• 72°
franklin county times

Williams gets the blame, not NCAA brass

By Staff
WILL BARDWELL / Staff Writer
September 2, 2004
Visions, opinions and derisions as college football kicks off in ernest on Saturday..
When you break the rules, you pay the price. It's that simple.
Or at least, it's supposed to be. But that didn't seem to matter last week when Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams was denied reinstatement of his amateur status. Since then, pundits have lambasted the NCAA for being a cruel, heartless organization with no regard for student-athletes.
Nevermind that Williams dropped out of school in the spring before the NFL draft. And nevermind that he hired an agent. Williams clearly committed the cardinal sin of college athletics, and yet the NCAA is somehow to blame.
Bull.
Williams, a sophomore at USC in 2003, declared for the NFL draft earlier this year when it appeared a court ruling might pave the way for underclassmen. He knew the court's decision was subject to appeal, and he knew he was gambling away his eligibility for a chance at the pros.
And when the NFL won its appeal against underclassmen, Williams lost his gamble. That's sad, but it's no one's fault but his own.
Every year, as soon as football players report to school, they're all assembled as a team and taught the "do's and "do-not's of being an amateur athlete. Above all, the biggest mistake a student-athlete can make is to hire an agent. Dropping out of school can't be far behind.
When Williams did those two things, he tied the NCAA's hands.
I know he's just a 20-year-old kid. I have no doubt that his agent manipulated him and said everything he wanted to hear that the NFL's appeal would fail and that he was a sure-fire NFL superstar. And I have no doubt that when it all fell through, Williams regretted the entire episode.
I was once a foolish 20-year-old college student myself. I know what it's like to make mistakes that you quickly regret.
But regret can't undo those mistakes. Sometimes you simply have to live with the consequences.
Such is the case with Mike Williams. And that's not the NCAA's fault. It's his.
Memphis an acid test for Ole Miss
Curious as to how good Ole Miss will be without Eli Manning? You should get a pretty good indication on Saturday.
The Rebels' season opener against Memphis is no cakewalk. Memphis is coming off its best season in years and returns a ton of talent, including quarterback Danny Wimprine and tailback DeAngelo Williams both of whom torched the Ole Miss defense in last year's 44-34 upset win.
The Rebels are better defensively today than they were prior to last year's opener, but how good they are will probably determine how successful the team is in 2004. The offense will take care of itself.
If Ole Miss comes out and shuts down Wimprine and Williams, it will be a huge statement.
Croom finally gets to go to work
I imagine that no one is more excited about Mississippi State's game against Tulane on Saturday than Bulldogs head coach Sylvester Croom.
Croom takes great pride in being the first black head coach in Southeastern Conference history, but he's also done a marvelous job of keeping it in perspective. In his mind, he's still just a football coach a very important football coach, mind you, but a football coach nonetheless. And he's determined not to forget it.
My respect for Croom hit an all-time high at the SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Ala. over the summer. A reporter asked a long-winded, convoluted question about Croom's historic significance and finally ended by asking something like, "Do you have any thoughts about being the first black head coach to stand at that podium?"
"Nope."
That was Croom's answer. It was so brief that everyone in the room laughed, expecting some sort of explanation. The only one not laughing was Croom.
On Saturday, Croom finally gets to see where all his hard work has gotten the Bulldogs. And if he gets his way, the questions will focus less on the pigment in his skin and more on the successes of his team.

Russellville

ALDOT announces grants for municipal airports

Franklin County

Watermelon Festival Pageant crowns new queen

News

Roxy holds annual W.C. Handy’s Evening at the Roxy Great Pretenders Show

Franklin County

Distinguished Young Women deadline approaches

College Sports

NWSCC adds volleyball to growing Patriot athletics program

News

Russellville Parks and Rec adult softball league grows interest

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

UPDATED: Russellville Police Department locates man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

x