There's plenty of time for fits of brilliance, interludes of mediocrity and at least two from-the-heels momentum swings to insinuate themselves into every showdown.

NBA scandals aren't much different.

So, if you were hoping the announcement of Tim Donaghy's sentence would signal the fade-out sequence for his accompanying referee-betting crisis, you haven't been paying attention. We're just getting started.

Donaghy has been booked for 15 months in the big house; the NBA and those of us who embrace the sport have been sentenced to at least that.

While Tricky Tim presides over the point spread in games that involve McMurphy feeding The Chief down low, the rest of us will have several issues to reconcile. They include Donaghy's alleged revelation that NBA referees fixed a mighty big playoff game in 2002, and crediting the league with strongly encouraging its whistleblowers to manipulate games for the sake of ticket sales and TV ratings.

While the NBA has given the all-clear in regard to its comprehensive investigations into these matters, most of us are miles from satisfied.

For example, the rug has been lifted thanks to news of Donaghy calling refereeing colleague Scott Foster eight more times than Tim called his own bookie. And he called the bookie 126 times. Maybe Foster, who seems to be golden with the league at the moment, has an extensive catalog of killer one-liners.

If public scrutiny leads to referee reform, Donaghy could weasel his way into becoming the Jose Canseco of the NBA — unwittingly performing a public service while in the commission of dastardly acts.

Donaghy used his whistle to influence the point spread and make more loot. Canseco used his anger at watching the market for his bat evaporate (and parallel monetary issues) to become a literary scourge. His desperate but (mostly) credible accusations eventually inspired the current crop of big-league baseball players to limit their performance-enhancing supplements to items still beyond the scope of testing.

Donaghy's life-raft efforts could provoke enterprising sleuths into finding other referees playing fast and loose with point spreads. Sidebar benefits (based on others joining the watchdog club created by Mark Cuban) could include the NBA actually enforcing the rules of the game.

We dream of a day when all post players will be required to execute a nifty maneuver without sliding or changing the pivot foot. Fouls in the closing moments of big games would be called. Superstar protection won't be so stinking obvious or extended to players before they even establish a superstar portfolio.

The scrutiny could become airborne, jump sports and lead to a more consistent MLB strike zone.


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Added: August 13, 2008

News » Donaghy scandal could ultimately benefit NBA

Donaghy scandal could ultimately benefit NBA

Donaghy scandal could ultimately benefit NBA
Many congregation members who still believe the league is fantastic would admit that a standard NBA game seems to go on forever.

Donaghy to jail

Tim DonaghyVideo: Tim Donaghy was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison for his role in the NBA's betting scandal. after the decision came down.
More on Donaghy:
  • Hill: Why it might be good for NBA
  • Donaghy gets 15 months in prison


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