John Clay's notes: Pro-Pearl petition makes Martin's exit from UT understandable

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistApril 15, 2014 

Former Tennessee coaches Bruce Pearl, left, and Cuonzo Martin

Random notes:

Cuonzo Martin, the new coach at California, must have really wanted out of Tennessee.

But then, when 36,000 of your school's fans sign a petition that they wanted the old coach back, in this case Bruce Pearl, not surprised that Martin would really want off Rocky Top.

My favorite moment of this and many other NCAA Men's Basketball Tournaments was NCAA President Mark Emmert and four administrators sitting at a podium at the AT&T Stadium defending the status quo with all their might.

Of course, the status quo means huge television deals for schools, huge contracts for coaches, huge bonuses for coaches and administrators, huge sales for athletic apparel companies and the claim that unions for athletes would be "grossly inappropriate."

Two big men from the state's two biggest basketball schools announce on the same day they are returning for their junior seasons. Montrezl Harrell announced Monday he will return to Louisville for 2014-15. Willie Cauley-Stein announced Monday he will return to UK for 2014-15. Good news Monday.

With Harrell back, Louisville will be right there with Duke and North Carolina battling for the ACC title next season.

Did you see Tuesday where there will be a 40th bowl game in 2015? Just 22 more to go and every team will get to play in a bowl every season.

Without Tiger Woods (injured) and Phil Mickelson (missed cut), television ratings for the Masters hit a 10-year low. Now you know why ESPN talks about those guys so much.

As for the Masters' winner, Bubba Watson, how could you not like a guy who celebrates his second Masters' win by going to Waffle House?

Did you know Watson and Mickelson are the only left-handers with multiple victories in majors?

Ten days after the national title game, the sound of Aaron Harrison Sr. barking instructions to his sons from the first row of AT&T Stadium is finally starting to fade.

Michael Phelps just can't stay out of the pool. After all, who doesn't want to go to Rio?

Now that Steve Asmussen-trained Tapiture has qualified for the Kentucky Derby, there is a possibility that the same trainer who an undercover PETA investigation alleges mistreated horses could be holding the Derby trophy aloft the night of May 3.

In its appeal of a National Labor Relations Board ruling allowing Northwestern football players to form a union, Northwestern attorneys argue that college football is not an extracurricular activity but a co-curricular activity in which student-athletes receive similar lessons to ones they receive in the classrooms. Guess that's why most professors are paid as much as football coaches.

Of the 17 Kentucky players drafted in the John Calipari era, seven will have started as many as 40 NBA games this year. The seven are John Wall, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe and Terrence Jones.

Yes, baseball's new replay/review system hasn't been perfect, but it is an improvement. Take Monday night's Reds-Pirates game.

A fly ball down the right-field line struck Pittsburgh outfielder Travis Snider in the face. After it was determined that Snider wasn't injured, Reds Manager Bryan Price challenged the "foul ball" call, saying the ball struck Snider in fair territory.

Following a two-minute and 30-second review, the challenge was upheld and Todd Frazier was awarded second base. Two batters later, Cincinnati's Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run home run.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226.E-mail: Blog: @johnclayiv.

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