Obligatory Brian Regan reference to I walked on the moon:
<hangs head in shame>
Sorry about misinterpreting; I will adjust my reading filter. Carry on.
I'm not aware that the NCAA specifically mentioned PSU's PR in their decision, and it wasn't a major factor in any of the news I've read (see, e.g., this one). As cited (number one or two hit on Google for "Why did the NCAA punish PSU"), the real issue was the culture at Penn State.
I'm not an expert on the rules by any stretch, but my impression has always been that the NCAA exists in the main for two reasons: (1) to protect the "student" in student-athlete and (2) to protect competitive balance by enforcing rules. Neither of these really address culture that facilitates child abuse.
I'm assuming the NCAA also has rules about what happens when you make the institution look bad, and that's where the additional penalties come from. But of the ones levied, I don't see how they're appropriate (outside of the fine and stripping victories). The scholarship reductions and bowl ban are at heart designed to correct competitive imbalance, not child abuse or hero worship.
Don't know how everyone feels about PSU, but the actions (or inactions) of the culture that created the worst scandal ever in college athletics needed to be dealt with. I know many thought the NCAA overstepped their bounds, and many more thought they did not go far enough. My own opinion is that PSU got off easy. This suit only continues this obscene scandal, and once again affirms that maybe stricter sanctions were necessary.
Paterno is dead, Sandusky in prison, McQueary unemployed, one witness is witless with Alzheimers, the administrative officials who facilitated the abuse are in prison (or going to be) for the rest of their lives, and the university is going to deal with litigation for awhile. Those who are directly responsible are either out of our reach or suffering the consequences for their actions.
Why the NCAA feels the need to punish where God and the State have first dibs, I don't know. This is essentially a criminal matter, not an athletic one. That it happened in the locker room and not the classroom is an accident of circumstances, not really a justification for NCAA sanctions. There's no competitive balance issue to be addressed here (like there was at SMU).
I do think they're within their bounds to levy fines provided that the bylaws stipulate such for member schools besmirching the organization; obviously PSU signed on the dotted line, like everyone else. And truly some good can come from the $60M. Presumably we'll see some efforts at raising awareness and preventing child abuse. So I don't really have a problem with the fine, although I have no idea where they got the number from (was it based on revenue Sandusky may have accounted for?) Stripping the victories also doesn't really bother me, although I find their timing a little arbitrary.
I do think they're overstepping—or at least overcompensating—to hand over a bowl ban and the scholarship reductions. This punishes those who aren't actually responsible, while the major players are all dead, unemployed, or in prison (or about to be).
The best argument I've heard for the sanctions is that PSU has a culture that needs to change. I guess we could say that hero worship fosters an environment in which child abuse can go unreported or be swept under the rug. I agree with this, but I don't see how the NCAA sanctions will fix that problem; in fact, they may only make it worse. Whether fans feel any personal moral culpability (would that they followed Chesterton in this regard!) remains to be seen, but I doubt that punitive sanctions will fix what the revelations of decades of abuse and misplaced trust couldn't.
This isn't exactly true. While Alvarez might have liked to have Chryst as the coach, he publicly said that it wouldn't be appropriate to hire him because of his short tenure at Pitt and that he'd helped him to get the Pitt job in the first place. I don't think Chryst was ever a serious contender for the job at Wisconsin, at least as far as Alvarez was concerned.
For my part, I think the Andersen hire will turn out well if they give him enough time to develop his offense. I'm guessing his first criteria for the next head coach was someone who would tell his boss when he was being courted by another school—and the sort of character that's supposed to come along with it. I didn't see much of the Utah St–Toledo game, but if I'd had to pick it beforehand I would've given the edge to the Rockets (based only on a growing respect for the MAC). But they got pretty well stomped by the Aggies.
My comments on the names:
Nagurski and Grange. History and a throw back to two under-achieving programs? Sign me up.
Get rid of Leaders and Legends. They are milquetoast, namby-pamby names with no history behind them. They're traditionless bolt-ons with no memories of leather helmets, crisp autumn Saturdays, or snow bowls.
I guess the one downside of the names is that people would have a hard time figuring out what divisions different teams belong to: but this is true of Legends and Leaders, as well, since they're hardly a proxy for geography. But, frankly, geographical representation in a division is basically nonsense. In-state rivalries are sacrificed on the altar of geographical convenienc. So pick names with teeth (it's really hard to find a badder name than Bronko Nagurski; and Red Grange? sounds like a worse form of gangrene).
I edited this one a bit, but that was the gist. There were some paragraphs that were slightly more boring that followed, but they've disappeared into the Interether by now, and I wasn't able to retrieve them. :(
They really should've taken a lesson out of the old NHL playbook and used historical division names. When they first floated them, it seemed to me like they should've used something like the Grange and Nakgurski divisions. No regional tie-ins to constrain your choices, and you could realign when needed. Two huge figures in under-performing schools (Illinois and Minnestoa) with the historical nod seemed like a good way to make things happen...instead we got some milquetoast nancyboy names.
Obligatory references to the five most bad-ass presidents of all time. Spoiler alert: Teddy Roosevelt is number one. The whole thing is an interesting, if profane, read.
Edit: It's actually pretty profane. I had forgotten all the swearing and sexual references. Still, there is some interesting history there.
Some of the lesser-league hockey can be a lot of fun to watch, though I haven't seen any games in a few years.
One of my very few sports regrets is not seeing Wayne Gretzky play live. He retired before I really became a hockey (as opposed to a Flyers) fan.
I saw the CBJ in their inaugural season in Columbus when they played the Flyers. A buddy bought tickets for us—$12 each I think. The announcers asked for silence and for us to stand to listen to the national anthem; in the intervening quiet, someone yelled, "LET'S GO FLYERS!" Not unusual for a Philadelphia sports fan, but nonetheless probably a bit disheartening for the home team.
I find the argument about scoring to be pretty dumb. The clutch-and-grab game is a boring game; the Devils' perfect trap is a boring game; low scoring affairs can be exceptionally exciting. Watching Dominik Hasek stop shots is not boring. (Having a slinky for a spine? Priceless.) Brian Boucher's mask save was insane.
You are right, though, that it takes some effort to follow the puck. Fox used to try to help people with it and only had mixed results.
Hockey is actually completely awesome. Baseball is boring; golf is boring. Hockey is exciting. Hockey is one of the few sports remaining where normally-sized people can still play (e.g., Danny Briere is 5'10", 180). Hockey players are not nancyboys, and the Stanley Cup is easily the best trophy in all of sports. Oh, and Wayne Gretzky is ridiculous. It's also nice that role players really do have a significant role.
I honestly can't understand how people who like sports don't like hockey. Well, I exaggerate some for effect—but seriously, it's one of the best and most entertaining sports. I suppose the Bluejackets probably haven't endeared anyone to hockey in their tenure there, and the clutch-and-grab trap hockey of the mid-to-late 90s wasn't nearly as entertaining...but really, it's a great game. While OSU football takes precedence over everything sports-related to me, the game of hockey is generally a better game than football.
EDIT: I saw Umberger play at OSU. As a Flyers fan, I was thrilled when we drafted him and super disappointed when we traded him away.
You know this post is jonesing for a 2001: A Space Odyssey joke.
Yeah, the problem is that the Rangers are already pretty decent. Haven't followed them much in the offseason, but they consistently hammered the Flyers last year.
I don't think this is actually the case. Quality NHL defensemen are much harder to come by, for example, than wingers, and they are very difficult to develop. You can often pick up very solid offensive producers late in the first (as a Flyers fan, I'd point at Simon Gagne, Mike Richards, and Claude Giroux—#22, #24, #22 in the first respectively). Moreover, players often contribute significantly more than just offense—ask any fan of one of Ian Laperriere's teams.
That said, Howson was asking for too much for Nash, whose contract was ridiculous and very hard to move. I'm super glad the Flyers didn't get him, but I would've preferred that he stayed somewhere in the Western Conference. He's dangerous.
In all seriousness, I really don't understand why they didn't use the Grange and Nagurski divisions. They hit two schools with robust traditions that have fallen on hard times recently (Illinois and Minnesota). Naturally they opted to use those names for the stupid awards they made.
As a hockey fan, I have to say that I really do believe that the Stanley Cup is the single best trophy I have ever seen. Dripping with tradition, and the names on it are enshrined in the Hall of Fame when the rings are filled up. There's just nothing like it. I wish the Big 10 could do something similar.
I will say that I saw part of this game, hoping that NWU would do us a favor...and I guess my reaction was similar. But in the 2d half, Northwestern really folded defensively. I'm pretty sure my 30-year-old 135# body could have scored touchdowns on those guys.
I'm reminded of one of our trouncings, too, where Tressel said something to the effect that he wasn't going to stop his kids from playing in the 3d quarter. And for what it's worth, Wisconsin didn't score in the 4th quarter.
I'm not real fond of Bielema, but at least in this case I think it's more of NW's defense folding than him trying to run up the score all that much. Still, 70 points is ludicrous.
And besides, NW gave up SEVEN turnovers, which is equally ludicrous. All things being equal, this was not Bielema's least classy win.
Obviously the divisional names should be the Grange Division and the Nagurski Division.