Saturday, May 29, 2010


I've never had the chance to cover UConn men's basketball. I've never met Jim Calhoun. I cannot say that I have any professional insight on what goes on inside a big-time college program. My perspective is nothing more than that of a casual observer who once treasured college sports a lot more than he does today.

College sports began with nothing but good intent. You know, my school's better than your school so let's have a game. Now, like so many other things that were once wonderful, it's all about money.

I believe it was that great TV philosopher Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce who said something to this effect: "The three basic human drives are greed, sex and greed." Division I college football and basketball rake in so much money and universities across the land have become so dependent on the windfall that greed courses through the very heart of the institution.

Big-time television contracts and huge revenue from tickets and advertising have created a recruiting scene dominated by shaky individuals under the auspices of AAU that rivals the underworld made relevant by crime and corruption. On the other side of the fence is an administering body so holier than thou that otherwise honest people can't help but become corrupt.

Which brings me to the issue at hand, the NCAA sanctions coming down the pike that have UConn fans holding their breath and the subsequent resignation of two assistant coaches. One of them -- Patrick Sellers -- was once a humble high school coach at St. Thomas Aquinas in New Britain.

I got to know Patrick in those days and found him to be a heck of a coach who loved his kids and a man who a sports writer could enjoy chatting with about the game. Patrick appears to me to be a scapegoat in this shady episode of flesh-peddling intrigue that hangs like a cloud of mustard gas over people who are inherently good.

I'm not smart enough to write a dissertation on how the NCAA could evolve into an organization that is fair to the so-called student athlete, tough on the criminals who have perpetrated an erstwhile benevolent organization like the AAU with the common sense necessary to alter the No Man's Land of major college basketball. All I know is that it must be done.

I do feel that college should be for those who wish to study and that the NBA's Developmental League is more geared for those who have no intention of seeking a college education and just seek to polish their resume for the pro game. The D-League should be to the NBA what minor league baseball in to MLB.

That's as far as I'm going to go here. Perhaps if they began there, people like Patrick Sellers wouldn't have to be hiding from the media now as my colleagues who cover the UConn beat do their best to find out exactly what went wrong and who's to blame. My only concern isn't whether UConn will be able to compete for national championships or not. I hope Pat Sellers lands on his feet.

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