published Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

5-at-10: NCAA loses, steroids are everywhere, fun college hoops and sports' biggest underachievers

Gang, we'll have our Super Bowl picks Thursday in an extra-special Fab 4 plus 1 (which is a lot like an extra-special Blossom, only not so much).

From the "Talks too much" studios, we can neither confirm or deny that we've been using Writing Enhancers like coffee and such. Prove it.

College questions

A federal court judge ruled Tuesday that NCAA athletes can continue their suit to go after TV money. Not just money paid for the rebroadcast of games or the money negotiated on licensing fees in video games or jerseys, but the money schools have turned into the lifeblood of big-time college athletics — the multi-comma totals of TV deals that generate billions (yes, billions with a 'b').

If the athletes get to share in the TV money, college sports as we know them will end. Period. The numbers have already been extrapolated and stretched to the point that the big-boy schools already are not willing to share with other institutions that number in the dozens. To share with athletes in men's basketball and football that would total in the tens of thousands — and that's assuming colleges and athletic programs are not forced to back pay the hundreds of thousands of athletes from previous years — could kill the college sports model.

Whether you think college athletes deserve to get paid or not, know this: If they win the right to get paid — especially back-pay to generations of athletes — the schools that are already operating on eight-figure budgets but still having to borrow from the university to break even on annual budgets are going to face serious questions about how they proceed and if they proceed.

This is not to say the SEC will not play football. But how will the UTCs and the Georgia Southerns and even the schools like MTSU and the mid-majors survive this?

Plus, the NCAA will be bankrupted, and while many can attest that it has been morally for years, for the college sports governing body to be on lean finances is not good. Whether you loathe or like the NCAA, it's presence or a presence of a governing body that can at least attempt to police the super powers and create the appearance of level playing fields is a must. And if it's not a body picked by the participating schools, Heaven help us if the government gets involved.

Sweet buckets, our head hurts and it's only 9:15 in the morning. Cue up the Eric Church and get the beer on ice, it's going to be a long one.

————

PEDs

What's next? Seriously, what's going to be next? Jennifer Lawrence accepting the Academy Award and getting grilled on performance enhancing drugs?

Ray Lewis was asked about using PEDs at the Super Mess that is Super Bowl Media Day.

Alex Rodriguez is part of a group of players rumored to have used out of a Miami-based clinic.

We clicked over to "The Morning Drive" show on the Golf Channel, and the crew was discussing some article in SI in which Vijay Singh talks about using PEDs.

This is so tiring. Here are the solutions:

A) Allow PEDs.

B) Draw a line in the sand, starting with the beginning of the next season in each sport. If you fail a test — no excuses, no, "I didn't know this cough syrup had Whale Sperm and Super Muscle Maxer," no pass Go, no collect $200 — you are suspended a year. Period. You fail the next test, bye.

To think these guys who make seven- and eight-figure salaries with their bodies do not know what they are putting in their bodies is silly. They know. And they know they can run the risk of getting away with it.

Either we're going to care about PEDs or we're not. Right now it's a tiresome circle of rumors and whispers and which guy used steroids or that guy only used crushed deer antler powder.

We're not sure whether any of those three current, future or potential Hall of Famers above used or didn't use. We're not sure we care anymore either.

————

College hoops

Fun night of college hoops, and like we said Tuesday morning, a big part of that is the energy that Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson brings to the party.

Henderson was off the mark in the Rebels' home loss to Kentucky that reminded us of several things:

• Kentucky is still Kentucky, which means when motivated that is a roster as deep and talented as almost any in college hoops. The Cats' 87-74 win at No. 16 Ole Miss was complete and impressive. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, including Henderson, who was 5-of-19 from the field, which is the type of game in which these Wildcats will always excel.

• Nerlens Noel blocked 12 shots — yes 12 shots, which is a good week for most teams — to set a new UK record. Any time you set a basketball record at UK, you're doing work. Plus, Noel moves into our Rushmore of best high-top fades with Kid from Kid n' Play, Bobby Brown and Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. Dude, Faders gonna fade.

• To cap off the euphoria of Kentucky fans everywhere, super-Cats fan Ashley Judd reportedly is now back on the market after her marriage to Dario Franchetti.

Kentucky's defensive effort was more than enough to derail the fun ride that the Marshall Express has taken SEC basketball on in recent weeks. The boisterous and supremely confident Henderson has drawn praise for his excitement and passion and criticism for his antics. Whatever.

It looks like the Henderson vibe is spreading too. As we discussed on Twitter (@jgreesontfp) last night, did anyone else notice Vandy's Josh Henderson hold his follow-through after making a free throw in the Commodores' 58-57 loss at Tennessee? Yep, it was a the text-book pose with the right wrist cocked.

Heck, Marshall Henderson popping his jersey. Josh Henderson posing on free throws. What's next Florence Henderson telling Alice to taste it after making a mean meatloaf? Ma! MEATLOAF!

————

This and that

— Hey, you know the 5-at-10 tries to stay away from the political fray. But if politicians talk sports, it's OK just for a drive-by, right? So President Obama said if he had a son, he isn't sure he would let his son play football. OK. But we're sure he would let his son pay for health care for the others that play.

— Burt Reynolds, who will be 77 in two weeks, is in intensive care from the flu and dehydration. Here's what we know: A) Reynolds is on every short list of the best athletes among actors. Dude played football at FSU. B) There have been a select few who were at the apex of their profession like Reynolds was in late 1970s. C) He also has one of the great "Wow, what would have happened if" decisions in movie history. Reynolds was offered Jack Nicholson's part in Terms of Endearment in the early 1980s. Reynolds turned it down to do Stroker Ace. Nicholson won an Academy Award in the role; Reynolds got to make out with Loni Anderson.

  • photo
    Ridgeland High School's Vonn Bell has the ball.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

— How crazy has the recruiting of Vonn Bell become? On ESPN.com, they peg where they think the top uncommitted prospects will pick next week. They have the word "Alabama" next to Bell's name with the Power T Tennessee logo. Everyone's confused at this point. Side note: We believe it's as close to 50-50 as it's been in a long time, and the fact that Tennessee's even in the mix is a credit to Coach Butch Jones and Co.

— Speaking of doing recruiting work, what Ole Miss is doing is mind-bending. The Rebel Black Bears may finish with a top-five class. Read that again.

————

Today's question

In the Super Bowl hype machine that is more sickening by the year — yes someone in a wrestling mask asked Ray Lewis what he would do if an opposing player broke into the Ravens' locker room and passed gas — Randy Moss threw out an interesting statement.

Moss said he believes he's the greatest wide receiver ever to play.

The numbers are overwhelmingly against him of course — Jerry Rice owns so many receiving records that UPS should hire him (That's logisitics) —but Moss is top three in receiving yards and TDs. He also was the first of the big-bodied guys who could also really run.

He's changed the game and you could make an argument that he merits a spot on the all-time team opposite Rice. That's a pretty stout resume.

But here's the question, as good as all that sounds, did Moss underachieve? Seriously, be it from injury or injustice or indifference, considering his physical gifts did he fail to reach his potential since only Moss thinks he's the best wide receiver ever? We think Moss underachieved a little, how about you?

Which brings us to who is your Rushmore of guys that had all-time physical gifts and did not deliver all-time results? (Side note: We do not think Moss is on that list since he is a top-five receiver of all-time.) We'll take David Thompson, Jeff George, Michelle Wie and Ralph Sampson in a quick flip.

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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JonathanMCook said...

Morning Jay,

NCAA- We don't pay the athletes. This is not open for discussion. NCAA is definitely not perfect but the TV money covers operating costs for both the NCAA's operating costs and the school's coffers for general operating costs so said athletic department is not milking the school funds directly. I grant you that is not always fullproof (see Tennessee in present day), but still...

PEDs - DMN is running a front page story (will read at lunch) but Cruz is on the list people who used. Said he was ordering "anti-aging" suppliments (I literally kid you not).

(from yesterday) Was in an Open Mic on Monday. Will watch my recording of Dallas 2.0 this evening.

Speaking of Big D, Saks is leaving the Dallas Market and Chattanooga favorite Belk is making its foothold into the Big D. Yes, I know Belk is North Carolina-based but mom was stoked when I read her the news over the phone (They do send her a Christmas Card every year for a reason). :P

Texas does have 13 Belks in the whole state, but this one will be at the Dallas Galleria which is 3X bigger than Hamilton Place and located on a major interstate (I-635)

Read the Mocs schedule this morning. Saw where the UT-Martin game is the Thursday before Dragoncon. Looks like I might get to have my cake and eat it too. Depends though on how many of my friends and associates will be going.

January 30, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent — Gave Moss a lot of thought last night, and I had the same thought. You could argue Moss is the second best receiver of all-time, and yet I think he underachieved.

What that tells me is that if Moss had put in the work and all that which Rice had put in, he would clearly be the best receiver ever. Hard to say for sure, but I think Moss had the best skills of any wide receiver in the history of the game. Yes, better than Rice. The problem was, Moss was only motivated about 70% of the time. Rice was motivated 100% of the time.

As for Kentucky, that's quite a win, and while they aren't out of the woods, if they can win their remaining games that they should against non top competition (at Texas A&M, South Carolina, Auburn, at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, at Arkansas, and Georgia), get to the semis of the SEC Tournament, they are almost definitely in. Of course, another win over a Missouri or Florida would not hurt. Of course, if they lose at Texas A&M, at Arkansas, or at Tennessee, or any number of those games, then their position gets more precarious. Interesting Saturday coming up for the Cats....and the Vols. The Vols are currently 11-8, but they have just three games left against teams with winning SEC records, and all of them come to Knoxville. Arkansas is 3-3 in the SEC, and they play them on the road this Saturday. They probably can afford three more losses and be in the discussion (that includes the SEC Tournament). That means down the stretch they need to go 9-2 in their next eleven games to be in the discussion heading into the SEC Tournament. The SEC is the 8th ranked conference- I don't think the Vols can get there. A win at Arkansas might start to change my mind a bit.

How many can the SEC get in? Florida, Ole Miss, and Missouri look like they are in good shape right now. Kentucky has to feel pretty good after what happened last night. Is there any chance that there is room for a fifth or sixth team? A Texas A&M, Alabama, Tennessee, or Arkansas? I don't really see it, but it is possible....

January 30, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.
chas9 said...

It may be rainy and foggy outside today, but our murky view of who's next after Florida in the SEC race has cleared up. It's blue skies from now on.

For the first time since beating Maryland in November, against a top team Kentucky looked smarter and more poised than their opponent, got stronger as the game went on, played tough, consistent defense, and never looked befuddled. Put that together with UK's talent and you have a winner.

The team's spacing was good and The Animals Wiltjer and Poythress have decided to dominate, fighting to win position, points, boards and games.

Before tipoff, an analyst said UK couldn't score more than 60. If they had hit their free throws, they could've scored 100. And their D is better than their O. You win a lot of games when you shoot 50% to your opponent's 33%. (Since when is hitting 50% not shooting particularly well?)

Going in, we feared The Cats might be intimidated by The Marshall. But it appeared it was the Rebel Bears who were intimidated by N squared. Nerlens' 2 points and 7 rebounds are extremely misleading. His Kentucky record 12 blocks are a better measure of how he dominated the game.

From the field, sharpshooters Henderson and Wiltjer each threw up 19 shots. Marshall hit 5 of his, while Kyle played string music in Oxford 10 times while scoring his best ever 26 for the game. Who's your daddy now?

The Vols won a second game in a row by defending well against a last-second shot. The 'Dores ain't much, but for UT any W is sweet. The Tennessee stock dipped a bit though when their best win was tarnished by Wichita State's loss to The Sycamores. I figured The Shockers were over-rated.

January 30, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

re: Burt Reynolds - Duh! I'd make out with Loni before I would with Shirley McClain, even if it cost me a trophy.

Even if Moss put out 100% like Rice during his career, he'd still be 2nd to Jerry, only a little closer.

January 30, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

You're going to enjoy the Dallas premiere, although it's pretty creepy seeing J.R. Ewing knowing he's already dead.

Stuck —

Feel exactly the same. Moss is an all-timer and an underachiever. Crazy stuff.

Barring a meltdown, the Wildcats punched their ticket last night.

UT... the NCAA tourney hill is too steep. NIT seems likely.

McPell —

Man, Loni Anderson was so smoking back in the day. She was throwing like a 95 mph knuckleball... she was that tough.

And while he may or may not have matched Rice's numbers, we believe if he had put in the work like Rice, Moss would be the best ever. Dude was unstoppable and a game-changer. In truth, Rice, while under-appreciated, arguably wasn't even the best player on many of those San Fran teams.

— 5-at-10

January 30, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
Walden said...

Jay- Regarding Stuckinkent... is Kent a person or a place? BIG DIFFERENCE if you know what I mean.

January 30, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

The Spy is mourning the loss of one of Georgia's great treasures, Dr. Ferrol Sams Jr., who once signed a book the Spy had when young Spy was a lad at Governor's Honors Program. It was not a book Dr. Sams penned, either, but he signed with the grace and wit only he possessed.

You can always win an Oscar. But how often do you get a chance to hit on, then, one of the hottest women walking? Well, if you're Burt Reynolds, probably all the time. Still ... not a bad choice.

A special Blossom? You know, Blossom was never all that. But Six had that look like she was gonna be sneaky hot one day.

Wow. Rushmore of unfulfilled talent. Man ... you threw out a pretty mean set of choices, 5. Hard to argue against those.

So, 5, you say no to the argument that Jerry Rice might be the best football player of all-time, regardless of position? I ain't sayin', I'm just sayin'.

January 30, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

Best athletes among actors? Do not forget Alex Karras. Mongo is one of my all time favorite characters and a classic but I can do without Webster.

January 30, 2013 at 11:44 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

The story also goes that the original actor the producers wanted for Casablanca turned it down. He later became president of the Screen Actors Guild - and the United States of America.

John Wayne turned down Dirty Harry. Thought it was too violent.

Now if only Adam Sandler would turn down a movie role ... or 30 ....

As for my opinions on President Obama's take on football ... I shall keep them to myself.

And coffee, I have found, has never been a great writing supplement. Bud Light, on the other hand, works wonders.

January 30, 2013 at 11:47 a.m.
chas9 said...

Stuckey's take on UT's prospects is right on. The SEC gets four. I appreciate Spy's tribute to the talented Mr. Sams. Yes, Loni was ballin'. Hotter than Suzanne Thighmaster or Farrah Redswimsuit.

Mark does his usual good job today writing about McThree, but I believe that Lopez, Reese and Moore are bigger reasons for Johnny Volsfan to expect an uptrend for The Orange. Credit Patrick for crediting Lopez.

No doubt beard boy is suffering from his injury, and it's too bad the game, any game, is diminished by boo-boos. I wish his teammate Golden and UK's giant Cauley-Stein speedy recoveries.

Speaking of injuries, I suspect Prez-O's stance on a hypothetical son not taking the gridiron has much to do with the clear fact that The POTUS is far more a basketball fan than a football denizen. Who needs pointy ball?

Speaking of which, Frank DeFord says that after The Ravens win The Big One, a flock of beautiful angels will descend onto the field and waft Ray Lewis in all his glory straight away into heaven.

January 30, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

I watched Larry Hagemen offer complete strangers cookie samples covered in BBQ sauce at a Costco in what was to be his very final TV performance on CBS. So I'm pretty sure I can handle seeing him post-humorous in Dallas 2.0.

However, it wasn't as funny as Jane Seymour playing a customer service rep at a World Market.

Oh, I forgot to mention, yesterday in the DMN, they reported in a sports newsbite section how the Big East is looking for another school to join the conference? Boone and Statesboro anyone? :P

January 30, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, glad you didn't inject Angelical Houston into that mix. I'll never understand what made her a star on the runway in the first place, let alone become a star.

I'd cap this one, Randy Moss dogged it in Oakland. Dumbo even had his own radio show where he bashed the franchise on a daily basis. Yes, Moss wasted his time and Mr. Davis' time and $$$$.

Going cross to cross the gender line. Natalie Gulbis, Ms. Logo of the LPGA Tour earned one win in what we'll say is 500 starts. Is this underachievement are do other considerations buoy her body of work?

January 30, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

fec,

If you didn't see The Grifters, you missed one dang good movie. And Ms. Huston was great in it.

January 30, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
chas9 said...

Golly! Jim Nabors has wed his partner. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Murphy Holloway says Noel is better than The Uniblocker. Don't know about that, but I do know Holloway's a MAN. He might punch a horse as hard as Mongo did.

God (played by Morgan Freeman) was in the stands pulling for Ole Missy, but that's not enough when UK plays its game.

And Spy made me laugh. I just can't picture Bonzo's buddy in Casablanca (or The African Queen). Bad casting can turn a classic into junk. But I can see Ashley Judd as the female lead in either movie.

January 30, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

DMN reported Cruz supposedly bought $4,000 worth of supplements at a Miami-based hospital under the name "Mohamad". The treatment center is supposedly know for selling PSDs so depending on what Nellie took or did not take will determine if he gets the 50 game deduction or not. On the side, if we lose Nellie for long a time, we will be really stretched thin in the ranks.

Yes, I will be mailing this out soon.

January 30, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Spy, no argument "The Grifters" is a good film with the classic triangle of mother, son and the girlfriend. Hard to mess up format where greed is key and whatever trust broken is between the players wells up showers of sparks.

Of, Ms. Huston, I'm still not convinced.

January 30, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang —

Great discussion today.

First off, saw Uncle Sambo late last year. Visited him in his house — off Beauregard Blvd. — in Fayetteville. He is the Mrs. 5-at-10's great uncle and she will be at the funeral on Friday.

Walden —

Kent is for Kentucky... and we thought StuckinKent was better than StuckinKY for obvious reasons. Although thanks for pointing out the Kent factor — not that there's anything wrong with that.

Mr. Proctor —

Karras is a good add, too. This would be an excellent Rushmore.

Spy —

Cherish the times we got to spend with Sambo. Great guy.

That would be another great Rushmore — roles that actors turned down. High on that list would be Kevin Costner turning down Shawshank to make Waterworld. Yes, you read that correctly.

And Grifters is money.

As for Rice, if he had not head 12 years of Montana and Young driving the Walsh machine, is Rice even in the conversation.

January 30, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, in one of my rare Facebook postings, I noted Dr. Sams' passing and couldn't remember whom I knew who knew him well. I thought he was kin to the wonderful Mrs. 5 (please pass along my thoughts and great condolences) and it turns out he was the doctor to another good friend some years ago.

Do great receivers make great quarterbacks? Do great quarterbacks make great receivers? But I think all of Rice's attributes - speed, physicality (if that's even a word though it gets used as one) and his blocking ability as a wide receiver set him apart. He always the other team's best cover corner and usually double teams and still got open and made big catches.

fec, I won't pass judgment on Ms. Huston's pulchitrude, but she does have acting chops. It doesn't hurt that her last name is Huston in Hollywood, either.

January 30, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.
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