The Greeks Did It Right

Blame it on the Greeks.

They started the world’s greatest sports event, the Olympic Games, and have allowed us to get in the shameful mess we are now in.

When the Greeks started the Olympics their athletes competed dressed only in their birthday suits, men and women.

We’ve come close to matching that, but a little flesh IS covered in all events, amateur and professional.

If any of the Greeks cheated in competition, there is no record of it.

No, they left it for us Americans to do that – and worse.

We are in the midst of the damnedest sports mess in our history and, as usual, Americans are right in the middle of it.

People who most likely are the smartest Americans, our college leaders, are in the muck up to their necks.

It is inconceivable that any college executive would allow any of its leaders – and I use the word lightly – to allow a grown man, in this case the head basketball coach of the men’s team of Rutgers University, to act like an absolute idiot and hit and push players and question their manhood. Mike Rice is the basketball coach who was guilty of all of those things that can’t be denied because everything he did we have seen on videotape. As usual, ESPN broke the story. As I watched it, I found myself asking why anyone would have allowed Rice to keep his job. He even had managers stand behind him and keep him in a supply of balls to fire at players.

His boss, Director of Athletics Tim Pernetti, saw the tape and fined the coach $50,000 and suspended him for three games, but did not fire the coach.

Why wasn’t the A.D. fired? Apparently his job was saved because he led a successful move that gained Rutgers admission to the Big Ten, a conference that will mean millions of dollars to the Rutgers’ sports treasury.

Sorry things can be found in many other sports. Americans managed to bring shame even to bicycle racing. Basketball games have been thrown so gamblers can take extra money from suckers. Now comes a report that Auburn University has offered money to get football players to stay in school an extra year rather than enter their names in the National Football League draft. Another report is that players’ grades have been changed to keep them academically eligible.

We have made some progress. Back in days of the Great Depression, football players would finish their eligibility at colleges in the south and then come north and continue to play. Jobs were that scarce.