Urban Meyer was right there, seated on Fox’s six-man, in-stadium set and registered on Fox’s payroll. And while it was tough to hear over the senses-reducing din Fox invited, it was never even mentioned.
Saturday, at the top of the student-athletes game between Michigan and Ohio State, genuine breaking news broke:
Terrelle Pryor, a Jets wide receiver last season and Ohio State’s star quarterback for three years before Meyer’s arrival as coach of the Buckeyes, was in critical condition in a Pittsburgh hospital, allegedly stabbed by his girlfriend at 4:30 that morning.
What did Meyer know about Pryor, a top-5 high school recruit? He had to know more than most everyone in the huge TV audience. Had he recruited him to play at Florida, where Meyer won big with bottom-of-the-barrel enrollees and future parolees?
Broadly, what did he think of this news?
It never came up. Not at halftime and not in the postgame, as the six-man panel screamed to be heard over likely booze-fueled attendees encouraged by Fox to make it difficult for them to be heard. The Pryor stabbing didn’t even make Fox’s all-game sports “news” scroll.
Fox had Meyer all to itself, yet it never came up! Was it none of Meyer’s business or none of ours? It wasn’t as if Fox’s lead college play-by-play yahoo, Gus Johnson, was going to breathe a word of Pryor’s stabbing during the game.
On ABC/ESPN, where Georgia and Georgia Tech kicked off at the same time as Michigan-Ohio State, the Pryor news was scrolled early and often, updates included.
After winning national championships at Florida and Ohio State with teams that seem to have been recruited from juvenile detention facilities (Meyer recruited to the Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez, later convicted of murder, who died in prison) and a both-stops assistant coach Meyer knew to have been accused of slapping around his wife (which led to Meyer’s brief suspension). Meyer, in addition to filling a chair on Fox, now teaches a course at Ohio State titled, “Character and Leadership.”
The next day’s fallout further left big-time college football, particularly Ohio State, in epic but familiar disrepute.
Pryor, recovering from the attack, was charged Wednesday with assault against his alleged assailant, Shalay Briston, who remains jailed for attempted homicide. Her attorney claims she acted in self-defense.
Just before that attack, a message from Pryor was posted on Instagram, one that bore testimony to his Big Ten full scholarship education and socialization skills at age 30:
“I ain’t faking with none of you n—as as keep that weird s–t keep ya miserable gossipin ass where you at i need none of that negative s–t in my life i’m on all positive vibes if you ain’t wit that stay from round me!”
And throughout Saturday’s Michigan-Ohio State four-hour telecast, where was the news that a recent Buckeyes star QB (Pryor threw for 57 TDs in his three seasons) was in critical condition after being stabbed hours earlier?
It never even came up.
Goodell’s NFL: Home of honest hypocrisy
In only Roger Goodell had the courage of his convictions, he would not have suspended the Cardinals’ NFL-gambling defensive back Josh Shaw in an issued statement.
Instead, against a background of the logos of the NFL and its teams’ new gambling business partners — the more fans bet the more they’ll lose! — he could have issued his statement in public, before TV cameras, for full, dead-serious emphasis:
“The continued success of the NFL depends directly on each of us doing everything necessary to safeguard the integrity of the game and the reputations of all who participate in the league.
“At the core of this responsibility is the long-standing principle that betting on NFL games, or any element of a game, puts at risk the integrity of the game, damages confidence in the NFL and is forbidden under all circumstances.”
And then Goodell could’ve hit a button that produced a long, loud laugh track.
’Tis the season: During Thanksgiving week, print ads appeared for a company selling 3-foot electrified Yankees-themed Christmas trees. The fine print at the bottom of read, “Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.”
Yes, it’ll make a great gift for Groundhog Day! (Thanks to reader Tom Inter for the heads-up.)
This past Tuesday, those fine tack-on fees folks from Ticketmaster invited fans to the Midtown NHL Store to meet Rangers’ 18-year-old. “First 150 fans who spend $50-plus in store receive an autograph pass stapled to receipt [stamped] Final Sale.”
Many diminishing returns: As seen Saturday on Fox, Notre Dame and Stanford played to a half-empty 51,000-seat stadium.
Quality Control: Saturday, during a replay of the Iowa-Nebraska game, the Big Ten Network not only scrolled the final score, it gave details of Iowa’s game-winning, last-play field goal.
Happy 92nd, Vin Scully!
Colleges take their rivalries to extremes
As a nice followup to its college football “Rivalry Week,” ESPN might have put together a highlights package.
It would have begun with video of that Ole Miss player “peeing the game away” to Mississippi State, continued with that vicious sideline fight in the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, then concluded with that end-of-game mass participation riot at the close of UNLV versus Nevada.
On Tuesday, SEC/ESPN Network graphics read Butler at Ole Miss. But which was Butler? The Bulldogs wear blue and white. Oh, the team in all-black! How original!
Incidentally, bowing to student protests over gender exclusion, Butler soon will change its name to Home Service Providers or HSPU.
While we’re at it, as a third-generation American am I indigenous? I feel indigenous.
While local spend-and-tax college football rah-rahs cite Greg Schiano’s scintillating .500 record his first time coaching Rutgers, none reminded us that it wasn’t accrued against Big Ten opponents, but schools such as paid-to-lose Texas Southern, Howard (twice), Norfolk State and Morgan State.
As for his gidy “I’m Back!” news conference Wednesday, Schiano expressed gratitude to all those who made it happen — except New Jersey taxpayers, who will pay 22 percent of his $4 million per salary plus tens of thousands in annual perks.
Those perks include a clothing allowance. At a base of just $4 million per, he’d otherwise wear clothes made of cement sacks.
Chris Russo now claims Mike Francesa made a mistake by unretiring. That’s as rich as Francesa boasts he is. When Francesa originally retired, Russo said it was a mistake because he’d now be stuck in the house helping to, ugh, raise his children. And he was serious.
I thought Brendan Burke would have a rough time replacing Howie Rose on MSG’s Islanders telecasts, but four seasons in, Burke grows even more solid — alert, knowledgeable, no goofy gimmicks and a good mix with analyst Butch Goring.
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