Tag Archives: Miami Hurricanes

The Dubsism Top Fifteen Sports Stories of 2011

Being that we are at the end of what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months, why not take a look back at the biggest sports stories of such a year? After all, I’m pretty sure nobody else does these sort of retrospectives…

15) The Establishment of Two All-Time Winningest College Coaches: Paterno and Krzyzewski

Will there again ever be a year in which we see the crowning of two all-time winningest coaches? We may not see either of those records (Paterno, 409 wins; Krzyzewski, 903 and counting) fall in the next half-century, let alone having them both occur in the same year.

14) Kevin Love’s Double-Double Streak

For nearly 30 years, Moses Malone’s record stood at 51 consecutive games, until Kevin Love scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers for his 52nd straight double-double. Love’s streak ended at 53 three days later at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

13) Two More Yankees Make The Record Books

Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter…Get ready for two more monuments behind the center field fence in Yankee Stadium.  Rivera notched his  record-setting 602nd career save, eclipsing Trevor Hoffman’s previous mark. And in the same season,  Yank captain Derek Jeter smoked a long ball to reach the 3,000-hit milestone, becoming only the the 28th member of the exclusive club and the first 3K Yankee.

12) The End of The Peyton Manning Era

The Colts spent two decades as an NFL afterthought before the arrival of the wunderkind Manning in 1998, and now neck surgery may spell the end of the Manning era in Indianapolis. Manning’s surgically rebuilt neck, his back-loaded contract, and the Colts prime real-estate in the upcoming NFL Draft form a perfect storm scenario in which if Manning does ever take an NFL snap again, it may be in a uniform not of Colt blue.

11) The Improbable Run to the Championship

When is the next time you will see such a harmonic convergence of “underdog” champions?

  • NFL: The Green Bay Packers make the playoffs as the bottom 6th Seed.
  • MLB: The St. Louis Cardinals literally make the playoffs as a wild-card on the last night of the season, then they win what may be the greatest baseball game in a generation, Game 6 of the World Series.
  • NHL: Granted, The Boston Bruins were a #3 seed in the East, which isn’t a prohibitive underdog, but nobody gave them a chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks
  • NBA: Like the Bruins, the Dallas Mavericks entered the playoff tournament as #3 seed, but it was their complete domination of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers which set the tone for the next two series, both of which saw Dallas facing teams which seemingly should easily over-match them in terms of talent on the floor. That was until Dirk Nowitzki decided to become unstoppable.
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: Again, the #3 seed proved magical, as the Connecticut Huskies rode that to the top of the field of 64. The fact they played their way to that seed was only slightly short of a miracle, considering they entered their conference tournament as a #9 and had to play AND win four games in four days to ensure getting into the NCAA tournament. Honestly, the ten-game streak in the Big East and NCAA tournaments pulled off by the Huskies may be one of the great playoff runs of all time.
  • NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey: Another #3 seed…are you sensing a theme here? The University of Minnesota-Duluth (which is really the UCLA of hockey) had an improbable run to the championship of the Frozen Four.
  • NCAA Women’s Basketball: I know that it is hard to call a #2 seed an underdog, but let’s not forget the womens’ basketball world was dominated by a single goliath at Baylor which Texas A&M  had to slay, but there was the ever-present team dragons in Tennessee, Stanford, and Connecticut.

10) The NBA Lockout

In what may prove to be a Quixotic exercise in abject futility, the NBA owners locked out the  players on July 1st  for reasons I still really can’t understand given what has happened since the lockout ended.  Star players getting big money has been the rule in professional sports for decades; Babe Ruth was the first jock to pocket more than the President of the United States. But when the Samuel Dalemberts of the world world are getting $13 million a year in a league that can’t pull in big-time national TV money, the problem is much larger than a simple collective bargaining agreement.

9) The Death of the Man Who Made the NFL What It Is Today

There’s a certain amount of irony in the fact the world lost Al Davis and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il in the same year.  Much like the regime of Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, the end of the Al Davis Era marks both the end of an era that once made the Raiders a serious factor in the world of the NFL, but now leaves them as an isolated dictatorship viewed as a pariah in contemporary circles.

Kim Il-Sung shaped at least a half-century of world history when he ordered the North Korean army into South Korea in 1950, starting a war that is still technically unresolved to this day. Al Davis forever changed the face of the NFL when he sued the league for the right to move his franchise as he pleased.

Much like Kim Il-Sung left his eternal mark on North Korea beyond the war, the legendary Raiders owner had six decades’ worth of unique impact on pro football. I would be lying if I said that I never criticized Davis.  Just a few months ago, I included him on my list of the 15 Worst Owners in Sports.  However, as I said in that piece, that criticism was reserved for the Al Davis of the past 20 years or so.

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL. In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

That paragraph only scratches the surface as to what Al Davis meant to the world of professional football.  Davis literally climbed the football ladder, going from college assistant coach to an NFL assistant coach, to head coach,  to owner to AFL commissioner, to Super Bowl champion,  and ultimately to the Hall of Fame.

Perhaps his single greatest honor is having made a record nine presentations of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Al Davis made presentation speeches for  Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, and John Madden. Davis himself was enshrined in Canton in 1992.

Davis changed the game of football through sheer personality; a personality which was a collection of contradictions. At once, he was was loyal and rebellious;  cantankerous and vindictive,  yet sentimental.  Yet through all that, Davis’ name must be included amongst the founding fathers of the NFL; a name that must be mentioned with same reverence in NFL circles as that of George Halas.

His contributions to the league as a whole notwithstanding, there the matter of his success with the Raiders. His trademark slogans weren’t just some words on a banner, it was a philosophy that propelled the three-time World Champion Raiders to the very top of the professional sports world. In the 48 year marriage between Davis and the Raiders, they had 28 winning seasons, including 16 in a row from 1965 through the 1980 World Championship season.

Davis died earlier this year died at age 82 and it’s hard to dispute the Hall of Famer’s place among the most influential of the sport’s history-makers. Davis was controversial. He was a contrarian. But he was also a gift to the game.

8 ) The Ever-Deepening Cesspool That Is The NCAA

This is only layer one of what is wrong with the NCAA. The truly disgusting stuff comes later down this list. This entry is all about the corruption and the hypocrisy of the organization which is supposed to keep these factors out of college sports.

It all starts back in January when the NCAA first found violations at Ohio State, but let the players who committed the violations play in their bowl game.  The theme here is the NCAA clearly values money over integrity. Keep this in mind as you read.

In August, the Miami situation broke,  when it was reported that Nevin Shapiro was pumping thousands of dollars in illegal benefits to past and present Hurricanes players over the past decade.  The tale told by Shapiro from his prison cell (he’s currently parking his ass in a federal cell for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme) includes prostitutes, cars, cash,  and paid vacations, much of which he alleges were known of by Miami staff and coaches.  Shaprio dimed out the names of  73 current and former players.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

Go back to the Ohio State situation. At first, this was just about tattoos. Then it mushroomed into costing head football coach Jim Tressel and starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor their jobs. In this case, it wasn’t so much the crime, but it was the cover-up which killed everybody. But the fact the NCAA dicked around for months only underscores the fact they are not really than interested in enforcement.

Then there’s the completely laughable finding that Auburn “committed no infractions” in the Cam Newton affair when there were admissions about cash payments totaling $180,000.

The best part is this isn’t just teams who are mired in unethical activity. The Fiesta Bowl committee was exposed in a 276-page report which detailed allegations of Fiesta Bowl employees being reimbursed for donations to state and local politicians (which happens to be a felony), $1,241 spent at a Phoenix strip club was illegally charged to an expense account, and the misappropriation of $33,188 bill for Fiesta Bowl’s president and CEO Junker’s 50th birthday party.  Junker has since been fired, but more stories like this will emerge until the swamp that is the NCAA is drained.

7) The Conviction of Barry Bonds

Another story indicative of what a depressing year in sports this really has been. Again, instead of talking about accomplishments on the field, we are dealing with matters decided in a courtroom.

In April, Bonds became the first player from a “major” sport to be convicted for an issue stemming from the latest round of scandal about performance-enhancing drugs. While he was acquitted of the more serious charges, just this past Friday U.S. District Judge Susan Illston issued a 20-page order refusing to overturn the obstruction of justice conviction handed down by the the jury in her courtroom  nearly eight months ago.

6) The Continuing Tectonic Shift in College football

Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. So is Missouri.  Syracuse and Pittsburgh are bolting from the Big East to join the ACC. West Virginia is trying to ditch the Big East for the supposedly greener pastures of the Big 12; the same greener pastures TCU left the Big East at the altar for.  In return, the Big East extended invitations to at least six teams, and the madness isn’t over yet.

5) The Phenomenon Known as Tim Tebow

I’ve been watching football for nearly 40 years, and I’ve never…repeat NEVER…seen anything like the Tim Tebow story. He’s either loved or hated; he’s either the future of the Denver Broncos or an impostor. Everybody has a strong opinion, and everybody is convinced they are right.

Frankly, I have no idea what to make of the guy, so I’m going to stick with the facts.

  • Whether or not the Broncos complete this miraculous run to the playoffs, there is no denying this team was on life-support when they handed Tebow the keys, and that team responded to him.
  • The Tebow story is one of the few uplifting stories in a year in sports filled with so many negatives.
  • Like it or not, Tebow is the biggest star in the NFL right now. Doubt that? Tell me another NFL player that had an hour-long special dedicated to him exclusively.

4) The Night of the Dueling Collapses

In the last story, I said I have been watching football for nearly 40 years. I can say the same for baseball, and again, I can say I never saw anything like the last night of the regular season.  In what was inarguably the wildest night in baseball I’ve ever seen, the Red Sox and the Rays,  and the Braves and the Cardinals entered the last game competing for the American League and National League wild-card berths respectively.

This set the stage for six hours of baseball that will be talked about for at least as many decades.

In the National League, the Braves blew a ninth inning lead, eventually losing in the 13th inning 4-3 to the Phillies.  This loss opened the door for the Cardinals to capture the wild card by cruising past the Astros 8-0 to complete their amazing late season run; one that found them trailing Atlanta by 10.5 games on August 25th but prevaiiling in the end by winning 23 of their final 31 games.

Believe it or not, the collapse in the American League was even more epic.  The Boston Red Sox  led Tampa Bay Rays by nine games on September 4th, which seemed to be an insurmountable lead. It wasn’t, as the Sox found themselves in need of a win on the last night of the season to keep their playoff hopes alive. The stars seems to be aligning Boston’s way; they seemed on the verge of staving off a historic choke-job, taking an early 3-2 lead over the Orioles while the Rays fell behind the Yankees 7-0.  But then somebody messed with the lenses of the Sox telescope; Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon surrendered consecutive hits to Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold, and Robert Andino to earn a season-ending 4-3 loss.  Meanwhile, the Rays regrouped and mounted a comeback on the shoulders of a pair of dramatic homers from Evan Longoria, including a 12th-inning walkoff game winner.

3) The Fiasco of the Los Angeles Dodgers

We may never know how sordid the details of Frank McCourt’s mismanagement of the Los Angeles Dodgers really are; what we do know is that after the Dodgers began showing signs of financial trouble in 2010, Commissioner Bud Selig made the decision to give the league control over the club’s day-to-day operations starting in April 2011.

Since then, we’ve been treated to McCourt attempting to overturn Selig’s take-over via the courts, then threatening to engage in more legal maneuvering over a proposed television deal with Fox Sports was rejected by Selig. Then since the Dodgers struggled to meet payroll deadlines, the club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, all during which McCourt was embroiled in what may have been the nastiest divorce in the history of the state of California.

Thankfully, Major League Baseball and McCourt reached an agreement in October under which he will sell the team and the media rights by April 30, 2012.

2) The NFL Lockout

Really, all this lockout proved is that the NFL owners and players really don’t understand the problems they have. They think this new collective bargaining agreement solves all the acrimony we all lived through, but that’s an illusion made of money. Realistically, the NFL and the NBA share some common problems, namely that they have franchises in places they shouldn’t, and those franchises are draining the league’s resources. The difference is the NFL is the country’s most popular sports league, it is literally floating on money, so it can pave over it’s issues with revenue-sharing. When the NFL finally hits the point where it has priced itself out of the market (wait until you see what the new TV deal is going to do to your cable bill), all of a sudden the illusion made of money will disappear. Mark my words, the next NFL lockout (and there will be one) will look and sound just like the NBA lockout we just lived through.

1) The Penn State and Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandals

This is the one story here that transcends sports. We have all heard the allegations, we have all read ad nauseum about all the sickening details; there’s really no need to rehash them here. What matters most is that these stories should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. We all must take a stand in stopping this sort of abuse of our children, and we must do it now. There is no excuse for any other course of action.

To that end, this should serve as the moment of truth for the NCAA. It’s time to find out how many more Jerry Sanduskys and Bernie Fines there are out there, and it’s time to ensure they are stopped. If the NCAA can’t do that, then the NCAA needs to be dismantled.

What We Learned From This Weekend in Football 11/19/2011

1) This Year, the Entire BCS Argument is Moot

Name a team outside of the SEC that can beat Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas…I’m waiting…

2) We Sort Of Forgot About Miami

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

I think we all know why the scandal that gripped Hurricane football dropped off our collective radars. But now,for some reason, the University of Miami has decided to at least give the appearance of trying to do the right thing.

Despite qualifying with Saturday’s win over South Florida, Miami has made the decision to remove themselves from bowl consideration this season in response to the ongoing NCAA inquiry into the Nevin Shapiro allegations. The school has informed both the NCAA and the ACC of its decision.

“We understand and share the disappointment that our student-athletes, coaches, staff, supporters and fans are feeling but after lengthy discussions among University leaders, athletic administrators and outside counsel, it is a necessary step for our University. The University of Miami has not self-imposed any other penalties. “

Athletic Director Shawin Eichorst and head coach Al Golden addressed the decision briefly in a teleconference on Sunday afternoon. Eichorst informed Golden of the school’s decision early Sunday afternoon, and further meetings with the coaches and players followed.

Naturally, the fact that they were headed for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl had absolutely nothing to do with this decision.

3) Teams we can start the “Death Watch” on right now

San Diego Chargers

It’s not just the five straight losses, its they way they’ve lost them.  They have no offensive line. They are without Malcolm Floyd and Shawn Phillips. They rely entire too much on Philip Rivers since they have a marginal running game, and there is the matter of the Human Handicap, otherwise known as Norv Turner. Turner could screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, and the Chargers will never win as long as he is on their sideline.

Washington Redskins

Like the Chargers, it’s not just the six straight losses, it’s the way they’ve lost them.  Nobody defines “inconsistent quarterback” play like the Redskins; they got the “good” Rex Grossman against the Cowboys and still lost.  In fact, despite the sideline weakness present in Mike “I never won shit without a guy named Elway” Shanahan, you really can’t fault the offense.  While the Redskins defensive line has proven to be improved and often more physical than the offensive lines they’ve faced, the back seven gives up far too much on pass plays.

New York Jets

It’s official…I’m off the Mark Sanchez band-wagon. This guy sucks swamp-water. This guy saves his job once every six games or so. This guy has to go.

Look at the pattern. When the Jets were on a three-game skid last month, Sanchez led them to a win over then-winless Miami. This is just like 2009, when the  Jets came back from a 4-6 record to make the playoffs at 9-7.

Now, Jets fans are stuck hoping history repeats itself again. This time, the Jets are 5-5 after dropping their and a suddenly-remembers-they-are-supposed-t0-be-lousy Buffalo team is coming to town. But none of that accounts for the dirty Sanchez secret.

Sanchez has chucked pick-sixes in each of the last two games. He’s tossed three total this season.  He also has lost two fumbles that were returned for touchdowns and had an interception returned to the 1 by Dallas on opening night, and the Cowboys scored a touchdown two plays later. That’s 42 points the Jets have allowed, almost all because of Sanchez.

To be fair, the Jets offensive line isn’t helping matters.  They’ve reverted to their early-season ineptitude. They allowed four sacks on opening night 11 in the first four games.  Sanchez has been dropped eight times in the last two games.

4) Teams I Want To Like, But…

Chicago Bears

The Bears are the photo negative of the Chargers. The Bears have won five straight.  They don’t win pretty and they depend on the running game. But when do they get Jay Cutler back?

The Bears’ Achilles’ heel on defense is the deep pass. If you can set it up, you can  you can hurt the Bears on deep passes, something that will be a test for them when they play Oakland this week. But after that, the Bears get Kansas City, Denver and Seattle. In fact, after Oakland, they won’t face a team with a passing game to speak of until week 16 with the Packers.

Oakland Raiders

Carson Palmer and Michael Bush might just be what the Raiders needed.  Palmer has yet to be dominant, but he is efficient, doesn’t make mistakes, and gives the Raiders the ability to move the ball against anybody.   Michael Bush can be flat out dominant with his bruising running style.  Plus, all they have to do to make the playoffs is win the AFC West.  But can they do it?  They’ve already lost to the Broncos once.

5) …And in what promises to be an on-going saga…

That whole bit about the Raiders brings us to the ever-present Tim Tebow story. His heroics against the Jets only serve as another chapter in what I fear may be a story that won’t be ending for a while. You can say all you wan’t about how he is a “terrible” quarterback…don’t look now, but this guy is winning games, and with every win, he gets more fans. If Tebow isn’t careful, he’s going to be one of the biggest stars in the league because his appeal transcends football.  Watch it it happen if the Broncos make the play-offs.

Don’t scoff at that thought. Like I said about the Raiders, all that is required to do it is to win the AFC West, and the Tebow-led Broncos have already bested the Raiders. The Broncos would be in the “Teams I want to like, but…” category, but my “but” on the Broncos is more of a belief question.  Do I believe that Tebow’s winning ways are due to him, or due to the fact nobody in the NFL has seen an option offense in 40 years?

The University of Miami: A Dissection Of A Complete Over-Reaction That Is Largely Correct

Buzz Bissinger over at the Daily Beast weighed in on this burgeoning story on Thursday, and at first, I thought the man’s cheese has slipped off its cracker. But as I let myself digest this piece over a few days; as I let myself look at this situation in a larger perspective, I came to realize I agree more with Bissinger’s piece than I disagree.

Here is what must happen:

1) The Miami football program must be given the death penalty by the NCAA. Not for one year. Or two. But forever. Gone. Kaput. Who will really suffer? Only the Wahoos who care about the Hurricanes more than they do their families—and need to get another life, anyway. The coaches? The players? If they have talent, they will all land somewhere else. In the real world, three strikes and you’re out. In the athletic world, three strikes and you’re just beginning. Who benefits? A university that perhaps may realize its primary mission is, can you believe it, academic and not athletic.

It isn’t as if the Miami program has been the white dove of peace in the past. No college football team has had a greater legacy of disgust. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, here is a sampling:

In 1994 there were allegations that Miami-based rapper Luther Campbell and former Miami players performing in the NFL were offering cash for big hits—50 bucks a fumble, 200 bucks an interception.

In May 1995 an NCAA investigation found that positive drug tests of various Hurricane players had been withheld by the football program a week before the January Orange Bowl. Later in 1995, the NCAA found Miami guilty of eight different categories of rules violations. Among them: excessive financial awards, Pell Grant fraud, pay-for-play payouts, and failure to follow its own drug-testing policy. In 2006 Miami football players were involved in two brawls, one with LSU in the Peach Bowl and the other during the regular season with Florida International, in which safety Anthony Reddick was said to have used his helmet as a weapon.

His case is compelling, and I’m not certain I disagree, but this is never going to happen. It’s not the “death penalty” part, it’s the “forever” part. Let’s not forget that the NCAA is as much a part of the problem, inasmuch as the NCAA will not do anything that affects making money.  This means effectively shutting off a money tap in a hotbed of college football simply is not a realistic option. It’s a knee-jerk reaction which simply isn’t practical.

If there’s any entity which should be given the “death penalty,” it is the NCAA itself. I will come back to this point later.

2) Miami president Donna Shalala must immediately resign, either voluntarily or under pressure. Her prepared statement in the aftermath of the Miami tsunami—“I am upset, disheartened and saddened by the recent allegations leveled against some current and past student-athletes and members of our Athletic Department”—is a shameless renouncing of her job description. She is responsible for what takes place at the school, is she not? That includes the athletic department, does it not?

Shalala is a well-known sports proponent herself: When she was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, one of her biggest priorities was revamping the football program into a top-10 power. She achieved her goal. She is hardly some sports naif. She knows what goes on and what doesn’t, what should happen and should not.

I couldn’t agree more with this point.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

Not only does Shalala need to go; she needs to go permanently. Look at that picture and try to tell me she didn’t know exactly what was happening. Not only does she need to go, college football is run by an organization full of Shalalas; it’s called the NCAA.

Once you boil all the bullshit off it, the NCAA is a collection of university presidents who are charged with maintaining the appearance of the “purity of amateur athletics” all while maximizing revenue by any means necessary.  College sports have become such a corrupted mess for no other reason than the body which is supposed to regulate it is also completely corrupted.

In other words, the University of Miami is not the problem. Rather, it is a symptom of NCAA and the culture it has created which is largely tolerant of the actions of a Donna Shalala. If there’s anything that should be excluded from college sports forever, it is the NCAA and college presidents who are crooks.

Ask The Geico Guy: Is It Time To Pay College Athletes?

This is one of those questions that has been asked so many times, yet so many people keep getting the answer wrong. It happened with USC. It happened with Ohio State.  Now it’s happening with Miami, and it has happened dozens of time before that. With each breaking scandal, the call that it is time to play college athletes resurfaces. Honestly, I’ve never understood the logic behind this. To me, this sounds like the typical, knee-jerk, ham-handed reaction Americans love to have about sports (for another example, see my rant on instant replay).

In a word, the answer is NO. It has a common flaw with instant replay; it won’t solve the problem.

If the idea is that by paying players, the temptation to break the rules will disappear. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One argument from the “pay the players” crowd states that since college sports is a big business, the players should get paid beyond what they already do because so much money is being made from their labor. Let’s dissect that.

First of all, the players already get paid; it’s called a scholarship. It isn’t the player’s collective fault they don’t understand the value of a scholarship, because the NCAA and/or the individual only pay “lip service” to the whole concept of the “student-athlete.” If the argument is that a scholarship and an education does not provide value, then it is time to strip all the pretenses and simply start a developmental league run by the NFL to replace college football. If we don’t care about the “student-athlete” anymore, then why waste time with colleges and the NCAA and all the B.S. they add to the equation?

There’s a reason why it is called “college football.” Every day, college students go through internships in which they don’t get paid. Whether you are playing football or preparing for medical school, you are in college for the learning experience to be applied to your chosen profession. Letting somebody have access to that experience on a scholarship is a HUGE value.

Then, there’s a suicidal aspect in all of this for college sports. Big businesses all have a layer of employees at the bottom of the pyramid who on an individual basis make the least amount of money. There’s a reason why McBurgerQueen franchises don’t bid each others employees, if they did a hamburger would cost $20. If you want to see the model of bidding each other’s employee’s in action, look at (insert professional sports league here).

Once you have money, you will have agents, and once you have agents there will be the whole issue of some players are going to get paid more than others. Bidding wars will start over how much some players will get paid and by whom, and who determine who gets paid and in what amounts. In other words, injecting payroll money for the players into college sports would simply turn it into a mirror of those professional leagues which are all bubbling around some sort of money/labor relations issues.

Another argument from the “pay the players” perspective says that paying players would eliminate the “cheating.” There’s such a large amount of money involved that to make that model work, players salaries would have to be substantial. Add that to the aforementioned “agent” issue, and you can see right away this has some serious practical issues. Besides, the players aren’t the only ones cheating. This problem goes from the top of the pyramid all the way down.

Look at USC. How much salary did athletic director Mike Garrett and head coach Pete Carroll make? It didn’t stop them from cheating. Look at Ohio State.  Jim Tressel made over $20 million in a decade in Columbus, and that didn’t stop him from cheating. Athletic directors, coaches, and even university presidents all make big dough, and they want more.

The cliche is money is the root of all evil, and the current way in which college sports is run exemplifies that.  Spreading more money to the bottom layer of the pyramid simply will spread the corruption.  Stopping the corruption in college sports by paying players is like extinguishing a forest fire with a jet-tanker full of gasoline. The key lies in holding people accountable for wrong-doing.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

For example, check out how dirty University of Miami Donna Shalala looks in all of this. First of all, there’s the picture of her getting handed a check by Miami booster-turned-rat Nevin Shapiro. Then’s there’s her “non-denial” denial.

To the University Community:

Since its founding more than 85 years ago, the University of Miami has stood for excellence in higher education in every endeavor, every degree, and every student. Our more than 15,000 students, on three campuses in 11 schools and colleges, and over 150,000 alumni expect our core values to remain steadfast and true in times of extraordinary achievement as well as those rare times when those values are called into question.

As a member of the University family, I am upset, disheartened, and saddened by the recent allegations leveled against some current and past student-athletes and members of our Athletic Department. Make no mistake—I regard these allegations with the utmost of seriousness and understand the concern of so many of you. We will vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead, and I have insisted upon complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students. Our counsel is working jointly with the NCAA Enforcement Division in a thorough and meticulous investigation, which will require our patience.

I am in daily communication with our Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Director of Athletics, and counsel, and will continue to work closely with the leaders of our University.

To our students, parents, faculty, alumni, and supporters—I encourage you to have patience as the process progresses; to have confidence in knowing that we are doing everything possible to discover the truth; to have faith in the many outstanding student-athletes and coaches who represent the University; and to have pride in what our University has accomplished and aspires to be.

What a pant-load. It is crucial to notice that she never once mentions a single specific item for which she is “disheartened and saddended.” Why does Shalala only speak in vagueries and B.S.? Probably because there is a picture of her getting a check form the guy who is ratting out everybody.  In short, she’s a part of the problem.

There is a way to solve this problem, but the NCAA won’t do it.  As broken as the system is, it still is a gigantic money pump. This is why all the NCAA punishment go through Olympic-level gyrations to avoid touching anything that involves money. They’ll take away scholarships, they’ll vacate record books, they’ll rule people ineligible, but they never hand out fines that are anywhere near commensurate to the cash one can generate by breaking the rules.

For example, last month the NCAA put Georgia Tech on four years of probation, fined the school $100,000 and stripped its ACC football title game win from the 2009 football season for violations that also included problems in the men’s basketball program. So, as a punishment, Georgia Tech still gets to be on television, can still participate in post-season activities, and has a page in a record book erased for a game for which they already got paid. As far as the $100,000 fine is concerned, that is a pittance compared to what the average “big conference” program generates in a season. If you believe the numbers in this linked article from CNN Money, the average football program from one the BCS automatic qualifying conferences averaged a profit of $15.8 million. Frankly, I think those numbers are grossly understimated, but even if we accept them for the sake of argument, this means Georgia Tech’s fine equaled less than one-tenth of what they make for one game. That’s not exactly a deterrent.

Obviously, fines need to have a pain level with them. But individuals need to feel the pain as well. It takes nothing to put clauses in contracts signed by players, coaches, athletic directors, presidents, and anybody involved with college sports which says the NCAA can seek civil redress against anybody found guilty of misconduct according to NCAA rules. Once the people responsible for creating this problem understand that a civil lawsuit can hit their pocketbooks even years after they’ve ditched the college ranks, this problem will disappear faster a bag of cash on an Auburn recruiting trip.

But it will never happen because as it exists now, the NCAA is simply a collection of university presidents, just like the one shown above being handed a check.  As long as the fox is guarding the henhouse, any talk of paying players just means the chickens are going to be eaten faster.

The Top 10 Football Factories – And Some That Didn’t Make The List

With the NFL Draft looming, I found a list courtesy of the NFL Network featuring the schools consider to be the Top Ten Football Factories. We here at Dubsism took that list and crossed it against each schools three arguably most interesting players. Be mindful of the fact this list was devised and ordered by the NFL Network and not us, which is why before you write us nasty letters about it, wait for our comments at the end so you can be REALLY pissed when you comment.

10) Tennessee

Their  Top Three – Peyton Manning, Reggie White, Doug Atkins

Those are three top-flight hall-of-famers, and that’s only part of the reason why Tennessee belongs on this list. In terms of college football, Tennessee has a long history; the Volunteers were the power of the SEC before Bear Bryant and Alabama. Of course, recent history hasn’t been kind to the Vols, and that’s just fine with me, since Tenneesee still grinds my gears.

9) The Mid-America Conference (MAC)

Their Top Three – Jack Lambert, Ben Roethlisberger, Randy Moss

Honestly, this entry caused the most discussion amongst the staff here at Dubsism; at least no punches were thrown this time, but suffice it to say there are several staffers here who fervently believe it is wrong to include an entire conference. In defense of the MAC, that’s a pretty solid Top Three as compared to some of the others on this list. I would like to believe the MAC is here to represent the contributions of all small schools, but more importantly, look at what those three represent – a toothless psychopath, a multi-ringed “may-be” rapist, and complete douchebag.

8 ) Syracuse

Their Top Three – Jim Brown, John Mackey, Donovan McNabb

This is just the saddest story on this list; the classic case of how the mighty have fallen. In my lifetime, I’ve watched the Orange go from the pride of eastern football to a team that can barely stay afloat in the weakest big conference in football. I blame it all on Dick MacPherson, their Hall-of-Fame coach who steadily built the Orangemen into an Eastern football power. One of SU’s most stunning wins during MacPherson’s tenure came in 1984 when the Orangemen upset then No. 1 Nebraska, 17-9. MacPherson later bolted from the Orange, trying to parlay his success in college into a career in the NFL, but his two years stint with the New England Patriots..well, let’s just say calling it an “abject failure” is being kind. Sadly, the Orange have been rancid ever since.

7) Penn State

Their Top Three – Jack Ham, Lenny Moore, John Cappelletti

This is another case of a school getting its coach hired away by the New England Patriots. Back in 1972, the Patriots offered Joe Paterno a contract which have made him football’s first million-dollar coach, a contract which JoePa accepted. However, his tenure as an NFL coach lasted less than 12 hours; the morning after signing the deal, Paterno called the Patriots to tell them the deal was off. Had Paterno left, it is a certainty the Nittany Lions would have languished at the bottom of college football for decades; just look at what happened to Syracuse. Hell, it could have been worse, look at what happened to SMU when Ron Meyer left for New England.

6) Alabama

Their Top Three – Joe Namath, John Hannah, Derrick Thomas

Given their history, there is not anybody young or old who didn’t picture this team on this list. And why not? Alabama has always paid as well, if not better than any NFL franchise.

5) Michigan

Their Top Three – Dan Dierdorf, Tom Brady, President Gerald Ford

There’s only three other schools that have produced both a Super Bowl winning quarterback and a U.S. President – Navy (Roger Staubach/Jimmy Carter), Stanford (John Elway & Jim Plunkett/Herbert Hoover), and Miami of Ohio (Ben Roethislberger/Benjamin Harrison), but Michigan is the only one whose quarterback has won the Super Bowl three times (Tom Brady) and whose President was also an All-American offensive lineman. Despite that, Michigan also grinds my gears.

It saya a lot about Michigan when their alums appear on TV wearing Penn State gear.

4) Ohio State

Their Top Three – Jim Parker, Paul Warfield, Cris Carter

Another school with long history, and a new problem. Nobody can deny Ohio State has pumped hundreds of players into the NFL, but given the stuff swirling around the football program these days, one starts wondering how many hundreds are going to be pumped into the pockets of defense attorneys and bail bondsmen in the near future.  Given that, it shouldn’t shock anybody the effect Ohio State has on my gears.

3) Notre Dame

Their Top Three – Joe Montana, Paul Hornung, Alan Page

It is about time law enforcment looked into the Irish problem.

Now, Notre Dame is a team that produces more corpses with scissor-lifts and sexual assault reports than it does NFL talent, but let’s not forget this list is historically  all-inclusive.  The way things look in south Bend now, it is feasible the Fighting Irish could be moving down this list over time; Notre Dame doesn’t look to be a top-flight program anytime soon.

2) Miami, FL

Their Top Three – Jim Kelly, Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin

If Notre Dame represents the oldest of history, Miami is the other side of the college football coin; the Hurricanes were hardly a breeze until the 1980’s. But in that time they have produced an astonishing amount of talent. But they also spent most of the 80’s being completely hateable, leading to one of my favorite moments in all of college football – Pete Giftopoulous’ interception at the end of the 4th quarter of the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, giving Penn State the national championship over Miami.

1) Southern Cal

Their Top Three – Ronnie Lott, Bruce Matthews, O.J. Simpson

In most cities with multiple professional sports franchises, there’s a “pecking order” in terms who gets fan support no matter what; the team which is always in the spotlight.  In New York, the top of the food chain is inhabited by the Yankees and the Knicks. In Chicago, that honor belongs to the Cubs and the Bears. In Los Angeles, its the Lakers and USC. Make no mistake, the Trojans are every bit a professional franchise; they’ve got the NCAA sanctions to prove it. Long before that, there’s reason I called them them U$¢ (The University of Dollars and Cents).

The thing that really struck the staff here at Dubsism was not the teams on the list (other than that whole MAC thing), but some of the teams not on it.

Texas – Their Top Three – Earl Campbell, Bobby Layne, Tommy Nobis

Their exclusion has to be because for close to 25 years after the Darrell Royal era, for the most part Texas became an afterthought on the national landscape.

OklahomaTheir Top Three – Lee Roy Selmon, Billy Sims, Tommy McDonald

The Sooners got left off the list for two words – Brian Bosworth.

PurdueTheir Top Three – Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Drew Brees

Ok, I know this one is a stretch, but I would put West Lafayette Vo-Tech Purdue on the list over an entire conference just on quarterbacks alone. Alabama is the only other school that has produced three Super Bowl winning quarterbacks (Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler) and the three produced by Purdue are to a man better quarterbacks than the three coming from the Tide. Then there’s all the other legit NFL quarterbacks this school has produced other than the ones already mentioned –  Gary Danielson, Bob DeMoss, Jim Everett, Jeff George (transferred/got kicked out to Illinois), Mark Herrmann, Mike Phipps, and the Greatest Athlete in the History of Ever, Kyle Orton.

GramblingTheir Top Three – Everson Walls, Doug Williams, Charlie Joiner

Eddie Robinson produced so much NFL talent – a list of the players he prepared for NFL success reads like a list of guys you forgot about, but when you read the list, its a never-ending parade of “how the hell did I forget that guy!” Look past the three we already mentioned – there’s still Buck Buchanan, Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd, Sammy White, Trumaine Johnson, James Harris, Willie Brown, Willie Davis, “Tank” Younger, and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner.

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