Decision, and honesty behind it, are step in right direction
Updated: October 12, 2007, 5:13 PM ETBy Mechelle Voepel | Special to ESPN.com
The NCAA recently announced that starting in 2009, women's basketball will move back to 16 pre-determined sites for the early rounds of the Division I tournament. That was the setup in 2003 and 2004.However, for the past three seasons, the early rounds have been at eight sites. And that again will be the case this season before switching back.
A few bulletins from the women's sports world since the WNBA season ended and I've been taking a bit of a vacation from my laptop:
• Our short national nightmare is over. The U.S. women's team is going to the Beijing Olympics, having won the FIBA Americas Championship in Chile. Heck, maybe the hoops team can even find a spot for Hope Solo in case the U.S. soccer sorority, er, team remains too "distracted" by her presence.
• Speaking of soap operas
the UConn-Tennessee series still isn't happening. The Hartford Courant had a Geno Auriemma sound-off before his charity golf tournament, leading off with this Geno "classic" in regard to Pat Summitt:
"I think she should just come out and say she's not playing us because she hates my guts. And I think people would buy that. Then everyone [who seeks a reason] would be happy. She should just say that [Geno is] a dope, a smart-ass and then everyone could say that they agree with her."
This is hilarious. Uh, gee, I can't think of anything more likely to make Summitt reconsider her position than reading that quote, can you? Maybe next time, Auriemma can start dropping "hints" that the famous "Tyler was almost born on an airplane" story about Summitt's son was just a fable made up by Tennessee's sports information department.
• New Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said back in the spring that "the other side of the story" would eventually come out about her husband's arrest for loosing his cool in the Sarasota Bradenton airport in Florida last March.
not exactly. The Bradenton Herald recently reported that John McCallie pled no contest to reduced charges and apologized for biting a police officer in a scuffle. He will serve a year's probation and perform community service. Jason M. Miller, Sarasota assistant state attorney, was quoted as saying that John McCallie, "Had an extremely bad day."
We all have them sometimes. I once said, "Oh, shoot," to an agent at the ticket counter when a flight was delayed. Except
I didn't actually say "shoot." It was a considerably worse word than that. I felt bad enough that during my subsequent lengthy wait, I got a box of chocolates and took it back to the agent and said I was having a really bad day and was very sorry. Of course, she probably thought I was crazy and had somehow poisoned the chocolate, but at least I made the gesture.
Anyway, the moral of the John McCallie story: Don't throw away your baggage claim stubs until after you actually have your baggage.
• Flaxseed oil? I mean
jeez. Remember when Marion Jones was a joyful, smiling, super-confident freshman on North Carolina's national-championship hoops team? A huge contributor in her "second-best" sport? A young woman who seemingly had unlimited potential and success in front of her? Recall how she used to turn steals into layups in a heartbeat? And that whomever she'd stolen the ball from would chase her for maybe two steps, realize it was Jones and concede there was zero chance to catch her?
Yes, Jones made a huge mistake and then was publicly dishonest about it for a long time. The responsibility is hers. But
I feel very sad for her. A great athletic career and reputation were destroyed by bad judgment and denial on her part -- and a sporting culture that both encourages and condemns such behavior.
• OK, time to try to cheer up. College hoops practices open this weekend. The college hoops season is right around the corner. Do you all have your preseason top 25 ballots done already?
-- ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel
News and notes
MORE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL HEADLINES
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- St. John's gives coach Tartamella an extension
- Storm's Jackson returns from 11-month layoff
- Hill ends playing career, named honorary coach