The Morning Dish – Wednesday, October 22nd
Countersuit: Miami filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Big East and the four football schools suing them, claiming that substantial monetary damages were suffered by Miami by remaining in the Big East for so long. Another suit was filed by Miami against UConn for defamation, stemming from “just a continuous sea of defamatory comments,” said Miami attorney Eric Isicoff, aimed mostly at Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has claimed publicly on several occasions that Miami was part of an illegal conspiracy against the Big East. Blumenthal told the AP that “Any harm claimed by the University of Miami plainly is self-inflicted or non-existent, and pales in comparison to the damage it has done to its Big East partners.” Perhaps this will all be sorted out in our lifetimes.
WAC Goes Prospecting: Facing the death of the conference due to last week’s defections by Tulsa, Rice, and SMU to Conference USA, the WAC is looking to some Sun Belt teams to bolster its ranks – the same Sun Belt teams that are being courted by the Mountain West. New Mexico State, North Texas, Utah State and Idaho are the geographic matches that are being considered by the WAC, as well as Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and even Middle Tennessee State. Sun Belt commish Wright Waters stated that he didn’t believe any of his member institutions would make the jump. With only seven teams, the WAC would not qualify for an automatic birth in the NCAA tournament.
Cardinal Out: Ball State head coach Tim Buckley has announced that sophomore center Kevin Cates will be out indefinitely with an undisclosed medical condition. The condition, which wasn’t disclosed due to federal privacy regulations, will knock out the Cardinals’ starting big man, who averaged 3.4 points and 5 rebounds per game last season. The backup center, Tom Howland, is also out of action until mid-November with a knee injury, leaving the squad with 6-8 forward Cameron Echols as the tallest player.
Cougar Out: Washington State has announced that Jeff Varem will be held out of practice until questions about his eligibility are answered. Varem, a 6-6 junior guard and native of Nigeria, played for two seasons at Vincennes University in Indiana before transferring to Pullman. Varem, along with two women’s golfers, Anastasia and Maria Kostina, both from Russia, are part of an investigation into eligibility and athletes that have played overseas. No timetable has been set for Varem’s reinstatement, but university officials have indicated that the investigation could take months, something we’re sure new head coach Dick Bennett is thrilled about.
Rebel Bell: The PIN code scam at UNLV has claimed a few more victims. In August several UNLV student athletes were fined and suspended for using an athletic department PIN number to make long-distance calls. Now two members of the basketball team have been implicated in making over $3,000 in calls. Two senior starters, center J.K. Edwards and forward James Peters, will be suspended for games this season (depending on how much their “benefit” was) and be required to pay restitution. The PIN number, owned originally by football assistant coach John Jackson, has been used by 65 student athletes over two years, in phone charges totaled over $65,000.
Calverley Passes On: Former Rhode Island star and coach Ernie Calverley passed away yesterday due to an illness at age 79. Calverly the player led the nation in scoring in 1943-44, averaging 26.7 points per game, and hit a half-court buzzer-beater in the 1946 NIT to propel the Rams over Bowling Green, eventually losing in the finals to Kentucky. As coach, Calverly led the Rams from 1958-68, compiling a 139-114 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 1961 and 1968, and was inducted into the URI and New England sports halls of fame.
Tigers Questioned: Memphis teammates of Clyde Wade have been questioned in Wade’s criminal case, even as Wade continues to participate in team practices. Wade was indicted last week on federal charges of identity theft and fraud, and is accused of selling department store gift cards at half price – gift cards that were obtained fraudulently by a ring of store clerks (including Wade’s mother and sister) and a prisoner at a Nashville correctional facility. Memphis head coach John Calipari has said that even though the walk-on reserve guard has been suspended from games and travel, he can participate in team practices.
Loose Bull: University of South Florida sophomore guard Danny Oglesby has received his release, enabling a transfer to another school. Oglesby, who averaged 3.8 points last season and was a starter in five games, quit the team last week due to unhappiness with new head coach Robert McCullum, the fourth player to quit the squad since McCullum’s hiring in April. Oglesby’s high school coach has stated that eight schools have already been in contact with him hoping to sign Oglesby.
Retiring Kidd: The University of California at Berkeley has announced that they will be retiring former Golden Bears and current New Jersey Nets player Jason Kidd’s uniform in a February ceremony. Kidd, who played two seasons at Cal, led the nation and steals en route to being named national freshman of the year, and was an All-American and Pac-10 player of the year his sophomore season, when he led the nation in assists. Kidd’s #5 becomes the third Golden Bear men’s player to receive the tribute, joining guard Kevin Johnson (#11) and forward Alfred Grigsby (#4).
Professor K?: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will join Duke’s Fuqua School of Business faculty as a professor, lecturer, and writer during the offseason. The Fuqua/Coach K Center of Leadership and Ethics, which was established with private funds, will hold conferences, lectures and support research on ethical leadership, and is a joint effort between th business school, athletics department and Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics.