Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette declining to play in their respective bowl games is only the beginning, folks. NCAA fans still haven't realized that they're simply underwriting the minor league careers of soon-to-be multi-millionaires who would play in empty stadiums and arenas if it meant a shot at the bigs. TV contracts, not loyal fans, are the only things that matter. Don't believe me? Nobody's going to watch the Rams, yet every player on that field is still being paid in full.
Christian McCaffrey's defection to the pros should be no surprise to college football followers. If a player has become a Saturday afternoon hero, it's instinctive to want to be a Sunday afternoon hero and get paid handsomely for it. Kids raised in today's American sports-mad culture know full well that self comes before group loyalty and take every opportunity to realize their goals of becoming a success in a field that has less relative value to society than other substantive, traditional fields.
In other words, getting millions playing a game and being the hero is a lot more fun than working to promote the social welfare and being taken for granted.
Leonard Fournette's recent decision to forgo his final bowl game is a letdown to his teammates, family and school, not to mention the public. This selfish act should be banned with a simple change — the university can require that any four-year player scholarship must be repaid in full when any healthy athlete voluntarily chooses not to participate in a bowl game. Of course, since they are ready to go pro, their future shiny new pro contract can easily cover the cost of the scholarship.
I just got an email from USC telling me that my name wasn't picked in the "lottery" for Rose Bowl tickets. What I can't figure out why the names were chosen in a lottery when people like me who have had season tickets since 1962 weren't given any priority. Since '62 I have been moved from the 45-yard line to now behind the back of the end zone. Tickets have gone from $3.50 to $85, and I have suffered losing seasons with some terrible coaches and probation. And for all this I get in a lottery where someone who has been a season ticket holder for one year has just as good of a chance for Rose Bowl tickets as I do.
USC, thanks for the memories. See ya!
Alabama is currently the No. 1 college football team in the country. Do people realize they are also the No. 1 team regarding the rehabbing of former USC football head coaches?
Lane Kiffin worked on improving his personality (and the jury is still out on that). Nick Saban helped in that regard by stifling Kiffin for the most part with the media. A shrewd move from Coach Saban. By the way, has there ever been a more talked-about assistant coach in any sport than Lane Kiffin? Next up for Saban's rehab facility is Steve Sarkisian. If Sark, the new Tide offensive coordinator, follows the current template, he will be a head coach again somewhere in a couple of years or so. Let's just hope that the Alabama/Saban rehab program doesn't include any future USC coaches.
The Rams' coaching was so bad this year, three of the position groups were given the wrong job descriptions. The secondary thought they were supposed to open up gaping holes in the defense. The receivers took pride in batting down any ball thrown to them. And the offensive line held on to anything within reach.
The Rams losing a game isn't front-page news. In fact, it's not news at all. It's a fact of life. Until the Rams start winning games, please put all news stories related to the Rams in its rightful place; the fine print on the last page of the sports section.
So recently fired Rams coach Jeff Fisher says he'd like the chance to play against his former team. With their 4-10 record, I think everybody wants to play the Rams.
Is Jared Goff this generation's Ryan Leaf?
A pro football owner who cares more about his money than his team winning. A GM and coach who are clueless about talent and a winning culture, and a half-empty stadium. It might as well be the Rams, but I'm actually talking about my San Francisco 49ers.
Just wait, Los Angeles. In two years, you too can shell out $20,000 per seat for a PSL, not to mention $400 a ticket to sit on the 25-yard line, all so you can watch one of the worst teams in the NFL. And to think the Chargers, who are no better, are likely coming too.
As Don Henley sings, "No thank you. I don't think so. I think I'm smellin' a rat."
With the up-and-down start to the Lakers' season and the Clippers beginning to take on water, it's awesome that Los Angelenos have a basketball team they can take pride in currently on display in Westwood.
The second-ranked UCLA Bruins are a throwback to the John Wooden powerhouse teams of the 1960s and '70s. Playmakers who play as a team on both offense and defense have brought the thrills back to Pauley Pavilion and college hoop fans everywhere are having a "Ball."
Playa del Rey
So the same fans who last year thought that Steve Alford should be fired are now claiming he should be coach of the year. The answer is to recruit as many one-and-done players as possible, John Calipari has done it and now Krzyzewski and Alford are finally catching on. Just think how many championships Coach Wooden would have won if Lew Alcindor, Sidney Wicks or Bill Walton were one-and-done players. Our present fans would have flown "Fire Coach Wooden" banners above Pauley Pavilion.
Ben Bolch's piece on the UCLA-USC basketball games in 1971 brought back great memories. Later that year, a summer league for ex-college basketballers was organized and their games were played weekday evenings in the Cal State Los Angeles gym. I saw what were essentially the "alumni" teams from both schools' 1970-71 rosters play each other twice that summer.
The games were fast paced and high scoring, with each team winning once, as I recall. I also recall how uncomfortable the concrete seating was. As good as today's players are, Wicks, Rowe, Bibby, Westphal, Layton, and Riley were true college Hall of Famers!
Wow, I knew things have been going well for the USC basketballers, but the magical photo on the front page of Friday's sports section is (almost) too much to believe. Clearly Elijah Stewart has found a way to deflate the ball when the opponent is dribbling!
I see where the Clippers won without Blake Griffin. How did that happen? Oh that's right, they played without Blake Griffin.
Ralph S. Brax
Tania Ganguli went a bit overboard in her praise of Brandon Ingram ["Dish Illusions," Dec. 20]. He may be the same height as Magic Johnson, but that's where the comparison ends. Ingram will not be taking the Lakers to the NBA championship in his rookie season. Yes, he is a versatile player and has nice ballhandling skills. So do half the other players in the league. I want Ingram to succeed as a Laker, but he will never reach the level of excellence that Magic attained — and no one should expect him to.
Same old Lakers excuses. "Guys need to step up." "Guys need to play with intensity." No, guys need to be traded. The entire team to Scramento for DeMarcus Cousins. Then call up as many D League players as needed to fill the roster. What do you think, guys?
Gary H. Miller
Congratulations to Shaq for being immortalized at Staples Center's Star Plaza. But a statue for Elgin Baylor is long overdue. Captain Elg should have been the first Laker honored with a statue. He put the Lakers on the map when they came here from Minneapolis. Shame on the Lakers for forgetting him!
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