These are strange, strange days for the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert . He wants to look up and feel like dancing in a shower of confetti. Instead, he looks up and must run from a curtain of acid rain.
The calendar says these are supposed to be the best of times: College basketball wraps up its ultimate party with the men’s national championship Monday night and then the women’s finale a day later. On these events, the NCAA shield shines with a polished glean.
But so much else on Emmert’s watch — and just this week — would batter that NCAA shield and leave it crumpled, defaced with graffiti.
Basketball would try to put a happy face on Emmert’s kingdom right now, but it’s a mask that fails to hide all of the ugliness underneath.
Rutgers fires its basketball coach, sees its athletic director resign in scandal and its president under pressure to do the same after a video surfaces showing the angry, bully-coach physically abusing players and using homophobic slurs.
A separate report alleges Auburn paid football players and altered grades in 2010, tainting a national-championship team.
And, of course, Miami petitions the NCAA to drop its case against UM entirely in a scathing 45-page motion that details wrongdoing by NCAA investigators that tainted the case. Even Emmert had to admit — at a news conference in Atlanta on Thursday that was supposed to be about basketball and happy stuff but turned real — that “the Miami issue had some enormous foul-ups in it.”
You know that gruesome broken leg Louisville guard Kevin Ware sustained? And how hard it was to watch the replay of it?
That video of Rutgers coach Mike Rice abusing his players was even harder to watch.
Both made you sick. Only one made you angry.
The sport will soon crown a major new champion, and you’ll see that NCAA logo everywhere. The brand is tarnished, though. It is damaged.
And no amount of cheering Monday night, no amount of joyful photos from a net-cutting ceremony, will hide the stink rising all around Mark Emmert.
Geez, that’s about enough with real life. Can we get to the nonsense, please!?• A scientist has predicted man will be extinct within 5 million years. So there you have it, Dolphins. Your time frame is set to win another Super Bowl. Tick, tock.
• It is 18 days till the NFL Draft and Mel Kiper Jr. is now predicting Miami’s No. 1 pick will be Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker . So if you were getting all excited about the draft, please calm down.
• The Dolphins are hoping a favorable vote in a referendum will OK almost $200 million in public funds for stadium improvements. Another option might be to get all of the Dolphins’ celebrity part-owners to contribute something to the club other than their pearly smiles. Just a thought.
• Doral’s Blue Monster is undergoing a $200 million renovation. Hmm. Anybody else notice that owner Donald Trump did not seek a referendum or public funds?
The home of Heat star Chris Bosh was burglarized of $340,000 in jewelry while he was off feted at a Moroccan-themed birthday party featuring two live camels. So the camels have an iron-clad alibi.• A Miami Herald poll is under way to name the 25 most influential figures in the 25-year history of the Heat, the unwieldy ballot including everyone from marginal former players to obscure front-office executives. On the bubble in 25th place when last I checked: A dead heat between the kid who wipes the sweat off the court and Myrtle the Golden Oldie.
• Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he might draft Baylor’s Brittney Griner . Cuban denied he was just looking for attention, but nobody believed him.
• UM’s Jim Larrañaga was named National College Coach of the Year by The Associated Press. Everything started turning right for Larrañaga once he put the tilde over the “n.”
• Basketball coach Richard Pitino dropped FIU like it was stolen goods when a better program from a bigger conference came calling. He was one (season) and done. No surprise. His soundtrack coming to FIU might as well have been The Monkees’ Stepping Stone .
• Baylor’s men beat Iowa for the NIT crown. I don’t wanna say the NIT isn’t a big deal but, in lieu of a championship parade, Baylor returned to a campus welcome from two guys giving a thumb’s up.
The Big East changed its name to American Athletic Conference and also quietly changed addresses and donned a wig in an effort to elude creditors.
• Some recent positive signs too late, Panthers are realistically out of NHL playoff hunt with 10 games left in regular season. It turns out last year’s division title did not really happen. You imagined it.• UM baseball team was slumping badly entering a weekend home series against Florida State. The good news: Given the Marlins’ woes, the Canes might still be best baseball team in Miami.
• The Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ third season began Saturday in the reconstituted NASL. The club has begun referring to its home as “historic Lockhart Stadium.” That means it’s old and needs a major upgrade.
• Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave a six-year, $108 million contact extension to Tony Romo . I worry about Jerry. I think that’s one of the early signs of dementia.
• Parting thought: The bad news: North Korea’s lunatic dictator has threatened the United States with a “merciless” nuclear attack. The good news? Dennis Rodman will be going back over there to calm his close friend down.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote.