NCAA rolls dice by picking Detroit
DETROIT -- So
At least Lawson didn't traipse across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, where he could have legally shot craps, bought drinks for teammates as young as 19, bought an all-nude lap dance and ordered a prostitute. Wonder what NCAA president
Thursday, Brand discussed the possibility of athletes gambling this week. "Well, I warn against that slippery slope. It's a fair question," Brand said in response to a general question that did not mention Lawson. "What a student does, play bingo in his church for example, while we discourage that, we prefer not to try and regulate that particular kind of activity. But it's highly discouraged."
Brand and company should be doubly glad none of the players crossed the border, because the Detroit casinos do not allow wagering on sports.
Michigan State coach
Besides, Lawson won't be the only Tar Heel rolling the dice this weekend. His coach plans to hit the tables before Carolina faces Villanova in Saturday's national semifinal. Based on past experience, if Willams rolls a few snake eyes, the Tar Heels will beat the Wildcats. "When I came here this year to play Michigan State, we stayed at MGM," Williams said Friday. "And I went down and shot craps, we lost, and we won the game. I go to Reno, to play Nevada-Reno, and I stayed in a casino, and I went downstairs and shot craps and we lost, and my team won. So you've got to be half-an-idiot if you think I'm not going to go gamble and lose money before this game."
Half-an-idiot? Sounds like the geniuses who decided it would be a good idea to place the Final Four in Detroit. While Detroit is a fine town full of dedicated, octopus-chucking sports fans, it isn't equipped to host a Final Four. Neither, for that matter, are Atlanta, St. Petersburg, Fla., Phoenix or Dallas. To be a good Final Four host, a town needs a large indoor venue surrounded by hotels, restaurants and entertainment options, all within easy walking distance of one another. The best examples are Indianapolis, New Orleans and San Antonio, Texas.
But if the NCAA doesn't want players gambling or committing any other venial sins, it probably should consider permanently placing the Final Four in Salt Lake City. On second thought, those crazy BCS-busters in Utah are
The NCAA chose this place, so its leaders shouldn't cast stones at those who cast dice. That includes players hoping to win and coaches hoping to lose a bundle.