Monday, March 21, 2011

Pearl's Out

I was thrilled when Tennessee hired Bruce Pearl as head Men's Basketball Coach in 2005, but I was very much aware then of his baggage with the NCAA. Pearl isn't worth the long-term risk to the program:

Many Vols fans aren't happy about the prospect of losing a coach who has led the men's basketball team to unheard-of levels of success. One close friend of mine remarked that Bruce Pearl could be fired over meeting a player at a barbecue, but that Ohio State football Coach Jim Tressel should be fired after Tressel admitted having knowledge that several of his players sold championship rings and other memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor in exchange for tattoos. Tressel didn't condone the players' actions, but in having knowledge of these clear rules violations but failing to report them, Tressel himself violated the rules. Tressel will serve the same five-game suspension that his players will be forced to serve. He was to have received a much lighter two-game ban, but the punishment was increased to five games at Tressel's request. In the grand scheme of sometimes arcane NCAA rules, Tressel's offenses were no worse than Pearl's, and if Tressel deserves to be fired, should not the same standard apply to Bruce Pearl?

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And here I thought England was supposed to have their way with Team USA....

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Super Saver Saturday

Super Saver, with now-three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel aboard, wins the 136th Kentucky Derby on one of the sloppiest Derby Day tracks in recent memory.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Storming the Court

Yes, I know that storming the court can be dangerous...

But banning it outright is nothing more than pooping the party, and the Southeastern Conference has banned the old tradition.

Mike Slive is clearly a Florida plant...

I'm not saying that officialdom should not have the right to monitor the situation and to clear the court by whatever means necessary-including force-if the situation were to get out of hand.

But I've been involved in several court-stormings in high school and college, and not only am I here to tell the tale, I wasn't hurt, and other than being hugged by jubilant players, coaches, classmates, and friends and in high school a few cheerleaders, I didn't find myself remotely in any danger. Each time this experience has been memorable and has served as a wonderful booster of student espirit de corps.

But the SEC has to poop the party....

A storming of the court in the 2007 Horizon League Championship Game (Wright State 60, Butler 55)

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Comment On the Coaching Trash...

Some people think our legislators wasted time in public comment on the Lane Kiffin situation-but they needed to comment:


A lot of people will wonder why our legislators would spend time on something so trivial as the departure of a backstabbing, two-timing so-called coach in the midst of a special session about education reform. Firstly, citizens should know that annual resolutions to honor Tennessee's major sports coaches are a longstanding tradition in the General Assembly, and such is the custom in many States. Since the University of Tennessee is not only a State-funded public institution but is our State's flagship university, our legislators have every right to publicly comment on the doings of its Athletic Department-especially in a situation such as what has occurred with the Lane Kiffin debacle.

Kiffin came to Tennessee with high hopes, and he infused everyone-including, I'm sure, those in the Legislature-with the notion that he was all about returning Tennessee to football glory. The sportswriter and former radio commentator in me should point out that in bringing his father Monty to Tennessee, along with recruiting guru Ed Orgoron, Kiffin seemed to be signalling to Tennesseans that he was very serious in his commitment both to the university, and more importantly, to the State. Let's be honest, however-Kiffin never quite got on well here from the first day.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Go Vols and Bucks!

Here's to another great season of Tennessee and SEC football.

Go Vols!

And a successful year for Ohio State as well.

Go Bucks!

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Friday, June 05, 2009

The Sporting Back Door

State Representative Stacey Campfield shares information about a new tax in Phil Bredesen's budget:

A graduated income tax on some athletes is a planned part of the new budget. The $2,500.00 tax goes on some professional athletes and entertainers that make over $50K a year, but not others. Affected are the NBA Grizzlies and the NHL Predators competition. Exempt are everyone else. I do not support this camel's nose under the tent but I find it interesting that the one pro team that Bredesen gave the farm to to get them to come to Tennessee (The Titans) get a complete pass.


To clarify, if your professional team is the one visiting Tennessee, your players, coaches, club officials, and staff will be the ones to pay this tax (Titans' opponents exempted).

A new bill sponsored by Tennessee State Rep. G.A. Hardaway of Memphis would impose a privilege tax of up to $2,500 on professional basketball and hockey players when their teams play in Tennessee.

Under House Bill 0019, Tennessee would tax athletes and entertainers performing in the state who make more than $50,000 a year.



It has long been an accepted fact that Representative Hardaway isn't the brightest bulb in the Capitol Hill firmament, but this legislation simply proves how completely clueless the poor man actually is. This bill is literally begging the Predators and Grizzlies to leave the State. No owner in his or her right mind is going to subject their players to paying an unnecessary tax. NHL and NBA owners would likely bring the issue up in owners' meetings at the behest of their respective players' unions, who (you can rest assured) won't put up with it, and will ultimately give the Predators and Grizzlies owners one option-"get out of Tennessee and move somewhere that our players won't have to pay a tax levied only on them for coming to town and doing what they are contracted to do." Lots of States with income taxes impose luxury taxes which are aimed primarily at athletes who visit, but which lots of other folks have to pay-so no one is legally singled out. However, this bill clearly singles out a specific class of out-of-State visitors, and may be unconstitutional.

If this bill is passed and the Grizzlies and Predators do leave within a few short years (I would estimate 3-5 years, considering how bureaucracy works in the NBA and NHL), Hardaway and Bredesen will bear direct responsibility for the jobs lost and drop in the local tax base of both Memphis and Nashville as a result. Since Hardaway is from Memphis, one would think that he would know what the loss of the Grizzlies would mean to the local economy there and that he simply would not want to risk that possibility, especially in this time of the economic doldrums.

The other issue which rears its ugly head here is that of the income tax itself. Twice before in this decade, the income tax in Tennessee was put to rest as a result of popular outrage, most recently being this very year when State Senator Reginald Tate's bill was quickly removed so that it would do no damage to the Democrats (Tate still ran a bill that would tax out-of-State employees). If the Hardaway bill passes, however, it is an income tax on out-of-State residents, and if the Legislature believes they can get by with levying such a tax, they will be poised in a couple of years to try a State income tax again-because they will argue that a form of one is already on the books.

This is a terrible bill, and not merely because I disagree with it, but because its impact was obviously either ignored or poorly thought-out.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

What It Was-Was Football

On this Super Bowl Sunday, let Andy Griffith remind us what it would be like to see an American football game for the first time.

Enjoy the game!

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

13-0

Maybe it is just me, but when a team goes 13-0, and clearly proves that they are capable of defeating any team in the country, they are the ones who deserve to be playing for a national title, if not to be called National Champions outright.

Oh, I forgot...we have the BCS, which prevents such exercises in sporting fairness.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

CUBS WIN THE DIVISION!!!!!!

CUBS WIN, CUBS WIN, CUBS WIN!!!!!!!!!!

Sing it Harry!


The Cubs have the best record in the National League

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rocky Top

On Florida Saturday (anyone up for Gator meat today??), a little montage of Greatest Moments I found to get us all psyched up...

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Big Brown and Big Concession

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

Big Brown comes up short in his quest for a Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes. Hillary Clinton "suspends" her campaign and endorses Barack Obama. Why we haven't reached full political equality in America. Words of tribute to legendary sportscaster Jim McKay, who passed away today. Hatton Humphrey and Adam Graham join the show.




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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Look What Brown Did For You


No matter what happens in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks, this horse is incredible and the Preakness Stakes yesterday was really an amazing run.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Preakness Day


In anticipation of the Preakness today, here's a redux of the 2007 classic.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

What Can Brown Do for You?

Something happened yesterday that very rarely occurs-the favorite (Big Brown) won the Kentucky Derby. The sadness came when filly Eight Belles was put down after finishing second and breaking both front legs:

“There was no way to save her. She couldn’t stand,” Jones said. “She ran an incredible race. She ran the race of her life.”


Some folks forget that these beautiful animals are athletes, too. They are just as susceptible to injury as human athletes. Perhaps the biggest difference is that unlike human athletes, if a horse breaks both front legs and can't stand, it likely won't survive. Although this kind of injury tends to happen with greater frequency in the racing world among thoroughbreds and standardbreds, it can and has happened in the show ring as well. Owner Larry Jones has to be milling around his decision to run Eight Belles in the Derby yesterday-he scratched her from the all-filly Kentucky Oaks Friday for a chance at the big race. I'm sure he's playing the "what-if" game in his mind, especially after another of his horses, Proud Spell, won the Oaks.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy New Year

It's Opening Day-sing it Harry!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

We'll know next week-we think

The week in college football. Arkansas' multiple-overtime upset of #1 LSU, Tennessee's dramatic 4-overtime victory over Kentucky. Missouri's victory over previously undefeated Kansas. Hawaii is undefeated with no respect. The emerging complicated National Championship picture.

Sportspack-November 26, 2007

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A game for the ages

Yesterday my in-laws hosted a family football party for the Tennessee-Kentucky football game that also doubled as a Thanksgiving celebration for part of the family who weren't able to be together Thursday. We all enjoyed some turkey on the rotisserie, dressing, broccoli casserole, bourbon and rum pecan pie, a few drinks, and one of the greatest college football games of the season-in fact one of the greatest I believe I have ever seen. In my mind, only Tennessee's six-overtime thriller over Arkansas a few years back, and Ohio State's dramatic double-overtime triumph over Miami in the 2002 National Championship Game could possibly top it.

For much of the game, it really looked like the Vols were in control, but in the second half Kentucky both outscored and simply outplayed Tennessee. The Wildcats' field goal to tie the game at 31 at the end of the 4th Quarter would send it to overtime and what would become a five-hour marathon. At one point, Kentucky had the chance to win it after the Vols failed to score, but when the Wildcats' Lones Sieber lined up for the game-winning field goal during the second overtime, Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams came through with a desperation block. Fittingly, the game ended after Kentucky failed to convert on a two-point conversion (two-pointers are mandatory after the second overtime in college football) after a touchdown at the end of the fourth overtime.

From the sound of everyone present, you would have thought we were there in Lexington-we certainly had our own little Vol Nation at that party. I've been to many a football party and had many a good time at one, but I don't think I've experienced or seen such exuberance as I did at the end of yesterday's game.

In recent years, the Tennessee-Kentucky rivalry has been a game that is easy to blow off. It has become so lopsided in Tennessee's favor that it is hard to call it a rivalry anymore. That all changed this year. Tennessee won, but nobody (and I mean nobody) gave up-it was a game for the ages.

For Tennessee, it is on to Atlanta next week for the SEC Championship Game against mighty LSU.

While you're at it, look out for Ohio State. Missouri beat Kansas yesterday and will play Oklahoma next week in the Big 12 Championship Game. Should Oklahoma upset Mizzou (a real possibility), or Pittsburgh upset West Virginia next week, that would place the Buckeyes back in the top two, and they could be playing for the National Championship.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

The new parity

If you’ve been following this year’s college football season even remotely, you’ve probably figured out that this year, what have come to be the “normal rules” of who competes in the sport’s top tier don’t apply. Fans have said for years that “anything can happen on any given Saturday” in response to a Saturday with a number of major upsets. This year, nearly every Saturday has been “any given Saturday.”

Whether it was tiny Appalachian State beating Michigan in Ann Arbor, or USC falling to lowly Stanford, or South Florida being ranked #2 in the nation for several weeks, week in and week out this season has belonged to the little teams that no one thought could-but did. Kentucky and Mississippi State are going to bowl games-that’s the Mississippi State that is normally lucky to win two games in a year. The Bulldogs are also coached by Sylvester Croom, the SEC’s first African-American head coach.

Before being upset themselves by Illinois last week, even Ohio State got in on the act of surprising the critics. Everyone now says the Buckeyes were over-rated, but some of these same pundits forget that at the beginning of the year, no one in their right mind was picking Ohio State to compete for the National Championship, and most experts picked Michigan to win the Big Ten. The reasons for this were realistic: Michigan is a team filled with veterans and packed with senior experience. Ohio State only returned two starting seniors from last season, and were starting a sophomore quarterback. The losses by others who weren’t supposed to lose placed Ohio State back at number one in the land, and they remained there until they were upset themselves last week. At the end of the year, the Buckeyes still did something they weren’t supposed to do-they won the Big Ten Championship.

It would be very easy to say that this has just been an odd year in college football, but the truth is that the 2007 season has likely signaled a sea change in the nature of the game itself. After the seasons that many small and mid-major college teams have had, they will likely be able to compete with the big boys in the years ahead for the quality recruits around the country. What 2007 has heralded is the new reality: Every Division I team now has a shot at a national title, regardless of how small their school might be or the size of their athletic department.

It’s a wonderful development for college football.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

The indictment of Barry Balco

We all suspected he was lying-we just knew that the home run record wasn't real, it just seemed too good to be true. It never quite made sense that he could hit 12 more homers than Roger Maris in a single season and obliterate the most hallowed record in the game-755 career home runs-in such a way that it was as though it were a proverbial rag doll. He said he didn't know they were steroids-flax seed oil, that's what he said they told him.

Few people outside of anything-goes San Francisco bought his story. While he was busy erasing Hank Aaron from the top of the baseball record books, a federal Grand Jury was busy trying to decide if there was enough merit to the case against him to indict him on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice-over lying about his knowledge of the lab that gave him the steroids and what the steroids were.

The Grand Jury apparently didn't buy his story either.

Now that Barry Bonds has been indicted, baseball fans the world over are forced to again wrestle with the painful question-not the legitimacy of his home run record (we know it is not legitimate), but whether Major League Baseball can or should make the record officially bogus by putting an asterisk next to it if Bonds is found guilty. There is a big part of me that wants to say "yes." As much as I would like to erase the record, that seems to be impossible since not every Barry Bonds homer was steroid-induced, but the asterisk would at least signal to future generations that something is not quite right about Bonds' career numbers.

What one hopes really happens is that Major League Baseball will learn from this experience and adopt a real steroid policy that involves real, frequent, and random tests. Younger players want the tests, especially those determined to play by the rules. The Major League Baseball Players' Association has done everything in its power to prevent this from happening, and when that is considered, it really makes the fan wonder what veteran players are trying to hide.

If there is one consolation it is that if Barry Bonds is found guilty, it is almost certain he will never see the Hall of Fame.

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