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When Did College Become the Pros?

June 4, 2011
By DOUG HUFF - Sports Columnist , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register


Is it just an aging jock journalist or are there others out there who feel the amateur campus gridiron events are becoming more like professional sports?

During the many years we've followed, observed, and documented the happenings in the college game, there have been some disturbing trends as the college powers-that-be seek the almighty dollar to pay exhorbitant salaries to coaches, who sometimes don't live up to standards of conduct or basic ethics.

It doesn't take a lot of research to recall such happenings at numerous major colleges like Ohio State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Alabama, Michigan, Miami, Auburn, Southern California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, etc.

The current mess at Ohio State gains legs about every day with a highly successful coach, JIM TRESSEL, resigning and current players being implicated in NCAA and legal investigations.

DANA HOLGORSEN has yet to coach a game at WVU but already has made headlines for ''inappropriate behavior'' off the field.

Notre Dame, like some other schools, didn't do its background homework when it named GEORGE O'LEARY head coach only to let him go when it discovered he lied about receiving a master's degree.

Michigan decided to let coach GARY MOELLER exit his position after he had some alcoholic drinks in a public venue.

Pitt selected a new head coach, MIKE HAYWOOD, who was fired 16 days later when he was charged with felony domestic abuse.

Alabama hired MIKE PRICE as head coach but he never took the sidelines since he was fired after visiting an adult ''gentleman's club.''

Southern California was slapped by NCAA infractions, Heisman Trophy winner REGGIE BUSH was stripped of his award, and coach PETE CARROLL departed the scene.

And on and on. And all of this, and more, has happened since 1995.

Whatever happened to the good ole days when the college atmosphere was all but immune from most of this stuff?


(1) Next week's NCAA Outdoor Track Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, will include at least two former Ohio Valley prep standouts. Distance runner STEPHANIE MORGAN, a sophomore at the University of Illinois and ex-Barnesville High luminary, qualified in the 1,500-meter run by clocking 4:20.45 to place eighth in a preliminary round at Eugene, Ore. Sprinter APRIL ROTILIO, a senior at West Virginia. and former St. John's standout, will compete in the 400-meter dash after winning the Big East title and placing in the top 10 at the NCAA Regional. Rotilio holds the school outdoor and indoor records in the event and has two All-America honors.

(2) Another former Ohio Valley prep record-holder, Ashland College sophomore D. J. DUKE, placed sixth in both the NCAA Division II outdoor and indoor championships. He tossed the 16-pound shot put 54-feet, 7.25-inches in the recent outdoor meet and had a season best heave of 58-8.75 in the indoor championships.

(3) The Cancer Research Classic scheduled Jan. 6-7 at Wheeling Jesuit University has outdone itself with a star-studded lineup of teams, players and coaches. Defending ESPN Rise national champion St. Anthony of Jersey City, N.J., is coached by the legendary BOB HURLEY, who last year became just the second high school boys' coach inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame. And first-time competitor Mater Dei from Santa Ana, Calif., is coached by California's all-time winningest coach GARY McKNIGHT, who could follow Hurley into the Hall in the near future. Another first-time entry is two-time defending Illinois champion Simeon of Chicago, which is led by JABARI PARKER, one of the nation's best schoolboys.

(4) Former Beallsville High and West Virginia pitcher DUSTIN NIPPERT is competing in South Korea this summer after being released by the Texas Rangers following last year's World Series.

(5) In answer to a query: There are four Ohio Valley products selected to the All-Time Men's Basketball Teams at West Virginia. They are the late RON (FRITZ) WILLIAMS from Weir High and RUDY BARIC from Benwood Union, plus JIM McCORMICK from Magnolia and BOB HUMMELL from Moundsville High.

(6) Enjoy the weekend.

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