We're all over the country with today's mashup, going coast to coast for stories both heart warming and ridiculous, happy and sad...well, you get the idea. There's variety.
First, weirdness on the West Coast and beyond: Division III Caltech has punished itself for NCAA violations:
Those penalties, many of them self-imposed by the university, include no postseason play next season, three years of probation, one year of no campus recruiting and the vacating of wins and records.
This is not exactly as huge a deal as you think. Again, this is a Division III school, and one that is far more concerned with academics than athletics. A number of students interviewed for that article did't even know Caltech had sports teams. That might be due to a lack of success; the water polo team won their first game in nine years last season, and the basketball team won their first conference game since 1985. Heck, the baseball team is oh for their last 237.
This is what happens when you do things differently. Caltech lets their students attend class for three weeks before they are required to register, which means that over the past four years they had 30 student-athletes who weren't considered full-time students at the time they started playing.
This is rather absurd - I don't know Caltech, but I doubt this is a policy they just put into place four years ago, so even if they didn't tell the NCAA about it in great detail and make sure it wasn't an issue (since athletics isn't exactly the focus there), this can't exactly have been news to the regulation board. Did nobody think to say, after only a year or two, "hey, this is against policy, you need to figure a different way"?
Oh, I do love how the NCAA has no clue how to do its job. Anything else out there to cheer me up?~~ Hawaii's athletic director, despite all the good he has done, may likely lose his job for blowing $200,000 to bring Stevie Wonder in for an athletics fundraiser concert - only to find out the third party he went through couldn't actually get him the concert. Oops.
~~ The NCAA is finally going to revamp their transfer rules, though it appears aimed at preventing coaches (and also, more importantly, any third parties) from actively recruiting players away from their current schools.
~~ Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, thanks in large part to his phenomenal play against Duke in the tournament last season, is going to be a very well known entity this season - both by his prospective opponents and by NBA scouts.
~~ ESPN's John Gasaway (insider only) has made another list, this time of the five most underrated players in the country, and a mid-major guy snuck onto the list. Say hello to UC-Santa Barbara's Alan WIlliams, who will be a junior center for the Gauchos this season. On the surface it doesn't look like much - Williams only posted 6.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game for UCSB. However, he put up those numbers while playing only 17 minutes per game.
HOOPWAR agrees - he posted a 4.79, which is pretty good for a part-time player on a squad where Orlando Johnson was the primary scorer - he saved 17 points on defense.. This translates to a ridiculous 16.1 points, 15.2 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes. It's certainly easy to be underrated/overlooked if you don't play starter minutes, and you do so for a team in a small conference. I doubt that kind of pace can be maintained with bigger minutes, but anything reasonably close and he won't be underrated for long.