No one spared in college bowling scandal

The Mariners lost to the Yankees, but that was boring so I'll spice up today's newsletter with a sex scandal in college bowling!

The Mariners played the Yankees last night and lost 3-1 in a game where the most exciting thing that happened was Gerrit Cole getting his undies bunched up because of Jose Caballero’s “antics” which I take to mean being overly demonstrative after fouling a pitch off and then using the pitch clock to his advantage.

After Cole struck out Cabellero, he wagged his finger at Caballero and perhaps the Mariners dugout.

For the record, I’m in full support of Caballero’s “antics.” I love that a 26-year-old rookie is controlling an at-bat against veterans because he’s got the guts and the knowledge to use the pitch clock to his advantage.

I’m also fully in support of a veteran like Cole getting all pissy about it, and wagging a finger after he strikes out the 26-year-old rookie. What is bad about any of this?

A real gutter ball

We’re going to miss newspapers when they’re gone. I was reminded of that on Tuesday night when I came across a headline in the Lufkin Daily News, which serves an area in Eastern Texas. It’s not quite as deep as Orange, which is where Earl Thomas grew up. This is closer to Jasper, where Red Bryant is from.

Lufkin is a town with right around 34,000 residents, and the Lufkin Daily News dates back to 1907, and its daily circulation is estimated at about 7,500.

I came across the Lufkin Daily News because of a story about an assistant bowling coach at Stephen F. Austin. Now, I was unaware that Stephen F. Austin has a bowling team let alone that the bowling team was a bona fide collegiate heavyweight in the discipline having won two national championships. In fact, I’ll confess to being utterly unaware that bowling was an intercollegiate sport that merited a national championship. It is, apparently.

Well, this assistant bowling coach got into trouble because it was determined he was having an affair with a student on the bowling team. This is not only frowned upon, but I believe there is widespread contemporary consensus that it is absolutely inappropriate and unethical for a coach to have a physical relationship with a player even if that player is an adult. Now what made this situation even more noteworthy is that the assistant coach is married to the head coach. Yeah. Not only did he sleep with one of her players, he was cheating on her. Here was the headline:

As far as headlines go, it’s not quite “Headless body found in topless bar,” but it’s pretty good, and in most cases, I would tip my cap and move on. However, the story itself, has what can only be described as one of the wildest quotes, and I’d like to compliment the reporter – Nathan Hague of The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches – who showed incredibly discipline, spelling out the specifics of the case and the resignation before quoting from the assistant coach, Steve Lemke in the fifth paragraph.

“Steve Lemke defended his actions and said the relationship was consensual but might have been ‘amplified to the magnitude it is now because of the national championship caliber that we’ve developed.’ “

Hold up. Did he just say he was kind of a victim of his own success? That if Stephen F. Austin hadn’t been so dang good as a bowling program that this might not have been a big deal? Buddy, it got “amplified to the magnitude it is now” because you slept with a player WHILE MARRIED TO THE HEAD COACH.

Ol’ Steve was just getting going, though:

“I knew it was kind of a no-no, but there’s not a rule saying it can’t happen. There’s not a law saying I’m going to jail for doing something like this. There’s nothing in stone. I guess it’s just an ethics code, like we frown upon it, but there’s no rule, there’s no law broken.”

— Steve Lemke to the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel

First, he’s correct that it isn’t illegal. There’s no state law against it. He’s incorrect in saying there’s no rule. The rule belongs to the school. As my Twitter friend Norm Charlatan put it, he used the “Air Bud” defense, saying there wasn’t a rule prohibiting this it was just generally understood that it’s something you don’t do. God bless the Lufkin Daily News for the headline, and the quote.

Now, the Lemkes have filed for divorce, and in the story, Steve said his wife discovered the affair when she saw a text message from the student.

“It didn’t have anything in detail. It was just about how amazing I am, basically, in general perspective. Amber saw that and questioned me, and I got to the point where it just built up so much that I basically told her the truth after she dug through my phone.”

— Steve Lemke to the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel

OK. Now can I try some puns?

Perhaps he thought you were allowed three strikes. Maybe he thought he’d be spared by the program’s success. In his experience, rolling around in the gutter wasn’t encouraged, but it didn’t disqualify you, either.

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