8-8-2. That's the APR number for the University of Arizona, and it ain't changin', according to the NCAA, who refused to give the Wildcats the same number-tango it gave the University of Alabama and has taken four scholarships for the 2006 season. Arizona will be free to sign a full recruiting class for 2007--recruitniks desperate for news, take heed!---but for the moment, the only major football program we know of that's taken any hits from Myles Bland will be this year's Wildcat team, this despite the "target-rich environment" presented by the D-1 elite. And by targets, we mean whatever's been going on at da U for thirty years now, because Frank Gore and Brock Berlin armed with a My Little Pony calculator working together still ain't making it three steps out of college algebra.
The safest google image result for an unfiltered "cheating" query.
Which brings us to another target-rich environment: any room occupied by Myles Brand, the righteous head of the NCAA who, despite having little official power besides the ability to issue edicts, gets to have quality office coffee delivered to him by toadies and finally prove his parents wrong by making almost a million dollars a year with a Ph. D in philosophy.
Dennis Dodd's interview with him is everything we hate about interviews with a completely willing subject: obeisant, unquestioning, and full of doe-eyed proclamations about sport that leave out one very important ingredient, the fan. Two samples, and then we swear we'll drop it like the steaming pile of cowflop it is. First, Dodd's opening salvo stuns Brand!
There is little argument that the 63-year old NCAA president is the most proactive leader the association has employed.
Proactive, as you may know, is one of those words invented by Steven Covey (or one of his 36 children) to describe people who, to paraphrase John Wooden, confuse activity with productivity. It popped up around the same time that people stopped having "problems" and started having "issues". Linguistically it's garbage, a unit of language devoid of meaning or judgement used by managerial types to buffer their resumes and perpetuate a lifetime of fraud and paper-clip twisting dithering while watching interns do their work for them. How meaningless is the word? Try this scenario.
Villager One: (stares at erupting volcano and horrendous mudslide streaking directly for them) That's going to destroy our whole village, Nkundu.
Villager Two: Right-o, friend. Gonna be some issues, eh?
Villager One: Certainly. We need to be proactive in this situation immediately.
Compare this with a more natural, efficient use of language full of life, verve, and clear communication of urgency.
Villager One: Holy fucking shit.That's a problem if I've ever fucking seen it.
Villager Two: Spot on, dude. We'd better haul ass, or we'll be people kebabs in a matter of seconds.
Brand: "time to be proactive." Swindle: "Run."
And then there's this question:
Q: I thought your State of the Association was provocative and in some ways, brilliant. I don't think there would be a lot of people that would utter those words: You can make money and still have an educational mission at the same time.
This leans far into Hannity/Cheney interview territory, but at least in that case it's excusable: Cheney will shoot you in the goddamned face and attempt to make you take the blame. Also, Cheney's got real power, and could conceivably drop a squad of ninjas on your house from a Black Hawk if you so much as glanced at him the wrong way. At worst, Myles Brand could send you a stern missive, or failing that, take four scholarships away from you. (If you were in the top 25 and making money, scratch that last one.) Jennie Finch tosses up fewer softballs than Dodd, and looks a lot better in the process--we've never seen Dodd in a bikini, but we'll wager our lives that Finch looks a piece more fetching in one than he does.
Obligatory traffic-boosting photo of lady in bikini. Also better looking than Dennis Dodd.
What should he have asked him? We're not suggesting that he venture into young Jim Rome territory, as in "Hey, Daisy, what really ruffles up your pretty skirt, pretty little lady Daisy?"
Since he's got the older Jim Rome territory covered--"T.O., dude, you are the sexiest man I've ever seen. How do you deal with all the grown men who want to make love to you?"--what should he have asked Brand?
1. What justifies your ungodly salary?
2. What exactly does the NCAA do?
3. Ever plan on clarifying supplement rules so that a steak couldn't qualify as an illegal supplement?
4. How about clear rules on recruiting?
5. Why can't a player declare for the draft, test his options, and then return to the college game like any other aspiring professional?
Just a few starters. Feel free to add your own below.