AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
The curious case of former LSU women's coach Pokey Chatman's retirement due to an alleged "inappropriate relationship" with one of her former players should be an eye-opener for the NCAA. The sordid details have yet to unfold — nor the name of the player — but it's safe to assume that relationships happen all the time and will continue to do so unless some sweeping behavioral changes are made; I'm sure we'll see more and more current and former women's basketball players step forward with similar stories in upcoming months. Remember what happened with the Catholic Church. It wasn't that long ago that priests were still reverential and safe, and not pedophiles with ban collars and black robes.
Of course, this is different because most of these girls are of legal age, but given a coach's position of power, the appropriateness of the behavior can still cause some emotional damage. And as I've've stated in a previous column,, a good portion of these girls are probably easy marks. But it's also not easy to recognize when a line is crossed. I've never had a coach do anything particularly shady, but there was a swimming coach in my high school that, not until a few years ago, did I realize there was anything wrong with his sophmore "swim class."
Now, this was 15 years ago, but at one time Council Rock High School required what had to be the most exploitative and demeaning swimming class as a requirement to pass gym. In this class, not only were you forced to wear these nut-hugging Speedo-esque trunks that were provided by the school, but they were all color coordinated by what size you were. So, the grossly overweight kids had to wear these brown bathing suits that completely set them apart from the majority of the class, which usually wore dark blue or purple. As if you already couldn't tell who was a little overweight while they pranced around 95 percent naked, they were also branded with a big brown reject suit.
But the most disturbing thing about this class was that before you could go back to the locker room and change into your normal clothes, everyone stood around the edge of the pool, stripped in front of the teacher and the rest of the class, tied a knot in their swimsuit drawstring and then hung them up on a hook on the way in. This was not a normal knot. This was some kind of triple-loop sailor's knot, and one that took a very, very long time to complete. Plus, it had to be inspected by this scumbag before he let you go change. So, sometimes, you'd be standing there for five minutes, wet and naked, holding up your swimsuit waiting for him to let you go back to the locker room. This was supposedly "normal" and every other class before us went through it, so it never registered as something weird to me (and a lot of my friends who took the class) until well after I graduated. But that guy is a fucking scumbag..
Anyway, the point is, that when you're a teenager — or even a 21-year-old— sometimes you overlook some wrong-doings just because the person in power is telling you to do them. You fear failure, or in this case, losing playing time.
So, this week, I'm wearing a brown Speedo for solidarity, putting on my Jim Izard mask and placing odds on the next NCAA Women's coach forced to step down due to an inappropriate relationship.
Let's show them on the doll where they touched you, after this jump.
Geno Auriemma, UConn: 1/1
Auriemma's pretty much got sleazeball written all over him, and every time you mention his name, another cowering young girl with basketball dreams gets her fanny pinched. The pedigree of players that has come out of his "Program" reads like a who's who list of WNBA royalty (or comparable noun indicating brilliant success in the professional female basketball association): Sue Bird, Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi. And with so much pressure riding on incoming freshman to live up to the Huskies' teams of the past, My mythical Auriemma makes sure every incoming freshman no matter how heavily recruited has to "earn their minutes." I imagine Auriemma's like the meat packing foreman in Fast Food Nation (the crappy movie, not the non-crappy book). Don't think for a minute that some of these players had to spend extra time after practice in his office (or the back of his pick-up truck) jockeying for starting time. Hey, even Sue Bird had to start out cleaning kidneys in the Kill Room. (The two of you that have seen the movie are smiling; the rest of you, not so much.)
Brian Giorgis, Marist: 5/1
Aw, Marist is such a nice, inspiring story as a 13th seed toppling some of the bigger, sexier schools in the tournament. And during moments of extreme exultation — or trauma — there tends to be an endorphin rush so overpowering that people are put into a trance-like state. After Marist's magical run, it's safe to say that many females will look at Brian Girogis a little differently. As he will them. Because he's transformed his players into winners, and now they'll always chase that walking-on-air feeling that Giorgis injected them with — even if it's for just one fleeting, shining moment. Doesn't even matter if he looks like Rick Majerus's mongoloid younger brother. Right now, that bulbous paunch poking out the top of his zipper is a vagina magnet — and point guard Nikki Flores is falling in love.
Gail Goestenkors, Duke 5/1
Never trust a woman who looks intimidating in a giant pants suit, especially when she coaches Duke's Lady Devils. She's a coach of the year award winner (like Chatman) and also has the brashness and swagger that any poonster needs to succeed. She's like the female version of Sean Salisbury in my eyes. And we've seen how that type of presence goes over with the ladies. I wouldn't be surprised if Goestenkors sends cell phone shots of her areola to her players in order to solidify team unity. That's how you build a winner at Duke: unity through areolas.
Shirley Egner, UW-Stevens Point: 1/7
This is the all-time winningest coach in Division III UW Stevens Point history. Has she ever dated a current or former player? You decide. Go Pointers!