Tidbits

1) I am 200 pages into Showtime, Jeff Pearlman’s highly entertaining and well-researched account of the 1980s Lakers. For anyone who wants to complain about the attitude and lack of respect for authority of today’s “spoiled” athlete, you need go read the book. Cocaine use and all night partying are rampant. Johnny Manziel appears to be a choirboy by comparison. Players brooding over playing time; demanding trades when they don’t get their way; players getting coaches fired; And so on and so forth.

Basketball is always going to be more susceptible to some of these things because one or two star players can make such a profound difference in the fortunes of a franchise.  The sports world, though, has been populated by hard-living guys with attitude for a very long time, even if they were once remembered more fondly.

By the way, Magic was *really* awesome.

2) Rodney Fort and Jason Winfree wrote a book last year, 15 Sports Myths and Why They’re Wrong. Chapter One, about which they blogged, debunks the myth that the so-called revenue sports in college athletics pay for the non-revenue sports. This is a central justification for the intensifying expenditure and investment in football and men’s basketball: That the success of those sports is necessary to fund women’s sports and so on.

Fort and Winfree: “It’s an old adage that without the top men’s revenue programs–football and basketball–there would be no athletic department.  The idea is that the AD spends any excess of revenues over costs in these sports on all of the other programs.  Ipso facto, as football and men’s basketball revenue goes, so goes the economic fate of the athletic department.”

This is pure myth and easily busted…”

Three key points:

a) most athletic departments did *not* manage net positive revenue for their football and men’s basketball programs.

b) fully 40% of reporting departments do not run a deficit in their non-revenue sports, a surprisingly high number.

c) barely half of the 100 or so departments they surveyed could cover deficits from other sports by revenue from the two big men’s sports.

In sum,  schools are not pouring resources into those two sports because they’re so concerned to field gymnastics, swimming, soccer and so forth. Even if Dr, Mark Emmert tells you otherwise.

3) Continuing the theme from the other day, that the rules of the game do not apply equally to the rich and the poor, a buddy sent me this quote, a 1769 critique of the Virginia aristocracy:

“This grand Jury imposes a tax upon immorality when committed by poor men whom they are not afraid of offending; but a rich Gentleman may take any one of them by the Nose; and honour his Posteriors with a kickage, without the smallest danger of being taxed; for it is exactly with our grand Jury, as Anacharsis the Scythian said of the laws, viz. They are like the Spiders webs which entangle and catch little flies but let Birds break through them at pleasure.”

Come to think of it, this could be considered another rejoinder to a “kids today” argument.

 

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