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Sports Watching & Wondering

HAAfrican American news from Pasadena - Sports WatchingPPY HOLIDAYS!

The economy may be down, but when it comes to sports, our Bowls are running over. On the day after Christmas, and the beginning of Kwanza, USC will meet Boston College in San Francisco to play in the Emerald Bowl. Last year, some of the Trojans thought that Pasadena was too close to home, so this year they get their wish to travel. From this experience, they will learn to be careful what they wish for, since they might get it. Two of the Trojans are academically ineligible for this game. Times have changed. When I was a USC student, athletes did not have to attend classes to be eligible, but they did have to enroll. Since that time, some of the standards may have changed, but when you hear some of the Players being interviewed, you realize that they have not changed very much.

Star running back Joe McKnight is being investigated, because he has been driving a 2006 Land Rover. The real meaning of the NCAA is "No Cash for Any Athlete." The universities make fortunes from their efforts. In some cases, they are advised to take the easiest courses, and then not to study, so that they may concentrate on their athletic endeavors. Not only do the schools make money from the gate receipts and from television, they are now renting space on their uniforms to Nike and to others Sponsors. It is just a matter of time, before college athletic uniforms look identical to what NASCAR Drivers wear. Many of the players and some of the stars as well, are suffering from severe economic hardships. They and their families are close to the bottom of the economic barrel. So, while they are starving and suffering, they have observed the hypocrisy of the schools and the NCAA, as they rake in millions of dollars. In Los Angeles, it is especially difficult for anyone to exist without an automobile. McKnight was driving one, so he will likely be ineligible to play in the Emerald Bowl, which would have been his last game before he enters the NFL Draft. Compared to the Athletes, there are very few NCAA rules for College Presidents and Coaches. When they cause a school to be put on probation, the punishment is usually a loss of scholarships. They do not ban coaches from working, no matter what they do. If you doubt that, check out John Calipari and Rick Pitino.

UCLA probably should have done the right thing, and refused to play in a Bowl Game this year. However they are on their way back to the nation's capital, to play Temple University in the Eagle Bank Bowl on December 29. Temple is not a powerhouse, but with a record of  9-3 to UCLA's 6-6, it does not look good for the Bruins.

Another indication that they well may be close to the end is the fact that the Trojan Basketball Team at 5-4, has a better record than the 3-7 Bruins. Holy John Wooden, is that possible? I have not looked it up, but I think that you would have to go back to the 50's to see when USC had a better team. The current trend may not hold up, but as of right now, this is a shocker!

I am still shocked and saddened by the misadventures of Tiger Woods. I did not necessarily expect him to be a saint, but I also did not expect him to be an idiot. Again, my heartfelt sympathy goes to his family. With respect to his career, this brouhaha will likely be just a small speed bump, on his road to even greater successes. This has caused him a lot of money, but he will make that back, and earn even more. It was just that he had done so many things the right way that most of the world looked up to him. He was a shining example of what it could be to lead a decent life. Maybe he can do that again, and do better on his next try.

The former Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals is trying very hard to become a well-known personality. He is a great football player, and he has a desire to become very famous. So, to that end, he has been doing things. The number on his Jersey is 85, which in Spanish is "Ocho Cinco." So, for whatever reason, he started referring to himself as OchoCinco. Being satisfied that he was on the right track to fame and glory, he legally changed his name from Johnson to OchoCinco. With that great accomplishment under his belt, he made even bigger plans. He hired someone to come onto the field to help him put on a Sombrero, after he had scored a touchdown. The NFL Commissioner was not amused, and  OchoCinco received a heavy fine, something in the neighborhood of $50,000.00.

Dios Mio! One of his teammates was involved in a domestic dispute, and the result was an accident that took his life. This was a shock that saddened many people, especially those who were his teammates. OchoCinco decided that he would honor his fallen teammate and friend by wearing his number15, during a game last Sunday. The Commissioner would not allow him to do this. During the game, OchoCinco scored a touchdown,and then he knelt and cried. I felt that he was sincerely grieving for his friend, and at the same time, that he wanted to call some extra attention to himself. If I misunderstood his motives, please chalk it up to the fact that I grew up with a bad crowd.

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