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From the "7-Up Stinks Studios" here we go...
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)
As Columbus turns
Terrelle Pryor, THE quarterback at THE Ohio State University, has now moved into the crosshairs. Pryor has been the high-profile name among the gear-for-tattoo scandals that have led to OSU coach Jim Tressel's downfall and his resignation earlier this week. Pryor has been linked to more than a half-dozen "loaner" cars, including the 350Z he drove to the team meeting on Tuesday. He drove to that meeting despite not having a valid driver's license.
Pryor, who currently is suspended for the first five games of the upcoming season, has more than likely played his last game for THE Ohio State University.
It appears Pryor has made more than his fair share of mistakes, and he will pay for them. But to say Pryor is to blame for Tressel's downfall is at best misguided and at worst it could be racist. Tressel is a multi-time NCAA violator, leaving Youngstown State amid NCAA controversy for the Ohio State job a decade ago. Tressel's three best/most high profile Buckeyes — Pryor, Maurice Clarett and Troy Smith — all committed NCAA violations, and the only link to the three was Tressel.
This is not to excuse Pryor, who broke the rules and should be punished. But to make the player the scapegoat here is the easy, traditional way out. THE Ohio State University players started this gear-for-cash/tattoos stuff as far back as 2002, according to Sports Illustrated. In the fall of 2002, Terrelle Pryor was 13 years old and as far as we know, did not have any tattoos.
Pryor made mistakes, sure, but the blame firmly falls on Tressel and THE Ohio State University. And AD Gene Smith, you're turn in the crosshair is coming sooner rather than later.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier looks up toward the scoreboard after a touchdown and extra point during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee at Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Columbia, SC. (AP Photo/Rich Glickstein)
Leave it to Steve Spurrier to pull a rabbit out of his visor at the SEC Spring Meetings. From the Ole' Ball Coach on Wednesday at the Sandestin Hilton in Destin, Fla. "A bunch of us coaches felt so strongly about it that we would be willing to pay it — 70 guys, 300 bucks a game," Spurrier told reporters. "That's only $21,000 a game. I doubt it will get passed, but as coaches in the SEC, we make all the money — as do universities, television — and we need to get more to our players." Spurrier wrote his pitch out and had some of his SEC colleagues sign it. (Of course that "noble" gesture is paramount to the 5-at-10 writing a proposal that says, "If we had a billion dollars, we'd give a lot of money to charities," then signing it and then having Oso and EC sign it.)
The 5-at-10 has passed the Tired exit on this highway of discussion of paying college players and speeding toward the Exasperated rest area. The system has major flaws — MAJOR
flaws — and they need to be addressed. But paying players hardly seems like the answer; in fact it seems that paying players will only introduce more problems.
Coaches giving kickbacks to their 70 players — and as noble and altruistic as Spurrier's offer is, it has the appearance of kickbacks — certainly does not seem like a solution. First, like all proposals, the Title IX questions must be answered. If any paying players plan comes from the school — or its employees — then it has to be offered across the board. And if you're going to pay all college athletes, well, that will be the end of college athletics as we know it. Remember, there are all of like 20 schools turning a profit, and the rest are doing their best to break even. (And a lot of them are losing money.) And if you add salaries — even if it's cut from the coaches' salaries — Secondly, and this is borrowing from SportTalk's Dr. B (he is a doctor, after all), "Where does it stop?" If the $300 a game is the answer today, where will that lead? And even if the players are legally given $300, will that stop the illegal money and benefits? No.Done
Miami Heat's LeBron James, center, shoots as James Jones, left, looks on during a practice session, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Miami. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals on Thursday in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Finals preview Game 2
Simply put, tonight is a huge, Huge, HUGE game for the Dallas Mavericks. A win makes this a series; a Miami Heat blowout gives this series the feel of sweep.
How will Dirk Nowitzki play with the injured finger on his left (non-shooting) hand? Can LeBron James follow up his nearly flawless Game 1 showing? Will the Heat bench outscore the Mavs bench again? Will Dallas shoot the ball better?
The 5-at-10's answers: Very good; Yes; No — not even close; Yes.
And all that said, unless the Mavs start very, Very, VERY quickly, the Heat will win tonight. Miami has three of the four best players on the floor, and the Heat are incredibly tough in games that are decided by one or two possessions because LeBron can guard anyone.
Orlando Magic's Shaquille O'Neal dunks the ball and comes down on Denver Nuggets' Dikembe Mutombo during action at the Orlando Arena Tuesday Feb. 13, 1996. Orlando defeated Denver, 121-93.(AP Photo/Steve Simoneau)
"Can you dig it?"
Shaquille O'Neal retired Wednesday, leaving behind a legacy as one of the game's most physically dominating players of all time. The 5-at-10's clearest memory of O'Neal was in college, when the future NBA Hall of Famer came to Auburn with his LSU teammates. How impressive was O'Neal? Well the game was a sell-out at Auburn, and selling out an Auburn basketball game is doing something.
O'Neal won four NBA titles and was a 15-time all-star. He won an NBA MVP and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And as great a player as he was, Shaq was one of the more enjoyable and energetic and infectious personalities in all of sports. (Thank you, Neon Boudeaux.)
But where does O'Neal rank on the list of all time centers? As physically unstoppabe as Shaq was -- and he was impossible to stop physically -- there are some slights on his resume.
He missed more than 8,000 free throws in his career. Read that again. His 53-percent free-throw shooting often forced O'Neal to the bench at crunch time of close games.
Depending on your criteria, here's the 5-at-10's 5-in-10: NBA Centers
1) Wilt Chamberlain — Averaged 50 ppg one year; Shaq before Shaq
2) Kareem Abdul Jabaar — Owned sport's most unstoppable shot; still whining about statues
3) Bill Russell — The game's most accomplished champion
4) Hakeem Olajuwan — So skilled, clearly the best player on two-time champion
5) Shaq — So strong; and a gift for fans and basketball
Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference (21), collides with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa (3), in the first period during Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
This and that
— The Braves avoided a sweep against the Padres with a 4-3 win Wednesday night in large part because of what has become an all-too-expected outstanding pitching performance.
Other than one bad pitch — a Tommy Hanson hanger that became a two-run homer for Kyle Phillips — the Braves pitchers were great. And the back end of the bullpen of set-up guy Jonny Venters and closer Craig Kimbrel continue to be dominant. Venters fanned the three batters he faced in the eighth and Kimbrel struck out two in the ninth. The offense is still struggling; Brian McCann is hitting better than .300, but no other regular is hitting better than .280. And Sweet Mendoza Line, Dan Uggla's down to a less-than-robust .175 after taking another bagel last night. Wow.
— Vancouver scored a goal in the final minute to beat Boston 1-0 in Game 1 in the Stanley Cup Finals. But, holy preschool dust-ups, one of the Vancouver players bit (yes, BIT) a Boston player. What's next, hair pulling?
— Allegedly, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had a secret meeting with a handful of NFL owners. The mental image is the cartoon millionaires (picture the "Monopoly" guy with top hat and eye piece and the whole works) lighting cigars with $100 bills. Seriously, any time the words "secret" and "meetings" are linked it's rarely a good thing, but with late-breaking news that the head of the players association was in attendance, this may be the first good news in months.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...