Q&A: NCAA Basketball Scandal; TV Reboots


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This week’s edition features the ongoing NCAA basketball “scandal,” which isn’t all that scandalous, but has overshadowed the upcoming Tournament. With the Dance tipping off two weeks from today, The Open Man Q&A looks forward to focusing more on the hardwood and less on the FBI. Submit your questions for future editions either via Twitter, @kensing45 or @the_open_man. You can also email kyle@theopenman.com.

Well, it’s true that I am a University of Arizona alum, and I have some personal ties to the previous Wildcats basketball program. I touched on the topic for Patreon subscribers earlier this week, after having some time to gather my thoughts. Cheap Plug: Subs start at just $1/month!

But conflicting reports about the ESPN story on Sean Miller’s alleged wiretap conversations have already rendered part of my immediate thoughts antiquated. Now, I’m not sure what to believe, and thus unclear as to my opinion on the matter. Unpopular as it might be in this day, I’m holding out judgment on the basketball program for more facts to be revealed.

That’s a luxury I have, but the Arizona athletic department doesn’t. ESPN’s story puts UA brass in a precarious position. As more details trickle out, it seems DeAndre Ayton was wrongfully implicated. 247Sports reports the FBI tapes should actually exonarote Miller — but that’s based on anonymous sources, which the inaccuracies in the ESPN report prove should be taken with due skepticism at present.

Perhaps Miller is implicated, despite the errors in the ESPN. If that’s the case, Arizona must let him go — but can it rightfully do so now, based on suspect speculation? That seems like a lawsuit in the making. All the way, Arizona basketball’s left in a holding pattern, and recruits like Shareef O’Neal are heading elsewhere — like, in O’Neal’s case, rival UCLA. Regardless if sanctions come as a result of the FBI probe, the immediate future of Arizona basketball’s already been damaged.

Regardless the findings of the FBI investigation, however, I am much more bothered by allegations involving the Arizona football program.

As an alum, I would prefer have graduated from a university with an athletic department that follows the rules. I’m personally in favor of extending more benefits to student-athletes, and that means payment for the revenue-sport athletes (preferably through either pro-league annuities, endorsement deals or both), as well as improved educational opportunities for all. But that doesn’t mean a free-for-all in regard to following regulations.

I think of Tad Boyle’s press conference following Colorado’s win over Arizona in January, and his exuberance resonates. It’s not right for some programs to adhere to the rules while others choose not to, and that’s not the best course of action to change the rule.

Now, as a fan of a program? Give me the wins.

The NCAA can vacate wins and championships and Heisman Trophies to its heart’s content, but that can never erase the memories. During my own college days, I was absolutely a fan of Reggie Bush. No one can vacate my memory of watching Bush put on maybe the single greatest individual performance of my lifetime against Fresno State in 2005.

To that same end, ESPN has produced multiple 30 For 30 documentaries on the shadier periods in Miami Hurricanes football history. Perhaps a K-State doc will come when Bill Snyder retires — what he accomplished in the Little Apple really is remarkable — but no one is clamoring for The U: Al Golden Avoided NCAA Investigations in His Tenure.

An important distinction to denote up front is that I am referring specifically to Tecmo Super Bowl, released in the early ’90s for Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis; not the original Tecmo Bowl for NES. This caveat’s important, as the famed Tecmo Bo Jackson, a nigh-upstoppable god, superseded all playbooks in the original incarnation of the series.

Super Tecmo Bowl featured a bit more parity. The game also rewarded those teams with multifaceted offensive approaches and playmakers both in the passing and rushing attack. The Buffalo Bills checked those boxes with Jim Kelly at quarterback and Thurman Thomas at running back.

The same makeup that powered four consecutive AFC Championships emanated from the control pad on Super Tecmo Bowl. The Bills’ playbook was ahead of its time — but don’t take my word for it. In a 2013 interview with none other than Stanford head coach David Shaw, discussing the nuances and popularity of hurry-up, spread offenses around college football, Shaw specifically mentioned the Buffalo Bills of that era:

“It’s more than a fad. I grew up in this business, and I remember Mouse Davis. I remember [Ted Marchibroda’s] K-Gun offense with the Buffalo Bills.”

He was not referring to Super Tecmo Bowl — I should ask him at Pac-12 Media Days this summer if he ever even played the game — but I’m chalking up his shoutout of the Bills’ K-Gun as a full-throated endorsement.

I have railed against the creative bankruptcy of reboots here on The Open Man in the past, so I hesitate to suggest one. But, for the sake of this exercise, I’ll make an exception.

Comic-inspired media is all the rage at the moment. I grew up reading DC Comics and watching the fantastic Batman: The Animated Series, and during my college years, tuned in for every episode of Smallville. The CW has since succeeded where Warner Bros. film division has failed, leveraging the vast DC Universe into critically acclaimed and popular series with Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and now Black Lightning.

As much as I enjoyed Smallville in its day, the first few seasons relied heavily on Villain Du Jour storylines wrapped up in a single episode, a la Law & Order. Television today rewards audiences with more robust, long-term storytelling, and growing up with Superman as my favorite comic character, I would love to see such a vehicle today. But, realistically, there isn’t enough I would change about Smallville to justify a reboot — well, other than not seeing a co-star go on to allegedly help run a bizarre sex cult.

Otherwise, the show was entertaining enough on its own merits, and Tom Welling was a perfect Clark Kent. Instead, I’m focusing on my reboot efforts on another DC television property: Batman; specifically, the 1960s version starring Adam West.

The market is saturated with serious comic-book content on both the small and big screens. Yes, Marvel has Deadpool…but Deadpool sucks. #sorrynotsorry it’s a quintessential 1990s sarcastic edgelord character. Part of what made the ’60s work was that while it lampooned its genre, Adam West played The Batman genuinely.

West and Batman set a high bar for comedic comic book performances that will never be matched — and that’s why my Batman reboot won’t feature Batman at all. Rather, we’ll follow the weekly (mis)adventures of Green Lantern.

Initial rumors about the ill-fated 2011 Green Lantern suggested a comedic vehicle in the vein of 1994’s The Mask. Fanboys raged on the internet, demanding a straight-forward Green Lantern film. What we got was a half-assed effort with Ryan Lantern playing Hal Jordan as Deadpool, 1998-quality CGI and a Joel Schumacher-level movie that damaged the franchise more than the original concept would have.

With Warner Bros. intent on building a DC universe to compete with Marvel, I assume a reboot of Green Lantern on the big screen is coming. I personally believe the cinematic version should fast-forward past Hal Jordan, perhaps reintroducing his stories in prequels, and begin with the John Stewart version of Lantern. The TV version of Green Lantern pays homage to the 1960s Batman with a series campy in nature without being sarcastic, featuring the Guy Gardner version of Lantern.

Gardner’s perfect because his comic depiction is somewhat buffoonish. His backstory as a former Michigan Wolverine football standout adds a dimension ripe for satire. The Green Power Ring makes for a storytelling device that can be used to both set up jokes, while also driving the action — and both are important. This is a show that can and should appeal to both children and adults, much in the same way as Batman, which was my entry point to the DC Universe growing up.

If you consider “rebooting” a series by making an entirely new series cheating, then my alternate answer to this question is The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. Excellent series that FOX never gave an adequate chance.