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Head Coach Ticket Scalping

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice's decision to scalp his complimentary tickets to Super Bowls is, to put it mildly and diplomatically, curious. Why would a coach put his head coaching career at risk in such a way, especially considering the way his teams have performed?

In an interview posted Thursday night on Sports Illustrated's website, Tice said he sold some of his 12 Super Bowl tickets in January to a broker for more than face value. Tice previously has acknowledged collecting tickets from players and reselling in bulk while an assistant coach, but said he discontinued that practice when he became the Vikings head coach in Jan. 2002.

Scalping tickets is a violation of NFL policy and is subject to a penalty determined by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

There's the requisite "everybody does it" defense. In a Beckerian moment, I thought that his decision to scalp was based upon some sort of comparison of expected marginal benefits and expected marginal costs (including the probability of getting caught), but then there's this:

Citing advice from his attorney, Tice refused to comment when contacted late Thursday night by the Star Tribune. Since declaring Wednesday morning that he would have no further comment on the issue, Tice has been quoted extensively on the subject in two national publications.

In both cases, Tice said he believed the interviews were conducted off the record. Conversations with reporters are on the record unless the source states explicitly otherwise prior to speaking. Both reporters, ESPN's Chris Mortensen and SI's Don Banks, said Tice did not make the request until after the interviews were conducted.

The scalping and his talking are just two things in a line of decisions that seem "curious," especially for a head coach in the NFL. I've wondered about the way he thinks since he first became coach of the Vikings when he created the "Randy Ratio" and publicly said that 40% of the passes were to go to Randy Moss. In doing so, he tried to suck up to his most talented (and most troubled player) and he tells his opponents a great deal about the upcoming gameplan.