Terps need to put end to recruiting distraction

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A DAY FOR rumbling and rambling:

A report that the University of Maryland is considered to have committed a major infraction when an assistant football coach was said to give a prospective recruit $335 in cash payments seems quite strange.

According to the report, the NCAA infractions committee is expected to make the announcement as early as next week.

It's bizarre because Maryland did a lot of the legwork in looking into the incident, and seemed open in doing so. Usually, when the NCAA comes down hard on a university, it's because the school cannot monitor itself and let things get out of control.

But in this situation involving then-assistant coach Rod Sharpless and former Gilman defensive end Victor Abiamiri, Maryland conducted its own investigation, forced the assistant coach to resign and did not sign Abiamiri.

That showed a lot of control.

But if this is, indeed, true, then it leads to speculation that there was more to the incident than reported, such as Maryland possibly still pursuing Abiamiri after the incident, or maybe more incidents involving players and assistant coaches, or maybe these reports are false.

Who knows?

But the Terps need some closure.

There is an excitement about this program that hasn't been around here since Bobby Ross coached the team. Maryland is upgrading its facilities and graduating most of its senior classes, and football coach Ralph Friedgen has closed the gap between the Terps and Florida State.

With Miami and Virginia Tech eventually joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, this is the time for Maryland to shine, not to have clouds hanging overhead.

Excuse me for a moment while I pull out my handkerchief and cry for former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.

Poor Mikey has filed for bankruptcy after running through nearly $300 million. No matter how hard I try, I just can't relate. It takes me five years to pay for one car, and Tyson has $300,000 in limousine fees. My watch is from Target; he buys diamond necklaces for a couple of hundred thousands.

Mike pays $60,000 for rugs and real white tigers, and I won't buy stuffed animals unless I get a real bargain.

Now Tyson is hoping to recoup some of the losses with his $100 million lawsuit against longtime boxing promoter Don King.

Good luck. They deserve each other. Since King controls the industry, if I were a boxer, I'd pay King a couple of million up front just not to steal from me, and then collect the rest.

Never trust a guy (King) who, when he walks into the room, everybody grabs his wallet.

And never trust a guy (Tyson) who, when he walks into a hotel, adults start flying over the balcony.

Doesn't Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban deserve a spanking?

That's really what we all want, somebody to give this overgrown child a paddling.

It wasn't just Cuban's recent statements about the Kobe Bryant incident having a positive impact on the NBA, but he apparently feels that once he became an NBA owner, it gave him a podium to speak out on almost any issue, regardless whether it's relevant to basketball.

There should be requirements for becoming a professional sports owner, one of which is having common sense. Maybe on his next birthday, NBA commissioner David Stern will blow out the candles and wish that Cuban goes away.

Hopefully, the wish comes true.

Let's get this straight:

A man who, along with his son, attacked Kansas City Royals coach Tom Gamboa during a game was sentenced to just 30 months of probation Wednesday by Cook County (Ill.) Judge Leo Holt despite Gamboa's reportedly losing part of his hearing because of the attack.

It's a joke.

Maybe there weren't enough witnesses, like the thousands in attendance or the millions who watched the attack on TV. If you're a robber and possibly afraid of jail time, don't do the crime outside the bank or your friendly neighborhood supermarket.

Just go mug somebody at a professional baseball stadium.

The real football genius resides in College Park, not in Baltimore (Brian Billick) or Washington (Steve Spurrier). In Sports Illustrated's college football preview issue, Friedgen was named the nation's "X's & O's Wiz" in the magazine's poll.

He is the X's & O's wiz around here, too. When it comes to game planning, time management, adjustments and surprises, Friedgen is better than either Spurrier or the Compu Coach (Billick).

That's not to say that Friedgen would make a better pro coach or is more of a complete coach, but he just gets it done week after week.

Now, if he could just get away from this major infraction business ...

Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister is talking less and playing extremely well in training camp. McAlister always seems to be around the ball, and seems to be having fun, maybe more now than at any other time in his young career.

If McAlister plays like this all season, he has a chance to make the AFC Pro Bowl team. And if he makes the AFC Pro Bowl team, he has a chance to demand a big contract.

And if he gets a big contract, then he might start talking again. And if that happens ...

Oh dear, we don't want to get that far ahead of ourselves.

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