Every-Thing Sports

How the NCAA can make sports more fair (and fun)

NCAA.com

At my fulltime job, I do a lot of driving around when I do in-home consultations. So naturally I listen to the radio, music, or podcasts all day long. During the midday yesterday, I found myself listening to Sports Talk 790's In The Trenches with Greg Koch and ND Kalu. Listening to a show hosted by two former football players during a Monday while football season in going on is not a bad idea. However, what was a most awful idea was a call they took early on in their show. The caller wasn't a corny character or anything. He was an actual person. He didn't seem to be drunk or under the influence of any drugs either. But maybe he's on to something about making the NCAA enforce new rules to make college football more fair:

Road game noise ordinance

The caller to ITT said the NCAA should enforce a noise ordinance for all road games because it's not fair that the road team can't always hear what they're doing on offense. He was highly upset about it and made sure to let the laughing hosts know he has their number and will call them to let them know how he feels. I suggest the refs carry a decibel meter and immediately throw a personal foul flag on the fans. If they get a second noise ordinance personal foul, random sections would get ejected for every ensuing penalty! Free throws in basketball, penalty shots in hockey and soccer...you get my drift. (Extreme sarcasm here for the sarcasm impaired.)

Transfer Portal Day

The transfer portal is open and available to all sports, but it mainly effects football and basketball since they're the most high profile and highest revenue sports. I wrote a piece about UH's D'Eriq King redshirting leaving redshirting yesterday. Since National Signing Day and announcements alike are such a big deal, wouldn't it be cool to see Transfer Portal Day? Just think about it: what if King did decide to leave and enter the portal? He's sitting in his parent's living room or a banquet hall and in front of him are three hats...you know where I'm going with this. Besides, if they were smart, the NCAA could monetize this by selling the exclusive television rights to one of their partners for a bagillion dollars. (I'm serious about this one.)

Whiffle bats and balls

NCAA baseball has long used metal bats. That distinct ping is a rite of passage to any NCAA baseball fan to hear. Much has been made about the safety of those bats. Some have even cited them as a reason scores tend to get out of hand. There's a mercy rule in Little League baseball to prevent such scores "in the interest of fairness and sportsmanship." I propose that any time the scoring differential is more than 10 runs, the team that's ahead must use whiffle bats and be pitched to with whiffle balls. Once the opposing team is back within five runs, the opposing team can go back to using regular bats and balls. Wonder what a knuckleball would look like using a whiffle ball? (Totally joking, but halfway serious.)

20 second shot clock in basketball

If the NBA uses four quarters, 12 minutes each, with a 24 second shot clock, why does the NCAA use a 35 second shot clock for two 2o minute halves? I've never understood that. Ever since I was a very young child, I've always questioned some of these things. Two 20 minute halves is cool. They don't need to go to four quarters. But the 35 second shot clock is utterly ridiculous! A 20 second shot clock is very time appropriate. They use roughly 83.3% of the NBA's standard time, so use the same percentage of their shot clock. Scoring would go up which causes viewership to go up which would make them more money. (Dead serious here. First proposed this once when I was high with some friends in college. They thought I was tripping until I did the math. That's when they knew I was on another level when it came to sports.)

One day, I'll revisit this subject in a more serious manner because I've long held onto several ideas the NCAA should use in order to improve several sports. Maybe I'll do it sport by sport. Maybe I'll do another composite article. I also have more jokes in the arsenal. Can't empty the clip all at once. I only added commentary as to which are jokes and which ones aren't after a conversation with Brandon Strange. If you don't know him, he and Josh Jordan are responsible for making sure a lot of the content you see or watch on SportsMap gets done flawlessly. Huge thanks and props to those guys for all they do. If you want to see me appear in videos expressing these opinions, hit them up!

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The Rockets may be the smartest guys in the room. Or the cheapest

The Rockets have their new head coach. Composite photo by Brandon Strange

On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Rockets' coaching search had come to an end finally. The front office tabbed Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas as the successor to Mike D'Antoni, beating out former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy and current Rockets assistant John Lucas.

Knee jerk reaction?

I'm not mad at it. I expected Jeff Van Gundy to be the next hire, but maybe that was just nostalgia clouding my judgment. Either way, the Silas hire should be viewed optimistically. He's been highly regarded for some time around the league as an inventive mind that comes from basketball pedigree and has worked with big-name guards in prior stops around the league. If the Rockets didn't grab him, it was only a matter of time before another team gave him a shot.

Now there are two very distinct ways to look at this hire:

The first is that the Rockets, in spite of being one of the last teams to fill their coaching vacancy, are the smartest kids in the room. Every team is looking for the next version of what the Celtics found in their current head coach, Brad Stevens; a young brilliant coach that just needed a team to give him a shot. Hired at 37 from the college ranks, Stevens endured one losing season (his first) and has since guided the Celtics to six playoff appearances, to include three conference finals appearances. Not bad, considering he was up against LeBron James for most of those.

That is what it looks like the Rockets are trying to go for. Now at 47, Silas probably won't be mistaken for a wunderkind, but compared to 69-year-old D'Antoni, he might as well be announcing his hire on Tik Tok. If it works out, the Rockets will have once again been one step ahead of the league with the hiring of their innovative new coach.

The other way to look at the Silas hire is a little less rosy.

While Silas is only 47, he's also been an assistant in the league since he was 27. The positive spin on his resume is that he's worked with star players the likes of Kemba Walker, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry. The reality is that he worked with them while they were very young in their careers, and worked on teams like the Cavaliers, Bobcats/Hornets, Wizards, and Warriors (when they were bad). Until the last two seasons working with Luka Doncic on the Mavericks, there hasn't been a lot of success following Silas. That's not necessarily an indictment since he was an assistant, but it's not exactly a sparkling pedigree.

So while this could be a brilliant hire, at the moment, it has all of the markings of the cheaper hire. As I've mentioned before, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has been quite vocal about the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on his portfolio. Clips and quotes moaning and groaning about losing money are not typically precursors to an owner gearing up to make a big financial investment in the front office of a sports team that he can't sell tickets for anyone to come see. If in fact, money factored in more than fit, it would make sense that the Rockets would forego a coach like Van Gundy, whose previous head coaching experience would automatically command a higher starting price. We'll, of course, have to wait and see what the actual contract figures are once released.

It could be one. It could be the other. It could be both. Hopefully it translates into wins either way.

One thing that's for certain though is that Silas needs to take some pointers from Russell Westbrook and James Harden before he steps out courtside in any more of those TJ Maxx suits, circa 2000. Big boy job means big boy suits.

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