Sorting through storylines, wondering what’s next

Logic finally prevailed in the Southland Conference.

Meanwhile, the incomprehensible has suddenly become the new order in high school sports.

College team rosters are best maintained on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Those are among the sports storylines of significance that we’re dealing with in The Year of Lawdy, Lawdy 2022.

We can all agree Will Smith may have once given us a brilliant portrayal of Muhammed Ali, but he gave Chris Rock a lick more suitable from a star in the WWE.

Then the Academy gave him a ban that may last longer than Will Wade’s banishment from college basketball. It was not remotely a damned strong slap.

Some things make so much sense, they actually happen. Exhibit A: Lamar has quickly backtracked, realizing that charting its course into the three time zones of the Western Athletic Conference was just plain stupid and too durned expensive. Friday, Lamar announced its return to the Southland in 2023-24, kissing and making up much faster than Bennifer did.

Can Stephen F. Austin’s path to redemption be equally brief? Despite enrollment issues (fairly common among colleges nowadays) and suddenly shaky finances, don’t expect a quick retreat to familiar Southland territory by the ever-egocentric Lumberjacks. Last thing SFA will do sooner than later is re-up with the Southland, no matter how prudent it is.

They are still locked in a semi-permanent wince from getting kicked to the curb by their neighbors and arch-rivals, the Sam Houston State Bearkats, who spent only slightly more time in the WAC than Tom Brady’s retirement before leaping to a bigger, more pricey locale, Conference USA alongside Louisiana Tech.

Demons can tell Bulldogs that Huntsville ain’t Hattiesburg, and the Bearkats will seem like Jersey Housewives, hoping to fit into a social circle that don’t suit them much.

More things make no sense, but they’re happening anyway.

Prepare to cringe: beg your pardon as I bring up the LHSAA’s begrudging embrace of NIL.

Legally, Eddie Bonine and the state’s principals were boxed in. Could’ve put up a stand, could’ve spent a bunch on attorneys, couldn’t have won the argument – in a courthouse.

Kids are given grown-up opportunities, and there are far too many adults with self-serving agendas willing to capitalize. Unfortunately, the law is on the side of individual freedoms, generally a good thing (even Kentwood’s Britney Spears finally got freed up nearing 40!) but when it comes to those too young to serve in our military or cast a vote in a public election, they are flying blind or close to it at this stage of their lives.

So now Get Gordon and the like are beginning to trade on the identities of high school girls and boys, appearing to do nice things like congratulating a sensational young scholar-athlete when we all quickly see through to their end game: presenting a top-dollar NIL offer to encourage a college commitment, dare we suggest to area code 225?

Kim Mulkey doesn’t need that “help.” But she can do nothing to stop it. And the kids and their parents and their high school coaches and teammates, none who asked for this, are confronted with issues that nobody before has had to consider.

Combine NIL with Transfer Portal and your desire to read any further roughly equals Ed Orgeron’s appetite for opera. While he’s no doubt got Wayne Toups and not Pavarotti on his iPod, like most of us, Coach O hates those diabolical new arrivals to the college scene with a passion. Can team sports values survive the age of individualism?

I’d rather contemplate my taxes. On April 12, I’d better. Not gonna waste time considering the reality that most SEC quarterbacks need CPA teams about now, and at three times their age, I’m suited for the latest edition of TurboTax.


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