NCAA Tournament TV Times

 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament TV/Times

All times Central Time

First Four: Tuesday, March 13

  • 5:40 p.m. — No. 16 LIU Brooklyn vs. No. 16 Radford (truTV)
  • After conclusion — No. 11 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 11 UCLA (truTV)

First Four: Wednesday, March 14

  • 5:40 p.m. — No. 16 NC Central vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (truTV)
  • After conclusion — No. 11 Arizona St. vs. No. 11 Syracuse (truTV)

First round: Thursday, March 15

  • 11:15 a.m. — No. 7 Rhode Island vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (CBS)
  • 11:40 am. — No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 14 Wright State (truTV)
  • 12:30 p.m. — No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 13 UNCG (TNT)
  • 1 p.m. — No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Pennsylvania (TBS)
  • After URI/Oklahoma — No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Iona (CBS)
  • After Tenn./Wright St. — No. 6 Miami vs. No. 11 Loyola (Ill.) (truTV)
  • After Gonzaga/UNCG — No. 5 Ohio St. vs. No. 12 South Dakota (TNT)
  • After Kansas/Penn — No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 NC State (TBS)
  • 5:50 p.m. — No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 16 LIU Brooklyn/Radford (TNT)
  • 6:10 p.m. — No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Davidson (CBS)
  • 6:20 p.m. — No. 6 Houston vs. No. 11 San Diego St. (TBS)
  • 6:27 p.m. — No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin (truTV)
  • After Villanova/LIU/Radford — No. 8 Virginia Tech vs. No. 9 Alabama (TNT)
  • After UK/Davidson — No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 Buffalo (CBS)
  • After Houston/San Diego St. — No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 Montana (TBS)
  • After Texas Tech/SFA — No. 6 Florida vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure/UCLA (truTV)

First round: Friday, March 16

  • 11:15 a.m. — No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Providence (CBS)
  • 11:40 a.m. — No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 15 Cal St. Fullerton (truTV)
  • 12:30 p.m. — No. 4 Wichita St. vs. no. 13 Marshall (TNT)
  • 1 p.m. — No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 15 Georgia St. (TBS)
  • After Texas A&M/Providence — No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Lipscomb (CBS)
  • After Purdue/CSF — No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 10 Butler (truTV)
  • After Wich St./Marshall — No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Murray St. (TNT)
  • After Cincinnati/Georgia St. — No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 10 Texas (TBS)
  • 5:50 p.m. — No. 8 Creighton vs. No. 9 Kansas St. (TNT)
  • 6:10 p.m. — No. 3 Michigan St. vs. No. 14 Bucknell (CBS)
  • 6:20 p.m. — No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 16 NC Central/Texas Southern (TBS)
  • 6:27 p.m. — No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 13 Charleston (truTV)
  • After Creighton/Kansas St. — No. 1 Virginia vs. no. 16 UMBC (TNT)
  • After Mich. St./Bucknell — No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona St./Syracuse (CBS)
  • After Xavier/NC Central/Tex. So. — No. 8 Missouri vs. No. 9 Florida St. (TBS)
  • After Auburn/Charleston — No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 12 New Mexico St. (truTV)

Second round: Saturday, March 17

  • 11:00 a.m. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 1:30 p.m. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 4:00 p.m. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 5:00 p.m. — First round winners (TNT)
  • 6:00 p.m. — First round winners (TBS)
  • 6:30 p.m. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 7:30 p.m. — First round winners (TNT)
  • 8:30 p.m. — First round winners (TBS)

Second round: Sunday, March 18

  • 11:00 am. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 1:30 p.m. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 4:00 p.m. — First round winners (CBS)
  • 5:00 p.m. — First round winners (TNT)
  • 6:00 p.m. — First round winners (TBS)
  • 6:30 p.m. — First round winners (truTV)
  • 7:30 p.m. — First round winners (TNT)
  • 8:30 p.m. — First round winners (TBS)

Sweet 16: Thursday, March 22

  • 6:00 p.m. — Second round winners (CBS)
  • 6:15 p.m. — Second round winners (TBS)
  • 6:30 p.m. — Second round winners (CBS)
  • 8:45 p.m. — Second round winners (TBS)

Sweet 16: Friday, March 23

  • 6:00 p.m. — Second round winners (CBS)
  • 6:15 p.m. — Second round winners (TBS)
  • 8:30 p.m. — Second round winners (CBS)
  • 8:45 p.m. — Second round winners (TBS)

Elite Eight: Saturday, March 24

  • 5:00 p.m. — Sweet 16 winners (TBS)
  • 7:30 p.m. — Sweet 16 winners (TBS)

Elite Eight: Sunday, March 25

  • 1:00 p.m. — Sweet 16 winners (CBS)
  • 3:55 p.m. — Sweet 16 winners (CBS)

Final Four: Saturday, March 31

  • 5:00 p.m. — Elite Eight winners (TBS)
  • 7:30 p.m. — Elite Eight winners (TBS)

National Championship: Monday, April 2

  • 8:00 p.m. — Final Four winners (TBS)

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while pleased to see former Purdue standout Robbie Hummel, whose injury problems continued as a professional, is getting a shot as a college basketball analyst for ESPN:

Going Hollywood

Kobe Bryant not only has an Oscar, but his golden statuette now has two miniature Lakers jerseys.

While appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC Thursday, the former Lakers’ guard was presented with two slip-on jerseys with the numbers 24 and 8 that were his while playing in Los Angeles. Kimmel placed the 24 jersey over the Oscar that Bryant won for Best Animated Short (Dear, Basketball) and suggested he could alternate them. Or, maybe even save the other jersey for his next Oscar.

Yeah, it’s that easy.

Bryant does, however, plan to use his considerable resources to assist minority film makers who want to become involved in the animation side of Hollywood.

“When I won the award the other night I was the first African-American to ever win that award in that category,” said Bryant. “So there is a lot of work that needs to be done … How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry?”

Now that his playing career is over, Kimmel asked Bryant if he also was  going to try to win a Grammy. Considering the number of hoopsters churning out rap or blues albums, it was a fairly legit question.

Bryant quickly shook his head no.

“Know your limitations,” said Bryant. “I don’t even sound good in the shower. I’ll let that be.”

Crean time

Could former Indiana coach Tom Crean end up in the SEC?

Crean, 51, is reportedly a favorite to fill the vacancy created when the University of Georgia dismissed Mark Fox on Saturday.

Crean, who has a 356-231 record in 18 seasons as a college coach at Marquette and Indiana, has taken 13 of his teams to the postseason, including nine NCAA appearances.  He’s only had three losing seasons, all coming while he was rebuilding IU. He led three Hoosiers squads to the Sweet 16 and took his 2002-03 Marquette team to the Final Four. He’s also had eight teams win 20 or more games and claimed American Conference and Big Ten championships.

He’s spent this season as a ESPN studio analyst.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, there are six other candidates on UGA’s wish list: College of Charleston coach Earl Grant, 41; former Ohio State coach Thad Matta, 50; UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller, 35; Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams, 45; Stanford coach Jerod Haase, 43, and Texas coach Shaka Smart, 40.

Williams, by the way, is a former Crean assistant at Marquette.

They said it

Former Indiana basketall coach Bobby Knight to The Indianapolis Star: “Coaches aren’t dealing with the NBA, they’re dealing with the FBI. Which is a little big different than the NBA. I’m all for the FBI.”

Charles Barkley on value of athletes speaking out: “I’ve been saying whatever the hell I want for 30 years and I’m doing great. I’m hosting SNL for the fourth time for no reason.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “Pizza Hut introduced a pair of athletic shoes that have a button that orders pizza. When they heard about it, fans of Pizza Hut said, “What are athletic shoes?”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought camels to Washington’s training camp. That’s one way to respond to a championship drought.”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald: “According to the North Korean medal tracker, Kim Jong Un won every single Winter Olympics medal.”

 Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Reports are that Peyton Manning could make $10 Million a year as an analyst for Fox Sports or ESPN. And that’s before he mentions Budweiser or Papa John’s every 15 minutes.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Soccer parent’s lament: Our kid patterns his game after Ronaldo, but his bedroom is totally Messi.”

Comedian Steve Hofstetter: “How could Disney World call itself the happiest place on earth when there are so many baseball stadiums in Florida?”

Michael Rosenberg of SI.com on the U.S. sitting sixth in the medal count halfway through the Winter Olympics — behind Russia: ”Which isn’t even officially here. I was pretty fired up about that. That’s like losing a bar bet to an empty stool.”

Shaking the rust

Projected as a megastar, Michael Porter Jr., put his Missouri team on his shoulders Thursday in the SEC Basketball Tournament in St. Louis. Which is to say he blamed himself for Mizzou’s quick exit.

While he scored 12 points and had eight rebounds, it wasn’t enough to prevent Georgia from pulling off a 62-60 upset of the fifth-seeded Tigers.

“We beat Georgia when I didn’t play,” he said. “We lost to them when I did. That doesn’t feel good.”

Never mind the buzz generated by Porter’s first game back since he played only two minutes against Iowa State in November. After that torturous debut to college basketball, he shut himself down and had back surgery.

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin was forced to  accept he might have to go through the entire season with a first-round NBA draft pick never leaving his bench again. As much as it would have made for another captivating “SEC Storied,” Porter couldn’t write a fairytale script on Thursday. But the loss wasn’t his fault either.

Upsets happen and Mizzou’s starters set the stage by going a combined 11 of 36 (2 for 11 on treys) with just 17 rebounds. Porter and his younger brother Jontay knocked in 10 of 25 shots (6 of 12 3-pointers) and nabbed 16 rebounds.

So shake off the rust and rest up for the NCAA tournament, young man. Now that it’s March, all you need to focus on is playing your best, helping out your team and enjoying every minute you have left playing alongside Jontay.

Bucket list

Sindarious Thornwell, now a NBA rookie with the Los Angeles Clippers, got another chance to guard LeBron James Friday night and came away with another career highlight.

The Clippers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-102 and Thornwell earned considerable respect from James in the process.

Sure, James still scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds, but Thornwell offset some of the damage with 14 points and four rebounds while staying stride for stride with James most of the night.  In the first meeting between the two back in November, James had 39 points and 14 rebounds in a Cavs’ 118-113 win.

Last year Thornwell was the SEC player of the year while leading South Carolina in a surprising run to the Final Four. But playing against someone he idolizes was still a thrill for him since a few months ago Thornwell was pretending to be James in video games.

“You’re not going to block his shot. You’re not going to stop him. You just stay in front of him and make it tough for him, make it difficult for him, and that’s what I did,” said Thornwell. “It was a team effort. It always takes a team to slow him down. It wasn’t just me.”

 Headlines

SportsPickle.com: “Kobe Bryant shoots 95 times to get one scene right in new movie.”

TheOnion.com: “Greg Popovich berates Spurs for missing nation’s descent into oligarchy.”

Fark.com: “Memphis coach Tubby Smith, who quit four schools for different jobs, thinks allowing players to more easily transfer is teaching them to quit.”

SportsPickle.com: “NFL scouts hold emergency meeting to decide if prospect who ran 4.38 40 with missing hand is athletic or scrappy.”

TheKicker.com: “U.S. tanks Winter Olympics to get better draft pick in the next Winter Olympics.”

TheOnion.com: “James Harden credits his NBA success to sage advice from fiddler crab living deep inside beard.”

Fark.com: “343 college basketball teams that will NOT win the national championship this year.”

A different OT

You often hear college football coaches talk about the long hours they put in during the season and the sacrifices they make in their personal lives.

But you rarely hear them gripe about not being paid fairly – even when the hours they work often makes it seem like they are barely earning minimum wage. As unpaid graduate assistants, they also understand there are dues to be paid with sweat equity before they’ll make the big bucks.

Mike Warren, however, hasn’t been so fortunate. Although he was promoted to an assistant coach (running backs/special teams) position by interim Seminoles coach Odell Haggins during the lead up to the Independence Bowl, he wasn’t retained by Willie Taggert.

So Warren is now testing the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Minimum Wage Act. He was a quality control coach for most of his tenure at Florida State, which means he was part of the football program’s support staff.

Now he’s suing FSU for unpaid hours he says he worked in prepping for the bowl game as an assistant and also seeking what he views as unpaid overtime during the last three seasons. He alleges in his federal lawsuit he filed Friday that he frequently worked 80 to  100 hours a week but was never paid for more than 40. He also said he was never allowed to fill out a time card while on Jimbo Fisher’s staff.

Fisher left FSU to take the job at Texas A&M in December.

Imagine that – not being paid for all the hours you work during football season. As a sports writer for 41 years, I can relate.

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top Tweets from @Randy_Beard11:

  • Former Indiana coach Tom Crean could be at top of list for Georgia’s coaching vacancy. Since I plan to move back to Upstate SC, that’d be cool.
  • Grayson Allen does it again, throwing a hip check into UNC’s Garrison Brooks. Flagrant 1. But former Duke player and now television analyst Jay Bilas said Grayson definitely stuck his hip out but it wouldn’t have been called if Brooks hadn’t “gone down.”
  • Dan Dakich says UNC’s Luke May is “most improved” player in country. Sure, his scoring is up 5.5 to 17.7, rebounding 3.9 to 10.1, assists 1.2 to 2.4, but he’s started 31 games vs. 1, and averaged 32.6 minutes vs. 14.1. Lot more at-bats.
  • Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson can’t match Kobe Bryant as an Oscar winner, so there’s that.
  • College football more popular than Hollywood (after the Academy Awards drew 26.5 million viewers compared to 28.4 million viewers of CFB Championship game between Alabama and Georgia.
  • A’ja Wilson and Gamecocks do it again, winning an unprecedented fourth straight SEC Tournament title by beating previously unbeaten Mississippi State, 62-51. Give Dawn Staley a big, fat raise.

Culture shock

Jurgen Klinsmann’s son Jonathan is an up and coming American goalkeeper who already has made 21 appearances with the United States’ Under-21 team. But he has a long way to go before he’ll come close to making the sort of impact his dad did in Germany.

Now playing for Hertha Berlin after a stint in college at UC Berkeley, he has been mostly sitting on the bench. His goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry said the younger Klinsmann is struggling to prove he can play professionally and has called him “too American” in his approach and attitude.

“When it comes to the basics, he’s definitely got it and athletically he has developed well, too,” Petry said. “The reliable, serious and focused German way of working has not completely reached him. He still is way too American. The development of his personality has stopped.”

Interestingly, that’s similar to the criticism his father often had about the players he coached on Team USA.

The elder Klinsmann, who was fired as the U.S. National Team coach last year, led  Germany to a 1990 World Cup title as a forward and coached the 2006 German team to a third-place finish in the Cup.

This was No. 43 of my “From Sidelines to punchlines” columns. I can be reached at randy.beard@yahoo.com

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while remaining impressed that Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team is 14-0 all-time in the ACC Tournament entering Sunday’s championship game against Louisville:

No respect

Lamar Jackson is another Heisman Trophy winner who doesn’t get enough respect as a quarterback from most NFL scouts.

At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week, there were reports that several teams approached the former Louisville player about participating in wide receiver drills. Jackson denied those reports while dismissing any notion that he would even entertain the idea.

“No sir, I’m a quarterback,” he said.

General manager Bill Polian of the Indianapolis Colts is one NFL executive who projects Jackson  as a better wide out prospect.

What fuels such thoughts are Jackson’s size, speed and running ability  in the open field – although he never caught a pass in his three years with the Cardinals. He also has been plagued by accuracy issues during his career, completing just 59 percent of his passes. Some scouts are also dismissive of his height and slender frame for a QB, but at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds he’s bigger than other quarterbacks in the draft.

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is just a tad over 6-foot and 214, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett is 6-1 and 224 and Southern California’s Sam Darnold is just 6-3 and 221.

Also, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, who is rated by some as the best long-term prospect, completed just 56 percent of his passes.

Bird brained

FOX Sports college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb recently said that while most experts prefer to debate whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James was the better player in their prime, he could make an argument Larry Bird was also superior than James.

In fact, Gotlieb is convinced he’d rather have the basketball in the hands of Bird, Jordan or Magic Johnson at crunch time.

When it comes to rating  Hall of Famers, there probably isn’t a wrong answer. But no one should be be dismissive of  James’ success in the NBA. James has won 37 of 86 Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors since he’s been in the league. In comparison, Kobe Bryant only won the Western Conference Player of the Month award 15 times since the league began giving separate conference honors.

Besides, as a lifelong Milwaukee Bucks fan who still has nightmares about Bird, I refuse to be drawn into such debates. Oscar Robertson is the best ever, the original GOAT.

They said it

Golf Channel’s David Feherty on stepping off the course for his first Winter Olympics assignment as a broadcaster: “I can’t tell you how many times I slipped and fell on my ass. I invented a new skating jump: the Triple Klutz. That’s when you fall down once and fall down twice more trying to get up.”

San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler: “Charles Barkley was once asked to name his favorite white wine. He said, ‘Danny Ainge’.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “Papa John’s announced they will no longer be a sponsor for the NFL. After hearing this, Peyton Manning said, “Wait – you mean I’ve been eating this crap for nothing?”

CBS comedian James Corden: “To celebrate last year’s NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors are reportedly meeting with local children in Washington, D.C., instead of visiting President Trump in the White House. It is really nice of the Golden State Warriors to visit a bunch of children instead of just one?”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Ravens CB and 2017 draft pick Marlon Humphrey was arrested for robbery. Take heart Baltimore: he’s already performing like an NFL vet.”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald: “The four-man bobsled features people holding on for dear life as they plunge down an icy track. Or, as we call that in Omaha during winter, ‘carpool’.”

 Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Canadian skier David Duncan, along with his trainer and wife were arrested for allegedly being DUI in a stolen vehicle in South Korea. Know Canada did well with 29 Olympic medals but maybe they tried too hard to prove they are equal of American athletes.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:  “Among Arkansas’ crop of college football signees this offseason is a four-star linebacker named Bumper Pool. To no one’s surprise, he’s unusually adept at bouncing off blockers.”

Comedian Steve Hofstetter: “The funniest thing about Donald Trump tweeting as if Obama was responsible for the US (poor) medal count is that Obama’s Winter Olympics were the USA’s #1 and #3 best ever.”

Gun violence

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth has given up plans to petition for custody of his son, Chancellor, when he is released from prison in a few months.

Carruth has been imprisoned for 17 years for conspiracy of murder in the death of his former girlfriend, Cherica Adams. He was convicted of paying Van Brett Watkins to shoot Adams in 2001 when she became pregnant and refused to get an abortion. Adams died in the hospital but not before Chancellor was  delivered prematurely by C-Section. Because of the circumstances of his birth, Chancellor has cerebral palsy and will need a lifelong caretaker.

Now 18, Chancellor is cared for by Saundra Adams, his maternal grandmother. But Carruth, who will be released from prison in October, had announced he intended to pursue custody of his son. The son he wanted dead.

After much public outcry over his intentions to gain custody, Carruth has suddenly changed his mind.

“For all involved or invested in this ordeal, please calm down,” Carruth wrote in a letter to the Charlotte Observer. “I will no longer be pursuing a relationship with Chancellor and Ms. Adams. I promise to leave them be, which I now see is in everyone’s best interests.”

Public opinion can be a powerful agent of change.

Gun violence II

Parkland, Florida students helped changed the conversation on gun violence after the Valentine’s Day massacre of 14 students and three adults, who were all coaches, at their school.

With a majority of Americans now believing semi-automatic assault weapons should be banned, several students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stepped up to lead  protests, calling on legislators to pass meaningful gun laws and mental health legislation on the state and national level. They’ve appeared on various television news talk shows, led community rallies and participated in town hall discussions. They’ve also planned a “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C. and other cities on March 24.

Interestingly, the National Park Service has not issued the group a permit to hold the rally on the National Mall, saying its been reserved as a rain date for a teen talent show being staged by an unknown “educational institution.”

The name of the organization and all contact info were redacted on the copy of the permit given to the Washington Post after a Freedom of Information request.

Could it be an “educational arm” of the National Rifle Association?

Headlines

SportsPickle.com: “Sam Darnold wows scouts at NFL Combine with record 4-hours, 37 minutes in the Anthem Stand.”

TheOnion.com: “Boxing coach wishes just once he could mentor someone who already fully worked through childhood trauma.”

Fark.com: “Seems no one wants to watch an Earnhardt-free NASCAR.”

SportsPickle.com: “St. Louis Cardinals still planning to hold Assault Weapon Giveaway Night promotion.”

TheOnion.com: “Has Shaun White finally captured enough gold medals to satisfy the Snow Princess Yuki-Onna?”

Fark.com: “Multiple NFL teams ask one of the best QBs in the draft to do WR drills at the combine.”

TheOnion.com: “Doug Pederson informs Nick Foles he’s been traded to Browns while handing him Lombardi Trophy.”

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top Tweets from @Randy_Beard11

  • Notre Dame women are still unbeaten all-time in ACC Tournament at 14-0 after beating Florida State 90-80. Jackie Young and Irish will play Louisville at 1 p.m. CT Sunday. The two teams tied for regular season title but Cardinals won only meeting, 100-67, on home floor.
  • Evansville men (17-15, 7-11. MVC) were 7-10 since calendar flipped to January in 10-team league that only had 4 teams (Loyola 15-3; S. Illinois 11-7; Illinois St. 10-8: Drake 10-8) with winning conference records. I’m not sure Missouri Valley is even a 1-bid league with Wichita St. gone.
  • Who is best wannabe baseball player/quarterback in New York: Yankees’ Russell Wilson or Mets’ Tim Tebow? Better question, who cares? Never mind that Tebow is also now a wannabe QB.
  • South Carolina women finally beat Tennessee, 73-62, but guard play still an issue with 27 turnovers. Fortunately A’ja Wilson played and had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. Held UT to 23 of 86 (26.7 %) shooting.
  • Without A’ja Wilson, South Carolina women are a basket case, not a basketball team.

 Soup de jour

It’s probably not a good idea to go up against J.R. Smith in a food fight. Clearly, he doesn’t mind slinging whatever is in his reach, as he proved when he tossed a bowl of soup at Cleveland Cavs assistant coach Damon Jones.

The news spread quickly around the NBA, and provided numerous one-liners on camera and on social media.

Said Golden State coach Steve Kerr when asked about the incident by Anthony Slate of the Athletic: “I would have chosen a more hearty entrée.”

Alas, Kerr hasn’t commented publicly over Warriors guard Steph Curry’s glass-shattering moment in an Atlanta hotel room. Curry, who fancies himself tackling the professional golf tour one day, busted a glass table top while taking practice swings.

But at least he’s had prior experience dealing with such moments. For a Chase commercial promoting a mobile app, Curry has previously “paid” for a lamp and a clock that were accidently broken while playing table tennis with Serena Williams.

As for his true moment of being a klutz, Curry tweeted:

”When you feel like you’re on the @pgatour so you gotta get some swings going in the hotel room. #idiot.

This was No. 42 of my “From Sidelines to punchlines” columns. I can be reached at randy.beard@yahoo.com

From Sidelines to punchlines

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.

“Strippergate?”

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.

Headlines

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.

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while just glad Frank Martin’s South Carolina basketball team is still in contention for the NIT after making it to the Final Four last year.

Serious business?

Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles at the Staples Center will feature a new sandlot-style format, pitting Team LeBron (James) vs. Team Stephen (Curry).

Charles Barkley, for one, can’t wait to see who the knuckleheads will be in the bunch, risking injury to try to win game MVP honors.

“There are always a couple of idiots,” said Barkley on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “…There’s always a couple of guys trying to play like its Game 7. You want to say, ‘Dude, this is an exhibition. Calm down!’ They are diving for loose balls and you’re worried about your legs and everything. But there are always a couple of guys trying to get MVP. Those guys are dangerous.”

There may be more than a couple of players taking the afternoon seriously. Not only is the MVP a nice honor, but players on the winning team will earn $100,000 this season – double the pay they received last season.

The losing players only get $25,000 each.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni will coach Team Stephen. His starters will be Curry (Golden State), James Harden (Houston), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) and Joel Emblid (Philadelphia)

Toronto coach Dwayne Casey will guide Team LeBron. His starters will be James, Kevin Durant (Golden State), Antony Davis (New Orleans), DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans) and Kyrie Irving (Boston).

Stat of week

SportsBettingDime.com states that the over-under prop bet for the number of dunks in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game is 40.5.

Philly fans

If anyone should know Philadelphia sports fans, it’d be Barkley.

The former Auburn player spent the first half of his 16-year NBA career with the 76ers. And while he confessed that he didn’t want to be drafted by Philly, he ended up falling in love with the city and the fans.

So, when Barkley was approached at a downtown Philadelphia hotel by a group of Minnesota Vikings fans before the NFC Championship, he was ready to offer some advice.

“They pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey Charles, if things are going good for us in the game, how do you think we should act? I said, ‘Hey, don’t make a sound. Those people are going to be loaded. They are going to go crazy.”

After all, Philadelphia sports fans are known to overreact whether their teams win or lose. Philly police coated the lamp posts with Crisco to prevent people from climbing the poles and getting hurt. But there are also fans who have been known to punch the horses cops ride when patrolling downtown during big events.

“They came back to the hotel after the game and said, ‘Man, you were right. They were throwing things at us.’ And I said, ‘And y’all lost. Can you imagine what they would have done if y’all had won?’”

They said it

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon: “Over 65,000 people attended the Super Bowl. The crowd was 10 percent Eagles fans, 10 percent Patriots fans and 80 percent angry Vikings fans.”

Actor Dwayne Johnson, who played football at the University of Miami: “Making it to the NFL was the best thing that never happened to me.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “A brawl broke out in a professional rugby game in the country of Georgia, complete with punching, kicking and bloodshed. Then things got really violent: they played rugby.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Referees ejected an Arizona cheerleader for yelling at opposing players through his megaphone during the Wildcats’ 77-70 basketball win over rival Arizona State on Thursday night. He was reportedly released on his own personal recognizance for 2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “It’s been reported that they’ll be handing out over 100,000 condoms in the Olympic Village. After hearing about it, Americans everywhere said, ‘Now that’s the show we want to watch.’”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb) World-Herald on the XFL vowing not to allow any players with a criminal record: “I hope they’re willing to play eight-man football.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com after Jamie Anderson won Olympic gold in slopestyle: “Millions of Americans: ‘USA! USA! USA! … What’s slopestyle’?”

Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., after Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry was arrested for driving 128 mph: “He is averaging 4.8 points a game, but that just got him 12 points on his driver’s license.”

 Super moment

This season couldn’t have turned out any better for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who once considered handing up his clipboard.

Then starter Carson Wentz tore an ACL in December and Foles was thrust into the starting lineup. The rest is history. He matched Tom Brady’s legacy by leading his team to the championship, beating Brady in the process.

Now he’s suddenly a hot commodity and a fan favorite, giving the Eagles something to think about.

“My safe spot used to be whole food,” said Foles during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this week. “But now I can’t go into Whole Foods (without being recognized).”

He said most Philly fans who come up to him end up crying because he helped fulfill a decades-old dream of the Eagles winning the championship.

Foles, who was drafted by the Eagles in the third round in 2012 and spent one season each in St. Louis and Kansas City before returning to Philadelphia this season, has mostly been a backup during his career.

He did start 21 games for the Eagles in 2013-14, passing for 5.054 yards and 40 touchdowns, before signing with St. Louis. But his career path has been on a downward spiral until he stepped in for the Eagles on Dec. 10 against the Raiders.

In seven regular season appearances this season, including three starts, he completed 57 of 101 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns. In the three playoff games, Foles completed 77 of 106 passes for 971 yards and six touchdowns.

Foles is due to make $4 million in salary next season, but if he’s still with the Eagles on March 18, the team also is on the hook for a $3-million roster bonus.

He wants to stay in Philadelphia and that will put considerable pressure on team management. Imagine how Eagles fans will react if they get off to a slow start next season, knowing they traded the Super Bowl MVP and lost their offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who left to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Marketing impact

A recent study by picksixpreviews.com asked 224 college football recruits to rank the brands of Power Five schools as if they were each the No. 1 recruit in the nation.

Somewhat surprisingly, Clemson came out on top, underscoring just how much Dabo Swinney has elevated the Tigers in the past few years while winning a national championship in 2016 and finishing second to Alabama in 2015.

Clemson generated the 27th most revenue (($104.8 million) in 2015-16.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, which added another title this season (and has won five of nine), has somehow lost some luster with the latest recruiting class. Alabama ranked only No. 19.

The Top Five schools in terms of brand perception are Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia and Oregon.

The factors determining brand impact vary with each recruit but include location, overall facilities, stadium size, fan support, media exposure, playing style, uniforms and coach persona.

Of the Top 25 brands, 17 were from the ACC, Big Ten and SEC and 42 of the Top 65 were from those conferences. If you add in Notre Dame, which competes in the ACC in every sport but football, the Irish ranked No. 15.

ACC: 1. Clemson; 7. Miami; 12. Florida State; 22. Louisville; 27. North Carolina; 33. Virginia Tech; 35. N.C. State; 38. Georgia Tech; 44. (tie) Duke; 50. Virginia; 54. Pittsburgh; 55. Wake Forest; 61. Syracuse; 64. Boston College.

Big Ten: 2. Ohio State; 3. Penn State; 11. Michigan State; 16. Wisconsin; 17. Michigan; 21. Nebraska; 39. Iowa; 41. Maryland; 44. (tie) Purdue; 45. Northwestern; 51. Minnesota; 57. Indiana; 58. Rutgers; 62. Illinois.

SEC: 4. Georgia; 10. LSU; 14. Florida; 18. Auburn; 19. Alabama; 24. Texas A&M; 25. Tennessee; 29. Mississippi; 31. Mississippi State; 32. South Carolina; 34. Kentucky; 49. Arkansas; 52. Missouri; 59. Vanderbilt.

Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Olympic drug-testing official left horribly disfigured after coming into contact with Russian urine.”

SportsPickle.com: “Star curler hoping to parlay Olympics success into dream janitor job.”

Fark.com: “Shirtless Tongen finishes at the bottom of the standings.”

TheOnion.com: “Schnauzers rioting outside Madison Square Garden following Westminster Dog Show defeat.”

SportsPickle.com: “Tom Brady asks his personal trainer for special exercises that can mend a broken heart.”

TheKicker.com: “Kyrie calls LeBron to learn how to properly throw teammates under the bus.:

SportsPickle.com: “Packers preparing to lose Aaron Rodgers after he promises he ‘loves them like family.’”

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11:

  • South Carolina upsets No. 10 Auburn, 84-75, despite furious comeback effort by Tigers. That’s three Top 10 wins for Gamecocks.
  • Auburn’s Anfernee McLemore had a gruesome injury late in first half at South Carolina. Gamecocks lead No. 10 Tigers, 46-25.
  • LaVar Ball gets   my vote as Dumbest Dad. Talk about the entitlement syndrome. He’s insisting Lonzo won’t resign with Lakers unless they sign brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo.
  • It seems Shaun White wants his legacy to be sex, drugs, rock and GOLD. But he should have pursued his groupies instead of drummer in his band, Bad Things.”

 Crying Irish

Notre Dame has had to forfeit 21 wins, including 12 in 2012 when the Irish played Alabama for the national title. (OK, we don’t want to go there, do we.)

The Irish were originally penalized in 2016 for academic violations during the 2012 and 2013 seasons but appealed. That appeal was finally denied this week by the NCAA. The school also received a year of probation and a $5,000 fine.

The infraction occurred when a student-trainer completed coursework for two players and provided improper academic assistance to another six.

Notre Dame suspended five players before the 2014 season, which brought the violations to the NCAA’s attention. Quarterback Everett Golson, who was the 2012 starter, was suspended in 2013. The South Carolina native played one more season in South Bend before transferring to Florida State in 2015.

The biggest impact of the forfeited losses at Notre Dame? Embarrassment, and we’re not just talking the kind of embarrassment from learning about the fake dead girlfriend of Manti Te’o.

Only if the Irish had to forfeit 13 wins from 2012 would this be more meaningful. But as we know, Alabama won that national championship game, 42-14.

Tebow time

Yes, spring training is about to begin, which means more daily reports on Tim Tebow’s attempt to turn an abbreviated NFL career into a cup of coffee in MLB.

“The goal is to get to the Major Leagues, for sure,” said Tebow, who was signed by the Mets last season and had eight home runs in 126 games with the Columbia, S.C. Fireflies and the St. Lucie, Fla. Mets last season while boosting attendances nearly 40 percent for those teams.

“Last year was my first year playing after taking 12 years off, and not playing since my junior year in high school,” the former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida told NBC’s Jimmy Fallon earlier this week.

“Huge transition. Huge obstacle. And of course, no one thinks I can do it. But I love trying to prove people wrong, so I’m excited about the challenge.”

Oh, he battled .226 with 126 strikeouts.

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while just glad Frank Martin’s South Carolina basketball team is still in contention for the NIT after making it to the Final Four last year.

Serious business?

Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles at the Staples Center will feature a new sandlot-style format, pitting Team LeBron (James) vs. Team Stephen (Curry).

Charles Barkley, for one, can’t wait to see who the knuckleheads will be in the bunch, risking injury to try to win game MVP honors.

“There are always a couple of idiots,” said Barkley on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “…There’s always a couple of guys trying to play like its Game 7. You want to say, ‘Dude, this is an exhibition. Calm down!’ They are diving for loose balls and you’re worried about your legs and everything. But there are always a couple of guys trying to get MVP. Those guys are dangerous.”

There may be more than a couple of players taking the afternoon seriously. Not only is the MVP a nice honor, but players on the winning team will earn $100,000 this season – double the pay they received last season.

The losing players only get $25,000 each.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni will coach Team Stephen. His starters will be Curry (Golden State), James Harden (Houston), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) and Joel Emblid (Philadelphia)

Toronto coach Dwayne Casey will guide Team LeBron. His starters will be James, Kevin Durant (Golden State), Antony Davis (New Orleans), DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans) and Kyrie Irving (Boston).

Stat of week

SportsBettingDime.com states that the over-under prop bet for the number of dunks in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game is 40.5.

Philly fans

If anyone should know Philadelphia sports fans, it’d be Barkley.

The former Auburn player spent the first half of his 16-year NBA career with the 76ers. And while he confessed that he didn’t want to be drafted by Philly, he ended up falling in love with the city and the fans.

So, when Barkley was approached at a downtown Philadelphia hotel by a group of Minnesota Vikings fans before the NFC Championship, he was ready to offer some advice.

“They pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey Charles, if things are going good for us in the game, how do you think we should act? I said, ‘Hey, don’t make a sound. Those people are going to be loaded. They are going to go crazy.”

After all, Philadelphia sports fans are known to overreact whether their teams win or lose. Philly police coated the lamp posts with Crisco to prevent people from climbing the poles and getting hurt. But there are also fans who have been known to punch the horses cops ride when patrolling downtown during big events.

“They came back to the hotel after the game and said, ‘Man, you were right. They were throwing things at us.’ And I said, ‘And y’all lost. Can you imagine what they would have done if y’all had won?’”

They said it

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon: “Over 65,000 people attended the Super Bowl. The crowd was 10 percent Eagles fans, 10 percent Patriots fans and 80 percent angry Vikings fans.”

Actor Dwayne Johnson, who played football at the University of Miami: “Making it to the NFL was the best thing that never happened to me.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “A brawl broke out in a professional rugby game in the country of Georgia, complete with punching, kicking and bloodshed. Then things got really violent: they played rugby.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Referees ejected an Arizona cheerleader for yelling at opposing players through his megaphone during the Wildcats’ 77-70 basketball win over rival Arizona State on Thursday night. He was reportedly released on his own personal recognizance for 2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “It’s been reported that they’ll be handing out over 100,000 condoms in the Olympic Village. After hearing about it, Americans everywhere said, ‘Now that’s the show we want to watch.’”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb) World-Herald on the XFL vowing not to allow any players with a criminal record: “I hope they’re willing to play eight-man football.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com after Jamie Anderson won Olympic gold in slopestyle: “Millions of Americans: ‘USA! USA! USA! … What’s slopestyle’?”

Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., after Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry was arrested for driving 128 mph: “He is averaging 4.8 points a game, but that just got him 12 points on his driver’s license.”

 Super moment

This season couldn’t have turned out any better for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who once considered handing up his clipboard.

Then starter Carson Wentz tore an ACL in December and Foles was thrust into the starting lineup. The rest is history. He matched Tom Brady’s legacy by leading his team to the championship, beating Brady in the process.

Now he’s suddenly a hot commodity and a fan favorite, giving the Eagles something to think about.

“My safe spot used to be whole food,” said Foles during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this week. “But now I can’t go into Whole Foods (without being recognized).”

He said most Philly fans who come up to him end up crying because he helped fulfill a decades-old dream of the Eagles winning the championship.

Foles, who was drafted by the Eagles in the third round in 2012 and spent one season each in St. Louis and Kansas City before returning to Philadelphia this season, has mostly been a backup during his career.

He did start 21 games for the Eagles in 2013-14, passing for 5.054 yards and 40 touchdowns, before signing with St. Louis. But his career path has been on a downward spiral until he stepped in for the Eagles on Dec. 10 against the Raiders.

In seven regular season appearances this season, including three starts, he completed 57 of 101 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns. In the three playoff games, Foles completed 77 of 106 passes for 971 yards and six touchdowns.

Foles is due to make $4 million in salary next season, but if he’s still with the Eagles on March 18, the team also is on the hook for a $3-million roster bonus.

He wants to stay in Philadelphia and that will put considerable pressure on team management. Imagine how Eagles fans will react if they get off to a slow start next season, knowing they traded the Super Bowl MVP and lost their offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who left to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Marketing impact

A recent study by picksixpreviews.com asked 224 college football recruits to rank the brands of Power Five schools as if they were each the No. 1 recruit in the nation.

Somewhat surprisingly, Clemson came out on top, underscoring just how much Dabo Swinney has elevated the Tigers in the past few years while winning a national championship in 2016 and finishing second to Alabama in 2015.

Clemson generated the 27th most revenue (($104.8 million) in 2015-16.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, which added another title this season (and has won five of nine), has somehow lost some luster with the latest recruiting class. Alabama ranked only No. 19.

The Top Five schools in terms of brand perception are Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia and Oregon.

The factors determining brand impact vary with each recruit but include location, overall facilities, stadium size, fan support, media exposure, playing style, uniforms and coach persona.

Of the Top 25 brands, 17 were from the ACC, Big Ten and SEC and 42 of the Top 65 were from those conferences. If you add in Notre Dame, which competes in the ACC in every sport but football, the Irish ranked No. 15.

ACC: 1. Clemson; 7. Miami; 12. Florida State; 22. Louisville; 27. North Carolina; 33. Virginia Tech; 35. N.C. State; 38. Georgia Tech; 44. (tie) Duke; 50. Virginia; 54. Pittsburgh; 55. Wake Forest; 61. Syracuse; 64. Boston College.

Big Ten: 2. Ohio State; 3. Penn State; 11. Michigan State; 16. Wisconsin; 17. Michigan; 21. Nebraska; 39. Iowa; 41. Maryland; 44. (tie) Purdue; 45. Northwestern; 51. Minnesota; 57. Indiana; 58. Rutgers; 62. Illinois.

SEC: 4. Georgia; 10. LSU; 14. Florida; 18. Auburn; 19. Alabama; 24. Texas A&M; 25. Tennessee; 29. Mississippi; 31. Mississippi State; 32. South Carolina; 34. Kentucky; 49. Arkansas; 52. Missouri; 59. Vanderbilt.

Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Olympic drug-testing official left horribly disfigured after coming into contact with Russian urine.”

SportsPickle.com: “Star curler hoping to parlay Olympics success into dream janitor job.”

Fark.com: “Shirtless Tongen finishes at the bottom of the standings.”

TheOnion.com: “Schnauzers rioting outside Madison Square Garden following Westminster Dog Show defeat.”

SportsPickle.com: “Tom Brady asks his personal trainer for special exercises that can mend a broken heart.”

TheKicker.com: “Kyrie calls LeBron to learn how to properly throw teammates under the bus.:

SportsPickle.com: “Packers preparing to lose Aaron Rodgers after he promises he ‘loves them like family.’”

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11:

  • South Carolina upsets No. 10 Auburn, 84-75, despite furious comeback effort by Tigers. That’s three Top 10 wins for Gamecocks.
  • Auburn’s Anfernee McLemore had a gruesome injury late in first half at South Carolina. Gamecocks lead No. 10 Tigers, 46-25.
  • LaVar Ball gets   my vote as Dumbest Dad. Talk about the entitlement syndrome. He’s insisting Lonzo won’t resign with Lakers unless they sign brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo.
  • It seems Shaun White wants his legacy to be sex, drugs, rock and GOLD. But he should have pursued his groupies instead of drummer in his band, Bad Things.”

 Crying Irish

Notre Dame has had to forfeit 21 wins, including 12 in 2012 when the Irish played Alabama for the national title. (OK, we don’t want to go there, do we.)

The Irish were originally penalized in 2016 for academic violations during the 2012 and 2013 seasons but appealed. That appeal was finally denied this week by the NCAA. The school also received a year of probation and a $5,000 fine.

The infraction occurred when a student-trainer completed coursework for two players and provided improper academic assistance to another six.

Notre Dame suspended five players before the 2014 season, which brought the violations to the NCAA’s attention. Quarterback Everett Golson, who was the 2012 starter, was suspended in 2013. The South Carolina native played one more season in South Bend before transferring to Florida State in 2015.

The biggest impact of the forfeited losses at Notre Dame? Embarrassment, and we’re not just talking the kind of embarrassment from learning about the fake dead girlfriend of Manti Te’o.

Only if the Irish had to forfeit 13 wins from 2012 would this be more meaningful. But as we know, Alabama won that national championship game, 42-14.

Tebow time

Yes, spring training is about to begin, which means more daily reports on Tim Tebow’s attempt to turn an abbreviated NFL career into a cup of coffee in MLB.

“The goal is to get to the Major Leagues, for sure,” said Tebow, who was signed by the Mets last season and had eight home runs in 126 games with the Columbia, S.C. Fireflies and the St. Lucie, Fla. Mets last season while boosting attendances nearly 40 percent for those teams.

“Last year was my first year playing after taking 12 years off, and not playing since my junior year in high school,” the former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida told NBC’s Jimmy Fallon earlier this week.

“Huge transition. Huge obstacle. And of course, no one thinks I can do it. But I love trying to prove people wrong, so I’m excited about the challenge.”

Oh, he battled .226 with 126 strikeouts.

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while wondering what Donald Trump thinks of the coin-flip, flag flap between two U.S. Olympians, luger Erin Hamlin and speedskater Shani Davis:

Just desserts

A pudding in the shape of the Korean peninsula divided by a dark chocolate “barbed wire” was served as dessert at a pre-Olympic reception Friday. When it was topped by melted white chocolate, the “border” partially dissolved, signifying the future potential of a unified Korea.

The two Koreas are competing as one nation and under a unified flag at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. But that doesn’t mean the United States is supportive of such diplomatic outreach efforts.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence certainly hasn’t been. When South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in greeted Pence and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, at a reception Friday, it didn’t go well. Pence and Yong-nam did not shake hands and Pence left shortly afterward when he learned they would be seated for dinner at the same table.

Pence also snubbed Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, when they were seated near each other during the Opening Ceremonies. He and wife Karen also remained seated when the unified Korean team marched into the stadium.

Meanwhile, one Twitter user not named Donald Trump said photos of the dessert “looked like the whole Korean peninsula getting nuked.”

That should tone down the rhetoric.

They said it

NBC comedian Seth Myers: “Injured Philadelpia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast dinner this evening and what better metaphor for our country right now than a prayer from an injured Eagle.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “A man frolicked buck naked for over two minutes on a fairway during the Phoenix pro-am. And where better than the Waste Management Open to show off your junk?”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “It’s that time again – when Americans who might last have set foot on an ice rink in high school suddenly become experts on triple axels.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “The New England Patriots were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles 41-33. Eagles fans started fires and punched police horses, then they sat down to watch the Super Bowl.”

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: “New York Mets announced their spring training would include a circus again this year. Welcome back, Tim Tebow!”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The London Daily Mail says a jet-powered mobility scooter was successfully tested, boasting a top speed of 70 miles-per-hour. So if NASCAR was ever thinking about starting a senior circuit.”

Comedian Steve Hofstetter: “Don’t let the Patriots coming back from a 22-12 halftime deficit distract you from them blowing a 33-32 lead.”

Focus on Finnishing

As Andrew Keh reported in the New York Times, Finland won an average of 24 medals during the Summer Olympics from 1908 to 1948. However, at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Games, the country took home only a bronze in women’s lightweight boxing by Mira Potkonen.

Predictably, it’s a slightly different story in the Winter Games, where Finland won as many as 12 medals as recently as 1998. The country won five medals in 2014 in Sochi, including gold in men’s team sprint cross country skiing and bronze in men’s ice hockey.

But as Keh’s noted, the country has since become “fertile ground for whacky sports” like the Swamp Soccer World Championship, the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, the Mosquito Killing World Championships, the Wife Carrying World Championships, the World Berry Picking Championships, the World Air Guitar Championships and Competitive Hobby-horsing.

From 1999 to 2010, Finland also hosted the World Sauna Championships, but that endurance event ended with the unfortunate death of a competitor to third degree burns.

To quote Keh on why Finland has invented ways to compete:

“There’s no simple answer, but Finns offer various deep-seated factors, including an enthusiastically outdoorsy populace (that goes slightly stir-crazy during the region’s oppressively dark winter months), widespread public access to recreational spaces, and a continuing relaxation of the traditionally reserved national character. (Also, alcohol.)”

Sports psychologist Pasi Koski puts it another way, “We learned to laugh at ourselves. What’s so serious?”

 Headlines

Fark.com: “Philly closes schools because teachers too drunk to teach.”

TheOnion.com: “Flustered father struggling to answer all of son’s questions about what a catch is.”

SportsPickle.com: “Report: Nick Saban pondering retirement to spend more time criticizing his family.”

LeftcoastSportsBabe.com: “Well, at least the Colts were undefeated in the Josh McDaniels era.”

TheOnion.com: “Minneapolis shocked  to discover thousands of Super Bowl attendees left without seeing rest of the city.”

SportsPickle.com: “Jimmy Garoppolo offers Tom Brady a loan to help him build his struggling supplement business.”

TheOnion.com: “2018 Winter Olympics cancelled due to inclement weather.”

Fark.com: “NFL quarterback, sports broadcaster, PGA golfer — is there anything Tony Romo can’t do? Besides win a Super Bowl.”

Drop the Trop

For their 20th anniversary, the Tampa Bay Rays elevated their game Friday by announcing that a new stadium will be built in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa.

It’s still unknown how much longer the Major League baseball team will play at Tropicana Field, which opened its doors in St. Petersburg in 1990 but didn’t become the home of the Rays until 1998.

St. Pete officials decided to build the ballpark in 1983 and broke ground on its construction in 1986, but it took another five years to get a regular tenant — and it wasn’t a MLB team despite being used by several teams as a bargaining chip to get new stadiums in their home cities.

By breaking ground on a barebones roofed stadium in 1986, St. Pete only managed to win the baseball war with Tampa. But before baseball, the arena was home to  the NHL’s Lightning (1993-96) and the Arena Football League’s Storm (1991-96).

Those teams moved to a new arena in Tampa in 1997 ahead of the Rays coming to St. Pete. And now the Rays have confirmed their intentions to move to Tampa.

It’s just not known when, what the new stadium will look like, how much Tampa is willing to spend, or what the final cost will be. The Rays have reportedly committed $150 million to make the move.

For comparison purposes, St. Pete initially spent $130 million, and the dome underwent more than $115 million in renovations over the next 20 years, and it still doesn’t meet today’s standards of a MLB stadium.

I was working in St. Pete when the decision to build The Trop was made but I had moved to S.C. by the time it opened. I hope to make it back before the final out is recorded.

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while celebrating the fact that my oldest son is finally getting married. Two down, one to go:

Super outcome?

Conventional wisdom suggests Sunday’s Super Bowl LII will be a defensive standoff because Philadelphia and New England each ranked in the top five in scoring defense and total defense during the National Football League’s regular season.

The Eagles were second in yardage allowed (307) and fourth in points allowed (18.4 points).

The Patriots were third in total defense (320.5 yards) and fifth in scoring defense (18.5 points).

But the counter argument is that both teams also are explosive on offense, ranking in the top five in total offense and scoring offense.

The Patriots are second in points scored (29.5) and fourth in yardage allowed per game (391.0). Not to be outdone, the Eagles are third in total offense (395.0 yards) and fourth in scoring defense (26.5 points).

Does defense really win championships? We’re about to find out.

I tend to believe we’ll see a similar score as last year’s 34-28 victory by the Patriots. Only let’s hope the script is rewritten. The last thing we need is another epic collapse by one of the teams.

Well, unless its the Patriots.

Last year the Atlanta Falcons led 17-0 at halftime before Tom Brady added another chapter to his legacy to win his fifth championship.

Let’s hope the collapse is just a Georgia thing. Or is it merely a coincidence that the University of Georgia blew a 13-0 halftime lead in the national championship game last month to lose 26-23 in overtime to Alabama?

Tony Dungy, for one, doesn’t think defenses will rule the day on Sunday.

“I think the Patriots spread them out, throw the ball fast and quick to the inside guys,” said Dungy. “Philadelphia’s going to move the ball better than people think. I think it’s going to be an entertaining game, it’s going to be fairly high-scoring, it’s going to be tight.”

By the book

From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Spotted on the reader board at Crossroads Community Church in Carver, Mass. ‘The Bible mentions Eagles 33 times and the GOAT 42. Patriots win by 9.’”

Blind justice

All Randall Margraves wanted was to be in a room alone with Larry Nassar. Sounds reasonable. After all, the USA Gymnastics doctor had spent time alone in a room with three of his daughters as part of his sick pursuit to sexually abuse female athletes.

Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham understood Margraves’ request, and probably would have granted it if not for vowing to follow the law and sentencing guidelines.

So she denied Margraves’ request for “five minutes in a locked room with this demon.” Once denied, Margraves asked to have one minute alone with Nassar. He was again denied.

And that’s when he snapped, making an attempt to get past sheriff deputies to land a few punches on Nassar. He was tackled before he could reach Nassar and led out of the courtroom.

His unruly actions could have landed him in jail, but Judge Cunningham wasn’t going to be the one to do it.

“I don’t know what it would be like to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by somebody sitting in a courtroom. I can’t imagine that,” the judge said.

They said it

Patriots coach Bill Belichick to reporters when asked the difference between this Super Bowl and his previous seven: “This one is in Minnesota.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “MLB says all 30 teams will extend protective netting to “at least the far ends of both dugouts by opening day. So future generations of kids won’t be able to score foul balls (or get autographs)  because this generation pays less attention to game and more to their phones.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Bill Macatee asked Aussie Open co-host Martina Navratilova if it’s mentally tough to play someone you have a “lopsided losing record against.” How on earth would Navratilova know?”

Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com, on Washington earning kudos for landing QB Alex Smith after botching the Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins situations: “You shouldn’t congratulate a company for doing a great job of cleaning up its own toxic waste spill, though.”

Xander Schauffele to Golf Digest on why he’s still driving the same “scuffed up” Toyota Camry he had well before he won PGA Tour Rookie of the Year: “The lease isn’t up yet.”

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon on the man who broke a Guinness world record by walking barefoot on a 120-foot path of loose Legos: “This beats the old record set by every dad getting up to use the bathroom at night.”

Money for nothing

Arkansas is on the hook for nearly $12 million dollars for the decision to fire Bret Bielema as football coach.

Bielema’s contract calls for him to receive severance pay of $322,567 a month through the end of 2020. It computes to nearly $4 million a year and it’s all guaranteed unless Bielema lands another job that pays more.

For lesser pay, Arkansas only gets to subtract Bielema’s monthly pay from its buyout sum. So if Bielema takes a job that pays him $125,000 a month ($1.5 million), Arkansas would only be on the hook for $200,567 per month.

Headlines

Fark.com: “1 in 4 Americans believe God will listen to their prayers and not those loser fans’ prayers.”

TheKicker.com: “Generous? Patriots offer to spot Eagles 25 points.”

SportsPickle.com: “Breaking: Trump to replace Obamacare with NFL’s Head UP Football Initiative.’

TheOnion.com: “Cleveland Indians owner admits Chief Wahoo no longer compatible with modern revenue-growth expectations.”

SportsPickle.com: “America sick of Aaron Rodgers’ cocky  behavior after learning he’s 1/16th black.”

TheOnion.com: “87 percent of Eagles home crowd listening to NFC Championship on car radio after getting thrown out of stadium

SportsPickle.com: “Ben Roethlisberger discloses he’s been given between 1 and 700 months to live.”

Fark.com: “Olympics athletes get ambitious condom allowance, enough for sex three times a day for 14 days.”

SportsPickle.com: “Report: NCAA considering death penalty for NCAA.”

Who’s he?

In the first episode of the documentary series, “Tom vs. Time”, Tom Brady’s 5-year-old daughter Vivian interrupts him while he’s on the phone to whine about how she wanted a friend to sleep over so they could play soccer in the backyard.

Alex Reimer, a sports talk host for WEEI, called the scene “staged” and said Brady’s young daughter was an “annoying little puissant.”

Really? During a time when we’re raising a generation of very  tech savvy but overweight video gamers, should anyone pick on a kid for wanting to have a friend over to play a sports in the great outdoors?

Pissant? It means someone is insignificant, worthless and contemptible? To say that about one of Brady’s kids is what’s contemptible.

The scene very well may have been staged. “Tom vs. Time” is meant to provide viewers a glimpse into Brady’s life on and off the field. While we can debate the wisdom of Brady shining that kind of spotlight on any of his children, it’s going to happen sooner or later. After all, their father is a NFL quarterback with five Super Bowl rings and their mom Gisele is a Brazilian Super Model.

And Reimer? He’s a radio shock jock, which makes him the true pissant in this story.

Tapping out

After the once unbeatable Rhonda Rousey had her mixed martial arts career shaken to its core with back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, it was widely assumed she was done with the fight game.

Suddenly. Rousey was no longer being billed as the meanest, toughest, scrappiest UFC female fighter. She also no longer craved the MMA spotlight, refusing to do interviews after her second loss.

No one would have been surprised if the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo went all in on Hollywood. She already had used her celebrity status to land roles in three movies, including Furious 7.

But it turns out that appearing on the big screen is not the only acting opportunities she’s pursuing. She’s decided to take the path to WWE stardom. A fan of former wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, she used the nickname Rowdy during her UFC days. In WWE, she has joined Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir to form “The Four Horsewomen.”

Super suite

Chelsea and Courey Marshall are Denver Broncos fans, so when it comes to Sunday’s Super Bowl clash between Philadelphia and New England, they don’t have a horse in the race.

But they’ll still be a strong bet to be the first ticketholders to get to their seats at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

That’s because the Marshalls won a Courtyard by Marriott contest to spend the night before the big game in a luxury suite inside the stadium.

”I’ve never been in a completely empty stadium, let alone the Super Bowl stadium,” Courey said. ”And to have my wife with me, and to wake up on game day in the stadium, that’s pretty special.”

The two were in Santa Clara, Calif., in February 2016 when Peyton Manning and Denver beat Carolina, 24-10, so it was a treat when Manning made the phone call to tell them they had won the contest.

”You’re right there in the dome and get to see all the behind-the-scenes stuff,” Courey said. ”Then you wake up on Super Bowl Sunday right there. Has to be a wonderful experience.”

Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while still waiting for NBC’s Lester Holt to admit that he got snookered by propaganda from North Korean officials with his Olympic reports from a ski resort:

Sexual revolution

The Dominos are falling fast.

It all began with Wednesday’s sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar on sexual abuse charges, which has led to the resignations of the USA Gymnastics Board of Trustees, Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon and MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis.

Nassar, who was also employed by Michigan State, began working as a trainer for USA Gymnastics in 1986 and served as the organization’s national medical coordinator from 1996 to 2014. He graduated from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1993.

In September 2016, the Indianapolis Star reported that two former gymnasts had accused Nassar of sexual abuse during his treatments. After years of denials, the floodgates finally opened and by the time of this week’s sentencing more than 150 gymnasts had testified against Nassar. His victims have included several Olympic gold medalists, including McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman.

With the sentencing handed down Wednesday, the 54-year-old Nassar faces up to 175 years behind bars. He had previously been sentenced to 40 years on pornography charges.

Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar that she had “signed your death warrant.”

Because of his actions, there are lawsuits filed against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State.

While some of the incidents have nothing to do with Nassar, the practice of covering up allegations of sexual assault at Michigan State goes beyond gymnastics.

The allegations that have forced Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo to defend the policies of their programs could lead to more resignations.

Even the highly respected Dantonio and Izzo may not survive this purge.

Yes, the Dominos are falling.

Women’s voices are finally being heard loud and clear. And that’s a good thing.

They said it

Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W. Va.:  “Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting patients. It was the first time gymnasts ever gave a judge a 10.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com:  A snowstorm prompted the AHL Charlotte Checkers to play a home contest with no fans in attendance. The arena was so empty, it felt like a Florida Panthers game.”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “North Korea has announced that it will send a group of citizens called the “cheering squad” to next month’s Winter Olympics. And many of them are expected to actually compete in a new event called the ‘400 Meter Defection.’”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald after a collision left Rangers left winger Jimmy Vesey playing most of a game with two teeth embedded in his lower lip: “It’s not as gross as it sounds — he’s pretty sure one of the teeth is his.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “MSU lineman David Beeble on Nassar situation: ‘As a MALE football player, situations such as this are rare so if it was to arise in football, I feel that action would’ve been taken immediately.’ He’s right, unless maybe it was a football coach.”

Travis Krol, former college roommate of Matt Patricia to the Detroit Free Press on why the New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator has a beard: “He’ll probably kill me, but he’s got dimples. You can’t be a coach of men with dimples.”

Vin Scully recalling the time he played golf with fellow broadcasting icon Keith Jackson to the L.A. Times: “He was not only a great player, but he kindly spent a lot of time helping me look for my ball.”

The briar patch

Since she resigned, we can assume Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon was admitting that she hadn’t done enough to react to the criminal actions of Dr. Larry Nassar or the allegations of other sexual assaults within the athletics department.

But if she was admitting any sort of guilt, she certainly isn’t being punished for it.

Her separation agreement allows her to take a 12-month research leave in the College of Education at her current salary of $750,000 and then return to the faculty at full salary for a second year and 75 percent of her salary ($562,500) for two more years. She will also receive office space and secretarial support and hold the title of “president emeritus.”

That’s not all. She’ll also receive:

  • Parking passes for on-campus parking
  • Parking pass for all home sporting and cultural events
  • Two free tickets to home football games for the Spartan Club suites
  • Two free tickets to women’s basketball games
  • The option to buy up to four men’s basketball tickets in the same location she currently has seats
  • Reduced-price tickets for bowl games and post-season play for football, men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey

Yep, that really is making her pay a price for poor leadership.

 Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Fired-up Patriots ready to give full 60, maybe 70 percent against Jacksonville.”

SportsPickle.com: “Steelers vow to bounce back strong at Pro Bowl.”

Fark.com:  “Johnny Manziel’s deadline to sign a CFL contract is ‘fluid’ – just like his diet.”

TheOnion.com: “Blake Bortles out to prove he’s worth franchise-crippling contract.”

TheKicker.com: “James Harrison petitions to have the Eagles play in Steelers uniforms.”

Fark.com: “USOC to USA Gymnastics board: ‘Resign of GTFO.’”

SportsPickle.com: “LeBron posts message to his future self on Instagram, congratulating himself on leaving Cleveland again.”

TheKicker.com: “Doc Rivers forces Clippers to take self-defense class at local mall.”

Ring, ring, ring

Brandon Marshall, who has been in the NFL for 12 years and never experienced the playoffs, should start angling for a free-agent contract with the New England Patriots.

The New York Giants receiver is clearly jealous of the Patriots’ success.

With Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick advancing to the Super Bowl for the eighth time (they’ve won five of previous seven), Marshall went off on a rant on sports talk radio.

“Players should be ashamed, coaches should be ashamed, owners should be ashamed,” said Marshall. “How do we let these guys do this year in and year out?

“Congratulations, you guys are phenomenal, you guys are great …. Can’t get any better. But how do 31 other organizations let this happen?”

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11

  • “As part of lawsuit settlement with USA Gymnastics, MaKayla Maroney signed nondisclosure agreement and could have levied fine of more than $100,000 for speaking about abuse. After several celebrities offered to pay the fine, the organization allowed her to testify without fine.”
  • At least someone will be getting a ring. South Carolina alum Stephon Gilmore, now a cornerback with the Patriots, will be covering South Carolina alum and Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery in Super Bowl LII.
  • Who are brainiacs who do the videos that are part of the pregame “analysis” for NFL games. I’m speaking of the Tom vs. Tom nonsense CBS did to preview mental matchup of Tom Brady vs Tom Coughlin? I also have no use for Jim Rome’s opinion. I want to be informed, not entertained.
  • Zion Williamson picks Duke, which reels in top 3 recruits with No.1 R.J. Barrett (SF), No. 2 Williamson (PF) and No. 3 Cam Reddish (SF). We need NCAA to appoint a special prosecutor.
  • Know Your Audience Department: Got offer today to subscribe to Evansville Courier & Press for $4.31 per month signed by Patricia Miller, President of Indiana Gannett, which forced me to retire 2 years early and after I won 2 SPJ Indiana Awards in May. Hah! #gannettcankissmyass

 X marks the sport

SportsPickle.com’s 10 most amazing aspects of the new XFL:

  1. All tackles that are not helmet-to-helmet result in immediate ejection from game.
  2. He Hate Me is now named He Mid-Level Assistant Coach.
  3. When someone catches the football it will count as a catch.
  4. Players who kneel for the anthem will be hit in the back of the head by a metal chair.
  5. Also, the anthem is “Welcome to the Jungle.”
  6. Every drive that picks up more than one first down will be accompanied by this GIF (promoting Hulu) on the stadium Jumbotron.”
  7. You want Tommy Maddox? You got Tommy Maddox.
  8. The actual football will be slightly less shitty than it was before.”
  9. Johnny Manziel has promised not to do meth on game days.
  10. The MVP of each season’s XFL title game will be given a cabinet position of his choosing.”

USA Gymnastics coach Nassar sentenced to 175 years on sexual assault, pornography charges

Tarnished gold

UPDATED: USA gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced Wednesday by Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilini to 175 years for sexual abuse and pornography and must pay a yet to be determined amount of restitution.

She told him “she was signing his death warrant” because he’d never get out of prison. He’ll serve 60 years on pornography charges before the other charges.

I have added this update and repeated the section from my blog last week.

Nearly 160 gymnasts from USA Gymnastics testified against him, against Olympic gold medalists. There are also victims from Michigan State.

PREVIOUS: USA Gymnastics may never recover from the failure of leadership which turned a blind eye to team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of hundreds of young women in the program.

Among the 140 alleged victims are four of the five members of the gold medal-winning 2012 “Fierce Five” and three of the five gold-medal winning 2016 “Final Five” Olympians. The victims include Ally Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber.

Raisman and Douglas were on both U.S. Olympic teams.

Nassar is facing 25 years to life in prison for the sexual abuse charges and already has been sentenced to a 60-year sentence for child pornography. Much of the abuse occurred at the Karolyli Ranch in Texas where national team members trained once a month.

He also worked at Michigan State, where more alleged abuse occurred, which is why the trial is being held in Lansing, Michigan.

Nassar had access to the dorm rooms of the U.S. gymnasts at the ranch, where he could be alone with them for the purpose of treating injuries and giving therapeutic massages.

Parents weren’t allowed to stay at the ranch, which was owned by Bela and Martha Karoyli. Both legendary coaches, the Karoylis aren’t facing charges but USA Gymnastics has decided it will no longer use the ranch as a training center.

In her testimony, Raisman was heavily critical of USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for being slow to address complaints from athletes who first raised concerns about  Nassar. She said both organizations are “rotting from the inside.”

Added Raisman: “To believe in the future of gymnastics is to believe in change. But how are we to believe in change when these organizations aren’t even willing to acknowledge the problem? … False assurances from organizations are dangerous, especially when people so badly want to believe them. They make it easier to look away from the problem and enable bad things to continue to happen.”

Amazingly, Nassar has submitted a letter to the Michigan court stating it had become “mentally” tough for him to listen to the testimony against him.

“You think this is hard for you?” said Raisman. “Imagine how any of us feels.”