Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

September 2, 2009 5:21 PM

Death of hero worship makes athletes targets

The news on the college football scene in Alabama is happening at a dizzying pace. Here’s just a sample with my thoughts included – a little something I call News and Views.

News: Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick was released from the hospital Tuesday after being shot in the arm during a robbery attempt at an off-campus apartment. Although the 6-foot-4, 306-pound senior from Elizabethtown, Ky., returned to practice Wednesday, he probably will have to miss the fifh-ranked Crimson Tide’s season opener against seventh-ranked Virginia Tech Saturday night in Atlanta.

Views: More and more athletes are becoming crime victims because hero worship has died -- the leading cause of death being athletes' own bad behavior, although that was not the case with Deaderick -- and they are big targets. And that's not just physically.

News: The NCAA cleared Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram to play against Virginia. The Tide has asked whether a Gulf Coast fishing trip the two players took in the spring with businessman Curtis Anderson was a violation. In rending its ruling the NCAA issued this statement:

"According to the facts of the case submitted by Alabama, the student-athletes received impermissible food, lodging, transportation and entertainment from an individual with whom one of the student-athletes had become acquainted prior to enrolling in college. Consistent with NCAA membership requirements, the institution reported the violation and declared the student-athletes ineligible. As part of the reinstatement request, the institution required the student-athletes to make repayment of the value of the impermissible benefits to charity."

An Alabama spokesman said the money had been paid to charity.

Views: I understand why the rule is there, but this was much ado about nothing.

News: The Troy Trojans will begin celebrating their 100th year of football when they travel to Ohio to face Bowling Green Thursday in their 2009 opener.

Views: This could be a big season for the Trojans, considering a strong defense that led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense (21.3), total defense (327.5) and passing defense (187.8) in 2008. Defensive end Brandon Lang has been named both a semifinalist to the Lombardi watch list and is one of the 62 players on the Bronko Nagurski watch list. Also among the 48 players on the Lombardi watch list are middle linebacker Boris Lee and Troy's other defensive end, Cameron Sheffield. The top-ranked Florida Gators better not overlook the Trojans next week.

News: The Terry Bowden Era of UNA football officially began last Saturday with his first game as a collegiate head coach in more than a decade. Bowden and the Lions recorded a 41-9 win at Southern Arkansas. Bowden’s last time on the sideline was as head coach of the Auburn Tigers on October 17, 1998.

Views: Bowden has walked into a gold mine. Considering he has a team with several Division I transfers, Bowden should have the Lions, ranked No. 4 this week, contending for the Division II national championship.

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