Man, oh man, but it has been a busy few days in college sports. Where to begin....
RUTGERS FIRES MIKE RICE
After video of Coach Rice physically and verbally abusing his players in practice, pushing and shoving them, kicking them, firing basketballs at their heads, and shouting all sorts of homophobic slurs at them, Rutgers officials fire Rice, and justifiably so, in my opinion. Officials at my alma mater, Robert Morris University, where Rice coached for three years issue a bland "this was not indicative of Coach Rice's behaviour while at Robert Morris" statement and then throw a cone of silence around everyone in the athletic department. Very disconcerting. Rice, plain and simple, is a bully who abused his power, and did it to kids who were in no position to challenge him. Good riddance to him, but I fear that while his behaviour may not be typical of every coach in college athletics, I am guessing that it is more pervasive than we may think.
RUSHEL SHELL LEAVES PITT
Highly prized recruit running back Shell, now a sophomore, and slated to be the #1 running back for the Panthers this season, announces that he will be transferring out of Pitt. Hey, he's a 19 year old kid, he's entitled to change his mind, and if he doesn't want to be at Pitt, God bless him. It will be interesting to see where Shell ends up. There is much speculation that the evil Todd Graham, who recruited Shell to Pitt, is now manipulating him to come to Arizona State. Hard to imagine Graham being even more sleazy than he already is, but this would do it. Shell's character and sense of commitment have come into question since these announcement. I don't know what is true and what isn't, but history is littered with guys who thought they were bigger than the the Whole, and who were never heard from again. Hope it turns out okay for him. Pitt, while they may suffer a setback in the short term, will survive without him.
STEVEN ADAMS TO LEAVE PITT AND TURN PRO
Another blow to the Pitt basketball program with the seven foot Kiwi deciding to enter the NBA draft. It seemed to me that in his freshman year, Adams was not quite ready to compete in the Big East, so I don't see how he's going to be ready for the NBA after only one season of college ball. I think that another year in college could possibly have elevated Adams to Lottery Pick status in the NBA, and additional millions of dollars, but, as was demonstrated in the Louisville game on Sunday with the horrific injury to Kevin Ware, the end of a career is only one freak injury away, so let's wish Adams well.
It is interesting to note that Adams becomes the second big man to leave Pitt basketball, following Khem Birch last year. Is this trend developing, and if it is, why is it happening?
PITT FIRES WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH AGNUS BERENATO
With her team winless in two consecutive Big East seasons, this move is as defensible for the Pitt administration as it was inevitable. Still, I feel bad for Agnus. I got to meet her two years ago at the WPIAL Sportsmanship Conference held at the Heinz History Center, and I found her to be charming and pleasant, and I thought her talk to all of the WPIAL athletes gathered there that day to be quite motivating and moving. I don't know what the future holds for her, but I hope that better days lie ahead for Coach Berenato.