A GRIP ON SPORTS
We chatted about the Seahawks yesterday, the Cougars the day before that. A lot of you don't want to discuss the Mariners anymore – it's hard to blame you – so they seem to be off the table. So what do we talk about today? I guess there is always the NCAA. Read on.
• Oh yes, the NCAA. The organization that just keeps on giving. Guys like me, I mean. After all, the NCAA's most recent literal enforcement of a misbegotten rule is just too good to pass up. If you haven't heard the story of Steven Rhodes and his run-in with the NCAA, you should read this story from Sunday's Murfreesboro Daily News (that's Rhodes in a picture accompanying the story). I found it yesterday while I was waiting for a movie to start (the not-as-funny-as-it-looks “We're the Millers”) and almost spit out my diet soda. In summary, Rhodes, a 24-year-old former Marine, wants to play football this year, his first at Middle Tennessee State. He can't, because the NCAA said he violated one of it's bylaws by playing recreational football at his air station in San Diego. He must sit out this year, being dealt with the same in a sense as someone transferring from another institution. The irony is, if Rhodes had begun his college career before he entered the military, he would have received an exemption, as military service stops your eligibility clock just like religious missions do. But because he worked for a year, then joined the Marines, he doesn't receive that exemption. Now I understand the rule. The NCAA doesn't want a kid leaving high school and playing a few years of semi-pro football before entering college. It's akin to minor league training. But there was a paragraph in the original story that caught my eye and gets me a bit bothered.“Daryl Simpson, MTSU’s assistant athletic director/compliance, said there is no culprit in Rhodes’ case. The NCAA never intended to penalize military service members. The current rule is simply an oversight after many revisions of bylaws over the past four decades.” OK then. If this is true and the NCAA feels this is an oversight caused by its changes, then fix it. Now. And let the guy play. Someone with some sense should step in and take responsibility before the organization gets raked over the coals in the national media. Wait, too late. Well then someone should step in and fix it just because it's the right thing to do.
• WSU: It's time to batten down the hatches. The opener with Auburn is less than two weeks away, so the Cougars will begin getting into full game mode starting tomorrow. Before then, however, they practiced last night and Christian Caple was able to get a rough look at the traveling squad for this blog post. He also has a morning post with links, including one to his position preview on the linebackers.
• Gonzaga: Tickets for this year's Maui Invitational (Nov. 25-27) go on sale Wednesday at the tournament's website. Yes, the Zags are playing, along with Baylor, Syracuse and Minnesota, among others.
• EWU: The Eagles are back at it today in preparation for their opener at Oregon State and Jim Allen will be there. Before that, however, he has a morning post with links as well.
• Indians: It was a tight game last night at Avista until the Hillsboro Hops scored a run in the eighth to take a one-run lead and three more in the ninth for the 5-1 victory. Chris Derrick has his game story and a blog post.
• Mariners: One of the more maddening things about the M's is how close they are to being a successful team. Take this road trip. They've played six times against two of the American League's better teams, the Rays and Rangers. And they are a Danny Farquhar ninth-inning meltdown away from being 4-2 on the trip. Instead they are 3-3 heading into Oakland. … Farquhar didn't meltdown last night, working a flawless ninth in the M's 4-3 victory over Texas, made possible by Kyle Seager's run-scoring ninth-inning double (pictured). … Michael Saunders would like to be in the lineup a bit more.
• We are back on the radio today and we will be joining the Patchen, Lukens and Osso show (taking the place of the last guy) all week. You can listen here between 3 and 6 p.m. We'll be back here tomorrow, of course. Until then …