Mailbox: Did SEC favoritism help LSU in hoops the way it helped Georgia top Ohio State?

Brian White
The Columbus Dispatch

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Apr 2, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts alongside forward Monika Czinano (25) during a stop in play against the LSU Lady Tigers in the second half during the final round of the Women's Final Four NCAA tournament at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On women's basketball

Dear Sports Editor: I was disappointed when the Ohio State women’s basketball team lost to Virginia Tech. My text comment to friends was, “Maybe exhausted, and Vtech’s breaking the press effectively.” Virginia Tech was just the better team that day.

Maybe LSU was the better team against Iowa on Sunday as well. But I’m skeptical when the officials seem so eager to blow the whistle and kill Iowa’s momentum every time they start coming back. It may be that no player was more crucial to their team’s success than Caitlin Clark, and saddling her with questionable foul calls early and often amounted to the officials deciding the result.

Remember that recent playoff game where similar officiating put Georgia in the position to beat Ohio State? One other commonality in addition to the officiating: The broadcaster was ABC/ESPN, who owns the SEC Network, so the producer of the program makes a bigger profit, short and long term, if the SEC team wins. We don’t have the opportunity to know what’s in the officials’ minds. But as I said after the Ohio State-Georgia game, if the officials were trying to give the victory to Georgia, what would that look like? It would look exactly like this.

Bob Young, Columbus

To Bob: I'm forever fascinated by Ohio State fans' consistency in finding conspiracy theories in any loss. As I've said before, sometimes the team that wins is actually better, and sometimes the officials make big mistakes.

March 25, 2023; Seattle, WA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Kevin McGuff speaks to his players during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen game against the UConn Huskies at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Saturday. Ohio State won the game 73-61.
Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

To the editor: In his recent letter to The Dispatch, Mike Oser suggests, in part, that the salaries of the Ohio State men’s and women’s basketball coaches should be roughly equal. Given the enormity of the OSU football program’s revenue-generating capacity, coach Ryan Day’s salary is, and should be, in a separate category. As to basketball, in 2022 the men’s program averaged 14,196 in attendance, and the women’s program averaged 3,274. Ticket revenue for 2022 was roughly $5.2 million and $282,000, respectively. Donations and media income to the programs made this revenue disparity even greater. I assume incentive clauses in the coaches’ contracts rewards both of them financially for their teams’ successful seasons. But, based on relative financial value to the athletic department, it seems to me the salaries of the basketball coaches are about right.

Mahlon Nowland, Worthington

March 24, 2023: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts during the fourth quarter of the game against the Colorado Buffaloes in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington.

To the editor: The millionaires and billionaires of Columbus need to step up and show a pot of gold called NIL money to bring Caitlin Clark to the Schott to finish her collegiate career. Can you imagine the thrill and excitement at the sold-out Schott every time Ms. Clark sinks a Steph Curry type 3? I know she was born and raised in Iowa but how can you stay in hicksville Iowa City once you have seen the bright lights of the Short North and the other hot spots of Columbus? Being a Buckeye will be big time after watching the corn grow in Iowa City.

Michael N. Oser, Columbus

On coaches' salaries

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day high fives offensive lineman Dawand Jones (79) during the second half of the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal, Dec 31, 2022, in Atlanta. Georgia won 42-41.

To Brian: A very smart person who emigrated to the U.S. started his own business and became a multimillionaire once told me a long time ago that "the great thing about America is people have a the chance to succeed and people have the chance to fail. It's all about using your God-given abilities and how hard you work." These people carping about OSU coaches salaries and correlating that to societal ills need need to get a grip. Who are they to judge or deny someone the good fortune that comes from being intelligent and working hard? It's football and they've been highly successful, so to quote Motely Crue: don't go away mad, just go away.

That being said, I believe Todd Alles makes a much more salient point: How do people who are elected public officials, who are supposed to be public servants, end up becoming millionaires on their salaries?

So quit banging on OSU coaches and their salaries. It comes off as bitter, judgmental and covetous. Perhaps consider redirecting this antipathy towards something that really matters, like holding elected officials accountable?

Tony Federer, Powell

July 1975; Cincinnati, OH, USA; FILE PHOTO;Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan (8) takes a lead off first base during the 1975 season at Riverfront Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On Major League Baseball

To Mr. White: A multitude of rule changes are in effect this season, but a very significant rule has not changed in 130 years. In 1893 the pitching distance was increased by 9% to its present day 60 feet, 6 inches. This change sparked offense so much that groundskeepers compensated over the course of many seasons by adding pitchers' mounds which were not covered by the rules but eventually had to be addressed by rules to reign in the extreme heights that evolved.

The average major league player in 1893 stood 5 feet 7¾ tall and weighed 150 pounds. Many pitchers had difficulty with the increased pitching distance, and throwing downhill from a mound helped to even things out to restore balance between pitching and hitting.

Some more recent players who fit the mold of 1893 baseball are Walt "No Neck" Williams, Freddie Patek (who once hit three homers in a game at Fenway Park), Joe Morgan, Tom Phoebus, Bobby Shantz, Elroy Face, Vic Davalillo, Jose Altuve, Daniel Ray Herrera, Albie Pearson, Tim Raines and Rabbit Maranville.

Players today are mammoth compared to the 1893 guys, but the remedy for the long outdated pitching distance over the past few decades has been to counter an explosion of strikeouts and low-scoring games by reducing the distance to outfield fences and lowering the fences to produce artificial home runs and to increase the prevalence of "robbing" batters of the artificial home runs by making leaping catches as a form of entertainment.

The lower fences add to the cheap home runs and create game stoppages by allowing far too many balls to bounce into the stands for automatic doubles. The fan interference nonsense on these long balls stops game action for interminable discussions as well.

Something that galls Major League Baseball is too many no-hitters by their standards. It's bad for the product in MLB's eyes. How's this for a large sample size to reduce the number of no-hitters: Forbes Field in Pittsburgh was the home of the Pirates from 1909 through June 28, 1970, and there was never a no-hitter pitched there. You see, back in the day Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss hated cheap home runs and vowed he'd have none in his park, which led him to design a large playing field for Forbes Field.

Richard Zaborsky, Dublin     

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