Northwestern and Illinois are playing this week at Wrigley Field. The NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee might want to have a word.
Whoever sanctioned this mess probably came from the state boxing commission. Those folks don't care who the hell gets hurt either. Seriously, how does any adult in good conscience put an end zone up against Wrigley's right field wall? There's also precious little out-of-bounds room on one side of the field. If you haven't seen the pictures, they're here and here.
The NCAA's 15-year old principles of student-athlete welfare states, " ... It is the responsibility of each member institution to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each of its participating student-athletes."
Smashing one's face into a (padded) brick wall seems to violate some of those principles. Forget about the possibility of injury, both teams are going to have to alter their game plans. In other words, don't figure on seeing many skinny posts or go routes in the east end zone at Wrigley.
"They've got it padded up pretty good," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "I was jokingly [saying] to our receivers, 'Got to get you ready for the Arena League.' Obviously, there was a lot concerns and a lot of thought put into that before the decision was made."
Zook he and officials surveyed Wrigley two years ago. Amazingly, none of the participants seem to have a problem with it.
"We had risk managers out here," Northwestern AD Jim Phillips told the Chicago Tribune. "We had civil engineers, safety engineers. We had so many people look at it because nobody wants to put the student-athletes in harm's way."
Noooo, who would want that? I guess to these guys, harm's way is actually putting the end zone in the bleachers.
"It will definitely be an element in the game," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
Thoughts and prayers, Illini and Wildcats, thoughts and prayers.
* Could a heart attack be a key to BCS bowl this season?
Hang with me on this: As crass as this sounds, TCU may have been distracted Saturday during a closer-than-expected 40-35 win over San Diego State. In the first quarter offensive line coach Eddie Williamson left the field because of a reported heart attack. Williamson had a stent put in and is expected to be back to the team soon. He didn't want the players to be seen in the weakened state, so he left the field as calmly as possible.
But the players had to know eventually that one of their coaches was gone. Did it have anything to do with the Frogs losing focus? They fell behind the Aztecs and came back to lead comfortably before a couple of late touchdowns by San Diego State.
The five-point victory margin probably had something to do with Boise cutting into TCU's lead for the automatic BCS bowl berth race. TCU is currently No. 3 in the BCS standings, but Boise is right behind with three games left. TCU has only one, Nov. 27 at New Mexico. Could the Broncos eventually pass the Frogs for that No. 3 spot if they win out?
It could come down to a close game caused by a distraction caused by Williamson's heart attack. Just saying ...
* The Pac-10's dirty little secret apparently is out. The Oregonian says it has a source who confirmed faking injuries was a "big part" of the game plan against Oregon's rapid-fire offense.
I reported Sunday that had been concerns inside the Oregon program over opponents' faking injuries since late September.
Oregon fans have taken to booing opponents' injuries whether legitimate or not.
"I know what our fans reaction is when someone's carted off the field that looks like he's going off to surgery and is back immediately on the next play," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We've played in games when three or four guys are down on a play. I think we have pretty intelligent fans at Oregon."
* There seems to be two parts to every SEC scandal -- the actual scandal itself and who ratted out the violator.
It's a conference tradition, one that commissioner Mike Slive has tried to eradicate with a code of ethics. The code requires those with knowledge of an NCAA violation to pass up the chain of command (AD to conference office to NCAA). That's obviously an issue lately with the Cam Newton situation. Mississippi State is on record as having turned in to the conference office Cecil Newton's alleged request for money for his son's services.
"The issue is you cannot turn a blind eye to misconduct," LSU coach Les Miles said. "If you do you're as guilty as the misconduct. I'm comfortable with the need to create a climate of compliance. I wish it wasn't anonymous. I wish everybody knew everything there was and it was open ... Then there would no behind closed doors."