Category Archives: College

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.

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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.

Early Enrollees in College Football

NeelSwamy-Features Editor

Early enrollees are a relatively new concept that has been implemented in college football. An early enrollee is a senior who chooses to leave high school after his first senior year semester to start college in the spring. There has been a huge shift in the amount of early enrollees in this college football season.  The benefits of this decision stretch further than just the field for these players.

This decision can benefit a college student athlete outside of their athletic activities as well. It allows the student to get a head start on coursework, and allows them to get used to the college environment. These students include Chattahoochee alumni, Bryce Folsom[SR],  who felt as though “it helped me be able make an early impression on other players and coaches. I could get extra reps in, start training at the next level and be ready for what comes in the fall.”

These players are able to make direct impacts in college football spring games and can even start to make a name for themselves. Some notable prospects who made headlines in their games include Tre Lamar for Clemson who recorded a team high in tackles, and Jacob Eason who displayed he had what it took to be the starting quarterback for Georgia.

This pathway allows players to train and get ready even earlier and will definitely benefit them in the long run. It’s a smart move in terms of their careers and really shows how serious some players treat football. In doing so, they are putting themselves a step ahead of other recruits who will arrive in August. Hopefully this trend will work to further the game, and improve the overall performance of players.

 

Dear Financial Aid Office: Please Give Us More Money. Pretty Please.

MarisaSnelson-Ono

To attend or not to attend: that is the question for high school seniors who have been fortunate enough to be accepted into their dream school. Yet, in actuality, there is no question of any kind when your finances are involved—just the harsh, in-your-face truth. You either can afford the jaw-dropping cost of tuition, or you can’t.

Consider this scenario. The overworked and exhausted seniors, after months of waiting, finally get the thick letters and electronic notifications of acceptance from colleges. All is well—great, even—until they see that dreaded price tag. In desperation, they check their own bank account, their parents’ bank account, then back to their financial aid award letter. This process is repeated a couple of more times, until the numbers jump up from the page, slaps you across the face, giving you a big reality check. Well, there goes that naiveté.

By now they’ve already gotten into their “safety” schools, and have received a great financial package. Problem solved, right? What’s with all the unnecessary trauma and stress? Just pick that “safety” school already, your fate is sealed. Let’s remember that this is free money we’re talking about here. And these schools are giving it away, just like that. And think of the glorious, carefree life ahead of you: no college loans, no pressure. And not getting into your dream school isn’t the end of the world, according to those college grads who’ve been there and done that.

And true, many people will choose this option. Then there are others who are all just that desperate. And I mean really desperate. There will most likely be calling of financial aid offices, the humble begging for more money, and for their mercy. There is no shame here, just anguish and desolation. These seniors are not letting their four years of hard work go down the drain just yet. Some people just can’t—or won’t—let go. Some call this determination. Others call this stupidity.

And so, the debate and distress continues. Well, not really. The deadline for enrolling is coming up right around the corner.

UAB football program shutting down

NabeelKhan

On Dec. 2, the University of Alabama-Birmingham announced that their football program will be discontinued after the 2014 season. This decision came as a tragic shock to the players, coaches and fans of UAB football; a major program like this has not been shut down since Pacific University cancelled its team in 1995. University President Ray Watts cites the upward trend of the costs of running a football program as reason for his decision, but was reluctant to answer when asked about the figures.

UAB football players react to the news that their program is shutting down after the 2014 season.
UAB football players react to the news that their program is shutting down after the 2014 season. (Click to play)

Eradication of the football program could not have come at a worse time. The school had just hired head coach Bill Clark, whose invigorating style of coaching helped push UAB to its best record in years. At 6-6, UAB drastically improved and became bowl eligible for only the second time in its existence. Clark’s new regime had also boosted recruiting efforts for the school, providing the helping hand that the program needed to really get on its feet.

The real victims of this tragedy, however, are the players. With players of all different backgrounds, UAB was a place for its athletes to bond as brothers and receive a great education. One such athlete is recent Chattahoochee alum Collin Lisa. Collin accepted a scholarship to UAB in hopes that he would be able to get valuable playing time and break Roddy White’s receiving records at the school. Unfortunately, Collin and his teammates’ dreams have all come to a halt.

Like the 104 other members of his team, Collin now wonders what the future has in store for him, his school and his program.

 

(cover photo courtesy UAB Football Facebook page via Huffington Post)