Tark attack. Former ULNV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian was back in the news last week, appearing at a screening of an HBO documentary entitled “Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV.”
Tarkanian still can’t shake bitterness toward NCAA (The Associated Press)
From the AP article: “Nobody knows what it’s like when you buck the NCAA,” Tarkanian said. “I’m still bitter to them today.”
Tarkanian is entitled to his opinion, but the tone of Tim Dahlberg’s piece seems about right: Tark needs to move on.
One clarification of a Tarkanian remark from last week: He erred in his description of the outcome of his lawsuit against the NCAA (“That was nice, winning the lawsuit,” he said. “The amazing thing is we got beat up in the press all the time and then when we won hardly anything was written about it.”). In fact, Tarkanian received $2.5 million in a settlement.
Meyer’s outburst: Justified or self-serving? Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News took on Urban Meyer on Monday, citing how Meyer has changed perspectives since he left the sidelines as Florida’s football coach.
Urban Meyer makes valid but hollow complaints of NCAA (Birmingham News)
Meyer’s side (from a radio interview last week): “What I’ve seen the last five years is a complete turn in the integrity of the college coaching profession. It’s completely turned the other way. Maybe I wasn’t exposed to it because I was in the profession. Right now, it’s not good because the risk-reward is ‘Have at it, do what you’ve got to do to get the great player, go win games and at the end of the day we’ll find out what happens down the road.’…
“There’s a reason why people don’t rob banks. The risk-reward is you’re going to jail. Right now, if you commit — they call them secondary violations, which is comical; they’re not secondary — if you commit a secondary violation, it’s a slap on the hand.”
Solomon’s side: “What are the odds an SEC football coach gets sat down for a secondary violation? How much money will an SEC school spend to lawyer up and defend its coach?
“So is Meyer saying he supports suspending coaches for secondary violations? And if so, has he been totally clean in his career while stockpiling talent?
“Then there’s this. Presumably some coaches could believe Meyer, who had approximately 30 players arrested in six years at Florida, gained a competitive advantage by sticking with many of them. Is it worse to break one of society’s rules or one of the NCAA’s rules?
“Meyer is entitled to his opinions. To be an effective ESPN analyst, he must speak candidly about issues he felt compelled to stay silent about as a coach.
“It just rings hollow to find his voice only now.”
Branches of the trees. USA Today’s Mike Lopresti nailed it last week when he said the poisoning of two large oak trees at Auburn was an extrapolation of the behavioral excesses surrounding big-time college football.
Poisoning of Auburn trees is sign of times in college sports (Mike Lopresti, USA Today)
“The foolishness sometimes leaks out in other ways,” Lopresti wrote. “Language in the stands that is bluer than the Pacific. Booing teenagers. Behavior that would make a prison guard cringe…
“This time, the oak trees. Next time, what? Let’s be clear. Most fans − including most SEC and Alabama fans − do not carry on so, and no one has done something like this before. Then again, the misplaced perspective that sends a fan after a tree is not entirely different from whatever malignant force drives coaches to cheat. They are all polluters, some just more toxic than others. They are all signs of a lost grip on what college football is supposed to be.”
On a more positive note…Let’s exit with the comments of Herman Berliner, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Hofstra.
Athletic success (Herman Berliner, Inside Higher Ed)
Wrote Dr. Berliner: “Thanks to the efforts of the NCAA, thanks to a more student centered philosophy of education, thanks to a new breed of coaches, thanks to a world where stereotyping is less the norm, we now find much greater collaboration and cooperation between academics and athletics.”
Thanks for the reminder, Dr. Berliner. Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the muck.