Tarkanian Omission from Hall A Head Scratcher - Page 2
The coach, who was personally hunted and pursued by the NCAA over the entire course of his career, won a $2.8 Million settlement against the oppressive governing body in 1998. Tarkanian charged the NCAA harassed him at every stop and pursued him – particularly while at UNLV – despite other violations that were occurring at larger programs. The NCAA was hot on busting the small school in Sin City as Tarkanian continued to succeed. The NCAA’s assumption (or so we must guess) was there was no way someone could win so quickly and consistently at the desert commuter school.
It can only be Tarkanian’s epic battles with the NCAA that are keeping him from what he rightfully deserves. His coaching record and impact are truly astonishing. Like any Division I coach, his program did have NCAA violations just as those of Tarkanian’s close friend Bobby Knight, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun. All of those coaches are in the Hall and their programs were found to have violated NCAA rules more often and with more malice than UNLV was ever found to commit. It’s simply fact and puts into perspective just how the NCAA continues to malign – albeit indirectly – a great coach and mentor who rightfully deserves his spot in Springfield.
The other unspoken bias against Tarkanian is his big heart and his desire to give young, inner city kids a chance at an education and playing Division I basketball. This came back to bite Tarkanian, particularly in the case of Lloyd Daniels, but his desire to help young men improve their lives through basketball is often overlooked or misunderstood. He was, as one person put it, the "Father Flannagan" of college basketball. He cared about his kids and wanted to give them a chance to succeed in basketball and life.
“They clearly did not want UNLV and Tarkanian and these guys representing NCAA basketball,” Boyd said in the film.
“You saw a team of urban African-American males playing with a particular swagger, in your face. It was aggressive, it was hard-edged, it was extremely confrontational…Outlaws,” Boyd said. “It’s very much in the ethos of street ball. There were a lot of people watching UNLV who were very proud of the fact that this swagger was being seen on national television and this team was so victorious playing this particular style, and the impact was profound in the inner cities, in the streets. The caps, and the tee shirt, all the merchandising, anything that had to do with UNLV was very cool. Because to wear UNLV you were basically saying, ‘I too am a rebel and I identify with their rebellious spirit.’ There were a lot of other people watching UNLV who cringed. UNLV was called thugs.”Continued on the next page