Step aside, Bryce Harper. You’ve lost your title.
I wrote yesterday about Keith Olbermann’s “worst person in sports” bit. It looks like the DMV has hit the jackpot two days in a row. This time, Maryland football coach Randy Edsall gets the honors for a little NCAA rules misunderstanding. Olbermann explains (transcription by the wonderful Alex Prewitt):
“And after all this soccer, our winner is a good-ol’ American college football coach, Randy Edsall of Maryland. Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield opened the season with five tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Terps’ 43-10 win over Florida International, and they gave him the defensive game ball. Well, they said they gave him the game ball. After all the yelling in the locker room, Whitfield went to actually get the game ball to take it home or, I don’t know, paint it. That’s when he found out, ‘We can’t get the game ball until after we leave school, because it’s against NCAA regulations. We have the game ball, but it’s in the archives.’
Whitfield says he can wait. It’s not a problem. He doesn’t want to get anybody in trouble. So every winning team in every college football game is violating NCAA rules — the extra benefit rules — each time it awards a game ball? There are 300 rules violations every Saturday? Maryland says it is abiding by the NCAA rule that places a monetary limit on gifts that athletes can receive. It’s 225 bucks a year for underclassmen, 425 for seniors. The ball would count against it. The NCAA response? Hooey. A student-athlete can keep a game ball, NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn told the Baltimore Sun, adding it does not count against the extra benefit rules. Coach Randy ‘I’m taking your ball and going home’ Edsall, today’s worst person in the sports world.”
UPDATE 10:23 A.M.: According to a third-party interpretation of NCAA rules obtained by The Post, game balls can be awarded to athletes “only on an occasional basis to recognize an extraordinary achievement (e.g., career achievement, establishing an institutional record),” and not “for specialized performances in particular contests or events or during a limited time period (e.g., “player of the game” or “player of the week”).” Maryland was going off this interpretation of the rule when it decided to withhold the game ball, which is currently being reviewed by the NCAA.
In any case, stay tuned for tomorrow’s awards, when John Wall gets the honors for having too many bathrooms.