Student-athletes getting paid is not ruining college athletics

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart speaks during the Southeastern Conference’s spring meetings

The way NIL deals are covered, you’d think they’re illegal. The go-to analogy for every college football pundit over 50 is it’s the Wild West, a time period of American history readily associated with outlaws, bank robberies, train heists, gunslingers, genocide, and general lawlessness. Also rampant in the Old West: Slavery! Great job, guys! Yes, we’re pioneering the unknown of actually compensating a workforce responsible for generating billions of dollars. How foreign, how outlandish, how… un-American.

One SEC athletic director even went as far as to say, “Let’s be honest, we are all money laundering.” Alright, calm down. The Medellín Cartel isn’t asking you to legitimize drug and blood money, and compared to the crime the NCAA has been perpetrating for years, NIL deals are a traffic ticket.

I, for one, am actually reveling in the chaos caused by NIL deals and the transfer portal. It’s refreshing to see big banks taking little banks all over the college landscape, and the more power the players have, the angrier the powers that were get. (And who doesn’t love a pissed-off Nick Saban?)

SEC schools are Robin Hooding it, and we’re mad?

Sports Illustrated published an article Tuesday titled “Inside the NIL Battle That Is Splintering the SEC: ‘We’re All Money Laundering.’” It’s a well-written piece even if it’s a little gaslight-y, but my main takeaway is that the premier college football conference in America is operating like the 1 percent on Tax Day.

States are exploiting loopholes within loopholes for the benefit of have-nots. Of course, boosters and universities aren’t finding ways to pay players altruistically; it’s for self-interest and profits. However, the bottom line is players are being paid. They’re the ones on the courts, between the hedges, doing the heavy lifting, and risking injury, and should benefit monetarily.

Diplomas only open so many doors, and you can’t hock them at pawn shops. Cash in hand is better than two certificates in the bush. These ADs and coaches complaining about getting their hands dirty are full of shit to the nth degree. They should be celebrating, the media should be celebrating, and society should be celebrating because this is a good thing.

I don’t care which rules are being bent, what states can do what, or who is tripping over themselves to keep up. It’s just nice, for once, to someone other than unpaid athletes scrambling due to the NCAA’s greed and incompetence.

Figure out NIL deals on the fly

The NIL system isn’t perfect, but it’s all we got. And it’s all we got because colleges and the NCAA still refuse to pay the players. If there was some uniformity, maybe these kids would stop acting like mercenaries. Instead, they’ve been told to fend for themselves, and we can’t be surprised by the capitalistic appetites of kids who grew up in America.

So, yes, it sucks that Title IX is being violated, and not every athlete is being compensated equally. It’s not the fucking Wild West though. That implies student athletes/unpaid workers are taking something that’s not owed to them.

They deserve a portion of the profit, and every athlete should be given a pass any time they take advantage of a bag that’s offered to them legally. The real criminals are the universities and the NCAA, who still tell us there’s not enough money.

There’s plenty of cash to go around, and that’s evident in all of the new, creative mechanisms being concocted to filter money to kids on a nonexistent payroll. 

Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

Take a deep breath before I reveal a stunning fact, it’s almost June. Some of you were just pulling out the trusty snow blower and now it’s swimsuit season — I hope your diet went better than mine.

With the sports calendar nearly halfway over, there has been a full year’s worth of activity. Take a look back at some of the most notable sports moments from the first half of the year.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

Kirby Smart is sitting on top of the college football mountain in a way that no team has outside of Tuscaloosa. Well, at least since those two years with that team from Los Angeles that the NCAA has declared never happened. The Dawgs won their second-consecutive championship, and did so in dominating fashion.

Georgia lost 15 players to the NFL Draft in April 2022 and did not miss a beat. The Dawgs almost threw up that game in Missouri, but even with that loss, they would have gone to the SEC Championship Game. The rest of the schedule was a wash until New Year’s Eve. Ohio State put on its best performance of the season at Georgia’s second home in Atlanta, but hooked that 50-yard field goal right as the ball dropped in Times Square.

In the National Championship Game Georgia got back to kicking ass with a literal historic 65-7 shellacking of TCU in the title game.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

An MVP candidate during the regular season, but outside of Philadelphia respect was grudgingly granted to him as a star. During the playoffs the Eagles plowed through its opposition using their dominance at the line of scrimmage — and the San Francisco 49ers not having a quarterback physically able to throw a football in the NFC Championship Game.

In the Super Bowl, Hurts went toe-to-toe against arguably the greatest player in the history of the NFL and stuck with him play-for-play. This player — pulled at halftime of a National Championship Game for a true freshman — put the exclamation point on a spectacular season.

Jalen Hurts was one of the two best players in the NFL last season.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

The best player in the NFL. The MVP. While the Kansas City Chiefs were not doubted in the way that Travis Kelce wants the world to believe, there were certainly questions about Patrick Mahomes. Some defensive coordinator really wanted to get something off of his chest when he said that Mahomes played streetball, but also wasn’t chesty enough to put his name on it.

At one time the ABA was considered too playground, but modern NBA players have games much more reminiscent of Julius Erving and George Gervin than John Havlicek and Lou Hudson. The same way that Joe Burrow is far more like Patrick Mahomes than Peyton Manning.

Mahomes took it all last season. The MVP, the championship, and all of the grit points for playing two-and-a-half postseason games with that brutal high-ankle sprain. He is a player of the likes the NFL has never seen and deserves to be respected as such.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

It was a seismic event when 16-seed UMBC defeated 1-seeded Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The moment that sports fans didn’t think would ever happen, but still waited for with bated breath. That loss was so embarrassing that it served as the ultimate redemption narrative for Virginia’s 2019 championship.

The unthinkable happened again when Purdue lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round. With the transient nature of men’s college basketball, we have come to expect upsets, but this is still only the second time that a 16-seed has advanced. Upsets may be common, but not this one.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

College basketball with actual star power. The National Championship Game was not as competitive throughout as the semifinal matchup between LSU and South Carolina. It was still able to give the sports-viewing public what is uncommon in the modern men’s game, true star collegiate basketball personalities in Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark. That is why this matchup was the highest-rated women’s college basketball game of all time.

Both stars fit hand-in-glove with their programs, and it was obvious the moment that the starters for Reese’s Tigers and Clark’s Hawkeyes were introduced. Clark fired away from behind the arc as best as she could to keep them in the game, but LSU was too much.

There was even a national dog whistle conversation about sportsmanship that followed. Reese and Clark brought the culture wars back to college basketball matchups. For those who pine for the 1980s and 1990s version of college basketball, the women have it for you.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak might be the only record left that is considered unbreakable. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for 20 seasons and scored 38,325 points in his career. Who would even have the longevity to approach that mark?

Enter LeBron James. His constant greatness from Year 1 to Year 20 allowed him to break the NBA record that no one ever expected to fall. There will always be a debate over who is better between Michael Jordan and LeBron. That record won’t bump Lebron to No. 1 in the minds of most Jordan fans, but it is an undeniable win over His Airness.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

From the Western Conference Finals to trading two starters and a first-round pick for Kyrie Irving and getting fined for tanking after missing the postseason entirely.

Watching the Mavericks struggle with last season’s team — sans Jalen Brunson — was one thing. However, a team unable to string together wins with both Irving and Luka Dončić was downright hilarious. Mark Cuban bet the farm on an unpredictable, undersized scoring guard who might not even re-sign with the Mavericks this offseason. Also, with the Mavericks’ depth weakened, their defense was atrocious. They struggled to stay in front of their own reflection.

The Mavericks got lucky last season when the top-seeded Phoenix Suns imploded during their second-round matchup. This season it was the Mavericks who put the spotlight on themselves with the Irving trade and melted.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

The alleged incidents at first were head-scratching — the fight, the mall, the mysterious laser. All curious, but nothing that could fully be substantiated. Then Morant decided to provide evidence beyond reasonable doubt of him being a knucklehead on camera when he flashed a gun not once, but twice on Instagram.

That’s when his safety first started to become a concern, because if anyone is going to suffer the tragic consequences that can come with brandishing a firearm, probability and systemic racism says that it will most likely be a man of Morant’s age and ethnicity.

Now with a wellness check being called for Morant after his cryptic “Bye” social media post, safety is really the only concern for this young man at this point

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

In an NBA Playoffs lacking dominant teams, there is one playing 5,280 feet higher than everyone else. That sweep of the Lakers was hard fought, but also a moment when the Nuggets stuck their flag in the ground as the class of the NBA.

When healthy, their starting lineup has been as good as any in the NBA. On a true national stage against the NBA’s most recognizable franchise and face, the Nuggets put on a show. They dominated, they stumbled, they struggled, and through four games forced sports fans all over the world to acknowledge them as a special team.

Image for article titled Epic upsets, stellar QBs, and the most notable sports moments of the first half of 2023

That damn hockey. No. 8 seeds advancing is far more common in the NHL than MLB and most certainly the NBA. Still, the Panthers didn’t qualify for the playoffs until the final moments of the regular season.

They then launched the President’s Cup curse at the Boston Bruins like the stinger from Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion. Next up was Canada, and this squad out of South Florida melted the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Back to the states they came to play the Carolina Hurricanes. It took five combined overtimes, for the Panthers to take a 2-0 series. They won again at home 1-0 in Game 3, and the rink in Sunrise, Fla. was rocking on Wednesday night.

The game was another barnburner with the Hurricanes appearing to send the game into overtime by scoring with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Then came the shot heard ‘round Broward County. The Panthers took the lead on a goal from Matthew Tkachuk with 4.3 seconds remaining in the game.

Does Boston actually have a chance to get back in this thing?

Can the C’s pull a 2004 Red Sox?

A 16-seed beating a 1-seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was considered impossible until 2018. It happened twice in the 2023 tourney. The Boston Red Sox were a franchise for 103 years before they became the first MLB team to come back from a 3-0 deficit. Currently, NBA teams are 0-150 in playoff series when they fall in that hole. The Boston Celtics looked destined to become No. 151 until a lights-out shooting night, combined with a rash of Miami Heat turnovers kept their season alive.

Injury has also come for the Heat. Starting guard Gabe Vincent has been ruled out due to an ankle injury that he suffered in Game 4. The 3-point shot carried the Heat past the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, and has had the Celtics’ defense largely flummoxed in the Eastern Conference Finals. (The New York Knicks shot so poorly in the semifinals that threes weren’t necessary.)

The public will very likely not be given any diagnosis on Vincent’s ankle until the day of the next Heat game whether it’s Game 6 at home on Saturday, or Game 1 on June 1 in Denver. Losing a second-consecutive game though would not put an uncomfortable amount of pressure on them. Even the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls lost two in a row to the Seattle Supersonics in the Finals before cruising to a Game 6 victory.

Just because it can happen doesn’t mean it will

Mathematically the No. 2 seed Celtics do have a chance to pull off what would go down as the best, and most ironic, upset in NBA history. Realistically though, how significant of a chance do the Celtics have of preventing the only No. 8 seed in NBA history, in a non-shortened season, from making the NBA Finals?

They had better hope that the law of averages works out in their favor, and the Heat’s shooting falls back to earth. The Celtics have been awful at the 3-point line while the Heat have been damn near magical. In two of the four games the Heat have converted on greater than 50 percent of their 3-point attempts. The tides turned in Game 4 with the Heat shooting a ghastly 25 percent from three while the Celtics converted at a healthy 40 percent clip.

For all that the Celtics have done wrong in this series, if the Heat continue to shoot from three anywhere close to the way that they did during the regular season — fourth-worst in the league — they will have a golden opportunity to win Game 5 and any subsequent matchup.

As blistering as the Heat’s shooting has been in this series, only in Game 3 did it truly give the Celtics no chance at victory. In game 1 in Boston, the Heat saw a 12-point lead quickly get chopped in half in the fourth quarter. In Game 2 the Celtics held a double-digit lead twice during the final 12 minutes.

Celtics inconsistent at home

Self-inflicted errors put them in a disastrous situation — down 2-0 when hosting the first two games. Turnovers plagued the Celtics in the first game. Every time that they got the score within two possessions during the fourth quarter, they turned the ball over.

Then in Game 2, an advantage that they had over the Heat became a weakness. The Celtics have outrebounded the Heat in the Eastern Conference in all phases — total, defensive, and offensive. However, in that game, they lost control of the glass.

The Heat outrebounded the Celtics by 10 in the fourth quarter, including some backbreakers on the offensive end. With 1:20 remaining in the game the Celtics were down by three points and forced the Heat into two misses, but failed both times to secure the offensive rebound. The third time was the charm as the Heat went up by five.

With Vincent out the Celtics’ chances at winning Game 5 have significantly improved, but even if both teams were healthy they would have the better roster. They had the best net rating in the NBA during the regular season, and were the only team in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating.

Their season is on the line, but their better roster is whole — sans the hand injury that Jaylen Brown is playing through. If the Heat’s 3-point shooting percentage flattens, and the Celtics stop shooting themselves in the foot, lightning striking twice in Boston might become probable as opposed to unthinkable.

NIL is paying players scraps while the Power 5 just pulled in over $3 billion in revenue

Image for article titled NIL is paying players scraps while the Power 5 just pulled in over $3 billion in revenue

At a time in which some (fans, coaches, athletic directors, media members, school presidents, and politicians) are upset with the way that NIL has changed college sports, it’s rather hypocritical how that same crowd often falls silent when USA Today Sports releases their annual findings — and discovered that Power Five conferences combined to make $3.3 billion in revenue for the fiscal year of 2022.

Teenagers keep making adults wealthy.

According to the report, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, the combined revenues for the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 increased by an annual average of about 8.4 percent. And if that would have been maintained — if not for a global pandemic — in 2020, 2021, and 2022, the projected numbers for fiscal 2022 would have been more than $3.7 billion.

Here’s a look at the numbers by conference:

  • Big Ten: $845.6 million — payout, $58.8 million (except Nebraska, Maryland & Rutgers for being newer members)
  • SEC: $802 million — payout, around $49.9 million
  • ACC: $617 million — payout, $37.9 million to $41.3 million
  • Pac-12: $580.9 million — payout, $37 million
  • Big 12: $480.6 million — payout, $42 million to $44.9 million

For comparison’s sake, here were the revenues for the Power Five in fiscal 2019:

  • Big 12: $439 million — payouts ranged between $38 million and $42 million
  • ACC: $455.4 million — payouts ranged between $27.6 million to $34 million
  • SEC: $721 million — payouts were near $45.3 million
  • Big Ten: $781.5 million — payouts of $55.6 were made to the 12 longest-standing members of the 14-team conference
  • PAC-12: $530.4 million — payouts were $32.2 million

In case you forgot, COVID-19 really messed up the money. For instance, the NCAA and its member schools lost $800 million due to the cancellation of the 2020 tournament. In 2021, when the tournament returned, the NCAA made more than $1.15 billion in revenue, topping the $1.12 billion it made in 2019. And I still haven’t mentioned that last August, the Big Ten completed a seven-year, $7 billion media rights agreement with Fox, CBS, and NBC that will start on July 1.

All this money is flying around, but yet, some people are mad that the athletes are barely getting any of it.

“(Texas) A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image, and likeness” Alabama head coach Nick Saban falsely claimed last May. As usual, Saban didn’t mention a word about how he had no issues with players making money for the conference as the SEC brought in $777.8 million during the fiscal year of 2020-2021, which was $120.1 million more than the conference made in 2019-2020.

Remember this, and how much money is being brought in by these athletes, when folks get mad when the next time a player wants to renegotiate their NIL deal like Isaiah Wong allegedly did, or are still upset that Jaden Rashada once had a proposed NIL deal that resembled a coach’s contract before he even went to prom. The money is out here, and the adults want to keep it all to themselves.

Ron DeSantis’ new law is racist — Black college athletes, NCAA need to boycott Florida

Why was this man elected to office?

Never go anywhere you aren’t invited. This week, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis did his best to uninvite anyone that isn’t white to the state’s colleges and universities. It’s time educators of color, Black athletes, and the NCAA boycott baby Trump.

“If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination,” DeSantis said at a news conference earlier in the week. “And that has no place in our public institutions. This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida.”

The state will no longer spend money on DEI initiatives at its public institutes of higher learning. In case you didn’t know, DEI programs help predominantly white institutions (PWIs) increase diversity amongst their faculty and student body. Race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status all fall under the DEI umbrella. Florida is joining 19 other racist states where politicians have aimed at similar programs. The only saving grace is that the new law doesn’t affect schools spending money on DEI programs if they’re federally mandated.

Time to boycott DeSantis

And since DeSantis has drawn a line in the sand it’s time for a boycott — given his record.

In January, DeSantis threw a fit when the NHL — a league where 83.6 percent white of its employees are white — was going to hold a job conference in the state that was described on LinkedIn as being exclusive to female, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQ, disabled individuals, and veterans. And in 2021, he signed a law that requires students and faculty of public Florida universities to be surveyed about their political beliefs.

“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said at the time, according to the Naples Daily News. “Unfortunately, now the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments.”

Precedent already set

In September, Florida A&M and Jackson State University will meet in the Orange Blossom Classic again in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium. It should be the last time the two HBCUs play there. In the coming years, the College Football Playoff will host multiple games in Florida, as the state will also be a destination for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. New NCAA President Charlie Baker needs to take the games out of Florida until the law is repealed, given that a precedent was set when games were moved because of North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill.”

Florida is known for two things — oranges and football. Black people make up a large population of the players that play in-state or get recruited from it, and people of color are the ones usually making up the majority of the workforce who are employed on orange fields.

To be clear, Ron DeSantis wants to be entertained by and enjoy the talents of Black people and minorities of color, but he doesn’t want children in the state of Florida to learn their history, or want them educated through the school’s public university system.

This is what modern-day racism looks like in a country that “promised” it would do better in a post-George Floyd world. What’s done is done. So pay attention to how things play out from here. Because if it’s business as usual when it comes to the NCAA and Black athletes and students continuing to attend Florida’s public colleges and universities, then it means they’re guilty parties in their own oppression. 

College athletics is a perfect breeding ground for gambling scandals

Alabama fired baseball coach Brad Bohannon

The average U.S. citizen could tell you college athletics is about as dirty of a business as you can find in America, and that’s saying something considering the amount of filth stashed at Fortune 500 companies across the states. There are decades of gross agents, boosters, recruiters, and universities to drive home that point, and a still unpaid workforce to snuff out any modicum of the “amateur” sports’ altruism. So, it’s par for the trope that Alabama baseball is currently under fire for an alleged gambling scandal.

While the information is scarce and the story is still murky, the details paint an unflattering picture. Now-former Crimson Tide manager Brad Bohannon was fired Thursday from the school, with Alabama AD Greg Byrne citing the coach for, “among other things, violating the standards, duties, and responsibilities expected of University employees.”

The Ohio Casino Control Commission is investigating two wagers placed at the Great American Ballpark’s sportsbook Friday. Both bets were on the LSU Tigers, the Tide’s opponent, to win. Seeing as Ohio regulators halted all Alabama baseball bets for suspicious activity Wednesday, and Bohannon was fired Thursday, it’s not hard to connect the dots. The Athletic, citing two people briefed on the investigation, said the coach was found to be connected with betting activity in Ohio, leading to his dismissal.

Regular-season college baseball — shockingly — doesn’t attract a lot of large action, and FanDuel said it didn’t take a single bet on the LSU-Alabama game in question, according to ESPN. Pennsylvania and New Jersey also joined Ohio in banning bets on Alabama baseball.

I’d like to point out a detail you may have missed in that information upload, and it’s where the bet was placed: At a sportsbook housed in the Cincinnati Reds’ ballpark. The levels of irony involved in being able to legally gamble at the home of a team that once employed one of the most infamous sports gamblers in history, Pete Rose, is too much.

Add in that it’s the site of an alleged gambling scandal involving a baseball manager, and it’s a perfect detail to illustrate the sporting industry’s laissez-faire approach to gambling across the board. The control panel is flashing red, and the response needs to be better than Homer Simpson handling a 513.

The temptation is greater in ‘amateur’ athletics

College athletics is currently a post-apocalyptic hellscape populated by all sorts of vile survivors, eager to compromise their morals for a chance to pick away at the bones of the NCAA’s rotting carcass, and as such is ripe for these kinds of scandals. There are more teams, more opportunities, less supervision, and zero ethics. Only the popular kids get NIL deals, everybody else is left to fend for themselves, and not every head coach at Alabama is getting that sweet, sweet Aflac money.

If Gangrene could talk, and you asked it for the ideal conditions to infect, it’d point to the NCAA. If the NCAA was a bank, people would immediately wonder why it’s unregulated, and how it hasn’t collapsed yet.

A lot of college athletes are extremely vulnerable, and those are the easiest kinds of people to exploit. In addition to broke college kids, degenerates also are marks, and the sports industry has shown it can produce gambling addicts with the best of them.

During the recent boom of DraftKings, live lines, and same-game parlays, there have been a few violations, most of which were limited to bored, injured NFL wide receivers (weirdly enough, also from Alabama). While we don’t specifically know what went on with Bohannon, the implication is that the integrity of the game was corrupted. So that’s fun.

The expanded CFP schedule is going to test a lot of livers, waistbands, and relationships

Can Georgia repeat? We won’t know until JANUARY 20

Anyone who’s ever been to Las Vegas will tell you two nights is the perfect length for a trip, and proceed with caution after the 48-hour mark, or you’ll risk going full James Harden and slapping your buddy outside the club. Three days on the strip is excessive even for the most degenerate of addicts, and at some point, the partying stops being fun because the slots, casino lights, and alcohol beat you into submission to the point that you tap out voluntarily. We’ll see how the expanded College Football Playoff feels after its inaugural run-through in 2024-25, but I’m getting strong too-many-days in Vegas vibes.

The dates were released, and the first round is set for the Friday and Saturday before Christmas (Dec. 19 and 20). The quarterfinals are the New Year’s Eve and Day games — a Tuesday and Wednesday. The semis are Jan. 9 and 10, a Thursday, and Friday, before the title game caps the season Jan. 20, which is a Monday, and also Martin Luther King Day.

The semifinals are being played on a Thursday and Friday presumably because the NCAA doesn’t want to compete with NFL Wild Card Weekend. That means the second weekend in January will be a five-day stretch of do-or-die contests because remember the NFL postseason expanded to Monday night.

Yes, the game will matter, so fans will watch, and outlets will cover them as such, yet has Thursday Night Football’s lukewarm reception taught us nothing? I’ll be interested to see at what point the novelty wears off because I have a sneaking suspicion that the casual viewer will be less likely to sit through blowouts (and those CFP games will feature blowouts).

Will viewership taper off, or will sports fans treat the first round like they do 76ers-Nets playoff games on NBA TV? Maybe it will be a month-long ratings behemoth — with network partners and fans alike — right in the middle of the holidays, at the tail end of bowl season, and up against the start of NFL playoffs.

I hope you’re dedicated to those resolutions because they’re going to get tested with wings, beers, and games three to five times a week for the first month of 2025.

A disregard for moderation

I’m sure that amount of football, drinking, and Christmas cookies sounds great to people in their 20s, yet that’s a sizable ask for people with family obligations, or just a girlfriend who wants to watch literally anything else. One college football columnist called the smorgasbord a “never-before-experienced football-viewing nirvana,” and something tells me Dan Wetzel has never done 72 hours in SIn City.

Here’s another parallel: You know when 15 of your shows are all running simultaneously, and it’s more TV than you can watch on a night-to-night basis? The typical response is to commit to your favorites, and then binge all the secondary programming when you get around to it.

Well, that’s not really possible for live sports unless you record them and have the conviction to avoid checking social media or ESPN until you can watch, and I think lopsided CFP games will be first up on the chopping block.

I’m also interested to see how well fans travel to all these neutral sites. The first round will be played on campus, so that’s good. However, the rest of the slate likely requires a plane ride and accommodations on top of game tickets. Do the morons over at the NCAA league office not know that a lot of vacation budgets and days are already allocated for the holidays? That amount of travel isn’t realistic financially, or even relaxing for the people who can afford it. Wetzel at least acknowledged that his football euphoria really only applies to those watching on from home.

Complain about NIL deals and the transfer portal fomenting a Wild West culture in collegiate sports all you want, but stop acting like players, and programs are the only ones doing the looting. It’s a free-for-all, and every faction of the system — including the NCAA and Big Conference — is taking whatever they can carry.

Fans are stuck with a bloated product, and an untenable schedule that’s only redeemable quality is its quantity. I don’t know how many more ways and analogies I can present to communicate that less is more, so in the spirit of knowing when to call it, I’ll do just that.

The Warriors vs Kings chaotic Game 4 finish was just delightful

Stephen Curry reacts after making a basket against the Sacramento Kings during Game Four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs.

Chaos should be absorbed in moderation. Watching the Succession characters act as if they’re on a Jerry Springer Show reboot, in which guests are from the top one percent is amusing chaos. A think tank/lobbyist organization called Foundation for Government Accountability working to get legislation passed that rolls back existing child labor laws, all under the guise of “parental rights,” — that is the terrifying smog of chaos that lingers over America at all times. The end of Game 4 Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors was the kind of fun high-energy chaos that can raise heart rates, but has only real consequences for the team employees.

People generally tune into college sports for athletic chaos. It’s why people spend many hours watching two days of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The NBA Playoffs are supposed to be where the seasoned professionals play sports the way that Stevie Wonder and Prince played instruments. Those who witness are supposed to be awed by the capabilities of the human body.

This is why we watch the NBA playoffs

Game 4 began at a pace that was revving towards a memorable finish. The Kings attempted 30 field goals in the first quarter, at a 116 possession pace. The older Warriors were forced to play fast, and they responded to the challenge. At halftime the Kings held a slim 69-65 lead.

In the second half, the Warriors turned back the clock with one of their momentum-draining third quarters. They scored 37 points and shot 54.2 percent from the field, while the Kings only tallied 23 points on 36.8 percent shooting. When Klay Thompson hit that 3 pointer with just under two seconds remaining in quarter to give the Warriors the first double-digit lead of the game, a 2-2- series tie felt inevitable.

The inaugural NBA Clutch Player of the Year — De’Aaron Fox — was not about to allow his team be vanquished by a Warriors’ third-quarter title wave. They pushed the pace again, forcing the Warriors to run all throughout the game’s final period. It was at this pace that the 35-year-old Stephen Curry was forced to play with no rest during the fourth quarter. The Kings fought back the first half of the quarter, and spent the second half trying to kick the game out of the Chase Center and into the cool waters of the nearby bay.

They turned the ball over four times in less than four minutes — one of which bounced off of the back of Draymond Green’s head. A young team self-combusting in the final minutes of the biggest game of the series. The series at 2-2 headed back to Sacramento was so close the Warriors could have hugged it.

The Warriors challenged a what?

Then they called that stupid challenge. Who challenges a moving screen? A moving screen in the NBA is like offensive holding in football. It happens so often, that is long as it isn’t blatant, the violation is usually not called. On top of that, moving screens are called far more infrequently than holding, but Warriors decided that this rarely-called violation was somehow an egregious error. They lost the challenge and their final timeout.

Did they play like they had no timeouts remaining? Absolutely not. The Warriors were up five points with 48 seconds remaining after a missed three. Curry walked the ball up the court and literally motioned for his teammates to get to the other end of the floor. With no help in the backcourt, Curry got trapped, panicked, and called a nonexistent timeout. Unlike when former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt did this in 2015, the officials noticed and Curry was assessed a technical foul.

Malik Monk made the free throw and Harrison Barnes then missed a wild 3-pointer. The Warriors’ response? Thompson knocked the potential rebound out of bounds. Fox made a three, and after a Curry miss he and Green played great defense on Fox during the final possession. Fox passed to Barnes who missed an open three for the win.

There was outstanding basketball played by both teams, far more than simply shot making from Curry, Fox, Monk, and Thompson. Green had Domantas Sabonis on punishment all day, Curry grabbed some clutch rebounds, Fox was causing turnovers, Sunday was truly a premiere display of athleticism.

Until it wasn’t. Both teams took turns slipping on the banana peel, and that was just as fun to watch as the 28-foot threes. J. Cole once said, “There’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success.” In this game the tumbles were just as fun to watch as the triumphs.

Even in pro sports, a handful of chaotic moments can greatly enhance the viewing experience.

East Coast folks, get over yourselves if you can’t stay awake for a late playoff game

East Coast fans need to go to bed early, but neither the Warriors nor the Kings care.

I’m well aware that the most visible of the loud sports fans reside between Boston and Washington. In that nearly 450-mile stretch of I-95, there are more than 16 million television households along with ESPN’s two main studios. Of course that will inevitably lead to East Coast griping about sports being televised late at night, especially starting with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and continuing through the end of the NBA Finals.

Eastern Standard Time Zone, complain all you want. I hear it every year, every spring, and you all need to know that when it comes to sports telecasts, these concerns are irrelevant.

I am sure that most of you sleepyheads out there understand how television works, but allow me to provide a refresher. The United States of America has four time zones. One of them is the Pacific Standard Time Zone. Because of that, while you folks out east are watching Grey’s Anatomy at 9 p.m. in Los Angeles the 6 p.m. news is being broadcasted on ABC.

Sports are not scripted, recorded, edited, and then distributed. It is aired live. If the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers played at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on Thursday night, Arena would be empty and most people in the markets of the teams involved would not be able to watch.

A late afternoon coffee may be necessary for the folks who want to have that game on one screen at 10:30 p.m. EST and Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors on a different one. The Eastern Conference’s first round matchups have not been that compelling, while the Western Conference has been great.

Tough luck.

Those I-95 complaints are going to grow even louder when the NBA Finals arrive. A sporting event at 9 p.m. How could a person possibly stay awake for a championship contest until midnight?

Think that is hard, try having to navigate rush hour traffic to make it home — or even worse a downtown arena — by 6 p.m. when it takes 50 minutes to drive 10 miles. Go spritz yourself with water and have a Snickers while my blood pressure goes up when my car has been stuck in the same spot on the freeway at 5:30 p.m. for 10 minutes.

I lived in the Eastern Time Zone for more than a decade. Working in sports, many days my work hours were different from the average nine-to-fiver. However, I have absolutely had to work in the morning after watching the Warriors finish up at 1 a.m. I got through it by being an adult. Have you all ever heard of laying your clothes out the night before work?

Another thought, aren’t most people in this country obsessed with wealth? Aren’t rich people always advising people to not sleep but for a few hours a night? I distinctly remember Steve Harvey once yelling at his audience, “Rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day!” For those unable to knock out at 1:30 a.m. and wake up by at least 7:30 a.m. I guess you have a broke mentality.

Eastern Time Zone, whine all you want about the start times of NBA Playoff Games, Sunday Night Football, The Oscars, etc. Feel free to ignore the 12,000,000-plus households who have a team in their market playing in (what before Kawhi Leonard’s knee sprain were) the most highly anticipated Thursday night playoff games. It doesn’t matter that the fans with the most invested in these games have a chance to get home, put their slippers on, get dinner ready, and watch their teams play in peace.

The sports world must always be catered to the whims of New York and Boston. You folks on the right coast who are lacking energy at 12:30 a.m. EST, eat a cookie after dinner or put some extra sugar in your tea.