Across the Commonwealth 6/28

06/28/2011 11:55 AM

I’m not going to hate on John Calipari’s contract extension. I’m not sure that it really means a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but the marketplace is the marketplace, and with the rapid-fire way he revitalized UK basketball, Cal has earned his spot at the top of the food chain. The UK job is the most demanding in the country, and Cal is tailor-made to handle it.
It also makes me realize that now, more than ever, the NCAA needs to come up with some kind of way to compensate the players.
Kids aren’t stupid. They see coaches and administrators getting rich while they can’t even get a cut of their own jersey sales. Why are so many college players jumping to the league at the first opportunity? Easy. They’re starting to figure out that it’s all a racket.
They’ll never say it publicly, but how many 18, 19, and 20-year old kids are thinking right now, “I’m out here busting my you-know-what, practicing 20 hours a week, going to class, dealing with pressure from my coaches, administrators, fans, friends, AND family, getting yelled at all the time.. and all these other people are getting rich while I can’t even accept a free meal?”
And don’t even get me started on the BCS. Another fundamentally-flawed system that’s in place to make sure certain folks get paid.
Message to the NCAA: If you want to keep putting out the best product possible, you better figure something out.

-Cal has already expressed his ideas about compensating players with and other outlets. The Messenger-Advocate’s Larry Vaught has a recap here: Vaught

-The C-J’s Rick Bozich chimes in on the Cal extension: Bozich

-I think you have to give Charlie Strong the benefit of the doubt regarding the decision to suspend Darius Ashley indefinitely instead of dismissing him from the team. Sure, Ashley is the most experienced cornerback on the Cards’ roster, but we’re not talking Deion Sanders here. He’d be nice to have, but his presence isn’t make-or-break for the Cards in 2011.
From listening to Strong, it sounds like Ashley might have a serious problem. By allowing him to remain on the team, Strong can provide the kind of structure and supervision that can help him deal with his issues. If I were Strong, I’d make Ashley sit out the 2011 season, and provided he meets a strict set of criteria, let him return for his senior year in 2012.
That’s an excellent carrot to hold in an attempt to get a young man to turn his life around. If it works out, it’s a story with a happy ending. If not, Strong can at least say he tried.

-Jerry Tipton reports on the SEC basketball coaches giving the proposed 22-game league schedule a thumbs-down: H-L

-Jim Riggleman should never manage baseball again. I don’t care if management won’t extend your contract. To quit on your team in the middle of the season, especially when you’re in the mix for the franchise’s first-ever playoff berth, is inexcusable. How, as a manager, could you ask your players to lay it on the line when you tucked it and ran because you didn’t get your way? I can’t see anybody hiring him or wanting to play for him. But proving that the good ol’ boy network is alive and kickin’, Riggleman has already landed a gig: He’ll be working this weekend’s Cubs-White Sox series as a color analyst for Comcast SportsNet. Could you imagine a player quitting on his team and then getting a spot on TV? Riggleman

-Ochocinco’s latest ‘pet’ project: Wrasslin’ alley-gators. Seeing what Ocho has in store next could be the only thing to look forward to during the lockout. Ocho


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