Three Things: SHOCK At University 6.

Every day there are three things, here are those three things.

1) Shocked. SHOCKED, I tell ya. College basketball coaches cheat. That, of course, is no big story, even if we love fake outrage when the program we can't stand is exposed for breaking the rules.

This, however, is different.  The FBI has raided college basketball, with a number of coaches - including, and I'm merely pointing this out, a former Xavier assistant.  We've just scratched the surface, with one agent dropping a haunting "we have your playbook" on the industry, and even a snitch hotline being thrown out there for anyone who wants to provide information on other programs funneling money to recruits.

No head coaches were directly implicated, which means of course that these men - usually control-obsessed - will plead ignorance.  These guys know everything until its convenient for them to know nothing.

I'll buy that - sometimes - during a college football scandal. College football coaches have larger staffs, bigger recruiting classes, more recruiting targets, and a hundred players under their watch.

Not so much for college basketball coaches.  They have a dozen kids, a few assistants, a few new kids coming in, and at most schools are less in demand than their gridiron peers.

This, of course, takes us to Rick Pitino. With his program already on probation, an assistant coach was  apparently caught on tape talking about payments to a recruit, a development that will carry with it long-ranging implications on this blog, on which the University of Louisville will forever be known as "University 6."

It takes some pretty big balls, by the way, to blatantly cheat when your program is already serving a punishment for providing escorts to recruits.

Pitino, of course, is reverting to the playbook he's used since the stripper allegations were made two years ago. He says the newest allegations come as "a complete shock."

SHOCKED, I TELL YA!

Right. 

Even if you take the leap of faith and believe that Pitino was blindsided by both the escorts scandal, and this development, how could anyone excuse a head coach not being overly-vigilant and uber-aware of what was going on with his program in the wake of what happened to him and the program because of the escorts scandal?

I'd maybe have more respect for Rick Pitino if he came out and just admitted that his program was cheating. Instead, he's either lying or just plain stupid.

Neither of which are forgivable.

I'm not sure what the NCAA should do here. The "death penalty" seems in play, and I've gotta think the people in charge of enforcement and punishment aren't going to take lightly the fact that Louisville is back in its crosshairs so soon after one investigation just concluded. 

What I do know, is that University 6 - a school with a proud athletic and basketball history - can't claim any amount of credibility and keep Rick Pitino as an employee.

2)  A pleasant problem.  The Reds lost their seventh straight last night, which doesn't matter. Far more interesting than what they do in their final week's worth of games is what they decide to do with their outfielders.

Despite a second half swoon, Adam Duvall is well established as a starter. Scott Schebler - who hit his 30th homer last night - seems like a good bet for 25+ homers next season. Jesse Winker - who also went deep last night - has done well in an open audition in the final quarter of the season. He's gotten on base, he's hit for some pop, and held up well in the field.

There's also Phil Ervin, who projects nicely as a backup outfielder.

And there's Billy Hamilton. Defensive wiz. Game-changer with his legs.  Below-average big league hitter.

It's a pleasant problem to have, and one that could be solved if any of their outfielders is dealt as part of a trade for a relaible starting pitcher, but it presents one of the biggest questions heading into the offseason.

What do the Reds do with their outfielders?

Winker, as a top prospect, has played well enough to earn starter reps next season, and he gets on base more often than Hamilton. Duvall and Schebler provide pop. Hamilton's the best defensive center fielder in the sport, and also injury prone. 

Barring a trade, Hamilton would come off the bench for me, be a valuable asset as a late-inning defensive replacement and option as a pinch-runner. 

And if there is no trade, how do the Reds expect to acquire the kind of pitcher they desperately need?

Interested in your thoughts on this.  The ways I can be reached are below.

3) What if they DO lose? It feels like we're approaching Bengals/Browns this Sunday with that question looming over every aspect of a game that represents Cincinnati's last chance at saving their season.

I think, nothing. I don't believe Marvin Lewis will lose his gig if they don't beat Cleveland.  Nor do I think it's as simple as Andy Dalton losing his starting gig if they fall to 0-4. 

I do think the tone will change drastically if they do, and it'll be hard for the Bengals to push Marvin on a increasingly skeptical public if in this do-or-die season, they're winless through four weeks.

And I wonder if they follow the NFL like this in other cities, constantly wondering what the fallout from a loss will be.  

It feels like we do that more than others, even when the going is good. 

Maybe I'm wrong.

It sure isn't a fun way to watch football. 

Radio Show: Marvin Lewis, Andy Dalton, and James from the locker room today. Plus, we head to Louisville for the latest on the FBI implicating University 6, and we have a chance for you to claim a reward if you help my producer.  We also have a big announcement today at 4:33. Join us at 3:05 on ESPN1530.

Recommended Link Of The Day: Thank You, Melo

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Mo Egger

Mo Egger

Mo Egger delivers his unique take on sports on Cincinnati's ESPN 1530! Read more

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