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My 15 Minutes; Stanford Embarrassed Again; Transfer Time; 49ers' Pick

I found myself featured prominently in a big story on Page 1 in yesterday’s New York Times about how the world is adjusting to Twitter without Donald Trump.

I had responded to a three-question survey last week. Someone at the Times apparently liked the comments I made about how my blood pressure has gone down and life has improved dramatically since I stopped reading and responding to Trump's outrageous lies every day.

Ironically, it was the first time I'd been mentioned in the New York Times since they ran an NBA-planted hit piece on me and the rest of the American Basketball League management team in early 1999.

When we closed down the ABL in December of ’98, lots of lawyers, including Jeff Kessler (the big time NY attorney who's handling high-profile lawsuits involving compensation for college athletes) thought we had a great anti-trust case against the NBA for obstructing our ability to get TV coverage and major sponsorships.

We didn’t have the money, or the will, frankly, to pursue a lawsuit, but the NBA didn’t know that. Rumors were flying, and the league was worried we were going to sue. So they took a pre-emptive strike and got their friends at the NYT to do an article about how the ABL was mismanaged, and that their "leverage" had nothing to do with our demise.

The piece had at least 28 factual errors. I called the sports editor at the time, Neil Amdur, and told him the story was a disgrace. His response was to tell me he'd run a letter to the editor, which of course ran in the back of the paper where no one saw it.

I guess yesterday’s article evens the score a little.

Stanford Irony: Seems like the sports Stanford is dropping are doing pretty well. They keep winning championships.

A few weeks ago Stanford wrestler Shane Griffith won an NCAA Championship wearing a black singlet with no Stanford logo, signifying his protest that the university was dropping his sport.

Then last Saturday, the synchronized swimming team, another of the 11 sports to be cut by the department at the end of the current academic year, won the national title.

More embarrassment for the Cardinal suits, whose tragic and indefensible decision has sparked outrage and negative media coverage throughout the country.

But there is hope. Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne met with representatives of the 36 Sports Strong group last Tuesday, listened to their presentation, and agreed to review the university's decision. He promised an answer by the end of the school year.

Hopefully, smarter heads will prevail and the decision will be reversed. The sport leaders' proposal for self-funding the impacted sports has no downside.

Do the right thing, Mr. President. Admit you made a horrible mistake and correct it. ASAP.

Transfers Unlimited: Free agency has come to college athletics. Starting next season, major college football and basketball players will be allowed to transfer one time before graduating, without being required to sit out a year of competition.

This one-time exception has been available to athletes in NCAA sports other than football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and baseball, allowing them to transfer and play immediately. Athletes who have graduated also have been permitted to transfer without sitting out.

Now athletes in those five “major” sports will have this opportunity, without having to ask the NCAA for a special waiver or claim a hardship.

As we have noted in previous blogs, transfers have become epidemic in college sports, especially in men’s basketball. Virtually all the top teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament had three or four prominent players who started their careers at different schools.

This new ruling means things are only going to get worse. Indeed, the NCAA men's basketball transfer portal now stands at 1369 names. A year ago it was 730.

And of course, all these “student-athletes” are changing schools to get a better education.

Fields of Dreams: Nobody’s asking me, but the 49ers should draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft.

The two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year has excellent size (6-3, 227), running-back speed (4.44 in the 40-yard dash) and a strong, accurate arm. He threw 67 touchdown passes with only 9 interceptions at Ohio State.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan needs to break out of his preferred mold of drop-back passers with limited mobility. Most of the great young quarterbacks in the league now—think Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen—can scramble, extend plays, and win games with their feet as well as their arms.

If Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and BYU's Zach Wilson go 1-2 as expected, the 49ers must pick Fields.


Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//

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