Education for college athletes is still sorely lacking
On May 18, 1989, Dexter Manley left the nation in shock—at least those who didn’t know the score until then—when he testified before a U.S. Senate panel on literacy.
Manley, at the time, was a star defensive end in the NFL with Washington. Prior to that, he had enrolled academically to become a senior at Oklahoma State under head coach Jimmy Johnson, who later coached in the NFL and then landed with Fox Sports.
That day, Manley revealed that his entire background as a full-fledged scholarship student-athlete was fraudulent, as he could not read or write.
Manley had a learning disability, which made it harder to pass or even gain admission to most universities. Yet the system has, predictably, failed him.
Many were shocked and appalled. Moral outrage promulgated by the national media followed.
And this gnashing of teeth over such a sickening story of winning at all costs lasted about, oh, a week.
Then it was back to college football and basketball as usual, with colleges serving as fronts for teams put together with all the right stuff – including loopholes, winks and nods. head.
By 1989, TV money had long been established as the root of both semi-literacy and rising criminality among “student-athletes,” thus the incentive to act on Manley’s painful history was nil.
Facilitators, such as ESPN, made no value judgments beyond national rankings and the popularity of schools to program.
In fact, in an astonishing piece of on-air rationalization, ESPN college basketball pundit Jay Bilas once said that it wasn’t important that recruited players take lessons because simply being on campus improves ‘socialization skills’.
Then there was the University of North Carolina academic scandal, in which athletic recruits, for 18 years, maintained their eligibility with A grades in courses not presented or fabricated. 2005 NBA No. 1 pick Rashad McCants claimed that after nearly failing, he made UNC’s academic dean’s list — four A’s included — without attending a class. This claim has been refuted by some teammates and coaches.
Today, and virtually every day and for too many consecutive years, NFL and NBA players with little college education demonstrate their minimal literacy and lack of social skills.
Last Sunday, after the Bears’ victory over the 49ers, Chicago defensive back Jaylon Johnson, a three-year-old from the University of Utah, was asked to assess the play of opposing QB Trey Lance.
Johnson: “He’s not doing anything.”
The last of an endless series.
That’s what big-ticket college football and basketball is increasingly producing. And for those semi-literates with no education or social skills – all college students – who the overwhelming majority don’t make the pros can come back from where they were recruited.
No upside down, all the way down. Dexter Manley’s shocking Senate testimony was hardly worth a shrug of the shoulders.
Torres’ showboating costs Yanks a base again
It doesn’t matter if the Amazon Prime Video Yankees run away with the AL East, they’re still in jeopardy after the season if they continue to play Aaron Boone Baseball, the kind that leaves them inexcusably short of the base they’re on. should be.
Wednesday, Gleyber Torres. Still. With a 4-2 lead at ninth, runner at second, Torres hit a deep to the center. At first he posed close to the plate as if he thought he had hit a home run. Then he ran to the first, looking. It wasn’t until he saw the ball drop from the heel of Abraham Almonte’s glove near the rolling gate to center field at Fenway Park that he ran.
Torres reached second place, standing, when he should have finished third, standing. Yet he had the energy to demonstrate his smiling self-glorification towards the Yankees dugout. “Yeah! Check me out!
YES then presented an isolated recording. Torres was seen posing, then jogging. Yet neither Michael Kay nor David Cone said anything. The standard YES Network insult: viewers are too dark to see or know better.
In the last playoffs, the Yankees were one game away and lost the wild card game to the Red Sox, 6-2, in Boston. In that one, all or nothing, Giancarlo Stanton landed a “home run” high off the wall in one.
From day one of this season, Boone should have told his troops that those days were over. They are no longer going to choose to downplay the Yankees’ chances of victory. Running to first base is no longer an option.
But nothing has changed. No matter where and when, he’s good with inexcusably bad baseball.
A dear friend and generous volunteer community elder in central New Jersey attended a recent board meeting where a Jewish Family Services therapist said he had become “overwhelmed” with young people gambling customers.
My friend paraphrased the therapist: “They all thought they knew the sport, so they would all make a fortune.”
Of course. These sports betting operations know who they are targeting and why. You see their marks in TV commercials – young adults, hitting the bullseye, often with backwards-facing team caps, celebrating another cashless win. Nobody loses!
And everyone is in on it, all hungry for their share of the losses. Our sports commissioners, team owners, television and radio network owners and all forms of commercial media want their share of the action and the devastation.
SNY has a tight strike zone
Reader Jim Curnal, an astute baseball observer, notes that SNY’s superimposed “say-it-all” strike zone box is way off, and he sent in screenshots as proof. The box shows that the strike zone is from the waist to the knees. MLB’s prescribed strike zone extends from what is called “the letters,” well above the waistline, to just below the knees.
Now what? The same media that spent a week spouting the blatant lie that Serena Williams is the best person to ever play tennis must now point out that Roger Federer, a gracious champion and gentleman who retires next week, was no not quite up to the standards set by Williams? After all, the best Federer could do was finish second.
What we speculated here months ago is still a possibility: an Aaron Judge record home run appearing only on — exclusively on — Amazon Prime Video, the Yankees’ replacement for Ch. 11.
All about Aaron Judge and his pursuit of the home run record:
Slightly exaggerated claim of the week: Ch. 4 sportscaster Bruce Beck declared the Giants’ Week 1 game on Monday, “A win for the ages!”
Reader Joe Martiningano, on Jets head coach Robert Saleh: “If he wants to ‘take the receipts,’ he should work the door at Costco.”
There’s a new one circulating on TV. Rather than saying ‘fumble’, you go for a long form, thus failing ‘ball safety’. It is a second cousin of the Discipline Twins, “Arm” and “Eye”.
To think that Jack Buck, a pro of pros, used to call “Monday Night Football” on national radio. Now we’re stuck with “Hollerin'” Kevin Harlan, whose key to modern success is shouting so often and so loudly that listeners often have no idea what he’s shouting.
It might be time to freshen up a bit. Mets radio on WCBS 880 continues to include ads for Key Foods supermarkets that remind us, “Baseball is back!
I was flattered to receive updates from Anthony Varvaro’s proud grandfather as Anthony progressed to pitching for the Braves in the 2010s. I was told that regardless of whether he make it big, he’s special, a love for friends, family and strangers. We had Staten Island in common.
Varvaro – father of three, St. John’s graduate and Port Authority police officer – was killed last week on his way to a 9/11 memorial when his car was allegedly hit by a driver at misinterpretation. He was 37 years old. Damn it.