Tag Archives: NCAA

‘No!’ to paying student-athletes

When will we ever stop discussing this nutty notion of paying college students who happen to have athletic prowess?

I know the answer to that one. It’s never. The issue won’t go away.

I hereby declare that my fuddy-duddy streak is showing itself on this one. Thus, I also declare that I adamantly oppose paying men and women who participate in team sports for their universities. Why?

It’s simple, man. They already are getting “paid.” If they are attending the school on an athletic scholarship, they are getting a free education. Tuition is paid for. So are the books. Same for assorted fees. They have a place to live. They might have to spend a few bucks on a meal plan.

How much would it cost them without that scholarship? In Texas, in-state students still get a bit of a break. But if you’re from out of state, that bachelor’s degree would come at a cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Student-athletes don’t pay anywhere near that kind of dough. Therefore, they are spared the burden of those student loans that progressives want forgiven. My fuddy-duddy view is that the lefties are wrong to demand complete loan forgiveness, as students obtain those loans knowing they would have to repay them.

I am just weary of this issue seeming to never vanish.

What a way to go!

Someone has to explain this one to me, because my sometimes-pointy head can’t quite grasp certain realities.

OK, Texas A&M University fired head football coach Jimbo Fisher over the weekend after the Aggies blew out Mississippi State by 40 points or so. That means that Fisher — for whatever reason — wasn’t doing the job the Aggies expected of him.

So, does the coach clear out his office and skulk away into the night like a scorned hound dog? Oh, no.

Dude gets tens of millions of dollars! The university is going to pay Fisher $75 million over the course of several years. The money, according to the Texas Tribune, will come from “donor dollars from the school’s 12th Man Foundation and athletic department funds.”

“The decision to part ways with Coach Fisher is the result of a thorough evaluation of the football program’s performance, and what’s in the best interest of the overall program and Texas A&M University,” the school said in a statement.

“The best interest of the overall program” obviously didn’t include Coach Fisher. Which meant he wasn’t doing the job!

What in the world am I missing here?

‘Transfers’ dominating college football

Well … I got through another college football Saturday with a smile on my mug as I got to watch my Oregon Ducks deliver a beat down to the Colorado Buffaloes on national TV.

But … I am troubled by the trend that has developed in college football. It’s the “transfer portal” that, to my mind, has resulted in a form of intercollegiate free agency among these student-athletes.

Football players frequently “transfer” their eligibility from one school to another. It allows them some additional college football playing time, which presumably could enhance their financial windfall come draft day in the National Football League.

The old-school fuddy duddy in me isn’t entirely sold on the transfer portal. Watching the Ducks-Buffs game Saturday filled my ears with lots of commentary on all the transfers playing for both Oregon and Colorado. Indeed, the Ducks’ quarterback, Bo Nix, is a kid who transferred from Auburn to play for Oregon. Head U of O coach Dan Lanning calls Nix ‘an elite quarterback” who, after the Saturday blowout of Colorado, has become a Heisman Trophy candidate.

But my point is that the transfer portal vehicle creates a sort of traveling road show quality to all these athletes moving from one university to another to burnish their marketability with the pro franchises. It’s not unlike what has happened over the course of 50 years to Major League Baseball, where athletes shop themselves around the league when their contract expires with the team for which they have played.

It’s difficult these days to attach any loyalty to players who come to a major league franchise, and then leave after three or four seasons. Which is why I always enjoy seeing players inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame who played their entire career with a single team.

Now it’s intercollegiate tackle football that’s been bitten by this transfer portal bug.

Finally, I will stipulate that my devotion to my home state Ducks won’t diminish over the transfer notion. I hope Bo Nix wins the Heisman … but I would enjoy it even more had he played the whole time for Oregon.

Bye, bye … Pac 12

My old-fashioned sports sensibilities are being dealt a body blow by none other than the football conference I’ve been following since I was a kid growing up on the West Coast.

I heard last night that the universities of Oregon and Washington are jumping from the Pac 12 to — get ready for it — the Big fu**ing 10! They join USC and UCLA, which already have made the leap. Which schools stay in what’s left of the Pa 12? Oregon State, Washington State, Cal and Stanford. Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State all have leaped into the arms of other athletic conference suitors.

The conference that will welcome those two former Pac 12 football powers now will become the Big 18, or some such ungodly number.

I am a Ducks fan. I didn’t attend the school in Eugene, but I have followed the Oregon Ducks since I was a boy.

Now, why is this such a big deal to this traditionalist college football fan? Because the Rose Bowl — the so-called Granddaddy of Bowl Games — is played every New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif. And it used to feature the winner of the Pac 12 vs. the winner of the Big 10. Therefore, the Big 10 becomes the hated conference of the enemy.

The NCAA has managed to make a mess out of traditional football rivalries already. They allowed Texas A&M to join the SEC, removing the annual Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry game — played on Thanksgiving — from the schedule. That will change because Texas is now set to join the SEC, which will enable the Longhorns to hook up once again with the Aggies.

West Coast college football fans used to revel in the Rose Bowl game. In recent years, the Ducks have enjoyed modest success in the big game, beating Wisconsin twice, losing to Ohio State and Penn State once each. The NCAA has placed the Rose Bowl among the games to determine the college football championship and in 2015, the Ducks pummeled Florida State (from the ACC) en route to the NCAA championship game, which they lost to Ohio State.

The Pac 12 as we West Coast natives have known it soon will not exist. The four schools remaining will seek to join other athletic conferences.

It’s all about the money, man, and it is ruining what I formerly thought was a sport so steeped in tradition that it couldn’t be sullied by the great American dollar.

Silly me.


Oregon State vs. Oregon

This is when it’s truly fun watching college football, when the team you’re rooting for loses, but you are still happy with the outcome.

So it was today as I watched Oregon State University come from way back to defeat the University of Oregon in a thriller in Corvallis.

The Beavers were down 31-10 late in the third quarter. Then they stormed back. The Ducks coughed the ball up a couple of times down the stretch; OSU took advantage. They were back in the game.

Why am I not sad? Well, I grew up in Oregon, but didn’t attend either school. Instead, I stayed home in Portland and attended Portland State University, with its downtown Portland campus and a football program that did not compete at the Division I level against the Ducks and Beavers.

My loyalty has been with the Ducks in recent years as they have ascended to near-elite status among football powers. They play the biggest of the big football schools: Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Tennessee … and so on. They’ve done well.

Now, though, come the Beavers. Their win today was their ninth win in 12 games, matching the Ducks’ record.

Yes, today has been a good day of college football.


Transfers give me pause

I remain steadfast in my athletic fuddy-duddyhood, in that I don’t much like some of the trends I see occurring in college and pro sports.

For example, the designated hitter rule in baseball is for the birds. Nor do I like playing football or baseball under a roof. I dislike “artificial turf” and I believe baseball players need not suit up with body armor befitting a combat soldier when they are hitting. Instant replay? Let the refs and umps call the game and stop the endless “reviews” on the field! They get damn near all the calls right as it is.

There. Now let’s turn to these “transfers” I keep reading about in college football. They generally are young men who have graduated already from one university, but with “football eligibility” remaining, they transfer through some sort of “portal” to another school.

Again, call me old-fashioned but I prefer to see a college football player play for the school where he enrolls, then after four years he is done; he either can turn pro or pursue another line of work, presumably in a profession related to the degree he is supposed to have earned at the college of his choice.

These “transfer athletes” seem to carry a bit of a mercenary aura about them. I guess they want to burnish their college career stats enough to make a pro team want to draft them higher and presumably offer them more money.


This stuff makes my head hurt.


March Madness? Oh, yes!

Whoever on Earth was able to predict that St. Peter’s College men’s basketball team would defeat the University of Kentucky men in that shocker of an NCAA men’s tournament game deserves some kind of special mention … wherever they are, or if anyone like that actually exists.

That’s why they call it “March Madness,” correct?

It also goes to show why I never enter any sort of bracket contest. One cannot avoid having the bracket busted into smithereens with an upset such as that.

However, I am not going to shed a tear for those who did fil out their bracket only to tear it up into little pieces. Instead, I am going to cheer the young men of St. Peter’s for their amazing victory over the mighty Kentucky Wildcats.

Let us also remind ourselves of this tried-and-true cliche: This is why they play these games.


You have perfection … and then this

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hope Trautwein hails from Pflugerville, Texas and attends the University of North Texas in Denton.

Sounds pretty, um, normal. Yes? Well, this young woman has done something that’s never been done in the history of NCAA Division I athletics.

She threw seven innings of perfect softball against the the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. When I say “perfect,” she struck out every one of the batters she faced. That’s 21 whiffs. No one hit a ball into a UNT player’s glove. No one walked. No one reached base on an error in the field. They strode to the plate, took three strikes and went back to their dugout.

Pitcher Hope Trautwein Throws A Perfect Game Of All Strikeouts | 88.9 KETR

Trautwein told National Public Radio’s Morning Edition: “I guess it’s never been done before so it doesn’t have a name.”

Here’s a name: Fantastic!

Student-athletes don’t need more dough!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s launch a pre-emptive strike against what I am certain will become a talking point as we travel farther down this road called March Madness.

That is this notion of paying student-athletes for doing what they do, which is to excel in athletics while obtaining a higher education.

We must not go down that road. Why? Because these student-athletes — men and women alike — already are getting paid in the form of acquiring essentially a free college education.

If they excel in any of the sports sanctioned by the NCAA, they receive scholarships to attend the school of their choice. They become enrolled in prestigious public and private colleges and universities. Oh, and they also engage in sports activities representing their chosen school.

Granted, a tiny fraction of these student-athletes go on to earn millions of dollars as paid professional athletes, be it basketball, football, baseball/softball. Which makes their education all the more vital to them.

But think of it: They aren’t paying for their tuition, their fees, their books, their lodging, their meal plans. They get it all free because of their athletic prowess!

I agree that there ought to be ways to loosen the rules prohibiting alumni from paying for an athlete’s lunch, things such as that. Most assuredly there needs to be much work done to achieve gender equality between men and women’s sports.

I haven’t heard much discussion about this matter during this March Madness mayhem. I guess everyone’s too caught up in watching their bracket matchups being blown to smithereens by all the Cinderella-story upsets. This issue pops up, though, which is why I wanted to weigh in here.

I was able to attend college without piling up a huge student loan debt. I had the GI Bill to pay for my college education. Perhaps my view of paying student-athletes is jaded, given that I wasn’t a good enough athlete to earn a full-ride college scholarship. I wasn’t a stellar enough high school student to earn an academic scholarship, either.

I just know what I see playing out these days. Which is student-athletes given a chance to perform their athletic skills while at the same time attending college and — hopefully! — being attentive enough in the classroom to work toward their degree.

Do they deserve a salary to play ball? No. They earn enough money as it is.

March Madness is … madness!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There is no way for me to wrap my arms around this thing we call March Madness.

It occurs every year — pandemic notwithstanding — when men’s basketball teams qualify for the national collegiate tournament to determine the national champion.

They assign dozens of teams to the tournament, selecting them to compete against each other. Then it falls on the fools among us to try to predict which two teams make it all the way through to the championship game, which this year will occur in Indianapolis, Ind.

Here’s what confuses me. I cannot find the appropriate way to measure the magnitude of difficulty in determining how one can guess which teams make it all the way through. You have to pick the winners of every game played. How in the name of metaphysical certitude do you do that?

It looks for all the world to be as likely as being snatched off Earth by ETs who have come here from the great beyond.

I hear that sure-fire brackets have busted already. Well … there’s always next year.