Nighthawk's Watch - What Congress and the NCAA have in common

The Nighthawk Watch

Today, we will ponder the earth-shattering (or not-so-much) question of what the NCAA and Congress have in common.

Both organizations have governing roles in the respective areas of authority. Both organizations change their rules interpretations and enforcement policies (sometimes drastically) when the controlling figures change. Hell, sometimes both organizations change their policies with the same person in charge. Both organizations play favorites depending on who's in charge - which really comes down to who has the money.

The NCAA tries to beat down schools like Boise State (sleeping on floors and couches? Happy Meals? SERIOUSLY?!?!?) and Georgia Tech ($314 in impermissible benefits to one player and a supposed interference with investigation) with major penalties and LOIC charges...but "money" schools UNC, Auburn, and Ohio State get off with what MIGHT amount to a slap on the wrist for turning into a hangout for agents and their runners...or the selling of a relative to the highest bidder, or tens of thousands of dollars (probably hundreds of thousands of dollars) over a number of years in free tattoos, vehicles, and God only knows what else.

I know that Georgia Bulldogs readers (if any) will probably disagree with me here due to their hatred of all things Gold and Black (Boise State fans have a similar hatred for those colors)...but lecturing all athletes about what is and is not appropriate and notifying your conference office of the potential violations is NOT interference or lack of cooperation with the investigation.

On the other hand...lying about violations until a Freedom of Information request is filed and turns up additional violations IS interference and lack of cooperation. Georgia Tech, I sympathize with you for your hammering at the hands of the ruthlessly inconsistent and hypocritical NCAA. Boise State and Illinois fans sympathize with you, as well. Just ask Illinois about their banhammering from the NCAA back in the '80s...courtesy of Iowa assistant coach sleazeball extraordinaire Bruce Pearl. I understand he somehow worked his way to become Tennessee's head basketball coach...where this fine, upstanding citizen of Knoxville dirtier than the contents of a septic tank lowlife was recently deposed for...lying about violations.

Oh, yes. Tennessee and LSU are now on probation with other penalties for their violations...which are nowhere near as significant as those at Ohio State. Can't forget that. Oregon might get off without penalties due to their exploitation of a loophole (which may actually have been accidental) in the NCAA's contradictory rulebook.

IN soccer, various English Premier League European pro teams are swinging through the United States and engaging various Major League Soccer teams here in a series of "friendly" matches. Yeah. About as friendly as a flaming scythe cutting through someone's midsection. MLS's record in those matches? 1-8-1, with 5 games still to be played. Apparently, the San Jose Earthquakes beat West Bromwich 1-0. I have no idea if West Bromwich is any good, but San Jose is 7th in their division and 11th out of 18 in points in we KNOW that they're not that good. The worst loss so far? Manchester United beat the Seattle Sounders to a 7-0 pulp. That would be the rough equivalent to Boise State's elite football program hanging 125 on a generally decent and well-respected football program (Nevada excluded from this category). Seattle is 3rd overall in MLS points standings right now.

A couple of friends from my church paid $160 a large amount of money each to go see Manchester United vs. Chicago Fire up in the middle of a massive heat wave. That got them 8 rows from the field. Both are United fans. Apparently, the Fire were up 1-0 at half...and then the brain of Manchester's coach started working again. He decided it wouldn't be easy to live down a loss to an MLS team back home in he subbed in three of his best players at halftime. Manchester United won 3-1. It must be nice for him to have a team so deep that he doesn't even have to start Wayne Rooney - only one of the world's top two or three players - if he doesn't want to.

In baseball...congrats to Mr. Blyleven, Mr. Alomar, and Mr. Gillick on your induction to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. All of you deserved this. You can't say that every year about the HOF inductees.

The NFL and the NFLPA non-unionized players (who are somehow negotiating with the NFL as a bargaining unit even though they decertified their union first) appear to have an agreement. The NFL season may now lose only the first week of preseason games (or, more likely, push everything back a week). Free agency will be a combination shotgun wedding/piranha feeding frenzy for this year only. Here's hoping that Ryan Winterswyk, Winston Venable, and Jeron Johnson catch on with someone and make it onto at least the practice squad somewhere, if not the actual roster.

Finally, Olivet Nazarene University will continue their annual tradition of selling their institutional soul to the devil that is known as the Chicago Bears for three weeks in August. Then again, their administration sold out to the almighty dollar years at the expense of their students, faculty, and spiritual "mission" years ago. Fortunately, this problem seems to be limited to Olivet (at least, as far as other Nazarene institutions go).

One-line observations:

- The Seattle Mariners are worse than the Chicago Cubs, apparently (15 game losing streak).

- Boise State QB commit gets props from peers (Gunner Kiel, Jameis Winston) and jokes about lack of height from talent "evaluators."

- Boise State coaches and fans couldn't care less what the evaluators think about the latest stud QB to join the program...Patti's a gamer who knows how to win, and that's really all that matters.

- MLS's best probably can't hold Manchester United's jockstraps next week when the MLS All Stars play them.

- Mike Leach's book is very interesting and one-sided, according to others who have read it.

- Most Big Ten fans who don't like Ohio State want to vomit over the fact that the Buckeyes aren't getting a LOIC charge.

- If the US Congress does not raise the debt ceiling this week, worldwide economic armageddon may occur.

- Read up on Shay's Rebellion. The situation is eerily similar to what is happening now, just with far more global impact.

Questions, comments, additions? Post them below.

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