Wednesday April 23, 2008
UConn Day in the Capitol, in years that basketball teams won the national championship, meant crowds of people filling halls and chambers, applauding their heroes.
This year, the galleries in the House and Senate were mostly empty, the corridors merely filled with deadly lobbyists.
The Blogster found it strange that the UConn men’s soccer team, say, wasn’t invited to take the place of the under-achieving basketball team. The soccer team got to a game away from the final four and had the player of the year in the NCAA, O’Brien White.
But your average lawmaker is a meat-and-potatoes basketball and football fan and lives to be on the receiving end of a smile from Jim Calhoun.
Blog-o-rama was probably the only reporter to embrace the coincidence that UConn Day in the Capitol came within minutes after Democratic leaders of the House got together with Jeff Hathaway, the athletic director, to announce the evaporation of opposition to any deal UConn can cut with the Notre Dame football program to guarantee seven years of football clashes either in South Bend, or Giants Stadium or up in dreaded Foxboro, the land of Richard Kraft, who once used Connecticut like a pry bar to leverage a better deal in Massachusetts.
That debacle was a funny unwinding and playing of John Rowland, back around the time he was doing crooked things in his private life, but we hadn’t yet realized it.
Today’s deal was to allow the Notre Dame/UConn clashes to appear in stadiums twice as large as Rentschler Field in East Hartford, the cozy 40,000-seat stadium that separate UConn for the true football factories.
Anyway, Blog-o-rama finds it obscene that Connecticut athletes, by and large, can no longer play athletics for their state university and we, the taxpayers are coughing up scholarship money for out-of-state semi-pros.
Alumni and season ticket holders, in turn, pay through the nose for seats to Husky football and basketball events staffed by merceneries from elsewhere and their over-priced, controlling coaches.
Geno Auriemma, the woman’s basketball mentor and the classiest coach in Connecticut, actually gets his players to graduate, which is the best thing you can say about the college-athletic experience.
Happy Freakin’ UConn Day!