Impact-Site-Verification: e1bff8e8-4aef-44d3-955c-fcc14af29f4b

A Grip on Sports: If no news is good news, what does a lot of news correspond to on the good/bad scale?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Sometimes the news gets in the way of a good story. And sometimes a good story comes directly from breaking news. We have some thoughts today. You get to decide if they qualify as “good” or not.

• Clarity and a level playing field. That’s pretty much all anyone wants from the NCAA these days. Wanted ever, actually.

It seems those two simple-sounding goals are unreachable, mainly because the most-important players in college athletics these days have law degrees. And not because they spent six years at Stanford due to the pandemic.

Wednesday, a U.S. District Court judge in West Virginia decided the NCAA’s decision to enforce a year of no-competition if an athlete decides to transfer a second time as an undergraduate was a restraint of trade.

Not to get all deep in the weeds here, but that’s a no-no under anti-trust law.

The bottom line? Judge John Preston Bailey issued a temporary restraining order that bars the NCAA from enforcing the rule for two weeks.

OK, players need freedom. We get that. We actually support that. But there has to be some sort of limits. And those schools, and the athletes who attend them, need to understand said rules and support them.

Wait, actually, that’s what the judge is saying is true too. But the NCAA decided to change the transfer rule prior to this school year and, lo and behold, made a stupid decision to enforce it on athletes who already had transferred under the old rules. With a Byzantium waiver process to “mitigate” the impact. C’mon. That’s just inviting a court, any court, to knock you back.

The NCAA deserved the loss. The 14-day window supplied by the TRO, however, is odd. Some bowl games may just have a football player or two who wouldn’t have played – and one a day later won’t. A college basketball game might just be decided by a player who turns out to be ineligible after the restraining order expires.

Just figure out a clear path forward, make everyone play be the same rules and let’s move on.

• We want more transparency from the Mariners’ ownership, right? That’s a good thing.

Just look at the San Francisco Giants, the nearest franchise, outside of Seattle, to the Spokane area. After Shohei Ohtani signed his groundbreaking deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants ownership called a press conference to explain what happened. Why they didn’t sign the most-coveted free agent of the offseason.

Turns out the Giants offered Ohtani the exact same contract. Down to the letter. And, being both franchises are in California, the tax implications were the same.

Ohtani just preferred Los Angeles over San Francisco. We understand completely.

Southern California, the land of eternal sunshine. Spotless minds. Endless traffic jams. Swimming pools. Movie stars.

The Bay Area? Fog. Dirty streets. Even more endless traffic jams. Sharks. Hills.

And, no, we’re being objective here. The fact we grew up in the L.A. suburbs has nothing to do with our feelings. Really.

• The final score from Cheney last night was 103-34. In a men’s college basketball game. Sorry, what?

Talk about trends. Eastern Washington played Portland Bible College on Wednesday. Everyone who delved into the matchup knew it wasn’t going to be close, including the EWU coaching staff. Sort of like Gonzaga’s recent 123-57 victory over Eastern Oregon. But not as glaringly ugly as North Dakota State defeating Oak Hills Christian 108-14 the other day.

Blowouts in college basketball are nothing new. They seem to be becoming more common, however. It’s hard to understand the motivation for either side. Let’s just chalk it up to, in some cases, a program’s need for a check or the players’ chance to play against a school that just might be looking for a transfer for next season and move on.

WSU: The Cougars’ Magda Jehlářová, the NCAA’s all-time leader in career blocks, earned another honor Wednesday. For the second consecutive year, she was named a first-team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Jon Wilner has his bowl picks in the Mercury News already. Then again, the bowl games start this week. … Can Washington actually win the national title? Yes, the Huskies can. They’ve shown that through 13 games. And Rome Odunze epitomizes the toughness they’ll need. … We love the verb in this Oregon State headline. It describes the transfer portal well. … A former Oregon player found a home. … Running back Jaydn Ott is headed back to California next season and wants to win the Heisman. … Utah earned more publicity by expanding its NIL truck program. … Another Colorado player is leaving. … UCLA has lost a player for its bowl game the old-fashioned way. Running back Carson Steele is injured. … Arizona State is hitting the transfer portal hard. … So is Arizona. … In basketball news, Jon Wilner ranks the best in the west in the S-R, with Arizona on top and Gonzaga second. Is there any connection? … Here’s a national power ranking, also with Arizona on top. The Wildcats face Purdue on Saturday in Indianapolis, a place they’ve been before. … Colorado has a point guard who can matchup with the best. … The Arizona women lost to Texas.

Gonzaga: It’s not like GU and UConn are strangers. Friday night’s game in Seattle is just another in what’s become a great series between two schools on opposite ends of the country. Jim Meehan delves into the previous matchups. … We can also pass along a similar story from Connecticut. … Elsewhere in the WCC, USF overcame a double-digit hole and topped Seattle U. … Santa Clara couldn’t hold off Utah State.  

EWU: We mentioned above the game last night in Cheney. We link Dan Thompson’s story again here. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, history is fun part of  Montana’s FCS playoff matchup with NDSU. … A Montana State player earned a prestigious academic award. … Northern Arizona hired some assistant coaches. … In basketball news, Weber State’s men couldn’t handle Nevada.

Preps: Dave Nichols has a roundup of Wednesday’s action around the area.

Chiefs: Dave returns with the coverage of another Spokane loss at home. This time to Seattle. It’s getting late early again for the Chiefs.

Velocity: Still getting used to Spokane having a pro soccer franchise based downtown? Us too. Justin Reed attended a kickoff event and has this story.

Mariners: Jarred Kelenic hopes being traded again will kick-start his career.

Seahawks: The Hawks lost some free agents in the offseason. How are they doing this year? … You like mailbags? We have one for you.

Kraken: Some hard work and a little luck paved the way for an end to Seattle’s long losing streak.

Sounders: Last season is over. Now comes an impactful offseason.

• We were going to keep this short today. Until the old dog decided 5 a.m. was the new 6 a.m. and woke us from a sound sleep. Who needs an alarm you’re your Doberdane decides to lick your face? Until later

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages community forums series — which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper — by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ftgsedfa ftgsedfa