismail, 39, indulges in a luxury he didn’t enjoy as a young VIP: hindsight.
“I once had a meeting with J.P. Morgan,” he tells the group, “and it was literally like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher.” The men surrounding Ismail at the conference table include Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, Cowboys wideout Isaiah Stanback and six former pros: NFL cornerback Ray Mickens and fullback Jerald Sowell (both of whom retired in 2006), major league outfielder Ben Grieve and NBA guard Erick Strickland (’05), and linebackers Winfred Tubbs (’00) and Eugene Lockhart (’92). Ismail (’02) cackles ruefully. “I was so busy focusing on football that the first year was suddenly over,” he says. “I’d started with this $4 million base salary, but then I looked at my bank statement, and I just went, What the…?”
Before Ismail can elaborate on his bewilderment—over the complexity of that statement and the amount of money he had already lost—eight heads are nodding, eight faces smiling in sympathy. Hunter chimes in, “Once you get into the financial stuff, and it sounds like Japanese, guys are just like, ‘I ain’t going back.’ They’re lost.”
At the front of the room Ed Butowsky also does a bobblehead nod. Stout, besuited and silver-haired, Butowsky, 47, is a managing partner at Chapwood and a former senior vice president at Morgan Stanley. His bailiwick as a money manager has long been billionaires, hundred-millionaires and CEOs—a club that, the Steinbrenners’ pen be damned, still doesn’t include many athletes. But one afternoon six years ago Butowsky was chatting with Tubbs, his neighbor in the Dallas suburb of Plano, and the onetime Pro Bowl player casually described how money spills through athletes’ fingers. Tubbs explained how and when they begin earning income (often in school, through illicit payments from agents); how their pro salaries are invested (blindly); and when the millions evaporate (before they know it).
“The details were mind-boggling,” recalls Butowsky, who would later hire Tubbs to work in business development at Chapwood. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
What happens to many athletes and their money is indeed hard to believe. In this month alone Saints alltime leading rusher Deuce McAllister filed for bankruptcy protection for the Jackson, Miss., car dealership he owns; Panthers receiver Muhsin Muhammad put his mansion in Charlotte up for sale on eBay a month after news broke that his entertainment company was being sued by Wachovia Bank for overdue credit-card payments; and penniless former NFL running back Travis Henry was jailed for nonpayment of child support.
In a less public way, other athletes from the nation’s three biggest and most profitable leagues—the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball—are suffering from a financial pandemic. Although salaries have risen steadily during the last three decades, reports from a host of sources (athletes, players’ associations, agents and financial advisers) indicate that:
• By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce.
• Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.
Cutting football was the best move this college ever made
Six years ago, Michael Sorrell made a decision that threatened his reputation and maybe his job.
His tenure as president of Paul Quinn College started in 2007 and, shortly thereafter, he opted to cut football in an effort to save money.
The response on campus was not pleasant.
“Predictably, we had folks who were, I guess, the reaction was loud,” Sorrell says.
This was in football-nuts Dallas, only seven miles from the heart of the city. Sorrell was not anti-sports, either. He played basketball and loved football. He just felt the sport was “something economically we could not justify.”
Sorrell made an offer to the angry defenders of the sport: Raise $2 million to save football, and he would match it.
“To date,” Sorrell says, “no one has raised a dollar.”
College football is dealing with an emerging financial crisis. It’s plaguing programs as large as the University of Tennessee, which was a reported $200 million in debt over the summer, and as small as Grambling, which is begging alums for donations after poor facilities led to a player mutiny earlier this month. Escalating coaches’ salaries and declining attendance have led to real concern that the entire college football complex will become insolvent, leaving only a few schools with thriving programs.
“We are standing on the precipice of an economic day of reckoning in higher education,” Sorrell says. “I think there will be more schools to do this. I think we’re just early.”
Football was eating $600,000 of Sorrell’s budget, and Paul Quinn is a tiny school of only 250 students. How could he continue to educate when so much funding was going to something that wasn’t building an academic reputation?
He simply couldn’t. So the field sat vacant.
Sorrell moved on to a much bigger issue: his school is located in a food desert with neither a restaurant nor a grocery store nearby, and many of the students at the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi are poor. Eighty percent of the students at Paul Quinn are Pell Grant-eligible. (There’s a “clothes closet” on campus where students can get business casualwear for free, and money had to be raised so students could afford eyeglasses to read.)
A year after the end of football, Sorrell was meeting with a real estate investor named Trammell Crow. They bandied about the idea of devoting a tract of land to producing food for the community. But where?
Sorrell joked that they should just build a farm on the football field.
The jest quickly turned into a reality, and the school’s future was changed for the better.
Some of the produce grown in full view of the scoreboard would go to local food banks and the surrounding community. Some of it, eventually, could be sold.
Utah industrialist Jon Huntsman, the coach’s longtime friend, confirmed in a statement released through The Salt Lake Tribune that Majerus died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. The coach had been hospitalized there for several months.
Players remembered Majerus, who got his start as an assistant under Al McGuire at Marquette, as a coach who was exacting and perhaps a bit unorthodox at times, but always fair. Majerus was known for assembling rosters with an international flair, and his final team at Saint Louis had players from Australia and New Zealand.
”It was a unique experience, I’ll tell you that, and I loved every minute of it,” said Saint Louis guard Kyle Cassity, who was mostly a backup on last season’s 26-win team after starting for Majerus earlier in his college career. ”A lot of people questioned the way he did things, but I loved it. He’d be hard as hell on you, but he really cared.”
At the postgame news conference following Saint Louis’ four-point loss to top seed Michigan State in the NCAA West Regional, Majerus and his players wept.
”Coach has done so much,” Brian Conklin said back then. ”Being his first recruiting class, he told me that we were going to help him build something special here. He’s a great coach. I couldn’t imagine playing for a better coach, a better person. He doesn’t just teach you about basketball, it’s about life.”
Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said in a statement that what he would remember most about Majerus ”was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court.”
”He truly embraced the term ‘student-athlete,’ and I think that will be his lasting legacy,” May added.
The school announced Nov. 19 that Majerus wouldn’t return to Saint Louis because of the heart condition. He ended the school’s 12-year NCAA tournament drought last season, and bounced back from his only losing season, with a team that won its opening game and took top regional seed Michigan State to the wire. The Billikens were ranked for the first time since 1994-95.
Majerus was undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for the ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August.
”That’s a tough one for me,” Boston coach Doc Rivers, a former Marquette star, said after the Celtics’ loss in Milwaukee. ”He’s the one that gave me my nickname. I knew before (the game) that he wasn’t going to make it through the night. I don’t want to talk much about it.”
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher first met Majerus at a camp when Majerus was a graduate assistant at Marquette and Fisher was coaching at the high school level in Chicago.
”Rick would hold court at night with a case of beer in the basement,” Fisher said. ”Phenomenal coach, a better person, cared about family, cared about people. He will be missed by everyone.”
This week’s roundup was more of a road trip with an extensive drive that took me through Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 10. Other than learning that we need to spend more money on roads in this city, I did get to see a bit of the ground game as it is playing out across the city.
Ward 1: While Robin Bellamy has some sign strength in some parts of the city, Darren Hill is still out in front, especially on east side of the river/ward. It’s a bit hard to judge as a lot of Darren Hill signs have been knocked over. I saw ten down Saturday while driving around the east side. I was able to observe both candidates in the same room this week as they were at the Mayfair/Kelsey Woodlawn/Hudson Bay Park Community Association AGM in the warm up shack of Henry Kelsey rink. Seriously, we met in a hockey change room that still smelled like my hockey bag. That’s the glamorous world of civic politics; awkward meetings in rooms that smells bad. If I ever think of running for public office, someone show me this post while sitting me down beside a hockey bag.
Ward 2: Owen Fortosky’s campaign website has launched while I am seeing a lot of Pat Lorje lawn signs going up all over Ward 2. Of course the secret of Ward 2 is not who has the best campaign but who can get the people out to vote. Doreen Day Wapass ran a spirited campaign against Lorje last election but very little of her support came out to vote (or the alternative narrative is that she had very little support)
Ward 3: I spent a lot of time driving around Ward 3 Saturday and I have never seen a sign campaign like it. There would be all sorts of Ann Iwanchuk campaign signs and then a bunch of Mike San Miguel signs in clusters. Then a while further there will be all of these Iwanchuk campaign signs before another cluster of San Miguel signs. I returned on Sunday and Wendy and I actually took some notes on signs. After looking at all of it, Iwanchuk is ahead. When you toss in the fact that she is an incumbent, I will put her out in front.
Ward 4: Troy Davies is putting up a lot of lawn signs along 33rd but throughout the ward the sign war is being won by Sean Shaw. A drive through a lot of Ward 4 Saturday showed that Shaw was holding a big lead in signs.
Ward 5: The big shift in the ward is that while city property seem to be supporting James Ford while actual households are still voting for Randy Donauer. Ward 5 is always going to be a difficult place for a left wing candidate to win as there is no really provincial or federal NDP presence in the ward which means that each campaign will be starting from scratch.
Ward 6: I spent a lot of time in Ward 6 Saturday as ESPN Radio was quite compelling and I was killing time while waiting for Mark to finish football practice. I managed to hit every neighbourhood in the ward. Charlie Clark is handily winning the sign war in Ward 6 which has to be horrible news for Brandon Snowsell. While I drove through on Saturday, Wendy and I were driving through the ward on Sunday and the Clark campaign had even more signs up. Having talked to a lot of campaigns about this over the last couple of years, one of the reasons you announce early and start door knocking is to get sign locations. People are not engaged in the political process in April and if you are going to be out there, you want to find people that will endorse you later. When it gets to that magical start date, you a) toss up enough signs to show your strength and put up some later to look like you are building momentum or you b) toss them all us and basically try to take your opponent out of the race early. A good example of this was the Eric Olauson campaign in 8 who gained enough sign locations (which are really endorsements) to establish himself as the front runner from the start of the campaign in Ward 8. After all the door knocking, the robocalls, and giant billboard and you still find yourself losing the sign war; it’s very hard to see a path of victory moving forward for the Snowsell campaign. As I took Wendy though the ward on Sunday, the Clark campaign had even more signs up which says not only is Clark ahead but he is the one with the momentum. No sign(s) of the other two candidates that jumped in to the race.
Ward 6 is also an interesting campaign where you have Snowsell running on a platform while Clark is running on his approach to civic politics which is actually a lot more important when you think about the thousands of votes over four years a city councillor will make. I have no idea what challenges city council will be facing three years from now and in the end you are voting for the person you best think can handle that.
Finally, thinking politics while listening to ESPN Radio talking about college football is harder than you think. At one point today I had Randy Donauer doing well in the Heisman Race while Tim Tebow was not doing well in Ward 4. Best of luck to both Ward 6 candidates as they play Michigan and Alabama on the road next week.
Ward 7: Mairin Loewen has been hard at work and is beating Mike Bzowey in sign locations. I keep hearing two things. One that Loewen’s ground game is paying off for her and she is ahead but I also hear that because of Bzowey’s spending and the wildcard that is Stonegate that is much closer. I think it is close but I Loewen works hard on constituency issues and is a thoughtful city councillor and effective campaigner. I still have Loewen ahead in a close campaign.
One odd part of the campaign is that after driving through most of Stonegate I never noticed a single lawn sign. I assume it’s because of all of the construction and not because the neighbourhood has shunned all three candidates in the ward but still, it is kind of weird as the neighbourhood has made it’s feelings known before (they don’t like group homes for single mothers and their infants). I don’t think it means anything either way other than it is just weird.
Ward 8: Some of Ainsley Robertson‘s supporters are saying to me that Sharon Wingate will draw enough support from Eric Olauson on the right for them to win up the middle. I agree it does happen as you saw that happen with several of Ralph Goodale’s elections but that only seems to make sense if there is a three way race and you still have to be stronger than the other two. Three strong campaign’s lowers the number of votes to win but you still have to get to that number. I still have Olauson out in front although Robertson does seem to be gaining in some sign locations and I think she is in second place.
Ward 9: Tiffany Paulsen has published her campaign platform and it has an interesting plank of free outdoor fitness classes for everyone in the city. She hasn’t released how this would be paid for or how much it would cost but I like it and one of the reasons why we have these elections is to get new ideas.
Ward 10: This is the only campaign that has it’s own iPhone app and a paperless candidate in Mark Horseman. Zach Jeffries is using a more traditional campaign to knock off incumbent Bev Dubois. Dubois is going big with billboards, bus bench ads, radio ads and today, a pancake breakfast. Three different approaches to a tough race. While this is Bev Dubois’s sixth campaign (she lost previously to Don Atchison and then Tiffany Paulsen before winning the next three), both Mark Horseman and Zach Jeffries have experience running campaigns in the riding. Horseman ran in the last election while Jeffries was part of the campaign team trying to beat Dubois back in 2003. While my survey of Ward 10 wasn’t as extensive as my trips through Ward 3 and Ward 6, it is worth noting that Dubois seems to be losing the sign war to Jeffries and maybe even Horseman. May she should have released an Android or Blackberry app?
Mayoral Campaign: Tom Wolf criticized Don Atchison for essentially being the incumbent mayor during the campaign and like most of council, the Mayor had some problems with the language around the Code of Conduct. I agree with the Mayor, err, Don Atchison on this one and probably think it was a campaign mistake. Wolf came out with his second phase of his campaign platform which focused on communities. The other major news during the mayoral campaign is the excellent political campaign that the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan has run with several announcements during the campaign which has blunted some of the criticism that some candidates have made about the spending. Both candidates have some lawn signs up around the city but I have Atchison out in front.
The interesting part of the mayoral campaign will be the mayor’s debate which is going to be televised for what I think will be the first time.
Useless Fact of the Week: Candidates are very, very passionate about lawn sign stakes. Some use one stake, some use two and there is a divide between those that use 2×2 stakes (Hill and Jeffries among others) and those that use 1×2 stakes. I also found out that NDP leadership candidate Cam Broten has a “stake guy” who makes stakes out of recycled wood. It also sounds out that on several campaigns, the election allows them to clean out sheds because the stakes are all being used. So by taking a lawn sign not only are you making your voice heard, you are helping out someone’s domestic situation. That and if your fence goes missing during a provincial campaign, it could be Broten.
Number of the week: 288. As in 288 followers that Tom Wolf has on Twitter. Tom is doing a good job with social media but with only 288 followers, his campaign is not catching on as it needs to if he wants to beat Don Atchison (who has 810)
Statistically Insignificant Argument of the Week: I have heard from a couple of campaigns that “my opponent got the sign but I got the vote”. I know that does happen but it’s a statistically insignificant amount. It goes both ways and lawn sign strength is a pretty good sign of voter intentions. The exceptions are rental housing where a landlord may authorize the lawn signs but of course the residents have their own idea on how they will vote.
So the University of South Carolina’s football coach gets criticized in a column and instead of shrugging it off, gets mad at all media and then get this, is now trying to get the columnist fired. As Yahoo! Sports sees it.
Morris and Spurrier are enemies, we get that, but why penalize the entire media contingent? And why over this? Yes, Morris questions whether Shaw should have played in that game, but I think a lot of people were doing the same. Shaw looked pretty miserable during the bulk of the Vanderbilt game. He sat out the East Carolina game and many thought he should sit out UAB to be ready for the grueling SEC season.
In the end, Shaw’s shoulder proved not to be a big deal against Missouri as he completed 20 consecutive passes in a dominating 31-10 win.
So, I guess it’s kind of a “See, I was right all along” kinda thing to Morris, but still just another example of childish behavior by a coach toward the media, which seems to be happening far more often this year than in the past.
Apparently the contents of the article can not be tolerated by Spurrier in the future.
“I told my wife after the last article, ‘I’ve had it. I’ve had enough,’” Spurrier said. “‘I’m not going to take it anymore. I’ve had enough.’ Almost all of the Gamecocks say, ‘Coach, don’t pay any attention to him, he’s insignificant,’ which he is. He is not an important person. But they’re not having their name and reputation slandered. So, I’m the one. It’s not my mode of operation to not say anything about it. So, this is my voice here. He gets his voice in the newspaper, which he uses.”
The highlight of the segment comes in what Spurrier says next, where he eludes to the idea that he is going to get Morris fired from his job.
“I think we need to make some changes. I think some positive changes are going to happen,” Spurrier said. “They have a little problem over there that we know about, but they’re working on it. Our president and our athletic director, they’re all backing me in this.”
It’s hard to imagine someone saying they’d have taken a job somewhere else while in their current position, but that’s exactly what Spurrier goes on to say.
“When I came here, I didn’t know we had some enemies within our own city,” Spurrier said. “If Mike McGee, when he hired me, had said, ‘Steve, we’re going to give you a chance to run the football program at South Carolina. You hire your coaches, you do your thing, but you have to put up with the local media trying to trash you and try to ruin your reputation and they’ll try to portray you as a mean, evil, self-serving person.’ I would have said, ‘You give that job to somebody else. I’ll wait for the North Carolina [Tarheels] job to open,’ which opened the next year.”
Spurrier closes with reiteration of the idea that getting rid or Morris will bring the community closer together.
“I believe our city is going to be better off because we’re all going to get along better. That’s what it’s all about,” Spurrier said. “We’ve had some serious discussions about things. Basically, I said I’m not taking any more of this stuff that’s coming out of our local paper anymore. If that’s part of the job, I’ll head to the beach. That’s not part of the job. So, we’re going to get it straightened out.”
Like the calm before a storm, there’s a feeling that something major is about to happen in South Carolina. What does this mean for the future of the media that covers Gamecocks football? Will anyone who is critical of the team or Spurrier be subject to discipline? Who will the fans ultimately side with? Whether you like Steve Spurrier or not, it’s almost impossible to not look at what happens next.
I don’t know what the South Carolina media is like but I do follow the Notre Dame Fighting Irish media really closely and they criticize Brian Kelly, Charlie Weis, and even Lou Holtz when they are winning or losing. It’s part of the job. Ask Ken Miller how hard the media criticism can be and was one of the most successful Saskatchewan Roughrider coaches ever. Only in the United States is the “football coach” a title and not a job.
What’s sad is that this reverence for the “coach” is what leads to scandal like what happened at Penn State and like it or not, columnists like Ron Morris who question these guys are the counterbalance because the Athletic Director and university Presidents can or will not (notable exception was Arkansas in tossing Bobby Petrino). Steve Spurrier makes $2.88 million a year and has one of the highest profile positions in the state. With that comes criticism, not coddling.
Now if Joe Paterno and Penn State had acted as quickly and decisively against Jerry Sandusky as the NCAA did, there would be far less victims and no sanctions. Yahoo! Sports has the report.
Two sources with knowledge of the Penn State penalties said NCAA president Mark Emmert will announce Monday that he is personally sanctioning Penn State after receiving approval from the association’s Division I Board of directors, which is comprised of 22 college presidents and chancellors. One source told Yahoo! Sports Emmert’s sanctions will include a “multiple-year” bowl ban and “crippling” scholarship losses. Penn State will not receive the "death penalty."
The move will mark a first in NCAA history, in which the president will invoke a defense of the NCAA’s constitution as part of his reasoning for taking the unprecedented steps. The moment is groundbreaking in that Emmert is circumventing typical NCAA process and moving forward without an investigation by his enforcement staff. However, Emmert is expected to detail that the action is backed by a special provision allowing such a step if he receives approval from the NCAA’s board of directors. A source told Y! Sports the NCAA is prepared to defend the lack of an investigation by focusing on the Freeh Report, and Emmert’s determination that the report provided actionable evidence.
The report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that former coach Joe Paterno, former president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz "concealed" facts tied to Sandusky’s abuse of children.
The Penn State administration had finally hatched a plan. It was too kind, backward and included possibly tampering with a criminal investigation. Still, it was enough of a plan that it could’ve stopped Jerry Sandusky, child molester, back in 2001.
Just a couple weeks earlier, a football graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, had witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy in a Penn State locker room shower. He told coach Joe Paterno. He told vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley. He could’ve been more specific. He was clearly specific enough, however, to get their attention.
Schultz plotted out a course of action, according to a bombshell report by CNN, citing an email exchange that’s been uncovered in the school’s independent investigation by former FBI chief Louis Freeh. The report could be released as early as next month.
According to CNN in an email dated Feb. 26, 2001, Schultz wrote to Curley about a three-part plan that included talking "with the subject asap regarding the future appropriate use of the University facility," … "contacting the chair of the charitable organization" and "contacting the Department of Welfare."
It would have been better to skip directly to the third action and let the welfare authorities do the meeting and informing, but this should’ve been enough to end Sandusky’s reign of terror.
Except that Curley sent an email to Schultz and school president Graham Spanier on Feb. 27, 2001, that changed everything.
"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell them about the information we received and tell them we are aware of the first situation," Curley’s email said, according to CNN.
It’s unclear why Curley suggested that Sandusky (the "person involved") wouldn’t be contacted when Schultz’s email told Curley to "talk with the subject asap." But the bottom line is that child welfare services was never contacted. And Sandusky, convicted earlier this month on 45 counts of molestation, continued to stalk and abuse the area’s disadvantaged boys for seven more years.
The email is devastating on multiple levels, perhaps most for Paterno, who had escaped some measure of scorn thus far by playing the, in-hindsight-I-should’ve-done-more angle. Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach, died at age 85 in January of lung cancer.
According to Curley’s email, Paterno participated more than he ever admitted, including likely talking Curley – and thus the others – out of the plan to turn Sandusky over to authorities.
Take a second for that one to sink in.
It is now perfectly reasonable to postulate that Joe Paterno protected Jerry Sandusky, who had been a Penn State assistant coach from 1969 until retiring in 1999. Sandusky went right along with his business of showering with boys in the locker room, of bringing kids to the sidelines during games, of sitting in the press/luxury box area of home games. Sandusky used the program’s allure like a lollipop to draw kids into his van.
So why didn’t they act.
What remains is the question of why otherwise reasonable people would make such an ethically bankrupt and criminal decision. These are highly educated, high-functioning men. The answer may never be determined. It may help to go back to that moment.
In hindsight, the smart move would have been to have Sandusky arrested. Viewed from today, Curley, Paterno, et. al. would have been lauded for making the correct decision.
At the time, however, the story would’ve been about a recently retired defensive coordinator molesting kids in JoePa’s locker room.
Paterno was 74 and coming off a 5-7 season. He didn’t have much of a team for the foreseeable future, either. Rumblings were growing that it was time for him to retire, that the game had passed him by, that at his age he couldn’t handle the responsibilities of a major college football program.
An act of child molestation in the locker room would have only fueled that. When word would have eventually leaked out that in 1998 Sandusky had been investigated for the same charge yet still maintained all-hour access to the facilities, it may have too much for Paterno to survive, let alone explain.
In the precise moment, each of the men must have feared being fired. Even Joe Paterno.
Perhaps that wasn’t the case. We may never know and it certainly isn’t an excuse for allowing Sandusky to continue. It may explain it, however. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator.
If Sandusky had sought the help they suggested, had he stopped his behavior, had the school not commissioned Louis Freeh to dig through every scrap of information in the football program, a witch hunt that found its witches, they may have gotten away with it.
They didn’t, though. Instead, the whole thing gets worse for Penn State. The full report looms. The noose tightens on Curley, Schultz and Spanier.
And Joe Paterno, the beloved saint of the Nittany Lions, is left looking nothing like the man everyone believed he was.
Sadly it’s a story that has taken place on how many hockey teams (Graham James anyone) and countless families. The cost and shame of being open about it was too great and so they covered it up and the victims were still hurt by it.
Pitino’s Cardinals had a new trick for every defensive possession, putting his team into position to get key stops and turnovers despite being clearly outmatched. The Cardinals switched between man-to-man and zone defenses in the halfcourt and showed an array of different full-court presses. On one possession, after a foul shot, Pitino’s guards denied the inbounds pass, forcing a Kentucky timeout. On another possession, they trapped in the halfcourt, surprising Kentucky into a quick shot. Over the course of the game, Pitino used his scrappy perimeter defenders, Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Chris Smith, to spearhead pressure and force Kentucky into mistakes. It was a masterful, if ultimately doomed, effort that required both precision and coordination.
Calipari’s approach was the opposite. Aside from token pressure after timeouts, his Wildcats stayed in the same man-to-man defense the entire game. The Wildcats’ offense consisted mostly of keeping good spacing and going one-on-one or setting ball screens; the type of offense a team might run in a pickup game, not the Final Four. He did not manufacture stops or attempt to play chess with Rick Pitino. Calipari recruited the best players on the court and let them play.
It would be simple to say that Pitino outcoached Calipari, but it wouldn’t quite be correct. Calipari has the luxury of letting college basketball’s best players take over the game; a luxury of which he took full advantage late in the game against Louisville. With a team of freshmen and sophomores, Calipari doesn’t attempt complicated game plans. He doesn’t need to. He keeps his Xs and Os simple, makes sure his guys play unselfishly and gives them the opportunity to show their overwhelming talent. Against Louisville, that was enough to win.
Some are even suggesting it be pulled off the air. I mean, come on. This was one of, if not the greatest moments in the history of college basketball. Do Kentucky fans simply want us to forget it ever happened? According to them, we must never speak of this again.
Relevant in Canada and the United States. Writing for Grantland, economists Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier imagine how the NFL might end due to the increasing visibility of head injuries.
This slow death march could easily take 10 to 15 years. Imagine the timeline. A couple more college players — or worse, high schoolers — commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE. A jury makes a huge award of $20 million to a family. A class-action suit shapes up with real legs, the NFL keeps changing its rules, but it turns out that less than concussion levels of constant head contact still produce CTE. Technological solutions (new helmets, pads) are tried and they fail to solve the problem. Soon high schools decide it isn’t worth it. The Ivy League quits football, then California shuts down its participation, busting up the Pac-12. Then the Big Ten calls it quits, followed by the East Coast schools. Now it’s mainly a regional sport in the southeast and Texas/Oklahoma. The socioeconomic picture of a football player becomes more homogeneous: poor, weak home life, poorly educated. Ford and Chevy pull their advertising, as does IBM and eventually the beer companies.
What would the impact be?
Outside of sports, American human capital and productivity probably rise. No football Saturdays on college campuses means less binge drinking, more studying, better grades, smarter future adults. Losing thousands of college players and hundreds of pro players might produce a few more doctors or engineers. Plus, talented coaches and general managers would gravitate toward management positions in American industry. Heck, just getting rid of fantasy football probably saves American companies hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Other losers include anything that depends heavily on football to be financially viable, including the highly subsidized non-revenue collegiate sports. No more air travel for the field hockey teams or golf squads. Furthermore, many prominent universities would lose their main claim to fame. Alabama and LSU produce a large amount of revenue and notoriety from football without much in the way of first-rate academics to back it up. Schools would have to compete more on academics to be nationally prominent, which would again boost American education.
One of the biggest winners would be basketball. To the extent that fans replace football with another sport (instead of meth or oxy), high-octane basketball is the natural substitute. On the pro level, the season can stretch out leisurely, ticket prices rise, ratings rise, maybe the league expands (more great athletes in the pool now), and some of the centers and power forwards will have more bulk. At the college level, March Madness becomes the only game in town.
This is probably my last post on Penn State and Joe Paterno for a while as he was fired last night by the Penn State Board of Trustees.
Joe Paterno, a man who until last week could make a claim to being the greatest coaching institution in the history of college athletics, was terminated Wednesday night with a phone call. Forty-six years as head football coach at Penn State ended when he was informed by university trustees John Surma and Steve Garban that his services were no longer needed. Effective immediately.
It’s the way some employers would treat a middle manager, not a legend. But in the end, maybe that’s heartlessly fitting – after all, Paterno abdicated his powerful role and played the part of a mid-level employee in passing the buck up the ladder when informed in 2002 that an alleged pedophile had raped a boy in the showers of his football complex. The crucial lack of leadership in a moment of dire crisis led to the end of his leadership at Penn State.
Joe Paterno’s tenure as coach of the Penn State football team will soon be over, perhaps within days or weeks, in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated university officials, according to two people briefed on conversations among the university’s top officials.
It was one horrible misjudgement from a coach that until now has always been known for his good judgement.
Paterno has not been charged in the matter, but his failure to report to authorities what he knew about the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted a young boy at Penn State’s football complex, has become a flashpoint, stirring anger among the board members and an outpouring of public criticism about his handling of the matter.
In recent days Paterno has lost the support of many board members, and their conversations illustrate a decisive shift in the power structure at the university. In 2004, for instance, Paterno brushed off a request by the university president that he step down.
Paterno came to Penn State in 1950 as a 23-year-old assistant coach making $3,600 a year. He planned to stay for two seasons, to pay off his student loans from Brown University, where he earned a degree in English literature.
He became the head coach in 1966, and he has been widely credited with helping spearhead the Penn State football program and the rest of the university from a local enterprise into a national brand. Along the way, Beaver Stadium grew to 108,000 seats from 29,000 and Penn State’s endowment grew from virtually nothing to more than $1 billion.
What separated Paterno from many of his coaching peers until this week was that he did this with few questions about how he grew the program. Penn State’s lofty graduation rates and education-first ideals, known as Paterno’s Grand Experiment, became as synonymous with the program as its plain uniforms and dominating defenses.