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"The Stack" 5-27-16

Baylor football head coach Art Briles will be fired following the scathing results of an investigation into the multiple sexual assaults at the university. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Baylor football head coach Art Briles will be fired following the scathing results of an investigation into the multiple sexual assaults at the university.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Penguins are headed back to the Stanley Cup Final thanks to rookie Bryan Rust who scored the only two goals of the game as the Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. They play San Jose on Monday in game one.
Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports
For the third straight year we have co-champions at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports
 

The Stack is back on this Friday and the Stanley Cup Final is set. That’s not the top story though. Nor is the Warriors staving off elimination by beating the Thunder. The top story is not a pleasant one, but let’s find out what it is in “the stack” for today, Friday, May 27th:

Art Briles fired as Baylor football head coach

I can’t do this story justice. I can’t fully analyze how big of a deal this is. I can’t explain why a sports program at a university, a private one at that for what it is worth, would think they are above the law and try to cover up such awful and heinous crimes. I can’t so I won’t. What I can tell you is that Art Briles, the most successful football coach in Baylor football history has been fired following the scathing independent report from a law firm that investigated the many sexual assault allegations from female students against Baylor students, some of them football players. In eight seasons Briles had four ten plus win seasons. He helped transform Baylor into a power in the Big 12. Now he may never find work again and to be honest, I don’t think he should. What’s in this result is mighty damning.

Baylor president Kenneth Starr will no longer serve as university president. AD Ian McCaw has been suspended. This is a terrible situation, one that finds plenty of cover up by an athletic department, football program and university as a whole, failing to stop multiple sexual assaults from happening to their very own students. You send your kids to school to get an education and far. You never think or hope they will be in any danger like some female students were while at Baylor. It’s sad. It’s just really, really sad.

The fact that Baylor actually fired Briles shows that the results of the investigation were so terrible that the university could not find any way to keep Briles on as the head coach. And they shouldn’t have. Baylor kept taking in these sketchy players, giving them a “second chance.” Some players made good on that second chance. Others did not and now Baylor is paying the price for it. Kudos should be given to the university for actually having the gusto to fire Briles at the end of May, three months before the start of the football season. This scandal has embarrassed the university to a whole new level and it will hurt the football team, athletic department and university for years to come. And don’t think that the football program will be the only sport that takes a hit. While the hit to them will be the biggest, expect sports like men’s and women’s basketball to fall off a little bit as well.

This is just not a good situation all around. We’ll see what the ramifications end up being for Baylor. They won’t be good and it will affect them for years to come.

Warriors stay alive

The Golden State Warriors still have a chance to defend their championship. They beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-111, but will have to win at Oklahoma City Saturday night in order to come back home for a game seven. The Warriors weren’t overly impressive in this game as they couldn’t shake away from the Thunder for the first three quarters, but Steph Curry and company helped put the Warriors away late in the fourth quarter. To be fair, it was the Thunder who was constantly playing catch up in the fourth quarter thanks to some nice plays by the Warriors. The Warriors also received a boost off the bench from Marreese Speights who scored 14 points in just nine minutes. The Thunder’s dynamic duo did not help themselves in this game as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shot a combined 23-for-59. That’s just a shade under 40 percent. They did combine for 71 points, but it wasn’t an efficient 71 points. I feel like they will shoot much better at home in game six and they need to win that game, because if they don’t, the Warriors will win this series. Nice to see Draymond Green not learn his lesson and do another leg kick after he was fouled, flailing around like a fish on dry land. No technical or flagrant was called. Perhaps there should have. Appears he has not learned his lesson. The Thunder need to try and draw another flagrant on Green early in game six. Maybe they have been trying and just haven’t succeeded. Fully expect the Thunder to win game six. Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers look to wrap up their series with the Toronto Raptors. While they should win, they did nothing in games three and four in Toronto to make this a guarantee. I think they will win in the end though.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors 8:30 PM ET ESPN (Cavaliers lead series 3-2)

Penguins advance to the Stanley Cup Final

Led by a rookie goalie in Matt Murray throughout the playoffs, it was only fitting that another rookie help clinch the series for the Pittsburgh Penguins and get them back to the Stanley Cup Final. Bryan Rust scored both goals for the Penguins as they held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in an entertaining game seven to win the Eastern Conference Final. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy once again had to stand on his head stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced, but the second goal he gave up he will definitely want back. Somehow Rust poked the puck through a small opening after Vasilevskiy failed to cover the puck. Still don’t know how that puck went in. This was in response to the tying goal the Lightning scored 30 second earlier. All of the scoring took place in the second period and the Lightning should have just been thankful the Penguins didn’t score more since they had 21 shots on goal in the period. In the end though, two goals were all the Penguins needed as they will advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2009 where they will take on the San Jose Sharks. Game one is Monday night on NBC. Give me the Penguins to win game one and in the series overall I think I like the Penguins to win, but I say that with zero confidence since the Sharks have a great deal of talent and are playing really well right now.

One final quick note on the Lightning. They may have a big decision on what to do with their goalies. Ben Bishop is a tremendous goalie, but after the playoff run that Vasilevskiy went on, the Lightning may decide to try and trade Bishop or Vasilevskiy knowing they could get some top talent and picks in return. Or they may just keep both of them. Having two outstanding goalies is a good problem to have. Perhaps the Lightning should keep everything as is. They also have to decide on Steven Stamkos and whether or not they want to re-sign him.

Misc. headlines

For the third straight year, we have a tie in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga were declare co-champions of the 2016 contest after correctly spelling 25 words each in the championship round. This was only after the many rounds of words they had to spell to get into the championship round as other contestants were weeded out. This is ninth straight year an Indian American has won the National Spelling Bee. What a fun event.

A couple of NBA head coaching vacancies may soon be filled. Sounds like the Houston Rockets are going to agree with Mike D’Antoni to become their new head coach. Would be a very interesting hire, one that I’m not sure will work out entirely for this team. The Memphis Grizzlies also have a new head coach, agreeing with Miami Heat assistant Dave Fizdale to be their new head coach. Fizdale has been with the Heat for the last eight years.

Finally, the Indy 500 takes place on Sunday and while it has lost a lot of its luster, it is still an iconic race and something to look forward to Memorial Day weekend. Why not go with a savvy veteran and pro like Helio Castroneves? I’ll take him to win the Great American Race.

To all veterans out there, happy Memorial Day. Remember those who have served our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we hold so dearly and take for granted on a daily basis. That includes writing and reading this (at times silly) blog. Thank you and have a happy and blessed holiday weekend.

Coming up Tuesday: Stanley Cup Final game 1 reaction plus other top stories in the sports world


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