Luck brings Montana-like assurance to his team


Luck brings Montana-like assurance to his team

Is this the week? Is this the time that all of those withHeisman Trophy votes can put their Andrew Luck selection in ink?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I suppose it depends on yourcriteria, and yes, this is a big stage for Stanford and their quarterback. But I think the very best thing about Luck isthat hes only spectacular when he has to be.And, he hasnt had to be.

True enough, it depends on yourdefinition of spectacular. If itsbloated statistics then Luck would fall into the maybe category. If its how well you play the position andwhat impact do you have on your team its a no-brainer.

The Cardinal play at USC thisSaturday. Not an easy place to play fora visiting team. But one of the things Ireally like about this Stanford team is that they dont seem to care about thevenue. And it starts with thequarterback.

I remember talking to severalmembers of the San Francisco 49ers during the Bill Walsh hey-day and to thenumber they said, When you get in the huddle with Joe Montana you simply knowyoure going to win. Time remaining,score, down and distance, none of that matters. You just know youre going to win. Andrew Luck brings that same kind of assurance to his team.

Stanford will win the game onSaturday. And theyll likely do it inthe same way theyve disassembled everyone else theyve played this year. The first quarter will be close. In the second quarter the difference willbegin to show. In the third quarter theopponent is on the ropes and reeling, and in the final 15 minutes whats leftis a gelatinous mass. The Cardinal beatyou up. They pound on you with anendless array of big bodies, and they take no prisoners. There are no technical knockouts in collegefootball.

Its for that reason that AndrewLuck has not put up numbers that dazzle would be Heisman voters who are quickto judge a players ability on how many touchdown passes he can throw againstPanhandle A&M. The single mostimpressive thing to me about Luck is that he does all he does within thesystem.

With Luck its about nuance --like the difference between a good wine and a great wine. Pocket presence, when to run and when to holdit, check downs, when touch is required and when you really need to spin it,getting in and out of the huddle, knowing where everyone is. And when he really needs to make a play hemakes it.

Enjoy Andrew Luck while youcan. Hes probably not going to be inthe Bay Area after this year. And enjoyhis team. The Cardinal are not perfect. The Shayne Skov loss is a big one, and theywill on occasion give up the big play. USC is capable of the big play.The difference in this game is that they will need a lot of them.

Oregon could be another story but for this week there will still be a national championship to dream of.

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof


The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans. 

NCAA adopts sexual violence policy: 'It's not banning violent athletes...'


NCAA adopts sexual violence policy: 'It's not banning violent athletes...'

NCAA member schools will be required to provide yearly sexual violence education for all college athletes, coaches and athletics administrators under a policy announced Thursday by the organization's board of governors.

Campus leaders such as athletic directors, school presidents and Title IX coordinators will be required to attest that athletes, coaches and administrators have been educated on sexual violence.

The policy was adopted from a recommendation made by the Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence, which was created by the board last year in response to several high-profile cases involving sexual assaults and athletic departments, including the scandal at Baylor.

The policy also requires campus leaders to declare that athletic departments are knowledgeable and compliant with school policies on sexual violence prevention, adjudication and resolution.

Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist who speaks to college teams across the country about sexual violence , is a member of the commission. She has called for the NCAA to ban athletes with a history of sexual violence. While this policy falls far short of that, Tracy said she was encouraged.

"It's not banning violent athletes, but it's a positive policy that's going to have a big impact on our campuses," Tracy said in a phone interview from Amherst, Massachusetts, where she was spending the day speaking to the UMass football and basketball teams.

The announcement from the NCAA came just one day after Youngstown State decided a football player who served jail time for a rape committed while he was in high school will not be allowed to play in games this season. Ma'Lik Richmond , who served about 10 months in a juvenile lockup after being convicted with another Steubenville High School football player of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2012, walked on at Youngstown State earlier this year. He will be allowed to practice and participate in other team activities.

Tracy has promoted a petition urging Youngstown State to not allow Richmond to play.

"I think that playing sports and playing NCAA sports is a privilege. It is not a right," Tracy said. "If we're going to be placing student-athletes in that position of power and influence - to drive narrative, to drive conversation, to affect culture - then behavior matters. Right now, I feel like Youngstown is sending the message that violence against women, rape all of these things are OK. It doesn't affect your ability to play sports."

A move toward an NCAA policy on sexual violence was given momentum by numerous issues involving athletes and athletic departments in recent years. Perhaps the most high-profile example is Baylor, where an investigation found that allegations of sexual assault, some against football players, were mishandled by school leaders.

Two years ago, the Southeastern Conference barred schools from accepting transfers who had been dismissed from another school for serious misconduct, defined as sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence.

Indiana announced in April that it would no longer accept any prospective student-athlete who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence. In July, the athletic director at the University of Illinois said the school was working on a similar policy.

Tracy said the NCAA has not ruled out implementing a policy like Indiana's.

"The fact that's still on the table, we're still having discussions about that, we're still going to keep working moving forward, gives me a lot of hope," she said.

In a statement, the NCAA said: "Any discussion of individual accountability beyond the criminal justice system must address the complexities and nuances of different federal and state laws so that it can be consistently applied across the NCAA."

The new NCAA policy defers to schools to set their own sexual violence education practices, though in 2014 the association set expectations for its members with a resolution and made recommendations in a handbook on sexual assault.

"Schools do different things," Tracy said. "The NCAA is now saying this isn't just an option. This is now a policy and a requirement. And not only that but you need to attest to us every year what it is that you're doing ... Some schools are doing a great job. Some schools are not doing a great job."