Friday, May 15, 2009

Tom Golisano leaves home; Greg Paulus returns

Who can blame Buffalo Sabres owner and philanthropist Tom Golisano for finally fleeing his home state because of its dysnfunctional government and ridiculous tax burden?

Unlike the bozos in Albany who have helped turn the Empire State into the nation's laughing stock, Golisano made a concerted effort through his gubernatorial runs and lobbying to bring about reform. But the cronies in the state capital are so entrenched that even a powerful, self-made billionaire like Golisano couldn't bring about change.

My wife, Beth, and I are native Upstate New Yorkers, and we love so much about our community and our state. But we often wonder how much longer we're going to be able to afford to stay in a place that soon will be taxing the air we breath.


The New York State motto is "excelsior,'' which means "ever-higher.'' Perhaps they should change the translation to "ever-higher taxes.''


OK, enough with the politics.

On a positive sports note, Greg Paulus decided he will spend his graduate year of athletic eligibility playing football at Syracuse. As I mentioned in this space before, I think it's a low-risk, high-reward move for both student-athlete and school. (In this case, the term student-athlete is relevant. Paulus truly is one.)

If the Duke point guard quickly recaptures the magic we saw four years ago in high school when he threw for 11,763 yards and 152 touchdowns while leading Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy to a three-year 42-3 record and a state championship, the the moribund Orange program will receive an unexpected shot in the arm and possibly earn a bowl bid.

If he bombs . . . well, at least he will have coaxed several thousand extra fannies into the Carrier Dome and made a 3-8 transition season a lot more interesting than it would have been.

I think Paulus is going to do just fine, despite the difficult odds of making a comeback after a four-year hiatus. He is a bright kid with great leadership skills. And the toughness that comes with having been the Blue Devils floor general under Coach K for three years is sure to help.

Paulus had a very good workout with the Green Bay Packers a few weeks ago. And it should be noted that more than a dozen major Division I programs - including Nebraska and Michigan - also were willing to take a risk that Paulus could be a one-year wonder for them.

Again, it isn't like Paulus is keeping the next Donovn McNabb or Donnie McPherson on the bench. This is a program that hasn't had a winning season in seven years and has lost 57 of its last 83 games, often by huge margins.

Look at it this way. It's similar to the Bills signing of Terrell Owens, only without the VH-1 reality series.


Interestingly, once Paulus' football season ends, he plans to serve as a basketball graduate assistant under Jim Boeheim. Too bad Greg didn't have one more year of eligibility in hoops, too. Jimmy B could have used him now that Jonny Flynn has bolted for the riches of the NBA.


The NFL reportedly is against the state of Delaware legalizing gambling. What a bunch of hypocrites. The league owes a huge amount of its popularity to the millions who bet on games.

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