Speed Read: Hero Vandy Coach Turns Down Raise

It’s hard to get too misty-eyed about the integrity of college sports when coaches are dealing with sex scandals, players are getting arrested on a daily basis and Yahoo! Sports is ready to let loose with the blockbuster news that a USC football player might have received an extra large slice of apple pie at the cafeteria because he’s on the team. But then you hear about things like the following story and you remember why you cry like a girl every time “Rudy” is on.

Kevin Stallings, hero

Vanderbilt head basketball coach Kevin Stallings had been planning a 10-day trip for his basketball team to Australia for well over a year when he learned that school wide budget cuts threatened to nix the trip. So what did Stallings do? He decided to decline the $100,000 raise he was owed by the school in order to pay for the journey. The team played OK - going 3-2 in five games - but I would imagine that the benefits go much further than that. Plus, how do you not play hard for a guy who gave up $100,000 so you could go to Australia?

“Jermaine, remember when you got to feed that kangaroo straight from your hand? Then how about screening out your man?”

Jarvis Varnado

This comes on the heels of Mississippi State’s star basketball player Jarvis Varnado giving up his scholarship so the team could sign more players. That’s two totally selfless acts involving SEC basketball in the space of less than a week, which is probably more than we saw all of last season. Sometimes its good to be reminded that sports are supposed to be, you know, uplifting.

West Ham hooligan

Meanwhile, just to cut the legs out from under you as you’re actually starting to feel good about sports again: look, British football hooligans are back! I guess if The Specials are touring again, then it really is like 1982 in London, which apparently means it’s time for pitch invasions, fights in the stands and undoing 25 years of progress toward making soccer in England respectable again.

The trouble came in a Carling Cup match between rivals West Ham and Millwall. West Ham won the game in extra time, 3-1, but the story was the “fans” of the two teams. One man was stabbed and at least 10 people were arrested in what appeared to be planned brawls outside of the stadium before and after the game. Plus, West Ham fans staged a “pitch invasion,” storming the field after West Ham scored the go-ahead goal early in extra time, forcing the match to be delayed for several minutes and riot squads to escort the visiting Millwall players off the field for their own safety.

I’m guessing this isn’t exactly what ESPN was hoping for when they paid for the partial rights to cover EPL games this season. Although I’d like to see the “ESPN Axis” technology be used to highlight some hooligan taking a dart to the eye - let’s see Tommy Smyth put that one in the old onion bag. (Also, it should be noted that the Carling Cup is about as important as winning the Cactus League title - I shudder to think what things will be like by the end of the season.)

Floyd Landis

Speaking of awful people, we have a Floyd Landis sighting. Even though he’s was stripped of his Tour de France title for doping offenses, he’s got at least one cycling team who would consider hiring him. And of course it’s with Lance Armstrong’s new team. Really, were you expecting anything else? Armstrong had been out of the headlines for a whole three or four weeks, and we can’t have that. P.S.: Have fun with that sponsorship, Radio Shack.

Sen. Ted Kennedy will be remembered for…

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Eastern Europe Holds A Proper Soccer Riot (Video)

Remember the big deal that was made when David Beckham made his return to LA Galaxy, and the fans were mean, then he challenged one to a fight, and the fan said sure, then the fan got out of his seat, and the two so totally almost fought if they’d been 40 feet closer to each other? That sure was intense, right?

Red Star Rioter
(The face of a man without regret. Err, the exact opposite.)

Feh. Piddling. Of no great import, we say! If you really want to enjoy some fan-based misbehavior, you’re going to have to travel to Europe. And not just any old Europe; we’re talking about Eastern Europe, which is like what would happen if our Rust Belt were constantly fighting itself. You thought rural Ohio was an indefensible dump now, imagine what would happen if it also hosted some good, old-fashioned bombing and ethnic cleansing!

But they still love their soccer. And their alcohol, they love that too. And they also really love anarchy. What could go wrong? Video after the break.

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Argentina Shuts Down Soccer? Oh, That’s A Riot

In the realm of soccer powers, it seems like traditionally, there are two centers of power: Western Europe and South America. Indeed, every single World Cup winner (and most runners-up and semi-finalists) are from one of the two areas.

Argentina Soccer Riot Guards
(Unfortunately, the graffiti doesn’t say “Big fans of you guys and all you do.” It never does.)

But while European soccer continues to flourish, throwing around unholy sums of money on the club scene (we mean on soccer clubs, not in bars - though we’re sure they enjoy doing that too), South America has essentially reverted to Brazil and her 12 ugly sisters. Nowhere is that more evident than Argentina; the former powerhouse has fallen so far off that losses like 3-0 to Ecuador now seem like the least of their worries.

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Don’t Riot For Me, Argentina: Match Abandoned

Just a quick note to those American sports fans who feel like their gameday experiences are marred because of a lack of civility from their fellow fan: Shut the f*ck up. American sports fans are the most docile on the planet, and whenever that fact seems to fade even one bit from your consciousness, the rest of the planet is all too eager to remind you how they do, usually via riot.

Argentina riot people
(When these guys show up, it’s probably a good sign that the match is over.)

Your latest foray into “Good heavens, a policeman, let’s shower him with debris” behavior comes from Argentina, where Godoy Cruz and San Martin were squaring off in a Clausura match* on Thursday. The score was 1-1 late in the first half, so the fans began to get unruly, since no soccer match has ever featured two goals in one half in the entire history of the sport.** The police were unamused. Via 101 GREAT GOALS, video is after the break. Read more…

Soccer Player Starts Deadly Riot With Witchcraft

Here in the U.S.A., athletes and coaches will do just about anything they can to win.  Whether they do something like take steroids to gain an advantage, or are just superstitious and think eating the same meal everyday for 6 months will help them get ahead, it’s always about doing whatever it takes to win.  As far as I know, though, there isn’t anybody in this country who has resorted to witchcraft yet.

No, apparently they’re only doing that in Africa, in Congo, and yesterday it cost eleven people their lives.

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