Vaught's Views: Olympics use NCAA logic

August 31, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

For the past two weeks there were so many good reasons to watch the Olympics. Instead of being overwhelmed by professional sports stars, we all had a chance to see and enjoy other superb athletes pursuing their dreams of winning a Olympic medal.

But sadly, the politics at the Olympics are as pathetic as those at the NCAA.

The NCAA recently ruled Colorado receiver Jeremy Bloom ineligible because he was taking endorsement money as a professional skier to help enhance his chances of participating in the Olympics. If he was computer whiz making big money at a summer job, he could still play football. But because he's a talented skier and earning endorsement money, he can't play football.

Then there is USC receiver Mike Williams. He put his name into the NFL Draft and hired an agent after his sophomore year when a court ruling said the NFL could not keep freshmen or sophomores out of the draft. But guess what? Another court later overturned the ruling. Williams returned the money he took from the agent and got his academic standing back in order. However, the NCAA has ruled him ineligible for hiring an agent even though a court ruling had cleared the way for him to play in the NFL.


Never mind that it is fine for University of Kentucky athletes to wear Nike apparel and promote Nike products. Apparently if the school is making the money, endorsements are fine with the NCAA.

Just as biased and narrow-minded

The Olympics are just as biased and narrow-minded. Ask Paul Hamm.

He's the American gymnast who won the all-around gold medal and then was asked to give it back because of a scoring error by the judges on an opponent's score. Hamm did nothing wrong. All he did was perform well enough on his final event to beat the highest score and earn the gold medal.

Who could ever predict what might have happened if Hamm had known he needed a higher score?

Yet the same Olympic reasoning that wants Hamm to give his gold medal to a South Korean gymnast turned a deaf ear to the request by Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Lima Sunday after he was attacked by a deranged spectator while leading his event about three miles from the finish.

Lima recovered well enough to still finish third, a huge feat considering he lost all of his momentum and had to regain his rhythm after being not only stopped, but also attacked. However, his request for a duplicate gold - he didn't even ask to be declared the only gold medal winner like the South Korean gymnast did - was immediately rejected.

The logic escapes me. The gymnastic judges make a scoring error and Hamm is supposed to bail them out by giving up his gold medal. But when a spectator attacks a runner, that's too bad and there's no way to remedy the situation.

Logic and the NCAA are not words that go together. Obviously the same can be said for the Olympics after what has happened to Hamm and Lima.

It just makes one wonder how much NCAA and Olympic officials really care about the athletes.

Central Kentucky News Articles