A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while celebrating the United States’ gold medal in men’s curling – who knew hairstylists could also be Olympic athletes?”

Letting it rain

When it comes to the NCAA, any punishment handed down for rules violations can always be overturned, amended or revisited at a later date.

It seems as if nothing the NCAA does is ever considered the last word. Except the punishment the University of Louisville’s basketball program received from the NCAA last week feels damn permanent.  And permanently damning.

When the penalties were first announced, Louisville appealed despite firing head basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich. The school also imposed recruiting restrictions and a postseason ban over the “Strippergate” case.


There was actually a lot more going on than stripping and tipping when former assistant coach Andre McGee arranged for entertainment in the basketball dorm during recruiting weekends.

Because of those “extra benefits,” the NCAA came down hard on the school, deciding Louisville’s self-imposed penalties weren’t nearly enough to atone for the wrong-doing.

Thus, the Cardinals have had to vacate their 2013 national championship and another Final Four appearance in 2012 as well as 123 wins from the 2011-12 to 2014-15 seasons. The school also had to pay back at least $600,000 it received for postseason appearances during those four seasons.

The overall financial penalty could top $15 million if the Atlantic Coast Conference demands Louisville return the league’s revenue sharing from those basketball seasons.

It’s the first time in modern NCAA Division I basketball that a national championship has had to be vacated.

Never forget

Among the 17 deaths in the latest school slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., were coaches Scott Beigel, Chris Hixon and Aaron Feis.

Broward County should honor their memories, perhaps by naming the gymnasium or football field in their honor.

Beigel, 35, was a geography teacher and cross country coach who was shot by former student Nikolas Cruz while he was holding the door to his classroom to let students in the room. One student said, “I’m alive because of him.”

Hixon, 49.  was the athletic director and a wrestling coach. A Naval Reservist, he served in Iraq in 2007. He was killed while rushing toward the gunman in an attempt to stop him. “Every one of those students he thought of as his own kid,” said his wife Debra. “He loved being an American and serving his country.”

A graduate of Douglas High School. Feis was an assistant football coach who also worked as a security guard at the school. Feis, 37, jumped between Cruz and several students to prevent them from being shot. He was critically injured and died at a hospital. “That’s Coach Feis. He wants to make sure everybody is safe before himself,” said one student.

And then there were the students who were killed: Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Martin Duque Anguiano, 14; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Luke Hoyer, 15; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Alaina Petty, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; Helena Ramsay, 17; Alex Schachter, 14; Carmen Schentrup, 16, and Peter Wang, 15.

Fourteen others were wounded.

Those students who have survived are determined that none of those lost lives will have been in vain. They have demonstrated political courage by taking on state and national politicians, as well as the well-funded National Rifle Association, in pushing for sensible gun laws and more extensive background checks.

Corporate America is also stepping up with airlines, car rental companies, banks, insurance companies and other businesses announcing the elimination of discounts and other benefits they had provided NRA members.

But none of that will prevent another determined killer with a semi-automatic rifle from taking lives and wounding dozens more. And as we all know, that’s the real definition of insanity.

The more these mass shootings happen, the quicker some people try to normalize them as part of our culture.

There’s nothing normal about it.

They said it

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon: “The Cleveland Indians announced that they will no longer use Chief Wahoo as their logo beginning in 2019. They admitted that the logo is extremely offensive, so they’re only gonna wear it for 162 more games.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Team Norway at the Olympics got 15,000 eggs instead of the 1,500 they ordered. So far the Norwegians are clean of PEDs, but their cholesterol is off the charts.”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald on the 2018 Winter Olympics being televised by NBC: “Which is bizarre, because NBC just finished showing the 2014 Winter Olympics on tape delay.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: ‘So instead of the usual March Madness pools will this be the year millions of Americans start playing NCAA men’s basketball sanctions bingo?”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News on the power-packed Yankee lineup featuring Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge: “They’re not built to break records. They’re built to break windows.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Talk about poetic justice: Louisville got stripped of its 2013 basketball title by a stripper.”

ABC comedian Jimmy Kimmel: “The Eagles won their first Super Bowl ever, toppling Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They said Tom Brady was so distraught after the game, he chugged a quart of almond milk and ate half a grape.”

Comedian Steve Hofstetter: “I am proud to be a New York sports fan. Our metro area has won 57 championships in baseball, basketball, football, and hockey And we’ve never had one sports riot. When we burn down our city, it’s just because we feel like it.”

Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg on the Russian curler who flunked his Olympic drug test: “Not only that, but now they think he corked his broom.”

ABC comedian Jimmy Kimmel on a cyber-attack taking down the official Olympic website and interrupting Wi-Fi service during the opening ceremonies at the stadium in Pyeongchang: “….Which was devastating. Thousands of people had to wait until they got back to their hotels to post to Instagram. “

Hard to figure

These Winter Olympics were more than disappointing for the United States when it came to figure skating.

No medals for the U.S. women. And none of the 26 participants in the skating exhibition that will be held Sunday will be American figure skaters.

To be fair, Nathan Chen was invited after pulling off six quad jumps on his way to a fifth-place finish, but he has come down with the flu, according to U.S. Figure Skating officials.

No other American figure skaters were extended an invitation, but ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani, who won bronze, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who finished fourth, will participate in the program.

Despite the United States’ long tradition of producing figure skating icons, none of Team USA’s representatives finished in the top six. That’s a first – the wrong kind of history.

Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen finished 9th, 10th and 11th, respectively. And what made it worse is that Russia, which was banned from competing as a country, took the gold and silver with Alina Zagitova, 15, and Evgenia Medvedeva. Medvedeva was the defending Olympic champion.

It’s the third consecutive Winter Games the United States failed to medal in women’s figure skating.

Sasha Cohen is the last U.S. woman  to medal, claiming silver in 2006.


TheOnion.com: “Does America’s poor showing at The Olympics prove it’s time for the country to retire?”

SportsPickle.com: “Kevin Stallings caught by FBI offering $100,000 to anyone who would attend a Pitt basketball game.”

TheKicker.com: “This 6-week old baby just captured gold in the freestyle snowboarding event.”

Fark.com: “Arkansas QB Cole Kelley pleads guilty to DWI, plans to be drafted by the Browns.”

TheOnion.com: “Uphill skiing competition enters sixth day.”

SportsPickle.com: “Montreal Canadiens request to become NHL expansion team in hopes of becoming as good as Vegas Golden Knights.”

TheOnion.com: “U.S. wins gold in couples snow eating.”

SportsPickle.com: “NFL scouts say Lamar Jackson best suited to bobsled.”

TheOnion.com: “Olympic figure skating inspires thousands of little girls to drop couple hundred on skates they’ll use once.”

Fark.com: “Jets are willing to cut their entire roster to sign Kirk Cousins.”

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top Tweets from @Randy_Beard11

  • Can’t help but think that if Sean Miller at Arizona is as good as gone, can Indiana’s Archie Miller really be running a clean program?
  • A’ja Wilson celebrates Senior Night with 27 points, 24 rebounds and is just 30 points from passing Sheila Foster as #7 South Carolina’s all-time scorer in 57-48 victory over #24 LSU.
  • I admit to missing Fergie singing The Anthem yesterday but just heard her rendition: I liked it; nice change of pace for setting. And I didn’t see anyone kneeling. Now if only I can get her to serenade me in that dress for my birthday!
  • Chadwick Boseman gives Victor Oladipo the Black Panther mask for NBA Dunk Contest. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell won, beating Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr., in final. Boseman and Nance’s father are from Anderson, S.C. Larry Sr. won 1984 dunk contest & some feel Nance Jr., should have won.
  • It’s a sick country we live in. Do idiots root against Lindsay Vonn because she once dated Tiger Woods?

 Ball boys

Lonzo Ball is supposed to be the future of the Los Angeles Lakers, but his father is doing everything he can to make Magic Johnson live to regret that 2017 first-round pick.

Every time LaVar Ball opens his mouth, someone in the Lakers’ front office must want to stuff a sock in it. A sweaty sock.

It’s no secret Papa Ball has a dream of all three of his sons playing for the Lakers. Of course, there was a time when his dream included all three also playing for UCLA, but he ended that fantasy when he forced LiAngelo to withdraw from Westwood after he was caught shoplifting during a preseason tour in China.

He also pulled LaMelo out of high school so the two younger brothers could play professionally in Lithuania for a season.

Now when he isn’t criticizing Luke Walton’s coaching, he’s talking up his master plan of having the Lakers sign LiAngelo. If they do that, he promises he’ll throw in LaMelo as part of the deal without committing the team to another mult-million dollar contract.

“What’s better than the three Ball brothers together? The Big Three. The Original Big Three,” said LaVar.

Never mind that neither Melo or Gelo may be talented enough to crack an NBA roster. If the Lakers don’t take him up on his offer, LaVar swears he’ll make the same deal to any other NBA franchise once Lonzo’s contract is up.

That might be sooner than LaVar thinks.

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