Archives for the month of: March, 2015

I want to take this time to mention Dean Smith. He retired as the winningest coach in college basketball history. He recruited the first african american scholarship player for the University of North Carolina. He ran a clean program that saw 96.6 percent of his student athletes graduate. And it came out this week, that the legendary college basketball coach, created a trust that left every player who lettered for him while he was coach at North Carolina, 200 dollars. It was further proof to me that Dean Smith was one of the best. Not only one of the best coaches college basketball has ever seen, but also one of the best people.

The NCAA is currently in crisis. It has very clearly lost touch with its original purpose, protecting student athletes. Now it is a marketing entity focused on money, cronyism and personal vendettas. It needs a Dean Smith type of figure to stand for what should be the core mission of the NCAA. A man who stood up for every person, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation.

The NCAA’s headquarters lie in Indianapolis, at the heart of a state, Indiana, currently embroiled in controversy over an anti-gay law masquerading as protection of religious freedom. Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, issued a statement saying “The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events. We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.” And if you tuned out halfway through reading that you should know you aren’t alone. Mark Emmert continues to show he is skilled at saying what sounds right but then acting in direct opposition. You know what Mark? If you want to actually act like you are “concerned about how this legislation could affect [your] student-athletes,” you have the perfect platform. The final four takes place in Indianapolis this weekend, and maybe you can use the biggest platform in college sports to pay more than just lip service for equality. I know Dean Smith would.

If one current program is providing a perfect highlight of everything wrong with modern college athletics it is Dean Smith’s North Carolina program. Since Dean Smith retired, the University of North Carolina has created a program for its athletes that are filled with no-show classes and grossly inflated grades to keep their athletes eligible. I listened to famed boxing commentator, and former journalism student at UNC, Jim Lampley on the radio. He broke down in tears as he said that the only good that has come from Dean Smith’s dementia is that it meant he would never have to know what happened to the program he built and loved, after he left. Since he left college sports the NCAA has tragically lost its way and its come at the expense of countless kids who need college athletics to help them create a better life.

Thank you Mr. Smith. You will always permeate the ethos of college athletics as long as the values that you promoted live on. And I’m so sorry, because based on what I see in the NCAA of today, your memory and legacy deserve so much better than what we as sports fans have allowed to happen.

-Dylan

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This week we failed to mention that the college wrestling championships were held this week. I watched both the semifinals and the finals this past week. As a high school wrestler I probably have more interest in this sport that most but there were a few big standouts to me.

First, Isaiah Martinez, who as a freshman went undefeated (34-0) as a freshman. This California kid is a very quick and explosive wrestler who has a very bright future. I know that going undefeated for four years is difficult, only Cael Sanderson has done it, but I see Isaiah becoming the second to do so.

Second, a post about the NCAA wrestling championships would not be completed without talking about Logan Stieber. Four national championships has only been accomplished by three other people. Although his first two national championships were controversial, he still deserves to be on the Mount Rushmore of college wrestling. He is a technically sound wrestler who combines quickness with incredible technique and will not beat himself. He is always working, going for bonus point victories. As a wrestling fan I love to watch matches where wrestlers continue working and don’t try to win by stalling out their opponents. His ability to take shot after shot puts him at an elite level, and I cannot wait to see what he does on the international level.

Lastly, Mitchell Port, the wrestler that Stieber beat in the finals of the NCAA Championships. In the final, Port’s knee buckled while trying to defend a shot from Stieber. Port continued to wrestle the rest of the match, which still had about two rounds left, all while dragging that leg behind him while standing and unable to explode off of it while trying to escape. Watching that match was hard because Port clearly was compromised, but he still wrestled. In fact, Port was able to get a takedown late in the match and end it riding the four time champion out. His effort, heart, and never give up attitude were on full display. I hope the injury isn’t bad and he is able to make a full recovery.  Count me as a Mitchell Port fan.  He embodied what I loved about the sport of wrestling.

As I said earlier I wrestled in high school. I wrestled for my last two years and the reason why I am still passionate about the sport is because wrestling is a sport that is both individual and team oriented. It is an individual sport because each individual match is one versus one, if you lose there is only yourself to blame. But it is also a team sport, especially at the high school and collegiate level, because everyday you work with your teammates to get better. Blood, sweat, and tears are sacrificed to improve. When I wrestled I was never the best on my team but I sacrificed with the team and that made us really close friends. Wrestling is a tough sport, my work ethic is better and it has made me a better person. All of those reasons are why I still love wrestling, and I would suggest it to any young athlete looking for a sport.

Going forward we will be adding a news segment where we talk about the news in sports over the past week. This week, I just want to mention Steve Nash. He officially retired from the NBA. When he was in his prime, leading the Suns offense and winning two MVPs, Nash was one of the most fun basketball players to watch. There were four seasons where he went 50-40-90, that is at least 50% field goal percentage, 40% 3-point field goal percentage, and 90% free throw percentage. Doing this four times is incredible considering the fact that there have only been done ten times total. He was an eight time all-star, and in my opinion a first ballot hall of famer. I want to wish my fellow Santa Clara Bronco the best of luck in what ever he plans on doing next.

-Devin

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