The face of basketball fans everywhere….

Is the NCAA worse than Putin?

The one poli-sci class you wished they offered in college.

If you just watched the Northwestern-Gonzaga game, you just witnessed the worst perversion of basketball justice in history. For those who didn’t watch, Gonzaga had blown an 18-point half time lead, and was tightening up badly.

With 4:57 left in the game and Gonzaga up 63–58, Northwestern’s Derek Pardon had an open lane to the rim and went up to dunk when the Gonzaga center put his arm up through the basket and illegally blocked the shot.

This basket would have cut the lead to three points, with Northwestern fired up and Gonzaga ready to choke a second game in their last three weeks.

Instead of calling the obvious goaltending, the referee called a technical foul when the Northwestern coach stepped onto the court screaming and gesturing that the defensive player’s arm was inside the rim.

Gonzaga made the two free throws, giving them a seven-point lead, and the game did a complete 180.

A minute later, the same Gonzaga center tried to tip in a missed layup and touched the ball while it was touching the rim, but the Bulldogs needed no further help from the referees.

Northwestern closed to within six points two more times, but was forced to foul, instead of getting one stop in a one possession game. Gonzaga made enough of their free throws at the end of the game to maintain their lead.

And that leads to the question asked at the top of this post. Let’s compare the NCAA and Putin.

Worker Conditions: College athletes produce billions of dollars for the NCAA, but receive no compensation, even after their so-called amateur status is over. Russian workers may live in poor conditions and work ridiculous hours, but they are paid something. Advantage, Putin.

Control of the Press: NCAA announcers are as bad as I’ve ever heard. On showing the replay of the first goaltending non-call, one announcer described it as a “controversial call.” According to the dictionary, controversial means something that is debatable or giving rise to public disagreement. I’m not sure there is a reality where breaking the rules in a totally obvious manner with millions of eye witnesses and instant replays meets the standard of being controversial. On the other hand, Putin has poisoned a reporter. Now if Putin disappeared all the NCAA shills, I might excuse him. But the NCAA only ripped the hearts out of the Northwestern fans (see above) in a figurative sense. Advantage, NCAA

Ruling with a steady hand: For anyone who has followed the NCAA’s arbirtrary school sanctions, subjecting football fans to fifteen years of the BCS and the continued use of the RPI for tournament seedings, it is clear that business interests take precedence over fairness, logic and honesty. Putin exhibits roughly the same behavior, but he is a dictator, so we know exactly what we’re getting. After watching a month of gyrating and infuriating Joe Lunardi bracket projections, followed by the current seedings, do I need to say anything else on this subject? Advantage, Putin

Association with the President: While Trump’s campaign staff removed Russian sanctions from the GOP Platform during the RNC this summer, the NCAA sent their athletic directors trying to curry favor and gain influence in D.C. by staying in a Trump hotel:

If we go by who is powerful enough to influence American policy, it’s clear that Trump is Putin’s bitch, while the NCAA comes with their hat in hand, hoping to get an audience with the president. Advantage, Putin

Brainwashing and the use of torture: Watching the NCAA tournament is one of the least enjoyable sporting events I’ve ever endured. The number of commercials is not the issue — if they wanted to extend half time to squeeze more in, that’s fine. The real problem is the never ending stream of coaching and TV timeouts. When a team comes out of a time out, has one possession and then cuts back to commercial, the quality of the play is compromised as the players never get into a rhythm. There’s a reason the PR campaign is always centered on the “one shining moment” — there may be only one great play in the entire game.

In Russia, people may be tortured, but these moments are far more private experiences, with the public left unaware. On the other hand Putin’s speeches are not entertaining, so Russian citizens tune them out naturally. The NCAA holding out the promise of a treat is far more diabolical, as evidenced by the Pavlovian responses of every college hoops fan. Advantage, Putin

Sexual energy: Toned bodies sweating with exertion… bumping and grinding… provocative dance moves… This one is obvious, isn’t it?

Nope, not gonna go there. Advantage, NCAA

Final score: Putin 3, NCAA 2



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Lon Shapiro

Lon Shapiro

Creative director, writer & designer at Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach. Teach the world one joke at a time