Right now many people are asking why shouldn’t Jim Boeheim be treated in the same fashion as the Penn State situation. Totally unique and different scenarios. #1 in the case at Syracuse Jim Boeheim was never, ever told by anyone that they had seen his assistant Bernie Fine in a sexual situation. At Penn State, there was an indictment and charges against Jerry Sandusky and a coach on the staff had reported to Joe Paterno that he witnessed Sandusky in the shower engaged in a sexual situation with a youngster. Totally different, not the same in any shape or form. Obviously sexual abuse on anyone is sad and sickening. All the facts will eventually come out regarding the Bernie Fine situation at Syracuse as the police are in an investigation and we must wait until all the information is provided. Until then, please don’t compare the Jim Boeheim situation with Penn State. Right now, they are totally different.
Hey in college basketball we are light years ahead of college football. Why? Very simple. Take a look at college football this weekend. You had Oklahoma State getting upset by Iowa State, you had USC beating Oregon, you had Baylor beating Oklahoma. These losses end any dream or any possibility for those teams playing for a national title. Same can be said for Houston, who go undefeated and still no shot. In college basketball if you lose a game or two it isn’t going to hurt you because come March everyone is equal. Yes March Madness is light years ahead of what transpires with the BCS in football. Think about it, in college basketball we have had many shocks already but come March it won’t matter. We have had Presbyterian beating Cincinnati, Elon beating South Carolina, Coastal Carolina beating LSU, Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee over UCLA, Cleveland State over Vanderbilt and it goes on and on. Yes magical moments for many of these schools but come March the big guys will have a chance again when it really counts. And that my friends is the difference from college football and college basketball.
I had a great time yesterday afternoon at the New York Athletic Club where I was honored by ESPN radio in NYC at their Legend’s Luncheon. The event also helped raise money for the V Foundation as they raffled signed Dickie V Hall of Fame basketballs to each table. We will collect several thousand dollars that will go towards the Dick Vitale’s Gala $1,000,000 research grant for kids battling cancer. A super afternoon. My wife and I then cruised the busy streets of NYC, including a stop in Times Square and Radio City Music Hall.
History was made at Madison Square Garden as Coach Mike Krzyzewski became the all-time leader in wins by posting his 903 win over Michigan State. What made it so intersting was that his mentor Robert Montgomery Knight was calling the game on the sideline for ESPN. Think about it, I firmly believe we will never see this again in any major sport – where a pupil bypasses his mentor to become an all time winner in their respective sport. And that is exactly what has happened. Coach K, a former West Point Cadet playing for Bob Knight, has had an illustrious career. His numbers are unreal – 4 National Championships, 15 years he has had Duke at #1, 13 ACC Championships, won a gold medal coaching the USA Olympic team, and 79 wins in the NCAA. All I can simply say is congratulations to the best leader in all of sports whether it be NFL, MLB, NHL or the NBA. There is no one that is a better leader than Coach K. Congratulations on an incredible achievement. But trust me, he is not done. He will eventually join the 1,000 win club where he will join Pat Summitt of Tennessee.
What a year it has been!!! I can’t believe that in 2011 I met Pope Benedict XVI in Italy and now President Obama on the Carrier Ship. I’m checking things off my Bucket List Baby!!! Check out the video of my introduction to President Obama at the Carrier Classic!
I have had the thrill of my life to being a part of this special event. What makes it so special is that we often talk about athletes being heroes. To me, an athlete is someone to admire and respect their talents and skills. But genuine heroes are those I shared a moment with on the Carrier Ship USS Carl Vinson. I met a bunch of beautiful men and women who represent our nation with such pride and passion. So special in every way, the true stars of Veterans Day. They allow us to have all the freedoms we posses. The game features #1 North Carolina and Michigan State, both led by two outstanding coaches. A special, special day on Veteran’s Day, as we honor all those who played a vital role in protecteing us over the years. Mark Fischer and Nick Bollettieri joined me on the trip to San Diego. I can’t thank Admiral Perez and Captain Lindsey for the tour they provided of the ship. The ship is 4 1/2 acres inside but what makes it so special is the sailors that live on it.
In all my years working at ESPN, as I start my 33rd season this weekend on the Carrier Ship as North Carolina takes on Michigan State, it will be a special, special moment. But I must reflect on the Joe Paterno situation and the Penn State scandal. It is without question the worse I have witnessed in my years in all my years in sports. It is so sad what has transpired. What could have maybe been eliminated if people would have had the guts and fortitude to stand up and go to authorities to make sure this came to an end. I find it mind boggling when reading the Grand Jury Report that as early as the late 90’s that people were reporting Jerry Sandusky for being involved in scenarios that were inappropriate, to put in mildly. Yes I can’t comprehend how no one went to the police and the proper authorities. If only they would have stood tall and had some guts. To believe this went on all these years and everyone turned their back is hard to comprehend. There is no doubt the university had to move in the direction they did, firing the President and also Joe Paterno. It really breaks my heart because I have great admiration and respect for what Joe Paterno brought to intercollegiate athletics. But he fumbled this big time.
Yes there have been so many people that broke down. When I think of Penn State I think of a great university. But they were let down by their leaders. They were gutless at a time when they had to stand tall. And because of their lack of courage, many young people will be scarred for life. Tragic, and sad. To think about it, Joe Paterno 409 wins the winningest coach ever in Division I football, will now be remembered by this scandal.
I had such an incredible weekend visiting the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with my wife, daughter, son in law and three grand kids. I wanted to show them the unique experience of the Air Force/Army football game. I can’t thank Dave Pilipovich and Captain Tom Bellairs (both assistants in the men’s basketball department) enough for taking us around all weekend and making our stay so enjoyable. We were blown away by the discipline and work ethic of the cadets at the Academy. Such remarkable young men. I had the pleasure of addressing all the cadets at lunch time and giving them the official command to eat!!! Watching the 4,000 cadets march in unison to the cafeteria for lunch is something I will never forget. I also had the opportunity to spend some time talking with the basketball team at their practice on Friday. What a terrific group of men Coach Reynolds has. What they may lack in size and quickness, they will certainly make up for in toughness and effort.
The game was a tough one as usual against Army, but Air Force dominated the second half to pull out the W and win the Commander and Chief trophy. They now get to visit the White House and President Obama in the spring.
Truly a remarkable weekend…