Last updated 8/25/2020 at 11:54am
NEW COLLEGE ELIGIBILITY RULES SHOULD HELP LAMAR & McNEESE
After admonishing Lamar University for still wanting to play their Sept. 25 game at Rice, I was happy to see that they decided to cancel the only non-conference game on their 2020 schedule the next day after the Southland Conference canceled all games this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an article by the Associated Press in last weekend’s newspapers, there are 257 Division I football programs (with 130 in the FBS) with only six conferences choosing to continue their plans to play their games this fall.
However, regardless of whether college athletes play football or not this season, the NCAA has decided to not charge them a year of eligibility—no matter how much they play.
Seniors will be permitted to return next year and won’t count on a sport’s roster or scholarship limits. Underclassmen will get access to a waiver they can use to extend their careers, but beyond the 2021-22 academic year, those athletes will count against scholarship and roster limits, the article stated.
The schools will have to figure out how to pay for all those extra scholarships which will be a problem for most colleges and universities with tight budgets, especially with no post-season income from bowl and playoff post-season games this season.
Major college football teams could end up with 100 or more scholarship players next season. “The thought of bringing back a bunch of sixth-year senior will bring smiles to some coaches, especially at programs that rely more on developmental players than blue-chip recruits who tend to be short-timers anyway,” the article points out.
“And while the NCAA is giving back the eligibility, no athlete is guaranteed financial aid or a scholarship. These decisions will be left to the schools.”
Athletes coming out of high school programs this season may have a difficult time getting a scholarship to play at a major college because of this situation. These colleges next season will have two freshman classes on the same gridiron.
Major colleges will have the tendency to recruit from junior colleges rather than high schools after this year in hopes of getting players with two years of college experience that will be ready to step in and play right away.
But smaller conferences—like the Southland that includes Lamar and McNeese State-- and junior colleges should benefit by recruiting some great college prospects who may have been overlooked by the major colleges and universities.
Football scholarships at the smaller schools (FCS) run in the vicinity of $30,000 per year while private schools like Notre Dame and Stanford can exceed $80,000.
KWICKIES…A tip of the Korner Kap to the Lamar State College-Orange Fishing Club for putting our hometown on the map after being announced by the Association of Collegiate Anglers as the top team in the nation by more than 300 points in collegiate bass fishing. The new season began nearly two months ago and Lamar- Orange already has two teams that have qualified for the national championship tournament. Trent Buchholz and Grady Doucet placed third at Fort Gibson Lake while Brett Fregia and Jack Tindel qualified for the national tournament at Toledo Bend.
In games through Sunday, Toronto Blue Jays Cavan Biggio has reached base safely in 16-straight games and is batting around a respectable .270.
While on the subject of major league baseball, our Houston Astros have proven to be a very streaky team. After losing five in a row on the road, they came home and won eight in a row before being swept in a three-game series by the Padres in San Diego last weekend.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and Dallas Cowboys signal caller Dak Prescott were ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in Monday’s projected Top 50 NFL players by an ESPN’s Fantasy Football Marathon.
The Houston Chronicle had a feature story on Orange native Wade Phillips, who is unemployed in the NFL for only the second time in his brilliant coaching career that runs from 1976-2019. He sat out the 2014 season for the same reason. However, his Hall of Fame-worthy career is far from over. The 73-year-old defensive genius says he is healthy and capable of keeping up with the way NFL offenses continue to change. Wade says his contract was not renewed by the Los Angeles Rams as defensive coordinator and adds he didn’t even receive a phone call, let alone a job offer all off-season.
Long hitter Dustin Johnson fired a 30-under par 254 to win the Northern Trust tournament which is the first leg of the coveted three-week FedEx event. Johnson is only the third golfer to end 30 under or better in PGA history. It was the largest margin of victory since Phil Mickelson won by 13 at the TPC Sugarloaf in 2006.
Roger Staubach (two) and Troy Aikman (three) are the only quarterbacks to win Super Bowls for Texas teams. Both played for the Dallas Cowboys and both are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
JUST BETWEEN US…It’s hard to believe that our hometown hero Earl Thomas couldn’t fit in with another NFL team besides the Seattle Seahawks, but that seems to be the story leading to his release by the Baltimore Ravens last weekend. The seven-time Pro Bowl safety got into an argument about Earl’s alleged blown coverage on a play with a teammate which led to blows delivered by Earl. He was sent home from practice Friday and then released by the front office. He is presently unemployed but probably won’t be for long with the Dallas Cowboys and several other teams expressing an interest in the talented free safety.