College Sports in the Realm of Bonesville
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
'Sopranos' more benign than ACC syndicate
The self-anointed royal family otherwise known as the Atlantic Coast
Conference kindles thoughts of 'The Sopranos.' On the other hand, some of
the malevolent characters in the fictional Mafia saga that plays itself out
on our TV sets are at least a bit endearing in their own quirky ways.
No such fuzzy feelings divert attention from the calculated, cold-blooded
assassinations the ACC dons are carrying out.
Lord John Swofford and the presidents of the nine fiefdoms of the
Atlantic Coast Conference seem to be following a creed I've heard somewhere
before: The ends justifies the means.
It's a philosophy followed somewhat loosely but not nearly so
self-righteously by the Soprano clan, as it does what it has to do to make
certain its various enterprises keep bringing in the cash.
Swofford, the North Carolina prince, quarterback and athletics director
who ascended to the throne of the ACC soon after his hair became gray enough
for the role, was the lead dog in a hungry pack of carnivores on the scent
of big game.
It was to be the ultimate kill. The Big East Conference would be slain by
decapitating it. The prey would be field-dressed, out of public view, and
the carcass left for scavengers and beggars.
But something went wrong with 'the job.'
In this day of ubiquitous media scrutiny, the public got to see more than
the hams, loins and other delicacies that were the targeted prizes of the
hunt. The entire eviscerated carcass innards, eyeballs, organs, and all
was laid bare before the unshielded eyes of the innocent... women and children
It was not a pretty sight.
Whether the predator the ACC is ultimately able to abscond with the
delicacies Miami, Boston College and Syracuse is a moot point. The
mortal blow has already been dealt to the naive idea that big-time college
sports are not ultimately about money, egos and raw political power.
The presidents of the aggressor conspirators whom we have been
conditioned by the propaganda machinery to believe would be the failsafe
arbiters in matters that pit encroaching greed against institutional purpose
readily exposed their hypocrisy and duplicity before the world.
An indignant Mike Tranghese, kingpin of the tottering Big East and a
documented hypocrite in his own right, noted as much in a Monday outburst
that came across in media reports more like an emotion-punctuated wake than a
"Educational institutions are supposed to be controlled by presidents
Tranghese sarcastically noted. "Presidential control. Welcome to the world
of presidential control.
Alas, Tranghese's alligator tears merely reinforced the farce that is
playing out before us. Until now, the ACC and the Big East have been two of
six 'families' which jointly operate a racket that even the Gambino clan
It was only a few months ago that Tranghese, chairman of the pit of
collusion called the Bowl Championship Series that is at the epicenter of
the current mob war, publicly expressed his disdain for the little people.
According to a report on the CBS SportsLine web site,
Tranghese noted that CEO's of the BCS schools would ultimately make a
cash-influenced judgment about whether to open up college football's
national championship process to a playoff that would involve non-cartel
"At the end of the day, the one thing we know presidents or no
presidents we'll be concerned about money," he said.
Referring to the then-pending deliberations by BCS powerbrokers
concerning potential adjustments to the scheme by which its so-called national champion is crowned,
Tranghese professed a philosophy so brazen in its contempt for the aspirations of
the kingdom's non-royal subjects that his belatedly born-again values now
that his own confederation is about to join the underprivileged will
probably lead to sessions with Tony's
"I'm not a socialist," Tranghese said, clearly signaling his intention to
protect the monopoly. "... You want the BCS to be socialistic, capitalistic
and anarchistic. I don't know of anyone who can get away with that.
"They (non-BCS schools) want access. If I were them, I'd want access and money too. All I
said to my (Big East) schools is, 'I'm not giving them your money."
The dredged up quotes attributed to tyrant-turned-victim Tranghese were chronicled
in a January 3, 2003, CBS SportsLine article.
Now that the Big East's once-chummy fellow syndicate has turned in the night and
made its deadly power play, there's little Tranghese can do other than look like a
hypocrite while the ACC offers its protection services to Miami,
Boston College and Syracuse.
Once the deal is done after the public thrashing, moaning and twitching
of the victims subside the ACC will see itself as a victor in a
perverted sort of way.
An official involved in the deed, feigning concern, matter-of-factly acknowledged in advance
the likelihood of collateral damage and, more or less,
shrugged it off.
"I'm open to [expansion] yet mindful of the many consequences," said one
of the ACC's athletics directors.
Yeah, right. Then the trigger was silently squeezed.
This brings us back around to Tranghese's rival overlord, Swofford. The
secretly-plotted maneuver that some ACC minions probably thought would mark the
defining moment of Swofford's career as a college sports baron, has instead
become a watershed event in the accelerating demise of the principles upon which
intercollegiate athletics were founded.
Indeed, it is a defining moment of a starkly different kind than what Swofford
and cronies would like the public to perceive. Its a moment that
marks the ACCs lowest point in moral stature since an organized crime
fiasco in real life the Dixie Classic point-shaving scandal of almost 50
years ago that almost asphyxiated the then-nascent and already-ambitious
This time, the ACC is applying the 'fix' without the assistance of
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02/23/2007 01:37:22 AM