Pinkett's blunder teaches valuable NCAA lesson


Pinkett's blunder teaches valuable NCAA lesson

Lets hope that Allen Pinkett doesnt have a fondness for Guinness or a liking for the Temple Bar because he wont be in Dublin, Ireland this weekend. Hes been sent home from Notre Dames opener against Navy on the Emerald Isle for not being sensitive to both his employer (and alma mater) and to the world at large.

As you probably know by now, Pinkett -- a commentator for the Fighting Irish radio broadcasts -- said some really stupid things about college football.

He said a criminal element is a nice thing to have. He sounded excited that coach Brian Kelly had to suspend several players for the early part of the season.

"I've always felt like to have a successful team you've got to have a few bad citizens on the team," Pinkett said in a radio interview. "That's how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team.

"You can't have a football team full of choirboys. You get your butt kicked if you've got a team full of choirboys, so you've got to have a little bit of edge. But the coach has to be the dictator and the ultimate ruler. Here's my opinion: You don't hand out suspensions unless you know you've got somebody behind that guy that can make plays."

In case anyone was thinking that Pinkett might have misspoke -- as so many in the media profess to do these days -- he, when given a chance to back off his comments, stuck by his dumb words.

"I absolutely meant that he said. "The chemistry is so important on a football team. You have to have a couple of bad guys that sort of teeter on that edge to add to the flavor of the guys that are going to always do right because that just adds to the chemistry of the football team. You have to have ... you look at the teams that have won in the past, they have always had a couple of criminals."

Aside from the sheer stupidity of saying such a thing when youre employed by a Catholic university that puts up a very strong front that it is above the pond scum of college football, Pinkett committed two other sins. The first was being tone deaf in a climate of increased scrutiny of everything in his profession. The second was lacking the simple power of observation, which is kind of key for an analyst.

Celebrating the criminal element in college football is -- to say the least -- distasteful in an era when teams have vacated entire seasons and championships for cheating and former coordinators are led away in handcuffs after the most horrifying crime imaginable. Clearly Pinkett wasnt thinking about Penn State, but he should have been because it is the dark criminal cloud over everything in college football and will remain so for a while. But even glorifying the mundane sins of Buckeyes selling jerseys for tattoos is ridiculous.

But Pinkett may have just lost his job as insightful analyst because he hasnt really been paying attention. For the past three years, Notre Dame has lost to Stanford, a program whose marching band is suspended more often than any members of its roster. Notre Dame will insist that super nerd (and noted non-criminal) Andrew Luck was the reason behind the three consecutive defeats -- the most in the rivalrys history. But the rest of the non-criminal element for the Cardinal did a pretty good job of kicking the Irish tail.

And, lets be honest, Notre Dame tries to have more in common with Stanford than it does with Ohio State.

What Pinkett said has a kernel of truth: you cant have a great football team with a roster of choirboys. You need nastiness and grit and diversity and a little anger. Do you really need crime?

Not unless your definition of crime is an over-the-top, poorly dressed trombone player.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe


Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof


The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.