Category Archives: Sports

How Many Schembechlers?

The Man They Called Goldfinger.

The University of Michigan, my alma mater, has been rocked by an unthinkable sexual-abuse scandal. Dr. Robert Anderson served as an athletic team doctor for thirty-five years and throughout that time, he sexually abused male students so frequently that it was a running joke among athletes. Except for those who were traumatized, of course.

This story has been out there for a while. But the latest disturbing turn is that several former football players — and many observers of Michigan athletics — say that legendary coach Bo Schembechler absolutely knew about Anderson’s abuse. Some say they told Bo; others say that he kept such a tight fist on his program that he couldn’t possibly have been ignorant. Just like Joe Paterno at Penn State.

And just like Paterno, the statue of Schembechler that adorns the athletic campus will almost certainly be removed sometime.

But what does this have to do with Vermont politics, you say?

These scandals have become so commonplace that I can’t help but believe that there are many more like them, so far undiscovered. And if you think this state is exempt, well, check your Vermont exceptionalism at the door.

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A Retraction

Sharp-eyed readers with too much time on their hands may have noticed that one of my posts from last week is no longer there. This is because, for the first time in my years-long blogging “career,” I’ve taken down something I posted.

I’ve made corrections whenever warranted. But this time, my mistake undermined the point I was trying to make and it can’t be fixed through a simple correction.

The post was about the new owner of the Vermont Lake Monsters, who heads up RockFence Capital, an investment fund that loans money to minor-league baseball players. If the player doesn’t reach the majors, he gets to keep the money. If he does make the big time, he has to repay the money with interest.

But I centered the post on Ozzie Albies, second baseman for the Atlanta Braves. And I’ve learned that Albies is not, and has never been, a client of RockFence. Other players in similar circumstances are RockFence clients, but not Albies.

In my judgment, the post is flawed beyond salvage. So I’ve taken it down, with apologies to RockFence.

Did Bill Stenger make a deal with the devil?

Previously in this space, I questioned if it was possible that an experienced businessman like Bill Stenger could actually be clueless to the rampant looting of his own project, and remain that way for several years running.

My conclusion: No, he could not.

Which brings us to this: If he knew what was going on, why did he let Ariel Quiros (who had illegally used EB-5 investor money to become Stenger’s boss) pursue this crooked scheme? Why did he put his own finances and reputation on the line, even when the signs of trouble became impossible to miss?

Two possibilities. First, he was getting a cut. Could be.

Second, he was in severe financial straits and needed a Quiros to bail him out. Call Quiros a “devil investor,” if you will. Certanly not an angel.

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UVM’s athletic priorities

The University of Vermont chose Friday afternoon, traditional bad-news dumping ground, to announce the firing of its women’s basketball coach, Lori Gear McBride.

It couldn’t have been a surprise; Gear McBride had compiled a miserable 46-134 record in six seasons. In her “best” campaigns, the team lost twice as many games as it won. Throughout her tenure, UVM was a consistent cellar-dweller in the America East converence.

So the real question isn’t “Why was she fired?” it was “Why did it take so long?”

And here’s another puzzler. After her first four seasons, coaching the team to a 32-89 record, she was given a four-year contract extension at an annual salary of $131,000. That seems, shall we say, out of proportion with Gear McBride’s performance.

No way a men’s coach with such a record would see his contract extended. No way a men’s coach would be allowed to lose that many games, period.

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