When this week began we were less than six months away from kick off. No wonder the spike in newsworthy headlines.
1. 'Bama meets Obama. The 2009 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide were welcomed to the White House by President Obama on Monday, March 8.
2. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has suspended starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli for one year after he plead guilty to second degree burglary charges. Star running back LaMichael James will miss one game next year. Some think that losing Masoli is not a big deal and Oregon should still be the front runner in the Pac-10. I think it blows the Pac-10 wide open. USC is still a big question mark, Stanford lost Toby Gerhart, Washington is a wild card that will impact who wins the championship. Maybe this will be Oregon State's year. Mike Riely consistently overachieves with his players, and the Rodgers brothers are back. I applaud Coach Kelly for being as bold as he is with disciplining his players. If more coaches adopted his strict standards we would see a great improvement in society.
3. Wisconsin running back will miss all of spring practice. He is recovering from ankle surgery, and the recovery is slower than originally expected. I don't think this will impact him come fall. It is a fairly common practice for veteran players with any questionable health issues to participate minimally in spring drills. He knows the offense and has plenty of experience. Since he is not in tip top shape he does not need to be subjected to the physical part of spring practice. Let him come back in the fall ready to go.
4. Mike Leach testified as part of his lawsuit against Texas Tech. Nothing has been resolved yet, but his attorney's are increasingly confident. There is no question that Mike Leach did not act with prudence, but were his actions enough to justify his dismissal? A video of Leach using profane and derogatory language with his players after two games last season was released this week. While this is another "bad judgment" by Leach to talk like that with cameras rolling, I can't imagine he did anything different than most of the other coaches across the country. Maybe this negative exposure of Leach will bring a change in the language used by coaches, which would be another improvement to society.
5. The BCS and Congress go at it again. Another round of government involvement with the BCS started this week. Senators Orrin Hatch and Max Baucus. This one centers around financial disclosure to determine whether the BCS is withholding money from government funded schools. Every time the government starts to get involved the debate over the government involvement starts again. I have stated my general feelings on this before. I just want to counter all those who argue that the government has more important things to worry about. If that is how you feel, why are you worrying so much about it? Don't you have more important things to worry about?
6. Notre Dame Athletic Director hints at Notre Dame giving up independent status. He said that conference expansion may force the Fighting Irish to relinquish its independent status. The only thing that would force Notre Dame to join a conference is years of mediocrity. Win and the money takes care of itself.
7. Paying college football and basketball players. Ed O'Bannon has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for not paying him and others for using their likeness in video games. You can read the full story here. That brings up the question, should college athletes get paid? We all accept that college football is a big cash cow. In many indirect ways, college players are compensated for their efforts. Most of them are on scholarship. They don't pay a dime for their education. The best players are drafted and given millions of dollars by professional teams. Players can be busts in the pros, but they still get those mega dollars because of their play in college. How about the all-expenses paid trips? How much would you pay to visit President Obama in the White House? I don't think anyone from Alabama paid anything. The Universities are providing free access to personalized training and to top notch facilities (in most cases). The rest of us have to pay for these. Of course, I have not seen a break down of "profits" for universities or the NCAA, so maybe the athletes are not being fairly compensated. Then again, how many of us are being "fairly compensated" at our day jobs?
That's it for this week. Don't be shy with your feedback, but do be polite and respectful. As for those waiting for the BCS series, that should be ready in one week.