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.

Ford Field
Ford Field, site of the Quick Lane Bowl

By John Ruberry

One has to wonder if college football is headed to an every-participant-gets-a-ribbon level of competition. Not including the NCAA championship face-off, there will be a record 40 college bowl games this season, which means 63 percent of FBS programs will play in a bowl contest. And despite some of these teams fattening up against next-level-down teams in non-conference games, for instance Illinois clobbered Western Illinois 44-0, there aren’t enough teams with 6-6 records or better to fill all of these bowl slots.

Which means some 5-7 FBS teams–Illinois could be one of those squads–may still be graced with a bowl entry. At least two losers–and as many as five–will be bowl invitation winners. But another 5-7 Big 10 team, Nebraska, may have a leg up. The NCAA has a loser contingency plan–I’m sure they call it something more palatable–which rewards schools with the highest Academic Progress Rate. The Cornkuskers have the highest APR among the 5-7s.

Hey, studying finally counts for something in college sports! That’s an improvement. On the other hand, Nebraska’s fans are intensely loyal and even a Cornhusker team with a losing record makes them an attraction for a low-level bowl. Follow the money.

And what about the games themselves? Let’s take a look at Detroit’s Quick Lane Bowl, which will be played at Ford Field on December 28. It has tie-ins with the Big 10 and the Atlantic Coast Conference. But because there are not enough B1G or ACC bowl-eligible teams, Campus Insiders projects that another Big 10 loser, Minnesota. will face off against Central Michigan of the Mid American Conference. The Chippewas are 7-5–good for them.

NCAA football: Where you can be a winner and a loser at the same time.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

U of I student union, Urbana
U of I student union, Urbana

By John Ruberry

Once again my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is back in the national spotlight–and not for a good reason.

The state’s flagship university and its corrupt political apparatus are a worthy match for each other.

On Friday the head football coach of the Fighting Illini, the inept Tim Beckman, was fired one week before the team’s season opener after a preliminary outside report confirmed allegations that Beckman forced his student-athletes to play while hurt.

Here’s a unique twist–because Beckman, who was 12-25 in his three years at Illinois, was fired with cause, the athletic department won’t pay for the remaining two years of his contract.

It’s not just football.

This spring an assistant coach of the Illini women’s basketball team, Mike Divilbiss, resigned after charges became public that he and the head coach verbally harassed players and held segregated practices–one for whites and the other for blacks. Divibliss received a payout.

In June a former women’s soccer player for the Illini, Casey Conine, filed a suit claiming that she was cleared to play after suffering a third concussion.

illinois lawyersAt the center of the sports mess is Illinois’ athletic director, Mike Thomas, who hired Beckman in 2011. Thomas announced Beckman’s dismissal at a press conference where he described his department as “a wonderful place full of wonderful people.” Possibly the only reason Thomas still has a job is that the woman who hired him, university chancellor Phyllis Wise, was sort-of fired earlier this month–are you reading this, Hillary Clinton?–after she was caught using a private email service to discuss sensitive and embarrassing U of I matters. Wise’s payout bonus was denied–but she will be working in a different capacity at the university. The second-in-command at Illinois–Provost Ilesanmi Adesida–announced his resignation last week. Yes, he used a personal email service to conduct university business too.

Last year in this space I wrote about the rehiring as of a convicted murderer and a former Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist at Urbana-Champaign, James Kilgore, as an adjunct professor. The SLA controversy was one of the discussion points in those no longer private emails.

Four of the last nine elected Illinois governors have served time in federal prison. Clearly the state’s rotten political apparatus and its premier college deserve each other.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Later today a committee will reveal the 68 teams that will participate NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which is commonly known as the Big Dance or March Madness. All of the games will be televised–and during halftime, public-service ads about the participating teams will air–they will be milquetoast pieces–focusing how each school contributes to the community and if applicable, how many Nobel prizes the colleges have collected.

What will be left out of those PSAs is that there are many hard-core leftists on the faculty of every college participating in March Madness.

For instance…

Duke is in the tournament almost every year. miriam cooke (she does not capitalize her first or last name) is a professor of Arabic in the African & Asian Languages & Literature Department. She blames the first Gulf War and the establishment of Israel for the 9/11 attacks. cooke was one of the Group of 88 who signed a hateful letter that appeared in Duke’s student newspaper condemning the since-exonerated Duke lacrosse players who were accused of raping a black stripper.

The University of Kentucky is a favorite to win the tournament. Ihsan Bagby is a professor in the UK’s College of Arts and Sciences. He once wrote, “Ultimately we [Muslims] can never be full citizens of this country [the U.S.] because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”

Temple University is a tournament bubble team. While their Big Dance status is in doubt as of this writing–what is absolutely clear is that the Philadelphia university forces its students to take its two-year Intellectual Heritage course series that is heavy on Marxism but light on the damage caused by this failed philosophy. The professors who teach those classes certainly aren’t Ronald Reagan conservatives.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

The teams not among the field of 68 can be invited to three other post-season tournaments. One of those is the NIT, my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is expected to be an NIT team. The U of I counts a convicted murderer and former Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist, James Kilgore, as one of its instructors.

You’ll find a lot of hot air and any many air balls in higher education. That is the real madness.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

At the Twin city tea party meeting this week Ben Selecky of PANDA (people against the NDAA spoke concerning his groups opposition to the anti-terror rules since 9/11

I’m much more of a hawk than Ben and his group given the state of the world but it’s fair to say that an administration willing to the IRS against political opponents will not hesitate to use even more draconian measures against them.

The PANDA site is here and there is one line from their front page I have to comment on

Since the mainstream media has all but ignored the NDAA, we’re getting the word out a different way: Through music.

Ah the innocence of youth, don’t you know there is a Democrat in the White House and not just any Democrat. Barack Obama, the first black president. The ONE™

You can’t expect the media to report on a group that suggests an administration run by a Democrat, let alone the first black president, is opposing civil rights any more than you can expect them to treat racist remarks by democrats, as if they’re news
and if Hillary Clinton or any Democrat wins in 2016 expect mean more of the same.

But take heart, once a republican holds the White House reporters all over the country will suddenly discover PANDA and the NDAA and decide it is the biggest threat to the rights of Americans since the Alien & Sedition acts and you won’t be able to hide from the cameras pointed your way.

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Olimometer 2.52

Speaking of change its the first day of March and we’re coming off our biggest shortfall ever for our monthly goal just under $500 shy of the mortgage.

However there is also a weekly paycheck goal which took a back seat due to the mortgage shortfall, we’re only $115 shy there and with the rest of the day to do it, that’s entirely doable.

5 $25 tip jar hits will give us that consolation prize and get us started toward making the March goal.

We’ve never failed to meet payroll & Mortgage two months in a row (in fact we’ve only missed them by any significant amount twice in 13 months). Let’s get March off to a good start to so that doesn’t happen now.

This story doesn’t do a thing for me:

In interviews with Yahoo! Sports, a former Miami booster named Nevin Shapiro said that while he was cutting checks to the university of from 2002 through 2010 he was also providing impermissible benefits to 72 athletes — most of them football players, including 12 on the Hurricanes’ current roster.

Among the benefits: sex parties with prostitutes, nightclub and strip club visits, cash, cars, jewelry, clothing, travel, televisions and bounty payouts to players for knocking out quarterbacks, “hit of the game” and “big plays.”

Let’s cut to the chase: College football players are cash cows for universities. They generate millions of revenue for them and they are prohibited from profiting from it. It is an inherently unfair and dishonest relationship and because of that it leads to the type of corruption you see here.

I think the system should be scrapped and a percentage of the take be paid to the players as a stipend. The majority of these guys are here in the hopes of making the NFL and the big money, lets acknowledge that and pay them accordingly instead of using them as indentured servants

Anyway that’s my take.