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It’s official- Brian Kelly is the new coach of Notre Dame football. Ladies, here is a little background on the guy who has the spotlight today. This experienced head coach has a reputation for turning programs around and Notre Dame is counting on his prowess to continue. A graduate linebacker for Assumption College in Massachusetts- he began his career there as a linebacks coach and defensive coordinator before heading to Grand Valley State. He worked his way up from linebacks coach quickly and assumed the helm in 1997. Kelly left his Lakers with a 41-2 record in the last three years he coached them and headed to Central Michigan University. He took over the Chippewas in 2004 and after they had posted merely 12 wins in four years- Kelly brought them to a 4-7 record in 2004 and then to their first winning season in seven years in 2005. In 2006, Kelly took over the University of Cincinnati Bearcats as head coach. Having achieved great success at UC, Kelly is ready for a new challenge.

Tiger’s list of alleged infidelities has reached 13 and the pressure is now on for Elin. If she stays with him, it would appear her affection for being Mrs. Tiger Woods is greater than her self-respect. If she leaves him, she will be heralded by legions of women ready to comfort her in this time of humiliation and embarrassment. I use the word allegedly mostly to annoy my Clever editor, Alisa- but also because just about anyone could allege relations with him now. It’s becoming similar to a class action suit and might have a class action type payoff.This might be a battle between the tabloids and TWinc. Who is willing to pay more? Silence and denial vs. sharing the lurid details. His consumer confidence is plummeting, but I’d love to meet someone who bought a Buick Enclave just because Tiger Woods endorsed it.

As far as race is concerned? Not relevant. At. All. It doesn’t matter that Elin is blond and white and Tiger is not. The people who are outraged by race are the same people who brought race into the O.J. Simpson debacle. This is a matter of character and character only. A man cheated on his wife- he is not the first man to do so- he is not the first professional athlete to do so- he is not going to be the last. Why do we care so much?Tiger’s image is not consistent with the, uh, character of the women he selected to, uh, mingle with. No one other than Tiger is responsible- it is not the job of his handlers to admonish him or to curb his- uh, appetite. Again- does this change the fact he is the best golfer to pick up a club? No. So … Drop it.

Erin Hogan, ESPN Austin, and I had a long talk today about the Heisman, and I must say I didn’t like hearing what he had to say. That is part of Erin’s charm- he is never going to tell me what I want to hear to pacify me. We ended our conversation with me worried he was right and hoping upon hope he is WRONG. We can get into the specifics on Saturday- THE day.

Right now, we need to finish up our series on basketball by covering the myriad fouls. I must tell you, the rules governing fouls in basketball are as involved as Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. My advice to you is to zip it unless you have played basketball. It is almost impossible to ascertain what happened in this fast paced game with the long limbs of men averaging 6’9″ in height. I will tell you most of the fouls have to do with contact, and I am prepared to give you the highlights. This will help you understand why the dramatic falls and trips and recoveries are relevant.

Personal Fouls

Personal Fouls are called when an official determines the conduct between one player acting upon another is illegal. While a certain amount of contact is unavoidable- illegal contact will be such that it interrupts the flow of the game and must be called so the offending team does not benefit from the disruption.

In the NBA, players are limited to six fouls per game before “fouling out.” If there were no limit, there would be nothing stopping the more cunning players from continuously fouling in order to disrupt momentum by the other team. Once a player fouls out, they cannot return to the game.

The referee whistles when they call a foul. If an offensive player committed the foul- the penalty is loss of possession. If a defensive player fouls- the result is one of two scenarios.If the offense was in the process of scoring- they are awarding free throws based on where they were fouled. If the shot misses, the player is awarded two shots (chance to make up the points they might have earned) or one shot if the shot is good. If the player is fouled during the attempt of a three pointer- they are awarded three free throws if the basket is missed and one if the basket is good.

If the defense fouls a player not in possession of the ball, the offense is allowed to take the ball out of bounds and throw it back in- this results in the shot clock being reset.

In order to control, to a certain degree, the commission of fouls, there is a limit to the number that can be committed during a quarter (in the NBA four can occur). If another foul occurs after the limit is reached, the offensive player is automatically granted two free throws.

Charging- the player with the ball intentionally moves into a defensive player who has already set his defensive stance.

Moving screen- as we discussed in the terminology section- a screen is the attempt by an offensive player to delay or prevent a defensive player. Now, the key here is he is not to employ any major contact or move his feet. If he moves his feet, a foul will be called.

If an offensive player, who is being boxed out (the defender is crouched and likely using the tremendous length of his torso to provide a great distance between his hands he hopes to snag the rebound with and the offensive player) makes excessive contact with the defense, he will be called.

It is important to mention- what one referee considers excessive or intentional, incidental and otherwise varies. This adds to the intense emotions in these games.

Technical Fouls

Delay of game, mismanaged substitutions, excessive time-outs, backboard issues (you can not hang on it) and all manners of conduct- fighting etc … Technical fouls can be called against a coach or a player but does not count as a personal foul against the player in question.

There are a few terms I saved for this section as they are relevant to violations-

Goaltending- this is when a defensive player interferes with a shot as it is in its downward path to the basket. The offense is awarded the ball.

Kicking- a defensive player is not allowed to kick a ball as an intentional act of deflection.The offense will keep the ball but the shot clock will continue.

Pivot Foot- when a player is not dribbling- he must establish a pivot foot- this one remains firmly affixed to the ground. He may move in any direction with the other foot, but not move the pivot foot. If he does so he will be called for traveling.

Now- as I said before- the fouls and violations are confusing and difficult to discern, so if you are watching and are interested in learning- ask questions during the discussion of the foul or during a commercial. Remember, the only thing more embarrassing than a girl who embarrasses herself is the girl who embarrasses her date in front of his friends. So, don’t put him on the spot if he doesn’t seem especially knowledgeable. You can always pose a general question in the direction of the dude who knows everything and someone will jump on it like a hawk on a mouse. You can count on a sporting event to create competition for the players and spectators as well. Expect arguing off the court or field about calls, penalties and overlooked offenses.

If you did not enjoy being invited to take in a game in person ( I personally can not attend a basketball game since the advent of the inflatable clapping devices- seriously I would rather ride cross country with Jim Carey’s character from “Dumb and Dumber” making “the most annoying sound in the world”) or with the guys, decline next time and make plans with the girls. There is no reason you should expect to or be expected to participate in every single leisure activity he enjoys. Seriously. Unless it’s the final four- count me OUT.

Count on some discussion of the Heisman on Sunday and for you Clever Girls who have had it with the Heisman, tune in on Monday because it will be over. I am radio silent tomorrow. Next week you can count on some words about cattiness (I’ve had it), wedding planning continued with the guest list- arrrrgggg, and a few words about bowl games. I can promise we will start the NHL out strong- with pictures of some of my FAVORITE players.