Archive - March 2013
- Column: Woods and VonnMarch 25, 2013
According to the tabloids, Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are the new number one sports power couple in the world, which raises a multitude of questions. For example, who did they displace? What are the rankings based on, wealth? Unscientific public opinion polls? Career victories? Career earnings? Length of their relationship? The couple’s impact on society? Beauty? The latter may be the place the media starts. Not all, but many athletes are among the most beautiful people in the world. Athletes, male and female, are also among the fittest, tannest, most physically attractive human beings in our society. And beauty begets beauty. Vonn and Woods are no exception. When he isn’t treating media conferences like a day in the dentist’s chair, Woods can display a million watt smile that could light up the darkest room. Vonn is outgoing and personable and at 160 pounds is much more appealing to the eye than any Victoria Secret model sauntering down a runway.
- Column: The Big EastMarch 18, 2013
The Big East Conference’s post season tournament held at Madison Square Garden last week was billed as the last of its kind. Fortunately, that won’t be the case. As you may have heard, the former Big East Conference has been ravaged, from inside and out. After next year, Louisville is off to the ACC and Rutgers to the Big Ten. In response to the conference’s recent emphasis on football, seven members - dubbed the Catholic Seven - that count basketball as their prime sport, elected to leave and form a new conference. The new conference will officially be named…the Big East. That’s right. Negotiations on an exit fee with the “old” league led to the purchase of the Big East name, along with the league’s post season tournament contract with Madison Square Garden. We may not see a Georgetown-Syracuse matchup in a conference game, but the Big East name lives on. If you’ve been following college sports for the past few years, conference split-ups and reconstitutions are nothing new. Every major conference, and some minor ones, have added and/or subtracted schools. Some have done both, all in the name of that holiest of pursuits: To generate more revenue.
- Column: Fox Launches Sports ChannelMarch 11, 2013
Last week’s announcement by Fox that it will launch a 24-hour all sports channel this summer may end up being the biggest sports news of the year. And that prediction is made even though we are barely one-sixth of the way through the 2013 calendar. Fox Sports 1 was a long time in the making. Rupert Murdoch, the mastermind behind Fox’ world-wide media empire, has contemplated a sports channel to compete with ESPN for almost two decades. That’s why the March 5 announcement hardly came as a surprise to anyone, in or out of the media. What may be surprising are the similarities between FS1 and ESPN beyond the fact they are both sports channels. The companies currently carry some similar programming, including NASCAR races, Major League Baseball, professional soccer and college football and basketball. But unlike Fox, ESPN also carries the NBA and holds the exclusive rights to the newly created BCS playoffs.
- Column: NFL Asks Illegal QuestionsMarch 4, 2013
“Do you like girls?” NFL teams to players during scouting combine. Are NFL teams homophobic? It appears they may be, given the line of questioning engaged in by a number of teams at the recent scouting combine in Indianapolis. In addition to being asked if they like girls, players were also asked if they had a girlfriend, were married or had kids. The questions could be interpreted as a not-so-subtle effort to determine if players are gay. How that affects whether players can tackle, run, jump, or the number of pounds they can bench press has yet to be scientifically documented. While the questions weren’t necessarily “illegal,” both the NFL and the NFLPA issued statements critical of the practice. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process. In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation.”
- Post: NCAA President Takes HeatMarch 3, 2013
These are not the best of times for the NCAA or its President, Mark Emmert. The governing body had been taking more heat than usual of late, and that says a mouthful. Criticism, all of it well deserved, has been pouring in from every corner imaginable, including politicians, lawyers, academics and its own members.
An organization that is charged with determining whether its members lack institutional control is seemingly itself out of control. The investigation of the University of Miami uncovered internal breaches of ethics that led to the dismissal of two ranking officials in the enforcement division. Which begs the question: Is this a one-time aberration or an ongoing practice that has only recently come to light?
In most organizations, the chief executive officer would assume responsibility for the organization’s failings and resign. Not only did Emmert fail to resign, but the NCAA Executive Committee recently gave him a Vote of Confidence. In the real world, that would be the kiss of death and signal an end to Emmert’s term as president. However, as even casual observers can deduce, the NCAA doesn’t operate in the real world, but rather on another planet of its own making, devoid of the normal rules, guidelines, and due process protections that normally exist here on earth.
While the NCAA has never been under more pressure than it is today, don’t expect major changes to occur anytime soon. And even if the governing body ceases to exist, the ultimate goal of many critics, another organization with similar traits would rise in its ashes.
- Post: Jeffrey Loria's Days are NumberedMarch 3, 2013
Hang in there, Marlins’ fans. Better days are coming. The only question is, how soon?
Loria is the despised owner of the Miami Marlins, who last year stripped the team of virtually all its star players. The purge came five years after convincing local politicians to finance a shiny new stadium in downtown Miami at a cost of over $2 billion when all the interest is paid on the debt. Loria was convinced that if you (the taxpayers) build it, they (the fans) will come. Instead, the Marlins had the lowest first-year attendance of any new stadium constructed in the modern era.
Loria and his stepson, team president David Samson, have succeeded in alienating baseball fans throughout South Florida with their ham-handed operation and insensitive public comments. Loria is likewise reviled in Montreal, having sold the Expos to MLB which in turn ushered the team out of Canada.
But this time, Loria has overplayed his hand. His partners in MLB are also fed up with his operation. He has made a mockery of the revenue sharing system, pocketing hundreds-of-millions of dollars rather than investing it in his franchise. Loria has also embarrassed MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who campaigned for the Marlins’ new stadium, while at the same time poisoning the waters for other MLB teams wishing to obtain taxpayer subsidies in the construction of new ballparks.
The guess here is that behind the scenes Bud is wielding the bully pulpit to the extent he can in an effort to pressure Loria to sell the franchise to a new owner. Although there is no timeframe for that move, the day when Loria becomes the ex-owner of the Marlins is coming.