….. Myles Brand is Grand Poobah of The NCAA. Myles Brand is dying of pancreatic cancer. His prognosis is “terminal”. On Tuesday, “CaptainK”, an anonymous poster to a USAToday article on Brand’s situation wrote “Die a horrible death you jerk. Serves you right for ruining Indiana basketball and college football too.” …… Bud Selig, Roger Goodell, David Stern, even John Swofford and Dick Baddour have their own versions of “CaptainK”. You wanna be a sports administrator?
Yes, one of my pet topic is the septic field of sports fandom. “You” would never say or think on the level of “CaptainK” …… unless of course it involved (insert your pet despised administrator). Since I’m certain you wouldn’t there must an arena or stadium filled up somewhere with idjits that do and would. I see their handiwork every day as I peruse ESPN, SI, USAToday and other major sports websites.
What would compel someone to write such a thing? Yes, I pounced on CaptainK and performed a cyber castration on the worthless sack of human debris. My post garnered a host of support of my support for a shred of human decency.
I’ve met Myles Brand twice and asked him “tough questions” both times. He answered my questions in a polite bureaucratic fashion. Bureaucrats and bureaucracies frustrate me. I used to work in one. I was miserable. The NCAA is a large bureaucracy run by (duh) bureaucrats. It wasn’t always so.
Back in the 60s, 70s an autocrat named Walter Byers “ran” The NCAA from its Mission Kansas HQ. He was often compared to Avery Brundage who was an autocrat who “ran” the International Olympic Committee for many years. There are no more autocrats in sports that I can think of. Autocrats are like Dictators except they don’t dress up like Generals and wear fake medals. They dress in Brooks Brothers suits and say “Because I say so, that’s why”. Sometimes they don’t even respond to “why must we do it that way?”
Autocrats are great at running things …… so long as you agree with how they do it. Dean Smith was an autocrat for 35 years as he “ran” UNC Basketball. Other than when he lost big games, most folks approved of how he did it. That fellow over in Cameron Indoor is a tad autocratic some say!
The Age of Autocrats ended pretty much like The Age of Dinosaurs did …… with the last harumphing old autocrats drooling his oatmeal as bureaucrats held 27 meetings to determine whether he should be buried or cremated. They commissioned a focus group to help them decide then tabled the issue until the next meeting. The Age of The Bureaucrat had begun.
Kennesaw Mountain Landis was a narly old galoot who “ran” major league baseball back when star players just drank, smoked and whored a lot ….. instead of “roiding up”. Pete Rozelle would be most fans pick as the NFL “best commissioner”. Pete was “a PR guy”. He managed to be quite autocratic by wrapping his Hobson’s Choices in smiles and a velvet glove. That is a masterful skill that few possess. Larry O’Brien used to be NBA Commissioner. Larry ran the US Post Office before he became NBA Poobah. Larry was “postal”. Bud Selig is …… Bud Selig. Bud needs a nickname like “Ol Blood & Guts” Bud.
Whats this got to do with “CaptainK” saying that stoopid crap about Myles Brand?
Myles Brand has limited powers as NCAA Grand Poobah. He can not wave a magic wand and create a football playoff ….. or let your team in as the 63 dancer in March ….. or overrule “those crooked SEC officials” that bother Woody Durham so. Myles can’t even make Coach K stop saying dirty words on the sidelines. Neither can John Swofford. Richard Broadhead probably could, but he won’t.
No modern day sports administrator has autonomy to “make XYZ happen”. Each one reports to either team owners or some Tower of Babel consortium of pinheads and fops and yes men and no men and maybe men ….. and women too. Some times that is good. Some times it is not. But it “is” all the time.
The CaptainKs don’t care. They are concerned only with their interests as they perceive what that might be. Goggle-eyed nutjobs have to have a face to hate and blame. “That guy” gets the brunt of their anger. “That guy” is, of course, always in cahoots with their most hated rival.
It gets especially vicious if “he” looks at all like a “nebbish”. Alas, most sports poobahs tend to have a few nebbish qualities. I think it would help if all sports administrators looked like former Steeler linebacker Jack Lambert …… or maybe San Francisco homicide detective Harry Callahan.
Instead John Swofford looks like Opie Taylor and David Stern and Dickie Baddour look like each other.
There are some very good guys in sports. There are also some bad boys too. 91% of guys in sports are like me and you …… well-intended fellows trying to do their best given the circumstances they are dealt.
Next time “a sports administrator” has a role in something you disapprove of …… remember “CaptainK” …… and remember Myles Brand’s widow.
This former US Amateur Champion was PGA Commissioner.
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