Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12, 2017


The biggest scandal in sports – potentially the most destructive scandal in sports history – is not going away anytime soon. After the initial news broke that several college basketball assistants and two apparel company executives had been arrested, the news exploded then seemed to become just background noise.

Until this week.

More subpoenas have been issued to additional schools. Players and coaches are more than just surprised, there is a lot of fear among many about what this means for both their immediate future and their long-term future. They should be afraid.

What is being discovered was hardly a secret; and it is considerably more widespread than most want to admit. The entire sport has been infiltrated by many more people than will ever be discovered. It is deep and dirty. Elite college basketball teams, in the wake of too many ‘Cinderella stories’ during March Madness have done plenty to maintain their lofty status.

It would seem obvious to most that this investigation is a good thing; a necessary reminder that the fine line between college athletics and apparel companies has been blurred too far. There is no longer a line between the two. But the necessary obviousness of this investigation is not clear to all. the best - and I mean best - part of writing stuff here, is that I get to be more blunt. This is my more detailed response to the lunacy and irresponsibility of Clay Travis. To wonder why the FBI cares about a significant federal crime shows either willful ignorance or purposeful hypocrisy. Either way, it is a bad look for Travis, his employer and any fan who thinks that this is 'no big deal.'

It is this kind of simplistic thinking which leads society down the rabbit whole of deceit. Why does the FBI care? The answer is fairly easy – university employees (coaches) are being bribed by employees of international corporations to get players to favored schools. The fact that players were paid is not the concern of the FBI, that will fall under the umbrella of the NCAA. But bribery of university employees by international corporations is a significant federal crime; it is as deep and disturbing as any mafia syndicate, it might even be worse because it is trading off of the name of juveniles to make coaches and universities rich.

Why do they care? Because that is their job.

The bigger question is should the fans care as much?


Taggart gets his QB 

The Tyler Shough visit and subsequent commitment seemed to come out of nowhere, but it is one of those things that happens behind the scenes. Sometimes we can mention things, others not so much.
The misadventures of the North Carolina Tar Heels are not the reason for Shough’s change of heart. The reality is that Oregon offers a lot more for the family and when the staff reached out to gauge interest, it was something that went beyond a cursory ‘maybe’ response.

As has been detailed, Shough has family from Oregon. Those ties are deeper than many know, however. Shough’s mom Dana went to West Albany High School and still has plenty of family in Oregon; including a sister who lives in Springfield.

The family has been through tremendous adversity for most of Shough’s life after his mother was diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer when Shough was just five years old. The ensuing battle with cancer has strengthened the entire family. Shough, who carries a 4.5 grade point average has progressed tremendously over the course of the last two seasons, but has really been most impressive with his dedication and leadership both on and off the field.

As for other good news, the visit by Devon Williams and Talanoa Hufanga have really put Oregon in the early drivers seat. Expect the Beavers interim coach to put a heavy push to get Hufanga to stay in town, but the uncertainty there will only help Oregon with Hufanga.

As for Williams, his relationship with several current players is going to be a major factor down the stretch in Oregon’s favor.

Devon Williams

Williams is one of the absolute best players int he entire nation; he earned his fifth star with a dominating performance during the Opening Finals; and he is more than just a long shot for Oregon. If Oregon wants to keep their lofty status in the team recruiting rankings, they are going to have to augment their class with at least one five-star player - and Williams is the best bet. 

Williams has been to Oregon multiple times and will get up to Eugene again. I know that there is some pressure to stay close to home, but I think Oregon is still in very good shape here. I don't make 'predictions' and don't give too much credence to them unless I talk to someone directly; so don't get too concerned, Oregon has played the recruitment of Williams very well.

Postseason baseball-The most wonderful time of the year!

This is my favorite time of the year as the two worlds of youthful dreams for a now aged former athlete collide. I love two sports; college football and baseball. So October to me is about the best time of the year.

I am an Oakland A's fan, so I tend to have to adopt a post-season favorite. Last year, for obvious reasons I tended to feel the pain of Cubs fans and decided they were my 'team of the season.' It did not hurt that way back when I was a young guy, working at a bar in LaGrande, we had a customer named Gene; he must have been about 80 at the time and he was a long-suffering Cub fan. He used to come in every Saturday in the summer and watch the Cubs on WGN.

Though I have not adopted a team yet, I watched last night as the Yankees beat the Indians to advance to the ALCS. I don't hate the Yankees like some; but I also really don't like them. I do like good baseball, though, and I saw some of the best clutch hitting in quite some time when Brett Gardiner fought off pitch-after-pitch before finally getting a line drive single to plate the go-ahead (and eventual game winning) run for the Yankees. It was the purest of pure baseball and I loved watching every pitch; every swing; every foul ball. It was like poetry.

As for my post season adoption, I am thinking I really want to cheer for the Dodgers as a very big Clayton Kersha fan. Now let's hope I didn't just curse them!