SPORTS w/The Jock 6-2-11

by Tom Weppel
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen and heard about all kinds of wild goings-on in the sports world. Most of these happenings have taken place OFF the playing field, and NOT during competition! I say that in the positive sense, and of course we’ll take it from there!
The whole situation with Ohio State and their football program seems as if it was inevitable, and certainly NOT unexpected! It doesn’t surprise me their football players have gotten various deals, including cars, and cash for their championship rings, and been treated with some strong degree of dignity.
In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that happens in a lot of situations, near a lot of major college campuses, involving a good number of top-shelf, well-known college athletes! And this is not the first time a major school will be getting punished for wrong doing, as you all have to certainly be aware (and it won’t be the last!).
My guess now is that resigned Head Coach Jim Tressel can and will become a TV commentator, wither it be in-studio, or at games. We can also expect QB Terrelle Pryor to go pro and get picked up by an NFL team, since his justification for staying in Columbus would indeed be very slim. If I were him, I’d get out of there asap, especially considering his DL has been suspended!
Now, with all this said, my only curiosity centers on how the other Big Ten schools feel about this, including the players, coaches, and administrators. One angle might see them feeling good, knowing their chief rival has been deposed and set for impending doom! Another angle might be in feeling bad, since one of their brethren has now shown true colors, which can’t be a good thing.
One other thought/consideration…does this situation mean the NCAA should do a better job of policing and or governing their schools? I don’t think there is any question a lot of actions are working here that are NOT positive! Perhaps U.S. Government officials are stepping out of their bounds by looking into doing something to, for, or with the NCAA. We shall see how it all continues to unfold…
Meanwhile, on an international scale, there has been a lot of bad blood flowing within the ranks of FIFA, and their governing president, 75-year old Sepp Blatter. There is no question soccer is the most popular sport in the world, hands-down. That allows FIFA to hold a lot of power in oh, so many ways, including determining where World Cup tournaments will be played, and who should be allowed to participate and how. There has been a number of issues to deal with that have generated negative publicity, including bribery, and bad judgment on decision-making.
Usually in situations like this, the only way to turn the tide here is for there to be change, mainly at the top. Unfortunately, that will not happen any time soon, as Bladder was just re-elected to serve another four-year term as president of the organization.
How all this can and will affect future matches and play on the field, is a whole ‘nother story. I would think it might be tough to influence personnel from various countries, but certainly not immune.
The other aspect here, is that there is no real governing body overseeing FIFA, so they can virtually do whatever they damn well please, for all intents.
Again, we shall see how things play out as we go…

Boston and Vancouver are goin’ at it in the Stanley Cup Finals, which are ongoing as we speak. With the Canucks playing out of a Canadian town in a small market, the draw for this Finals is not too strong.
Nonetheless, whoever wins this championship will certainly have plenty to soak in, especially considering their most recent, brief history. Both teams entered their first playoff meeting looking to end Stanley Cup droughts. Vancouver has never won the N.H.L. title in the franchise’s four decades of existence, losing its only two trips to the finals, in 1982 to the Islanders and in 1994 to the Rangers. Boston has lost five finals since winning the title in 1972.
And so the winner will have a parade and celebrate, while the loser will certainly wonder ‘what if’…
The NHL will now have a franchise back in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Atlanta Thrashers were sold by their owners, and it had become obvious Atlanta simply was not supporting the hockey franchise like it needed.
There is no question there is a passion for following the NHL and the sport of hockey in Winnipeg. Many of the residents of that small market will have an interest in wanting to follow there squad (whatever their name will be, Thrashers or otherwise). What I found interesting was having NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stating he felt their home games might have to be sold out consistently for them to realize success from a financial standpoint.
The reason for that is because Winnipeg is not a corporate home for many businesses. Support from major groups and corporations is usually essential for any sports franchise to sustain itself. And so it will be quite interesting in observing the way in which Winnipeg will follow its new hockey team…

The Court hearing on Friday will have oh, so much to do with the future in how things will operate between the NFL owners and their players. A decision for the owners could allow them to uphold their lockout, giving them a stronghold on what can and will happen in consideration of the upcoming NFL season. A decision by the judges in favor of the players could allow them to negotiate, if nothing else, a short-term deal that could allow things to get back in gear for the League, their teams, and the employees, including the players.
What is more interesting about this whole scenario, is that each side sincerely wants fans to be on their side and see it THEIR way! But the real deal here, is that fans are not taking sides! The only thing they want is for things to get back into motion, no matter what!
Nonetheless, we shall see how this thing unfolds. It is playing out like some nasty reality show, for all intents…