Posted by rtmsf on August 15th, 2011
- The talk of the college sports universe throughout the weekend involved the notion of Texas A&M bolting the Big 12 for the (supposedly) greener pastures of the SEC. On Friday afternoon, it seemed to be nothing more than some wishful thinking on the part of the Aggies. By Saturday, though, ESPN was reporting that such a move was a done deal and that it could occur as soon as next summer. Then on Sunday, the SEC pulled the chair out from under its latest paramour, announcing that its committee of presidents and chancellors had met and “reaffirmed [its] satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment.” So what the hell happened here? How could A&M have been so confident in a place at the table so as to leave itself open to a very public rejection from the SEC, furthering the shame and feelings of inadequacy the school already suffers as a result of the monolithic school 100 miles to its west? Well, if you read between the lines of the SEC’s statement, you’ll see that the organization carefully left open the possibility of expansion in a way certain to satisfy the legal department. If TAMU’s Board of Regents approves exploration of such a move on Monday, expect to see things to continue toward the direction of the Aggies to the SEC in relatively short order. This isn’t over.
- North Dakota took its half-decade long fight over its nickname, the Fighting Sioux, to the top of the NCAA food chain on Friday, and still came away with the same result. The school will have to change its nickname or face banishment from hosting NCAA tournament games in any sport and cannot use the nickname at any NCAA-sponsored events. Additionally, the Big Sky Conference, which North Dakota hopes to soon join, has made it clear that refusal to change its nickname could jeopardize the school’s consideration for that league. Today — August 15, 2011 — is the court-imposed deadline put forth by the courts for UND to receive approval from the two Sioux tribes located in the state to justify keeping the name. Only one of the two gave its approval, and now the school will have to make other arrangements. For us, it comes down to the two afflicted parties. If both Sioux tribes were on board with it, we wouldn’t have a problem either; but, apparently, the Standing Rock Sioux were always against the nickname, so we agree with the NCAA and Mark Emmert that it’s probably for the best to scrap it going forward.
- We mentioned last week that Virginia Tech refused to clear junior forward Allan Chaney to play next season because of an affliction called viral myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can cause scarring. Despite significant testing at Penn and Virginia hospitals that led to team physicians at VT to state that Chaney has “persistent complications” from the disease, Chaney believes that he can find another school that will let him play. The option of wearing an internal defibrillator to monitor his heart harkens back to the scary collapse and near-death of former Tennessee forward Emanuel Negedu from a heart condition in 2009. UT would not allow him to play, but Negedu eventually got another chance at New Mexico last season before retiring from the sport permanently in April. Chaney mentions only a “2% risk” in his comments about health, but how many of us out there are willing to take a 1 in 50 shot on our mortality every day we step onto a basketball court? We certainly understand that it’s difficult to give up something that you love to do more than anything else in the world, but we sincerely hope that he finds peace on this issue and will not push himself toward an outcome that everyone will ultimately regret.
- A little transfer news not involving life-threatening heart conditions… LSU sophomore forward Matt Derenbecker announced over the weekend that he will be transferring to Dayton University, sight unseen. Derenbecker was a promising player in his only year at LSU, averaging 7/2 in 23 minutes per game for the Tigers. He becomes the third player to leave Trent Johnson’s program this offseason, though, which begs the continuing question as to whether the former Stanford coach will be able to get it done in Baton Rouge. After an outstanding first season where his team won the SEC and went to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, his last two years have been unmitigated disasters, having won only five conference games and 22 overall.
- The story of how former Kentucky center Josh Harrellson went from a benchwarmer to a key contributor on a Final Four team and an NBA Second Round draft pick is a well-known one, but you can also add citizen sheriff to the list of roles of which we never thought he was capable. According to WKYT-TV in Lexington, Harrellson and several of his friends encountered a drunk driver in a parking lot over the weekend who was so sloppy that he hit several vehicles trying to get his truck out. Realizing the danger of having such a person on the road, they leapt into action by jumping onto the moving truck and forcing the driver to stop so that they could take the keys out of the ignition. It’s an amazing story of heroism on those facts alone, but here’s the clincher — after the truck stopped, they realized that there were young children in the back seat of the vehicle. Forget playing Jared Sullinger straight-up in the NCAA Tournament — Harrellson and his buddies deserve a medal.