Farewell Shazier- Like I said, it’s been a while since I’ve shared your Wednesday with you; in that time Junior Linebacker Ryan Shazier announced that he was taking his talents to… You know what? Shazier’s to classy for that tripe. Ryan is foregoing his senior season and heading to the NFL. While he’ll be missed on the field, his character and presence as a representative of the University may be his strongest lasting legacy. Godspeed, Ryan.
Wither Braxton? Reports from this weekend announced that Miller had decided to stay for his senior season following the loss in the Orange Bowl. These were unofficial, however- the Miller family hasn’t said one way or another if XBrax360 was returning to Columbus. I can see it both ways- he has much development to do before he’d be successful in The League, but if you’re going to get pounded (with a new offensive line and missing Guapo), you might as well get paid for it.
This Is The Part where I mention casually that I played college football with Braxton’s dad. Not that it means anything; we haven’t spoken since he graduated, but if Braxton goes pro my Buckeye name-dropping game loses some swag.
Spence For High-er? Sorry for the 80′s driven pun, but with Noah Spence’s suspension for the Orange Bowl a mystery at gametime, Tuesday’s news that he had actually tested positive for Ecstasy seemed very unusual. As you may know, it was initially reported as a performance enhancing substance, which is somewhat factual- the B1G characterizes MDMA as such, and initially suspended Spence for a year. The appeal to the NCAA, though, ended up with a ruling that it was in fact a “street drug”, and came with a three game suspension (Orange plus two in fall 2014). Spence’s family asserts that their son had been given the drug unknowingly, and is planning a possible lawsuit against the B1G.
Top 10! Ohio State finishes at #10 and #12 in the final polls after two losses. I don’t give much credit to these, however… some morons are still ranking Alabama over Oklahoma on their last ballots. I guess that pollster doesn’t think the Tide were playing Stanford Football in their loss to the Sooners.
Most Annoying Fight Song- “Boomer Sooner”, FSU’s “War Chant”, Southern Cal’s “Tribute To Troy”, Tennessee’s “Rocky Top”, or “The Victors? Discuss.
Zach Attack Goes Bayside- Congrats to former Buckeye Zach Boren who joins our west coast family with a “future reserve” offer from the San Diego Chargers. I guess the cold was just too much for him… With the Chargers, he’ll be studying under Manti Teo, and will learn the Chargers’ defensive calls, coverage assignments, and how to pick up imaginary girlfriends.
One of my “new year’s resolutions” was to learn to love college sports and accept it for what it was, warts and all.
No more freaking out over the loss of purpose for the “student athlete” ideal or getting frustrated with the impact big time economics were having on the game.
I’m proud to announce that I made it all the way until January 7th. Then I saw this:
Look, we all know this is an issue, and not just for athletes. As the article addresses, a number of students enter university every year needing support to meet the expectations of the academic life. There’s much to be said, by much smarter people than I, regarding the necessity of educational reform in the United State even before we consider post secondary scholarship.
And yet, the athletic side of things continues to make me uneasy. Why are we admitting students who are not prepared for college-level work? If it’s because we want to give them an opportunity, then that’s a noble ideal that should be a part of the institutional mission. But if it’s primarily because of their 40 time, their recruiting star rankings, or their ability to bench press the equivalent of a grocery store, then that seems to be less idealistic and more about using their skills and abilities.
There are those who argue that this exchange is reciprocal; that athletic departments profit off of the student athlete but also provide internships and preparation for jobs in the NBA/NFL as well as a college degree; the value of which can be immeasurable.
However, as someone who’s worked in Division 1 Academic Advising, I still wonder if there’s any value to that degree when students are majoring in “eligible” and don’t have the tools necessary to grow the way that the classroom and academic community can provide.
“Mali- does this really matter?” I understand that line of thinking, but I also wonder if the compromise is worth it. Let me put it another way- How would Buckeye fans feel if Coach Matta brought in a recruiting class filled with 5’9 athletes who had only played rec league ball with their friends at the YMCA. We’d be frustrated that he was compromising the possibility for the team’s success, and rightfully so.
So why shouldn’t those of us who care about the University also be frustrated at the compromises that are being made to the institution’s academic mission and reputation?
Show Me The Money
Dolla Bills, Y’all- When you think about the “Is this exploiting young adults?” angle of the study above, it certainly puts a different slant on the list of most valuable college football programs, now doesn’t it?
Bowl-Nanza- We’ve discussed before the financial issues with the current bowl system, and how it doesn’t seem to be profitable for most of the schools involved (but plenty profitable for the “tax exempt educational endeavors” that are Bowl commissions). Here’s a different take on it, from a perspective that understands economics much better than I do.
Texas Strong-Horns? I really like Texas’ hire of Louisville’s Charlie Strong to lead the program- he’s a hard worker who emphasizes character and excellence. If he’s able to re-establish Austin as the prime destination for Texas’ recruits and add his connections to the state of Florida… the Longhorns could get really good really quickly. All that being said, it hasn’t been a smooth transition for him, at least in the forward thinking minds of many connected to the Texas program: from helping assure Texans that he’s not a “hip hop” coach to major donors questioning his credibility, I wonder if he’ll have a Tubby Smith/Ty Willingham experience at prestige programs. Best measure will be to compare the flexibility he’s given versus what Coach Brown saw over the past few years. At any rate, this gif from LSUFreek probably sums it all up best:
Welcome to our new….. coach.
Recycling- So, who does Louisville interview? Bobby Petrino, motorcycle enthusiast. Ah, the old “I’m feeling jilted, so let’s see if my old beau is still available” technique.
Big Name For The Cyclones- Mark Mangino is back in the game, as the offensive coordinator for Iowa State. I’d make a comment about the Cyclones picking up a coach with great experience, but I’m not sure a cyclone could actually pick him up.
We Are! Still Looking! With Bill O’Brien burning bridges on his way out of Happy Valley and Miami’s Al Golden staying in South Beach, the PSU program now turns to Vandy’s James Franklin and former Titans Mike Munchak. While both would be solid hires (and PSU needs a great coach), each has baggage of sorts. Munchak would be another former NFL-er who might have one foot out the door, while Franklin was alleged to have some of the same “telling important people important things” problems that got Coach Paterno in hot water.
And Finally In case your New Year didn’t start with enough fireworks, let this amaze you: