September 2, 2011 — Jerry Springer vaulted himself to the top of daytime TV ratings by allowing degenerate, immoral families with horrific problems to air their grievances in front of a rowdy crowd.

But no one has asked for Springer’s opinion in recent family psychology research projects.

Maury Pauvich provides a comedic stage for promiscuous women to determine the father of their baby via DNA testing.

But no one is asking Pauvich to help with the latest genetic research project.

Vince McMahon built an empire by catering to the illiterate who desire a soap opera with a violent twist.

But no one is asking McMahon to contribute to the latest literary analysis of Shakespeare and Chaucer.

Why, then, would Sports Illustrated ask the ringmaster of a sports talk radio circus for his commentary on college football?

Birmingham-based sports talk show host Paul Finebaum delivered his first national column on Thursday as a member of the SI.com team.  His inaugural topic? Potshots at NCAA Commissioner Mark Emmert. The basis of his initial column? Defending national laughingstock Danny Sheridan in a transparent homage to the circus that is his radio show.

Why would Finebaum be given a national podium to offer his opinion on rectifying what he feels daunts the NCAA?

Finebaum’s radio show is eerily similar to the Jerry Springer Show in terms of allowing dysfunctional people to use an open forum to lambast each others’ typically worthless comments concerning football.

The Finebaum show isn’t always a mud-flinging circus. Occasionally his show diverges into an off topic such as golf or professional sports.  A few years ago, Finebaum’s show delved into the topic racism  which earned him a deserved honor from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. It is a rarity for Finebaum to receive national recognition for his show’s ability to formulate intelligent thoughts.

Finebaum is also similar to Maury in the sense that he sets up the big moment for damning information to be revealed.  He was willing to include the paternity test when don’t-call-him-an-oddmaker-you-cockroach Danny Sheridan insisted on taking a polygraph test to prove he knew the name of the Cam Newton bagman.

Violence and soap operas are also endemic to the Finebaum show. Cartoonish characters who treat each other with the same amount of respect Mick Foley had for Steve Austin abound.  Tammy, I-Man, Jim from Crestwood, Jim from Tuscaloosa, Pop, and Shane are just a few of the members participating in the college football talkshow version of WWE Smackdown.  The NWO even made an appearance a few years ago but disguised themselves as the Sons of Saban when they barricaded Finebaum’s booth in Auburn, Alabama to protect him from Tiger militants wanting to…well no one seems to know what they thought Auburn fans wanted to do.  Nothing actually happened.

Finebaum cultivated terrorism – to put it bluntly – when Harvey Updyke referenced his show as a reason he poisoned the beloved Toomer’s Oaks in Auburn, AL.

Does this sound like the guy who knows how to change the NCAA for the better?

In his first article for SI, Finebaum wrote:

“It’s a sad state of affairs in college athletics. The organization that will easily — and without a conscience — destroy a coach for not following the letter of the antediluvian rule book or take away a young man’s eligibility because of an honest mistake has literally made it up as it goes along.

Meanwhile, the man behind the curtain, Mark Emmert, smiles for the cameras in his shiny suit as his organization and its credibility and integrity seemingly go up in smoke.”

This was after a diatribe on how the NCAA was wrong in its handling of Danny Sheridan, and his wrong-headed insinuation that Sheridan is the victor in this debate.  Finebaum writes,

“Sheridan fired back, eviscerating the NCAA’s statement, calling it “total propaganda and absolute misrepresentation of the facts …”

It has since been revealed that Sheridan was allowed and encouraged by Paul Finebaum to use his talk show as a means to perpetuate the consistently belied rumor that Cecil Newton was  paid an exorbitant amount of money by a third party bagman.

Sheridan admitted to Greg Doyel of CBSSports in a radio interview that the entire episode was initiated and orchestrated by Finebaum despite both previously making claims to the contratry.

Finebaum set up this entire fiasco and used it as a means to promote his own show and boost ratings in the midst of a lawsuit against his current employer. Now he’s using that same sham agenda in platform provided by SI.com to attack Mark Emmert and the NCAA.

Why Finebaum?  It’s like getting Lindsay Lohan to write a column on sobriety.

Was Bobby Collins unavailable?  Do they not allow Nevin Shapiro to write from prison?

Can anyone explain Sports Illustrated’s decision to turn to Finebaum for analysis?

You’d expect a columnist making his first national foray to step away from the absurdity that is Finebaum’s daily hamster wheel and try to hit a home run.  Or at least a double. Not Finebaum.  He bunted into a double play with this weak and widely panned effort.

If this is Finebaum’s best attempt at getting off on the right foot and setting the tone, SI must be awash in buyer’s remorse today.

Finebaum was hardly the only self-appointed expert attempting to give unsolicited advice on fixing the problems some believe ail college football.

Recently on ESPN, Rece Davis attempted to provide an open forum for college football coaches and analysts to discuss a “blueprint for change” in NCAA policy.  While laudable in its intent, it failed to gain the support of its viewers as many are skeptical of the members of Davis’s committee.

Urban Meyer’s reign as head coach in Florida resulted in more player arrests than any program in recent memory.

Tennessee’s interim Athletic Director Joan Cronan currently presides over egregious violations in both football and basketball.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s repeated and purposeful attempts to skirt the intent of NCAA regulations resulted in new rules directed specifically at his tactics. And still his program recently reported more than 40 violations, none of which involved mall menswear.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops recently dealt with issues of inappropriate benefits from a car dealership which cost players, including quarterback Rhett Bomar, eligibility.

Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese guides a conference where national basketball champion the Connecticut Huskies are on probation for major violations.

And this is your blue ribbon panel? Yes, Mr. Fox, what are your views on guarding the henhouse?

It’s a much needed discussion, but college representatives with their own obvious issues and ESPN reporters with their own unavoidable personal biases are not the means to an answer.

 

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