dick vitale

Dick Vitale

What a fascinating Monday.    

Apple hosted a massive event discussing all sorts of new products up-and-coming as iPhone sales slow and the tech company discovered that money is moving into subscription services.

The show from Cupertino, Calif., should have dominated headlines near and far, but it didn’t. What did, you ask? Starting the day with a ranting and raving Dick Vitale, on the ESPN “Off the Bench” radio show on its Baton Rouge affiliate, discussing his misguided “hot takes” on the Will Wade situation and LSU’s basketball program.

But wait, there’s more! Just an hour after the show finished on “104.5 ESPN,” lawyer Michael Avenatti – who started the whole mess with Adidas and college basketball – tweeted that he had a bombshell news conference planned for Tuesday, March 25, at 11 a.m. EST in which he would release new findings that connected big-name basketball universities, coaches, and players with the other shoe giant – Nike.

Here’s where it gets fun – 45 minutes later, federal prosecutors had Avenatti arrested, on behalf of Nike, for extortion, wire fraud, and a slew of other financial charges and accusations.

Now there’s a lawsuit against the very man who provided the genesis for all of Vitale’s vitriol – which was hypocritical, by the way, considering his defense of other schools doing, well, the exact same thing. The interesting part is that the suit calls into question Vitale’s stand because either the college basketball establishment took the lawyer to church, or Avenatti is right and they’re all dirty.

This was clearly a hill Vitale was willing to go down on based on his on-air comments, Twitter profile, and the most recent interview and, either way the cards play, the final perception isn’t going to look too good for him.

Deleted Tweets on the horizon? Time will tell, but it leaves LSU fans on an interesting precipice.

Why? Well, initial word on the street is the case against Christian Dawkins, the middle man for Adidas in the college basketball scandal, will be dropped. There’s some public relations damage done, but no prosecutions.

Now, the quote regarding Will Wade isn’t even admissible in a court of law – besides, Wade was only subpoenaed as a witness, he was never on trial.

Where do LSU fans once again land? Staring right at Joe Alleva and, to a greater extent, his boss, F. King Alexander. Why? They didn’t trust their guy, Will Wade, and wanted him to come make a “confession” of sorts in front of them, the NCAA, and one supposes God himself.

Considering how Alleva handled the whole situation at Duke with its lacrosse team, Wade’s counsel made it very clear – don’t go.

In the meantime, Alleva launched a public character attack on Wade suggesting that he just “come in” even if it’s “bad news.”

After all the recent fallout, LSU fans can legitimately back all the way up to Wade’s initial suspension and ask, “What were you thinking, Mr. Alleva?”

The answer is the northern transplant is doing what his boss, F. King, requires of him. In the court of public opinion – and that means every opinion outside of Baton Rouge, and maybe even mostly outside of Louisiana – was that Will Wade was done! A criminal! Suspend him!

Here? The opposite was asked, which meant letting the whole suit play out and the full transcripts come forward before judgement was levied.

How does this apply to the general public? It brings the focus on F. King Alexander, who’s tenure as president has been … dubious. Buildings on campus still flood; academic standards rose, only for Alexander to try and reduce them again to open the door for more students (See: money); and tuition continues to rise, while Alexander visits the Legislature every year looking for full TOPS funding.

Louisiana continues to get much of the same out of its flagship university.

Now, is that all bad? Not necessarily, but considering the consistent increase in investment is it so hard to believe Bayou State citizens would expect more?

And that’s the problem. Smaller universities with much lower budgets are doing more with less, while LSU continues to bloat.

The state deserves better, the kids who go to these universities deserve better, and parents who have diligently paid their taxes shouldn’t have to sweat out every legislative session to see if TOPS receives full funds.

Because if it didn’t? LSU becomes unaffordable for the average Louisiana resident.

(1) comment


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