First Round Draft Thoughts

 Last night we were treated to four hours of Draft coverage on ESPN, and it was as typical a draft coverage as there usually is. You got to hear Mel Kiper Jr., and Todd McShay spew their opinions for four solid hours, plus you heard from all the usual suspects. Sometimes there are good things that come from the Draft, then there are things that we can do without.

But once the first pick is made, that is all a moot point as NFL fans across the country start looking at and hoping their team makes the right call. The Carolina Panthers were the first team up and as they were expected to do, they chose Cam Newton with the first pick. As soon as the pick was announced, there were tons of people who were ready to anoint Cam as the next big bust, and there were people ready to label him a hall of famer.

While the guy has never taken an NFL snap, those thoughts seem like a snap judgement and unfair to some respect. But as with every number one pick, there will be a lot of hope and promise heading into the new season. As for the rest of the draft, picks clicked off one by one and were just about as expected. But the first surprise of the night had to be when the 49ers chose Aldon Smith out of Missouri and then the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to get Jake Locker.

Locker going 8th was a big surprise to everyone because everyone outside of Todd McShay had him going in the 2nd round. After that shock, the draft clicked off at a good pace with pretty much everyone taking what was to be expected. While I am not considered a “draftnik” and I don’t spend hours looking at it. I think there were some good moves throughout the night. But the one thing people have to realize, is that there is a huge jump for these guys going from college to the pros.

So whether or not you love or hate your teams pick in round one. remember there are 6 more rounds to go and they will probably make some moves that will improve the team. So, prepare yourself for Round 2 tonight and I am sure there will be more surpirses and shocking picks in the next couple days. But the one thing a fan must remember about the following rounds, is that these are the guys who will contribute the most, because most of these picks are the unseen guys who don’t get the glory or a top pick.

Year of the NCAA; Crackdowns and investigations make headlines

Since the start of 2010, there has been one constant theme in college sports and it continues into the first part of 2011. NCAA crackdowns and investigations have almost become a daily occurrence and breaking news on every news wire across the country. This seems like a cyclical thing that happens every 5-10 years, the NCAA decides to get tough and clean up everything that may have been overlooked for the last few years to the previous decade.

 The one thing that really got the ball rolling here was the final decision on the USC and Reggie Bush investigation that took years to complete. Then before the start of this past college football season, we had what was coined as “agent gate” where the NCAA was investigating North Carolina’s football team and it ended with some suspensions and some players being kicked off the team. But that seemed to be the sign of the times where every other story written was some school was self-reporting this, or this team had to meet with the NCAA about that. It just became a never ending line of violations and compliance issues that dominated the papers everyday but on Saturday. 

The one story that really got everyone going was the breaking news halfway through the season about Cam Newton supposedly being shopped to Mississippi State for $180,000. This was a soap opera story at its finest. Every opponent took their shots and continues to do so, but the real questionable thing that happened here is the fact that Cam got suspended prior to the SEC championship game, then was re-instated 24 hours later. Then all he did was go on to win the Heisman and a National Championship. Since the end of the season, this story has since gone away and will probably be resolved with nothing being done. Because for once there is no real trail of wrong doing, it has all been here say.

College sports fans would have thought that moving on to basketball season would help break away from the problems, but as it has been, the NCAA was investigating Tennessee for recruiting violations with their head basketball coach. But the SEC decided to go ahead and suspend him at the start of conference play, but then the NCAA delivered their letter. Now everyone around the program is wondering what the program will face and if firing Bruce Pearl would help lessen that blow. But this matter won’t be resolved until June.

The one that surprised everyone was the fact that Jim Calhoun of UCONN got busted with a recruiting violation and is going to have to sit out 3 games next season in the Big East conference play. So, it is looking like anyone and everyone is in danger and everything is being magnified 100 times. The question that lingers for everyone is this going to be a long term deal, or will the NCAA do what they did in the past and start lightening up on everyone after they prove a point.

Cheating happens on every level of college athletics, and there is no real way to stop it, unless the NCAA will hit every team they catch with heavy sanctions, regardless of how big or how profitable the program makes the sport. Until the NCAA can find a way to scare everyone straight, it is just going to be an endless game of who gets caught and who gets away with it. The bottom line is, if you are stupid and don’t cover your tracks correctly, then you will face the wrath of the NCAA. But most fans are getting tired of hearing about another school facing sanctions and having problems, just because something slipped out that wasn’t supposed to. I am all for a clean and fair sport, but that will never happen as long as there are schools that make huge amounts of money and there are other schools who can’t make a dime.