Well, it's Wednesday again and time again for a few deep thoughts. I have really enjoyed writing each Wednesday, but today it seems that all the "good" stuff has already been covered. The NCAA tournament has been discussed at length as has the pending NFL strike. Baseball is just around the corner, but as we are in the middle of spring training; there is really nothing new to discuss in MLB. I will do my best to scratch around a few interesting thoughts...
How do you get a position on the NCAA tournament committee? Generally, I think that the committee does a pretty good job of getting the right teams into the tournament. This year, it is apparent to most that they missed badly. Anyone see the UAB game vs Clemson tonight? Clemson opened the game on a tear and led 25 to 7 out of the gate. I think that Harvard or Colorado would have given a much better showing. It has not been a good week for Ohio State...which of course is where the tournament chairman hails from. Jay Bilas has been very vocal regarding his dissatisfaction with the make up of the tournament committee. He would like to see a few folks on the committee that actually played basketball. Okay...sounds reasonable to me. On PTI this week, Bilas made this statement as well as suggesting that the tournament committee did not know that a basketball was round...well okay then. Bilas was obviously upset; does he have a valid point? Kornheiser countered that to have a bunch of former players or coaches on the committee that you run the risk of "cronyism". Bilas replied, "and how would that be any different than now?" Good point...
John Feinstein also had a few thoughts on this issue. Here is a bit of his article:
And while only one member of this year’s tournament selection committee has actually coached Division I basketball — Stan Morrison, who last did so in 1998 — the process isn’t necessarily the issue either.
The problem is accountability — specifically, the committee’s utter lack of it. Without it, we have no way of knowing whether the process was fair or not.
Something is rotten in Indianapolis.
Through the years, the tournament selection committee, especially whomever is chairman, has mastered the art of the non-answer. Ask a committee member whether the sun will set in the West today, and you will be told that a very careful study will be done on that question and the committee will do a great job coming up with the answer and that the sun is extremely well-coached but it may or may not have enough votes to set in the West.
This year’s committee chairman, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, who probably should have resigned that position last week to tend to his day job in Columbus, wouldn’t answer the simplest and most obvious questions Sunday night.
Why didn’t Virginia Tech make the field? Smith’s answer, once you filtered out all the babble about “quantifiable criteria” and how well-coached the Hokies are, was this: The Hokies didn’t get enough votes.
No kidding, Mr. Chairman.
When Smith was asked whether the ACC tournament championship game between Duke and North Carolina had decided who got the final No. 1 seed, he went off on a body-of-work tangent and claimed one game didn’t decide the last No. 1 seed.
Does he seriously think anyone believes that? Is he saying that if North Carolina had beaten Duke for the second time in the past eight days and had lost one game in two months, Duke still would have been the last No. 1 seed? If so, then the committee is doing an even worse job than people think.
The committee’s hypocrisy is in trying to keep all its decision-making processes secret while at the same time claiming “transparency".
Smith says Virginia Tech didn’t get in because it didn’t get enough votes. Fine. Who voted for the Hokies? Who voted against them? If members of Congress have to vote publicly on tax increases or whether or not to go to war, why in the world shouldn’t tournament selection committee members have to explain why they voted for or against teams? All the voting is done by computer now; every single vote should be made public.
Committee members have absolutely no problem with accepting the many perks that come with their roles, but they don’t seem to own the responsibility. No one forces anyone to be on the committee. If you want to be a member, you should have to explain what you did and why.
Here’s another question that should be answered: Who was responsible for scouting the ACC this season? Before the season, each committee member is assigned three conferences (presumably someone takes four because there are 31 altogether). The NCAA supplies each member with satellite TV and any game tapes necessary to keep track of the leagues throughout the season.
So, who was the ACC’s scout this season? Did he vote for or against Virginia Tech? What did he say about Virginia Tech in the room? Who was the scout for Conference USA? What did he say that got UAB into the field? Is the scout for the Big Ten being given a “man-of-the-year” award by Comissioner Jim Delany for somehow getting seven teams into the field?
Funny how we have a Big Ten guy as chairman and 7 teams from the Big Ten make it to the tournament...but we wouldn't want to have any "basketball" folks in the committee because they might be guilty of cronyism? It looks like Smith took pretty good care of his buddies in the Big Ten this year. No offense to the Big Ten fans, this was a down year for Big Ten basketball. Feinstein makes a very good point about transparency. In the age we live in, transparency is held up as being of vital importance. Why is there no transparency with the selection committee?
As much as I have lobbied for a playoff in college football, this very issue is one aspect of a playoff that I have not been able to come up with a viable solution. How do you determine the teams in the playoff? Perhaps the selection committee is just a flaw that we have to live with? I would much rather have a tournament determine the champion than have a system like the BCS. Oh and by the way Mr. Smith...why is Texas a 4 seed and Florida a 2 seed?? Freaking hilarious logic...or pretzel logic?
As you all know, I love to fish. I am always looking for a reason to talk fishing. I think that I have found a fishing trip that has Beezer's name on it...okay MadMan, you can come too:
I think all of us have had a frustrating situation with insurance at one time in our life or another. We have hammered the NBA players quite a bit (with good reason) recently, so I thought it was important to note that not everyone is a douche in the NBA.
Former Los Angeles Clippers coach Kim Hughes is used to helping players, but it was players who stepped up for him in his time of need.
In September 2004, while he was a Clippers assistant, Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was premed at Wisconsin, so he had an idea what he was up against. His doctor told him that he could wait a few months for surgery, but the team was preparing for training camp and he didn't want to miss a chunk of the season recuperating. So Hughes went for a second opinion and found a doctor who would do the surgery a week later.
"But he wasn't covered under my insurance plan," Hughes told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "We had a certain group of doctors we could go to. So if I elected to use him, it'd be out of my pocket.
"[The Clippers] didn't talk to me directly about it. They told, I believe my agent, that the reason they couldn't pay for the surgery is if they paid for mine, if anybody else had a problem -- head coach, secretary, assistant coach -- if they paid for mine, the onus would be on them for everybody else.
"I said, 'That's fine. I choose to try and save my life, and if I have to pay for it myself, I will.'"
Then coach Mike Dunleavy, who had recommended the new doctor, mentioned Hughes' plight to some players.
Several players on that team -- including Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric -- offered to help.
"Kim was one of our coaches and he's a really good friend of mine, too," Maggette said, according to the Journal Times of Racine, Wis. "He was in a situation where the Clippers' medical coverage wouldn't cover his surgery. I thought it was a great opportunity to help someone in need, to do something that Christ would do.
"It shows your humanity, that you care for other people and not just yourself. Kim was in a life-and-death situation."
Hughes' desire to get the surgery over with quickly proved to be a smart move. The cancer had progressed and was threatening other parts of his body.
"Normally it's a very slow-growing cancer," Hughes told ESPNLosAngeles.com, adding that his father and twin brother also had prostate cancer. "It's one of the slowest, but mine was caused by genetic factors and it was a very aggressive and fast-spreading cancer."
Hughes had his entire prostate removed and didn't miss training camp, thanks to the players.
"Those guys saved my life," Hughes said, according to the Journal Times. "They paid the whole medical bill. It was like $70,000 or more. It wasn't cheap.
"It showed you what classy people they are. They didn't want me talking about it; they didn't want the recognition because they simply felt it was the right thing to do."
Maggette, who now plays for the Bucks, said that Hughes thanks him every time they see each other.
"I've said to him, 'Kim, come on. You don't have to do that. You're good,'" Maggette said, according to the newspaper. "It just shows you what kind of person he is, to keep thanking me all the time for that. Like I said, it was just my time to serve another human being.
"I think if anyone on my team is in that kind of situation, I would try to help him out if I could. That's just the person I am. I was raised that way."
Hughes, who took over for Dunleavy last season but was not brought back by the Clippers, said that the players showed that you can't judge an NBA player by the flashy exterior.
"Corey is perceived by some people as not being a good person because he seems to be aloof and arrogant," Hughes said, according to the newspaper. "But they don't know him. He's a good man; he's a great man.
"You can have all the money, all the success, all that stuff, all those so-called important things in life, but in the end, you're judged by what you did for your fellow man. Corey will always be an important part of my life. What he and those other guys did for me put things in perspective."
The Clippers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hughes' situation.
Here is another story that is not so "cool". I have read much about the NFL labor situation. Some blame the players and others blame the owners. This is a take that I have not heard, but after reading, it was on the mark for me. Have a read:
It was December, and the clock was still ticking. Yes, remember when there was still a labor clock? There was hope Laborgeddon "I think it's critically important to avoid" a work stoppage, Goodell said in remarks to the media after his talk with fans. "We need to have a system that works for everybody, but I think everybody would agree that what's most important is football, and that we should work very hard to avoid that."
When Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in September of 2006, his sole job in many ways was to avoid the disastrous circumstances the league faces today. Obviously, he failed.
It's not a coincidence the NFL is experiencing its first work stoppage in nearly a quarter of a century during the Reign of Goodell.
Goodell is a good man with solid intentions. But his reputation for heavy-handedness with the players over the past few years -- the excessive punishments, the harsh suspensions -- led to a level of distrust that carried into negotiations, several players say.
The distrust in Goodell has been building for years -- not weeks -- and the failed talks were a symptom. As Goodell suspended players for entire seasons, union player reps watched. As Goodell sometimes displayed an attitude that he was a king and they were serfs, players watched. As Goodell and the owners asked for a cool $1 billion refund without giving a detailed explanation why a league swimming in an orgy of cash was suddenly broke, they watched some more. When Carolina owner Jerry Richardson was condescending in meetings with the players they ... watched.
After the bungled attempt to use television money as a lockout fund became public, anger and distrust, building for some time in the player ranks, mixed into a highly volatile brew, several players said in interviews with CBSSports.com over the past week. The distance between Goodell and some players may in fact now be impossible to close.
There was one example of that anger after mediation collapsed. In a news conference, league lawyer Jeff Pash stated a litany of things owners were said to have offered the players. One person close to the players association responded bluntly: "Pash lies and Goodell isn't doing shit about it." A player added: "Pash is standing there saying things he knows aren't true, and Roger is right there, not stopping it."
How much blame should be placed on the commissioner's shoulders? What is the job of commissioner? What could Goodell have done if anything to avert this stalemate? If we are indeed headed for a year without NFL football, Goodell's legacy will certainly wear the stain of this train wreck...It does appear that the entire story has not been portrayed entirely accurately.
That's all I have for today, but I will leave you a bit of Jack Handey to chew on for the rest of your week:
"I wish I had a dollar for every time I spent a dollar, because then, yahoo!, I'd have all my money back."
"I think one way police departments could make some money would be to hold a yard sale of murder weapons. Many people, for example, could probably use a cheap ice pick."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to add any thoughts...