Dick Vitale Goes Off On The Dan LeBatard Show

Posted by nvr1983 on August 19th, 2011

Yesterday, Dick Vitale went on The Dan LeBatard Show to discuss the scandal at Miami and the implications it could have on college sports. After LeBatard started off the interview with a few fairly benign questions about the Miami scandal, to which Vitale gave the expected media-speak answers (other than his assertion that Donna Shalala must step down as president of the University of Miami), LeBatard asked him about John Calipari and the scandals that have followed him at Massachusetts and Memphis. Vitale brushed it aside, saying that the NCAA has never implicated Calipari. LeBatard’s co-host Jon Weiner (aka Stugotz) then chimed in with the statement/question: “Best guess, Dick. Best guess. I know you are friends with him, but best guess. John Calipari has cheated at some point in his life.” Vitale responded first with silence, then said “Alright, let’s go to the next point.” After some discussion where LeBatard cleared up the fact that it was his co-host who had asked the question, Vitale suggests that there should be laws against boosters like Nevin Shapiro.

When Vitale went on to state that none of the major coaches he knows would have tolerated what happened at Miami (citing Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, and Bob Knight as examples), Stugotz suggests that every coach or program has committed at least one NCAA infraction even if only unknowingly. After Vitale got upset at him and brought up the prostitutes, Stugotz clarified by saying that he never implied that other programs were using prostitutes or doing things as big as Miami is accused of doing. Despite this clarification, Vitale becomes increasingly infuriated at the radio hosts and hangs up. Partial clip below:

While Kentucky fans are widely applauding Vitale for defending Calipari, it seems more like Vitale is on a crusade to defend college basketball, or college sports as a whole, instead of a single coach or program. Although Stugotz’s initial question/statement about Calipari was indelicate, his follow-up questions about programs unknowingly violating rules are valid ones. Unfortunately, it seems that Vitale was so incensed by the earlier question or the storm surrounding the NCAA right now that he was unwilling to hear it. Perhaps if Vitale had stayed on the phone long enough to engage in a reasonable conversation, they could have discussed Krzyzewski’s “controversial” phone call to Alex Poythress or Sam Gilbert’s association with John Wooden‘s UCLA dynasty (OK, maybe that would have set him off). In any event, although many college basketball fans (particularly Kentucky fans) will support Vitale in this case, he does come off as petulant and condescending here.

nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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2 responses to “Dick Vitale Goes Off On The Dan LeBatard Show”

  1. BOtskey says:

    Vitale’s friendships with coaches clouds his judgement. He needs to get out of la-la land and realize that this stuff goes on at a lot of schools. I wouldn’t say ALL schools have this going on but I’d bet that more than half of major D1 programs have this stuff going on, with or without the knowledge of the head coach.

  2. greyCat says:

    A confusing exchange, I had trouble distinguishing the voices of LeBatard and Weiner and determining who was asking which questions. Weiner’s insistence that Vitale agree with him that “it happens everywhere” left Vitale with a dilemma — concede the obvious (that many/most/all schools commit, knowingly and unknowingly, some violations) and risk his friendships with active coaches, or continue to defend an untenable position (that it happens only in the cases that the NCAA actually investigates) and lose what little credibility he has on this particular issue. Vitale took the third choice and hung up.

    At some point LeBatard/Weiner had to realize they were cornering Vitale and give him a respectable exit. It will be interesting to see if this episode has an impact on who they persuade to appear going forward.

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