A few things piqued my interest in the last few days, and they don’t paint a pretty picture.
The first is a story out of a St. Louis, Missouri high school that cancelled the rest of their football season after a suspended player wore a different number and participated in a game. Cardinal Ritter College Prep, which was undefeated at 7-0, suspended the rest of their season after junior running back Bill Jackson was found to have played in their season opener, even though he was supposed to be serving a one-game suspension. The running back was given the suspension after being ejected from last year’s title game, but the team found a way to disguise Jackson, or so they thought. Instead of his normal No. 4, he wore No. 24 and went under a freshman named “Marvin Burks.” It was Jackson’s tattoos that ended up giving him away. Jackson, as well as head coach Brandon Gregory, both went along with the lie that the junior didn’t play, despite him actually putting up 109 yards on the ground and scoring a 56-yard touchdown in the 32-21 win. As a result of the incident in the most recent game, Cardinal Ritter school president Tamiko Armstead decided to void the entire season.
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The school also announced that every person on the coaching staff has been “permanently released.” Oh really? Has it come to the point where winning is so important that you would pull a stunt like that? It makes you shake your head, but the state of Michigan isn’t immune to such transgressions. Gaylord St. Mary has had to forfeit four of its wins this season due to participation of ineligible students players. They are a team that competes in eight-player football and is part of a co-op program with Alba and Mancelona. North Central was 6-1 and heading for the playoffs, but now went to 2-5 and fell out of playoff contention.
Has it come to this? Where winning at all costs is more important than playing by the rules? It makes me shake my head, as did the following. At University of Michigan on Wednesday, parents of current players and recruits woke up to a letter from Coach Jim Harbaugh refuting a report from FootballScoop, citing unidentified sources saying he was “pursuing an exit strategy” from Michigan for a return to the NFL.
Harbaugh said in his letter: “I am reaching out to let you know that the recent claims that I am ‘pursuing an exit strategy’ are total crap, it’s an annual strategy driven by our enemies to cause disruption to our program and to negatively recruit.”
Yo Jim, let me clue you in. The disruption to your program is caused by your failure to win any meaningful games, As evidenced by dropping another game last week to a ranked team in Penn State. I have no idea if Harbaugh is looking to leave, but I will tell you this: having to pen such a letter screams a guy that isn’t feeling real comfortable with the state of his program. Maybe he should be focusing on Notre Dame, because I see Harbaugh falling to 1-9 against Top 10 ranked teams after the Irish win on Saturday night.
Finally, as I am writing this. The Washington Nationals put a beat down on the Houston Astros to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series. The series now moves to Washington D.C. for the next three games. The Nationals went into Houston and beat both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. I picked the Astros in six games, but this Nationals team is on fire. This series will not make it back to Houston. The Nationals will allow D.C. sports fans to celebrate their second major sports championship in just over a calendar year, as the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018.