The Wednesday Show Prep

posted by Steve Bortstein -

Looks like there will be a fewer number of championship banners hanging from the rafters at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville.

The NCAA, in denying an appeal of what interim school president Greg Postel called "draconian penalties" against the university, have levied some of the harshest penalties in the history of Division 1 Men's Basketball, forcing the program to vacate basketball records in which ineligible student-athletes competed from 2011 to 2015. The school had previously said the penalties would affect 123 victories, including 15 NCAA Tournament wins and the 2013 national title.

According to ESPN.com, the Cardinals also were placed on NCAA probation for four years, which includes scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions, a $5,000 fine and the forfeiture of any money received through conference revenue sharing from the 2012-15 NCAA tournaments. 

Postel said Tuesday that he expects the sum to be less than $1 million, though there were some reports that the sum could be as much as $15 million.

The Cardinals had already self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season.

At the time the penalties were announced, Postel said in a statement that the NCAA penalties "went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable."

Which of course is going to be the response. No one in that position is going to simply shrug their shoulders and just accept the next thing to a death penalty and pretend it never happened.

But that's just the point. Now we're playing with history. Did the 2013 National Championship game get played or not? I'm pretty sure I remember Louisville hammering Duke by 22 points in the Elite 8 game before the emotional gut-check win over Wichita State and the championship game over Michigan.

Much like anything recorded in history, unless you're a lunatic, there's always going to be people who will be able to recall -- in great detail -- the actual things which took place.

I'll never get the image from my brain of the gruesome injury suffered by Kevin Ware in the first half of the game against Duke.

So to simply take an eraser to these historically relevant events and pretend these things didn't happen is both illogical and insulting.

Put an asterisk behind the names if you want, hit the school financially all you want, take away scholarship dollars from the athletic program, prevent them from benefiting financially from postseason appearances and preseason tournament games.

But don't insult our intelligence and don't minimize the efforts of those who worked their asses off (and in one notable case, broke his leg in two) to achieve the pinnacle in college sports.

But..... let's also address one other topic.

Postel, in his address to the media this week, suggested the NCAA was wrong in denying the school's appeal, and if we go back to the comment made this past summer, calling the penalties "draconian", then someone may need to explain how we set the bar.

The basis of these penalties comes from an investigation which determined a former Louisville director of basketball operations “acted unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation.”

Further, before being fired from the job, former coach Rick Pitino, who also refused to cooperate with the investigation, argued that the penalties assessed against his former program were excessive. 

That’s the same argument the university made in the appeal hearing, but it’s one the panel obviously has rejected.

To suggest the penalties are draconian-like, one must assume that Louisville believes they hired an acceptable amount of strippers and hookers. 

A claim - one would assume - the NCAA doesn't believe. 

So now the question must be asked....

What is the standard now for strippers and hookers? Does that number count against a student's stipend they're allowed to receive during their time on a school's athletic program? And who chooses the strippers and hookers for the program? Are the student-athletes allowed to choose on their own or are there assistant coaches and "friends of the program" roaming 7th Street Road as we speak recruiting only the Red Light District in Louisville's finest? 

These are the hard questions to which we need answers.

A better Dallas soap opera than the TV soap opera

Maybe I'm just too desensitized to be bothered by the revelations made this week by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who all but endorsed the team's abysmal record this season in order to get higher draft picks and working on the rebuilding process of restoring the team (a business, mind you) to a better state of affairs.

I feel the need to remind you the Mavericks are a business, and as such, the consumers who spend their hard-earned money supporting that business, are equally as important to the successes and failures as those in charge.

And in spite of their record this season, in spite of them winning only 11 times from 30 home games this season, the Mavericks have the 5th best attendance at home games in the NBA.

That's right, the 5th best attendance in the league.

That's better than the Warriors, Lakers, Celtics and Spurs. They actually have had more fans at their games this season (on average) than the other two teams in the state of Texas, both of whom are competing for postseason berths, and in the case of Houston, currently in possession of the best record in the league.

Mark Cuban is a businessman. He presumably understands more about capital losses than any other owner in the league. 

So if the willing consumers of his product are still willing to endorse it by spending their hard-earned money on that product, what on earth is he doing wrong to publicly state the future interests of the business?

I've heard it suggested on multiple platforms that Cuban should be reprimanded for his comments at the very least, and - at worst - possibly be forced to sell the team.

And while a phone call from NBA commissioner Adam Silver is probably going to be made soon, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Cuban will be forced to sell the business.

Several hours after the Cuban comments went public, another bombshell dropped on the team in which a former team president had engaged in “various acts of inappropriate conduct toward women.” 

The Mavericks have hired outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation of the alleged acts and of the team’s overall workplace environment.

The announcement by the team came in advance of a detailed Sports Illustrated report (click the link) on alleged misconduct by the Mavericks’ former president and chief executive, Terdema Ussery. The report also included details of domestic violence allegations against Earl Sneed, a former writer for the team’s official website.

There will be plenty more on this story as it unfolds.

Who said the NFL offseason was going to be boring??

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