KERRY EGGERS ON SPORTS/Oregon State women's track goes in new direction, but support for men's program still needed

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDE - Darren Carrington walks off the field at Reser Stadium after what would be his final game as an Oregon Duck, a loss last year to Oregon State.Observations on some sports happenings of late:

• ITEM: Ex-Duck Darren Carrington is officially cleared to play for Utah in 2017.

COMMENT: Very disappointed in Utah coach Kyle Whittingham for taking on a player who had been booted from another Pac-12 program for several transgressions, including three times for substance abuse and once for allegedly breaking the arm of a UO graduate during an altercation.

I had a coach from another FBS program tell me his school's officials never would have allowed him to bring on Carrington. Whittingham should have been better than that, too.

I wish the kid would have gone out of conference to play his senior season. I wish Oregon would have prohibited an in-conference transfer, which was within its rights.

Makes for an interesting game at Autzen Stadium on Oct. 28. Somehow, I don't think his former UO teammates really "wish him all the best."

• ITEM: Allen Iverson is suspended one game by BIG3 League for not showing up to coach a recent game for his team, "Three's Company." The Hall-of-Famer also pulled out of playing in a game in Philadelphia 25 minutes before tipoff, drawing boos from fans who chanted for Iverson and left early when he didn't play.

COMMENT: After those screw-ups, BIG3 founder Ice Cube issued a statement that began, "We are thankful and grateful to Allen Iverson for being a part of this league."

Even in retirement, Iverson is being coddled by those who put him on a pedestal for his basketball skills. I'll save my respect for people who have a modicum of responsibility and accountability.

And to think this was a real game, and not just practice.

• ITEM: Barry Bonds says he should have been able to play one more season, and if that had happened, he would have reached 800 home runs, or come very close.

On the 10th anniversary of breaking baseball's all-time home-run mark, Bonds said it "stung" to walk away from his 22-year career with little notice after his final season with San Francisco amid steroid allegations and a federal case.

Bonds said he didn't push it because "I was told I'm not coming back, and that was it."

"I should have played one more year," he told reporters. "I should have had the chance to.

"I was (38) homers away from 800. I'd have been real close. I would have never hit under 20-something, no matter what."

Prosecutors eventually dropped the case, and Bonds has never admitted guilt.

"I went to court. I won," he said. "Major league baseball's not punishing me for anything. … if you think I did something wrong or violated a rule — which I never violate any rules of baseball — MLB's not the one punishing me. The media is punishing me, which is all right. If that's what they want to do, go ahead, do your thing."

COMMENT: Sure, Bonds was innocent, just like O.J. Simpson was innocent of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman.

Bonds was 42 when he hit 28 homers during his final season with the Giants in 2007. At 43, he may have topped the 20 mark again, but maybe not. I'm glad he never got the chance.

• ITEM: LaVar Ball pulls his "Big Ballers" AAU team off the court during a game after he is whistled for a technical foul and uttering a profanity toward a female referee. Then, after a long meeting between coaches, representatives from Adidas and Court Club Elite — which supplied the officials — the game resumes with a different official in place.

COMMENT: Shame on everyone involved, but especially on Ball, the father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who has made a jackass of himself so many times in recent months, I've lost count. Adidas eventually apologized for removing the referee, but that was too little, too late.

Some people get a kick out of the senior Ball's act. I find him insufferable. I hope his son is able to overcome his father's deplorable behavior and become a reputable NBA player.

• ITEM: The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics will play a regular-season game in London on Jan. 11.

COMMENT: Preseason games out of the United States are fine. Regular-season games should be left in the country (or Toronto). The NBA office's "global pursuits" are getting out of hand.

I can't believe Danny Ainge went for this.

• ITEM: Oregon State names Louie Quintana as its new women's track and field and cross country coach, replacing Kelly Sullivan. Quintana had worked 16 years at Arizona State, serving as the program's men's and women's cross country coach, and the program's distance coach since 2004.

COMMENT: I'm going to take the word of the great Dick Fosbury, who served on the selection committee that whittled down 100 applicants to three finalists for OSU's athletic director, Scott Barnes.

"Louie has a plan," says Fosbury, the 1968 Olympic high jump champion who revolutionized the event with the "Fosbury Flop" jumping style. "I believe in the guy. I think he will pick up what Kelly had developed, and he'll build on that."

What most of Beaver Nation wants is a return of the men's program that was dismantled in 1988. A fundraising campaign got a new track and field facility built five years ago, but it will take another $8 million of funding to bring back the men's program. That would include a multi-million dollar endowment to ensure continued viability of the program. With other sports and facilities also needing attention, the track and field project seems on the back burner.

I've written this before: I'd love to see Phil Knight write a check and make it happen.

A men's program at OSU would enhance the sport's visibility in the state and give Knight's beloved University of Oregon program a rival again.

Yes, Knight is a Duck, but I know he wants to see his sport thrive everywhere. Knight has been a generous supporter of OSU baseball through the years. It would be great to see him spread his largesse to the sport in which he competed six decades ago.

Sullivan, incidentally, has resurfaced as head coach for the men's and women's programs at Seattle University.

• ITEM: Trail Blazers play-by-play man Brian Wheeler will call the Hillsboro Hops' game against Eugene on Friday, Aug. 18, at Ron Tonkin Field.

COMMENT: With regular radio voice Rich Burks on vacation and the usual replacements unavailable, Wheeler will call his first baseball since doing high school games on cable in Chicago in the early 1990s.

"I like baseball," Wheeler says. "It's a different pace than basketball, but I like to do other things if they come up. At least for one night, it will be something different to do."

I'll be listening, if only to catch Wheels' home-run call.

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