Annual Ruey Appreciation Day!
If you take a glance at the Cal Sports schedule, you'll note that the Spring season has essentially come to a close (with a bunch of National Championships!) this week. Four Bears will compete in Eugene at the track and field national finals, but team sports are done. The next event on the Cal sports calendar? Some sort of weird event in Sydney, Australia.
That means that it's time to once again recognize the insane level of passion and dedication put forth by Ruey Yen, occasionally known as LEastCoastBears. It's really, really hard to follow all 30 of Cal's varsity sports, and what little knowledge I have beyond football and basketball is thanks to CGB's tireless Olympic Sport correspondent.
Meanwhile, Cal is currently 10th in the Director's Cup standings, and unlikely to rise any since both men's rowing and rugby aren't officially recognized NCAA sports. The NCAA: wrong about pretty much everything.
Jordan Mathews transfers
Imagine a world where college sports isn't a billion dollar industry and tons of fans. In that world, a student who happens to play basketball graduates in three years and gets accepted to a graduate school, where he continues to play basketball. Normal, right?
But the NCAA IS a billion dollar industry, and I'm one of those weirdo fans, and so Jordan Mathews' transfer is painful. It shouldn't be painful, and Jordan certainly shouldn't be thinking about how fans feel, but that's the reality. This is one of those instances that drives home just how weird the fan/player relationship in college sports is.
The graduate transfer rule was put in place as a stop-gap to protect the amateur concept that is gradually dying. "Hey, if we're going to persist with the fiction that this industry is about academics while coaches and administrators pocket gigantic salaries, we probably can't punish kids for graduating." Of course, even that small concession has prompted complaints from some of the whinier coaches out there.
I expect Grant Mullins to take most of the minutes vacated by Mathews, and I actually think there's a reasonable chance that Mullins produces at a similar-ish level . . . on offense. But we've gone from a sure thing to a less sure thing, with less depth and even less clarity further down the bench. Having Mullins playing 15-20 minutes to spell Mathews and Bird was ideal. Now, who's going to play behind Mullins and Bird? Coleman? Roger Moute a Bidias?
Jordan Mathews is gone, and that makes Cal basketball weaker team. Jordan Mathews is gone, and that makes life less fun for Cal fans. Those two facts are related but different. Happy travels, JMat, I'll remember all 201 of your 3 pointers with fondness.
Does college football have a culture problem?
By now most of you are aware of the rapid and stunning meltdown at Baylor thanks to a group of administrators and coaches who appear to run the gamut from incompetent to morally bankrupt. But that's just the most high profile example of coaches and administrators covering up for players facing serious legal trouble for, among other things, violence against women. And this has more than a few people distraught.
I'm generally hesitant to make such universal statements, to imply that an entire sport is in crisis because of a spate of potentially unrelated events. However, I think it's fair to think that we're seeing a long term issue that can no longer stay hidden and will no longer be tolerated without a fight. For too many programs around the country, the bottom line has been to win at all costs. And for as much as Baylor got everything wrong, I almost count it as a step in the right direction that a coach with four 10 win seasons at Baylor got fired. Winning usually absolves all sins.
Will we see similar movement at certain other SEC schools going through similar turmoil? And will programs continue to give players and coaches 2nd chances that they may not deserve? That might be the best measure of change in the world of college sports.