5 at 10: Atlanta Hawks, Tiger Woods and the NCAA looking to get tough on their own rules

5 at 10: Atlanta Hawks, Tiger Woods and the NCAA looking to get tough on their own rules

May 11th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

We're still looking for mailbag questions. Let's get to it.

From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...

Mark Emmert (AP Photo/Darron Cummings).

NCAA president wants to get tough

NCAA president Mark Emmert told reporters Tuesday that he wants to tighten down the NCAA rules and toughen up against those that break the rules.

Well, Mr. Emmert, do you need directions to Columbus, Ohio, and THE campus of THE Ohio State University.

Emmert wants the NCAA to get tough. In other news, the 5-at-10 hopes to win the lottery in the near future.

Anyhoo, at the very least Emmert sounded the part Tuesday.

"We need to make sure our penalty structure and enforcement process imposes a thoughtful level of concern, and that the cost of violating the rules costs more than not violating them,"Emmert told the AP Tuesday.

True enough. The questions are about impact not intent; it's less about why and more about how.

Emmert talked about broadening the categories of NCAA violations, even saying that there could be as many as five types of violations rather than the current major and secondary violations. That's a start.

Emmert has committed more resourses to enforcement. That's another positive step, but many more will need to be made in the enforcement direction.

Emmert said the solution is not to pay players, accurately noting that the pay model that works in pro sports would not work in college athletics.

There is no clean solution, of course, but Emmert's direction seems earnest. And his previous quote - about making the cost of violating the rules more than not violating them - is 100 percent spot on. If a booster commits a violation, suspend them or ban them depending on the violation. If a coach committs a violation, suspended them or fire them and punish the coach rather than the school. If there's a recruiting violation by school, coach or booster while chasing a certain player, that player then can't go to that school. Until those that break the rules are penalized - the actual people that break the rules rather than the institutions that employ them or take their money - the rules will continue to be hollow to those that already ignore them.

Does the NCAA have the muscle to do that? It's hard to know, but it will need a lot of muscle and support the first time it tries to lay down the law to one of college sports' power players.

In fact, as long as the circus that is THE Ohio State University continues to go full speed right down to the dancing bears and the small car filled with clowns, it's hard to believe the NCAA has the power to clean up this mess.

We'll see this summer when UT and THE Ohio State University come before the NCAA infractions committee. Emmert's words let us know that the NCAA's mouth is working. Let's see if they have any teeth.

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, left, shouts in front of guard Derrick Rose after scoring during the third quarter in Game 5 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83, and lead the series 3-2. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Rose by any other name

The Chicago Derrick Roses seized control of their series with the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, with namesake star and league MVP Derrick Rose scoring 33 points. More importantly, Rose had just one turnover and nine assists - and its could have been 15 if his Derrick Rose teammates could have hit a few more shots.

Rose played 42 minutes as the Derrick Roses grabbed a 3-2 lead in the series and moved to within one win from returning to the conference finals for the first time since the team was known as the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan was on the roster.

In truth, Luol Deng was a fine sidekick for Rose, who seems to be able to get to the rim whenever he needs to get to the rim. Game 6 will be in Atlanta on Thursday, and how Rose responds in a decisive game on the road will be telling about his ascent as one of the game's best players. When guys make the leap to superstar, they show they have the ability to finish off teams, even on the road.

Side note: Looking at the box score must be painful for Johnny Hawks Fan if for no other reason than Marvin Williams' stat line. Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft, played nine minutes off the bench. Yes, Williams was selected before Deron Williams and Chris Paul. He's a first-team All-Sam Bowie selection, there's no doubt.

Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) follows through on a three-run homer in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Atlanta. Washington won 7-6. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Defenseless against mistakes

The Braves made three errors that led to three unearned runs early in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to Washington. Not to be outdone, an unearned run after an error on Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins ended ace Roy Halladay's string of 13 consecutive wins against the NL East in a 2-1 loss to the Marlins and stud righty Josh Johnson.

There are two lessons from the above statement - one that all baseball fans are familiar with and another that is all-too-familiar for Johnny Braves Fan.

First, extra outs mean extra-painful losses. It's just that simple.

Second, it seems like every year there is a below-average team that gives the Braves fits. And more times than not it's the Washington Nationals, who also used to give the Braves fits in their former life as the Montreal Expos. Granted, they are improved this year, but more times than not if the Expos/Nationals finish the season with a .500 record, they would have something like a .700 winning percentage against the Braves. And three-error games will make sure that streak continues.

That said, the 5-at-10 loved, Loved, LOVED the way hard-luck losing pitcher Tim Hudson took the blame for the loss. It was the mark of a team leader. Well played, sir.

In a photo taken with a fisheye lens, Tiger Woods tees off at the sixth hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, April, 8. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Tiger says he's ready

Stop if you've heard this one before, but Tiger Woods says he's feeling better. OK, great.

His injured knee is feeling good, he says, and his injured Achlles' is also improved. Alright, excellent.

Uh, how's the putter, there big guy?

Woods said that his practice Tuesday was his first since the Masters in early April because of the injuries. Seriously, the hand-wringing from the yahoo media folks like the 5-at-10 needs to go away until the injuries are healed and Woods is playing more than every few weeks and then entering the big tournaments. That's a great way of life, granted, but it's hardly the approach to win golf tournaments, no matter how many swing coaches and swing changes and swing sets and swing nuts and the movie "Swingers" DVDs you go through.

Not that long Woods was golf's epicenter and arguably the biggest sports star on the planet, even if that feels like a lifetime ago.

Woods is in the longest winless streak of his career, and injuries - some self-inflicted, mind you - have played a big part in it. Until he gets healthy, we may never see the old Tiger Woods again - and we may never see the truly dominant Tiger of old ever again, even if he does get healthy.

Now, of course, if he wins the Players this weekend (and if he does, can we call it The Playas... Hey?), yahoo media folks like the 5-at-10 and fans will say all Woods needed was a break from the game to clear his head. So it goes.

Andrew Bynum launches elbow at Dallas Mavericks' Jose Juan Barea in the closing minutes of Game 4. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

This and that

- L.A. Lakers center for the moment Andrew Bynum will miss the first five games next season for his flagrant foul on J.J. Barea on Sunday. Whenever that season will be and where Bynum will be playing whenever that season starts is anyone's guess.

- Ohio State won the NCAA men's volleyball championship. New cars for everyone.

- From Gene Henley's story on the SE Whitfield High soccer player who faces deportation to the advance on Ringgold's postseason baseball season to college news to Mark Wiedmer's column on the Porky's Open golf tournament that continues to raise money for UTC athletics, the TFP sports section was stuffed with local stuff today. Just wanted to send out a "job well done" to our staff, which is filled with people who work extremely hard and with passion and make the job of that goofy Sports Editor a lot more fun and manageable.

- The Big Orange caravan heads into town today, and we'll have that complete covered online and in print.

Until tomorrow.