While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Texas, get with it. Don’t cut off your nose to spite the faces of every Texan you can help, either in education, health care or lower property taxes. Isn’t this one of the most pro-business states in the Union? Gambling is good business. Most people think our state will not jump on board with legalized sports wagering now that the Supreme Court has abolished the federal government’s ban. Texas can get on that train or let every adjacent state add to its coffers at the expense of revenue here at home. Legalize it, and tax the hell out of it. Even give a portion of the revenue to gambling addiction treatment. According to the American Gaming Association, Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports every year. There should be a national regulatory agency to oversee gambling for a one-size-fits-all model. Every professional sports league should welcome Monday’s landscape-altering news, none more so than the NFL, which suffered in attendance and television ratings in part because of the anthem controversy even if these leagues say they oppose gambling publicly. Wink, wink. If the NFL is so opposed, why are there weekly injury reports? Legalized gambling will bring more eyeballs to every pro sport, but I don’t support sports betting parlors inside the arenas. If that is allowed — and I imagine Jerry Jones would be first in line not to miss out on this new source of revenue — there might be more people in the betting booths than the stands.
2. As for this effect on college sports, it might only serve to exacerbate the need to funnel money to the athletes. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte told me he’s “not worried about (the risk) because it’s always been there. If gambling’s been good for two states in Nevada and New Jersey, the other 48 will ask, ‘Why can’t we do it?’ ” … He also said not to expect to see a betting parlor at Royal-Memorial Stadium. “I don’t foresee that ever happening here.”
3. The Austin Country Club membership heard a presentation on the PGA’s recent offer in a town hall meeting last Thursday and will vote over the next month to decide whether the club will host the WGC-Dell Match Play beyond 2019 for an additional four years, receive a higher guaranteed return after clearing no more than $800,000 in any of the first three years, with faster construction buildup and teardown. To test the need for a second course for the membership, ACC has leased the Lakecliff Golf Club, owned by former major league baseball star Jeff Kent, for a year with an option to buy. Thankfully, the Dell tourney won’t be moved to the fall because it would go up against football. It will remain in the same spot on the schedule, two weeks before the Masters. ACC has also researched the possibility of building a new course for the overflow and learned the cost could approach $1 million a hole, but one longtime member said, “There’s no consensus right now if we need one.”
4. No conclusiveness yet on Texas guard Kerwin Roach’s future, but most expect Snoop to return to school. An evaluation of the 6-foot-4 guard in The Athletic said he probably would go undrafted. The website said: “NBA-level athleticism is the calling card for Roach. He’s a remarkably bouncy, quick-twitch athlete who can rise up for thunderous dunks as well as use his quick first step to get by opposing defenders. But where he best utilizes those skills currently is on defense, where Roach is about as good as it gets in college hoops as an on-ball defender. He is pesky, tough on the ball and smothers opposing lead guards with energy and disruptive hands. If he can continue to bring along his jump shot in conjunction with that skill, it’s not impossible to imagine him as something of a Patrick Beverley-type in the NBA. But he needs to become as fearless and confident a jump shooter as he can be to make that transition possible.” Roach really should stay in school because it’s risky to come out.” … As for Mo Bamba, The Athletic called him one of the best two defensive prospects this year and said, “He’s a legitimate game-changer on that end.”
5. A banner year for UT tennis. Texas is one of only four schools to send its men’s and women’s tennis teams to this week’s round of 16. Men’s coach Michael Center was named Big 12 coach of the year for the fifth time, and women’s coach Howard Joffe became the first at UT to claim those honors since Jeff Moore in 1999. Joffe has a powerhouse in Bianca Turati, her twin sister, Anna, and sophomore Petra Granic of Croatia, who have gone 39-0 in their last 39 decisions. … That said, the new UT Tennis Center is already in need of some repair. Del Conte said the sightlines need to be improved to allow better viewing of the entire court, including behind the near baselines, and the school will move the bleachers forward beginning this summer. “It will be ready for next year,” he said. “It’s a minor adjustment. We will pay for it.”
6. Was wowed by the talents of Silsbee sprinter Kalon Barnes, who flashed a wind-aided 10.04 100 meters to win the boys 4A championship at the UIL state track meet Saturday. He broke his own record of 10.22, which he set a year ago. He claims getting disqualified with a false start as a freshman has motivated him ever since. He said he will play wide receiver and cornerback at Baylor and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his sprinter father, Chris. “I’m going to go to the 2020 Olympics,” Barnes said. He said his long-term future lies with football. But is he also the next Usain Bolt? “I’m getting there,” he said.
7. Congrats to Texas senior first baseman/utility player Jake McKenzie, who was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Team last week. He has a 3.95 GPA in petroleum engineering. He’s never made a grade as low as a B in college and already has a job lined up in San Antonio. Saturday’s game against TCU will mark Senior Day, honoring five seniors including bullpen stud Parker Joe Robinson, who twice pitched out of a bases-loaded jam versus Texas Tech.
8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to UT women’s sharpshooter Danielle Viglione.
9. Rented “All the Money in the World.” Found it intriguing, but it fell a little flat in spite of a strong performance from Christopher Plummer. Gave it 6½ ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: The state of Texas will legalize gambling in 2020.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays. This week’s guest is Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from May 17, 2017 — that Tim Tebow will run for Congress in Florida within the next five years. And win. Time will tell whether that’s right or wrong, but for now the only running Tebow is doing is on the bases as part of the New York Mets’ Double-A baseball affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.