Tuesday Sundowners Pool League

first_imgBeaver Boozers600622500 Pats Bar B621336365 Honeypot6501452710 Ice Star Bar521229315 A Bar612334384 TeamPWDLFAPts. Pats Bar A611430423 AJ Bar631236367 Results & Standings May 2 (week 6) Beaver Brothers6510452711 Kull Bar6510492311 Lek Bar641139339 Lucky Jo611429433 Outback Bar530231296 Ting Tong Bar600626460 The Cricketers640241318 Results: Beaver Brothers 7 – 5 Honeypot,Ice Star Bar 7 – 5 AJ Bar, Kull Bar 8 – 4 A Bar, Lek Bar 8 – 4 BeaverBoozers, Lucky Jo 6 – 6 Pats Bar A, Outback Bar 7 – 5 Ting Tong Bar,Pats Bar B 5 – 7 The Cricketerslast_img

A Rich return to the winner’s circle

first_imgTravellers Rest Golf GroupChristmas week started off with a very rare sight in Pattaya – even rarer than seeing snow in Thailand.  On Monday 24th December, which just happened to be Christmas Eve, there was a blue moon in Pattaya – well at Bangpakong actually – as yours truly came top of the pile, the cream of the crop and won a second golf competition of the year, a very rare sight indeed. There was a very large turnout for the early return trip to Bangpakong and the large field required two divisions.  Div. 1 was up to 14 handicap and Div. 2 was 15 handicap and above.Andy Rich – winner at Bangpakong.Tristan Gilbert (11) stormed off with first place with the favourite winning score of the day, 42 pts.  Captain Fergus Brennan (10) just made it into second place winning on count back from Jeff Bunn (6) both finishing on 38 pts.Yours truly, Andy Rich, also just took the number one slot in Division 2 by pipping Derek Thorogood on count back, both scoring 42pts.  Donald Pearson (35) made it into third place, again winning on count back with 33 pts.Christmas Day, 25th December, saw the TRGG faithful head off looking for the first tree in the Greenwood and it definitely wasn’t the Holly.  Yes Greenwood was the destination (C and A courses) and that consistent winner Jeff Bunn (6), not happy with third place the day before, returned to the Christmas number one slot with 39pts.  Tristan Gilbert (10) slipped to number two with 38pts and steady Teddy Senior (15) jumped into third with 34.Thursday 27th December, with the Christmas turkey just a distant memory the lads and lassies of the TRGG paid the weekly excursion to Phoenix (Ocean and Mountain courses).  Tasutu Nakajima (15) from the land of the rising sun and on his first outing with the TRGG, proved too good for all the rest by just winning on count back from Paul Sharples (10) from the land of the setting sun, the UK, on 37pts.  Hugh Byrne (12) from the land of very little sun, Ireland, finished a very close third on 36pts.Friday 28th December was Emerald’s turn to play host and it was a game of musical chairs for all the winners this week.  Tristan Gilbert (10) leapt back into first place with 37pts while Derek Thorogood (15) could only take second place for the second time this week, with 36, and Christmas number one Jeff Bunn (5) went a little off the boil by only taking third place on 34pts.Good luck to all you golfers for the coming week and I am praying for the next blue moon.last_img read more

Pratt pounces at Pattavia

first_imgPattavia was the venue for Thursday’s game, from the white tees at around 6,600 yards.  The humidity was up but with a bit of cloud cover and a light breeze conditions were fine for golf in the tropics.Martin Hayes.The course was in decent condition, although it is quite dry in areas, with the greens having a bit more grass on them, making them significantly slower than when at their best.Jonathan Pratt (12), who has been battling the dreaded 2-way miss from the tee of late, hit some form with 38 points today to edge Martin Hayes (15) into second on 37.Near pins went to Neil (2), and Jeff.Note:  Siam Country Resort Restaurant & Bar is located just off Siam Country Club Rd, after going under the arch past the 7/11, turn right after 50 metres, with the venue on the left another 200 metres along.  Golf from here is generally played on Tuesday & Thursday, with the Resort hosting prompt presentations on both days.  As a PSC affiliated venue we welcome ALL golfers, including ladies & seniors (>60s) who have opted for the “Silver” tee option.  Call 089 094 1841 for scheduling or enquiries.  Hope to see you there, cheers & good golfing! PSC golf from Siam Country ResortTuesday, March 25, Mt. Shadow – StablefordTuesday was a trip to Mountain Shadow where we played from the blue tees at around 6,200 yards.  With clear skies and a light breeze, the course was playing well with the fairways having some run, while the greens were true although not quite as treacherous as they can be at times.Willem Lasonder (H/cap 19) made it 2 wins in as many weeks, pipping Jeff Wylie (8) on count back 20/19 after both signed for a steady 36 points each.Near pins went to Neil, Martin & Jeff with 2.Thursday, March 27, Pattavia – Stablefordlast_img read more

Paxton prevails at Phoenix

first_imgToday we welcomed back Rob from Wales and Henry who has been spending a lot of time in Buriram.  Both guys were a little rusty but otherwise played well.Really not sure who was the winner today; the scores were fairly poor all round but we will give the best result to Leigh Paxton (hcp 30).  Leigh played well and got very close to his handicap.Just a short side note, as we were buying drinks today at the first hole we were told that Phoenix has a new policy that you need to buy vouchers to purchase drinks and food around the course.  You can only buy these vouchers in 100 baht lots, being to the value of 10 baht each.  You can also buy extra vouchers around the course if required.  We were told it was for cash control around the course!  I don’t really see the benefit as each shop around the course was still holding cash to sell the vouchers.The catch to the new system comes when you finish your round with a pocket full of vouchers left over.  They do not cash the vouchers back in, that’s just bad luck for you.  Trying to be good hearted, I gave my extra vouchers to my caddie on top of her tip, she looked at me and said, “what am I going to do with these?  I can’t cash them in either.”Sorry Phoenix, no one in my group liked your new system.Happy golfing! PSC golf from I-RoversTuesday, Sept. 10, Phoenix Lake & Mountain – StrokeplayYou’ve got to love Phoenix – a top quality golf course just 20 minutes drive from central Pattaya.  The course here is great with perfect fairways and fast, true greens.  We turned up today a little bit early and were able to tee off ahead of schedule. I don’t know what has happened to the standard of our golf lately, most of us had been playing to or better than handicap for a while, but lately it’s just been rubbish, and I think I’m the worst offender.Leigh Paxton.last_img read more

Pattaya Cricket Club sink Singapore Spirits

first_imgThe pressure eventually told as Usman had Inzy caught behind for 8.  Hansie maintained PCC’s grip on the game with a mid innings spell of 6 overs, 4 for 32 and Andy Emery ably supported the bowling attack with some often hostile but sometimes wayward swing bowling.It was left to the captain Simon Philbrook and the returning opening bowlers to finish the innings, after a somewhat indifferent one over spell from Elfrado Roberts, restricting the Spirits to a competitive but gettable 164 for 7.  Akash top scored with an adventurous 33 not out.In reply PCC needed a solid start and they were not let down by their openers.  Salman hit a fine 30, but it was Earl Brown who set about providing the stability to the innings and he scored a chanceless 11 runs, 6 off one ball, from the first 10 overs, before retiring himself after realizing it was only a 30 over game.  Usman then provided the much needed impetus with a thrilling 46 from only 17 balls.A mini mid-innings collapse left PCC needing 20 runs from the last two overs with 3 wickets left when Simon Philbrook was joined by Mickey Price, a thoroughbred of considerable age and his experience showed as he masterfully top edged his second ball over the wicketkeepers head for a vital boundary.  Simon managed to find the boundary with pull shots over mid wicket and it meant that only six runs were needed off the final over.  But Mickey was on strike!Two swings and misses added to the tension.  The thoroughbred then put his body on the line as a rising delivery somehow hit part of the bat and chest and a scampered single resulted.  Simon then took no chance by dispatching the next delivery over the mid wicket boundary to secure a victory with only 2 balls remaining.  A thrilling finish to a wonderful day of cricket.  The man of the match award went to Usman for his all round performance with the bat and ball.The following day was a T20 game starting at noon and it was rather obvious most players had enjoyed an evening of entertainment that only Pattaya can provide.  Singapore Spirits batted first and the previous night’s activities certainly suited Abi as he laid into the PCC bowling with 30 off 17 balls.  Inzy continued the onslaught with a dazzling 31 from 16 balls and the evergreen Noel chipped in with a timely 29 not out as the Spirits notched up a very respectable 157 from their 20 overs.ndy Emery was the star bowler recording figures of 3 for 13 from his 4 overs.In reply PCC totally dominated the bowling from the start with John G and Andy Emery scoring 20 and 31 respectively at a run a ball.  Sunny, captain for the day in the absence of the resting Simon, continued the chase with 33 not out and was ably supported with cameos from Usman and Pavit.  PCC reached their target with 2 overs to spare and then set about the bar with equal enthusiasm.  Andy Emery picked up the man of the match award.Note:  Anyone wishing to know more about PCC and its future fixtures please see the website www.pattaya cricketclub.com.  All are welcome. Another full weekend of cricket at Horseshoe Point, the home of Pattaya Cricket Club, saw PCC play the touring Singapore Spirits. Saturday, May 14, was a 30 over game, the first fixture between the two clubs and the Spirits won the toss and elected to bat on a sultry, humid day.  But it was the PCC bowlers who had the upper hand in the early exchanges as Salman and Usman bowled a superb line and length to restrict the aggressive intent of the Spirits openers.Pattaya Cricket Club players line up before the match against Singapore Spirits at Horseshoe Point, Saturday, May 14.last_img read more

Little League World Series sensation Mo’Ne Davis at Manchester Field

first_imgYOUNG AND OLD HIGHLIGHTED (Photos by Rossano P. Stewart)The Josh Gibson Foundation presented the Josh Gibson All Stars playing the Anderson Monarchs on July 2, at Manchester Field. Featured were Ted Toles Jr., of The Negro Leagues and Little League World Series sensation, Mo’Ne Davis. Above Davis taps a single down the first base line.DEFENSE—Mo’Ne Davis showing that she’s not just offense with a great hand-eye put-out at third base.FOND MEMORIES—Ted Toles Jr. sharing past glories with fans. Toles a Negro League great threw out the first pitch.DIRECTOR WITH SPONSORS—From left: Bruce C. Willams, 21st Ward Chairman; Sean Gibson, director Josh Gibson Foundation; and Jamie Younger, Young Bros. Bar.last_img

Thunder’s Steven Adams apologizes for ‘monkeys’ comment

first_imgOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oklahoma City center Steven Adams apologized for using a derogatory term to describe Golden State’s guards after Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.Adams described them as “quick little monkeys” in a televised on-court interview after Oklahoma City’s 108-102 win in the series opener on Monday night. He later apologized and told USA Today Sports that differences in the use of language in his home country led to his poor choice of words.Adams is from New Zealand. He came to the U.S. in 2012 to attend college at Pittsburgh.In his apology, Adams said he “was just trying to express how difficult it was chasing those guys around.” In New Zealand, the term “little monkey” is often used to describe the antics of children. It’s less frequently used when talking about adults, but generally wouldn’t be considered offensive. However, it’s widely considered to be a taboo, racially insensitive term in the U.S.This is not the first time “monkey” has been used to describe an athlete’s ability or crowd behavior at a sporting event.Other examples, both in the U.S. and internationally, include:— Sportscaster Howard Cosell referred to Washington Redskins receiver Alvin Garrett “that little monkey” during a Monday Night Football game. Cosell set off a tempest with his comment during the Sept. 5, 1983 telecast of the Dallas Cowboys-Redskins game. After Garrett made a darting run after a catch, Cosell exclaimed, “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he.” Garrett said at the time of Cosell’s death in 1995 that the sportscaster met with him to try to defuse the situation. Garrett said then the comment did not bother him.— In 1996, CBS commentator Billy Packer referred to Georgetown guard Allen Iverson as a “tough monkey” during a game between the Hoyas and Villanova. Phone calls quickly flooded the switchboards at both television stations and the university, and Packer issued an on-air apology — insisting that he did not mean it to be disparaging in any way. Georgetown coach John Thompson quickly jumped to Packer’s defense. “He is not a racist,” Thompson said.— In 2008, India cricketer Harbhajan Singh called Australian player Andrew Symonds, who is black, a monkey during a game in Sydney. In this context, Symonds and the Australians complained, and Singh was initially barred from some international matches. However, India successfully argued that calling somebody “monkey” is not considered racist in India, and had the ban overturned. It did cause a big stir because India, the world cricket power, was reportedly threatening to boycott the tour if the ban stood for Singh.— South African swimmer Roland Schoeman took heat in 2010 at the Commonweath Games when he said the crowd in India was acting “like monkeys.” Schoeman later apologized for his comments, saying “If I knew it was a racial slur, I wouldn’t have used the word.”— Boxing champion Sergey Kovalev jabbed at rival Adonis Stevenson on Twitter in 2015, pointing to a child wearing a T-shirt depicting a boxer with a monkey’s face. The caption read, “Adonis looks great.” Kovalev is White and Stevenson Black. Kovalev was criticized on social media and apologized for the Tweet, saying he did not know it was bad.— Back in February, the Sacramento Kings pulled a free t-shirt designed to celebrate the Lunar New Year and Chinese Year of the Monkey in part because of complaints from DeMarcus Cousins and others in the organization that it came at the start of Black History Month. The shirts, which had a purple monkey on them, were draped over seats at the arena but taken away before fans showed up.Adams comes from a very multicultural background. His father is from England, his mother from Tonga and he grew up in New Zealand.,OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oklahoma City center Steven Adams apologized for using a derogatory term to describe Golden State’s guards after Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.Adams described them as “quick little monkeys” in a televised on-court interview after Oklahoma City’s 108-102 win in the series opener on Monday night. He later apologized and told USA Today Sports that differences in the use of language in his home country led to his poor choice of words.Adams is from New Zealand. He came to the U.S. in 2012 to attend college at Pittsburgh.In his apology, Adams said he “was just trying to express how difficult it was chasing those guys around.” Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams (12) fights for a loose ball against Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes (40) during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals Monday, May 16, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. Oklahoma City won 108-102. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) “It’s just different, mate,” Adams told USA Today Sports. “Different words, different expressions, and stuff like that. But they obviously can be taken differently, depending on which country you’re in. I’m assimilating, mate, still trying to figure out the boundaries. But I definitely overstepped them tonight.”center_img “It’s just different, mate,” Adams told USA Today Sports. “Different words, different expressions, and stuff like that. But they obviously can be taken differently, depending on which country you’re in. I’m assimilating, mate, still trying to figure out the boundaries. But I definitely overstepped them tonight.” In New Zealand, the term “little monkey” is often used to describe the antics of children. It’s less frequently used when talking about adults, but generally wouldn’t be considered offensive. However, it’s widely considered to be a taboo, racially insensitive term in the U.S.This is not the first time “monkey” has been used to describe an athlete’s ability or crowd behavior at a sporting event.Other examples, both in the U.S. and internationally, include:— Sportscaster Howard Cosell referred to Washington Redskins receiver Alvin Garrett “that little monkey” during a Monday Night Football game. Cosell set off a tempest with his comment during the Sept. 5, 1983 telecast of the Dallas Cowboys-Redskins game. After Garrett made a darting run after a catch, Cosell exclaimed, “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he.” Garrett said at the time of Cosell’s death in 1995 that the sportscaster met with him to try to defuse the situation. Garrett said then the comment did not bother him.— In 1996, CBS commentator Billy Packer referred to Georgetown guard Allen Iverson as a “tough monkey” during a game between the Hoyas and Villanova. Phone calls quickly flooded the switchboards at both television stations and the university, and Packer issued an on-air apology — insisting that he did not mean it to be disparaging in any way. Georgetown coach John Thompson quickly jumped to Packer’s defense. “He is not a racist,” Thompson said.— In 2008, India cricketer Harbhajan Singh called Australian player Andrew Symonds, who is black, a monkey during a game in Sydney. In this context, Symonds and the Australians complained, and Singh was initially barred from some international matches. However, India successfully argued that calling somebody “monkey” is not considered racist in India, and had the ban overturned. It did cause a big stir because India, the world cricket power, was reportedly threatening to boycott the tour if the ban stood for Singh.— South African swimmer Roland Schoeman took heat in 2010 at the Commonweath Games when he said the crowd in India was acting “like monkeys.” Schoeman later apologized for his comments, saying “If I knew it was a racial slur, I wouldn’t have used the word.”— Boxing champion Sergey Kovalev jabbed at rival Adonis Stevenson on Twitter in 2015, pointing to a child wearing a T-shirt depicting a boxer with a monkey’s face. The caption read, “Adonis looks great.” Kovalev is White and Stevenson Black. Kovalev was criticized on social media and apologized for the Tweet, saying he did not know it was bad.— Back in February, the Sacramento Kings pulled a free t-shirt designed to celebrate the Lunar New Year and Chinese Year of the Monkey in part because of complaints from DeMarcus Cousins and others in the organization that it came at the start of Black History Month. The shirts, which had a purple monkey on them, were draped over seats at the arena but taken away before fans showed up.Adams comes from a very multicultural background. His father is from England, his mother from Tonga and he grew up in New Zealand.last_img read more

Curtain Call…Swin Cash will retire from New York Liberty at end of season

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — Swin Cash, one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in history, has announced she will retire at the end of the season.The New York Liberty forward and McKeesport native wrote a piece for the Players’ Tribune that was released Tuesday morning.The 15-year WNBA veteran was the second pick in the 2002 draft and has won three championships in the league with Detroit (2003 and 2006) and Seattle (2010). She’s currently 14th in career scoring with just under 5,000 points. She also is 10th in rebounds.Cash re-signed with the Liberty on May 24 after being cut by the team right before the season began for salary cap reasons. She’s averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in four games. CURTAIN CALLhttp://www.theplayerstribune.com/swin-cash-retirement-announcement/In conjunction with the retirement announcement, The Players’ Tribune also published a tribute article, featuring contributions from – Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tanisha Wright, and Bill Laimbeer.THE GOLD STANDARD (Sue Bird, Bill Laimbeer, Tanisha Wright and Tamika Catchings)http://www.theplayerstribune.com/swin-cash-tribute/ The Madison Square Garden Company contributed to this report.,NEW YORK (AP) — Swin Cash, one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in history, has announced she will retire at the end of the season.The New York Liberty forward and McKeesport native wrote a piece for the Players’ Tribune that was released Tuesday morning.The 15-year WNBA veteran was the second pick in the 2002 draft and has won three championships in the league with Detroit (2003 and 2006) and Seattle (2010). She’s currently 14th in career scoring with just under 5,000 points. She also is 10th in rebounds.Cash re-signed with the Liberty on May 24 after being cut by the team right before the season began for salary cap reasons. She’s averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in four games. Swin Cash She’s played for five WNBA teams and won two Olympic gold medals in her career along with two NCAA championships at UConn.center_img CURTAIN CALLhttp://www.theplayerstribune.com/swin-cash-retirement-announcement/In conjunction with the retirement announcement, The Players’ Tribune also published a tribute article, featuring contributions from – Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tanisha Wright, and Bill Laimbeer.THE GOLD STANDARD (Sue Bird, Bill Laimbeer, Tanisha Wright and Tamika Catchings)http://www.theplayerstribune.com/swin-cash-tribute/ The Madison Square Garden Company contributed to this report. She’s played for five WNBA teams and won two Olympic gold medals in her career along with two NCAA championships at UConn.last_img read more

Jaguars run rings around New Castle

first_imgLike us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier Quinton Hill (Twitter Photo)Thomas Jefferson, 12-0, shutout New Castle 42-0 Friday at Heinz Field.Jaguars standout Quinton Hill ran for 248 yards in Friday’s title game on 39 carries.  Hill now has 4,313 career yards.  He passed Jeannette’s Terrelle Pryor and only needs 44 yards to catch North Hills’ LaVar Arrington.His 248 yardage total tied for the third-most in any championship game at Heinz Field or Three Rivers Stadium.Thomas Jefferson’s offense didn’t register many style points Saturday night against New Castle, but the defense more than made up for it in helping the number-one-ranked Jaguars to their 12-0 record.“We take a lot of pride in our defense, we haven’t given up many points and all week long we talked about using our size advantage to wear them down,” said Bill Cherpak.  “In the second half those 4-5-6-yard runs become 10-12-and 30-yard runs, and that’s what we did and we got some big plays.”The Jaguars, who invoked the mercy rule for the 12th straight game, held New Castle to 108 total yards.Thomas Jefferson will play Erie Cathedral Prep in the PIAA playoffs Friday.last_img read more

Column: Not all is well among the big schools in tournament

first_imgLouisville head coach Rick Pitino, left, watches the action during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Thursday, March 9, 2017, in New York. Duke won 81-77. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)The University of Louisville sat out last year’s NCAA Tournament as part of a sacrifice offered to the NCAA for hiring female escorts to party with basketball recruits.The Cardinals are back this year, with a nice No. 2 seeding to boot. Rick Pitino will be on the sidelines, despite the NCAA’s contention that he failed to properly monitor a staffer who paid for strippers and escorts over a four-year period.To the uninitiated, that means Louisville should try to make a Final Four run while it still can. The NCAA seems poised to hand down more penalties, which could include a suspension for Pitino himself.Or not.Look at North Carolina, where an academic fraud scandal continues to percolate. The story line around the tournament last year was that the Tar Heels needed to win immediately because sanctions were on their way.But after losing in the title game, North Carolina is back, still waiting for punishment. Bookies in Las Vegas like the Tar Heels’ chances, too, making them one of the top picks for the title.Yes, another year has passed without the NCAA issuing penalties for North Carolina athletes taking phony courses to keep them academically ineligible. But at least one of the academic advisers at the heart of the scandal gets an “A” herself for saying she did not give away grades but provided “customized educational opportunities for students to solve problems created by the institutional bureaucracy.”Chew on that while watching the finest “student-athletes” play for their schools over the next few weeks. But also don’t forget that almost everyone you’ll see is getting paid — some obscenely well — except the 10 players who are actually on the court at any given time.Cheating does pay, at least for some schools in the NCAA Tournament. For every feel good story of a team like North Dakota making the tournament for the first time, there’s another about other schools bending and, at times, breaking NCAA rules at will.Even Kansas is having some issues, like when coach Bill Self was asked Monday whether star freshman Josh Jackson would miss any tournament games because of an incident with McKenzie Calvert, a member of the university’s women’s basketball team. Calvert said Jackson damaged her car in December by kicking it, and that she was retaliated against when she reported it.“Hell no,” Self said. “That answers your question.”The problems in college basketball are, of course, nothing new. A quarter century ago NCAA investigators worked overtime to make sure Jerry Tarkanian and his UNLV Runnin’ Rebels would be knocked off their throne rather than give the tournament a bad name.They’re also not limited to basketball. Baylor is poised to make a run as a No. 3 seed at the same time its football program has imploded because of a rape scandal that one lawsuit claims could have involved 31 different players over four years.Should Baylor should make it to the Final Four, the Bears may also face uncomfortable questions about a Showtime network documentary scheduled to air the night before the semifinal games that focuses on the 2003 shooting death of basketball player Patrick Dennehy and subsequent efforts by then-coach Dave Bliss to get players to lie and say Dennehy was dealing drugs.Yes, there are always the annual feel-good stories about schools like South Dakota State that allow us to forget the tournament basically functions as a giant piggy bank to enrich the bigger schools while players get little more than pizza money. The Jackrabbits will exit early as 22-point underdogs to Gonzaga, but they serve the purpose of being eye candy for the NCAA while they last.This year also features North Dakota in its debut in the tournament with a new nickname (Fighting Hawks) to replace the politically incorrect Fighting Sioux.If you really want to feel good about college athletics, there are 12 tournament teams who graduated all of their players. Well, not really, because the Graduation Success Rate used by the NCAA doesn’t count one-and-done players or anyone who leaves a school early while still academically eligible.That means Kentucky’s program is listed as having a perfect graduation record, laughable because so many players leave before their first year is even over.Then again, with the kind of courses that were offered at North Carolina, graduating might not be so tough after all.____Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.orgor http://twitter.com/timdahlberg,Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, left, watches the action during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Thursday, March 9, 2017, in New York. Duke won 81-77. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)The University of Louisville sat out last year’s NCAA Tournament as part of a sacrifice offered to the NCAA for hiring female escorts to party with basketball recruits.The Cardinals are back this year, with a nice No. 2 seeding to boot. Rick Pitino will be on the sidelines, despite the NCAA’s contention that he failed to properly monitor a staffer who paid for strippers and escorts over a four-year period.To the uninitiated, that means Louisville should try to make a Final Four run while it still can. The NCAA seems poised to hand down more penalties, which could include a suspension for Pitino himself.Or not.Look at North Carolina, where an academic fraud scandal continues to percolate. The story line around the tournament last year was that the Tar Heels needed to win immediately because sanctions were on their way.But after losing in the title game, North Carolina is back, still waiting for punishment. Bookies in Las Vegas like the Tar Heels’ chances, too, making them one of the top picks for the title.Yes, another year has passed without the NCAA issuing penalties for North Carolina athletes taking phony courses to keep them academically ineligible. But at least one of the academic advisers at the heart of the scandal gets an “A” herself for saying she did not give away grades but provided “customized educational opportunities for students to solve problems created by the institutional bureaucracy.”Chew on that while watching the finest “student-athletes” play for their schools over the next few weeks. But also don’t forget that almost everyone you’ll see is getting paid — some obscenely well — except the 10 players who are actually on the court at any given time.Cheating does pay, at least for some schools in the NCAA Tournament. For every feel good story of a team like North Dakota making the tournament for the first time, there’s another about other schools bending and, at times, breaking NCAA rules at will.Even Kansas is having some issues, like when coach Bill Self was asked Monday whether star freshman Josh Jackson would miss any tournament games because of an incident with McKenzie Calvert, a member of the university’s women’s basketball team. Calvert said Jackson damaged her car in December by kicking it, and that she was retaliated against when she reported it.“Hell no,” Self said. “That answers your question.”The problems in college basketball are, of course, nothing new. A quarter century ago NCAA investigators worked overtime to make sure Jerry Tarkanian and his UNLV Runnin’ Rebels would be knocked off their throne rather than give the tournament a bad name.They’re also not limited to basketball. Baylor is poised to make a run as a No. 3 seed at the same time its football program has imploded because of a rape scandal that one lawsuit claims could have involved 31 different players over four years.Should Baylor should make it to the Final Four, the Bears may also face uncomfortable questions about a Showtime network documentary scheduled to air the night before the semifinal games that focuses on the 2003 shooting death of basketball player Patrick Dennehy and subsequent efforts by then-coach Dave Bliss to get players to lie and say Dennehy was dealing drugs.Yes, there are always the annual feel-good stories about schools like South Dakota State that allow us to forget the tournament basically functions as a giant piggy bank to enrich the bigger schools while players get little more than pizza money. The Jackrabbits will exit early as 22-point underdogs to Gonzaga, but they serve the purpose of being eye candy for the NCAA while they last.This year also features North Dakota in its debut in the tournament with a new nickname (Fighting Hawks) to replace the politically incorrect Fighting Sioux.If you really want to feel good about college athletics, there are 12 tournament teams who graduated all of their players. Well, not really, because the Graduation Success Rate used by the NCAA doesn’t count one-and-done players or anyone who leaves a school early while still academically eligible.That means Kentucky’s program is listed as having a perfect graduation record, laughable because so many players leave before their first year is even over.Then again, with the kind of courses that were offered at North Carolina, graduating might not be so tough after all.____Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.orgor http://twitter.com/timdahlberglast_img read more