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Saturday, July 12, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 1/27/2013

COMMENTARY

NCAA’s error worth a chuckle

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

Idle thoughts from an idle mind, thinking the only way I’d waste three hours watching the Pro Bowl is if the other 1,742 channels on my cable went blank. And then I’d read a book.

■ The NCAA has finally found a worthwhile investigatory target. It is the NCAA.

There is little, if any, moral high ground now for the oh-so-moral regulatory body of college athletics.

In short, while investigating the mess at Miami, a case built around a booster who is incarcerated over a Ponzi scheme, someone with the NCAA apparently contracted with the booster’s attorney to ask some questions during a deposition.

Without subpoena power, the NCAA should not have had such access nor been privy to the answers.

The embarrassed and angry NCAA president admitted to “a very severe issue of improper conduct,” indicated some heads have already rolled, and said an independent investigation had been ordered into the how’s and why’s of the troubling incident.

Many among the NCAA’s critics are having a good chuckle.

■ I think most family, friends, and longtime readers would identify me as a traditionalist who is slow to embrace change. Oddly, the older I get the less that may be true. But I have to admit I surprised myself Saturday night by liking very much the uniforms worn by both Toledo and Bowling Green during the UT men’s 75-62 win at Savage Arena.

The Rockets donned retro unis that were actually retro to nothing any UT teams have worn before. Coach Tod Kowalczyk was going for something akin to the old ABA days. The jerseys and shorts combined to stretch bold blue and gold stripes from shoulders to knees on one side. There were oversized numbers front and back, although smaller on the front and set off-center with the word TOLEDO underneath. Very slick.

The Falcons, on the other hand, wore rarely-seen gray road uniforms that incorporated slices of orange. And you know what? It works. Bowling Green has been brown and orange for about 100 years but, truthfully, it’s not a particularly pleasing combination. Now that we’ve offended BG followers and NFL fans from across northern Ohio, we’ll move on …

■ UT’s retro jerseys were part of “Tie One On” night, a fund-raising effort held for the third straight season to support prostate cancer care at the school’s Dana Cancer Center. Nine fans successfully bid on the uniforms and had their last names — not players’ names — embroidered on the accompanying warm-up tops. A nice touch.

Coaches from both schools, and countless fans who financially supported the effort, wore specially-designed bow ties.

Thus, they tied one on.

The campaign raised about $20,000 in its first two years and we’re guessing — and hoping — they more than matched that Saturday.

■ It’s Super Bowl week so brace yourself for Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis, and more Ray Lewis, the soon-to-retire Baltimore Ravens linebacker who will be playing in his final game of an iconic career.

We are reminded, though, of the aftermath of a Super Bowl party in Atlanta in late January, 2000, when two men were stabbed to death and Lewis was one of three indicted on murder charges. He agreed to plead guilty to a reduced obstruction-of-justice charge in exchange for testifying against the other defendants, who were acquitted. He paid to settle civil suits.

We may never know Lewis’ full involvement, if any, but doesn’t it have to be part of his story?

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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