Daily newspaper losing the battle on UofL sports coverage

By Ed Peak

Before cell phones, social media and all things we have now to crank out whatever we think when ever we feel there was the daily newspapers. Families took time to read at the breakfast table or the evening edition in the family room. Together.

Newspapers are thin now and don’t carry near the weight they used to in any part of society. About the only way to get information about University of Louisville sports for decades was the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times.

The Courier-Journal, especially, is a mere shadow of its former self, losing much of its prestige and respect. That’s despite having recently been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for covering a travesty that dumped on their front porch. The Times, unfortunately, was put to bed for the final time in 1986.

Now you have a long list of sources you can tune into. The C-J, 790 WKRD, ESPN, Louisville Sports Report, Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, Cardinal Authority,  Card Chronicle, The Crunch Zone and Card Game, all dedicated to Cardinal Sports. I know I’m missing some, forgive me.

Most sites are dedicated to reporting only the positive of Louisville athletics and not the negative. At Card Game, I believe we report the good and the bad to the fan base. It seems as though our local newspaper loves to hammer the negative, one columnist in particular.

Tim Sullivan is a friend of mine. But it’s a sad situation when the lead columnist seems to be desperate for Internet clicks, pummeling the home team on every issue that emerges. He’s not doing himself or the Courier-Journal any favors at a time when the print media is already in danger of extinction.

A weary public needs college athletics, start making plans

By Ed Peak

A report from NCAA President Mark Emmert about the upcoming college football season is disturbing and depressing. Four months from opening weekend. Much can and will happen between now and September.

“All of the commissioners and every president that I’ve talked to is in clear agreement: If you don’t have students on campus,” said Emmert in an interview with The Spun.  “If your school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”

We get it. The coronavirus has affected everyone like no one dreamed. But for goodness sakes. We are four months away. Let’s not panic.

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi is on record as saying “students will be on campus for fall classes.” Every school in the ACC, save Duke, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are on record as saying football will go on.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby believes football can continue whether students are actually on campus or not. “School has to be in session because football players on college teams are student-athletes. That doesn’t necessarily mean that football players or volleyball players or soccer players couldn’t be taking classes online just the rest of the students…I think that meets the criteria.”

The challenge is that different areas of the country have different levels of problems. The New York, New Jersey area with millions of people have a much more difficult problem. Let’s say Michigan has to travel to Rutgers in Brunswick, New Jersey to play a conference game. Michigan has a problem as well. Is it safe? We can’t just fold and give in. We must live our lives and sports such is an important diversion to this mess.

I love sports and it’s a big, big part of my life and my family’s as well. I will never, ever take for granted another game I am attending.  Whether it be eighth graders on a dirt field or UofL vs. Florida State at Louisville. If this pandemic has done one thing it has made all of us appreciate sports even more.

I married into a family 18 years ago that are huge Cardinal fans as season football and baseball ticket holders. If the Cardinals are playing on the road in football have a watch party. Bowl. They are usually there. Basketball on weekends. Baseball, same.

Please, let’s not jump to conclusions so early. Don’t worry so much. Play this thing out. Yesterday is a memory. Relish today. Plan for tomorrow. Plan on college sports this fall.

Louisville football will be back if college football returns in 2020

By Ed Peak

There have been more important games in University of Louisville history than the Music City Bowl come from behind win over Mississippi State last December. But this one was a very convincing win at just the right time, confirming my feeling about the direction of the program.

Louisville football is back. Just one year after enduring a 2-10 season which included a 70-21 loss at Clemson. To come back so quickly and finish 8-5, 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, earning Coach Scott Satterfield the honor of ACC Coach of the Year.

This makes one anxious for the upcoming season. Per USA Today all ACC schools plan on having students on campus in the fall. Only Duke, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, Independent in football, haven’t said if they are going to allow students on campus.

No students, no football. Duke and Pitt will decide early to mid-June, the Irish in July. Presuming there are no negative spikes in the Coronavirus.

UofL returns a load of offensive talent, led by sophomore halfback Javian Hawkins who ran for 1,623 yards. Sophomore receiver Tutu Atwell caught 12 touchdown passes and had 1,276 receiving yards. Dez Fitzpatrick is a big physical receiver. Quarterback Malik Cunningham passed for 2,065 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The biggest loss was tackle Mekhi Becton, now with the New York Jets. He could block the sun with his 6-foot-7, 364-pound body. He can move fast. He ran a 4.6 40 at the combine.

The defense needs repair, but has parts to work with. The Cardinals need a break from the 41-39 i’ll just outscore. Wins over Boston College, 62-59 can’t stop anything win at Wake Forest and the 34-20 victory at North Carolina State. The worst losses were to national runner up Clemson 45-10 and at Kentucky 38-28. The Cardinals were in those games until midway through the third quarter.

I’m really looking forward to the season. Satterfield has had a year to implement his system and should be even better prepared in 2020.

Losses at Clemson and Notre Dame are probable. Virginia, the Coastal Champion, will be tough at Charlottesville. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has rebuilt the Cavaliers. Florida State at home with a new coach is a complete unknown.

“Our guys have been very resilient,” said Satterfield. “Our guys are hungry. They can’t wait to get back to campus. What ever they tell us, we’re going to have a plan.”

No one knows for sure when or if there will be a football season. The closer we get to that date, the more promising it looks. Can’t help but be giddy.

Louisville must get in NCAA’s face in the next go-round

Just when one was growing optimistic that some common sense had permeated the NCAA, along comes the organization dredging up old allegations against the University of Louisville.  Launching an attack on a university that completely cleaned house three years ago.

The NCAA is such a bureaucratic organization, with an inherent inability to recognize a school that did all the right things. Plodding along at a snail’s pace, the governing organization always three or four years out of step and behind the times. No flexibility at all, going through the motions, wasting everyone’s time and money.

The best course for the NCAA would have been to acknowledge that UofL had set a laudable example for member schools. Long known for its unpredictable and inconsistent approach to dealing with allegations, the NCAA leadership had a chance to show how schools like UofL could deal with violators. No indication as yet that NCAA has noticed.

The NCAA is not an organization in which member schools are overly concerned about the integrity or the well-being of sister institutions.

Or that the NCAA has noticed that the FBI’s investigations of college basketball recruiting mysteriously only dealt with allegations against Adidas schools when everyone (except the FBI) knows that Nike perfected the process, transforming questionable recruiting practices into a fine art.

Obviously, nothing has changed. No one should be surprised that the NCAA did not praise Louisville’s actions. This is, after all, the same group that severely punished  UofL after the school conducted a thorough internal investigation for the NCAA and self-imposed a year of probation for the basketball program. Only to have the NCAA strip the school of its national championship and two final fours, along with dozens of wins over three seasons.

The NCAA is not an organization in which member schools are overly concerned about the integrity or the well-being of sister institutions. As in the arena, there is intense competition, not only in athletics but in academics. The smarter-than-thou, better-than-thee, holier-than-ye attitudes exist between schools at all levels of the NCAA spectrum. They are like fans, in other words, on steroids.

One gets the impression that they love putting each other down and seeing other institutions embarrassed, especially when their own schools stand to benefit from the misfortune. Especially, too, when a school has made the kind of strides Louisville has made during the last couple of decades.

History has shown that UofL cannot expect any special consideration for the steps it has taken. Confessions, apologies, cooperation, self-imposed punishment and mass firings have never resulted in respect, appreciation or special consideration from NCAA members on the infractions committee.

History also has shown that only when a school aggressively defends itself against the allegations, refuses to cooperate fully, and hires the best possible defense does it stand much of a chance against the NCAA. That’s why Louisville fans and supporters are relieved and excited that UofL President Neeli Bendapudi has pledged a fight this time around.

The University of Louisville has done the right things. Now it must use every resource at its command over the next few months and years to deal with the NCAA and its inability to make the right decisions.  The NCAA, as presently constituted, can’t be trusted to figure things out for itself.

NCAA loosening grip on players to fatten their wallets

By Ed Peak

What is the NCAA doing? Deciding to allow players to make financial deals. Advertising spokespersons. Pitchmen and women. You name it. Not what college athletics needs. But if something doesn’t change, the cheating and coverups by schools will only continue to get worse.

How do the NCAA schools monitor this? Do they know what they’re getting into? What if Bill Collins auto dealership wants to have University of Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell  to peddle automobiles as its spokesman. No problem.

What if AllSouth Applicance Showrooms in Birmingham wants Malik Cunningham to be its spokesperson in Alabama and outbids Chenoweth Appliances in Jeffersontown for his services. Don’t be surprised if the athlete leaves UofL for the Crimson Tide.

When my nephew was in eighth grade, a friend had a birthday party at his home. His father was friends with Louisville wide receiver Josh Tinch and quarterback Stefan LeFlors. Tinch and LeFlors showed up at the party for a few minutes. Signed autographs. Took pictures and left. They might have had ice cream and cake. Or just did it as a favor.

The players dedicate a lot of time, energy and hard work to be Division I athletes. Is the price of an education, free books and tutoring, three square meals, the best medical treatment and nicest living quarters not enough? Add on attendance stipends and all kinds of gear.

The agents, advisors and greedy relatives are the ones will rob these players of what they should be getting in full. What you do with your money is your business. Only a small number advance to the professional level.

There is not an athlete at the University of Louisville or any other school  that hasn’t had a favor granted in the form of a job after using up his or her eligibility. People have contacts in other cities and help former players.

School presidents, athletic directors, head and assistant coaches. All make salaries way out of line. The players do most all the work. The coaches have a heavy influence on these athletes in training for the next level. Pro sports uses the college game as their minor league feeder system. No problems there.

There are two things that have helped cause this. The federal investigation into college basketballs scandal a couple years ago. And the G League where players now can jump directly to the NBA out of high school. The NCAA is admitting, in essence, that it has lost control.

The NCAA is, in essence, opening the floodgates to allow players to barter for money. Not what the schools, teams and fans need. Fans are already taxed with absorbent ticket prices, seat licenses and donations.

The rich will only get richer at a time when many programs are struggling to get over the negative economic impact of the corona virus. Competition between schools is only going to become even more fierce. No longer any pretense of amateurism.