5-at-10: UT fires back at the NCAA, Caitlin Clark dominates, golf in the NIL era, Rushmore of Super Bowl moments

FILE - University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman speaks during a press conference in Knoxville, Tenn., Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Plowman told the NCAA president that allegations Tennessee violated rules overseeing name, image and likeness are “factually untrue and procedurally flawed," in a letter released Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, by the university. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, File)
FILE - University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman speaks during a press conference in Knoxville, Tenn., Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Plowman told the NCAA president that allegations Tennessee violated rules overseeing name, image and likeness are “factually untrue and procedurally flawed," in a letter released Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, by the university. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, File)

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College sports biggest issue

Tennessee has already been in the crosshairs of the NCAA. Jeremy Pruitt and his MickeyD's bags of cash were viewed as sinful.

While that feels like it was SMU in the 1980s, it was like four years ago.

It was also as archaic in terms of perspective for Bruce Pearl getting a multi-year "show-cause" penalty for lying about a cookout at his house in Knoxville.

So the NCAA thinks Tennessee is the one program using NIL illegally, which is comical because there are no hard-and-fast NIL rules.

And the NCAA also views Tennessee as a guinea pig test subject in an effort to grab some sort of control of the current model of the ever-changing realm of major college sports.

Yeah, that makes sense.

So the NCAA is saying UT's NIL collectives are using money to recruit players.

Read that again. Isn't that exactly what NIL is supposed to be?

And moreover, if there are very few rules in place, how can anyone be breaking rules across the divide of haves and have-nots that is the NIL checkbooks?

Sure, the story from The Athletic that Nico Whosehisbritches got $8 million to go to UT — and someone certainly had a ton of coin to get all of Nico's clan to the Florida bowl game — checked every box about the NIL loopholes.

The squawking heads at YahooSports.com were happy to offer their views — and in truth, Pat Forde is a big-time UT hater, so his opinion is watered-downed at best, even to the point that the phrase "death penalty" was used — on the matter.

It also engages the leadership of the UT system, which led us to today's announcement that the state of Tennessee (and joined by Virginia) are suing the NCAA.

Most of the rulings from local, state and federal courts have viewed the NCAA as the most illegal part of the college sports landscape.

That has to be telling, no?

NIL is here. It is going to expand.

The NCAA picking this fight is not only useless, it's stupid.

Find a way to define the portal. Find a way to make sure coaches are not involved. Find a way to redirect this from the "easy-to-bash" political commentary.

The NCAA simply is trying to put a Band-Aid on a severed limb.

Handle your business, and moreover, find a way you can be a part of the version of the leadership of college athletics moving forward.

Yes, traditional college sports fans and supporters will bemoan the NIL transition.

But Tennessee and Virginia suing the NCAA are only the first steps. There will be more.

And they will be right, because everything wrong with college sports starts with the NCAA.

Basketball's best

Caitlin Clark is the most dominant basketball player on the planet.

No, she will not win any one-on-one match with even the seventh man in the rotation for the UTC men's team. That's just how it works.

So note I did not say best, because there is simply no way, other than publicity stunts, she would make the last roster spot for the 6-41 Pistons.

But in terms of dominance, we are watching the female version of Pistol Pete/Christian Laettner, especially in the college realm.

(Side question: Have we ever done the Rushmore of college basketball players in terms of all-time greatness? Both those names above — Maravich and Laettner have to be there — and then it may start and stop in Westwood with Alcinder and Walton. Thoughts?)

As for Clark, she is now second all-time in scoring in the women's game, and the unthinkable mark of Maravich's 3,667 is within reach, too.

Yes, I know Pete did that in three years and averaged a staggering 44-plus over his career. But still, impressive.

(Side note: Have I told you guys my Pete Maravich story? So a friend of the family in Smyrna growing up played for UGA when Pistol was in Red Stick. Years later, he met Pete at an event when he was playing for the Hawks and said, "Not sure if you remember me, but I guarded you in college." Pete said, "You played at Georgia, right? How'd you do?" He answered with "held you to 44." Pete was a basketball God.)

You know, Clark needs a nickname, don't you think?

Golf's next hurdle

No, this is not about Rory softening his tones on LIV defectors and the divide in professional golf. Although that is kinda interesting, no?

Where were we?

Ah yes, a high school sophomore who has won 60ish of the 90ish tournaments she has entered is being banned from playing the rest of her high school career because of NIL issues and payment.

Mia Hammond is a savant. She barely can drive, and she used her driver to make an LPGA cut. But, with the NIL contributions and Ohio's anti-NIL rules, Mia's high school career is kaput.

Golf's issues run deeper than just the NIL, however. (Wow, heavy female sports day and a lot of NIL chatter, huh?)

Let's explore it this way. Golf's recent amateur winner on the PGA Tour can now accept money to play golf or wear apparel under the NCAA and state athletic administration rules.

But with all of that being kosher, the issues about being an amateur still exist.

This and that

— Lakers-Celtics tonight. I will watch. Which side of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry were you on as a kid? Bird or Magic?

— Man, did you see the news that the Kelce brothers' podcast is now the most popular version of that genre in the world? In the world people. Hmmmm, wonder why that could be. At this point, you have to think Roger Goodell is in a room with his advisors pondering, "How can we get Josh Allen to date Selena Gomez?"

— Mocs win again. Good for them and for those of you who support them. Dan Earl is 10 times the coach Lamont ever thought about being, right?

— Great win by Florida last night at Rupp. Bad pick by you know who on that one last night.

— Beer will be sold at Georgia games this fall. Side note: I know there are some folks who are concerned about selling alcohol at college sporting events, but I will say this: Selling a 24-ounce Bud Light for $7 is going to lead to LESS alcohol consumption from the majority of folks wanting to drink at an SEC game. Because you can either sell it to them or turn your head as they find ways to smuggle in Isaac's full bar from the cruise deck on "Love Boat."

Today's questions

It's the ol' AGT — anything goes Thursday — and in that thought process, is there a video clip that is as universally as funny as a dad pitching to his kid and taking the line drive in the crotch?

Discuss.

Also, Caitlin Clark scores how many points if she starts in an NBA game between the Pistons and the Wizards?

As for today, Feb. 1, let's review.

Wow, the David Letterman Show debuted on this day in 1982. His first guest was Bill Murray. Man, those are two of the shortlist dudes who I could see being viewed as the funniest people of the last 50 years.

Can we even try that Rushmore?

Maybe not. Let's go here.

On this day 20 years ago, Janet Jackson's Superbowl fashion malfunction happened.

Rushmore of Super Bowl moments that had nothing to do with football? Go.

And remember the mailbag.