The easy thing to do in the wake of the New York Knicks astounding Friday announcement that they had rehired Isiah Thomas in a consultant role is to bash the move. Thomas was a disaster for the Knicks, getting them into salary cap hell while not coming anywhere close to winning and also embarrassing them off the court by losing a sexual harassment trial. Bringing him back into the fold makes as much sense from a PR standpoint as it would for BP to rehire their deposed CEO for a high powered role around Memorial Day. The Knicks are not my concern though. This is a disaster for college sports if it's allowed to proceed, and right now it will be. The NBA may step in and stop it, and hopefully that will happen. Otherwise the same NCAA that treats it as a crisis if a player is given a t-shirt on his visit to a school will be signing off on the idea it's fine for a coach to be able to recruit that same player by making promises about drafting him for the NBA. This idea will spread to other sports like wildfire too - how's New England Patriots "consultant" Urban Meyer sound? Listing every reason this is a terrible idea would take hours - there's no way it should be legal.
ESPN reported Friday that an NCAA letter of inquiry is likely coming to Knoxville in the near future, as the bill for the actions of Lane Kiffin's Tennessee staff in recruiting comes due. Kiffin is of course telling people they did nothing wrong and he's not concerned about the NCAA investigation- ask Seantrel Henderson about how reliable Lane's word proved on that subject at USC. The idea that Vol hostesses spontaneously headed to see a football game in South Carolina on a Friday night wearing cute dresses and holding signs for specific players without any encouragement and guidance from the coaching staff defies all common sense. That story may have initially attracted the interest, but there's plenty more for the NCAA to look into. Remember, UT "recruiting intern" Steve Rubio had a huge hand in UCF's NCAA troubles before heading to Knoxville. As if potential NCAA problems aren't bad enough, now Derek Dooley's squad has lost two key defensive linemen for the year before they got out of the first week of practice. Couple that with reports from the recruiting trail that Dooley's staff has taken a ton of early commitments from three star "good character" kids - the kind who take time to develop - and it's beginning to look like Vol fans will be waiting a long time to be relevant in the SEC again.
Big loss for FSU, as wide receiver Jarmon Fortson has been kicked off the team for what reportedly is multiple failed drug tests. Fortson had the potential to be by far the most dangerous weapon in the Seminoles passing game. This puts more pressure on Bert Reed to be a big time performer and keep out of trouble, neither of which he's proved particularly great at doing. Taiwan Easterling has a lot of work to do as well. For all the preseason hype FSU's been getting thanks to their supposed Heisman candidate QB Christian Ponder, this exposes a major issue for them in the receiving corps. Easterling is now the Seminoles only WR who actually caught a TD pass last season.
I'm not a NASCAR guy. I've covered some races, but in general it's still completely lost on me why fans passionately follow one driver over another. One exception, of course, has been Dale Earnhardt, Jr. That one I was able to put together - it's because people really love Amp energy drink. The New York Times sports magazine featured a terrific story on Junior over the weekend. Regardless of whether you're a fan of him or the sport, I suggest giving it a read. Dale Jr. comes across as a good guy who has no idea what else to do other than play the role life has assigned him, but you get the feeling he wishes he did.
Minor league baseball promotions are always good for a laugh or two, but the one coming up this weekend in Savannah isn't going for chuckles at all. A fan is going to get to set a guy on fire and then everyone will watch the human torch round the bases. What could possibly go wrong? I'd love to know how much insurance it took to get this thing approved.