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HBO Tarkanian/Runnin' Rebels Documentary Débuts March 12

I don't think this [article] is a particularly fair characterization of Jerry Tarkanian by the Washington Post. It takes Tark to task for making a public statement condemning the NCAA. Understand Tark's statement was made at the public screening of HBO's upcoming documentary about Tark at UNLV with special emphasis on his TKO over the NCAA. What was he supposed to do, say nothing during the premiere at which he was the guest of honor?

I've met Tark 'The Shark' and had a fairly lengthy conversation with him while he was coaching Fresno in 2001. Seemed to be a very pleasant guy, willing to spend time just chatting with a fan (unlike several other Div.1 coaches I've met through the years including Hall and Pitino) and although I brought up the NCAA with him, noting it didn't look like anything was going to happen to Duke over Corey Maggette, he didn't dwell on it at all, stating only [I paraphrase], "The NCAA plays favorites and will do almost anything to avoid penalizing some programs and coaches."

 

In fact, I suggest it is just that people like me constantly bringing up the NCAA to Tark that may make it impossible for him to put it aside from his life - that demand he and the NCAA orbit one another in some iconic binary juxtaposition. Several years ago, a friend of mine who graduated from Stanford was on the receiving end of one of my rants against Christian Laettner and Duke. At the end he responded, "Dude, you Kentucky fans have got to let this hatred of Duke and Laettner go - it's been ten years." To which I responded, "We'd love to but CBS and the rest of the media won't let us." And just as we Kentucky fans have been goaded to hyper sensitivity by the seemingly incessant televised replay of that dagger in my heart by the lead trailer for every CBS college basketball broadcast and innumerable college basketball montages intent on exacerbating my outrage at Laettner and the circumstances that surround the "The Shot," so too, Tark has been forced to relive his career altering clash with the 'Big Brother' of college sports over and over in life defining flashbacks that never end.

 

There aren't many who have bested the NCAA and until the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit plays out there is absolutely no one who has won a more financially rewarding victory over the collegiate gargoyle of amateurism. But in the end, I'm not sure the $2,500,000 settlement was near enough compensation for the deformation the confrontation ultimately imposed on the man's life. I'm sure the HBO documentary won't blast the NCAA nearly enough to satisfy me but I'm hopeful it will give structure to the enmity that has defined such a huge fraction of Tarkanian's existence.

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