On the heels of a federal judge issuing an injunction on March 7, 2013, that barred New Jersey from allowing sports betting in the midst of an ongoing legal battle between the state and five sports organizations, the NCAA affirmed its stance that the spread of gambling is “a threat to the integrity of athletic competition and student-athlete well-being.” A lot has changed since then. Las Vegas has become the de facto hub of college basketball in the week before the NCAA tournament, with four conference tournaments held there (plus another in Reno). The NHL has expanded there. The NFL is on the way. And now, in perhaps the most interesting stress test for the NCAA’s ban on holding events in states
Florida might have solved its long-running quarterback problem with the addition of Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire. That move became official last week, and as a graduate transfer, Zaire will be immediately eligible. Zaire is no lock to be the Gators starter when they open against Michigan in Arlington, Texas, at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, if coach Jim McElwain and the Gators really felt good about redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, then Zaire probably would not be going to school in Gainesville. Florida is one of several schools likely turning to a transfer quarterback this season to lead their teams. Six that will be drawing lots of attention in 2017. Kyle Allen, Houston Allen
Being a fan of the movie “Hoosiers,” the greatest movie about the greatest game ever invented, I’ve taken a few trips to the gym in Knightstown, Ind., that served as Hickory’s home floor, and I follow The Hoosier Gym (where you can walk in for nothing and shoot a few hoops) on Twitter. Today I saw a tweet about Landry Long, son of Brad “Buddy” Long, stopping by to say hi, and noting he had made a movie about teammate Kent “Merle Webb” Poole. Poole-as-Merle delivers perhaps the most famous line in the 1986 classic, saying before Hickory takes the floor for the championship game: “Let’s win this one for all the small schools that never had a chance to get here.” As you may know, except for David Niedorf (Everett Flatch, son of Dennis Hooper’s hopeless-drunk-turned-assistant-coach Shooter), all the Hickory Huskers were Indiana boys drafted not for their acting talent but for their basketball skills (including Maris Valainis as Jimmy Chitwood, who in fact did not play high school basketball).