Wednesday, December 19, 2007


In a fitting twist, thoughts travel back to a Purdue vs. Penn St. football game in West Lafayette during my time at school. A Purdue player was streaking down the sideline, almost assuredly going in for the touchdown when a player off of the Nittany Lion bench (possibly a late coming 11th defensive player, possibly a Woody Hayes "There'll be none of that round here" guy) and tackled said Boilermaker.

The crowd went ape shit, and somehow one voice rang high above all others screaming with a pristeen decipherability, "CHEATERS!"

Out comes the report that the Big Ten has a lead football official on the books that has not only filed for bankruptcy in the past, but did it all while owing cash to multiple casinos. The bankruptcy is a troubling issue because most officials - at least in theory - are at least somewhat chosen for their ability to not succumb to financial pressures. Ever notice that a lot of NFL referees are lawyers?

With the NCAA being as vast as it is, there's no chance they can find enough six-figure guys willing to pull on the stripes. In steps Stephen Pamon, the offical in question, and the same guy who headed up the crew for this year's Purdue vs. Penn St. game in Happy Valley. The Boilers were driving late in the game when Purdue receiver Selwyn Lymon took a play out of bounds only to have the nearest official rule that the game clock should continue running - causing Purdue to use a timeout - rather than stopping the clock as most plays the go out of bounds tend to do.

Here's why I hate this situation: it actually gives me reason to look beyond reason.

Purdue fans tend to be more self-critical than their in-state counterparts. While there are the requisite odd balls determined that some Freemason led conspiracry is holding the Boilermakers down, most of us can see failure and call it what it is (take tonight's shit the bed performance losing at home to Wofford for example).

These revelations - details that still don't definitively point to a fixed game - actually give Purdue fans a reason to think some Vegas, mob-laced, point shaving conspiracy is in the works each time we lose. We're more than used to living with losing, but we'd rather do it on our terms by overestimating ourselves, being outmatched, or fumbling the game away.

Now, I'm not stuck wondering whether every questionable call is somehow tied to some back judge laying 13 points and his next mortgage payment. I'm just going to be stuck next to a guy at some future game who's certain that's the case.

Like we needed any more pain these days. We're in the Motor City Bowl for Purdue Pete's sake.

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