Congrats issued; a visit to the soapbox

First and foremost, there are some congratulations in order. <br><br> Coach John Brady and his team went to the toughest arena in the Southeastern Conference and came home with an impressive victory. <br><br> The Tigers ventured into Florida's O'Connell Center, the O-Dome, and picked up their fifth win in a row, a 73-70 victory over Billy Donovan's club. LSU bolted out to a quick lead, but fell behind by double digits in the second half.

A gritty comeback, fueled by an injured Jaime Lloreda, Brandon Bass and Darrel Mitchell allowed the Tigers to register a 73-70 upset of the 20th-ranked Gators.


Florida (14-7) can kiss the Top 25 goodbye as LSU prepares to make its first visit to the nation's elite since last January. Kudos to Brady and his squad for turning things around after a three-game losing streak early in the SEC slate. Expect more good things in the future as the Tigers (17-4) continue its march back to the NCAA Tournament.


Although she missed her eighth game in the last 10 outings, coach Sue Gunter picked up win No. 700 disposing of the Arkansas LadyBacks 92-65 last Thursday.


Gunter, still recuperating from a bad bout with bronchitis, became only the third coach in NCAA women's hoops history to reach the 700-win plateau joining SEC counterpart Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Texas coach Jody Conradt.


The win was somewhat bittersweet as it has been rumored Gunter may be done for the season. The coaching legend has had trouble regaining her strength and she may stay away for the rest of the 2003-04 campaign. After 40 years of coaching, Gunter may be in the twilight of her career as further reports state she may be ready to hang it up. What a shame since she has finally gotten her program to the level she has always wanted. Gunter has assembled the players at the right time and the right place as the Lady Tigers are getting the national attention it fully deserves.


Our thoughts and prayers are with you coach.


And how about Smoke Laval's baseball Tigers?


Five home runs on Saturday highlighted an exciting opening weekend for the nation's No. 2-ranked team. Laval and his staff promised offense and it showed as LSU flexed it's offensive muscles. Also, a great big pat on the back to Lane Mestepey, who was sharp in his comeback debut on Saturday.

Now allow me to crawl up on the soapbox for a few minutes.


Due to the recent rash of recruiting incidences popping up around the nation, NCAA president Miles Brand has formed a committee in order to tighten up recruiting rules and violations.


For those of you who have been under a rock somewhere, college football recruiting has undergone an interesting month in regards to scandal.


A sex scandal including booze and strippers has left the Colorado football program in a cloud an investigation is underway. But the most recent outrage was Carol City, Fla. standout Willie Williams, the nation's top-rated high school linebacker, and a paper trail of escapades during a recent recruiting visit to Gainesville and the University of Florida.


The 6-4, 220-pound Williams, who signed with Miami, is facing two misdemeanor charges along with an alleged felony after one wild night in Gainesville.


Around 10:30 p.m., Williams had and unwanted encounter with a UF co-ed, in which he "grabbed her front," according to police reports as she walked with her boyfriend. We don't know exactly what "grabbed her front" means, but we are under the assumption it was inappropriate.


Around 2 a.m., Williams engaged in a fistfight at a local nightclub, from which the recipient of Williams' pounding said the fight was totally unwarranted.


If Williams hadn't had enough, nearing 4 a.m., the blue chip linebacker discharged several fire extinguishers in the conference center in the UF Hilton, which is a felony.


The kicker to the entire incidences, Williams had been in trouble with the law before, 11 times before his rampage through Gainesville he had been arrested. Williams' rap sheet included mostly burglaries and theft.


What was he thinking?


A heralded football recruit, who is going to receive a free education and a spot on one of the nation's

best football teams, may have just thrown it all away. But did he? Will Miami refuse to allow Williams to show up?


Hopefully, the Hurricanes will do the right thing and turn Williams away. Surely they would not take a risk on a player who has proven he will do something like this again.


Why is it he would act out like this?


One simple answer, because he can.


Everywhere Williams has gone for the past year or so, people have been falling all over themselves to accommodate him and make him happy, i.e. recruiting visits and camps. The Miami-Herald even kept a recruiting diary on Williams throughout the year documenting his visits to the nation's top programs, even profiling a trip to Florida State, where he flew along on a private jet and fattened up on steak and lobster.


What's the matter with this picture?


Of course this kid is going to do whatever he feels like doing because he is treated like a king everywhere he turns. If its not bad enough that schools are selling out trying to obtain his services, fans and followers hang on his every word.


It is perfectly all right to follow recruiting as a hobby. Recruiting has grown into a passion for many and fans across the nation follow the recruiting season from start to finish. However, but the mixture of exposure, the good life on recruiting trips and a bad kid are one lethal combination as we have seen in this situation.


Hopefully, not only Miami will do the right thing, but Brand will act accordingly.


Coming off the soapbox, in football news it appears LSU and Nick Saban are closing in on a new contract for the National Coach of the Year.


Saban is projected to make $2.6 million over the next seven years. With the clause in his contract last season insuring he would make $1 more than college football's highest paid coach, Saban was promised he would make more than Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, who brought in $2.3 million last year.

With all incentives, Saban could possibly make up to $3 million next year.


In other football news, offensive lineman Jerry Sevin will miss next season.

The former John Curtis standout will receive a medical redshirt due to an unspecified illness. Rumors that he left the team seeking playing time elsewhere are erroneous.

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