Monday, July 04, 2005

Madness Way Beyond March

As a huge Boston College sports fan, this Boston Globe article was an enlightening and frustrating read. It's easy to gloss over your own rooting interests when there are other rivals to skewer (Remember "Catholics vs. Cons" with BC vs. Miami football?), but it's sad to see that BC men's basketball team has had so many legal troubles in the 21st century.

In reading previous news reports, I knew about the barroom brawl and the window exit. I didn't know about one player's 9mm handgun. Or the "three counterfeit $10 bills in [another player's] rectum." I, of course, want BC to be a force on the basketball court. It just makes me sad to think that with revenue sports, a checkered past might not be enough to dissuade the school to offer some athletes the annual scholarship of $40,000-plus.

Another question: If Stanford and Duke don't have these problems publicly, is it because they don't exist? Or because the media choose not to report them?

The story offers one version of an answer through an interview with Boston University basketball coach Dennis Wolff; and it's encouraging and discouraging at the same time:

"There's no school in the country immune to any of this," Wolff said. "I know those guys at BC. They are good guys who try to do their due diligence in investigating these kids, but we're coaches, not detectives. If you're doing your due diligence and getting good reports, you're going to take a chance on these kids."

In BC's defense, there are plenty of athletes on revenue and nonrevenue teams that are definitely worthy of praise, not only as student-athletes, but also as people. One of my BC buddies, Cal Bouchard, is not only extraordinarily nice, but is flat-out brilliant and played on the Canadian basketball team during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. These awesome student-athletes do exist and BC needs more of them.

The point is to make sure BC doesn't lose sight of its integrity in a stink over high-profile athletes and money. And not just because of the counterfeit Hamiltons that police said were where the sun don't shine.

We'll be right back on "The Sports Reporters" with some Parting Shots after this break.