Size truly does matter.
Just ask the Cougars.
In one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever heard of, the College of Charleston women’s basketball team – and its opponents when visiting the Lowcountry – made it through more than half the season playing with men’s basketballs – which are about an inch larger in circumference.
Oh, where to start?
Well, first of all, let’s imagine the action was intentional. With the Cougars using men’s basketballs in practice and home games all the time, perhaps they would have an advantage over opponents. However, following Sunday’s 59-54 win over Towson, Charleston (8-14) is just 5-5 on its home floor this season – including two wins against William & Mary and UNC Wilmington that were overturned by the Colonial Athletic Association. Although, CofC’s away record is much worse (3-9).
Still, that would have to be one of the dumbest illegal “strategies” of all time and clearly isn’t working. Therefore, I doubt it was intentional.
OK, so perhaps it was pure ignorance? But how in the world did this occur for so long after several teams questioned it before accepting College of Charleston officials’ assertion that they were the correct basketballs?
According to The Associated Press, UNC Wilmington coach Adell Harris thought something was off with the balls during practice prior to a Jan. 8 game there. However, the Seahawks went on with the game and had trouble putting the ball in the basket in a putrid performance, one Harris called “probably the worst game we've had all year.” The same could be said for William & Mary, which struggled mightily the game before.
Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks also was quoted as saying he and his players noticed the problem during a game in November. Once again, though, the game went on.
Finally, Elon came to the rescue and notified the conference, which led to the overturned outcomes – and hopefully now – the use of the correct basketballs.
Simply put: Many seemed to notice but somehow just went on with the show.
Was it just too incredible to imagine something like that could happen?
“As a player, I would notice, especially if I was on the opposing team,” former Coastal Carolina player Jessica Noll said Saturday.
Puzzled herself by the revelation, Noll pondered the situation: “But was that an accident or were they doing that to prove a point?”
No one knows for sure as of right now.
According to The AP, CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio didn’t believe the action was intentional.
“People can do things underhanded,” he said. “No part of my investigation at any time led me to believe there was any type of malice or any intent here to be playing with the wrong balls.”
Charleston played at Wilmington last Sunday, and Harris told The AP that Charleston coach Candice Jackson apologized to her before their game, saying the team had been using those basketballs since July.
This asserts that somehow the Cougars themselves didn’t notice the difference the whole time. Nor did they notice “smaller” basketballs when on the road?
Hard to believe, Noll says. Most players – men and women – who have grown up playing basketball would notice the problem right away.
“I honestly have no idea how no one ever noticed,” Noll said.
I’ve not seen College of Charleston’s explanation anywhere, but out of curiosity I’d love to hear it.
However, I don’t think “Inflategate” is going to have the legs that the NFL’s – and allegedly Tom Brady’s – “Deflategate” had. The stakes are nowhere near as high.
Therefore, I expect this story to quietly disappear soon.
It’s too bad, because inquiring minds would like to know just how something this bizarre could have happened.
The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team has two games this week as it plays at Akransas State at 7 p.m. Monday and hosts Georgia Southern at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. … The CCU women’s basketball team hosts Georgia State on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Georgia Southern on Saturday (1 p.m.). … Coastal’s men’s tennis team plays at South Carolina State on Tuesday (2 p.m.) and hosts UNC Wilmington at 1 p.m. Friday. … The Coastal Carolina women’s tennis team plays at UNC Greensboro (10 a.m.) and at North Carolina A&T (2:30 p.m.) on Saturday. … CCU’s softball team kick off the season by hosting the Kickin’ Chicken Classic, in which it will play Alabama (3 p.m.) and Youngstown State (5:30 p.m.) Friday, Youngstown State (3 p.m.) and Towson (5:30 p.m.) Saturday and Alabama at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. … Coastal’s indoor track and field teams will compete in the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday. … The CCU women’s golf team opens the spring portion of its schedule as it plays in the Florida State Match-Up in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday through Sunday. … The Clemson men’s basketball team hosts Syracuse at 8 p.m. Tuesday and plays at Duke at 1 p.m. Saturday. … The South Carolina men’s basketball team hosts Alabama at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and plays at Mississippi State at 8 p.m. Saturday. … Fresh off a week off following the Australian Open, the men’s tennis gets back to action Monday with the ATP Open Sud de France and ATP Ecuardor Open Quito. … The PGA Tour heads to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from Thursday through Sunday.