In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asked our panel of three experts — Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andres Arango and Lawrence Kruglyak — three questions: 1. Did the University of Louisville deserve to be stripped of its 2013 national title? 2. Can Adam Vinatieri maintain success as an NFL kicker next season? 3. With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, what has been the most memorable moment?
1. Did the University of Louisville deserve to be stripped of its 2013 national title?
Matthew: The University of Louisville men’s basketball team did not deserve to have their 2013 national championship stripped from its program. The NCAA has been drastically inconsistent with the magnitude of its punishments for colleges and universities around the nation. Granted, Louisville did use illegal methods to recruit players, but that had nothing to do with the players’ performances on the court as they earned that national title. Perhaps head coach Rick Pitino should have his wins vacated since he was the head of the program. The school, and more importantly the players, earned that national championship and should not have been stripped of their title.
Andres: The Louisville men’s basketball team’s situation is a very peculiar one. The staff and student athletes undoubtedly sacrificed their time and energy in order to perform at the level they did in the 2011-2013 seasons. Although I believe the program should be penalized for their unethical behavior, the NCAA’s decision to strip their 2013 title and several years of wins is unjust. Louisville is the first program in modern NCAA history to vacate a national championship. As a result, there is no precedent from which to adjudicate this sticky situation. I think the NCAA is attempting to make an example of Louisville and is being excessive in their punishment. If you ask me, the staff should be penalized a lot harsher than the student athletes, as they are supposed to be role models. The NCAA should hurt the university where it hurts them the most — the money. The NCAA should never degrade the student athletes’ hard work as a team, dedication and talent.
Lawrence: Recently, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team was stripped of 123 wins from 2011-2015 and its 2013 national championship. After an investigation, the NCAA found that the University of Louisville had hired exotic dancers to visit student athletes’ dorms and perform for new recruits. Though this is against NCAA policy, the team did not deserve to get its national title taken away. The players worked hard to win the national title and they should not be punished for the actions of the school’s athletic department. The student athletes had no participation in the hiring of the performers, and therefore should not be punished.
Andres gets 3 points for emphasizing the hard work of student athletes. Matthew and Lawrence get 2 points for placing the blame on Louisville’s athletic department.
2. Can Adam Vinatieri maintain success as an NFL kicker next season?
Matthew: In a year where 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady was the NFL’s most valuable player, I have no doubt that kicker Adam Vinatieri will be able to achieve the same level of success as a 45-year-old. With the current rules in place, such as “roughing the kicker” and “running into the kicker,” kickers are now the most protected players on the field. As long as Vinatieri does not have a fluke injury off the field and he practices the way he needs to kick in practice and games, he will most definitely have another successful season as a 45-year-old.
Andres: Adam Vinatieri can absolutely maintain his success as an NFL kicker at age 45 for several reasons. The man is in amazing physical condition. The NFL places a lot of emphasis on protecting kickers from opposing team’s tackles. The kicker is considered a defenseless player, so the amount of contact is reduced and it’s rare to see a kicker get tackled. I don’t think being a kicker demands much physicality, so as long as Vinatieri can stay in good shape, I feel his experience, skills and muscle memory will do the rest for him.
Lawrence: In today’s professional sports world, age has become an enemy for many players, especially in football. We see countless players get released from teams or cut before the season starts simply because they are aging out of a league that requires young talent. I still believe Adam Vinatieri can maintain a successful career as an NFL kicker next season at 45 years old. Unlike other positions in football, kickers do not get brutally hit and take physical abuse every game. As long as Vinatieri can still kick the ball through the uprights consistently, there should be no reason why he should leave the NFL.
Matthew gets 3 points for mentioning specific rules. Andres and Lawrence get 2 points for talking about Vinatieri’s physical condition.
3. With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, what has been your most memorable moment?
Matthew: With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, the most memorable moment and personally my favorite moment, was hearing the story of Redmond “Red” Gerard. Red had spent hours the night before his event watching Netflix, to the point where he fell asleep late into the night and overslept the next morning. Next, before his Olympic event, he lost his jacket and then after winning his event, he dropped the f-bomb on live television! This teenager made nearly every mistake possible, but still pulled out a gold medal for his country.
Andres: The Winter Olympics are coming to a culmination and there have been many memorable moments such as North and South Korea marching together at the opening ceremony as a unified Korean team and bringing the crowd to an absolute frenzy. I think it was a beautiful gesture because it reminds us what sports are really about. It is people of different origins, religions, skin colors, sexual orientation and genders coming together to compete in a sport they love. This small gesture marked a small step in a long journey of easing political tensions between North and South Korea. I think it was definitely something worthy of being tweeted by Chloe Kim at her next event.
Lawrence: With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming to a close, my favorite moment has been the U.S. gold medal victory in women’s ice hockey. On the 38th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice,” Team USA managed to defeat the Canadians in a shootout, ending Canada’s streak of four straight Olympic gold medals. Team Canada seemed unbeatable in women’s ice hockey, especially after the last Olympic games. But after winning gold for the first time since 1998, this victory seemed like another Miracle on Ice for the Americans.
Andres gets 3 points for discussing about the unified Korean team. Lawrence 2 points for mentioning the “Miracle on Ice.” Matthew gets 1 point for talking about Red.
Andres wins ATD 8-6-6
“A little bird once told me to aim high and keep dreaming big.”