A Column of Enchantment: On Charter Planes, Losers & Bill Self Crazy Like a Walrus

Posted by Joseph Nardone on January 22nd, 2015

This past week was a good one in the world of college basketball. We had things ranging from last second shot attempts to schools imposing some “stiff” penalties on their own beings to finding out that the NCAA is incapable of properly booking flights. All in all, really, just some good ole fun courtesy of some unpaid labor doing terrific things and people who keep the unpaid labor from being paid being about as smart as a bag of rocks. Good times.

Obligatory. (USA Today Images)

Obligatory. (USA Today Images)

Those types of things are not trends, however. Rather, they are themes that seem to keep happening and happening. If this were the world of pro wrestling, it would be like fans who are all upset because John Cena has never left the title picture despite the odds always being stacked against him. Weird analogy, I know, but it truly seems like any person with any sort of resemblance to power in college basketball is doing the same thing over and over, none of them being that swell or beneficial to anyone but people in other power positions, yet there is nothing we can do about it because, well, the Sam Cassell Jr. if I know.



Holy charter planes, Batman! Reports have come out that teams may have to pack for an extra day when the NCAA Tournament begins. While it would be a lot funnier if this was because Mark Emmert didn’t know how to properly use Expedia, it is essentially as simple as there being more men’s and women’s teams traveling too near the same time as there will be a proper number of charter planes. So, yeah, some kids will have to stay a full extra day after they are eliminated from the Big Dance.

Never mind the fact, though, that these kids should have never been rushed to go back to school, home or wherever it is they go back to, to begin with. I was never comfortable with the NCAA using them for a single night, only to shuffle them away as quickly as possible. Like college football bowls, first dates and encounters with aliens from outer space, the NCAA Tournament should feel like an experience for these kids — not just a business trip. You know, because it isn’t a business, right Mark Emmert?

The funniest part about this problem is the fact that the NCAA is trying to lay blame. This is really just an unfortunate, blameless topic and — as just previously noted — a blessing in disguise. No one is complaining about this. Yet the NCAA made it a point to blame the plane industry for having a lack of charter planes. Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of the men’s NCAA Tournament, said that charter planes are at a 15-year low. That is moments after saying rushing kids out of games to get them home would lessen the experience. Yeah, Dan, we all already know this — especially folks like those at San Diego State. Nevertheless, thanks for clearing that up for us.

Teams Chartering Away.

Teams Chartering Away.

Again, none of this is that big of a deal. So, I do not truly understand why there was any hubbub surrounding the news. It is not as if the NCAA decided to have the athletes travel across the country in clown cars or on horseback instead of what is actually happening. Alas, I can’t wait until next year when the NCAA manages to build their own charter planes, hurries kids off from the arena soon as the buzzer has sounded and takes them back to their respective universities so they can continue to athlete the poop out of being a student.


Bill Self is dangerously close to entering the Frank Martin/Mick Cronin/every other basketball coach ever, Gary Busey Insane Hall of Fame for College Basketball Coaches. You see, Kansas on Monday night blew a rather large first half lead and Self decided to go all Karate’s Bad Boy Mike Barnes on a video board. I understand sports are a really competitive walk of life and that so much is always — seemingly — at stake, but why do we allow “leaders of young men” to do such things and get away with it? What if that were one of the Kansas players? Wouldn’t this be a bigger story with a narrative about millennials being all sorts of horrible to follow? But, since it is a coach that is genuinely liked, I guess, we will just all point and giggle at the Vine of Self losing his marbles.

Don’t get me wrong, though. It is most certainly funny. If by funny we ignore us all being hypocrites. In no other walk of life do we hold free labor to higher standards to that of a guy making millions of dollars. Also, no matter which work environment you go to daily, imagine the trouble your supervisor would be in if he were to go batpoop insane on some piece of work equipment. I can see Larry now, the accounting manager, losing his mind over a misplaced decimal point, bashing his hands as hard as he could off the copier and not exactly walking away from the incident without punishment.

Imagine the Possibilities.

Imagine the Possibilities.

This brings me to another topic about coaches. Has A&E or the History Channel (who no longer resembles a channel dedicated to history) not figured it out yet? VH1 has shows about pro players’ ex-wives and it stinks because they are not interesting and didn’t really do anything to be famous. MTV is still running The Real World despite the realness of it fading well over a decade ago. One of those two networks should really take a look at those other networks’ success in reality TV and invest in a college basketball coach reality show. It wouldn’t get any realer than that. Yes, I am being serious. Please, for the love of everything holy that Teddy Ruxpin represents, let me explain a possible premise.

Coach K, Steve Lavin, Mick Cronin, Bob Huggins, John Calipari, Mike Jarvis, Steve Alford and a very random graduate assistant are all forced to live in a house together during the offseason. They go about each of their days as if everything were normal. They go on recruiting trips, run camps, etc. Basically, nothing about them changes at all except they all live under the same roof. Sounds boring, right? That’s where you are wrong, friend. Just imagine the scene of those guys going to get a cup of coffee in the kitchen when they all wake up at the butt-crack of dawn.

  • “Very Random Graduate Assistant, get me a cup of coffee now” — a crusty-eyed Mick Cronin
  • “Okay, Mr. Cronin” — a happy Very Random Graduate Assistant
  • “You can get Mick one too, but get me one first” — an oddly out of place Steve Alford
  • “Okay, Mr. Aflord”– a lesser happy Very Random Graduate Assistant
  • “Get Lav, Cal and myself some juice shakes”– an already awake for eight hours Coach K
  • “Okay, Mr…”– an excited to see Coach K Very Random Graduate Assistant
  • “WTF is Mike Jarvis doing on my coach?” — a very Bob Huggins Bob Huggins

/Scene ends with Very Random Graduate Assistant deciding coaching college basketball is not worth the trouble of getting angry people drinks in the morning. The tease going to commercial is Huggins’ windpants are missing and who is to blame (hint: It is Alford. It is almost always Alford — or Jarvis, naturally).


Southern Miss has placed a self-imposed postseason ban on itself for this season. Never mind the fact that they are absolutely horrible and the postseason ban means as much as me banning myself from going on dates with Christina Ricci, this is just more people in power bologna. In all seriousness, who does this particular postseason ban hurt other than the unpaid labor? Most major players in this investigation have already left the school. So, yeah, outside the university itself banning itself from participating in something they wouldn’t have qualified for anyway, what purpose does this serve? Oh, that’s right, the perception that they give a rat’s rear.

The Southern Miss Unpaid Labor Gathers Around Their Current Leader.

The Southern Miss Unpaid Labor Gathers Around Their Current Leader.

The school isn’t allowed to participate in the conference tournament either, which is where the self-imposed penalty irks me the most. Not because the school deserves to play in it, but because the kids are being punished for multiple adults’ mistakes. It is similar to that time my dad lost a fight with a burly fellow at the bar over an argument concerning the importance of diversity in your portfolio (guess which part of that is not true), only to come home to ground me because, well, I was the closest thing next to the door he walked through. It would be horrible for the conference, obviously, if it was to allow Southern Miss to play in the conference tournament, win it and steal an automatic bid from Conference USA, so I do understand why such a thing is not feasible. I guess I am just witching here just to witch.

To recap our enchanting time together: People in power in college sports are not really horrible people, but do sometimes do really horrible things and most certainly have horrific approaches to things. We tend to not care about any of that and treat most of them as beloved figures. All unpaid labor is to be held to a higher standard than the people in power. All punishment should be directly pinned to the unpaid labor while the people in power are free to roam the world as they see fit. Eh, I digress. Basketball — kind of.

Joseph Nardone (22 Posts)

Joseph has covered college basketball both (barely) professionally and otherwise for over five years. A Column of Enchantment for Rush The Court on Thursdays and other basketball stuff for The Student Section on other days.

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