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Chicago Sun-Times


May I borrow a line from John Lennon?

I read the news today - oh, boy!

Actually, I listened to the radio. There was NCAA president Mark Emmert, saying the recent landmark decision by the NCAA stating that revenue-producing athlete-workers on scholarship may eat a meal - and not just a snack - provided by the university when they're hungry was a process three years in the making.

Emmert called the old rule ''stupid.'' Then he said the new one had nothing to do with UConn men's basketball star Shabazz Napier saying there were times during his years at the school when he was ''starving.''

Pure coincidence.

And I think of more Lennon: Hey, Mark, I'd love to turn you o-o-on!

To reality, that is.

Players have been going hungry for a long, long time. Coincidence, my gluteus.

Emmert claimed that trying to get the 250 members of the NCAA to do anything was like ''herding cats.'' If that isn't enough reason to tear the whole hairball thing apart, what is?

Three years to make ''reform'' over sandwiches? Imagine how long it would take to get the NCAA to figure out real dollar-value stipends for athlete-workers who bring in millions of dollars to the football and men's basketball parts of athletic departments. It has been about a century so far, with nothing achieved. So, what, like a millennium?

The NCAA will do nothing for its athlete-workers unless threatened with lawsuits or somehow embarrassed into action. The little schools have almost nothing in common with the big schools, and all the various-sized cats run around like madmen, chasing real and imaginary mice. But they all love the catnip of football bowls and basketball tournaments.

Emmert and others in the management of big-time college athletics will tell you that ''processes are in place'' to make change, but there are methods to make plant matter into oil, too.

I'm waiting for when the NCAA digs into the tattoos-for-trinkets heresy. I expect a committee to be formed in a decade or two.

FINALLY, TSK-TSK to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville for grabbing his crotch after a non-call by the referees in Game 1 of the playoffs series against the St. Louis Blues, thus earning a $25,000 fine from the NHL. It wasn't quite prime Michael Jackson stuff, but it was funny nevertheless - if not for the kids to see. 

 
April 20, 2014
 
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