Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Thinking out loud: Thoughts on NCAA ruling this week

WEEI
November 01, 2019 - 2:52 pm
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Thinking out loud…while wondering how Bryce Harper really feels today?

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but don’t be fooled by the term ‘unanimous’ when the NCAA says it has unanimously approved college athletes the opportunity to benefit from the use of their names, images and likenesses (NIL). 

 

  • They had no choice.

 

  • A dozen states, with more undoubtedly on the way, have legislation passed or pending on the issue.  What the NCAA will need to do by January of 2021, is decide what amateurism really means for the 21st century. 

 

  • We all know – this ain’t your mom and pop’s rah-rah, sis-boom-bah any longer.

 

  • What still needs to be worked out, is how all this will actually work out.  And would athletes’ scholarships suddenly become taxable?  If so, wouldn’t that make them, technically, school employees – which is what the NCAA wants to avoid? 

 

  • Before college athletes begin to think their ship has come in, before you decry new recruiting abuses, a more-uneven playing field for little guys against the big boys…and perhaps the end of amateurism as we’ve known it, consider this:  Be careful what you wish for.

 

  • What is likely to happen here?  Any compensation would have to come in the form of academic-related assistance (think ‘debit cards’ for the bookstore) or come in deferred form after an athletes’ eligibility has expired.  And schools will likely have some sort of control over what and where their athletes’ likenesses may be displayed.

 

  • But the clock is ticking on a decision here.  Regardless of the NCAA’s self-imposed January 2021 deadline, at least 12 state legislative bodies have already passed proposals that could make it illegal for schools to deny athletes the chance to hire agents or gain compensation for their NIL rights. 

 

  • It’s way too easy to rip on the NCAA for delaying this, or for any other oversight or discretionary, arbitrary decision they’ve made.  Low-hanging fruit.  We all have rights.  The NCAA also deserves the chance to get this right, and ultimately, to decide just how to keep the “am” in “amateur,” rather than give entree to “entrepreneur” when it comes to student-athletes of the future.

 

  • ‘Cuz they’ve messed this up over a long period of time.  So, getcha’ popcorn ready.  The pay-for-play show is moving to a collegiate stage near you.  Will mom and pop still like it?

 

  • I don’t know about you, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the Friars out-tough Purdue at Purdue, secret scrimmage or not.  It’s not the same Boilermaker team that reached the Elite 8 a year ago, but…it’s an established, competitive program.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Technically, the ‘game’ was held at the Indiana Pacers’ training facility in Indianapolis.  But make no mistake about it, it was a road environment.  A GREAT first step for a team expected to do great things this season.

 

  • Defense will be a calling card and will keep the team in games when the three-point shooting runs cold.  It will.  And free throws will ultimately be the difference between championship contention and middle-of-the-road.

 

  • The bench is deep.  Provided injuries are kept to a minimum, the Friars should have fresher legs at games’ end.  Nate Watson may miss next week’s opener but could return by Northwestern.  Luwane Pipkins’ hammy issue isn’t going away.  Greg Gantt has returned to workouts, but no physical scrimmaging yet.

 

  • Ed Cooley said on his radio show this week he’ll seek counsel from Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman and NCAA VP Dan Gavitt on the NCAA’s NIL decision this week for athletes. 

 

  • What’s getting lost in the equation here, Cooley says, are that student-athletes already receive benefits that go well-beyond their capacity to earn extra cash through use of their names, images or likenesses.

 

  • Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard is serving a two-game, school-imposed suspension – including next week’s opener against Wagner – in response to an NCAA investigation into allegations of transfer tampering.

 

  • The issue came to light following the transfer of Taurean Thompson from Syracuse to Seton Hall in 2017.  I mean, a kid had the audacity to transfer from almighty Syracuse to lowly, little Seton Hall?  How dare he?  Must be a violation of some kind, amiright?

 

  • ICYMI – DePaul opens up next week with four games in the season’s first six days.  Why the hustling start? 

 

  • Because head coach Dave Leitao will be serving a three-game suspension for failure to promote an ‘atmosphere of compliance’ within his program, a penalty levied this summer by the NCAA.  So the Blue Demons added a throw-in game (against D3 Chicago) – and voila! – Leitao misses Alcorn, Chicago and Fairleigh Dickinson to start the year.

 

  • But he’s back on the bench in time for a Gavitt Games matchup against Iowa.

 

  • St. John’s was picked for last or next to last in this year’s Big East…yet the Red Storm beat Temple in another of those not-so-secret scrimmages.  The Owls should be middle-of-the-pack, or better, in the American Athletic Conference.

 

  • Ex-URI guard E.C. Matthews was selected in the recent G League draft, 16th in the first round by the Erie Bayhawks, affiliated with the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

  • Welcome to the suck, Chaim Bloom.  Hope you know what you’ve gotten yourself into.  I mean, your predecessor won the World Series only a year ago.

 

  • Just two words for you, in light of Dave Dombrowski’s modus operandi departure, following a depletion of farm system talent and signing of a few questionable contracts – “do better.”

 

  • It will start with WWJDD.  What will JD do?  Then, cruise into “can we keep Mookie here?”  And ease into “are these starting pitchers any good anymore?” 

 

  • Then finally – “can anyone in the bullpen actually throw a strike when he needs to?”

 

  • And just a quick note to Red Sox ownership as they threw a right-cross to Dombrowski’s chin on the way out – you knew what you were getting when you hired him in the first place.  Didn’t you work with him in Florida, Mr. Henry?

 

  • So, at least punch yourself on the shoulder for that one – on top of the ticket price increase – as you grab a piece of that low road on the way out of 2019.

 

  • World Series or not, the controversial interference call during Tuesday’s Game Six took so long to decide, I flipped off the TV.  I mean, it just took too long to decide, and regardless of the rule involved – it was the wrong call.

 

  • All good that the Nationals ultimately weren’t harmed by the nonsensical call.  But methinks we are heading for MLR behind the plate and in the field in the future – Major League Robots. 

 

  • Here is baseball’s one, true problem in the 21st century – games are just too damn long.  And yes, I need to leave the ‘damn’ in there.

 

  • As for the World Series finish, it’s pretty incredible to think that the road team won all seven games this year.  Just two other series’ – in 1906 and 1996 – had road teams winning as many as five.  And road teams normally win only 46% of the time during the season in MLB. 

 

  • This has NEVER happened in the NBA or the NHL, either.  And it may never happen.

 

  • Houston was 60-21 at home during the season, but 0-4 at Minute Maid Park during the Series.  And the Astros have had the best home record in the majors over the last two decades.

 

  • The road team outscored the home team 49-14.  Stunning.  Bully for Washington, capturing its’ first WS pennant for the franchise, and first for the city in 95 years since Walter Johnson led the Senators in 1924.

 

  • Meanwhile, the NFL continues to be up in the ratings over this time a year ago – by 6% - and pro football accounts for the Top 35 shows on all of TV since the start of September.  The first five games of this year’s World Series set a record low in viewership.

 

  • Horrible what residents in California are having to go through with the latest wildfires.  Would anyone in their right minds – given they had a choice – move to place plagued by fire, drought, earthquakes, higher costs, traffic jams and frequent power outages? 

 

  • Traveling on the first manned-mission to Mars might be a better option.

 

  • After splitting last weekend with Boston College and UMass-Lowell, PC Hockey finds itself 8th in the USCHO poll this week with games against Colgate and BC at Schneider Friday and Saturday.

 

  • PC soccer is at Xavier to wrap up the regular season, needing a win to clinch a spot in the Big East Championships.  #25 Field Hockey plays on the road at 18th ranked Liberty.  Crunch time.

 

  • 18th ranked Brown tries to finish undefeated in the Ivies at home Saturday night against Penn – which would be a first in 25 years.

 

  • And Brown assistant hoop coach T.J. Sorrentine, the St. Raphael Academy product, had his jersey retired at Vermont last weekend as the Bears played UVM in an exhibition.  Was it really 2005 when he daggered Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament? 

 

  • NJ.com reported more abuse in Rutgers’ athletic department, this time coming from the married-to-each-other softball coaches toward their players.  I don’t know about you, but Rutgers should just give up on this sports thing.

 

  • One-time Patriots’ CEO Sam Jankovich passed away this week at age 85.  Jankovich came to New England in 1990 from the college ranks, where he had excelled as a coach and administrator at Miami and Washington State.  His tenure at Miami in the mid-80’s coincided with the rise of “The U” as a national football power, and the rebirth of a once-dormant basketball program.

 

  • There’s more construction heading toward Route One and Gillette Stadium – but not (yet) in the form of another stadium for, say, soccer?  An office development known as Quarter Point at Patriot Place is scheduled for construction on the stadium side of Route 1, currently where massive parking exists.

 

  • Did you see the story of the 12-year-old Pawtucket girl bullied by kids because she played football?  Cool job from WPRI Channel 12 bringing Quinn Miller’s story to light, and even cooler that Patriots’ CB Stephon Gilmore – the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October – was impressed enough to reach out, meet her and provide tickets to a game.

 

  • Are these Patriots one of the most dominant defensive teams in history?  Perhaps.  The numbers say so right now, but we’re only halfway through the year.  Some would argue that the first, true ‘Game One’ is this weekend. 

 

  • I tend to agree with that last premise.  But the Pats can’t do anything about the schedule given to them by the NFL, except to win what’s in front of them.  And Baltimore will provide a tougher test – or at least should provide a tougher test – for both sides of the ball.

 

  • The Boogeymen.  Love that.  Especially since it’s a self-inflicted moniker.  Cheers to “TJ the DJ” at Gillette for breaking out KC and the Sunshine Band’s “I’m Your Boogieman” this past week.  Disco lives!

 

  • The Cleveland Browns may be one of the dumbest teams we’ve witnessed recently.  Million dollar arms and legs with 10-cent heads, based on what we saw last Sunday.  Amiright?

 

  • I thought it was understated a bit, but kudos to Bill Belichick for career win #300.  That it came against his former employer had to be sweet.  That it puts him in the pantheon of pro football coaches, behind only Don Shula and George Halas, was redundant. 

 

  • First big test against the Ravens?  Absolutely.  Wouldn’t be surprised to see this one decided by a Justin Tucker kick.  And no, he doesn’t kick for the Patriots this week.

 

  • That would be Nick Folk, the erstwhile Jets and Bucs kicker (another one?) who holds the AAF record-length field goal of 55 yards before the league defuncted itself.  He’s got that going for him, at least.

 

  • Speaking of defunct – who remembers when the Providence Steamroller kicked around inside the Providence Civic Center?  After launching in 1987 – with the Steamroller only around for one season – the Arena League may finally be finished. 

 

  • The six current teams are closing local operations after 32 seasons, and if they don’t fold altogether, the league may move to operate everything from a single location…similar to how the Premier Lacrosse League currently runs itself.

 

  • Get this – Deadspin was told by its’ ownership group this week to knock off the politics and stick to sports.  To which half-a-dozen writers promptly walked out.  Good for them, even if it’s not good for readers.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he was both a bit embarrassed, and impressed, this week by his grandson Johnny’s behavior.  It seems in class, the teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, “I wanna be a billionaire, go to expensive clubs with the hottest chicks, drive a Ferrari, get an apartment in Hawaii and a mansion in Paris.” 

 

  • The teacher was taken aback by his answer, so instead of drawing attention to it she continued with the girl sitting behind him and asked, “well, what about you, Katie?”  Katie replied, “I wanna be Johnny’s chick.”

 

  • Btw, Bryce Harper probably feels just fine.  Wonderful that Nationals’ fans and baseball fans love ‘trolling’ him on social media since he moved on from Washington to Philly before this season, only to miss out on winning the World Series. 

 

  • I’ll wager this – Harper’s laughing all the way to the bank.  Don’t ya’ think?

 

  • @FriartownFamily tweeted this week, on the Friars: “What’s the goal for PPG and allowed this season for it to be the season we all want?”

 

  • Family:  In my best Ed Cooley impression, I’d say “one more point than the other guys have.” Or, “one less point than we have.”  But seriously, the Friars should be in the high 70’s-to-80’s in scoring the ball.  Offensive efficiency wasn’t good last season and must improve for this team to win a slugfest.  The defense should keep this team in games when shots don’t fall.  Keeping an opponent in the low 70’s-to-60’s should be a constant goal.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.