….. Twenty years ago Eric Montross was not allowed to be a Playboy All-American. UNC officials deemed it inappropriate to the image of college athletics. Dean lobbied against beer ads on ACC telecasts. …… now John Calipari is featured on Maker’s Mark whiskey bottles. Hypocrites and old fogeys notwithstanding, wherever “they” draw a line someone will cross it “just because”.
Imagine an NCAA with a Bill Friday clone with Walter Byers’ power. Would that really be so bad?
Walter Byers was the first NCAA Executive Director. Walter was from the Avery Brundage School of “Because I Said So” management. He had a staff and he had assorted committees from member institutions but Ol’ Walter had his vision of how intercollegiate athletics should run and that was pretty much how it did run under Walter from 1951-88.
Walter held sway in a world without ESPN or the Internet or talk radio or $5,000,000 coaches or 18 y/os pulling caps out of gymbags. Oh, there were $100 handshakes and student-athletes (wink wink) taking underwater basketweaving and Junction Boy “voluntary workouts” and coaches seeking “an edge” any way they could. But, like Plain Jane without her make-up, what we didn’t know was OK if we didn’t know it.
As detailed on this website a few months ago, there was even “point shaving” going on in our very own backyard. …… and the Bill Fridays and Dean Smiths were concerned with beer ads and players appearing with scantily clad trollops.
One of the primary reasons for the phenomenal success of college sports is that every fan feels he/she is a voting stockholder in their team of choice. One doesn’t even need to be a matriculated alum. “Sidewalk alumni” can adopt a team and bestow themselves with full rights of an “opinion without consequence”.
One of the primary problems with college sports is that every fan feels he/she is a voting stockholder in their team of choice. Buying a ballcap and naming your first-born after Choo Choo or Roman or Bullet Bill or Fleetfoot Freddie bestows one with that right to voice their opinion without consequence from the highest media mountaintop ….. in ALLCAPS.
With extreme teeth-gnashing the order of the day in Old Well Country, I remarked to several “insiders” – “ya think Ol’ Roy is receiving just a few colorful suggestions about righting the good ship Tar Heel ….. just a few ! …. and just slightly colorful ! …” If 2Rings still has a smidgen of a sense of humor he should save those “colorful suggestions” for his next book.
Speaking of books. More than a few hard core teeth-gnashers are speculating that Roy’s book together with the 100th Anniversary thingy created way too much bad karma for this Blue-clad Donner Party to overcome.
….. back to Playboy and Maker’s Mark bottles.
Even in the puritanical times of the 70-80s (!!), Dean and Kindly Ol’ Bill were poo poohed for their views on where “the line” should be as regards the public image of college sports.
The Peanut Gallery did not have the ear-splitting voice it does now, BUT there were plenty back then who whined “college students are going to drink and have sex so why pretend they don’t yadda yadda …..” Such libertarian “no limits” views have been around since Hinton James rode into town with a Beat Dook bumpersticker on his horse’s butt.
Dean and Kindly Ol’ Bill did not check with me back then but I betcha they were aware of the proclivity of post-pubescents to sample all available vices. Ya think Dean had a clue that Billy Cunningham and Larry Miller among others had “a brew or two” now and then.
Deano developed some “slightly wacky” views on politics and biblical interpretations over the years ….. but his intentions were always kind of noble (except where Norm Sloan or Terry Holland was concerned!).
Wherever “a line” is drawn on any human conduct, a segment of humans will race immediately to be the first to “cross that line”. Even if they have no interest whatsoever in the specific issue, they have to cross the line because there is a line.
If the ubiquitous “they” passed a rule that folks can only have consensual sex with billy goats in the Town Square at noon on Tuesday; a VW bus loaded with loonies (and terrified billy goats) would show up at 11:45 AM and demand their “right” to start early. That’s just the way God wired some people. Those of us who chronicle the actions of that faction appreciate their predictability more so than those responsible for keeping order amid chaos.
Ergo John Calipari having his face on a Maker’s Mark whiskey bottle doesn’t seem to bother the institutional authorities at the U of Kentucky. Anyone who might be a tad uncomfortable by it better go into a Federal Prude Protection Program. Across the commonwealth in Louisville, “they” erected a plaque on that restaurant table where Slick Rick boinked the Crazy Cougar.
NOTE: Other than in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena, John Calipari is universally despised across college basketball. If he was donating both kidneys and his gall bladder to Organs For Baby Haitians R Us; he would get blasted for it. He’s not doing this whiskey bottle promotion to earn kudos from anyone except The Hatfields, The McCoys and. of course, Ashley Judd.
I, for one, appreciate the lines that Deano and Kindly Ol’ Bill used to draw. I suspect they even knew that as sure as God made mosquitoes and corfam shoes, He also gave society free-will and the “right” to stick sharp objects in its own eye.
The ongoing battle twixt line-drawers and line-crossers is, along with opposable thumbs and reality TV shows, what separates us from spiders and snakes.
Did ya see where Sandra Bullock and “Up” both won Oscars. I. of course, recommended Blind Side and Up to you guys months ago.
Speaking of “recommend” …… Undercover Boss on Sunday nights is MUST SEE TV for pretty much any one bright enough to “get” these columns.
An INCREDIBLY high % of readers agree with my opinion on women’s BB as a spectator sport. I expected some HOW DARE YOUs. Go figure?
Two new links over yonder on the right ….. the Deep Thoughts Archives ….. and BobLee On The Radio (under development). Check’em Out!