Sunday’s Sports Slog: Simpson, Swop, Silliness +

There’s no doubt who is the Sports Family Man of Summer.

Golfer Webb Simpson.

The reigning U.S. Open champ, at the height of his career, is passing on the British Open at Royal Lytham. Seems his bride is in the family way, expected to come to term in a couple of weeks. Instead of heading across the sea, hiring a jet to be at the ready if he needed to return, he’s being a good husband.

It seems like a no-brainer, right? Yeah, but it’s far from a given.

The most recent example of the usual sports-first-family-second mindset is Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss bicyclist wore the yellow jersey for a few days at the beginning of this year’s Tour de France. Then, before Stage 11, he abandoned his quest.

Because, well, his wife is pregnant. And, well, because he was out of the chase to win the sport’s premier event.

Cancellara’s statement: “I am also a husband and father with another baby on the way. It is my personal wish to be present when my wife Stefanie gives birth to our second child. I already need to thank my wife for her patience with me during the last month in her pregnancy that has been difficult at times. The least I can do is to assist her in these difficult days.”

Uh, yeah, Fabian, I’d say so.

* * * * *

The NCAA is an easy target, so many are the mistakes of the collegiate sports ruling body.

But it may have topped itself this week. Were it not the truth, I’d swear the announcement was written by Firesign Theater. (Too young to understand the reference, ask your older brother.)

Seems the ever meddlesome NC2A (except when it’s a matter of significant import) has handed down strongly for penalty and repentance, a “lack of institutional control” for “academics” citation to¬† . . . Division III California Institue of Technology.

Cal Tech’s family has won 32 Nobel Prizes.

Among the glossy records of its athletic teams, according to the New York Times, is a 227 game losing streak by its baseball team. A women’s volleyball program that has lost all 168 of its conference games. The water polo team had a 7 year losing streak, finally snapped in ’11. And, at one time, the b-ball squad had a 310 game league losing skein.

Apparently the sanctions have something to do with the premier institution’s academic system. Which, one would suppose, the NC2A might have considered before acting the fool.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the sporting spectrum, life goes on as usual as Alabama and Auburn alums battle over the hearts of the next great D lineman.

* * * * *

Apparently Jared Swopshire is dazzling future Northwestern teammates and coach Bill Carmody with his talent, leadership qualities and work ethic.

Imagine our surprise?

How cool would it be for the former Cardinal, were he to lead the Wildcats next season to their first ever NCAA tourney birth?

Way cool.

* * * * *

If only U of L’s basketball team had as many national titles as it has fan web sites following its fortunes. The trophy collection has stood at two since ’86.

Now with a reshuffling, there are three major sites — and I’m sure several more — specifically dedicated to following and fawning over the Cardinals.

There’s Card Chronicle. And the old/new Inside The Ville, where recruting maven Jody Demling now resides. And super sleuth Mike Hughes has a new site, apparently also known as Inside The Ville.

Being a lifelong fan of U of L’s Cards, I also weigh in often on the state of the school’s teams. But, being old and lazy and not nearly as “connected” as any of the folks who run those sites, I rarely break the kind of scoops they can. Which doesn’t mean I don’t skulk around their places, picking up scraps of info I’ll pass on. With impunity. But also with attribution.

– Seedy K

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