All the attention this week has been the penalties handed down to Penn State after the debacle that occurred there continued to come to light. The NCAA took no prisoners on this one, with $60 million in fines, lost scholarships, a four-year postseason football ban, and the deletion of 111 victories dating back to 1998.
It will be interesting to see if this is just the start of the NCAA getting tough in other areas of major college sports.
For example, it seems recruiting violations appear more and more in the news. The question always persists whether it was ignorance of the rules or sophisticated cheating by coaches under pressure to win. Things only get worse when agents and the ever-present deep pocket alumni get their hand in the cookie jar.
And, how about the NCAA and the institutions themselves, always touting the student-athlete concept. Typically that can be a bragging point for the well-focused universities. But, it remains a fact that many so-called student-athletes only use the college period as a stepping stone to the pros.
In basketball, it can be one year and they’re gone.
It’s always been interesting to watch and listen to student athletes. Most are intelligent, well-spoken and carry themselves well. Others clearly don’t cut it.
I’m often perplexed when I see or hear about a student-athlete who has been charged with a crime, only to hear the coach immediately tell everyone what a great kid he is. Everyone makes mistakes and most everyone deserves a second chance to right the ship. But, it’s more important to get lives straightened out than to worry about the win-loss column. There are some that simply don’t have those priorities in order.
Next time you hear a student-athlete take on an interview, listen to what he says and how he says it. You’ll either be saying “this guy’s going a long way”, or you’ll be asking yourself “how can this person possibly complete a college-level course?”
Now, off the soapbox, and on to the lighter side of local sports.
The Monkey Rodeo (you knew I was going to head there) gets a clear five-star thumbs up from the Wild Bill entertainment review. Sam and Belle Star were popular bronco-busters for sure, with many of the fans at the ballpark howling with approval. I must admit, I was worried for a couple innings my banana-ringed cowboy hat was getting the laughter.
Thank goodness the Salem left fielder did not have to encounter a bouncing hit down the line after one of the border collies that Belle Star was riding decided to take a poop in the outfield grass during the stunningly interrupted goat-herding romps.
Upward and onward . . . After the completion of their six-week regular season, swimming action gets serious this weekend with the RVAA championship at the Salem YMCA. Stonegate looks to repeat as RVAA champs, with several other clubs poised to drop the cannonball.
Congrats to the Roanoke Post 3 American Legion baseball team for going undefeated in the West Division regular season and following it up with the tournament title Tuesday night at Kiwanis Field.
Now, to the mailbag, where banana hats and TV test patterns get attention this week.
Dear Wild Bill: I saw you at Salem last Friday night. Did the traveling monkey group talk you into wearing that banana cowboy hat? (Frances/Roanoke)
No, Frances. The hat was mine. I feel it’s important to be prepared for a monkey rodeo. Sorta like owning a tuxedo.
Dear Mr. Broadcaster: What happened to you unveiling your TV test pattern for the Mill Mountain web-cam? Was this just another of your stunts? (John/Bedford)
Au contraire, John. The official Wild Bill Indian test pattern has been received. I will provide a picture in the next couple weeks – just in time for high school football predictions. And, yes, my Ouija Board is all tuned up for another season.
Until next week, I am cleaning my hands from the monkey rodeo and getting set to have my palm read from Madam Zelda. Predictors need to hit the ground running.
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