John Clay

John Clay: Gillispie is no joking matter

Random notes:

■ The college football season will have officially begun Thursday night when sometime during South Carolina-North Carolina State on ESPN, Steve Spurrier throws his visor into the ground.

■ For all the jokes we all made at Billy Gillispie's expense last week, the man could have hurt someone. No laughing matter there. The hope is Gillispie is "tough enough" to admit he has a significant problem, and that he needs help.

■ On the other hand, I don't see how Gillispie's arrest should have any effect on his lawsuit against UK over the $6 million termination clause in his memorandum of understanding/contract. The legal matter seems just that, a legal judgment over whether the memo is a contract.

■ The NCAA's 20-hour rule is a joke, but it's not good for Rich Rodriguez when both former and current players are ratting out the Michigan coach.

■ And by the way, Rich, no one wants to see a head coach near tears.

■ Congrats to ex-Cats tennis star Jesse Witten, who flat-out rolled through his first U.S. Open match on Tuesday, trouncing Igor Andreev of Russia 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

■ I say that in the end, Louisville goes 4-8 and Steve Kragthorpe is shown the gate.

■ An under-appreciated star: UK volleyball coach Craig Skinner.

Not only has he returned the school's volleyball program to top 25 status, but Skinner took the bull by the horns and carved out a home-and-home series with powerhouse and cross-state rival Louisville, after the two schools had ceased playing.

Skinner called U of L and offered to play the Cards in Louisville (Sept. 16) as long as a return date was scheduled for 2010. The two schools had not played since 2005. Good credo: Don't make excuses. Make a date to play.

■ Were I running the Reds, I'd sign Austin Kearns for next year. The former Lafayette star has had an abysmal year with the Nationals, hitting .195. No way Washington picks up his $10 million option.

But there have been reasons for Kearns' decline. He was hit on the hand early in the year, which led to thumb surgery. He was no doubt affected by the fact his young son was diagnosed with autism this summer, as reported by The Washington Post.

Plus, Kearns has always hit well in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. To me, he'd be worth a look.

■ My friend Robert points out that Fox Sports now has an SEC show that wants fans to send in photos via Twitter and Facebook. Doesn't that violate the Southeastern Conference's media policies?

■ Nebraska is fired up this Saturday for the return of Howard Schnellenberger, who brings Florida Atlantic to Lincoln. Remember, Schnellenberger's Miami team beat Nebraska in the 1983 Orange Bowl to win the national title. The Huskers have long memories.

■ Erin Andrews and Rick Pitino have one thing in common. Both go before the media to tell the media that the media have been spending too much time reporting on their problem that is being documented in the media.

■ Not such a good sign: Ex-UK quarterback Andre Woodson did not play in the Giants' third exhibition game Saturday against the Jets.

■ Can't decide which new quarterback looked better: Jay Cutler on Sunday leading the Bears over the Broncos? Or Brett Favre on Monday leading the Vikings past the Texans? Who knew the NFC North would be this good?

■ Were I running the Reds, I'd send Willy Taveras packing and put Drew Stubbs in center field next year.