Before I get into my column this week, let me start with something far more serious than the silly world of sports.
Not all news is good news and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the passing of Ray Blakney, my immediate predecessor at The Courier News.
Unlike several people with this newspaper and so many of you in the community, I did not know Ray well. I knew him for roughly two weeks. I worked a few hours each day while he worked his nal two weeks at The Courier News.
In our brief time working together, we did manage to share a few laughs in particular on a Thursday night trip to Kingsport to watch Clinton play Dobyns-Bennett. We got lost going up there and coming back.
Sportswriters aren’t navigators. Never mind that Ken gave us printed directions or that we stopped for additional directions at two different gas stations somewhere in the greater Tri-Cities area. We got to the game about 30 seconds ahead of the National Anthem. We couldn’t help but laugh about it.
In light of what happened to the Dragons that night that was about all we could do.
I wouldn’t say that Ray and I were friends but we were acquaintances. I’m saddened at his passing and I join everyone at The Courier News in extending my condolences to his family and friends.
Last week I expressed an opinion about the future of Sean Miller, the head basketball coach at Arizona. I really didn’t believe he would coach again.
I was wrong.
Not only is Miller back on the sidelines for the Wildcats he also has the backing of the university president and the Arizona Board of Regents. The support of the univer-
sity president in and of itself does not impress me. We have a tendency to place university presidents on a pedestal and I’ve yet to gure out why.
They are human beings subject to the same temptations as everyone else. Contrary to popular opinion, they like winning national championships too.
University presidents are largely why the NCAA has become so stagnant and irrelevant.
The fact that board of regents stands behind him speaks volumes. These are generally people of great reputations and respect. If they are willing to place that on the line to back Miller then they have a reason.
They are apparently convinced either he didn’t pay anyone to come there to play or that he has covered his tracks well enough to protect the program.
ESPN reported the FBI had wiretaps of Miller offering to pay $100,000 to Deandre Ayton to sign with Arizona. It turns out that the wiretaps in question were not even put in place until several months after Ayton signed with the Wildcats.
In fact, there is currently no evidence that Miller offered money to any recruit represented by sports agent Christian Dawkins, one of the primary targets of the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball.
I have no doubt that corruption exists in college athletics, not just basketball. Too many so-called “insiders” have come out of the woodwork condemning the corruption since the FBI probe was announced last fall.
You know, the same corruption that did not seem to appall them before the federal investigation was announced, but that’s beside the point.
At this point we do not know when the federal investigation will end but I’ll go out on a limb and say very few, if any, college coaches or athletes will actually face criminal prosecution.
I maintain the biggest impact of this investigation will be a revamped NCAA or a totally new governing body for college athletics.
I’ll be shocked if any program faces real sanctions as a result of the fallout from the investigation.
Then again, I could be wrong — I proved that last week.