Category Archives: College

Comeback $eason

JaydenChin, Staff Reporter

Johnny Manziel made his football debut in 2012 when he was a redshirt freshman Quarterback for Texas A&M. During the team’s first year in the Southeastern Conference, Manziel broke numerous FBS and SEC records. He made himself known by being the first freshman in NCAA football history to be awarded the Heisman Trophy after passing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 1,000 yards that season.

 In 2014, Manziel was disappointingly drafted 22nd overall to the floundering Cleveland Browns. Despite having a few good games, he struggled with consistency. But Manziel’s numerous off-field controversies are what led to his release at the end of his second season with the Browns. Sure, he had problems on the field, but proper coaching could have developed his mechanics into that of a solid dual-threat quarterback. Partying was his problem. He had been known to enjoy himself quite often during his time in college and everyone expected him to be the same when he went pro. When he was demoted to third string quarterback behind Brian Hoyer and Austin Davis, a video surfaced of him partying in Texas over that same bye week. His own teammates deemed his performance a joke. His work ethic and commitment were just not that of an elite, franchise quarterback.

Manziel’s NFL career seemed to be over for good. His presence, though,persisted as he was constantly seen hanging out with A-list celebrities and athletes. Many saw a comeback in the near future but he never confirmed or denied. After almost two years of wondering if Johnny “Football’ or “Money” Manziel would ever live up to his nicknames it finally seems that he will. In 2017 he completed a substance abuse program and got engaged to his model girlfriend. Manziel announced his attempt at an NFL comeback on social media with an exciting video of him completing drills on the field in great shape. He also stated that he was in talks with a CFL team but never reached an agreement. Instead, Manziel joined the NFL’s Spring development league and also led Texas A&M’s pro day where he dazzled scouts and coaches with his impressive improvement. As Manziel has stated on multiple tweets and Instagram posts, “it’s comeback season.”

 

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Louisville Exposed

JaydenChin, Staff Reporter

As a number one overall seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the University of Louisville Men’s basketball team was ready to win it all. After overcoming a gruesome injury to their star player Kevin Ware. The team went on to defeat Duke in the Elite Eight and the talented Wichita State team in the Final Four. On April 8, 2013, the Louisville Cardinals were set to play Michigan in the NCAA Championship. With renowned Head Coach Rick Pitino, Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 despite several lead changes and a stunning 17-point, first-half performance by sophomore Spike Albrecht who replaced star point guard Trey Burke who had picked up two early fouls.

The hard work and dedication this Louisville team put forth in their efforts to win it all will sadly go to waste as the team was informed on June 17, 2017, that they must vacate their National Championship and Final Four appearances in the wake of a sex scandal. After an NCAA investigation, it was found that a member of Louisville’s coaching staff had hired prostitutes and strippers for current players and potential recruits. On Feb. 20, 2018, the decision was upheld, and they officially vacated their glorious National Championship win as well as 123 wins between the 2012 and 2015 seasons. Further Investigations also discovered that an Adidas Executive conspired to pay $100,000 to the family of 2017 recruit Brian Bowen under the terms that he plays for Louisville and later represents Adidas when he goes pro.

After 16 years, Rick Pitino is out as Louisville’s Head Coach and the future of the team is uncertain. The 2018 NCAA Tournament is rolling around and Louisville didn’t make the cut. Will the team be able to rebuild and be a contender once again?

Is Your Favorite Team Cheating?

MatthewKohn, Sports/News Editor

A couple of months ago, news broke that the FBI was launching a wide-scale probe into the NCAA attempting to uncover the payments made to basketball student athletes. As fans waited anxiously hoping that their school or favorite players were not incriminated in these reports, the FBI initially released a small list of schools thought to be involved, but as of the past few weeks, that list as grown substantially and named specific players that illegally received money.

The list of players not only includes current college athletes, but also past players, some of whom have gone on to play in the NBA. Some notable players are Dennis Smith Jr., Kyle Lowry, Markelle Fultz, Miles Bridges, Collin Sexton and even Chattahoochee’s own Jaron Blossomgame. The list goes on to name dozens of other players from over twenty-five schools. These payments vary from large loans valued in the tens of thousands of dollars to simple payments for dinners or flights for the recruit.

The FBI is also investigating coaches. One that may be under fire is Arizona head coach Sean Miller, who was reportedly recorded on a wiretap discussing a payment of $100,000 to the wildcats star forward DeAndre Ayton. The investigation is still ongoing and more people will likely be incriminated before the FBI finishes their probe.

The NCAA has not issued any sanctions yet to the programs, but they are likely coming. However, the issue of paying recruits will likely live on for as long as student athletes are not allowed to be paid. This investigation is finally shining a national spotlight on how corrupt the NCAA actually is and raising the question of whether student athletes should be paid. After all, the NCAA reported to make over one billion dollars during the 2016-2017 year, and much of that can be credited to the exciting players across the different sports drawing fans to the games or watching them on TV. So, maybe this scandal will not only negatively affect the schools involved, but also change the entire landscape of college sports as we know it.

Bulldogs Championship Run Continues

MatthewKohn, News/Sports Editor

It’s officially that time of year again. With the holidays quickly approaching, that means that college football is drawing to a close. Yes, unfortunately football is almost over, but what’s left are easily the best and most exciting games of the year. This year, Georgia’s own UGA will be competing on the biggest stage of them all: The College Football Playoff.

To recap, in the SEC championship game, the Bulldogs put on a show in a convincing win over the then-second-ranked Auburn Tigers, the same team that they had lost to just three weeks prior. Throughout the game, the Georgia defense swallowed up Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson, limiting him to just 44 yards after being gashed by him for over 150 yards in the previous matchup. For the offense, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm continued avoiding mistakes while the running backs wore out the tough Auburn defense. For the first time since 2005, the Dawgs are the sole champions of the most competitive conference in football.

After winning the SEC, the question was no longer whether Georgia would get into the playoff, but who they would play in the semifinals. The committee decided to pencil in UGA as the number three team in the country, set off to face number two Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. The teams will face off in Pasadena on the first day of the new year. If Georgia is able to slow down the high-powered Oklahoma offense, they have a great chance at reaching the finals back in Atlanta. In what essentially could be a home game, they would face either Alabama or Clemson for the title.

Colleges Illegally Paying Recruits?

MatthewKohn, News and Sports Editor

In 1987, the NCAA handed out the only death penalty in history to the Southern Methodist University football program. The death penalty is the harshest punishment a college can receive because it bans the school from competing in that sport for at least one full year. SMU was shut down for the entire ‘87 year for paying recruits to sign with the team, including future hall-of-fame and all-time great running back Eric Dickerson. Since that one year ban, the Mustangs have not been a relevant football program and are fighting to return to the level of play that they were once known for.

Thirty years later, the NCAA is looking at another situation where the enforcement of the death penalty may be warranted. In the past couple of weeks the news of a massive college basketball scandal has surfaced. The FBI has been investigating certain coaches and overall businesses of eight different colleges. Multiple coaches have been accused of receiving money to pay recruits to sway them to play for their school. Also, Adidas has been under investigation for providing young stars large amounts of money to play for schools that Adidas represents. The programs that have been impacted by the FBI investigation thus far include: Louisville, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Southern California, South Carolina, Miami and Alabama.

Of these eight schools, the University of Louisville is under the most scrutiny due to the extremity of the accusations and their past issues with the NCAA. Soon after news of the scandal was released, Louisville fired their hall-of-fame coach, Rick Pitino, along with their athletic director. This is also not Louisville’s first NCAA violation during Pitino’s tenure as head coach. Just last season,Louisville was involved in a scandal that provided escorts and exotic dancers to potential recruits in order to sway them to sign with the Cardinals. That scandal ended with Louisville not being eligible to compete in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. However, the scandal currently being investigated will not go away as easily. Around $100,000 was paid to a single recruit identified as Brian Bowen, who has since been suspended indefinitely for accepting the bribe to commit to Louisville. Also, because the FBI is also involved,it is likely that the punishments are even more severe. If Louisville is able to escape the death penalty, they will still likely be hit with a multi-year suspension from competing in postseason tournaments. Louisville would also lose a large amount of scholarship funds in this scenario.

The other schools will likely receive punishments of less severity, but this type of spotlight will surely tarnish the reputation of those schools. The domino effect has already started though, as many top recruits that have committed to these programs have started decommitting, including five-star Anfernee Simons, who decommitted from Louisville just days after the news broke. This is just the beginning, as recruiting will become a nightmare for the schools involved in this scandal because the schools will have less scholarships to offer and players will not want to go to a school that has a tarnished reputation.

It is likely that the scandal will go on for weeks or even months and that more schools will be found to have been involved. When the FBI finishes it’s investigation and the NCAA hands out the punishments, the results will have an everlasting effect on all of the people and programs involved. This scandal will end careers, ruin the reputations of many and should be a wakeup call to anyone even thinking of doing something corrupt in the NCAA.

 

GO SPORTS!

Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and LSU are just some of the schools in the SEC. It’s just a handful of schools, but if you go to one, there’s nothing better.

Going to an SEC school, no matter which one, is going to be big on one thing. That’s right…GREEK LIFE. To some people it’s considered “paying for friends,” but at an SEC school it’s a way of life. Going Greek definitely has its benefits: from philanthropy, making lasting friendships and business connections to experiencing the true magic of college. But before all these perks there is some work that goes into joining. As seniors in high school we think about our colleges, but while some of us have yet to decide, others are contemplating what sorority they want and the steps to get there. Future LSU student, Caroline McCullars (SR), stated that “the whole process is time-consuming, and you definitely have to know someone who knows someone to be able to get in a good sorority. The process involves getting recommendations from former sorority members and letters of approval from girl’s who were in your (chapter in the array of sororities at the specific school). At the same time you have to be researching all the sororities. Their philanthropy, sorority colors and the kind of people that are in each one.” It’s a gruesome process, but at the end of the day it’s all worth the preparation because Saturday tailgates wouldn’t be the same kind of experience.

Speaking of tailgates, a little known fact about going to an SEC school….it’s ALWAYS football season. “Not going to lie growing up an LSU football fan may have swayed my decision. But when you’re going to an SEC school, you can’t help but become a diehard fan of the sport,” mentioned Caroline McCullars. Becoming a fan includes believing in all the superstitions, dressing in your team’s colors and memorizing all the cheers and chants for those Saturday nights after the game when you find yourself at Waffle House with a herd of people screaming in victory.

For those who don’t know, like myself prior to uncovering what goes into becoming a student at these schools, SEC stands for Southeastern Conference. Also known as southern football, so you can only assume that there is southern charm everywhere. Future attendee, Caroline McCullars commented, “I grew up with southern charm, my whole family is from Louisiana so I guess I’m use to it all, but even I’m amazed when I visit the LSU campus. The buildings, people and food are just filled with it.” These elite schools aren’t just for watching sports though; they  provide some of the best education in the U.S. Southern-style cooking, a great education and a community that anyone can be a part of. This is just a little taste of why the SEC way is the best way.

Former Hooch Star Excels In College Spotlight

MatthewKohn, Staff Reporter

With the 2016 college basketball season underway, hundreds of college athletes are attempting to make a name for themselves and make it to the NBA. One player to keep an eye on throughout the season is the Clemson Forward and Chattahoochee product, Jaron Blossomgame. Blossomgame had a terrific Junior year last season and was projected to be a mid-to-late second round pick. He decided to come back to college for his senior year and improve his draft stock. By just staying in college, experts are already predicting him to be a first round pick.

In 2015, Blossomgame was one of the best players in the entire ACC. He was named to the All-ACC first team by being in the top three in scoring and winning ACC player of the week after great games against Duke and Miami. Blossomgame averaged over eighteen points and six rebounds in just over thirty-four minutes per game throughout the season. He also shot extremely well, making over fifty percent of his shots from the field and forty-four percent from three. Last season was a year that turned the former Chattahoochee star into a collegiate star.

This season, the six foot seven Clemson star is trying to prove why he needs to be taken early in the 2017 NBA draft. Blossomgame has great size, exceptional athletic ability and produces at an elite level. He has already been named to the Naismith Player of the Year Watch List, a list of just fifty players that are nominated to become the player of the year at the end of the season. Blossomgame has the potential to improve his draft stock and be one of the top picks in the upcoming draft. The former Chattahoochee High School student has a chance to become a national star.