Mel Tucker, Michigan State's new football coach, speaks duirng a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

College question marks

It was one hiring, but it pulled back the rug on several huge issues that expose the hypocrisy of college sports and the ever-growing divide.

Mel Tucker left Colorado after one season. (And that was a 5-7 season at that.)

Tucker went to East Lansing to become the Michigan State coach. He left for MSU after proudly posting on social media that he was not leaving Boulder and set a modern NCAA record for hashtags.

Hey, Tucker got double the salary. He's moving to a place where he has family and to the school that gave him his coaching start. He got double the pool for resources for his staff.

Everyone understands why Tucker left.

But few want to see the hard ripples.

That this comes on the heels of the NCAA appearing before Congress pleading for help with the Name, Image and Likeness rules is supremely appropriate. The NCAA was adamant that its position is against paying players, but this comes on the heels of the truth that a very mediocre program through history just gave a retiring coach $4.3 million in bonuses and paid more than $5 million for Tucker, who is 5-7 as a head coach.

Cue the Jay Bilas social media post about there not being enough money.

There also is the much-maligned transfer portal, which gives players a small amount of option and flexibility, despite it being maligned by most fans and most coaches. Coaches like Tucker or previous MSU coach Mark Dantonio, who made their decisions for their families and their futures, but will demand loyalty above everything from their 18-to-22 year-old players.  

In fact, here's hoping that this 11th-plus-hour two-step — Dantonio left right before signing day; Tucker relocated after recruiting 24 players to Colorado in this cycle — advances the idea that every college athlete gets one free transfer with no questions asked and immediate eligibility.

Every other transfer after that must pass through much tighter scrutiny with the exception of graduate transfers.

Then there is the huge imbalance among the haves and the have-nots.

And, gang, we're talking about Michigan State, and they just flat-out money-whipped another Power Five school.

As TFP college football guru and Press Row cohost David Paschall said on our show, Colorado is a Pac-12 school and they are closer to Appalachian State than Michigan State.

Think about that. And then ponder this fair column from Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, who wonders if we should still call the Pac-12 a Power Five conference.


State of embarrassment

Well, three days after "officially" becoming the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Legislature has reached a new low.

Yes, Tennessee state Rep. Micah Van Huss has filed a bill that is really something.

Here's the summary of the bill, which was filed on Feb. 4, 2020 and is HJR 779: Resolves to recognize CNN and The Washington Post as fake news and part of the media wing of the Democratic Party, and further resolves to condemn such media outlets for denigrating our citizens and implying that they are are weak-minded followers instead of people exercising their rights that our veterans paid for with their blood.

Deep breaths.

Gang, I'm a conservative. Very much so, in fact.

But this may be the single dumbest act in the history of organized government. Is that hyperbole? Maybe.

Maybe not.

First, ol' Micah Van Doofus gets bonus points for wiggling a reference to our veterans in there. All he was missing was a gun reference and hashtag #Merica.

Goodness, where do we start mocking this? How about here:

Uh, MIcah, congratulations that your constituents in Washington County are clearly living in a Utopia in which there is not a single issue more important than your hatred of the media.

Awesome for you guys.

Forget roads or infrastructure. Forget state policies or practices aimed at helping kids or advancing education or addressing better health care or anything else.

Washington County in particular, and the state of Tennessee in general, is humming right along to the point that we need to spend time and resources on classifying CNN as fake news.

All kidding aside, hey Micah, get your governmental schnoz out of the media, you lugnut.

Because, while I am certain that you have a "You can take my gun from my cold, dead fingers" or a "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" bumper sticker on your truck, do you want to know what the founding fathers believed was more important — and why we sent all those veterans around the world to shed their blood — than the second amendment right of owning a firearm?

A free press, which is right there in the FIRST amendment.

Seriously, at some point don't we need to start having common-sense tests before somebody's second-cousin finds his way onto the ballot and wiggles his way to Nashville?

I wish I were making this up.          


Gender confusion in Connecticut

Gender identity is an issue many of us are not overly interested in debating or qualified to dissect. It's confusing for everyone involved. But it's hard to argue against this, no? High school female athletes in Connecticut have filed a federal lawsuit to prevent transgender athletes from competing. It comes after earlier this month two transgender athletes finished 1-2 in the girls' 55-meter dash at the Class S state indoor track meet.  

The lawsuit claims that allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls' sports creates a competitive disadvantage and hurts scholarship opportunities of non-trans athletes.

Again, that's tough to argue against, no?

"Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn't fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities," said attorney Christiana Holcomb in a statement announcing the suit. "Having separate boys' and girls' sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition. And forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics."

The two transgender athletes — Terry Miller and Andrea Yearwood — have combined to win 15 state titles in several events over the last couple of track seasons.

The ACLU has claimed it will fight the lawsuit.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender athletes to compete in any and all sports.

In the last two months, several states, including Tennessee, have introduced bills to change state high school regulations so that athletes must compete as the athlete's birth gender.


This and that

— You guys know I am a fan of The Athletic. I subscribe and this link is behind the paywall. Here's their ranking of the top 100 NFL free agents, with Dak Prescott leading the list. The top four are QBs — Dak, Brees, Brady, Rivers — with Amari Cooper at No. 5. For you Titans followers, Ryan Tannehill was listed 11th and, somewhat surprisingly, Derrick Henry was 24th. Seriously.

— Our basketball picks finished 2-2. Again. We missed Auburn (minus-7, won by 4) and Louisville (minus-6, lost outright) and hit UTC, which smoked VMI, and the Lakers, who won by 4 in OT as a 2-point favorite. Our college hoops picks are 28-23 and our NBA picks are now 13-4 against the number. Which begs the question, "Why are you still picking college games rather than NBA games?" Fair question.

— Speaking of the Mocs, here's the game report of the 86-67 win over VMI from TFP UTC ace Lindsey Young.

— Speaking of Auburn, well, the Tigers' 95-91 overtime win over Alabama on Wednesday featured the Tide going 22-of-59 from 3. Wow. The teams combined to shoot 90 3s.

— Here are the 2020 rules that have been added or tweaked for MLB. We all knew the three-batter minimum was coming, but I was not aware that rosters were expanding to 26. So there's that.  

— Disneyland is one of the most amazing places on Earth, especially when you take kids. It's also one of the priciest. Here's a story that some of the tickets have zoomed to $209 a pop. Man, for our little 5-at-10 clan of four, that's more than $800 just to get in the park.

— Colin Kaepernick is writing a book and claims he wants to be an NFL quarterback again. Yeah, and I want $1 million.

— Egad, Braves. We haven't thrown a spring training pitch and we're already wondering when Cole Hamels will make his way to the mound. a shoulder injury means he'll miss at least the next three weeks, and management has said he will not be ready for Opening Day.

— Here's more from Paschall on the Lookouts' desire for a new stadium in an effort to get out of the contraction spotlight.  


Today's questions

Lots to get to today. Wow.

And the Astros addressing the sign-stealing scandal is happening at 9:30 this morning, too.

As for today, well, Happy Birthday, Randy Moss.

Jesse James held up his first bank on this day in 1866.

Earlier this week, Adam Sandler's hit movie "Billy Madison" turned 25. Seriously. (Makes you feel old, right?) Rushmore of Sandler movies. Go.