Your School VS Colorado or Columbus

January17/ 2000

… The seemingly bottomless dirty laundry basket in Boulder Colorado brings up a comparison reference that most all of us should keep in mind about our academic institutions of choice. BobLee’s recent visit to the home of Ohio State triggered some comparisons. … … we wrap up last week’s hoop action and prepare to dance.

   I boldly predicted that two of the top three seeds would not make the ACC Tourney finals.  I guessed right.  No big deal.  Had I been wrong I would not have reminded you of my guess.  I know how this prognosticating business works.

   In my recent admiration column on Ol’ Roy I left out one more reason I like the guy.  He absolutely understands that his popularity status with Tar Heel fans is always based on the results of his most recent game.  He is not such a smart coach today.  Dick Vitale’s bold prediction notwithstanding, the odds are against UNC winning the National Championship.  The odds are against ANY one team winning it.  At Roy’s level, nothing is acceptable except cutting down the nets in St Louis.  Anything less and he will be crucified.  Other than cashing his bi-monthly pay checks, could you really deal with that sort of pressure in your job?

   Add “The NCAA Selection Committee” to “The BCS Committee”, every referee, umpire, line judge, sportswriter, sportscaster, local sports talk radio guy, and traffic cop … “they” are all totally incompetent fools and have dedicated their lives to screwing YOU and your team of choice.  There.  If you really feel that way, please take your sad little wretched persecution complex, go crawl in a dark hole somewhere and fume. … For the rest of us, lets fill out our brackets and see who will be this year’s “Valpo” and which #1 seed will be the first to fall.

   BobLee predicts “only two #1s will even reach the Final Eight”.  Oh, … the comparisons of “Herb” with John Bunting are uncanny.  “Saved” by the narrowest of margins and dooming his constituents to another year of endless whining and speculation.  The phrase “his program has turned the corner” will explode upon its 1,000,000th use.


   I have not visited Boulder Colorado in over 30 years.  The last time I was there, I recall it had an especially beautiful view to the West. Even more beautiful than standing on Franklin Street and looking towards Carrboro (yes, really!).  The effects of erosion and geological settling aside, I assume Boulder still is an impressive setting.  

   Boulder, back then, had a reputation for (1) attracting an abundance of healthy out-going ski bunny coeds and (2) mangy, angry tofu eating political radicals.  Oh, and “back then” it had (3) a reputation for athletic skullduggery.  The scandals of the Sonny Grandelius Era were giving way to the scandals of the Eddie Crowder Era … which eventually gave way to the “before I found The Lord” scandals of the Bill McCartney Era, the scandals of the Rick Neuheisal Era, and, of course, todays scandals of the Gary Barnett Era.  Beautiful views, ski bunnies, angry radicals, and football scandals … and a mascot named “Ralphie”.  There is something to be said for consistency.

   There are 50,000 students at CU.  Unlike Barry Saunders’ recent indictment of NCSU fans, I do not hold the whole responsible for the actions of a few.  Surely there must be some honest folks nestled there in the foothills of the Rockies.

   I mentioned in an old column that I used to give “tours” of Dallas pointing out “points of interest” with the most popular being locations of murder, mayhem, and lowdown dirty dealings.  One can only imagine what “tours of Boulder” include.  … … 

   “Coming up on our left is “The Ramsey House”.  Look down to the left and you will see the basement.  That is where Patsy found Jon Benet’s lifeless body.  

   … As we come over this rise you will see the hotel where football recruits received their Official Visit BJs from coerced coeds and pole dancing pros brought in from Denver.  

  … Behind that fence is where Coach Barnett ran his money-laundering football camp.  When we stop for lunch you can purchase a souvenir cashbox just like the ones they used to keep the unmarked bills. 

  … That art gallery over yonder carried the counterfeit “Native American” artwork that “counterfeit Native American” Ward Churchill passed off as his own.  That soap box on the corner is where Churchill delivered his “all the 9/11 victims were little Eichmans” rant.  

    … Now if everyone will look out the right side of the bus, aren’t those Rocky Mountains pretty? No, the Mork & Mindy house was actually located in Denver but implied to be here.

   When I was living in Big Eight country during the Barry Switzer Era at Oklahoma I used to ruminate how an average Univ of Oklahoma alumnus reconciled being associated with an institution that sanctioned issuing AK-47s to student-athletes, among other “did they really do THAT” practices.  I never got any answer beyond “we sure do like going to Orange Bowls every year”.

   Usually when a school’s athletic program goes totally nefarious it is justified by “we have to do (fill in illicit practice) in order to recruit against XYZ”.  When you are The Univ of Colorado with ski bunnies and pretty mountains and you are recruiting against Lincoln Nebraska, Norman and Stillwater Oklahoma, Ames Iowa, and Manhatten Kansas to name five … your nefariousness must be more deeply-seeded.  

   How does an institution develop a enduring mindset of corruption that transcends coaching reigns?  Coaches, recruiting coordinators, Chancellors, Trustees, even booster club officials and “Fat Cats” come and go … yet, “that’s how we do things here” remains.  At Univ of Colorado the Chancellor outranks the President (opposite from UNC) but both have fallen on their swords in this latest mess along with the AD.  Gary Barnett is likewise doomed.  He will end up along with his predecessor Rick Neuheisal on some NFL staff where “recruiting” is not an issue.  Ever how many layers of corrupt coaches and “look the other way” naive bureaucrats are eventually expunged from CU, will they ever get to the core?  Is there some Howard Hughes-esque Bondian villain in a remote Rocky Mountain fortress who is “the puppetmaster”?

   During my recent trip to Columbus Ohio, as I drove through the Ohio State campus I thought about the decades old acceptance of nefariousness that is taken for granted within the Buckeye Football (and Basketball) programs.  Ohio State’s “rap sheet” beats about any institution not located in the state of Alabama.

   Apparently Buckeye Footballers even drive better rides than UNC Basketballers.  In the case of UNC of course, we simply coincidentally only recruit stellar young men who have 3rd Uncles once removed who own auto dealerships with “great big ol’ SUVs” and/or fancy sports cars.  Sorta the same way parents of Duke basketball players have occupational skills of very high perceived value to Durham business moguls.

   Both Colorado and Ohio State are “traditional football powers” whose supporters have come to expect annual Top Ten rankings and BCS consideration.  Coaches who don’t deliver that level of success won’t be tolerated.  Ask John Cooper who could beat everybody but Michigan.  Unlike the local Herb/John situations, “showing improvement” by winning a key game to finish just over .500 does not cut it at that level.

   No one connected with either Colorado or Ohio State is “shocked” when “the latest revelations” hit the headlines.  Its as if the current names and faces are irrelevant.  Having to “clean house” every decade or so is simply the price you pay to be competitive at the highest level.

   In our cozy little world we get bent out of shape about “illegal pizza parties” and “how many grams of marijuana were found” or going back a few years “one pair of tennis shoes”.

   The purpose of war is to kill people and break things … the purpose of Big Time Sports is to “win games”.  If your army or your team is hamstrung in their efforts to achieve those primary objectives, they won’t.    


Swagger’s Stumper

Raymond Felton is to Sean May 

as ______ was to Scott May.


   The Barry Saunders VS The Wolfpack Tsunami has played out.  The N&O’s resident racist flame thrower was publicly chastised by his Public Editor while defended by his Executive Editor.  Saunders doesn’t dislike Wuffies per se, he simply enjoys insulting all white folks and his employer seems to value that skill.  Not a complicated matter at all.

A SSays BOD member got scammed at the MCI Center by counterfeit tickets.  I will spare you the details but he did NOT just fall off the turnip truck and took incredible lengths to avoid his “$600 down the drain” fate.  Little Johnny Swofford and his ACC folks need to adopt better security to prevent good folks getting scammed.  It MUST be Fred Barakat’s fault somehow.

   Both Jim Rockford and Martin Riggs lived “in trailers on the beach”.  Putting aside the comfort of loved ones … such a no frills simple existence has its merits.

   Personally I enjoyed “the Carolina Boy” and his pal “the Clemson Boy” that were TV magnets on Friday.  Don’t you know they have caught lots of grief from their pals back home.  Food Lion or Pepsi need to sign those two up for a commercial.

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