Barack Obama

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Navy QB Keenan Reynolds will attend Obama’s final State of the Union

4 Comments

When President Barack Obama makes his final State of the Union Address tomorrow night in Washington D.C., Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds will be there to witness it. Reynolds will be a guest of Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper, according to Navy football’s memo. Reynolds is a Tennessee native.

If any college football player is worthy of receiving such an invite, it has to be Reynolds. The Navy quarterback closed out a storied career with the Midshipmen on the football field this past season by setting multiple records along the way to leading Navy to its first 11-win season. Reynolds also finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and became a bit of a fan favorite for the award as the final weeks flew by. He also received All-American honors from the Associated Press after helping Navy clinch the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy by becoming the first Navy quarterback to go 4-0 against Army in the annual Army-Navy Game.

So if you are tuning in for the State of the Union on Tuesday night, keep an eye out for one of college football’s finest in the crowd.

Obama says NCAA enforcement “unfair,” not on board for paying student-athletes

31 Comments

We have heard from former college players, fans, coaches and analysts for years. Now the leader of the free world has chimed in. President Barack Obama said in an interview colleges must take greater responsibilities in providing for student-athletes, challenged the NCAA to address rules violation enforcement for players and that compensation for student-athletes in addition to a scholarship appears to be a slippery slope.

“[T]he students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue here,” Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview. “An immediate step that the NCAA could take — that some conferences have already taken — is if you offer a scholarship to a kid coming into school, that scholarship sticks, no matter what.”

Obama’s comments come at a time when the power conferences in college sports are moving to a new level with autonomy and the ability t provide more to student-athletes. Conferences outside the power group are also committing to keeping up on as many levels as possible. Changes are coming just as soon as the power conferences work out the finer details of the new power structure. Obama has made a push for providing college education, so his comments on this subject should come as no surprise.

President Obama also added players suffering injury should have medical coverage provided by the university, which has been a sketchy issue at times. However, the President did stop short of suggesting players should be compensated beyond the full cost of attendance scholarships.

“In terms of compensation, I think the challenge would just then start being, do we really want to just create a situation where there are bidding wars?” Obama said. “And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports.”

One of the biggest issues the NCAA continues to be criticized for is enforcing rules meant to uphold the discipline of the collegiate sports world in a different era without so much revenue to share. It is an issue the NCAA ha struggled to adapt with over the years, and Obama joins the many who have pointed out the problem.

“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said in the interview. “That’s not fair.”

You can read the full story and interview from The Huffington Post.

Missouri’s Michael Sam receives congrats from Obama

21 Comments

There may never be a final day of the NFL Draft as memorable or historical as the 2014 edition. Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, became the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team when the St. Louis Rams used one of their final two picks to draft him. It was a proud moment for humanity and equality, and it was not a moment that went unnoticed by President Barack Obama.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our Nation’s journey,” a White House statement said, according to USA Today. “From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,”

There is no telling just what comes next for Sam with the Rams. St. Louis has a loaded defensive line. In addition to drafting Sam, the Rams also drafted Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the defensive end position looks to be locked down with Chris Long and Robert Quinn on each side. Seventh-round draft picks typically have a difficult time making an NFL roster right away anyway, especially when playing a position that looks to be pretty stable heading into training camp, but the situation just feels right for Sam and the Rams and head coach Jeff Fisher seems committed to seeing this through as far as he can take it.

As for the college game, Sam’s monumental steps will hopefully help others facing a similar position that it is possible to be openly gay without the fear of one day being shut out by the NFL. The story is still being written of course, but Sam’s tale at Missouri is one worth learning from.