Nick Saban has his own thoughts on Josh Rosen’s football, academics not mixing comments

6 Comments

Josh Rosen created a bit of a stir, to say the least, in a Bleacher Report interview earlier this week in which he stated that “football and school don’t go together.” To buttress his point, he used Alabama as an example of what would happen to the talent level of a team if SAT requirements were raised.

Thursday, the Crimson Tide head coach addressed the UCLA quarterback’s contention that “[h]uman beings don’t belong in school with [football players’] schedules.”

That head coach, Nick Saban, fully understands the athletic and academic demands of a college football player as he played at Kent State in the early seventies. While some would say that there’s no comparing Saban’s time in the sport to the here and now — and at a football monolith like Alabama vs. a MAC school no less — the coach, when asked about Rosen’s comments, says he “[doesn’t] know it’s changed a whole lot” since his playing days.

From al.com:

I don’t know that it’s changed a whole lot,” Saban said. “We used to have two-a-days every day. We don’t have two-a-days anymore. We don’t spend any more time in fall camp than when I played as a player (at Kent State 1970-72). We don’t practice any longer through the course of the week.”

“[Earning a degree] means a lot of guys — even though football might be difficult, nobody is saying it isn’t. Nobody’s saying school is not very difficult. Nobody is saying that getting a college education isn’t very difficult — but for a lot of those guys, being good football players is what created the opportunity for them to make a tremendous investment in their future by graduating from school.

“Is it difficult? Probably,” he said. “Was it difficult for me? Absolutely. So, I don’t think it’s ever been more difficult. It’s just never been easy. But I do think the reward of it all — the lessons that are learned being part of a team, the lessons being a competitor in an environment like this or any college football program … the lessons that you learn in life. I mean, how valuable can those things be?

The key quote pulled from Saban’s sermon on the subject just might be “[i]t’s just never been easy,” which is likely a very valid point. And Saban’s thought on how rewarding it is to put in the hard work of earning a degree while playing football is certainly something that shouldn’t be mitigated either.

Given how the sport has evolved since Saban’s playing days and the millions and billions of dollars at stake, though, it’s fair to wonder, as Rosen did, whether the demands involved with today’s game make it even harder and in a very real way dilutes the education a football player receives. And it’s a discussion for which Rosen should be praised for advancing, not chastised– even if he is just a rich white kid who very likely will be a first-round NFL draft pick.

Big Ten lines up Thursday and Friday night football for 2018

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Big Ten is planning ahead to buckle down and try to make Thursday night and Friday night football a thing in the conference. After breaking the ice on Thursday and Friday night football in the 2017 season, the conference has officially moved five games on the 2018 conference schedule to Thursday and Friday nights.

Purdue will host Northwestern in the Big Ten season opener on Thursday, August 30, marking the second straight season the Big Ten will kick off the college football season with a Thursday night football game. Indiana hosted Ohio State in a Thursday night season opener this season. The opening week of the season will continue the following night with Michigan State hosting Utah State and Wisconsin hosting Western Kentucky on Friday, August 21, 2018. This will mark the second straight season Wisconsin will open the season at home on a Friday night in Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers hosted Utah State on Friday, September 1 this season.

The three games on Thursday and Friday night in the opening week of the 2018 season keeps the Big Ten on the primetime lineup on various TV partners between ESPN, FOX Sports, and the Big Ten Network, although the programming specifics will come later on. But the idea of adding games to Thursday and Friday nights has been designed to add programming to TV partners and add content across all partner networks as part of the latest contracts with ESPN and FOX, along with the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten has moved two additional games Friday nights next season as well. Illinois will host Penn State on Friday, September 21, 2018. Minnesota will host Indiana on Friday, October 26, 2018.

In statement, Mark Dantonio says LJ Scott’s ‘status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play’

Getty Images
1 Comment

At least on the field, LJ Scott‘s latest boneheaded misstep won’t prove too costly.

Thursday, it was reported that Scott was arrested Wednesday for the seventh time in the last year and a half for driving on a suspended license or similar offense.  There was some question as to whether this latest off-field incident will cost the running back playing time for Michigan State’s game this weekend against Indiana.

In a statement, head coach Mark Dantonio said it would. Kinda.  Sorta.

In what has been a lengthy process, LJ Scott now has a valid driver’s license, free of any restrictions. He has resolved the matter completely, and has paid a price, both financially and publicly. His status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play.

Scott currently leads the Spartans with 408 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with three rushing touchdowns.  He’s coming off a career-high 194 yards in last Saturday’s win over Minnesota.

Ragin’ Cajuns LB dismissed after felony identity theft arrest

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a rather quiet week or so on the arrest front, the last couple of days have made some noise.

The latest racket can be attributed to a Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football player, with multiple media outlets reporting that Ferrod Gardner was arrested last Friday for felony identity theft.  The linebacker was released from jail after posting a $5,000 bond.

No details of what led to the arrest and charge have been released.

As a result of the felony arrest, Gardner has been dismissed from the football program for violating unspecified team rules.  UL confirmed the dismissal nearly a week after the arrest, and not long after the news of the situation became public knowledge.

Gardner was a JUCO transfer who joined the Sun Belt Conference team this past offseason.  The Daily Advertiser writes that “Gardner was slated to start at the Will inside linebacker position, but he never played a game for the Cajuns after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a foot injured early in preseason camp.”

FAU will allow star WR with felony charges pending to return, play

Getty Images
1 Comment

I’m going to go ahead and guess that some will have some fun with and/or angst over Lane Kiffin for the decision made by his current employer.

In mid-June, Kalib Woods was arrested on two counts of felony battery. The charges stemmed from a January party in which it’s alleged that the Florida Atlantic wide receiver broke the jaw of one man and caused internal bleeding in another.

Because of the charges, Woods was suspended for the Owls’ first six games of the season. Despite the fact that the felony charges are still pending — his next court appearance is Jan. 10 — his lawyer has confirmed to OwlAccess.com that his client will be allowed to play in this Saturday’s Homecoming Game against North Texas.

The decision was made during a university disciplinary hearing Monday.

“I applaud the university or doing the right thing despite the fact that criminal charges are still pending,” Woods’ attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told the website.

Initially barred from campus after the arrest, the school ultimately reversed course, which allowed Woods to attend classes and practice with the team. The website also reports that Woods was removed from scholarship and is now a member of the team as a walk-on.

Last season, Woods was easily the Owls’ top threat in the passing game as he led the team with 68 receptions for 934 yards. For his career, the redshirt senior’s 111 catches have produced 1,487 yards and six touchdowns.