So much of the news and what we hear and see in the print and electronic media is “noise”. The experts in the ruling and financial elite classes want us to believe in existential threats like Y2K, Global warming, Covid-19 mitigation strategies promulgated from the CDC and NIH, Russian interference in elections, The Humanitarian Crises War, Trump racketeering in Georgia, or The Trump Organization Anti-Trust scam in New York State. All big fat nothing burgers.
Here is what is real. The Ohio State University will play Michigan in a football game on November 25th at The Big House in Ann Arbor—yes Ann Arbor was named for a prostitute by the same name. Once again, the media elites are trying to create a false narrative surrounding a so-called cheating incident where the Michigan Head Coach—Sir James Harbaugh allegedly organized a ring of sycophants to steal signals from other teams via a sophisticated electronic surveillance system and organization—sounds like the work of Perkins-Coie, The CIA and Hillary Clinton if you ask me. The leader of the group was a Naval Academy Graduate with a five-year tour of duty in the Naval intelligence community. This is where the story breaks down. Believing that anybody with intelligence—Naval or otherwise, would want to work for Michigan is beyond me. Nevertheless, the sign stealing scandal that has engulfed not only college football but also the entire sports world has about as much credibility and relevance to real world issues as the “existential threats” listed in the first paragraph. All the media outlets including The New York Times (NYT) and Wall Street Journal (WSJ) have taken the bait. In a full-page article in The (WSJ) Louis Radnofsky and Andrew Beaton interview prominent attorney and Michigan law professor Daniel Crane—a member of the Federalist society and friend of Antone Scalia ( a strict constructionist he), and Ohio State Law Professor Felix Chang an anti-trust specialist. Their allegiance seems to be more in line with who they are rooting for than with the law.
To a layperson like me, it appears that the two professors do what all lawyers do—they reverse engineer their arguments to fit their cause. I tend to side with Professor Crane, however, who not only uses the law—but also common sense! He points out that sign stealing is perfectly legal and there is nothing in the NCAA rule book that prohibits it. What is illegal is the in-person surveillance techniques that may or may not have been deployed, but in the NFL those same types of devices are used to signal in plays from coaches to players on their own teams.
Professor Chang on the other hand states—wearing his anti-trust hat, “once you frame it that it is not about the rules of the game or about the integrity of the game, its’ about the different colleges spending more or less money ….” then there is a legal argument.
So, you cannot break a rule that doesn’t exist, but you can proceed in such a way that is illegal. Sounds like a “process crime” to me. If the case is tried in Ann Arbor—Sir James will win. If it is tried in Columbus Ohio—he will lose. You couldn’t find a jury in Michigan that would convict Sir Jim. You couldn’t find a jury in Ohio that wouldn’t convict him. A change of venue has about as much chance of happening as Donald Trump has of changing his D.C. trial venue to Idaho. So, in the end it is not what you did or who your attorney is, it has everything to do with where you are tried.
The only people who will make money on this deal are the lawyers and college administrators who will milk the issue for all that is worth. There have already been two court hearings regarding the case and the Michigan Head Coach—Sir James Harbaugh has been suspended for the rest of the regular BIG 10 season—including the final game against The Ohio State. He hasn’t even been found guilty—can we all say, “due process”? The Wall Street Journal yesterday carried a full-page story on the situation complete with interviews of world-renowned constitutional attorneys and anti-trust law professors.
Former Boise State and Washington Coach Chris Petersen stated that “stealing signs happens all the time”. Why should we be worrying about stealing signs when players are transferring through “the transfer portal” and getting paid with name image and likeness (NIL) contracts and never going to classes and never graduating. Talk about exploitation! Where are the grownups in the room and who are the grownups? College professors and coaches, administrators, lawyers? NOT. It seems to me that there is room for one more lawyer at the table—a civil rights lawyer. Is human bondage and exploitation not the real crime here? What is more immoral, paying back a college loan—breaking a covenant contract between student and lender and giving the student a diploma where they can’t earn a living or paying a scholarship for a student athlete and having them stay in school for 5-6 years and never get a degree and most importantly a job.
We need more people like Chris Petersen with common sense and fewer lawyers and expert politicians—in all areas of our lives. Chris Petersen for President—of something.