Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What, no Rashaan Salaam?

In the end, Alex Tyus figured it out. Him transferring from UF to try and become a three just didn't make any sense. No high end team was going to look for him to come in as a small forward, and any small program that would kill to have an athlete of Tyus's ability would be even more likely to need him as a power player than UF was. It's hard not to wonder about kids who express a desire to leave and then return. Is the commitment to doing things Billy Donovan's way truly there? For Tyus, you can only hope the answer is yes because he should benefit enormously from moving to the power forward spot next to Vernon Macklin.

The NCAA is simply amazing. Even when given an obviously positive story, a way to promote the best ideals of what college athletics are supposed to be, they find a way to screw it up. I mentioned in February that the NCAA was refusing permission for Mark Richt to attend the graduation ceremony of one of his signees. The player in question was a possible valedictorian and wanted Richt to come to his speech. Considering the young man has already signed with UGA, what recruiting benefit would it give Richt? Are we to believe coaches would start using this as some sort of loophole - "commit to us and I'll definitely come to your graduation" - to recruit every kid? Given the obvious silliness of this, Richt looked into a waiver so he could go to his future player's graduation and hear his speech. The answer back? Waiver request denied. The explanation is even more maddening. Because the player in question isn't valedictorian, the NCAA wouldn't approve the waiver. He's still giving the same speech, but they say it's not significant enough to bend on an entirely unnecessary rule. This quote about NCAA recruiting policies from new Oregon coach Chip Kelly...

“If it makes sense for a student-athlete or it makes sense for a coach, then you can’t do it”

speaks volumes about just how ridiculous this situation is. To say a waiver would have been approved if the future UGA player was valedictorian only makes the decision more foolish. It's inane to say the rule was worth breaking for a valedictorian but not a salutatorian.

McFarlane Toys is coming out with their first set of NCAA football action figures. Six players have been chosen: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady (no word on whether it'll be him standing next to Lloyd Carr watching Drew Henson actually play), Adrian Peterson, Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, and JaMarcus Russell. Is it just me, or does that last one not quite fit in with the other five? Also, can you imagine how many thousands of figures the Tebow version of this will sell?

Who's the most influential person in the world? The Pope or the US President perhaps? Oprah? Sorry, no. According to TIME magazine's survey, the answer is moot. That's not a descriptive adjective, it's the moniker of the founder of an internet community. It's somewhat hard for me to believe the most influential person in the world is a guy I'd never heard of. The most voted for athlete wasn't Tiger Woods, which I would have guessed. It was boxer Manny Pacquiao. Speaking of Tiger, I get to cover him this week at the Quail Hollow Championships in Charlotte. Haven't seen him play since the 2002 US Open - should be fun.

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