I’m in West Palm Beach this weekend, watching my son play baseball and hanging out at Mar-a-Lago. Well, I’m watching baseball. I’ll tweet out something if I see the president or any FBI guys. It has rained a lot down here so I won’t be chasing foul balls. Lots of standing water, which in my mind means one thing: alligators.
Wright State is catching some flak for bumping up its athletic budget by $1.4 million. Some people are calling foul, but what they don’t seem to grasp is that WSU has blown past that line item in recent years because the number was kind of a suggestion, not a hard budget. I teamed with ace Columbus bureau reporter Laura Bischoff to report on this topic last July.
The budget increase puts athletics in line with its actual spending in recent years. Athletics chews up a sliver of WSU’s total budget; sports aren’t the problem at the university. WSU athletic director Bob Grant and his crew will meet their number, which now is realistic. Cutting athletics, which some have called for, wouldn’t do much for the bottom line. Grant deserves a chance to run his department with realistic spending goals.
I like Jalen Rose. The former Fab Five star is breaking new ground by starring in a sitcom on ESPN called Jalen vs. Everybody. I watched the first episode and Rose was funny. But he also tackles issues that baffle many fathers – mainly kids and social media. The walkoff scene with Kobe Bryant was classic. While chatting with Rose, Bryant is asked by a waiter how many olives he wants in his martini. Bryant says 81, the number of points he put up on the Raptors, and mostly Rose, in a game in 2006.
Bob Stoops retired last week at age 56. Many were stunned that he would leave Oklahoma after 18 great football seasons. Stoops said during a press conference that one of the reasons he’s hanging up his whistle is because he wants to “live life.” Good for him. Coaching at the highest levels of college and pro sports yields great rewards, but it takes a toll (see Trending down). With the huge salaries, I can see more coaches taking this route.
The Cavaliers were three minutes from making the NBA Finals extremely competitive. The Warriors’ 11-0 run to close out Game 3 and claim a 118-113 victory at Cleveland will haunt LeBron James for quite some time, or until he takes his first exotic vacation this offseason. The Cavs showed some moxy by blowing out the Warriors in Game 4, but Golden State will return the favor in Game 5.
Trending up: Shay Knighten, Scooter Gennett, Hank Williams Jr. Oklahoma won its second straight Women’s College World Series softball title, thanks in large part to the heroics of Knighten. She hit a three-run homer in the 17th inning in Game 1 of the best-of-3 series, sinking top-seeded Florida. A night later she helped clinch the title for the Sooners with more clutch hitting.
Trending down: Thad Matta, Darron Lee, Antonio Calloway. Matta had a great 13-year run at Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to two Final Fours. But Matta was shown the door after two subpar seasons and a poor run of recruiting. His bad back didn’t help the situation; I’m guessing there was all kinds of negative recruiting going on. Matta, who turns 50 in July, was the victim of a meat grinder of a business.
KNUCKLEHEAD OF THE WEEK
Lane Kiffin, the new football coach at Florida Atlantic University in tony Boca Raton, recently offered a young prospect an athletic scholarship. How young? Sixth grade. Kiffin made an offer to a kid name Pierce Clarkson. We can assume the kid knows how to throw a football because his dad is QB guru Steve Clarkson, who has worked with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Leinart (who maybe should ask for his money back). Just in case the young Clarkson turns him down, Kiffin also offered a 13-year-old kid from California. What is wrong with this guy? Nick Saban should have yelled at him more.