Friday, May 7, 2010

It's for the kids, even though it isn't

One of the more selfish things we've seen in college sports recently comes to a head today. College basketball players who should have until June 15 to make up their mind about whether to stay in the NBA draft or not according to league policy will instead have to decide today thanks to a new NCAA rule. The new time frame is supposed to help coaches, since they didn't want to have to wait to find out whether kids would come back to school. Instead of what they were expecting - that marginal kids wouldn't try and go pro with virtually no time to get info - coaches are seeing kids like Samardo Samuels bailing out because they haven't had time to learn how ridiculous their NBA hopes are. Maybe June 15 was too long, but lopping off five weeks of time for kids to learn about their potential was a pointless and unfair action. Hopefully the NCAA will move their deadline past Memorial Day so that fewer kids will get burned next year.

While there's plenty of scrutiny about what the Big Ten will eventually decide to do with regards to expansion, there's considerably less conversation about the Pac-10. I don't believe they will expand, because the only schools that make sense to do so with are Colorado and Utah. Even if they add those schools, it's not a given that the added value for potential TV deals from having big interest in the Denver and Salt Lake City markets will be enough to make it worth the added expense of travel to face the new members in all sports. As a result, the Pac-10 may be coming up with a better plan of partnering with the Big 12 on better TV deals. The problem with this approach is that the Big 12 does not fully control its own fate - if Nebraska and Missouri bail, there may be a domino effect that puts Texas, A&M and the Oklahoma schools all in play for the SEC. Can't see the Pac-10 inviting Iowa State and Baylor to join in the aftermath of all that. Still, this is good news. A conference that has been stale and set in its ways is becoming creative, and that's a good thing.

At a competition to reach the NAIA golf nationals, one competitor knew he already had a spot thanks to his team having qualified. He was in a playoff with another player, with that guy needing to win to qualify for the national event. As a result, the guy with the secure spot intentionally drove his ball forty yards out of bounds and took a double bogey to lose and let the other player qualify. Some people, like this blogger from Yahoo, think that's terrific. I think they're being ridiculous. The guy who tanked it may have been well intentioned, but he took what would have been a great accomplishment for his opponent - making nationals - and rendered it nothing more than a gift. If he really wanted to give the hole away, he should have played it straight, missed a putt if necessary and then never said a word to acknowledge it. Doing it the way he did was counterproductive, and if I was the other guy I wouldn't have wanted to win if it had to come that way.

We have an answer on who's more powerful on the internet: college football fans or gearheads. College football takes it, as Lane Kiffin advances to the sweet 16 of Esquire Magazine's sexiest woman alive bracket. Next up for Lane is lovely ex-Florida soccer star Heather Mitts. She's amazingly good looking, but if Danica couldn't do it with her army of twitter followers then I supect Heather will not be able to slow the Lane Train's momentum. Voting opens Monday, so it's too early to get any answers on that front. I'll be busy with NASCAR today and Saturday at Darlington. Anything that's noteworthy will be on my Twitter account @heathradio. Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday.

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