Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino and his team watch the final seconds against Michigan on Sunday, March 19, 2017, in Indianapolis, Ind. Louisville may become the first school to vacate a NCAA championship in men’s basketball after penalties handed down Thrusday, inlucing a suspension of Pitino. (Sam Riche/TNS)

Second Thoughts: Go after Pitino, but Louisville’s banner should stay

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Grace, my youngest, said Friday that she was “making” my present. The kid’s a great cook, so I enjoyed a piece of coconut cream pie. Today, I’m going to grill a steak, watch some of the U.S. Open and have a cold beverage on the back porch. Perfect.

The NCAA is right to hammer Louisville’s basketball program and Rick Pitino, who has done his best Sgt. Schultz imitation during the stripper/hooker scandal that has threatened the 2013 championship banner hanging in the KFC Yum! Center. “I know nothing,” has been Pitino’s response to the NCAA’s findings.

Suspend the mafia don, fine the school, trim scholarships. But I do not agree with taking down banners. The tournament happened. I remember watching it while our family was on spring break in Alabama. The Cardinals won and “vacating” wins is a joke.

The Pete Rose statue was dedicated Saturday at GABP. The piece of bronze, which seems to defy gravity, honors Rose’s head-first sliding style. It’s very cool, as was the pregame ceremony that featured several of The Hit King’s legendary Big Red Machine teammates. It also included Rose’s view on baseball: “Bust your ass and win the game.” Nobody honors their past like the Reds. And thank goodness nobody fainted in the 90-degree heat.

The College World Series is one of my favorite sports events of the year. It began Saturday with – gasp – a home run in the first inning. The event moved to its current venue in downtown Omaha in 2011 and players might as well have been hitting Whiffle balls. Nothing was going over the fence. Then they lowered the seams on the baseball and things went back to normal. The CWS used to feature 16-12 games, then 2-1 games. Now it’s back to 5-4 final scores.

The NBA draft is Thursday night, and there are no tricks the Cavaliers can pull to get an edge on Golden State next season. The Celtics, though, have a chance to set the stage for a run at the title in the next few years. Rumors have Boston trading the top pick for a bunch of picks. That would be a good move for the Celtics because they could still get Josh Jackson at No. 3. I think Jackson is the best player in the draft, so that would be quite a value.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy knows a sure thing when he sees it. He bet $200,000 at a Vegas sportsbook on the Warriors to win the NBA Finals. Because Golden State was a heavy favorite, McCoy walked away with $262,500. He reportedly missed practice the next day with a “stomach virus.”

Trending up: Homer Bailey, Steve Stricker, Royce Lewis. I was beginning to think we’d seen the last of Bailey, whose myriad arm issues have made the Reds look like fools for signing him to a $105 million contract. But Bailey is working his way back to Cincinnati. Two strong rehab outings – including one with the Dragons – have Reds fans thinking positive. Bailey might have to put his bow-hunting on hold.

Trending down: Derek Funderburk, Myles Garrett, Michael Floyd. It didn’t take long for new Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann to send a message to current and future Buckeyes. Shortly after he was hired, he suspended Funderburk for “failure to meet team expectations.” That covers a wide range of transgressions, so there’s no telling whether the redshirt freshman will ever see the court at OSU.

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