published Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

5-at-10: NCAA in court, Cashing in, LeBron's future and banning smokeless tobacco

We had a great interview with Kirk Herbstreit on Press Row on Tuesday. If you missed it, it will be in Sunday's Times Free Press.

And with that — and looking at the headlines on ESPN.com that have Ryan Fitzpatrick being named the Texans starting quarterback the third biggest story of the day — we sprint into the late-June sports doldrums.

From the "Talks too much" studios, remember the mailbag and let's slice this puppy.

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    NCAA logo

NCAA future

As the discussion of college sports continue to spin, the pace of progressive change in college athletics will be determined in large part at the Ed O'Bannon court case that is happening this week.

As ESPN details here, there were some major hits and misses for the NCAA, which tried to raise the idea of student-atheltes and amateurism in presenting its case.

Of course that notion was rebuffed when O'Bannon's attorneys asked the NCAA about the committees and studies it has started to look at paying athletes, which in and of it self serves notice that the NCAA was looking at paying the players, which by definition would kill amateurism in college sports.

Still, the aggressive ways and theatrics of at least one of O'Bannon's lawyers could back fire, according to the ESPN report.

Some of the heavy hitters on tap to testify in this case include SEC commissioner Mike Slive and NCAA president Mark Emmert, who is scheduled to take the stand Thursday.

Buckle up.

And, while there are certainly changes that need to be made to the model of college athletics, the biggest mistake the NCAA has made in this entire process in our view is the head-in-the-sand approach to the issues at hand. If the NCAA had addressed a lot of these questions before they landed in court, they could have had a crafted say in the new version of these rules and process.

Now, they are quite literally at the mercy of the court, and the outcome could be anything from small changes to a complete overhaul to ultimately the death of the NCAA.

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    Floyd Mayweather

Big money

Forbes recently released its highest paid athletes list.

Here are the top 10:

Floyd Mayweather — $105 million

Cristiano Ronaldo — $80 million

LeBron James — $72.3 million

Lionel Messi — $64.7 million

Kobe Bryant — $61.5 million

Tiger Woods — $61.2 million

Roger Federer — $56.2 million

Phil Mickelson — $53.2 million

Rafael Nadal — $44.5 million

Matt Ryan — $43.8 million

Here's something crazy — the highest paid athletes of 1994, also according to Forbes:

Michael Jordan — $30.1 million

Shaq O'Neal — $16.7 million

Jack Nicklaus — $14.8 million

Arnold Palmer — $13.6 million

Gerhard Berger — $13.5 million

Wayne Gretzky — $13.5 million

Michael Moorer — $12.1 million

Evander Holyfield — $12.0 million

Andre Agassi — $11.4 million

Nigel Mansell — $11.3 million

Here's a scale of the difference: This last fiscal year, Jordan made $90 million in endorsements from Nike — which sold more than $2.25 billion in Air Jordans in the U.S. in 2013 — or more than three times what he made at the height of his basketball powers at the end of his first NBA three-peat. Read that again.

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LeBron's future

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    Miami Heat forward LeBron James shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during their Game 2 of the NBA finals on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in San Antonio.
    Photo by Associated Press

We have a good mailbag question about where we think LeBron will land, and we are formulating an answer as we go.

But with the offseason approaching and the questions looming over Miami about how the Heat can get back to a place where they can compete for titles — and the cap between the East and West was magnified in the pantsing the Spurs handed the Heat — we're curious what some of you may think.

Sure the fact that LeBron has the option to opt out makes everyone in Miami as uncomfortable as a Dolphins rookies being invited to an Incognito bar-b-que, but that is a real possibility.

So is the potential play that LeBron could come back — and even take less money. As we see above, dude has a little extra spending cash laying around.

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This and that

— Mexico tied Brazil 0-0 in World Cup. It was by all accounts a win for Mexico and soccer folks are talking about how great the game was. See, here's the point that soccer lovers need to understand: Most casual American sports fans do not believe a scoreless tie is great. In fact, ties in general are bad.

— The Braves lost again to the Phillies, falling 5-2 on Tuesday. Know what: If Ryan Howard got to play 80 games a year against the Braves, dude would be the MVP. In the six games before arriving in Atlanta, Howard was 4-for-19 with zero RBIs; in two games in Atlanta, Howard has two homers and four RBIs and has reached base in five of 11 plate appearances. In 143 games in his career against Atlanta, Howard is hitting .291 with 46 homers and 126 RBIs.

— Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has a nice view on Vandy's athletic bigwigs who were in town on Tuesday. Good stuff.

— Congrats to Kareem Orr, the Notre Dame athlete who committed to play football at Louisville. All-around TFP ace Stephen Hargis has the details here.

— Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon.

— Former Tennessee football player Janzen Jackson was charged with murder in California recently. Wow, that Lane Kiffin recruiting class at UT is looking worse by the passing month.

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Today's questions

Feel free to discuss any of the above:

What will be the biggest change in college sports in the next year? Or who deserves to be the highest paid athlete? Or even where will LeBron be next year?

Also, remember the mailbag.

And finally, we were intrigued by the discussion on Mike & Mike this morning about whether MLB should ban smokeless tobacco, which reportedly had a direct hand in the cancer that caused Tony Gwynn's death. So do you believe baseball should ban smokeless tobacco?

Go.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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MocTastic said...

To my understanding tabacco is banned in the baseball minor leagues. To get a major league banning would require cooperation of the player's union. Would the union go along?

June 18, 2014 at 10:17 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, nice piece by Mr. Hargis on Kareem Orr, which leads me to a possible Mail Bag question. Is it me or do the metrics bear out area players are seeing more football scholarship offers in our area than most years?

If a man can make $90 million in the and out of the ring, my hat's off; Mr. Mayweather deserves every penny. Is this gross or net?

The biggest change in college football this year will be the induction of Forrest Gump into the Alabama Football Hall of Fame.

From the Steve Spurrier should have said that file, Kurdish PM responding to a slew of accusations from Bagdad.

And in what seemed an implicit dig at the military's rout, the prime minister of the Kurdish region, Nechirvan Barzani, dismissed Baghdad's charges as "running away from the truth."

June 18, 2014 at 10:33 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- you never addressed my question ? what if you took the Seattle Seahawks, for example, their DB's , WR's and RB's and a 6-5 athletic TE for a gaolie, trained them for 6 months, I think they could beat the USA soccer team. Your thoughts ? . . . AND i agree that what kind of sport that plays to 0-0 tie for 2 hours and people say that is exciting ?

June 18, 2014 at 10:50 a.m.
MocTastic said...

jomo11 I would buy your premise that those NFL players are probably much more athletic, but I personally dont' buy your premise you could teach them the necessary skills in 6 months. I think it would take much much longer. You not only have to have the athletic ability, you have to have the training and you need the years of playing til you get to the point where you can do what you need to do without thinking. As in all sports, if you have to pause and think what you need to do, your opponent will beat you. That only comes with years of playing the sport.

June 18, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.
jomo11 said...

its just kicking the ball, and half the time they just get lucky when they score, as evidence by that 0-0 game. it looks like the fastest guy on USA runs about a 4.9 , not real fast. It is a sport that when you are old enough to walk and kick a ball, you have mastered the sport...

June 18, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.
Buschleague said...

Jomo-That is funny thanks for the laugh! Seriously you are kidding though right? Right? 4.9 is real fast not to mention body control and incredible footwork. If soccer was so easy to master more people would do it. Other countries laugh at our version of station to station futball too. Outside of a couple of NFL QBs any MLS team would romp on the Seahawks.

June 18, 2014 at 1:41 p.m.
jomo11 said...

The reason no one does soccer is they can MAKE MORE MONEY playing football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, tennis, etc. . . .Soccer gets the low end of the athletes in the United States. . . and soccer takes ZERO hand-eye coordination. . . .Give those NFL skill players 6 months training and they would be the best soccer team in the world, no doubt . . . .heck they invented soccer in the US for rich kids that can't hit a baseball

June 18, 2014 at 1:57 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

Love the passion, and while there is no hand-eye coordination, there is foot-eye coordination. Truly.

Yes, NFL players are faster, but like almost any other sport, there would be so many learning curves and ball-handling techniques and details.

Are the NFL players better athletes, yes. Would they be better soccer players, no. Heck the NFL players are better athletes than baseball players and golfers, too, but there's no way they could compete at those levels, either.

Sure, the uber-elite athletes would transcend, but still not on a World Cup level.

And we don't like soccer.

One more monster reason male soccer faces huge hurdles in the states is money, like you said. Another is Title IX.

That said, Jomo, your last line made us laugh out loud. Well-played indeed.

June 18, 2014 at 2:27 p.m.
MocTastic said...

When I think of unathletic kids playing soccer...I think of McCallie and Baylor high school.

June 18, 2014 at 2:32 p.m.
Buschleague said...

Jomo- Based on your logic why haven't they already done so? 6 months sounds like a minor commitment.

June 18, 2014 at 2:33 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Slyvester Stallone proved in Victory that a non player can learn to play goalie at a high level very quickly. :)

June 18, 2014 at 2:43 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - I was out and about this afternoon and had a chance to listen in on Press Row. Good stuff Got a little tired of the I hate/I love soccer but you, David, and Wells handled it well. As for me, I'll watch any sport where they keep score or win a head to head race. I don't consider events with judges a sport worth my time (diving, ice skating, gymnastics, etc.). For the mailbag, and feel free to ask Wells and David to provide answers as well...what got you interested in sports (as opposed to something else)? While I played organized sports as a kid, for me, I think it was my dad taking me to sporting events as a very young lad.

June 18, 2014 at 7:24 p.m.
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