Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The strong-arm of the (NCAA) law

No doubt you've heard by now about the most famous coach's wife in America, Lynn Marshall, and her rather, um, unique way of supporting her husband Gregg and the Wichita State Shockers in their NCAA loss to Kentucky the other day.

Witnesses say copious amounts of profanity were involved. Witnesses also suspect copious amounts of alcohol were involved. In any case, security had to be summoned to calm her down at least three   times, and she was finally escorted from the arena after the game ended.

That's just part of the story. And not really the relevant part.

The rest involves a Kentucky Sports Radio reporter, Drew Franklin, who, unable to miss Marshall's antics (apparently, you'd have had to been dead to do that), decided to start tweeting about them. Along the way, he uploaded a brief video clip of Marshall doing whatever the hell it was she thought she was doing.

Social media being what is, it almost immediately went viral. And Marshall saw it. And she complained to NCAA officials -- who then went to Franklin on press row and threatened to yank his credential if he didn't take down the video.

This was dunderheaded even by NCAA standards. First of all, KSR merely re-posted the video later. Second of all, it got far more hits -- and the incident, far more attention -- than it would have if the NCAA official in question hadn't strong-armed Franklin.

(Which, by the way, the NCAA claims it didn't do. Sorry. I believe Franklin. You should, too. He's got no reason to lie, and the NCAA has every reason to).

In any case, bullying reporters is never a good look. It's dumb beyond dumb, because it almost always has the exact opposite effect you desire it to -- i.e., it focuses even more attention on what you're trying to put a muzzle on. Certainly that was the case here.

It consistently amazes the Blob how no one ever seems to learn this obvious lesson. But it's also not surprised. The NCAA is, after all, an autocratic institution, with all the inherent mindlessness that implies.

Quick story: Some years back, the NCAA volleyball Final Four came to Fort Wayne. In the media room, there were bottles of water and soda for those who wished them. The catch was, you had to pour the water/soda into a cup with the NCAA logo on it before you were allowed to take it out to press row.

Offenders who ignored this and took the bottles to courtside were approached by NCAA gendarmes and told to take them off the press table. I, for one, found this highly amusing. Out on the court, after all, the players were all wearing apparel bearing the logos of whatever apparel company their respective schools had cut the usual chunky deals with. So it was OK for the "student-athletes" to be walking billboards for companies their schools were in bed with, but it wasn't OK for media members to have bottles of, say, Aquafina sitting out in the open.

More silliness from the masters.

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