Boise State's lawlessness not quite Capone caliber


If Boise State is going to cheat, it must do a better job of it, or at least get its priorities in order. The Mountain West Conference needs the Broncos' BCS money.

When was the last time a violation in the women's tennis program got an athletic director fired and an entire athletic program placed on NCAA Double-Secret Probation?

That basically is what has transpired up in the Land of the Blue Carpet. Gene Bleymaier, the Broncos' popular athletic director since 1982, under whose watch Boise State went from athletic paupers to flea-flicker princes, has been canned under a cloud of alleged NCAA violations.

The only major one occurred within the women's tennis program.

You read that right. The NCAA is threatening to pull the Blue Carpet up by its brass tacks because of oversights in women's tennis.

This is sort of like the feds putting Al Capone away for evading income tax.

The Boise State football program, which is supposed to scare the bejesus out of Georgia and save the Mountain West from irrelevancy, has been accused of providing impermissible housing, transportation and free meals to recruits. Chris Petersen has agreed to hold three fewer practices this year and in 2012, so one might want to put down some serious cash on UNLV right now.

The men's and women's tennis and track and field teams also were accused of impermissible housing, and it makes you wonder why someone didn't inquire about the businessman's rate at the nearest Best Western. It might have spared the Broncos a lot of grief.

But to repeat, the only major violation occurred in women's tennis, which begs another comparison.

Though it's never a good idea to step out on one's wife, if one insists on committing adultery, it should always be with Megan Fox. It should never be with Bea Arthur.

Boise State is charged with providing a prospective tennis player with transportation, cash, lodging, educational expenses and entertainment.

Entertainment? In Boise?

These transgressions, combined with the minor ones in football and track and field, resulted in the Broncos being charged with "lack of institutional control" -- code words for saying the NCAA needs a smaller rule book.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said he had a "lack of confidence" the Broncos could move forward under the scarlet letter of NCAA probation were Bleymaier, 57, to remain in charge -- code words for "power struggle at the top."

This is what happens at a lot of institutions of higher learning and football (but not Ohio State) accused of breaking rules. The head of somebody who plays a lot of free golf must roll. This also is what sometimes happens when a midmajor school wins a lot of football or basketball games. Better watch out, Butler.

The Boise State women's tennis crime spree consisted of providing a recruit with impermissible transportation (rides to and from the airport), cash ($40 for groceries), lodging (with another athlete-student), educational expenses ($3,460 for English courses) and entertainment (a camping trip). And here you thought the Barrow Gang was despicable.

It's a good thing these tennis coaches were fired, or I am sure the Gambino crime family would have ordered a hit.

As for the identity of the unnamed recruit, well, for Boise State's sake, let's hope it was one of the Williams sisters or Maria Sharapova. At least then one could justify the rides to and from the airport.

THREE UP

■ Were major league baseball to expand, 33 percent of the 295 players who responded to a Sports Illustrated poll said Las Vegas would be the first choice. Their second choice was Ibiza, Spain, during spring break.

■ Randall Cunningham II, 15, cleared 6 feet 4¾ inches to finish third in the nation in the intermediate boys high jump at the Junior Olympics in Kansas. Sister Vashti, 11, finished 11th in her age group in the same event. Randall Cunningham I, it can be assumed, is very proud.

■ Since beginning experimental treatment in Houston last month, doctors say the inoperable brain tumor of Centennial High softball player Kassidy Merritt has shrunk by 12 percent. Sometimes shrinkage is good, no matter what George Costanza says.

THREE DOWN

■ Bryce Harper, the Baseball Bieber, was ejected from a Double-A game for arguing a pitch that appeared to be a foot outside the strike zone. For this heinous crime, his Internet detractors compared him to Caril Ann Fugate. Harper also hit a 480-foot game-winning home run, for which his Internet supporters compared him to Roy Hobbs.

■ I received an email titled "Wyoming quarterbacks off-limits to media." Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Wyoming quarterbacks still are on limits to blitzing linebackers from Boise State and Texas Christian.

■ Supposedly, a man in white is flashing signs and tipping pitches to Toronto Blue Jays hitters at Rogers Centre. If I were J.P. Arencibia, the next time the Yankees are in town, I'd leave comp seats in the center-field bleachers for three Good Humor men, two Tony Manero lookalikes and Mr. Roarke and Tattoo from "Fantasy Island," just to mess with Joe Girardi's mind.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.

 

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