SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

Name:

Not much to tell.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gabe Kapler Should Hire a Lawyer; Phillies Should Be Worried About Future of Their Skipper

The Department of Justice is conducting an extensive probe of international activities of Major League Baseball teams.  You can read one report on that probe here.  You can ready another report on the alleged activities and what has prompted DOJ (as those in the legal biz refer to the Department of Justice) to investigate heavily, this one from Sports Illustrated. 


Here are some things to think about:


1.  DOJ turns away prosecutions in 80% of the matters that it looks into. 


2.  Allegations are, just that, allegations.


3.  Shady and unethical behavior does not make it criminal.


4.  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act came about in the late 1970's after a bunch of international scandals involving U.S.-based companies (somehow the name International Telephone and Telegraph comes to mind).  Essentially, it makes it a felony to provide anything of value to foreign governmental officials to enable your company to get business.


5.  It is unclear to me right now how the FCPA could be implicated in the signing of Latin American baseball players, unless teams offered payments to government officials to enable them to sign certain players.


6.  The information that has emerged from the Dodgers is particularly troubling.  My guess is that the Dodgers have lawyered up and are cooperating with Federal prosecutors to avoid a subpoena and to respond to whatever questions the government has at this time.  Where it will get tricky for the Dodgers is the line between good cooperation designed to gain favor with DOJ when it comes to a remedy (that is a fine, a consent decree, a corporate integrity agreement, etc.) versus asserting the attorney-client privilege and ceasing their willingness to cooperate.  That said, internal documents and e-mails that the business people created are not privileged, including the document in which someone in the Dodgers' front office assessed the ethics and compliance of various of the international operatives.  Some of what is contained in that report should have prompted those executives to elevate the problem to senior management and the team's general counsel.  (Of course, perhaps a reason for not doing so was that whoever created the report was worried that had he reported the concerns, he might have been terminated for hiring too many rogues or for not running a tight enough ship).


7.  Gabe Kapler was the head of player development for the Dodgers for a few years, and perhaps for during the years that the DOJ is looking into.  If that's the case -- or if he had anything to do with the assessment of the compliance and ethics of his colleagues -- at a minimum the DOJ will want to talk with him.  My guess is that the Dodgers will offer to pay for his counsel and indemnify him up to a point, but there could be a point where the Dodgers give him the corporate version of the Miranda warning and advise him to get his own counsel (whether the Dodgers ultimately pay for that counsel could depend on whatever written agreement they have with Kapler about such things, if any, or what their policy is about such things, if any).  All of this assumes, of course, that Kapler was in the middle of the alleged conduct.


8.  The DOJ will dig in hard on matters like this.  The more time it spends on this investigation, the greater the likelihood that it will want to come away with a settlement.  And with MLB it could be easier pickings, because if they find violations of the FCPA it strikes me that they also could find that no team has an effective compliance program when it comes to its foreign business practices.  And, if this is the case, it could be hard for MLB or its teams to try to isolate the behavior to a few rogue individuals because the teams themselves lacked policies, auditing, training, oversight.  These, again, are big assumptions; it could be that MLB teams do all of that and that a few rogues "left the reservation" and behaved badly.  But it also could be that the teams had an attitude of "get it done, beat the competition, just don't tell us how you got it done."  The documents uncovered in one of the linked articles suggest a rather loose culture.


9.  So, circling back to the focus of the investigation, or the apparent focus, the Braves and the Dodgers.  Both teams should be worried, as should the individuals who ran the operations within those teams that are under scrutiny. 


10.  And if you are the Philadelphia Phillies, trying to rebound from many years of sub-.500 performances, you want to make sure that you have a manager with a clean record and without any distractions.  Again, allegations are just that; we do not try people by newspaper on FCPA matters.  The distractions, though, are another thing.  Then there is the waiting -- the teams will turn over information to the DOJ and, mind you, this matter is far from the only one the Assistant U.S. Attorneys on the matter are involved with.  It will take them time, along with their staffs, to review information.  Then they will go back to the teams with questions and requests for more information and keep on turning over rocks until there are no more to turn over.  They will interview many people in and outside baseball, mainly without the knowledge of the teams.  And it will be a long and expensive process; it will not conclude until the DOJ is done.


At many levels this is a sad state of affairs for Major League Baseball.  Latin America historically has been like California during the beginning of the Gold Rush, lots of activity, not a lot of rules, and now MLB has a big mess on its hands, at a minimum in terms of publicity and at a maximum if teams are charged and individuals indicted.  MLB has an opportunity to clean this up and put in much more structure in this area.  Whether the owners are willing to do so remains to be seen.


As for the Phillies and Kapler, well, neither need this problem at this time.  The Phillies were about 15 over .500 on August 5 and had the worst record in baseball after that, a complete collapse that makes fans wonder whether the team can improve on a 78-win season or whether the team is a bucket of average players with a superstar pitcher atop the pecking order.  Kapler presided over the good and, at the end, the bad and the ugly.  That should be enough to worry about.


And now there is this. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Could a better financial model help all elite European football leagues?

Too few teams can contend for the title.  Too many teams are "average" or a step ahead of relegation.  While it might be fun to be a fan of Bayern Munich, Juventus or Barcelona, how much fun is it to see them beat up on weak opponents for most of their seasons?  And how can those weak opponents sustain interest in their franchises over the long term if they realistically have zero chance of winning? 


I believe that while studies have shown that higher payrolls do not guarantee championships, they also reveal that if a team is not in the top 5-10 in spending it will have a hard time qualifying for Champions League play.  As Val Fitch, Nobel laureate in physics once put it -- "Excellence cannot be bought, but it must be paid for."


Suggestion to the European Leagues -- take Financial Fair Play a step further.  Examine the salary caps in the National Hockey League, National Football League and National Basketball Association, along with their collective bargaining agreements, and also the luxury tax system in Major League Baseball.  And come up with something that will give the Hudderfields, Real Betises, Sampdorias and Hoffenheims a real chance of winning your league.


That would make for more interesting weekends, better football, and a better experience for everyone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Goalkeepers

How can soccer experts tell that Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid is the best keeper in the world (assuming that Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer is rusty or lost something after missing most of last season)?  For that matter, how can the experts tell which goalies are better than others.


Here's my thinking:  Goalie A plays for the team that gives up 2.5 goals per match in the Premier League.  He also has more saves than any keeper because his team's defense is porous and he gets more chances.  Goalie B plays for the team that gives up 0.83 goals per match in the Premier League.  He also ranks at the bottom of the save tally because his team's defense is the best in the league.  Is either goalkeeper the best keeper in the league?  And if not, who is?


Of course there is plenty of empirical evidence about the quality of footwork or not, the quality of the reactions on set pieces, the quality of positioning, and the quality of the pass that starts a counterattack.  And those facts have to contribute.  And perhaps today with all of the cameras and collection of data conclusions are much more than anecdotal -- they are factual.  It would be helpful if the pundits should share that data to provide us with a measuring stick as to why Oblak, Becker, Courtois and De Gea are better than, say, Ederson, Lloris and Buffon.  And if they are better, by how wide a margin?



On General Electric's Firing of John Flannery

Jack Welch was a GE legend.  He definitely changed GE.  He introduced concepts of Lean Six Sigma and basically trying to streamline operations, eliminate wasteful steps, make things more efficient.  Retrospectively, what he did not do was to provide GE with a sustainable process for assessing businesses or a vision as to how GE could harness and own part of the future.  In contrast, IBM, which once mastered the business of mainframe computers and then switched to PCs, had half of its income come from artificial intelligence this past year.  So, was Welch the Alex Ferguson of GE?  Or was he more the Arsene Wenger?  Both are legends; the former, though, accomplished much more.  The former has proven hard to succeed; the latter just left after last year, had a great run of qualifying for the Champions League (if not doing much in it) but last won the English Premier League in 2004. 


Jeff Immelt succeeded Welch and last 16 years.  During that time GE continued to focus on its "operational excellence," did not evolve, had dinosaurs for some business units that turned into albatrosses. It did not innovate.  At all.  Yet, Immelt survived for 16 years and had he put up Wenger-like results he would have been hailed as a hero.  Instead, he fell somewhere in between Connie Mack (post-1932) and Jeff Fisher.  The former had some of the worst teams in baseball after having some of the best; some suggested that July 9 be called "Jeff Fisher Day" because of the propensity for his teams to go 7-9.


So, you would have figured that after years of Immelt, GE would have permitted his successor, John Flannery, some time to rip things apart, create a new vision, put GE on a course with all of its resources and learning to become part of everyone's future, the same way IBM did.  Okay, perhaps it won't be an Amazon or a Microsoft or a Google, but it could have owned some portion of the future.  After all, it was not as though Flannery was replacing a Hall of Fame skipper.  So what happened?  They canned him after about a year, turning him into David Moyes but he wasn't replacing a guy like Ferguson.  He was replacing someone whose stock was among the worst investments over a 15-year period, missing out on some big bull runs. 


I am not an expert on GE.  Hardly.  And from the Wall Street Journal's account the board, after tolerating Immelt for 15+ years, grew impatient with the pace of change and some unforeseen writeoffs that Flannery sprung upon them.  Fair enough.  They also went outside their succession plan for the first time ever to tap a guy who ran a more successful conglomerate (Danaher) in Larry Culp, who became in essence the board's bench coach a year ago when he joined as "lead director."  What he really was, in retrospect, was the head coach in waiting.  He should remember that if the board he just joined lost patience with his predecessor, it could lose patience with him, too. 


What GE needs to realize is what Jeff Bezos did.  It isn't so much that you have industrial might; it is more so that you need algorithmic, analytic and algebraic might.  Harness your data and math and figure out a way to transform yourself from a clunky conglomerate that makes good products and has offered at times some decent services into a real player into the future. 


Just don't expect that vision or the radical change that is needed to occur in the same time they gave John Flannery to try to begin to turn things around. 


For if the board does, it will change CEO's again, and then Culp turns into Louis van Gaal and GE will be searching for its version of Jose Mourinho.  And last time I looked, the Hall of Fame skipper was having a rough time of it at the bellwether franchise. 


Messes take a while to clean up.  What is needed is not a passion about leaning things out and fixing things, but plotting a course for the future.  IBM did it. 


Can GE?

Friday, September 21, 2018

NFL Owners and Healthcare

The Dallas Cowboys just were valued at $5 billion.


About 20 years ago Jeffrey Lurie bought the Philadelphia Eagles for $185 million, and the team is worth billions today.


The owners rely upon a flawed collective bargain process to avoid paying long-term healthcare for those whose labors create the value in the franchise.  The process has an inherent flaw because careers are so short; players cannot afford to sit out a season in exchange for long-term benefits for past and present players.  The best players would give up too much money in the prime of their careers to do so and historically have not been willing to hold out for a very long period of time.  The owners know that, so they wait out the players.  And then the owners anesthetize themselves that it is okay not to provide these benefits because they negotiated in good faith and the players did not insist upon them. 


A friend once said, "business is business, don't judge," and I think that is just flat out wrong, especially when, in his case, he is an unapologetic liberal.  He did so in the context of defending his best friend from high school, who is wont to question, challenge and attack competitors despite the fact that his own organization has many shortcomings.  A mentor who negotiated big transactions for a living once offered, "It's always best in a deal to live a little extra on the table.  It's a partnership, and you'll get more out of it if you don't negotiate down to the last penny.  Because if you do, and you get too good of a deal, the other side will figure it out and things could go badly."  That logic is better.


The owners don't win by being right all the time.  Their logic works as far as it goes, but they should take my mentors' advice and leave a little more on the table.  Be magnanimous, offer the long-term healthcare.  Relations with the players' union are awful for many reasons, and I think part of the reason is the anxiety that the players have for what might happen to them after they are done playing.  The owners, who are very wealthy, should do the right thing.  Imagine what the gesture will do for the long-term relationship of the players and owners and correspondingly the fans and the league.  And, then, go one step further, invest heavily in research to help make the game safer.


It's hard to pinpoint why ratings are down.  The games have a lot of interruptions.  The overblown flag controversy contributes.  As, perhaps, does NFL Red Zone, which cannibalizes game viewership because why watch a game with all of its fits, starts and stops when you can just watch the highlights.  Fewer kids are playing the sport; more are playing the soccer video game and watching international soccer.  I have not studied the issue the way a marketing company or academic would, but the NFL has some serious issues.


No fun.  Cold, Heartless.  Greedy owners.  Insensitive toward, and uncaring of, those who get maimed for life.  Arrogant.  Self-congratulatory. 


Take care of the guys who make your franchises worth what they are, owners.  Suppose those players were your family, your kids.


What would you say then?

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Importance of Adjustments in Sports

According to Baseball Prospectus, Mike Trout could have retired after the season before last at the ripe old age of 25 and gone down as one of the ten best position players ever to play Major League Baseball.  Not only is Trout an amazing talent, he also has been terrific at making adjustments.  Early in his career scouts thought he might be vulnerable to the high fastball; Trout adjusted and thwarted attempts to stymie him.  Trout was frustrated with his ranking as a centerfielder; he did drills to improve his reaction time to fly balls and rejoined the top third of all defensive centerfielders.  That is what the great teams do.  Some players and coaches and teams can do this; others cannot.  Whether they can do this or not defines their careers.


Juan Samuel was supposed to be the next great Phillies player after Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and started out his career red-hot.  Then opponents figured out a weakness -- the outside breaking ball.  Samuel could not lay off it, ending up striking out a ton and playing himself into the role of a super utility players.  He just did not remain good enough to be an every day player -- his weakness would get exposed if opposing pitchers saw him too often.


Andy Reid right now is the best coach not to win a Super Bowl.  His main flaws -- bad clock management and inconsistencies picking talent in Philadelphia.  Every year the team went into the season with a pronounced weakness or two that, despite public statements to the contrary, came back to bite the head coach and his ambitions.  Since he has been in Kansas City he only has had the role of head coach -- perhaps this season could be the charm for him.


Chip Kelly dazzled at Oregon in what retrospectively was a relatively short tenure.  College coaches have all the power and can be dictators.  History has told us that what has worked in college does not necessary work in the pros.  Kelly, with his innovative thinking, got off to a good start with the Eagles.  But then he kept on doing the same thing, to the point where former offensive lineman Evan Mathis said the rest of the league knew what was coming and when.  Sure, the Eagles could get a play off quickly.  The problem was that the other team could guess what it was.  Chip Kelly is now back in college, trying to rekindle his old magic.


Buddy Ryan was an innovator with the 46 defense with the Chicago Bears.  Ultimately, the league adjusted to that scheme, but before it did Buddy's defenses were something to behold.  In contrast, Buddy was a lame thinker on the offensive side of the ball and refused to innovate or adjust.  He had a unique, transcending talent in Randall Cunningham and couldn't figure out how to make him into the best quarterback in the league.  Poor Cunningham played without a running game and with replacement-player-plus level receivers and a tight end with a big reputation who dropped the ball a lot.  He deserved better; Ryan ended up out of a job because he refused to adjust his thinking as a head coach and value the offense half as much as he valued his defense.


The Philadelphia Phillies were terrific in the 2007-2011 time frame.  Part of their success resulted from their outstanding development of three perennial MVP candidates -- Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  Part of their success resulted from their maximizing the value of retrospectively vastly overrated prospects to land the likes of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.  But the team kept on getting older after their World Series victory of 2008, when the average age of a player was about 29.  They added the ultimately underperforming Raul Ibanez when he was 36 and the oft-injured Placido Polanco when he was in his early 30's.  They also failed to embrace the type of analytics that other teams, particularly the most innovate ones, were using, teams like Boston, St. Louis and Houston.  What resulted was their slide from a perennial contender into a team whose season was over by the All-Star break.


Pick your city, pick your discussion.  The Mets loaded up on starting pitchers with a tremendous amount of promise -- DeGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Harvey, Matz, Gsellman.  The problem is that when you have so many young pitchers before the age of 25 throwing as hard as they can for long periods of time, they are bound to get hurt.  And many of them did.  The tragic part for the Mets is that this happened before with pitchers named Isringhausen, Wilson and Pulsipher.  Only Isringhausen had any type of career, and that was as a reliever.  The other two got so injured -- as did the Cubs uber-talented Kerry Wood and Mark Prior -- that you knew that what portended to be a team that could get everyone out might end up being a squad that would have difficulty getting players off the disabled list.


Failing to adjust or persisting in doing things the old way get management and teams into trouble.  Doing something the same way over and over again and expecting a good result but then failing has been called by some the definition of insanity.  Teams that truly innovate -- the elite soccer teams are among them -- videotape players and do a computer analysis of their workouts and their repetitive motions to ensure that the work they do strengthens the players and does not put undue stress on one part of the body to cause a recurring injury.  They have adopted cryotherapy rooms to take down a player's inflammation after working out and also focus strictly on sleep and diet.  Oh, sure, Chip Kelly did that in Philadelphia, I forgot.  The problem was that the didn't do enough to get the respect of the players with his communications and style to get them to buy in. 


Examples abound.  Adjustments are critical.  The teams that win, adjust, even if they are Golden State by maxing out their payroll to remain more than very relevant when they inked Kevin Durant.  That's an adjustment too.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Season 3 of Last Chance U.

Worth watching if you are the type that watches auto racing for the crashes.


The head coach is an aggregator, a snake oil salesman, but far from a molder of men.  A huckster, a hipster, with little in the way of the traits that you like to see developed in  your own kids.  Zero humility, tries to pass for wisdom what is his unique version of, in his own mind, street smarts.  Profane, ill-mannered, uncouth.  Makes for good TV, but not for a good life.


Talk about college players having zero leverage.  You end up at a football bordello like Independence because you have nowhere else to go.  You are desperate to get to the FCS or FBS, you had character or academic lapses or both, and you as a poor kid make your deal with one of many devils -- the dictators/predators who run these banana republic fiefdoms for their own personal glory.  The head coaches anesthetize themselves by keeping kids eligible so that they can go on to play at four-year schools.  Whether the kids belong in college is open to debate; the "system," as it were is at best paternalistic and at worst exploitative and racist -- using the kids without compensating them meaningfully.   These kids can be like cans that get kicked down the road -- all with a view of providing players to the big-time schools.  What would be more interesting is to see what happens to them within five years.  Do they get their degrees?  Are their degrees helping them make a good living?  Or does the system chew them up and spit them out.


The head coach tries to come across as the hero, albeit someone who runs his program on his own terms.  The junior college president at best is na├»ve and at worst has prostituted his mission in order to gain some fame for his school that has eluded his other programs.  The question is why and at what cost? 


It is interesting watching.  I feel for each and every one of these kids.  They are young, some are desperate, some spoiled, some frustrated, some in need for honest-to-God therapy for what they have gone through in life.  But they are kids, mostly poor kids.


They deserve better than this wacky system provides them. 

The Early Part of FBS College Football Season is Stupid (for the Most Part)

Silly.


Insulting.


Who cares?


Yeah, Texas A&M beat up on FCS Northwestern State last night in Aggieville.  Sure, the alums got to have a few pops and tailgate, the Aggies got to kiss their dates, the home team got a win.  But what does the game mean?


Absolutely nothing. 


Zilch.


Why?  Because no one who counts will give the game any credence when it comes to determining whether premium-paid head coach Jimbo Fisher's team is worthy of a playoff bid.  The opponent was an FCS team; the Aggies were supposed to block them all the way into the cheap seats.  And poor Northwestern State's players.  What good comes out of a game like this?  What character is built or revealed when your school gets paid an appearance fee to help its coffers so that you can be a tune-up game for an FBS team? 


None.


Zilch.


The game is dangerous enough.  The stakes are high enough.  It makes no sense to schedule cupcake games.  Player fewer games if they have to in order to look out for the physical welfare of the players, who are in a plantation-like system with zero leverage and zero post-playing benefits should they suffer injuries that could be debilitating for them.  But playing games like these?  There is no purpose.


Period.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

On Urban Meyer

What's the standard?  What do we want our legacy to be?  What do we want others to say about us?  How will this conduct -- or absence of action -- look if it makes the newspapers?  How would we feel if Courtney Smith were our mother, sister, daughter, friend?  How do we deal with colleagues who have significant problems?  Is having a criminal record or doing something criminal but uncharged or unpleaded or unproven enough to lose one's job?  What is the standard?  Is it that there was no cause under a contract to terminate a highly paid professional without paying him $40 million?  Was it that key players said they would sit out the season and transfer if the head coach were fired?  Was the school worried about losing an edge in recruiting were the coach to be terminated?  What does "deliberately lied" mean?  Isn't lying bad enough without having to qualify it with an adjective?  What is the significance of the cognitive impairment as to the employee's memory?  Does it mean that he gets a pass on this situation?  Or wouldn't the university be worried that this impairment negatively effects the employee's ability to perform the required roles of his job?  What about accountability?  Who, precisely, is accountable for what?  What about the employee's conduct?  Can he talk with his players with a straight face about their accountability?  What about his contrition?  How can he expect more from his players when he looked like someone who was forced to read something he didn't believe in, as if he were a hostage in a far away land?  What if the employee hadn't had the record of success that this employee has had?  What if the sport were tennis, one that few pay attention to and one that generates no revenue?  Then what?


These questions swirl and swirl and will continue to swirl.  There is an idolatry about college football and the men who coach it in certain bastions around the country -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama, State College, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio, among others.  What is the brand that the trustees of Ohio State are trying to build, enhance and protect?  What is the message that they are trying to send?  Did Urban Meyer do enough?  And even if he didn't do enough, should he be fired for not doing enough?  Is he the first boss who kept a favorite on his team, a favorite with significant character issues?  Did those character issues affect that coach's performance?  To what degree does what one does outside the workplace read onto the workplace?  Are we holding Urban Meyer to a standard that many cannot meet?  Does it make a difference that what happened is in a college setting?  Does it make a difference that parents put their children into the stewardship of Urban Meyer and his coaching staff -- an autocratic, unforgiving environment in the best of times? 


Shouldn't it matter that Zach Smith repeatedly committed character violations?  Should it matter that he had problems dating back as far as nine years and that Urban Meyer gave him chance after chance after chance?  Did Meyer do it out of blind loyalty to Smith's grandfather, former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce?  Or did Meyer keep him aboard because Smith was a good coach and wanted to keep an eye on him and hope to influence Smith to be a better person, to get help, and to supervise him?  Didn't Meyer realize that lives were at stake and that one bad character can tarnish the reputation of the entire football program?  In two different locations?


Most importantly, what about Courtney Smith and all victims of spousal abuse?  Doesn't she matter?  Aren't there bigger issues at stake -- such as the safety of the entire university community?  And isn't that much more important than the brand of the football team and who is coaching it?  And wasn't the safety of Courtney Smith and her children more important than anything else the trustees of Ohio State can think of? 


The questions are swirling.  And they will continue to swirl.  This is not the easiest of situations, but after last night it seems that everyone lost.  Ohio State lost, the Ohio State football program lost, Coach Meyer and his coaching staff lost.  And, sure, no one wins in a situation with facts as ugly as the ones presented.  But last night you had an administration suspend a coach for three non-league games, suspend the athletic director (who seemingly has less power than his key employee, Urban Meyer) for six weeks.  They avoid a contractual dispute with Meyer to the tune of $40 million, they avoid players transferring and recruits avoiding contact with Ohio State coaches and going to play for rivals.  They will continue to fill the stadium.  The idolators will continue to wrap their identifies around the Buckeyes, the Horseshoe, their idiosyncratic rationales why the head coach remains on the job and their unchallengeable belief in the institution that is Ohio State football. 


And then there is Coach Meyer.  He won, didn't he?  He keeps his job, gets to pass go and collect his $40 million dollars.  He gets to keep one of the top head coaching jobs in the country, gets a chance to build on his number of national championships.  He gets to continue to do what he loves.  But at what price?  Many will not look at him the same way again.  Many will believe that Ohio State checked all the boxes on its investigation but that the trustees premeditated that it would come out this way.  Many will believe that he relied on a peculiar excuse to get a pass in a very serious situation.  And many will have linger doubts every time Meyer talks whether his memory is accurately or what he is saying comes from his mouth deliberately or in some other way. 


Urban Meyer thinks he did nothing wrong.  He fought for what he believed in -- which is himself, his legacy, his longevity, his contract, the $40 million dollars.  He can continue to believe and think what he wants. 


But so can everyone else.


Ohio State did not conclude anything here.  It just started a raging debate over the absolute control head coaches and football programs have over some boards of trustees and college presidents and what is or is not appropriate conduct by a head football coach. 


And does it have to be about laws, charges, what is proven or not proven, convictions, plea bargains?


Or can it just be about culture?  A culture of being forthcoming, a culture of accountability, a culture of doing the right thing regardless of whether law enforcement is involved.


Urban Meyer and his supporters won last night.


The question now is -- what did they win and who did they beat?