Wish I could say I was thrilled the North Carolina Tar Heels triumphed over Gonzaga in the NCAA Men’s basketball final…but I was definitely rooting for the Zags. Here’s the deal with North Carolina— as good as their players were during the regular season and down the playoff stretch, there was the constant shadow of academic cheating clouding the entire program.
I don’t blame the players for opting out on going to class or not writing their own term papers as long as the administration was covering for them. You take what the defense gives you at the time, I suppose. But I do blame the NCAA for failing to create an even playing field among the competing schools and universities. How does North Carolina get away with it but Podunk University doesn’t?
UNC head coach Roy Williams gets a $500,000 bonus on top of his $2 million salary for taking his team to the Final Four. How in the world do you expect Roy to blow the academic whistle on his own program?
At least in the NFL we don’t have to deal with such double standards of discipline—unless it’s happening and I’m too stupid or shallow to notice.
For example, the Eagles made no attempt to cover up or minimize their star tackle Lane Johnson’s substance abuse issue last season. In fact, I thought it was more like the Eagles organization bailed on Johnson. The idea, I guess, was to shut face and take the suspension without protest—lest we give the NFL police even further motive to dig deeper.
In that sense, the NFL is a cleaner business than NCAA basketball— which undeniably still believes in denial until proven guilty.
Oh well— that brings us to the whole John Ross controversy as to whether this guy is for real… not for academic reasons, but for physical concerns.
This from Tim McManus at ESPN.com:
“The Philadelphia Eagles were first in line to check out John Ross.
“With shoulder surgery scheduled for a few days after Washington’s pro day last month, Ross had time to go on just one official visit prior to the procedure. That visit ended up being to Philadelphia.
“I got a chance to talk to the whole offensive staff pretty much, [offensive coordinator Frank] Reich, [wide receivers] coach [Mike] Groh, [head] coach [Doug] Pederson. It was exciting,” Ross told the NFL Network.
“Ross, who set a combine record with a 4.22-second 40-yard dash, is a longtime admirer of fellow speedster DeSean Jackson, and therefore, the Eagles. Pederson, during his discussion with reporters at the owners meetings last week, said enough good things about Ross to suggest the team might be a fan of his as well.
“Well, a guy like that, he’s dynamic, has good speed, elusive, quick, short-area quickness is the things you see on film with him and on tape,” said Pederson. “He’s a guy, I think, wherever he ends up, could potentially be a difference-maker because of the speed and that elusive quickness with the ball in his hand.”
Ross caught 81 balls for 1,150 yards (14.2 average) and a Pac 12-leading 17 touchdowns for Washington last season. He also had a rushing touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown. Ross led the NCAA in kick return yards (939) in 2014. He had microfracture surgery on his right knee following that sophomore campaign, though, and was sidelined for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
“Well … no,” said Pederson, when asked if Ross’ injury history scares him. “I think, too, with the sports science that’s evolving today and I know what we do in our building, it’s something that we monitor. We can help players, obviously.Jason Peters, he played all 16 games last year and played at a high level. So there’s ways of keeping these guys healthy.”
The Eagles are in much better shape at wide receiver after signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. That hasn’t stopped them from looking at a good amount of receiver draft prospects, however. So far, the list of wideouts they’ve been linked to includes Ross, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, Clemson’s Mike Williams, Chris Godwin of Penn State and Shelton Gibson of West Virginia.
“Despite the recent infusion of free-agent talent, the long-term outlook at the position remains cloudy. Jeffery is on a one-year deal and the Smith contract in structured so they can cut ties at season’s end if they choose. With little else in the pipeline, there’s reason to remain on the hunt for receivers.
“Whether Ross remains the best option at No. 14 overall when the Eagles are on the clock remains to be seen, but the Eagles are doing their homework just in case.”
Personally, I am wary of Ross’ physical injury history. But I am happy to report he went to all his classes and never hired a guy like me to write his term papers for him.