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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Gophers' Pitino is right ... and wrong about booing players

I emphathize with Gopher coach Richard Pitino. And I think he's wrong.

After fans at Williams Arena booed his team on Monday night during a lackluster victory over Drake, Pitino criticized those who booed, saying they weren't helping his team.

It's natural and right for Pitino to defend his players. But his mind-set demonstrates the illogic at the heart of major college sports.

Major colleges want their revenue sports to produce tens of millions of dollars. They pay their athletic director and most prominent coaches millions of dollars. They have turned revenue sports into a major and incredibly visible business. Then they ask us to lay off the players, because this is amateur sports.

You can't have it both ways. Either admit that you're trying to profit off of student-athletes and understand that those paying the freight will hold you accountable, or stick to intramurals. Don't hide behind the amateur status of athletes who actually should be paid something for producing revenues for a major company.

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You can find my podcastst at MNSPN.com.

@Souhanstrib

Souhan: A Vikings collapse after this loss is unlikely

Charlotte, N.C. --

This is my quick take following the final gun. My column will appear later on startribune.com and in the Monday newspaper.

The Vikings have lost one game in a row. That loss came to an NFC contender playing at home with a sense of desperation. This is not a crisis, but because these are the Minnesota Vikings, this may be viewed as a crisis by everyone who remembers Gary Anderson or 12 men in the huddle.

Case Keenum committed three turnovers, the offense failed to produce a big play unil a desperation fourth-quarter drive and the run defense lapsed badly in the Vikings' 31-24 loss at Carolina on Sunday.

The Vikings' eight-game winning streak is over.

Another way to look at it: The Vikings were unikely to go 14-2, and Carolina was a logical place for a loss.

Coming out of their bye, the Vikings faced a five-game stretch that would determine their fate. They won four of those games. I thought they'd do well to win three, and might be able to survive winning just two.

They have overachieved. But now that they've overachieved, they need to use the final three games, all against weak opponents, to get their offensive line healthy, begin making big plays on offense again, and shore up their run defense.

This should should only be viewed as a crisis if it leads to a collapse. Given the remainder of the schedule, that's highly unlikely.

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You can find my podcasts at MNSPN.com

@Souhanstrib