Butler’s Shining Moment Ends with Standing Ovation

No, David’s rock didn’t quite strike Goliath in the noggin. But what a run by a great Butler team, and the parallels to where Duke was when Coach Krzyzewski began are quite evident. This could be the first in a long line of Final Four efforts by the men from Hinkle. Many devoted fans packed into the Fieldhouse last night to view the game, and here’s an ESPN story that contains video of the crowd’s reaction to the last shot that almost shocked the basketball world.

Education Secretary Duncan Calls Foul on NCAA

While driving into work, I listened to ESPN’s "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show relay that U.S. Education Secretary (and former Harvard basketball star) Arne Duncan has proposed NCAA teams who don’t graduate 40% of their players should not be allowed to compete in the postseason. A New York Times blog explains:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan took another swing at the National Collegiate Athletic Association and top college basketball programs Wednesday, reiterating a call he made in January to ban from postseason play teams that fail to graduate at least 40 percent of their players.

If Duncan’s proposal were to be carried out, 12 teams in the N.C.A.A. men’s tournament would be barred from competing, including Kentucky, a No. 1 seed, which has a graduation rate of 31 percent, according to a study released earlier this week by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. Six institutions (Brigham Young, Marquette, Notre Dame, Utah State, Wake Forest and Wofford) achieved a 100 percent graduation rate.

“If a university can’t have two out of five of their student-athletes graduate, I don’t know why they’re rewarded with postseason play,” Duncan said in a telephone conference call. His remarks were nearly identical to ones he made in a speech in January at the N.C.A.A. convention in Atlanta, where he told a crowd of athletic directors and university presidents that leaders in college sports aren’t doing enough to graduate basketball players.

ESPN’s analysts agreed the concept was well-meaning, although the logistics of such legislation would end up becoming convoluted because so many factors play into graduation rates (e.g. transfers, players who go to the NBA early, etc.). Jay Bilas also offered that coaches should not be punished for kicking a student off the team who can’t handle the academic load, since most would agree that’s the correct thing to do. He also opined that these are more than just basketball teams, they are institutions of higher learning, and they are equipped to handle these matters themselves.

What do you think? Fair or foul?

Popular Columnist has Fun with Hoosier Web Search Company

Sports columnist Rick Reilly has written about some of the most triumphant accomplishments in all of sport. However, those feats might pale in comparison to the sweat he worked up while working for ChaCha, a Carmel-based Internet/mobile answer service (and Indiana Chamber member).

Then, as if someone had turned on a hose, the questions came flooding across my laptop, soaking my shoes. Where does Emmitt Smith live? (Dallas.) Why were the Montreal Expos called that? (Montreal hosted the ’67 World’s Fair, called Expo 67.) They came as fast as I could answer. I began to sweat. I was Lucy working the chocolate-factory conveyor belt. Questions fell to the floor as my mouth filled with unchewed answers. In a three-fingered bowling ball, which fingers go in the holes? (Jeez, people!) What’s the longest cricket game ever? (Couldn’t find it.) More sweat. Anyone got a ShamWow? I hit "abort." Bad idea; black mark on my record. Five minutes, no dimes. $0/hour.

I hit "away" under the status bar so I could rest. Next to being Terrell Owens’ publicist, there can be no more stressful way to earn a living.

I wasn’t a very enthusiastic guide after that. I made $3.80 total and received a quality control rating of 70%. That’s a C-minus. They said I didn’t include time zones with games and gave the year the Bears won the Super Bowl but not whom they beat. They really didn’t like my sign-off: "Chatta go!" Mark Malseed, dean of ChaCha’s Search University, told me it didn’t sit well with the Quality Team. "It prefers no variants on the ‘ChaCha’ name," he said.

So I’m the Eddie Gaedel of guides. At least I now know this: In 1939, South Africa and England played the longest cricket match ever, from March 3 until March 14.

That will be 10 cents.

Hat tip to Inside Indiana Business.

Last Train to Debatesville for Gov. Candidates

If you’re still undecided on the upcoming gubernatorial election, your last chance to watch the contenders square off in debate form will be Tuesday night. This time, Gov. Mitch Daniels, Jill Long Thompson and Andy Horning will sit at a table with moderator Tom Cochran.

And while audience members posed questions in the last debate, Cochrun, a former news director at WISH and a documentary filmmaker, will ask the questions this time.

Kyle Niederpruem, spokeswoman for the Indiana Debate Commission, said Cochrun will use his own questions and some of the 400 submitted by the public to home in on issues not touched on in the first two debates. He plans to push the candidates for answers if he thinks they haven’t responded.

The debate will be held in the I.U. Auditorium in Bloomington at 7 p.m. The event will be shown on some cable stations, according to the Indianapolis Star. So that probably means just flip around until you find it. (I’m sure my fellow males are familiar with that m.o. — flipping through the channels with no clear direction of where you’re headed. It’s a fun little journey, isn’t it?) The Star also notes the debate will be shown on its web site.

Reminder: The final presidential debate will be held Wednesday night, as well.

Phelps Demonstrates True Revenue Power of Sports

NEWS ALERT: Apparently, Michael Phelps is a big deal.

While his accomplishments in the pool have rendered him an archetype in his sport with legendary status, it’s the personal revenue machine he’s generated that might be equally appealing to capitalists everywhere. This article on ESPN.com is quite telling, and explains how Phelps could end up taking in over $100 million from the global business community.

Eight gold medals in one Olympiad are cool, I guess. I’ll only take mild offense that similar financial accolades were never tossed my way when my Lil’ Steelers bested the previously undefeated Lions in the 1986 Boone County Pee Wee Youth Football Championship. Pretty impressive milestone, but whatever.