Current Events: Miami, Bubba & Tweeting

19 Aug

1. I don’t understand why a university would take money from a hard-partying 30-something who had a habit of throwing wild parties in his stadium suite and cussing out whomever was unlucky enough to answer the phone at the athletic director when he felt he was not getting enough respect – not to mention once trying to start a fight with the associate athletic director for compliance, who tried to limit contact between booster and athletes. If you read the full report done by Yahoo! on Nevin Shapiro’s interactions with the University of Miami, it is quite clear that Shapiro had zero boundaries. With that fact being so obvious, why would an organization, especially one that is allegedly focused on education, align itself with someone of this character? Since everything – his behavior toward the university itself in addition to his giving players money, lodging, prostitutes, access to alcohol and strip clubs – is out in the open now that Shapiro has been put away for 20 years for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, here’s the question to Miami: Was it worth it?

2. I think Bubba Starling made the right decision to forgo college and sign with the Kansas City Royals. Though he is a talented athlete in general, baseball seemed to be his passion, and it’s every kid’s dream to play major league baseball. Though football at Nebraska would also be an understandable aspiration for a kid growing up in this area, it isn’t quite the same now that the Huskers have abandoned the Big 12. From a practical, long-term standpoint, a career in baseball is probably more sustainable than one in football, where a player’s body is often beat up badly by the time he is in his mid-30s. There’s also that issue of money. Because he chose the Royals, he is $7.5 million richer than he would have been. Sure, he could have played baseball in college first, but the risk of injury or falling interest were probably just risks he did not want to take. All in all, it seems like an understandable decision, and I think the Royals – despite handing over the highest signing bonus in club history (second highest was $6 million to Eric Hosmer in 2008) – got him for a decent price.

3. Various coaches around the country have banned their players from having Twitter accounts. If I was a coach, I would probably do the same thing. If I was a coach, my response would probably go something like this. “If you want to catch up with someone, call him on the telephone! There is no sense in updating anyone and everyone on each moment of your day, feeling you have, or decision you make. That’s just unnecessary.” From an administrative standpoint, having a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds posting whatever whenever likely seems like an incident looking for a place to happen. Transparency is a buzzword these days, but for most people with an eye toward public relations, this Twitter situation might provide a little too much transparency. From the fan perspective, it can be very interesting to follow an athlete on Twitter. What do these players value? How do they talk to each other? What kinds of sources do they “retweet”? Probably the easiest solution to this issue is to give the players broad guidelines for their Twitter usage (Don’t talk about the team, and don’t say anything you wouldn’t be ashamed to say in front of your grandmother, etc.) and let them know that their coaches can follow them as easily as anyone else can.

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