A GRIP ON SPORTS
Was it a busy Saturday? Well, you decide. The Cougars played their spring game. The Eagles played their spring game. It seems as if the Vandals played their bowl game Friday night. And there was an uproar in the NBA that had nothing to do with the officiating – or the games for that matter. Read on.
• The most covered item on SportsCenter last night wasn't the NBA or NHL playoffs. It wasn't a spring game down South or boxing match. It was a tape played on TMZ. And what a tape it was. It purportedly showed LA Clipper owner Donald Sterling (pictured) – already ensconced in his own wing of the Worst Professional Owners of All-Time Hall of Fame – making racist remarks. As one could expect, it lit a firestorm around a league dominated by African-American players, as well it should. There was talk of boycotts, there was talk of suspensions, there was just a whole heck of a lot of talk. But action? That will have to wait. Pro league do things in a deliberate manner, especially pro leagues with a first-year commissioner – in this case Adam Silver, who replaced David Stern earlier this year – at the helm. The next few days in this news story will be interesting to watch unfold, because there is no way it is going away quietly. Unless of course Sterling bows out. And that's not something he's shown a propensity to do in the past.
• Around here one of the big news stories came out of Moscow, where the Vandals announced their football team had been hit with an APR penalty. What's the APR? It's a flawed academic standard the NCAA is using in an attempt to show the organization puts graduation above athletics. The flaw in the system is the APR docks schools for some things that are out of their control. Say a player gets homesick. He or she decides to head home right now. They leave. That's a lost point. They leave and drop all their classes, meaning they are no longer eligible. That's another lost point. No matter what the school has done to help that student/athlete, the two points are deducted. Get too many of those two-point deductions, and the school's APR score in that sport drops below the NCAA-mandated limit. In Idaho's case, the players who have left – and the coaches that recruited them – are no longer there. So who pays the price? The players who stayed and worked their butts off to keep their grades up. That sounds really fair.
• WSU: Let's get to the Cougars' Saturday in Spokane. Jacob Thorpe, John Blanchette and Dan Pelle were all there from the Review and all covered a different aspect of WSU's spring game. ... Jacob has the overall story and has a blog post with statistics. He also has a morning post with links. ... John has a column from the game focusing on the defensive backs. ... And Dan has photographs of the action. ... Jacob also has a blog post on another basketball commitment.
• Whitworth: It was a good day for the Pirate track team.
• Chiefs: For the second consecutive year, the WHL finals will feature Portland and Edmonton.
• Shock: The long trip to Tampa was worth it for the Shock, who earned a 53-41 win over the Storm. Jim Meehan has a blog post on the victory. ... The Portland Thunder won its first game as an AFL member.
• Seahawks: The seeming snub by the NFL of the Hawks and prime time home games is much ado about nothing according to Larry Stone. ... The Hawks have hired a consultant to help them evaluate the draft next month. ... Five questions Seattle will have to answer.
• Mariners: Remember that scene in "Kung Fu Panda" in which Jack Black voices my most prevalent thought of the past 10 years? "Stairs, my nemesis." Substitute "Rangers" for "stairs" and you have Felix Hernandez's thoughts right now. Once again Texas battled against Felix and scored the game-winning runs against the bullpen in its 6-3 win last night at Safeco. ... Lloyd McClendon made a change in the lineup and it made an immediate impact. ... The god-awful transfer rule (pictured) has been clarified by Major League Baseball. ... There are nine Mariners on the All-Star ballot. Insert your own joke here. I'm not touching it.
• Sounders: You want offensive excitement these days, head across the street from Safeco to CenturyLink, where Clint Dempsey and friends are on a roll. The Sounders rolled over Colorado yesterday, 4-1, as Dempsey had two more goals. ... The win put Seattle atop the MLS standings. ... Everyone in a Sounder uniform seemed happy as was coach Sigi Schmid. ... The Rapids, on the other hand, were not.
• Have a good Sunday. Let's hope the weather clears up a bit. The outlook is for temperatures in the 70s – that is a seven and a zero – for the middle of the week. Now we're talking. Until later ...