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

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

June 18th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sportscolumns

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.

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

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/Times Free 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.