Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 4, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Rutgers fires basketball coach Mike Rice.
- Sportswriter Selena Roberts publishes a report that some Auburn football players had grades changed and received money illegally during their 2010 BCS championship season.
- Game of the night, Arizona beat St. Louis 10-9 in 16 innings. A tidy five hours and 32 minutes.
- Yesterday was the NHL trade deadline. The Rangers shipped the underperforming Marián Gáborík to Columbus for three players.
- The AAC. That's the new name of the old Big East Conference. The American Athletic Conference. The seven basketball playing Catholic schools that left will be known as the Big East Conference. Got it?
- The Atlanta Falcons signed 27-year-old Brian Banks. He was wrongly imprisoned for five years on phony rape and kidnapping charges.
2. Fired Rice
Well that didn't take long. Basketball coach Mike Rice was fired yesterday morning by Rutgers. The obvious question is what took so long? And is this going to have the trickle up effect? Will the athletic director be next to go? And will it go even higher? Some faculty members are calling for the ouster of the school president. The university reviewed the tape last fall, but didn't fire their coach until the tape was aired by ESPN. So does that mean that something is a fireable offense only when it's made public? I joked on twitter yesterday @LenBermanSports that this was the fault of the media. That "Rice wouldn't be in hot water if someone hadn't invented video tape and ESPN." Makes you wonder. If we were still in the radio era might Rice still be the coach of Rutgers?
3. Double Standard
Last Thursday I wrote that Florida Gulf Coast Basketball coach Andy Enfield probably won't be staying there for long. Turns out it was four more days before he jumped to USC. At least he didn't commit to one school and then bail for a better offer 10 days later as Steve Alford did with New Mexico and UCLA. As Top 5 subscriber J.N. pointed out, now there's a squabble over a million dollars at New Mexico. Alford had a clause in his contract that said he'd have to pay the school $1 million if he left. But wait, he never signed the contract, just a letter of agreement. Is that the same as a contract? UCLA will most likely pay the buyout whatever it is. Of course the NCAA allows this stuff to go on. What about the players at these schools who signed up and then their coach ditches them? Sorry Charlie.
4. A Maverick
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he'll draft Baylor star Brittney Griner if she's the best player available. Why not? The Indiana Pacers drafted Ann Meyers out of UCLA in 1979, but she didn't make the team. If the Mavericks draft Griner it would make sense not to cut her until the regular season begins. Hey, if you can make a few extra bucks in the meaningless exhibition season, "step right up and see the tall lady play."
5. A Tradition Like No Other
Sure the winner of the Masters, which begins a week from today, gets the Green Jacket, but you can win a That's Sports baseball/golf cap. Just tell me who will win the Masters. And you must include by how many shots he'll win (that's the tie breaker). Just email me your prediction with the golfer's name in the subject line. One entry per person. The deadline is Wednesday April 10th at midnight. Fore!
Happy Birthday: The Mets got him for Nolan Ryan, shortstop Jim Fregosi. 71.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. 48.
Today in Sports: Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth with his 714th career homer. 1974.
Bonus Event: Ben-Hur wins a record 11 Oscars including Best Picture. 1960.
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