About once a year, I see one of my teams get so spiflicated by bad referring that I doubt the integrity of the game. Normally, it is with the Detroit Lions, who, as ESPN’s Mike Wilbon (a Bears fan) noted last year, “How many times do the Lions have to get screwed by the refs?” (paraphrase). This year, it’s UM at OSU on Saturday. The officiating was so bad, I would bet money at least one of them were throwing the game. It would make sense: they don’t make much money, scarcely anyone appreciates them, and it would be easy to place enormous sums on the games (working through an associate). Unless you don’t believe in Original Sin, it’s safe to assume at least a handful of the 500 Division 1 officials out there are corrupt (I don’t know how many officials there are, but D1 plays about 65 games per week; each game has seven officials; presumably not all of them work every Saturday).
But I only place the odds of corruption at 50%, due to countervailing considerations: the officiating has been terrible throughout the country for the past couple of years; if you’re a corrupt ref, why bet money on the most-watched and scrutinized game of the season, when you could fix less-watched games throughout the season; I never notice when the other team gets screwed by the officiating (though I do notice it occasionally when I’m neutral, like the flat-out ACC favoritism of Florida State over Virginia a few years ago). So I really don’t know, but I refuse to buy the NCAA’s position, which is, “There’s never any corruption in our officiating system.” You would have to be more naive than Lincoln Steffens in front of Lenin to believe that.
Speaking of Steffens and Lenin, why is the Left so enamored with terrible people? The despicable fawning over Lenin and Stalin by many leftist newswriters has now been well-documented, but it has been a constant among the Left. Among their violent darlings: Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and, of course, Castro. The latest offers the most-recent example: The Left’s Appalling Whitewashing of Castro’s Legacy.