By John Ruberry

Last week I wrote this in my own blog about a scandal-plagued state university in Kentucky: “Is Louisville a college with an athletic program? Or is it an athletic program that offers some college classes?”

Late last month the shadowy and corrupt realm of NCAA men’s college basketball, whose players are nominally amateurs, was shattered by the revelation of an FBI investigation of payments to recruits that allegedly comes from Adidas. Ten people have been arrested, including four assistant coaches at Power Five college hoops programs. More arrests are expected.

But most of the media focus on the scandal is on the the University of Louisville, where no one so far faces charges. Allegedly an AAU coach, Jonathan Brad Augustine, whose team is sponsored by Adidas, boasted to an undercover FBI agent about the reach of Cardinals coach Rick Pitino–who is identified as “Coach-2” in court records–and how Pitino could get James “Jim” Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, to send $100,000 to the family of a Louisville recruit. That athlete, Brian Bowen, enrolled at Louisville. But now he’s been suspended from the team.

Oh, the first “A” in AAU stands for “amatuer.”

“No one swings a bigger d–k than [Coach-2],” Augustine reportedly said after learning that Gatto had difficulty in allegedly sending the $100K to Bowen’s family. He added that “all [Coach-2] has to do is pick up the phone and call somebody [and say], ‘These are my guys–they’re taking care of us.'”

Those remarks appear to have been lifted from a Sopranos script.

Pitino, and Louisville’s athletic director, Tom Jurich, were suspended by the university the day after the scandal broke. Both of them are expected to be fired but in the meantime they are the highest paid persons in their positions in college sports.

But despite its success on the field–Louisville has a pretty good football team by the way–the athletic department loses money. Apparently Louisville manages its athletic department as poorly as the state of Kentucky runs its public-worker pension programs.

Pitino is the only NCAA men’s basketball coach to win national championships at two universities, Kentucky and Louisville. But four months ago the Cardinals program landed on NCAA probation because of a prostitution scandal involving recruits, some of whom were underage. Uh, where are the Louisville Police? The NCAA suspended Pitino for five games and Louisville will have to vacate some victories–and possibly its 2013 NCAA title. Pitino claims ignorance of the hiring of these “dancers” by the program. He also claimed to be simply a put-upon victim in a extortion attempt by a woman, Karen Sypher, who alleged that Pitino raped her. The Basketball Hall of Fame coach, who is married, admitted to consensual sex with Sypher–she later went to prison. Pitino also admitted to paying for her abortion.

Because Louisville’s men’s hoops program is already on probation, it’s likely that the Cardinals are eligible for the NCAA “death penalty” if they are found to be a two-time offender. The death penalty allows the NCAA to shut down a program for at least a year.

I say cut down the nets and turn off the lights for Louisville basketball, preferably for several years. The possibility of the death penalty has holders of the junk bonds financing the stadium where the Cardinals play understandably a bit nervous.

At the very least Louisville needs a fresh start, but so far it’s off to a dreadful one. Pitino’s interim replacement is one of his former players, David Padgett, who until two years ago was director of basketball operations at Louisville. Was Padgett a glorified clerk? Or a figurehead?

Louisville has other problems and one of them involves Adidas. Of the money from the current marketing contract the shoe giant has with the basketball team, reportedly 98 percent of it goes to Pitino. Shouldn’t the general revenue fund of this taxpayer-supported college get at least a healthy cut?

Jurich, the money-losing suspended athletic director, likely earned more money annually than the budgets of four Louisville academic departments.

This scandal has legs longer than those of the late Manute Bol–and I’m predicting not only will it spread to other colleges and AAU programs but to high school hoops as well, starting with the Chicago Public League. Lack of payments probably explains why the Chicago recruiting apparatus for years shuts out basketball programs such as DePaul and the one at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both schools are natural fits for Public League talent and both of them used to recruit very successfully in Chicago.

Do you have a better explanation?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

Two recent “public outrage” issues in this year’s news have demonstrated that many people—even baldilocksconservatives—have the notion that no one may abridge “free speech.”

The only law related to free speech is in the U.S. Constitution, specifically, Article I of the Bill of Rights. Stated therein:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. Therefore, if you are not or I am not Congress, we are unable make any law abridging free speech. If a private corporation or a private association is not Congress, it is unable to make any law abridging freedom. Therefore, the 1st Amendment does not address what any parties which are not Congress may or may not do with respect to freedom of speech. Again, none of the parties mentioned in the cases above are Congress, nor are they any other branch of government.  Each case involved something called a contract between private parties.

A contract is a written promise. Contracts can have all kinds of terms, some of which may involve what parties say in public. Other terms can stipulate how a party can react when the other contracting party violates any of the terms. Things like termination and fines are examples of such penalties, and you can bet that both A&E and the NBA listed these things on the contracts they offered to the Robertsons and to Sterling.

Observers are free to give their opinions on what they think and how they feel about these public controversies and their outcomes, but, in the end, it comes down to what was promised contractually and whether any of those promises were broken. If Duck Dynasty fans or A&E fans or NBA fans or even Donald Sterling fans don’t like how these private parties have resolved their contract problems, fans are free to no longer be fans. But, not being Congress, neither A&E nor the NBA have violated Phil Robertson’s or Donald Sterling’s 1st Amendment rights, respectively.

Each entity is free to act according to the terms of their respective contracts. And, you and I are free not to give them our money if we don’t like what they do.

At least for now…

(More on the Donald Sterling topic here.)

AFTERTHOUGHT: A&E fired Phil Robertson for his comments, then re-instated him; the NBA banned Donald Sterling for life. Both A&E and the NBA reacted to the sentiments of their respect core consumers. Business is business.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

By baldilocks

Over at American Thinker, Rick Moran comments upon the latest acts of devotion in the bromance between former NBA player/infamous weirdo Dennis Rodman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. This time, Rodman has enlisted other former NBA players to join him for an All-sort-of-Star game in a place chock full of prison and labor camps; a place where electricity and food are reserved for the nomenklatura, or whatever the Korean-language designation is for the elite of the Hermit Kingdom.

Hall of Fame basketball player Dennis Rodman didn’t much like the questions about his “basketball diplomacy” with North Korea coming from CNN host Chris Cuomo. So the former Detroit Pistons “bad boy” lit up the screen with a screaming tirade directed at Cuomo who only wanted to know if Rodman would bring up the case of American Kenneth Bae held for more than a year by the North Koreans for his missionary work.

From Mediate:

Let us know why this man is being held?’ If you can help them, will you take the opportunity?” Cuomo asked.

“The one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand — if you understand what Kenneth Bae did,” Rodman said with a pause, then added “Do you understand what he did? In this country?”

“What did he do?” Cuomo said. “You tell me.”

“You tell me,” Rodman shouted. “You tell me. Why is he held captive?”

“They haven’t released any charges,” Cuomo said. “They haven’t released any reason.”

“I would love to speak on this,” Rodman said, again waving Smith off.

“Go ahead,” Cuomo urged.

Instead, Rodman went off on Cuomo for the remainder of the interview, screaming at him to recognize the sacrifice being made by his fellow players.

The video is available at both links.

Here’s the thing: why would anyone expect a guy with demonstrable mental issues to care about political prisoners or tyrannies? And like all too many professional athletes–like the other sheep he’s leading–he cares only about being kowtowed to–since retirement, not much of that anymore for any of these guys. Enter the basketball fan, Kim Jong Un.

So now, in Rodman’s warped mind, Kim is his friend and anyone who has angered his friend is an enemy and must be wrong, morality be damned. It’s gangster logic and lunatic reasoning, the two not necessarily being mutually exclusive.

Rick says that Rodman’s mental stability is questionable. No it isn’t. He’s nuts and has been for a long time.

Rodman’s first team was the Detroit Pistons, whose coach, the late Chuck Daly, was a surrogate father to him. Rumor has it that Coach Daly would make sure that his All-Star defense-man took his medication. But after Daly retired and Rodman was traded, the latter seemed to come off the spool and, if the rumors about the medication are true, there remained no one to keep him accountable in that area. In the years following came the tattoos, the piercings, the dyed hair, the off-the-wall behavior…and the wedding dress. (Warning: have eye bleach handy, though he looks strangely…pretty. Strangely, being the operative word.)

So we have a former athlete with a suspected personality disorder leading several other former athletes of equal political ignorance and arrogance to a charity benefit in North Korea–probably the worst country to ever be caught in either accidentally or on purpose. One wonders if these scarily uninformed and uncaring men are being lulled into becoming prisoners themselves. Wouldn’t that be a great propaganda coup for the ever more unhinged Kim Jong Un? Or maybe they are being groomed for something even more sinister…

They are pretty hungry over there.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

GoFundMe: Arlen’s Harem
GoFundMe: The Kenya Project

The good news is for the 2nd year in a row UMASS won in the first round of the NIT tournament beating Mississippi State 101-96 in double overtime. They move to a 2nd round game against top seed Seton Hall at 11 AM

The bad news is for the 2nd year in a row we are going to be pre-empted by the game.

However instead of taking the week off we are simply going to follow the game.

So tune into WCRN at 10:30 a.m for the NIT pregame (live stream at wcrnradio.com) and when the game ends (1:30 p.m. unless it goes into overtime) tune into WCRN’s DaTechGuy on DaRadio tentatively at 1:30 p.m. on St. Patrick’s day March 17th. tweet us live at #wcrn or call at 508-438-0965 or 888-9-fedora and listen to the live stream here.

…but I prefer to play basketball rather than watch it. That being said These multi player trades always struck me as odd.

The Post, citing a league source, said the Knicks would send Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets, who would get additional picks and cash.

Along with Anthony, New York would acquire Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman, according to the Post.

A Basketball team’s roster is what 13 players. And these teams are trading 4 guys each? That would be like the Red Sox sending 7-8 players with the Cubs. If you’re going to do that why not just switch teams and be done with it.

we are going to hold not being Jordan against him? C’mon! Jordon at worst is the 2nd greatest player of all time (I’d give the nod to Russell) so I think we can forgive him for not having the same drive in some areas.

it is the media hype that has changed the expectations game on him, he has wisely used it to become even richer than his considerable skills would have made him. If we have unrealistic expectations of him it is our fault not his.

I have never seen a bench play so well. This team has turned around the game in the 4th with 1 starter and 4 bench players.

Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, Wallace and Big Baby are just playing incredible.

We may win this game/series we may not, but it won’t be the fault of this bench and if we do win these guys deserve the credit.

LA seems to have no solution to this defense.

Update: I wrote the above midway through the 4th. Magic Johnson said pretty much the same thing in the post game on Sportscenter.

The Phoenix Suns have decided they have a niche market and want to support it.

The Phoenix Suns on Tuesday announced that they will be wearing an alternative jersey identifying them as “Los Suns” during Wednesday’s playoff game to voice the team’s disapproval for Arizona’s tough new immigration law.

The League seems to be standing behind this and of course the media is drooling all over them.

I’m all for it myself, if the League in General and the Suns in particular wants to alienate a segment of their potential market and not allows Sports to be an escape that’s just fine. As I’ve mentioned before you can make a good living off a niche market. I would remind them of my favorite clip from this movie starting at 5:48 to 6:08

If the NBA & the Suns believe their customers are Mercado muy especializado that’s fine. I would have thought in a rough economy you would want to grab from a different niche say from the 10,000 instead of the 300 but hey it’s their call. If TBS wants their sports coverage and the advertisers want to be associated with a cause opposed by 60% of the country then that fine too.

That’s how business works. It’s their business and they can run it any way they want.