UNDER FURTHER REVIEW – Six topics in the news, and a comment on each

The transfer portal . . . CU departures . . . transgender athletes . . . the pitch clock . . . sports betting . . . the Rockies . . .

They’re all in the news, and I’ve commented on them before. 

But recent developments have provoked additional thoughts I wish to share. This column, after all, is named, “Under Further Review.”

The portal:

Almost two dozen members of the University of Colorado football team have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal SINCE the Spring Game a couple weeks ago.

I said previously that I thought allowing student-athletes to change schools without losing eligibility—to, in effect, rectify a mistake they made when they chose the colleges they’d attend—is fair. I still feel that way. (This year, more than 6,000 student-athletes have entered the portal.)

But there should be limits.

This business of deciding to walk out on programs after spring football is too much. So is being able to abandon a basketball team virtually anytime after March Madness concludes. Same is true for any other sport.

The NCAA should establish ONE window for each sport, a single defined period following the conclusion of its season.

CU departures:

Deion Sanders, upon his arrival at the University of Colorado, bluntly stated that he hoped many players returning from the 1-11 football team of 2022 would leave.

And he’s getting his wish. More than 50 student-athletes have entered the portal since Coach Prime came on the scene. All but a dozen scholarship players from last season are gone.

In an interview last week, CU Athletics Director Rick George told ESPN, “He’s trying to build a winner . . . and this is his way to do it.” 

The flip side of granting young athletes a second chance to find the right program is, of course, allowing coaches a redo on personnel mistakes, too. But to what extent?

Transgender athletes:

The debate continues over allowing biological males to participate in girls’ and women’s sports. 

All-America swimmer Riley Gaines is now a target of protesters because she outspokenly opposes allowing trans women to compete against female athletes.

I wonder if those who favor treating biological males as women have ever played any sports themselves, and if they have daughters who have or do.

Maybe this issue would come to a head if a few big guys who couldn’t make their schools’ basketball teams declare that they’ve transitioned and show up for women’s basketball, then dominate because they’re taller and stronger. 

The pitch clock:

Recently I noted that several Major League Baseball teams have extended beer sales through the eighth inning because the pitch clock has sped up games, as intended, thus cutting short beer-selling time.

There’s another consequence, one my granddaughter called to my attention.

Some players’ walk-up songs are too long to be completed before the batter must step up to the plate and be ready to face the pitcher.

Most notable, she pointed out, is Charlie Blackmon’s.

She attended Opening Day and noticed that the beginning of Chuck Nazty’s ode was shortened—progressively with each succeeding at-bat until, in his fourth plate appearance, it reached the part where the crowd chimes in “TOOO-NIGH-IGHT before he stepped into the batter’s box.

Sports betting:

University of Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired last week for allegedly betting on his team’s game against top-ranked Louisiana State.

Two bets placed at a betting kiosk at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati led to an investigation. 

Major League Baseball suspended Pete Rose for FOR LIFE for betting on his team while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Now, MLB allows that team to offer IN-STADIUM sports betting.

Does anyone else see irony here?

Expect other sports betting-related scandals. The temptation is too great.

The Rockies:

Bad luck continues to haunt the Rockies. German Marquez has joined Brendan Rodgers among key players lost for the season, and Noah Davis, the first rotation reinforcement, already is temporarily sidelined.

Late last week, Yonathan Daza was dumped, which likely means the Youth Movement is underway, beginning with Brenton Doyle joining Ezekiel Tovar.

Unless this team overachieves in a major way between now and June, don’t be surprised if the Rockies are sellers this summer.

It won’t surprise me if Randall Grichuk, C.J. Cron, Jurickson Profar and, yes, hot-hitting Elias Diaz are available for prospects. 

Their departures would make way for Zac Veen, Drew Romo and Michael Toglia.


Denny Dressman is a veteran of 43 years in the newspaper business, including 25 at the Rocky Mountain News, where he began as executive sports editor. He is the author of 15 books, nine of them sports-related. You can write to Denny at dennydressman@comcast.net.