Anniversaries give sports fans a chance to reflect on feelings of an event or athlete or moment in time with clear focus. In our memories might be the only place in sports to find such solid footing. We know exactly how we feel about …
The best World Series we've ever seen …
The greatest home run we've ever seen …
The best hockey game in the history of planet Earth …
That cheatin', no good Drew Pearson.
Pure memories with unwavering feelings -- every time another anniversary rolls around. Well, maybe not every time …
Twenty years after the Gophers men's basketball team captured Minnesota's minds and hearts with a run to the Final Four, and roughly 17 years after the NCAA wiped it all out when some players were found to be cheating in school, general feelings about that team are anything but unwavering. In fact, Star Tribune readers took wavering to new levels today reacting to our story on the absence of a recognition 20 years after the Final Four run.
A sample of startribune.com reader comments:
"Following the 1996-97 Gophers was so much fun, but you just can't celebrate ill-gotten accomplishments."
"Love Clem. Sickens me that this team isn't recognized for its greatness."
"No school with any integrity is going to 'honor' cheating."
"Clem and his players aren't getting the credit they deserve. It happened folks - acknowledge it!!"
"Moral of the story: DON'T CHEAT!"
"Why would an academic institution want to remember a team that committed academic fraud and embarrassed the University?"
"I'm proud of Clem. I'm proud of the players."
"It does not really matter that it was twenty years ago. They still cheated and cheaters should not be recognized."
Patrick Reusse, a professional opinion-sharer, offered this: "Who cares about the record books? 1997 Sweet 16 saw greatest game U ever played."
Some readers chose to skip the "recognize or not" debate, and went right back to 1997 and the moment itself. Maybe this is the one reader opinion we all can agree on ... maybe:
"Without a doubt one of the greatest sports experiences in Minnesota history."