It was one and done for the St. John’s at the “Big Dance” as the Red Storm dropped their first-round game to the Wisconsin Badgers in Washington, D.C. last Friday. Nonetheless this year was far more successful than the previous one for head coach Mike Jarvis.
Last year he had to endure watching his team lose more than they won. To compound matters, he suffered the indignity of watching his team’s season end by losing the first game of the Big East Tournament while the Storm’s overrated point guard, Omar Cook, was making plans to split for the NBA after his freshman year.
Jarvis was absolutely euphoric about the Red Storm just being invited to the NCAA show this year. The fact that the Red Storm’s lone game would take place in Washington was fortuitous in that he spent a good part of his life working in the nation’s capital. As fate would have it, his daughter, who lives in a D.C. suburb, gave birth to his first grandchild just two days before the Storm was scheduled to take on Wisconsin.
When I asked Jarvis if he was concerned that people would be coming out of the woodwork to bother him since he was returning to his old home for St. John’s big game, he chuckled, “Nah, I’ve got Terminex.” Unlike a lot of head coaches I have come to know, Jarvis has a proper sense of perspective.
The Ruben Rivera saga is a sad one but I have to give him this much. When he was confronted about his theft of Derek Jeter’s glove he did not rely on that old standby that it was merely a prank. At last week’s World Congress of Sports which was held at the Waldorf-Astoria, Major League Baseball’s vice president of security, Kevin Hallinan, declared that such incidents were very rare. He also added that he would not tolerate any incidents where a team’s media relations director might try to limit clubhouse access to the media under the guise of security.
The World Congress of Sports, which was organized by Street & Smith’s Sports Business, attracted a who’s who in the world of sports commerce. Major League Baseball’s chief labor negotiator, Rob Manfred, was rather grim and dour compared to his jovial labor counterpart, Players Association chief counsel Gene Orza.
I asked Manfred about baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s claim that 25 teams lost money in 2001. “Were those losses derived by using income statements relying on GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) or were they based on partial or complete statements of cash flow?” As any Arthur Andersen partner can tell you, there is plenty of room for creativity on any of these statements. “A little of all of those,” said a hesitant Manfred rather unconvincingly.
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, whose sport is a distant fifth in the consciousness of most sports fans, concedes that his league gets little coverage on all-sports radio stations and the nation’s daily newspapers but says that his young fan base knows all about soccer. “They play the game more than ever in school and we are followed by our fans on the Internet and on Nickelodeon.” The $64,000 question for Garber is whether those young fans will support the sport when they grow up and join the corporate world.
Another attendee was former Red Storm star Mel Davis who played for both the Knicks and the Nets in the 1970s. Davis is now the president of the NBA Retired Players Association. He is quite worried about current players who earn millions but have no clue about how to manage their money.