Listening to UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland on Wednesday's conference call, I couldn't help but think that his great admission of guilt came unwittingly, disguised as a platitude.
"Our expectations at UCLA are the very highest in the country," he said. "For us, it's disappointing. We want to win championships. Championships are what UCLA is all about."
So, you wonder: Would this be a story if Howland's team was headed to another Final Four?
It's pretty clear. I think not.
I'm not casting any aspersions on the Sports Illustrated piece that warranted this response. George Dohrmann is a superlative reporter. It seems Howland, among other things, spoiled a bully in Reeves Nelson. Nelson wants a retraction. But that wouldn't exonerate Howland, who wouldn't be the first coach to have pampered a talent. What, you think John Wooden didn't have his favorites?
It's worth noting that UCLA officials greeted this scandal -- a term I use for lack of a better one -- by invoking the legacy ...