Um, excuse me. Is this North Korea? Are we in Burma?
This happens all the time - although not to the extent of PARENTS - in major-college athletics. Coaches or sports information directors arbitrarily decide whether, say, freshmen are allowed to speak with the press. A player in the midst of controversy might not be "made available." And it seems OK to most because those wielding power are "protecting" student athletes.
But are they protecting the athletes or themselves?
More often than not, reporters go along with such declarations, mostly because of time constraints. Raising a ruckus for a comment isn't worth subsequent waves. Athletes, understandably, don't wish to suffer consequences.
What's sad is anyone would threaten consequences for speaking freely. This is America, folks, not Libya.
Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News recently wrote about end-of-the-game strategy involving basketball.
We've all seen games where Team A stands ahead by three points with just a few ticks left and tries to tip-toe into the locker room with a victory. Coaches leave open the door for a 3-point bucket instead of intentionally fouling.
Well, a friend of DeCourcy's began charting such situations this season. And, at the publication date, there had been 279 total situations in which a team was ahead by three points with the other team in possession of the ball and seven seconds or less to play.
According to the article, 259 times the team did not foul and relied on its defense. Forty-six of those teams allowed a game-tying 3-pointer that forced overtime. That's a 17.7 percent failure rate.
Twenty times the team chose to foul on purpose to prevent the 3-pointer. Only once, by Kent State against Valparaiso, was the game tied by a team that rebounded a free-throw miss and converted a basket. (According to DeCourcy's friend, a lane violation should have been called on that.) The failure rate, including Kent's effort, was but 5 percent.
Something to chew on this Sunday morning with your bacon.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.