With all its National Championships in various sports – 108 of them which is by far the most of any NCAA school – a baseball championship by UCLA’s Bruins wasn’t part of that impressive national title total.
It is now.
National championship number 109 for UCLA comes via the baseball diamond thanks to the Bruins (49-17) 8-0 win over Mississippi State to sweep the best two out of three title series at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
The UCLA football team ended its spring workouts at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this past Saturday at the annual Spring Showcase.
The showcase really didn’t accomplish much to propel the Bruins as the odds on favorite to repeat as PAC-12 Southern Division Champions, maybe winning the conference outright and earning a trip to a BCS game.
Before the Heisman Trophy Trust could take it from him, former USC running back Reggie Bush gave back the Heisman he won in 2005. Bush is the first Heisman winner to relinquish the trophy in its 75 year history. The Trust has decided to leave the 2005 Heisman vacant instead of giving it to runner-up Vince Young of Texas.
Although, according to Bush, it’s not an admission of guilt, he did the right thing.
It took four years for the NCAA to investigate allegations that Bush and his family received lavish gifts, money, a house and who knows what else and, finally, lay down the hammer on Troy.
Although Bush never admitted accepting all of the above, the sanctions levied USC, including its football team, most of them based on the Bush Allegations, made it a “fait accompli.”
So, who gets shafted by all this?
Not Bush. Yet. He’s having a stellar NFL career, making millions of dollars, with the New Orleans Saints helping them to their first Super Bowl championship last season. But once he retires and figures out his college alma mater wants nothing to do with him, that’ll be a tattoo on his legacy and conscience that can’t be removed.
This current and future crop of USC football players, those who had nothing to do with what transpired in 2004-05, are the ones who are thoroughly shafted. The next two seasons, these kids have no shot of being rewarded for their hard work with a bowl berth. It’ll take at least three seasons after the bowl sanctions before USC can even get back into the National Championship hunt.
Same goes for the current members of the USC men’s basketball team. They’re left with a “no post-season tournament sanction” for two seasons (including last season) because of the fiasco that was “one-and-done cager“, O.J. Mayo*. Mayo’s enjoying a lucrative career with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. He could care less about USC.
Of course, USC loses out on post-season bowl and March Madness purses because of the sanctions.
A very knowledgeable and unnamed source of mine called the NCAA the most duplicitous organization in this country.
He, basically, called the NCAA an “old boys club” made up of hypocrites. My knowledgeable unnamed source is absolutely right.
“What’s your take on today’s students being punished for infringements and incidents caused by athletes 4-5 years ago. I think it’s unfair for these kids to suffer.” My unnamed source continued, “Punish the school and the coaches. Not the kids now playing who are innocent of wrong-doing that happened way before they arrived on campus, or graduated high school for that matter.”
Sure enough, because of the sanctions, many Trojan recruits were allowed to leave for other schools.
Under former AD Mike Garrett and football coach Pete Carroll, practices and game sidelines included a “who’s who” of Hollywood stars and who knows who else, giving many, including those with dollar signs in their eyes, access to these amateur athletes.
“Fine Mayo and Bush and the (expletive) who fed and paid them hoping to get a slice of their financial pie in the pros. The (expletive)leaches should be barred including companies like NIKE and Adidas. The NCAA is so duplicitous in that they don’t outright BAR these companies from the campuses.”
My unnamed source also thinks the NCAA should be punished for taking four years to figure it out.
“I could have told them in 20 minutes. That’s why Mayo went to a non powerhouse basketball team. He had better offers until someone said…CASH.”
Take a look at these tidbits from the world of the NCAA:
November 18, 2008 (espn.com)
“The BCS and ESPN announced a new four-year contract Tuesday. ESPN outbid Fox, which is paying $80 million annually to broadcast the games from 2007-10.”
“ESPN’s offer was for $125 million a year, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The person requested anonymity because the networks are not releasing financial details.”
Headline from April 22, 2010 (ncaa.org)
“NCAA signs new 14-year TV deal for D1 men’s basketball. CBS and Turner join forces to pay $10.8 billion for tournament rights fee.”
Next time you watch an NCAA collegiate event on television or in person, notice the NIKE Swoosh somewhere on that uniform the student-athlete is wearing.
After Alabama beat Texas in this past January’s BCS Championship Football Game, the Crimson Tide signed a uniform contract with NIKE paying Alabama $30 million through the 2017-18 season to dress every Crimson tide team. It tops the college sports world. NCAA gets some of that as well.
Billions of dollars are being made by the NCAA which is a legitimate, money-making business for amateur athletic competition.
The student/athlete’s fortunate enough to get a scholarship to one of the fine universities under the NCAA umbrella get, for the most part, a free education, room and board and a stipend for three meals. That’s the “salary” awarded kids for playing sports at the collegiate level.
But if one of these student/athletes with a scholarship wants to go to a movie but can’t afford the $50 for two tickets, popcorn and sodas, he/she can’t get a job to earn the money or even accept the money from a parent because it could, somehow, violate the student/athlete’s amateur status because the parent is, by definition, the kid’s “representative.”
But the student/athlete better wear that uniform with the NIKE Swoosh on it so the NCAA can make its $$$. A good example of this are Boise State and Virginia Tech wearing “NIKE Combat Alternative Uniforms” for their opener a few weeks back in Washington D.C. Eight other teams will be wearing such uniforms during the season.
The student/athlete better agree to let his/her likeness be used by the school and the NCAA to lure fans and possible sponsors to spend their $$$.
That’s where the duplicity, regarding these issues, lie in the NCAA.
It’s not as if “Bush/Mayo Situations” haven’t happened before. This time, they just happened to get caught because Garrett and Carroll were negligent in monitoring who would show up to practices and who was given a sideline/field pass for games.
And this won’t be the last time these things happen at schools under the NCAA Umbrella.
*Is it just me, or should USC stay away from any athlete whose name is O.J.?
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be grateful. Conceit is self given. Be careful. John Robert Wooden (1910-2010)
John Robert Wooden was a man who came from humble beginnings never forgetting, in his 99 years on this Earth, where he came from.
Wooden was taught humility by his father, Joshua, who he called the wisest man he’s ever known. In turn, he passed his father’s wisdom on to the two children he and his beloved wife and true love, Nell, had together.
That wisdom was passed down to seven grand-children and 13 great grand-children.
Friend. Caring. Honest. Grateful. The most humble person you‘ll ever know. Father figure. The best coach.
That’s how former UCLA point guard Henry Bibby described Wooden just a few hours before the legendary Bruins coach passed away from natural causes. Wooden had been at Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA in grave condition for 10 days.
I saw him last weekend. Bibby said. He said to me, ‘Henry, I love you.’ I told him, I love you too, coach.
From 1970 to 1972, Bibby honed basketball skills Wooden taught as the starting point guard for three of UCLA’s 10 National Championship teams under Wooden.
Coach was always so humble. With all our success, he never took the credit. For him it was all about the players who were part of the team.
And like all of Coach Wooden’s players, he learned more than basketball skills, Bibby learned life skills.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re honest with others. Treat people the same and live by your word.
A native of North Carolina, Bibby was being recruited by Norm Sloan at North Carolina State and UCLA. Wooden paid him a recruiting visit along with Kenny Washington, a guard on the Bruins first two National Champions under Coach Wooden.
Of course, the rest is Bruins history and the beginning of an incredible relationship for Bibby.
If that’s what happens to team number 64, why would the NCAA expand the tournament from 65 to 96 teams? Teams 65 through 96 certainly have no shot what-so-ever if 64 was no match for Duke in this year’s first round.
Hmmmmmm. I know! CHA-CHING! $$$$$$$$$! An extra two days worth for the TV Network and the NCAA.
Whether you like it or not, the inevitability of expanding the men’s basketball tournament to 96 teams could become a reality as soon as next season. That’s fine because the number of division one schools has increased to 300+. So, post-season expansion in the tournament makes sense.
This will virtually end the “other” post-season men’s college basketball tournament, the NIT. The National Invitational Tournament was once thee post-season tournament. That changed in the 1960’s when the NCAA put the hammer down. Since then, the NIT attracts those NCAA Tournament “Bubble Teams” who just miss out on making the NCAA’s field of 65.
This year’s field of 32 NIT participants included Arizona State, Connecticut and tournament finalists North Carolina and eventual champion Dayton. So, it’s safe to say, this years NIT field of 32 would have been in this year’s NCAA’s had the tournament been made up of the proposed field of 96.
The NCAA’s plan is to keep March Madness a three week event. The top 32 teams will get a bye in the first round. That means the remaining 64 will begin play on Tuesday and Wednesday with Tuesday’s winners advancing to play that week’s Thursday regional games while the Wednesday winners advance to play in Friday’s regional games. So, you just add two days of games. Instead of one “Play-In” game, it’s a round of 32 “Play-In” games. Sure, it’s a diluted field. But, that’s the nature of the beast that is modern sports and television revenue from said sports. More = More.
I have a suggestion to keep the NIT afloat. How about the 32 losing teams from the Tuesday/Wednesday first round games advancing to the “Consolation NIT”.
Now, as far as the NCAA’s. If you’re going to give 32 teams a bye in that first round, give the bye’s to the Regular Season Conference and Conference Tournament Winners regardless of National Rankings. Those Champs earned a bye for winning their respective conference titles. If the regular season and conference tournament winner happens to be the same team, then you give that bye spot to an “at-large team” based on national rankings that didn’t win its regular season or conference tournament title.
But, aren’t those post-season Conference Tournaments already the expansion of the NCAA Tournament? It’s a process of elimination to get to the two best teams to fight it out for the National Championship. Don’t the Conference Tournaments begin that process of weeding out the posers to get to the two elite teams?
Anyway, by expanding the field to 96 teams, the NCAA’s essentially working a “do over” to change the results of those Conference Tournaments. It ends up being a third or fourth chance for some teams. Enough is enough.
Logistically speaking, with this expanded field, the NCAA should consider adding two regions. How about a North and North West Region and seeding every region with teams actually from those respective regions. No more Syracuse University (Upstate New York) being the top-seed in the West Region. Makes no sense except to send teams in different directions so the best possible match-ups occur later rather than too early in the tournament for the television perspective.
If you seed each region with teams from their specific region, you’ll weed out those teams that are in the tournament thanks to the 32-team expansion in the opening round and assure yourself of some great later round match-ups barring early round upsets of course. Even if some of the top teams are upset early, that’ll generate even more viewer curiosity to see if one of these “Cinderella’s” can continue to advance.
March Madness expansion’s going to happen folks. If I were one of those NCAA suits, I’d talk about putting together a 16-team football playoff before expanding March Madness. But, that’s just me folks. If you can make student athletes play an extra round of college basketball, you can certainly work out some sort of football playoff incorporating bowl games.
Honestly, the “BCS” is just plain “BS” isn’t it? Enjoy the extra hoops folks!
*Every time I type in Winthrop played Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the “Play-In” game, all I can picture is my childhood friend Anne Winthrop being guarded by five guys over 6’10” while she dribbles a ball amongst the trees. Is that wrong of me?
The game interest obviously had plenty to do with Mid-Major Butler. Certainly not a Cinderella when you consider entering the title game, the Horizon League Champion Bulldogs were riding a 25-game winning streak and had resided in the national top 25 for most of the year. Butler was certainly the underdog against mighty ACC Champion Duke and justifiably so considering the tradition of Blue Devils Basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
What the ratings and viewership numbers for this game tell me is, to be cliché, America always roots for the underdog. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It helps that Butler’s campus is less than eight miles away from this year’s Final Four site, Lucas Oil Stadium. You can’t script this but, also, the Bulldogs home-gym is Hinkle Fieldhouse, the gym where the state high school championship game in the move “Hoosiers” was filmed. OH, COME ON! How fun is that!
So, for the life of me, I don’t understand why some sports radio hosts believed if Butler were to win the national championship, it would set the game back 50 years and that having a mid-major like Butler just playing in the title game would sound the death knell for CBS and its ratings.
I take it back. I know why these guys would publicize this. For exactly that. Publicity. So, here you go guys.
Meanwhile, FOX Sports Radio host and FOX Sports Nets Rumors Reporter, Ben Maller, said if Butler made it to the title game, ratings would be at an all time low for CBS. Now, I’m not bashing Big Ben because he’s my boy. We both have worked together on radio and TV and we’re pals. But, COME ON, BEN! Turns out my buddy was, obviously, wrong.
For Cowherd, it’s inconceivable to believe Butler winning the national title would be bad for college basketball. Of course, the Bulldogs came up just short in their quest. But, they proved they belonged with the big boys extending Duke to the final second.
For Cowherd to say Butler winning the national title would be bad for college basketball is similar to saying Texas-Western beating Kentucky for the 1966 national Championship with TW coach Don Haskins starting five African-American players, for the first time in the history of the game, against Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats was bad for the game. Haskins’ starting those five African-American players was exactly what the game needed at that particular time in our history.
Butler’s performance the other night against Duke is exactly what the game needed at this particular time in the sports history. It says those mid-major programs belong with the so-called“Big Six” programs. That alone peaks the interest of the vast majority of American Society who want to see the underdog have his day against the big boy.
Hence the big television numbers, Big Ben!
Congratulations to the Butler Bulldogs for showing the mid-majors belong and playing a terrific game. Much congratulations to Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils for another national title and playing a terrific game. Thanks to both schools for putting on a tremendous show for us to enjoy.
I bring this up because of an episode of “That 70’s Show,” which takes place in Milwaukee, I recently happened to catch on FX. The episode was about the teens in the cast going to visit the University of Wisconsin and Marquette. The guys went to visit the WU in Madison, while the girls went to visit MU in Milwaukee.
In the Marquette scenes of the show, athletic posters adorned some of the walls. They read “Marquette Golden Eagles”. WRONG! In the 70s, Marquette was referred to as the “Marquette Warriors.”
Typically on shows revolving around a certain period of time back in our history, like “That 70’s Show,” have behind the scenes staff that’s required to make sure all posters, names, mascots anything that is used on camera coincides with what they were in the time period the show re-creates.
“That 70’s Show” staff either didn’t do their homework. Or, they felt, to remain politically correct, and not offend anyone, they let the “Marquette Golden Eagle” slide for this instance thinking no one would catch the mistake.
Sorry “That 70’s Show”. But, I’m the one who pays attention to details like that especially since it’s a sports name issue.
My thought is being a “Warrior” isn’t something offensive or politically incorrect. It describes a proud defender. Considering that is sometimes how we refer to our own Men and Women in uniform, I think “That 70’s Show” blew it.
With that said, I’ll still watch “That 70’s Show”. I love that show!!
Take out your brackets and work with me on this one. I, absolutely, love March Madness, especially the first two weeks when, Thursday thru Sunday, you have wall-to-wall college basketball from, depending on what region you’re in, early morning to the wee hours of the late night………… morning.
The regions, and seeding in those regions, are the issue. Having the West, Midwest, South and East Regions makes no sense anymore considering teams from every one of those regions sometimes don’t even play in their respective regions anymore. They add up the frequent-flyer mileage crossing the country, to and from all different regions, if they should happen to be fortunate enough to get to the Final Four, which happens to be in the North (Indianapolis), a region that’s not even represented in the March Madness scheme of things, at least on a “bracketology” map.
However, teams from the North are represented in March Madness. See what I mean!!
For instance, the top-seeded team in the West Region this year is Syracuse. That’s in the Northwest corner of New York state……on the east coast. The Orange plays its first West Region game Friday…………in Buffalo………in the northern part of New York State. Meanwhile, Gonzaga out of Spokane, Washington is seeded eighth in the West. The Bulldogs’ first West Region game is also Friday……………in Buffalo, New York! I KNOW! If you’re not a college hoops fan, your only thought is…………WHAT THE……!!!
Here’s another one for you non-college hoops geeks. Buffalo’s also hosting first and second round games in the East Region. The East Regional Semi’s and Finals are in Syracuse, New York. So, how is it that the Syracuse Orange aren’t the top-seed in the East. Kentucky is. By the way, Spokane Washington is hosting Midwest and South Regional first and second round games. But the “Zags” are nowhere to be found. Well, you can find ‘em. They’ll be in Buffalo. You get the picture.
“Who’s on First. What’s on Second. I Don’t Know’s on third. Tomorrow’s your Pitcher and he’s throwing to Today (catcher).”
Used to be the top teams from each region WERE from each region and you had to win YOUR region to get to where ever the Final Four happened to be. That was “back in the day” when the tournament was only 16 and 32 teams. UCLA won 10 National Championships under college hoops coaching god, John Wooden. The Bruins came out of the West region every time.
Of course, NOW, it’s all about TV and money…………yada, yada. Get the best teams in, regardless of region. That’s fine with me. So, NOW, you can be from the University of California……………the regular-season Pacific 10 Champion, on the West Coast……………and you’re seeded eighth in the South Region and have to play your first round game in Jacksonville, Florida. At least they have Jacksonville’s region right.
Wait! Now, the NCAA College Basketball Suits are discussing the possibility of expanding March Madness from the current 65 teams to 96! DON’T DO IT!!! March Madness is already expanded. The extra teams/games are called CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS!! ESPN calls it CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK!
If you’re going to expand March Madness Games for another week, there’s no excuse to NOT HAVE A PLAYOFF in the College Football Bowl Sub-Division (1A). I’ll stay away from that one for now.
There are 16 seeds in each of the four regions. Top four seeds in each are the favorites to advance to the national “Sweet 16.”
But, when you look at the top four seeds in the West Region, not one school is from out West. The top four West seeds are:
1. Syracuse (New York) – Big East regular-season champion
2. Kansas State (Kansas) – Big 12 regular-season runner-up
3. Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) – Big East regular-season runner-up
4. Vanderbilt (Tennessee) – Lost in SEC Tourney quarter-final
Both the Pac-10 regular-season and conference tournament champions aren’t in the West Region. We discussed West Coast Conference regular season champion Gonzaga playing in the West Region where they belong. But not in Buffalo! WCC tourney champion St. Mary’s isn’t in the West region.
There are a total of 14 teams out of the West region of the country in March Madness this year. Yet not one is seeded in the top four of the West Region. The primary men’s college basketball conferences in the West:
1. The Pacific-10 – Washington, California
2. The Mountain West – BYU, UNLV, San Diego St., New Mexico
3. Conference USA – UTEP, Houston
4. Western Athletic – Utah St., New Mexico St.
5. West Coast – St. Mary’s, Gonzaga
6. Big West – UC Santa Barbara
7. Big Sky – Montana
Based on seedings in other regions, New Mexico is the highest at three in the East. They should be the top four seed in the West. Also based on the top 25 where New Mexico and St. Mary’ reside, all should be in the West region. Even though the Pac-10 had an “off year”, seems to me Washington and/or Cal should be in the West region.
All I’m suggesting is all regions should have a team/teams from that region in the top-four seeds.
With all that said and suggested, it should be another great March Madness………………that ends the first weekend in April. Huh?
Oh. Here’s my FINAL FOUR:
West Region – Kansas State
Midwest Region – Kansas
East Region – Kentucky
South Region – Duke
Final Game: Kansas and Kentucky
National Champion: KANSAS
Of course I’ve probably put an unintended curse on all four teams and I’ll be completely shut-out in the Final Four. But, that’s why it’s called March Madness……………………that ends the first weekend in April.