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New meal rule is coincidence only to NCAA

The 49ers’ AldSmith has undeniable talent but his off-the-field issues are threatening short-circuit his career. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The 49ers’ Aldon Smith has undeniable talent, but his off-the-field issues are threatening to short-circuit his career. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

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Updated: May 21, 2014 6:25AM



May I borrow a line from John Lennon?

I read the news today — oh, boy!

Actually, I listened to the radio. There was NCAA president Mark Emmert, saying the recent landmark decision by the NCAA stating that revenue-producing athlete-workers on scholarship may eat a meal — and not just a snack — provided by the university when they’re hungry was a process three years in the making.

Emmert called the old rule ‘‘stupid.’’ Then he said the new one had nothing to do with UConn men’s basketball star Shabazz Napier saying there were times during his years at the school when he was ‘‘starving.’’

Pure coincidence.

And I think of more Lennon: Hey, Mark, I’d love to turn you o-o-on!

To reality, that is.

Players have been going hungry for a long, long time. Coincidence, my gluteus.

Emmert claimed that trying to get the 250 members of the NCAA to do anything was like ‘‘herding cats.’’ If that isn’t enough reason to tear the whole hairball thing apart, what is?

Three years to make ‘‘reform’’ over sandwiches? Imagine how long it would take to get the NCAA to figure out real dollar-value stipends for athlete-workers who bring in millions of dollars to the football and men’s basketball parts of athletic departments. It has been about a century so far, with nothing achieved. So, what, like a millennium?

The NCAA will do nothing for its athlete-workers unless threatened with lawsuits or somehow embarrassed into action. The little schools have almost nothing in common with the big schools, and all the various-sized cats run around like madmen, chasing real and imaginary mice. But they all love the catnip of football bowls and basketball tournaments.

Emmert and others in the management of big-time college athletics will tell you that ‘‘processes are in place’’ to make change, but there are methods to make plant matter into oil, too.

I’m waiting for when the NCAA digs into the tattoos-for-trinkets heresy. I expect a committee to be formed in a decade or two.

REMEMBER ALDON SMITH, the outside linebacker/defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers?

He’s young (24) and really good (a two-time All-NFL first-team selection), but the 49ers aren’t expected to pick up his fifth-year option in 2015 because they’re pretty much tired of him and his problems. This was told to ESPN’s Adam Schefter by a league source, and we have no reason to disbelieve it.

Consider that Smith recently was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for getting surly with security folks and allegedly claiming that he had a bomb in his possession. You shouldn’t do that these days.

But the nuttiness — it appears he didn’t actually have a bomb on him — was only the latest in a string of mess-ups with the law for a guy who has 42 sacks in three NFL seasons.

In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony charges of illegal possession of an assault weapon. He missed a big chunk of last season while spending time in alcohol rehab after being arrested for drunken driving twice since 2012. Pity things are going so wrong for Smith.

If you’ll recall, Smith blew past, over and around Bears offensive tackle Gabe Carimi so many times in the 49ers’ rout of the Bears in November 2012 at Candlestick Park that Carimi still might not have recovered. Smith had 5½ sacks that night, and nobody was sad to see Carimi get traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who cut him in February. He might yet find peace of mind with the Atlanta Falcons, who picked him up later that month.

At any rate, put Smith on your radar as one more young star soon to grow up or blow up entirely.

FINALLY, TSK-TSK to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville for grabbing his crotch after a non-call by the referees in Game 1 of the playoffs series against the St. Louis Blues, thus earning a $25,000 fine from the NHL. It wasn’t quite prime Michael Jackson stuff, but it was funny nevertheless — if not for the kids to see.



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