Archive - November 2012
- Column: NCAA ArroganceNovember 26, 2012
The NCAA’s arrogance knows no bounds, but the governing body has set a new low even by its own depressed standards. A recent Miami Herald article reprinted a letter sent by the NCAA to attorneys representing a number of former University of Miami football players. The letter asked the players to contact the NCAA to discuss their involvement with former Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro, the convicted Ponzi swindler currently serving a 20-year prison sentence. In a series of articles published by Yahoo! Sports last year, Shapiro admitted providing dozens of UM players with impermissible benefits in the form of gifts, meals, travel and prostitutes. The NCAA ordered twelve players to pay restitution and hit eight of them with suspensions ranging from one to eight games. The NCAA letter implies that the investigation is ongoing.
- Column: Marlins FraudNovember 19, 2012
A year ago I wrote that Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria was insulting what few fans the team had by making low-ball offers to a number of free agents the team had no intention of signing. While former Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols passed up the chance to be a Marlin, five other players – including shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle - succumbed to the temptation of more years and more dollars than other suitors were offering, even though the contracts were heavily back loaded. Thus, I admit I was wrong. I also accused Loria of being “cheap, untrustworthy and duplicitous” while engaging in the biggest fraud since Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme for his dual rip-off of South Florida taxpayers and Major League owners. Those comments were made after taxpayers financed 75% of the team’s glitzy new stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami, a commitment that will total $2.4 billion before the bonds are paid in full. At the same time that he was crying poverty to the politicians, Loria’s team was one of the most profitable in MLB thanks to another hand out, revenue sharing.
- Column: Baseball Awash in CashNovember 12, 2012
For most MLB fans, the baseball season is over. But they’re only partially right. While the last out of the World Series signals the end of the games on the field, the games off the field are just getting underway. Oh, player business transactions take place in-season, especially prior to the July 31 trade deadline and the August 31 waiver deadline. However, other than the blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and the Dodgers, in which the Sox unloaded a quarter of a billion dollars in salaries, nothing much of consequence really took place. There has been a smattering of signings so far involving mostly second level, or to be brutally honest, third level players. But those transactions are just appetizers for the main course, the free agent signing period and the trades that are certain to take place between now and the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville in early December. It’s not necessarily the names of available players that will grab our attention, but rather the size of the contracts that await those players. Other than Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, no player has a reputation as a game changer, one that warrants a contract beyond 2-3 years at approximately $6-9 million per year.
- COLUMN: New NCAA Infractions SystemNovember 5, 2012
I’d love to give the NCAA the benefit of the doubt, and not because I care about the hundreds of overpaid bureaucrats ensconced in their cushy offices in Indianapolis. They could all join the millions of unemployed and underemployed in this country and I wouldn’t shed a tear on their behalf. If that should happen, some of those righteous, self-serving individuals might even find a way to make a positive contribution to society. My concern is for the millions of student-athletes who are abused and threatened by the very individuals who falsely claim to have their best interest at heart. Through their administration of confusing and archaic bylaws, rules, policies, procedures and agreements, the NCAA and its member institutions serve to accomplish nothing that benefits student-athletes that they would not otherwise receive if the NCAA ceased to exist. But unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. In fact, like any bureaucracy, the NCAA continues to pass new and more confusing rules of operation.