By TAYLOR HAWKINS
This past Friday’s MAIS All-Star Game marked the end of the high school baseball careers for Manchester’s Will Stonestreet and Benton’s Jacob Davis and Jason Berry.
Stonestreet played for the North Squad in the merged 2A-3A game that was played at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.
“It was really fun and I really enjoyed it,” Stonestreet said of the experience. “It was pretty cool being there with coach Downs with it being both of our last games, and getting the win made it even better.”
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Taylor Hawkins Sports EditorWith the expanded growth and success of collegiate sports like football and basketball, the NCAA has had to work overtime to make sure that athletes aren’t bribed with money or lavish gifts to attend certain schools.
The Cam Newton debacle was a recent scandal that comes to mind when thinking about NCAA investigations. Although Newton was never penalized in the proceedings, it was obvious that shady dealings were going on.
In the past, alumni have been known to buy off players to maintain a certain level of athletic excellence. A notable example of this was the SMU program pre-death penalty.
The NCAA has made it their quest to put an end to the old wild west style of paying off players. The problem is there is no consistency in what they do.
Another, more recent, incident occurred at the University of Portland. The mighty NCAA came down on a lady golfer for washing her car on campus with university water.
The golfer was forced to pay a $20 fee which was supposed to be the amount of money that the water was worth plus a usage fee for the hose.
I do not know her financial circumstances, but I do know how far $20 can go for a college student. For some students, that is the cost of the next meal or gas money to travel home. Besides, when has anyone ever had to pay $20 to wash their own car?
At times, the NCAA seems quite similar to the Sheriff of Nottingham. They steal from the poor, while leaving the rich to maintain their lifestyles.
They will exert their power over a lowly school like the University of Portland while programs like Auburn University are given special treatment because of the money their sports programs generate.
Students are caught in the cross-fire between right and wrong. If the school goes to the parents and discreetly sets up a deal, the kids are the ones who suffer.
When a young man, or woman, comes from a poor household and his family needs money for food to make it to the next day, how can he or she turn down these lucrative, discreet offers?
Even students who are in school must worry about finding “anonymous” envelopes full of cash in their lockers after big games. If they are caught,. they could lose their eligibility and, subsequently, their scholarship.
We as fans are so quick to judge a kid for receiving illegal benefits from alumni when we have no idea the social situations from which they come. They may not be able to call mom and dad to have some money put into their account.
For those who went to college, did you stay in your dorm/apartment every night and study because you were broke, or did you do what was necessary to scrape some money together and enjoy the college life?
People who say college life is only about getting an education in the classroom are sorely mistaken. College is where you face the beginnings of adulthood and, yes, even make mistakes in the hopes that you learn from them. The lessons learned outside of the classroom are often more important than the ones learned in them.
I’ve always been against paying NCAA players, but as I grow older, I’ve started to realize that maybe these kids need it. I’m not talking tens of thousands here, buy maybe a couple of hundred bucks here or there will fix the problem.
After expenses, the University of Texas made 77.9 million dollars in football only. Not a dollar went to the players who risked their health to perform at a level to try and create their future.
There are 85 scholarship players on a D-I football team. If every player got $100 a month, it would add up to roughly $102,000. That isn’t even a dent in the revenue.
Now I know that not every institute has the same funds as UT, but it’s asinine to believe they could not find the funding to help the students out.
So for once give the kids a break. Allow the human element to slip past these rigid, intense rules.
Stop finding reasons to bring down the student, and find a way to fix the flawed system.
Taylor Hawkins Sports EditorAs the summer truly begins to kick-off, one of the most underrated spectacles in sports is about to begin, the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
One of the things that this particular tournament does well is find the true champion. For a team to win the NCAA title in baseball, they must go through a series of intense, rigorous tests.
The field of 64 teams are divided into 16 regionals, which contain four teams a piece.
The winners of those regionals are paired up in eight Super Regionals, which are best two-out-of-three series at the location of the higher-rated seed.
The final eight teams remaining after the Super Regionals advance to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.
One lucky, fluke win will not allow a team to take the NCAA crown in baseball.
Mississippi State hosts once again
The Bulldogs of Mississippi State will host a regional in Starkville, Miss., for the twelfth time in their history.
The No. 14 ranked Diamond Dogs will start the weekend by playing Central Arkansas, a team that beat MSU in a best two out of three series earlier in the year.
The Bears of Central Arkansas will likely face Luis Pollorena, a senior lefty with a 6-3 record and a 4.30 ERA.
Bulldog head coach John Cohen has been known to switch things up so it is not our of the question that we will see Kendall Graveman on the mound Friday night.
Senior pitcher Caleb McClanahan will be starting the Friday night game for UCA. McClanahan posted a 10-5 record this year with a brilliant 2.17 ERA.
The other teams in the regional are Mercer and South Alabama, who narrowly missed out on their own hosting opportunity.
State takes the field at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
The Rebels face stiff test in Raleigh, N.C.
Ole Miss should be able to breathe a sigh of relief at their drawing. The Rebels avoid having to travel to the true elite teams of the tournament, like Vanderbilt, LSU and North Carolina, by traveling as a No. 2 seed at Raleigh, N.C., to face the Baseball America No. 7 ranked Wolfpack of North Carolina State University.
The other members of the Raleigh Regional include William & Mary and Binghamton.
The Rebels will go up against William & Mary in their first game on Friday. The Tribe will almost certainly be throwing their ace John Farrell. The senior has posted an impressive 11-2 record with 86 strike outs against only 13 walks in his 16 appearances this year.
The Rebels had not announced their starter by press time, but I believe they will counter with Mike Mayers.
The junior pitcher has a record of 5-5 with an ERA of 2.98. He is also the Rebels’ best pitcher on short rest. If they intend on making a run in the regional, they will almost certainly need two days of Mayers on the mound.
However, Rebels coach Mike Bianco has a history of using his ace in game one of regionals, so there is still a chance that we could see Bobby Wahl.
The Diamond Rebs will play at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Jackson State makes the
SWAC Tournament Champions Jackson State University will travel to Baton Rouge, La., to play in the LSU-hosted regional.
JSU gets one of the tougher draws in the tournament as they have to take on the number four national seed LSU.
This is almost like deja vu as the last time Jackson State reached the NCAA tournament in 2000, they were pitted against the Bayou Bengals. In that game, JSU was pounded 19-1.
In their redemption game, Jackson State will almost certainly send Alexander Juday to the mound. The sophomore is 7-4 with a 3.14 ERA.
The matchup of the Tigers will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
All games can be seen on ESPN3.
Taylor Hawins is the sports editor of The Yazoo Herald. He can be reached at 746-4911 or by email at