ESPN gave former SportsCenter anchor Keith Olbermann a new show last month. You might have heard.
Randy Edsall “gave” linebacker Marcus Whitfield the game ball Saturday. You might have heard that, too.
Olbermann did. He read more into it, considered it and didn’t like it much. So Wednesday night, he lumped Edsall into a category he had until then seen fit only for the Bryce Harpers and Jeff Wilpons of the world: “World’s Worst Person in Sports.” You read that right.
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But it turns out there is more to the story. We reported today on the existence of an old document in which the NCAA declared that schools were not permitted to actually provide a game ball to a player. The NCAA says the rule has been revisited.
Below is a transcript from the minute-plus that Olbermann spent wagging his finger at the Terps coach:
“Our winner is a good old American college football coach: Randy Edsall of Maryland. Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield opened the season with five tackles and one-and-a-half sacks in the Terps’ 43-10 win over Florida International, and they gave him the defensive game ball. Well, they said they gave him the game ball.
"After all the yelling in the locker room, Whitfield went to actually get the game ball to take it home or, I don’t know, paint it. That’s when he found out, quote, ‘We can’t get the game ball until after we leave school because it’s against NCAA regulations. We have the game ball, but it’s in the archives.’ Whitfield says he can wait; it’s not a problem. He doesn’t want to get anybody in trouble.
"So every winning team in every college football game is violating NCAA rules -- the extra-benefit rules -- each time it awards a game ball? There are 300 rules violations every Saturday? Maryland says it is abiding by the NCAA rule that places a monetary limit on gifts that athletes can receive. It’s 225 bucks a year for underclassmen, 425 for seniors. The ball would count against it.
"The NCAA response? Hooey. ‘A student-athlete can keep a game ball,’ NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn told The Baltimore Sun, adding it does not count against the extra-benefit rules. Coach Randy ‘I’m taking your ball and going home’ Edsall, today’s worst person in the sports world.”