Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Tour de France: Let Riders "Do" Drugs?


As many of you know, I started boycotting my watching of the Tour de Francethis year because of all the drug scandals. Of course, the scandals have continued.

German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz tested positive for testosteroneand was suspended, Alexandre Vinokourov and his team withdrew after he tested positive for blood doping and we're waiting for the suspension one more rider that tested positive. Oh, did I mention that the current leader Michael Rasmussen--who is winning by more than three minutes--missed several drug tests? International Cycling Union president said he would prefer Rasmussen not win because of the questions surrounding him.

So I have the ultimate solution that was first proposed by one of my CNBC colleagues Rich Fisherman: let everyone dope. That's right, let everyone do what they want to their body. I'm sure it will free up the rider's lives. They don't have to tell the drug testers where they are, at every moment. And it will allow them to inject whatever they want at no cost to their careers--maybe their lives. But so what?

A couple years ago,I did a project for on what sports will look like in 2015.  A futurist named Watts Wacker suggested this to me: "Athletes will be built from the molecule up, and will be tailored to fit certain sports and positions. Bill Gateswill have a team of cyclists who all have the lung capacity of Lance Armstrong."

It's time for the Tour de France to do this now. If you can't keep the drugs out of the sport, don't. Embrace them. Have all cyclists sign a form that waives the Tour of any responsibility and pedal away.

Something To Think About
I wonder if this whole NBA referee scandalis going to do anything to the league's referee hiring practices. I always found it suspect how the league didn't have some of the best college officials join the league. One insider told me it's because the NBA likes to mold referees with little experience and that sometimes the best college refs like their part-time jobs. But I'd have to think it would make sense to find guys who have big-time college experience. Here's a chart of the experience of all 60 of the league's referees. Remember, some list ref experience in multiple leagues and conferences, but I was shocked to see how little big-time college experience the NBA's refs have.

NBA Referee Experience
CBA: 32
SEC: 16
Ohio Valley: 16
No College: 16
TAAC: 10
Pac-10: 6
ACC: 5
Big 10: 4
Big East: 3
Big 8/12: 2

Other Notes:
Speaking of college, actor/musician Jack Black is reportedly producing a movie called "Big Paydays," which is being advertised as a lighthearted take on the college teams that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to beat the snot out of opponents. The film is based on Pete Thamel's article from last year from the New York Times on the subject. Props to the excellent Business of College Football Blog for the info.

For anyone looking to find information on Michael Vick, his official Web site: is now down due to it reaching its bandwidth limit.

Questions?  Comments?