Not only has NHK decided to drop both Japanese and English broadcasts of the Nagoya basho, but now the JSA(NSK) has decided not to present any awards including the emperors cup during this basho, they are also considering cutting the congratulatory parade after the bouts on senshuraku. They claim that they don’t want to have the appearance of awarding rikishi who have been gambling. Maybe they’re right to do so. However this really seems to me like a “You’re only in trouble if you get caught” situation. There were oyakata who knew this shit was going on before, and I’m sure its been going on for a long time. Anyone who thinks this gambling BS is a recent development, and that the old guards of sumo would never have participated in such nonsense are naive. Musashigawa knew Miyabiyama was gambling, he probably knew that Otake and Tokitsukaze were gambling too.
Another question worth asking is: Are the wins in this basho going to go towards the record books? If Hakuho gets another zensho yusho (incredibly likely) is that going to count? Or is it going to have an asterisk?
Now, lets hypothesize… say by some freak accident Baruto brings it this basho and completely dominates. Lets pretend Baruto only loses to Harumafuji, then beats Hakuho in regulation on senshuraku, forces a playoff, and wins the playoff, hell lets say Harumafuji only loses to Hakuho and there’s a 3 way playoff and Bart takes it. Unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility. As far as I know there were not found to be any gamblers in Onoe-beya. Onoe-oyakata is not under house arrest. Should Bart be deprived of receiving the Emperor’s cup? My answer would be a solid HELL NO. Should Hakuho be presented with it if he (read: when he) wins? My answer is a maybe not. The cat did admit to gambling on cards, given, a lesser offense, but gambling none the less. Perhaps some of the other S&S commentators would care to weigh in… in fact, i think we might want to make this our pre-basho point counter point debate.