- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2006

The Miami-Florida International foot-brawl is being portrayed as an everlasting embarrassment to the two schools, college football and the NCAA, which is laughable.

Given the fallout this week, you would think that one of the players was murdered and that a coach called the victim a drug dealer in an attempt to cover up his cash payments to him.

This is to channel the cesspool of the Baylor basketball program that surfaced in 2003, when Patrick Dennehy was murdered by a nut-job roommate who eventually received a 35-year prison sentence.

That possibly was the nadir in big-time college athletics, confirmation of the stink hole that is the big-money racket of the NCAA, although there was no video tape to constantly replay over the airwaves.

The Miami-FIU communication issue is almost nothing compared to a murder and the dirty, rotten, sick-o coach, despite ESPN’s devotion to replaying it.

The video of the Miami-FIU skirmish has been aired so many times this week that it is no small wonder it remains operational after so much overuse.

The convenience of the video inevitably drives the clamor.

The video is good theater, no doubt, entertaining, with so much kung fu action, plus a helmet and a pair of crutches being deployed as weapons.

Just imagine if the principals had been packing gels, liquids and makeup, items all on the TSA’s banned-substance, carry-on list. We might have seen some really inspiring exchanges then.

Predictably enough, there have been calls to fire the Miami coach, the athletic director and the university president.

No similar calls have been made of those employed with FIU, because FIU is FIU, which is to say no one beyond the FIU family gives a darn about its football program.

Miami, though, is one of the NFL’s mightiest minor league teams and thus worthy of the microscopic attention, however comical much of it is.

Both universities have responded accordingly, with suspensions, terminations and a vow to get everyone’s head right through anger-management classes, community service, sensitivity training, incense burning and transcendental meditation.

The Miami coach has felt compelled to say he is in control of his team and that his players are good kids, even great kids who normally subscribe to the principles advanced by Mohandas Gandhi.

And that could be so.

We’ve all had our bad moments in life, and fortunately for most of us, those bad moments are rarely caught on camera.

The absence of a television camera is serving to keep the football players at Holy Cross and Dartmouth out of the public eye this week after they endured a ruckus similar to the Miami-FIU meltdown last Saturday.

One school official termed it a “misunderstanding,” as brawls usually are, and no doubt the players probably threatened to wrinkle each other’s khaki pants and polo shirts.

To be fair to all the parties in New England and Florida, males instinctively know that sometimes the only way to make a persuasive point with another male is with a fist to the jaw.

That, of course, was not the fate before the Miami-FIU players, most more apt to be hurt while playing than in a glorified scrum.

The exception was the Miami player who used his helmet as a battering ram.

He has been roundly criticized for that maneuver. He also should be criticized for leaving his face vulnerable to a knuckle sandwich.

The Miami football program long has had something of an image problem, dating to the days that Don Johnson was patrolling the city’s meanest streets.

Yet some of Miami’s testosterone gone wild is understandable.

Not too many passive, pencil-neck geeks have the ability to play big-time football, most too busy learning how to speak in code so that one day they can legally steal your money.

Come to think of it, the player with the battering-ram helmet has some useful applications in this regard.

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