Want to start a Monday feature here on the blog: Looking at the past week, and also including my Associated Press ballot to attract ridicule.
*- TIGER ISSUES: No, not you-know-who. Rather, this is about what’s going on at Missouri, where senior starters Jessra Johnson and Amanda Hanneman were suspended after being arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault regarding a dispute with fellow student Justin Short, who is an MU cheerleader.
The players’ suspensions are indefinite. Without them, Mizzou won 71-32 over Murray State on Sunday, after which coach Cindy Stein apologized for what happened with the players. I understand why she did that, because coaches ultimately must take responsibility when players get into trouble. However, they cannot have their eyes on their players 24/7. They have to rely on them to make good decisions.
I wrote about this Saturday morning, and since then have spoken to a source close to the situation. That conversation was off the record. Now, I totally understand that readers may say, “Why do you bring up something when you can’t write what was said?” The thing is, sometimes you have to approach a story that way to try to get to the bottom of it as best you can.
I’ll continue to pursue what I can attribute on the record. I will say this: Sometimes people get in difficult situations and react in ways that, frankly, many folks might also react. In fact, in ways most people probably should react. But when you are a student-athlete, you understandably face more potential consequences than a regular student would, even if your conduct has justification.
Stein and MU athletic director Mike Alden have to be even-handed in regard to discipline. These players are not known as troublemakers and deserve to be treated fairly – that is to say, no more leniently, but also no more harshly, than if they were male student-athletes who reacted the same way in the same type of situation. It’s prudent and necessary to keep a close eye on colleges in that regard.
And it’s also fair to say that Short, part of the cheer squad and thus also a representative of the school, is responsible for explaining to the athletic department his side in the dispute.
Update: This information from Columbia Daily Tribune reporter David Briggs jibes with what I was told by another source Sunday. I also spoke to Hanneman’s mother about the situation Monday morning.
*-WHAT’S UP WITH INSIDER? I’ve recently received some e-mails from folks saying they couldn’t read one of my stories on ESPN.com because it was tagged as an “Insider” article. This was news to me. I had no idea they were going to do that. It appeared that was being done for my blog entries. Truth is, I didn’t even know how much an “Insider” subscription cost. So I went to check it out:
- 1 Year Membership – $3.33 a month, includes a 1-year subscription to ESPN The Magazine. 26 issues overall.
- 2 Year Membership – $2.50 a month, includes a 2-year subscription to ESPN The Magazine. 52 issues overall.
- Monthy subscription: $6.95
Apparently, as of Monday morning, this has changed and my blog entries are not part of the Insider content anymore.
As for the whole topic, I realize people are used to getting a lot of content on the Internet for free, with the assumption that somehow the writers producing it will get paid for it or have another way to make a living. There are choices readers will make if they have to pay for content. Anyone who writes for a living understands that it’s readers who determine the value of what we produce. Those who focus on women’s sports are in the process of finding out if there is enough of an audience that does value it to a sufficient degree to support increased professional coverage of it. If there isn’t, then that’s just the way the market works for any goods or services.
*-UPSETS YOU MIGHT HAVE PREDICTED: TCU over Texas A&M on Saturday. The Frogs had already beaten Kansas -albeit with the help of a late mistake by the Jayhawks, who called time out when they didn’t have one. Jeff Mittie’s squad is balanced and very used to playing a tough non-conference schedule. Add in TCU’s home court edge and the fact that TAMU’s Danielle Adams was out with concussion symptoms, and the ingredients were there for the upset.
Then there was Michigan State topping Xavier 66-53 Wednesday. The Spartans are the team that right now has me the most perplexed because it’s hard to be sure how good they are. Their losses are to Dayton, Notre Dame and Indiana. But they have wins over Oklahoma State, North Carolina and now Xavier.
*-UPSETS YOU DIDN’T SEE COMING: Towson over Maryland, 67-55 Thursday. Yeah, the Terps are young and all that, but … the last time Maryland lost to Towson in women’s hoops, not only were the current Terps not born, but the Terps who graduated a decade ago weren’t born. It had last happened in February 1975, which in women’s basketball terms is almost like saying the beginning of time.
Then there was San Jose State’s 68-66 victory over Cal on Wednesday in Berkeley. The Bears held a 23-8 series edge going into that game; they hadn’t lost to the Spartans since March 1982, when people were still watching daytime soap operas.
*-HOUDINIS: Vandy escaped at Quinnipiac 75-74 after being down by 16 Thursday, while Ohio State high-tailed it out of Mississippi with a 79-77 victory thanks to a 12-0 run to end the game Sunday.
*-MY BALLOT: 1. Connecticut, 2. Stanford, 3. Tennessee, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Baylor, 6. LSU, 7. Duke, 8. North Carolina, 9. Georgia, 10. Ohio State, 11. Florida State, 12. Texas A&M, 13. Xavier, 14. Nebraska, 15. Arizona State, 16. Vanderbilt, 17. Texas, 18. Kansas, 19. James Madison, 20. Oklahoma, 21. Michigan State, 22. Virginia, 23. Pittsburgh. 24. Dayton 25. Oklahoma State