Thursday, July 12, 2012

Violating The Public Trust

A Few years ago, a member of the Baylor basketball team was murdered.  It really hit home with me, because I just didn't think anything worse in college sports could happen.  My youngest son played with Lawrence Roberts, John Lucas III and Kenny Taylor.  Plus, I knew most of the players parents.  To make matters worse, and more personal, I was recruited back in the dark ages by Coach Dave Bliss when he was an assistant at Army under Bob Knight, and my son was also being recruited by Coach Bliss.  I always thought he was a nice guy when I was a kid and later when he was recruiting my son.  I just thought that was about the lowest point in sports, a murder and a cover up.  I remember thinking more than once, "can you believe this is happening?"

Okay, lets role play.  I live in Pennsylvania.  It's somerwhere between 1990 and 2000 AD. We have this great university, Penn State, and an iconic coach, Joe Paterno, who "wins the right way."  I am football crazy and I have some kids who are also football crazy, and our team is Penn State...we bleed blue.  I am told about an overnight camp at Penn State hosted by the football coaches and featuring Coach Jerry Sandusky, the All American linebacker coach and guru.  Of course I'm going to send my kids there.  I trust these people.  They preach the American Way, they are the good guys.  Joe Paterno is a national icon and has been for many years.  He will even make an inspirational speech to the campers and they get to do drills in Happy Valley at the big stadium.  What could be better?

Actually, our worst sporting nightmare has occurred.  A predator of the sexual variety parlayed parents deepest trusts into a nightmare.  There is no telling how many children this man Sandusky violated...violated their innocence, their bodies and their souls.  These kids, these victims, not only had to live with this nightmare, but who knows how many children were violated?  The bad thing we may never know is that predators produce other predators, because they twist these young minds at an impressionable age.

If this isn't bad enough this sick pedophile was shielded by his cronies, Paterno, the AD, and the University Chancellor....shielded to protect the Paterno legend and a football program that ran the town and netted 50 million a year.  What a crock.  Where was the compassion.  I don't like to pass judgement, but where was just a small ounce of empathy for these poor kids...children like you and I have...children like you and I were...children of a common creator that we love more than anything, that have exuberance and a soul and unconditional love...and the blind eye of cronyism is turned, acting like these terrible acts never happened. 

(As an aside, I never bought into the Penn State bs as a kid.  My dad brainwashed me into being a Frank Kush fan at Arizona State.  We had a sanctuary for the African American athlete and some kick ass teams in the 60-70s period.  They had to start the Fiesta Bowl so we could play and beat these kind of teams.  Also as a recruited athlete and as a parent of 3 scholarship athletes, I know what recruiters from these schools say including the Penn States that think they "win the right way".  In the end its a big money biz.)

I tried not to follow this story when it was on the news.  It sickened me.  I really wish it was not true.  I know good people attend Penn State and this is not an indictment on those good folks, just the leaders of their football program.
I don't want to end this on a downer.  Last night I happened to watch quite by accident, Lombardi, on HBO.   What a refreshing show.  Instead of the normal cliches you hear from a Lombardi film, this showed an imperfect man who strived for perfection.  It blew me away when he said they never got the "winning is the only thing" comment right.  He said it all came out wrong, that he meant if you gave 100%, whether you won or lost, that was all you could ask for in any endeavor.  He was so introspective that he thought the original comment was shallow and misinterpreted.

The black and white photography stood out.  Also, the total team work and humility was very cool.  There was no thumping on the chest that I am the man by the athletes, just a real love of each other.  What a motivator he was on the sidelines.  You have to watch this film. 

This film will make you cry for joy and in the end cry for a man who died way before his time.  Frank Gifford was crying telling of his last visit to his hospital bed when Lombardi said "it hurts so much" speaking of his intestinal cancer.  You could see his players loved him.  They were crying hard at his funeral. 

One part that I thought was great was when a visiting sportswriter came into town and went to mass.  Guess who the altar boy way...Coach Lombardi.  He would help with mass in the morning, beat you on the gridiron on Sunday, give a great interview and have you over to his house after the game for a cocktail party.  Sorry, but when I go to bed tonight I will remember Lombardi, an imperfect man like all of us, but a man who strived for greatness and achieved it while doing the right thing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Typical Sports Talk Show

Recently Jim Rome was cancelled in Houston so that we can get more sports news from our local sports jocks. While I'm not a huge Rome fan, I can say he is not a one trick pony like most of our local announcers. Now we have Texans 24/7 and there is only so much you can take. It's usually a cliche addled conversation that is the same day after day. In the end the best bet is to listen to some tunes because our local sports talk shows usually goes something like this:

"Hello out there in sports radio land in Houston and with us tonight we have me, Larry Warner and the Colonel, our own hometown newspaper pro football expert." (The colonel is blown up big from all the free buffets on the gridiron circuit and Larry just eats on air, you can hear him. The Colonel loves to fancy himself a movie expert and loves to drop names on a celebrity starved audience).

"Colonel, are the Texans going to draft for need or the best possible player?"

"Well, they generally draft for the best possible player...BUT, that reminds me in 81 when ole Bum just left the Oilers, they drafted for need when they could have had Padowski out of New Mexico School of Mines and Horseshoeing. Of course Padowski went on to a Hall of Fame career. And then of course last year they drafted for need and did well. But I contend best available."

"My man Colonel, its a little known fact that Wade Phillips, the real MVP of the Texans defense last year, has a method to his madness. You see, once he drafts the players, he invites them over for a game of lawn croquet at owner Bob McNairs mansion in River Oaks. Depending on the skill set he sees during that game, as well as a number of other things like composure...well, that's how he determines the scheme of the defense and where that player fits in."

"Larry, I was hopin you wouldn't let the cat out of the bag because these are cutting edge techniques. However, it's also a little known fact that Bob McNair plays in these games and when a ball hits his, he can whack it for miles with a stogie in his mouth and a blind fold on. This athleticism amazes these young whippersnappers. Why I remember when Soupy Sales had a Houston comedy tour and couldn't even hit our esteemed Texans owner in the face with a pie while he was blindfolded. That's why these croquet matches mean so much. Never underestimate the athleticism of croquet."

"Colonel, who are some of the prospects you see the Texans drafting in the 26 spot?"

"Well in my mock draft 8 point Zero, I am tabbing O'Houlihan out of Boston School of Oyster Shucking. He has all the intangibles and his pro day shined. He made up for a faulty combine with a dazzling display of talent. It's no wonder they call him the man with the disappearing hips."

"You know Colonel, O'Houlihan may only run a 5.7 forty, but all he does is get open. Despite the combine scores, you still have to be able to play the game. But what about the point shaving, and the loan sharking case against him. It looks like a tight case and Mr. McNair likes good character types?"

"Larry, that reminds me when I saw Brad Pitt once and I posed this question to him. And what he said was "What better way to learn the pitfalls of the game than to learn them young so the same mistakes do not get repeated. And, what better way to be prepared...there are some real organizational skills that come with loan sharking." But, I'm sure he's innocent. A nicer guy you've never met. Why just last week Tebow and him had a long discussion. And this week he's meeting with the Pope."

"Speaking of movies Colonel, what do you have for us?"

"Well Larry, I have the Sequel to the Three Stooges...It's called The 3 Stooges Eat a Watermelon and it's great fun for the whole family...In fact I have a bit part!"

"What is the part?"

"I play the part of a giant Watermelon, seeds and all. It is exciting what Hollywood is able to do with special effects and makeup!"

"That reminds me Colonel, that a great coach who will go unnamed had a test for all incoming draftees called the tri-fecta. First, he would match them up in checkers, then an obstacle course in hop scotch and finally a quick game of last man in the pool where if you were the last man in you won. The aggregate score determined the makeup of the offense and defense. Geez draftniks, this is just so exciting!"

SUDDENLY a Banging and loud noise:

"This is the owner of the network. I've listened to these numbskulls as long as I can and due to popular request we are posting a moratorium on any local sports talk about the Texans draft. In fact this station will be changed to the Stevie Ray Vaughn Network and play only Stevie's music and the music he liked by other like minded artists. Colonel and Larry, you may leave the studio!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

NCAA Freshman Basketball...The Way it Was

Way before there was a street agent on every corner hustling any basketball player that had any type of game, before there was a Nike or Adidas, there was NCAA freshman basketball. Incoming freshmen were not allowed to play varsity basketball. Every year most NCAA schools would bring in 3 to 4 freshmen to pick up the slack from graduating seniors or any other defections. Some schools would go the juco route for the quick fix.
Since Juco's will be in the mix in this conversation, juco basketball was a different animal in those days. There were not prep schools like there are today hiding out and making grades for the non qualifiers. The juco teams were monsters. There was a team in Phoenix, Phoenix College, that had the number one high school team delivered on their doorstep, courtesy of Southern Cal. This same core group, Dennis Mo Layton, George Watson and LeRoy Cobb would proceed to USC where they would be the only team to beat UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. (That Southern Cal team could not go to the NCAA tourney because there was only one team per conference selected.) As good as this Juco group was, they did not win the national championship. I say this because this was the basic competition for most freshman NCAA teams.
My freshman year we had two bigs, myself, who was sort of a swingman, and a guard. All years prior to my freshman year, all undergrads not on scholarship could be on the freshman team regardless of the actual class they were in. When we started practicing we looked really good and we even beat the varsity in a short scrimmage. Unfortunately, before the first game, the NCAA reversed a long standing rule and made only freshmen eligible for freshmen basketball. We lost all our heigth and depth about a week before our first game. Remember, with the Vietnam war and the draft, there were a bunch of guys on the 5 and 6 year plan that could ball.
To make matters worse for our team, the very first day of practice one of our promising big men, my room mate, Jerry Eastman, blew out his knee. He never played one minute of basketball for Miami his injury was so severe. This happened in the first 20 minutes of our first day of just playing pick up games in the armory. Now we were down to 3 scholarship players.

The typical game was played before the varsity game, against a junior college. In Florida, there were many powerhouse junior college teams. Now, in our case our other big man, Bob Nylin, had some ankle sprains and missed some games. So, at six five and 190 pounds, I would guard a six eight or nine post who had about 50 pounds on me. So I was in many cases 2 positions out. The rest of the lineup when that happened would max out at about six two and in many cases shorter. There wasn't much offense that could be run as it was, and it only go worse if I hit foul trouble. It was basically isolate Robb Austin, our scholarship guard and let him go one on one.
To make matters worse, playing out of position did not prepare you as well as it could have for college ball. The other matter was road games. When the varsity was on the road trips, we would play the jucos on the road at their gym. This would come with a homer announcer and refs. If you made a turnover, the announcer would announce your name really crazy in front of a packed house. Bob and I would usually pick up a quick 3 fouls and it was not cool. A few times when we didn't let the juco's depth get to us, and had fair refs, we really hung in there. We played close on one a occasion with a highly ranked team and their 9th man came off the bench and hit 3 25 footers and killed us. We played this team about 3 times and this guy never got off the bench before. That was the kind of depth and strength we were up against. As a consolation, we beat a freshman team the next night by 20. It was the only freshman team we played all year, Georgia Tech.
This is another caveat one had at playing at Miami. The rest of Florida exclusive of Miami was very southern and Miami was considered another world, especially in those days. As such, Miami teams would always get the shaft from the refs, even at home. It got old real fast.
Now, the good part was we did get to go home for the holidays as freshmen. The NCAA in their infinite wisdom wanted the freshman year to be an adjustment for academics and adapting to college life away from home. If you want to see a ghost town, go to any university around the holidays. It is just the basketball team on campus.
The following year our freshman team consisted of Lionel Harris, a great guard, Mike Darnell, a fantastic shooter who would later transfer and Dave Kisker, a 7 footer with size in the middle. As an added bonus, we had NFL Minnesota Vikings great Walter "Chuck" Foreman, on the team. Chuck could have played D-1 basketball at many schools. Chuck was a world class high hurdler as well. Even with this talent, when foul trouble and injuries happened, this team would get in the same dilemna as our freshman team.
The above was the same pattern I saw the next few years after my freshman year. Miami would put 2 or 3 scholarship players on the floor against some of the best juco players in the country. Many times it would be a real struggle against the talent and depth the freshmen team faced. I saw this pattern around the country at many schools. It was the old saying, the names may change, but the game remains the same. Now the NCAA freshman basketball is a long time gone.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lionel Harris...A Team Mate and Friend

This one hurt. It put everything I was thinking about to the back and this has consumed me for over a week. I learned from former Hurricanes teammates that Lionel Harris had passed away in September. I read his obituary in the Washington Post. It really seems unfair that someones life is shortened to a couple paragraphs.

Lionel stepped onto the court at Miami and right away, you noticed his smoothness. He seemed to glide, but try to guard him and he blew right by you. He blew right by everyone. He slammed effortlessly on the goal, without the help of breakaway rims. In those days Miami had the worst of facilities, but players came there for the reputation of the program during Rick Barry's days when the Hurricanes were known for a flashy running style.

Many of the ABA pros came to play on campus during the off season at our gorgeous facility, the armory, seating capacity zero, with all the amenities including no air conditioning. I saw a lot of the glamor boys go head up with Lionel, and generally, they got schooled...even though he was a freshman and they were highly drafted pros. It would be a theme that would be repeated often during Lionel's short stay in Miami.

Lionel was good. What was better was that Lionel was humble and non pretentious off the court. What stood out to me was his smile, and when I saw it in his obituary it made me almost break down. Lionel said hi to everyone...not just the jocks, but everyone. He was popular and loved! When Lionel first came to Miami, we all looked at his yearbook...we did that with everyone. Lionel's yearbook was unique because it was dedicated to the principal of Cardoza High School, his alma mater. We asked why and he said he was killed during a holdup of the school bookstore. Lionel made it out and was a symbol of pride for his community.

At the bottom of the blog I will post some links that will give some highlights of his life. Lionel was one of the 100 best DC basketball players of all time. This is a great honor, because the Nations Capitol is one of the hotbeds for schoolboy basketball and recruiting. In fact, one link by Harold Bell sums up Lionel's' career nicely:

I attended Tommy’s wake on Thursday and attended Lionel Harris’ wake the next day. Lionel was also a first team All-Met basketball player at Cardozo High School in 1969-70.

I first met Lionel in 1968 when I became the assistant coach (wide receivers) for the Cardozo football team as a favor to my teammate, head coach, Bob Headen. Bob and I played against each other in high school and college and became teammates on the Virginia Sailors (a minor league team for the NFL Washington Redskins). Bob talked a half-dozen other Sailor teammates into volunteering their services. Cardozo football and basketball teams were top contenders in the West in the late 60s.

The classy Harold Dean was the head basketball coach during that era and Lionel Harris and Big Michael Jackson were the glue that held the “Clerks” together. They went into every game thinking that they could win and most times they did.

Lionel’s friend and classmate Earl Boone made sure his home going did not go unnoticed. During the wake he read letters from former DC Public Schools student/athlete (Dunbar) DC Mayor Vincent Gray and a basketball player wanna-be, President Barack Obama. We all should be so lucky to have the two leaders of the Nation’s Capitol say “Great Game!”

Lionel later transferred to Cincinnati where he started immediately. After Cincy, he was chosen in the first round of the NBA Supplemental Draft where he went to the 76ers. After he was cut, he never pursued a pro career. However, Lionel did keep playing and was voted the MVP in 1975 of the Urban Coalition Summer League. This was a league of active pros and collegians with fierce competition. Lionel was a legend around DC and schooled countless pros. This hit me as very refreshing, because here is a guy playing for the love of the game and playing at the highest level. There is so much to be said for that. It is a rare quality in the modern "show me the money"era.

Lionel, I remember when you had to be restrained because you were ready pounce on Artis Gilmore in a were only giving up 12 inches and a hundred pounds, but that didn't scare you. Lionel symbolized the ultimate teammate you wanted to go into battle.

Tragedy hit Lionel hard. In the late 80's, his son, Lionel Junior, a scholar, wrote a paper on random violence in the Washington area. The paper earned critical reviews, but the day after the paper was published, Lionel Junior was gunned down while waiting for a bus in a random act of violence. This story made headlines in USA today. Most parents cannot and do not want to imagine this kind of tragedy.

Lionel, we loved and respected you and we will all remember your smile. May you find peace on the big court in the sky.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Let's Jazz Up These College Nicknames

I was driving in my car when the little man in the radio said "tonight, the West Virginia Mountaineers host the LSU Tigers. West Virginia has a nickname that fits. They are, after all, the Mountain State. But other than the tiger in the cage in Baton Rouge, I have never seen a tiger in Louisiana. So, I have naturally volunteered my services and will try to rename a few names that seem appropriate.

University of Texas Longhorns-Really a fitting name...But whenever anyone comes to visit and they see those uniforms the band wears, they say "I told you it was this way in Texas." So we change the name to the Yahoos, in honor of the band uniforms and the boys that run onto the field in the Orange lame' cowboy suits while escorting their hallowed mascot Bevo. The Texas Yahoos. The helmets will have a big Y. Maybe they get a deal with to enhance the Longhorn network.

University of Arizona Wildcats will be changed to the Pollos and the helmets will have a big chicken on it. This will be in reference to all the illegal aliens crossing the border, called Pollos, or chickens in Spanish.

If U of Houston keeps the name Cougars, the logo has to have an outline of a woman in a tight dress smoking a cigarette while sitting on a bar stool, because there are no animal cougars in Houston except at the zoo.

Arizona State is pretty close with the Sun Devils, but how about "The Bubblers"? The helmet could have a house with a foreclosure notice on it in honor of the housing bubble in the Valley of the Sun.

Ohio State changes to the Ink Dogs in honor of the tattoos. The helmet has a tattoo artist sitting on a stool wearing a beret.

There's not too many bears in the Bay Area, so U Cal Berkley gets changed to the Bongsters in honor of the heritage laid down by the hippies of Haight Ashbury. The helmets could have the five fingered leafed plant, with a special Nike Combat uniform with all numbers designed as bongs and rolling papers.

Miami is hurricane country no doubt, but how about renaming the team the Wise Guys, in honor of all the East Coasters who think there are only two places in the world, Miami and Jersey.

Kentucky goes from the Wildcats to the Stillmen. Helmets have the new logo which is a jug of corn squeezins.

Southern Cal changes from the Trojans to the Country Clubbers and their helmets sport the tennis racket and golf iron criss crossed like the bones on a skull and cross bones . This is, after all, the school where mommy and daddy send you if you can't make the cut to Stanford.

Arkansas goes right to the name Hillbillies. Great marketing possibilities with any number of symbols for the helmets.

UTEP goes from The Miners to the Cartel. No big explanation needed being on the border with Juarez.

The Sooners of Oklahoma immediately change their name to the University of Oklahoma Texans in honor of all the Texas players on their football team. It just fits.

Oklahoma State changes their name to the T-Bones in honor of T-Boone Pickens and his generosity to the athletic department. Possibly dollar signs on their helmets or one of Boones new windmills.

UCLA immediately changes the name to the Surfers and has a surfboard on the helmet. When's the last time you saw a bruin in L.A.?

At Texas A and M, we rename them the Turf Kings. It is the home of agriculture correct? But we name them the new name because they recently changed to Astro Turf on the football field to keep the homecoming queen from eating the grass....(The world's oldest joke, had to say it.)

And finally, pick a team, any team in the SEC and rename them the Rednecks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No Alcohol Served at this Game; Miami Part 2

I had to go to Waco this weekend to see my daughters volleyball team play in a 4 way tournament at Baylor. The football crowd I encountered was unlike any I have ever been a part of.

I had tickets on the front row of Baylor-TCU. The last game I went to was a late start at Reliant about 7 years ago when the Texans were playing the Jets on a 3 o'clock kickoff. During the 3 o'clock kickoff, the fans still start the early morning tail-gating and the result is with the later kickoff, they are a ton more inebriated. Honestly, taking kids to a game where you have to walk around vomit and answer question about why the guy leaning on the the wall is sick is a total drag. Plus, the fighting is really getting out of hand. I always feel it's a successful year if I don't get sucked into a Texan game. The best seat is in your living room.

At Baylor they do not serve any alcoholic beverages at the athletic contests. Baylor is a Baptist school. Their opponent TCU is also a Christian based University (this is not an endorsement for any religion).

What was readily apparent was the lack of "that guy". You know who that is...the guy who is blasted out of his mind who is lacing a profanity in every other word. That guy is the man who makes it really crazy to go to a game with children or even by yourself because he is belligerent and a fool. That guy is the dude who says your team sucks. That guy was absent at the Baylor game. And I sort of liked it a whole bunch.

I don't begrudge anyone who can sensibly partake an alcoholic beverage at an athletic contest. Baseball would probably draw 50% if you couldn't have a beer at the ole ballgame. And, I really don't know what the answer should be. I only know that this weekend there were passionate fans rooting their hearts out for their respective teams, and these same fans gave respect when the other team made a great play.

I was able to appreciate this atmosphere because I haven't had a drink for quite a few years. I have went to games in the past where I did drink, but kept the foolish behavior down. It was a nice scene for a game played in a really different atmosphere.

As for the game, it was a track meet, a real fan's delight. Robert Griffin was a young Randall Cunningham. Some say Mike Vick because of his athleticism. I say Randall Cunningham because he really throws a fantastic ball. As a receiver, it is the type of ball you would like to catch. He has a great arm and tremendous speed. He is a world class hurdler in track. The game was off the chart. Follow Robert Griffin. He appears to be the real deal.
I was lucky enough to tour the Baylor Basketball training room and practice facility. The basketball teams training room is 6700 square feet. It has everything you can think of inside. The facility at Baylor would be the envy of most pro basketball teams. The stereo system costs $80,000. I won't bore you with all the details, but the dumbells have a grip about twice as big as a regular one at the local gym. This is because basketball players have bigger hands and this will give them a better forearm and wrist workout. Nothing, and I mean nothing is left to detail. The weight racks are 9 feet high to account for tall people.
There are 2 great articles I will give you links to about the Miami scandal. There was one thing I mentioned that really struck me as wrong about Shapiro. He is a world class liar and the journalist, Mr Robinson, seemed to take his word for granted.
Consider that you have boats, prostitutes and booze. So what is the missing ingredient in all this? Drugs, and of course, there was no mention of this. Why was there no mention? Because Shapiro does not want to open that Pandora's Box and get the drug people handing him more prison time. Also, there was no mention of Mr. Shapiro's letter to a judge asking him to free his father in the late 90's on a big embezzlement charge. Why was this left out. Again, there were some NCAA violations, just not as big as they were sensationalised in Yahoo. com. In some ways Robinson was sucked in much like the people Shapiro embezzled the 900 million from.

To me, Frank Haith, the basketball coach was painted very unfairly with a broad brush. I personally know George Fernandez the assistant coach at Miami. He has taken in former players after graduation to help them while they are getting their feet wet in the world of employment. This is after they graduated, so there is no underlying motivation. He is a very solid guy and to me it's total BS that he goes through any of this because of any guilt by association. I have met George's dad who used to coach with one of my old Miami coaches, Dick Hickox. Again, I cannot state what a solid guy George is and what a flimsy heresay bunch of garbage Shapiro has on him. Any evidence against him and Mr. Haith are flimsy and I would bet false. I will say it here: Haith and Fernandez did not jeopardize their jobs for 10 thousand dollars.

Check out Jason Whitlock's article by clicking below:

Also, Matt Taibbi has a very good article on this at:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ain't It Great...To Be..A Miami Hurricane

When the Man Pictured, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports comes knocking on your door, You best get out of town.

In about 1994 I told my oldest son that I would love to take him to a real stadium, Sun Devil Stadium, to see a game on a real grass field instead of this damn Astrodome. The opportunity finally presented itself, Miami was playing the University of Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium for the Fiesta Bowl. Being a Miami Alum, I hadn't been to a Hurricanes game in over 20 years. Plus, I grew up in Sun Devil Stadium, going back to when it held on 30 thousand people. My dad played for the Sun Devils and I was a brainwashed Wildcat hating Sun Devil fan (since then I have come to realize being a rabid fan is mostly BS).

During my visit to Phoenix, I paid a visit to the hotel the Canes were staying at to see a good friend, the late great Sonny Hirsch, the voice of the Canes and the funniest guy in the world. I was at Sonny's show, and it was the greatest. While at the hotel, I noticed the lack of control and how the football players were running around wild. Oh well, its a Bowl Game and kids will be kids. A friend said his wife was going to the Hurricane Club party that night and would I like to come. Since I never went, I agreed.

To my dismay, at the party, the same cheerleader that was legendary at Miami when I was there, was introduced as "the Mouth of the South" and did the same old tired cheers we used to have at our games. Ain't it great, to be, a Miami Hurrr AH Cane as well as a bunch of mumbo jumbo being yelled out to our unofficial fight song, "The Land of 1000 Dances". I left after about a half hour of bad memories. The next day I saw the perpetrators in sombreros under a souvenir stand with severe hangovers. The thing that really stood out was the old people with money that were escorting the players. I guess if you can't do much of anything for kicks anymore, you can always buy some friendship with a young athlete who is probably broke.

Athletes on a boat in Miami? Are you kidding! Any jock in the school could get invited to go on a boat. This is Miami and they were everywhere. Just go over to a frat house and someone will eventually ask you. Good looking women and cocktails. Miami is not exactly some Midwestern outpost where the women are eating bon bons all winter, dressing like Eskimos and putting on an extra 40 to 50 pounds. (As a side note, it cracks me up when these snowbound schools are rated in the top 25 in the party ratings. Although, it is probably so miserable when you don't see the sun for 9 straight months, being an alcoholic is maybe a good alternative. Hey lets go skinny dipping in the lake. Its a warm 10 above zero.)

Many of us got invited on boats. In fact, one time our guys didn't go and the boat capsized and mangled a really good guys leg and dumped the passengers in a bed of Man O Wars. So partying on boats has always been a Miami staple.

Charles Robinson does monumental research. His graveyard tombstones include, USC, Jim Tressel, North Carolina and more. The difference with Miami is this is a number one booster. Ohio State's booster was a 3rd tier booster. Miami had a ton of players on this deal, USC and Ohio State only a few. Former Miami AD and AD while some of this went down, Paul Dees, laid it on big and showed no mercy for USC in his role in advising the NCAA. Now the tables are turned on the program he ran. What will justice bring?

I hope this is all a lie. Shapiro is after all a professional liar. You have to be a very exceptional liar to embezzle people out of 900 MILLION DOLLARS. Still, I saw people in pictures I know. Pete Carol never hung with Reggie Bush's bagman and posed for a picture. Yet the head Basketball Coach and University President posed with Shapiro. This is just way too wierd. He said they knew. They were paid off and used his money for a student lounge and to recruit a player.

Why is it always the little Napoleonic complex guys, the midgets, that want to hang with the jocks? What's so special about being with someone that you have to buy their friendship? Most College kids will accept booze and boat rides. Bill Russell had it correct when he wouldn't sign autographs. He said kids should ask for their parents autographs. Bill Russell was right.

I have received opinions all day about this from my former team mates. I will put them out in a later post. They show no mercy to our school. Miami is not alone, but it is a place that can take craziness to the next level due to the unique sun soaked atmosphere.

Yesterday my Miami hat came in from Amazon. I decided to buy it because a real hero, Will Allen, the captain of our/my basketball team, is always wearing that hat. Will was our first Afro American basketball player at Miami. He is a difference maker ( He is feeding the poor of Nations, speaking at big universities and addressing the concerns of organic healthy food and making it available in blighted neighborhoods and third world countries. I want to end this on a good note. So, when you think of Miami, put Will Allen in your search engine and read about someone who was a really special Hurricane.