By coincidence, the very day of the Hunter incident, Bettman's former employer, the NBA, announced a crackdown on fighting. Starting with the playoffs, an NBA player who so much as swings at an opponent will be tossed out of that game and the next one; previously a player who threw a punch and missed risked ejection only from that game. Also, any NBA player leaving the bench to join in a fight will now be assessed $2,500 (up from $500), and his team will be fined $5,000. It was the right move at the right time. Hitting Hunter as hard as he hit Turgeon would be another one.
Down and Out
After three tumultuous seasons, University of Houston football coach John Jenkins resigned last week amid allegations of NCAA rules infractions. Several Cougar players and two former assistant coaches, both of whom had been fired by Jenkins, alleged that he violated rules on the limits on practice time. One of the assistants also accused Jenkins of making an improper payment to a recruit. After his resignation Jenkins continued to deny the charges, but he did confirm reports that he had spliced footage of topless women into videotapes of his team's practices. Jenkins called this practice an "innocent attention-getter."
Bad taste came easily to Jenkins, whose wins at Houston included two in which the Cougars ran up scores of 84-21 and 73-3. But his departure was no doubt hastened by the fact that his record fell from 10-1 his first season to 4-7 in each of the last two years. He stepped down, after working out a $200,000-plus settlement with the school, only three weeks after the student newspaper, the Daily Cougar, first reported the charges against him.
Jenkins's penchant for secrecy contributed to his downfall. He refused to share details of his run-and-shoot offense with high school coaches, who responded by sending their players elsewhere. When the talent recruited by his predecessor, Jack Pardee, dried up, Jenkins's Cougars suffered the consequences.
This episode is another black eye for the Southwest Conference. Its new commissioner, Steve Hatchell, has vowed to revive a league that has been buffeted by cheating scandals, poor attendance and rumors that Texas and Texas A&M will follow Arkansas's lead and leave for other conferences. Hatchell's task will be made a bit easier by the departure of an operator like Jenkins.
Maybe you heard that Indiana Pacer rookie Malik Sealy lost his playbook last week at New York City's Kennedy Airport and that the 75-page tome wound up in the hands of radio talk-show host Don Imus. But unless you're from New York, you may not realize that of that city's eight million inhabitants, the acerbic Imus is the last one you would want snooping through your playbook. The Pacers were about to meet the Knicks in the playoffs, and an on-air Imus gleefully read excerpts from the playbook, interspersed with his own japes. Two examples will suffice.
On New York guard John Starks: "We can force him into terrible shots. Goes into a funk for stretches of the game." Imus's twist: "Ask about his sister."
On another Knick guard, Rolando Blackman: "Not a very good defender." Added Imus: "Will roll up into the fetal position."