OK – we have a lot to talk about this evening with the just past game against PSU and an upcoming game against #9 Oklahoma State University.  I’ll post some topics later on but there is a question I want to ask our readers first.

In the last article we had a comments thread regarding Pitt football players and football scholarships.  I have a distinct point of view on this and others differ.  But let me ask you this.

Why, as Pitt does in injury cases or illnesses that preclude a recruit from competing on the team and having a place on the roster, is it OK to give them scholarships outside of the 85 allowed by the NCAA so they can fulfill their educational goals at Pitt? We saw this happen in the past but most recently with recruits George Hill and Justin Moody – as a matter of fact Narduzzi said this about that situation:

Each of these young men are very passionate about the game of football, and our heart goes out to them,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “Although they will not be able to play this fall, each of them will remain an active and important part of our family.

They are, and will always be, Panthers. We are going to make sure they continue to benefit from a University of Pittsburgh education and being an important member of our football program.”

I bolded that last part as it strikes to the heart of this issue. “They are and always will be Panthers” – even if they never contribute in any way to the actual playing of football.

Then at the same time some fans think it is perfectly OK for Pitt to remove a player from scholarship just because he isn’t a starter; on the two-deep or significantly contributing on the field of play?  I’m talking about players who are not dismissed by academic failure or disciplinary reasons… or attitudinal problems as we saw happen five years ago.

We have also seen at Pitt players who may not have been wanted on the roster any longer and Pitt has worked to ensure they land elsewhere to finish both their football career and educations – that is reasonable in my eyes.

In one case the player who is  ill or has a career ending injury  will never contribute one iota toward winning football games, yet he’s carried on a full ride and given the opportunity to get his promised degree from Pitt – that promise BTW is a written pact between the University and the player and his parents – we recruit student/athletes to not only play for Pitt but to be able to earn a University of Pittsburgh degree in four years.

Fans may not fully realize this but I have spent a lot of time talking with recruits and their parents/grandparents over the years and a degree from Pitt is many times the tipping point on why a player comes here instead of elsewhere.

In the other case we have a marginal player who keeps his nose clean, meets all the academic standards and busts his ass out there in every single practice, scrimmage, team film, team meetings and weight room work with his teammates to try to make the program and team as good as it can be.

Then he’s punished by yanking his scholarship and taking away the opportunity of a Pitt degree that he may very much desire because the coaching staff thinks they may not win as much because he’s on roster.

I’ll personally say this – I very much agree with two of these three scenarios – we should honor a incapacitated player’s scholarship and we should help players that are willing, or even want to, to leave the roster to go elsewhere.

However I absolutely do not agree that we should ever deny a Pitt degree (in four years) to any member of the football team who meets and/or exceeds the actual University’s requirements to be an athlete in good standing at the university. Which means fours year to get your degree as long as there are no negative issues.

Doesn’t this quote also apply to the hardworking Panther who may not be a starter but is there working everyday and doing everything and sometimes more than the school and staff ask him to do?

“They are, and will always be, Panthers. We are going to make sure they continue to benefit from a University of Pittsburgh education and being an important member of our football program.”

I’m curious as to what others think about this because I believe this strikes directly at the heart of what college athletics should be about and how Pitt should conduct itself in these matters.

And let’s not play the’ I know more than he does about this’ game with the question above as it probably isn’t true and isn’t pertinent to the thoughts at hand anyway.

OK – Roundtable for this evening:

Meeting URL

https://bluejeans.com/303520973

Meeting ID

303 520 973

Moderator Passcode

2615

Want to dial in from a phone?

Dial one of the following numbers:

  • +1.408 -740 -7256 

(United States)

  • +1.408.317.9253

(Alternate number)

Enter the meeting ID and passcode (2615) followed by # See Below –

408 -740 -7256 – 303 – 520 – 973 – 2615#

Discussion Points:

Good bad and ugly again after a few days reflection?

Who should sit and who should play in place?

Which changes to lineup and/or game plans should we adjust?

Take on this Saturday’s game and what we may see differently than we saw last week i.e. better OL play, better passing, Q Henderson’s work, etc…”

Here is OK State’s values and national standing after last game… that passing and scoring offenses unnerves me.

O1

 

52 thoughts on “POV Roundtable Call-In & a Serious Question

  1. Reed, I agree with you that we should honor our commitment (for four years) to a kid who does what he is schollied to do. So, are you saying that we don’t do this? The implication is that we don’t.

    H2P

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  2. Completely agree Reed and it would be a shame on PITT if they do this IF! I remember players leaving but I never assumed they were asked or shoved out the door before 4 years. Although I know many walk-ons are awarded a scholarship after a year or two.

    Maybe a reminder for the folks interested in the tailgate? I like the vote and for those that are certain maybe drop in a comment who you are and if another PITT fan will be accompanying you? The more the merrier. ike

    H2P!

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    1. It’s certainly possible that all departures were purely player decisions concerning playing time, but I do wonder whether Stallings at least threatened to pull the scholarships of the underclassmen who left the men’s basketball team. I believe it would have affected Clark, Wilson and Manigault of that group as Johnson and Nix graduated. Clark should have been a senior in academic standing. Wilson should have been a junior. Clark with his history of serious injuries and status is particularly interesting.

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  3. When I tore my shoulder end of Sophmore Season ( Had 2 Surgeries) then coaching change my scholarship
    Was honored by coach before he was fired. I got all 5 years. Partial Scholarship not full.

    If a scholarship is made and the kid does his part, grades and good citizen it should be honered all 4 years no matter what. My opinion.

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  4. My initial reaction: Unless a player qualifies for the special exemption (a la George Hill), I think he should be kept for 4 years unless he is not keeping up with his grades or a continual discipline problem. I have no issue with a 5th year player being shown the door.

    I reserve the right to change opinion if a situation occurs that may be out of the ordinary.

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  5. The thing that scares me the most about OSU’s offensive numbers is that they are in the Top 25 in both rushing and passing. And you may recall that they burned Pitt in both last year.

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  6. Upitt, sorry to hear about your shoulder, I knew you had suffered an injury but I figure you must have been beaned in the head? 🙂 . . . . . . .ike

    Be on the Round-table tonight!
    H2P!

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    1. Hahahaha. That too! Got back to 70% then tore my knee in Summer League. Fu fixed the knee though. Thanks Ike. Will definitley try buddy.

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  7. I will be at the tailgate and bringing 2 (and another one is a maybe). Also I may not make the knights of the roundtable tonight, as I am attending happy hour(s).

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  8. Really thinking about an on campus stadium today…Maybe due to the posts of smaller stadiums on the website Also the mention of the collegiate atmospheres at Clemson and PSU. It would help create enthusiasm on campus and help with recruiting IMO…like the old days when most games were played in Pitt stadium and the large draw games in Three Rivers stadium. 40 to 45 thousand seats would be plenty. There has to be a way to do it. The location could be found if the University really wants to do it, It’s too bad that the Pete wasn’t built elsewhere on campus to save that site for a football stadium. A decision that was not well thought out by the administration IMO. Navy and Princeton have beautiful on campus stadiums in that capacity range. UNC and Duke as well. The Cathedral of Learning could be visible from inside the stadium. Heinz is beautiful along the river but focuses more on a professional football experience and not a college football experience. Pitt could still share the South Side practice facilities with the Steelers.
    Maybe someday the light will go on in our AD’s head. The businesses in Oakland would benefit greatly as well.

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      1. that could be very much a scenario. UPMC now is the largest employer in the entire state. It may not beyond the realm of possibility that it may open its own medical campus which includes a lot of research

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  9. Reading over some of the comments the past few days It makes me wonder. If anyone can’t see a dramatic improvement in the PITT defensive showing in front of 109,000 screaming people all in white shirts against the #4 team in the country, then you never will. It’s an invalid opinion in my own opinion which could also be invalid. got that? . . . . . ike

    H2P!

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    1. Ike – Rivalry game.

      If the defense improves and holds OSU under 35 then you are onto something.

      Rudolph is WAY beter than McSorely and won’t miss throws.

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    2. Good god Ike – we lost by giving up 33 points in a bit more than 29 minutes of TOP for the opponent. We lost by 19 total points… 19.

      Last year we gave up 74 yards rushing – this year 148. Last year we gave up 39 points – this year 33 a bit better but really not even a TD better.

      Sorry – but where in hell do you see a ‘dramatically better’ defense there than we had last season? I get your crazy Polish/Serbian/Latin optimism but our last 6 quarters of play has had pretty poor defense with a bright spot or two thrown in.

      I think that because a lot of Pitt fans were expecting a bloodbath when that didn’t happen they think we played better than we really did – PSU almost held us to 6 points on the day… and 14 ain’t something to write home about.

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      1. Reed, the low rushing figures from last year could well be due to the large early lead we had … 28 to 7 in the 2nd quarter. In fact, this may have been a reason why we finsihed 2nd to last in passing defense because most of the teams we played were playing catch-up.

        I’m not implying that our pass defense didn’t stink; just saying that it was magnified.

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        1. I’ve seen this narrative before regarding Pitt’s defense in 2016. However it doesn’t at all fit the VT or Miami games when Pitt played from behind or briefly ahead yet VT rushed for 150 and Miami 178. The same is true for NW in the meaningless bowl game when NW rushed for 248. GT was a similar game situation in that Pitt held small leads yet, GT rushed for 241. I realize that is what GT does. I recall that at least one poster on the POV considers Syracuse some sort of outlier because he believes they simply should have quit, but Syracuse rushed for 228.

          The games that actually fit your narrative regarding early leads and rushing totals last season are Villanova, PSU, UNC and Marshall when Pitt led early and for all of the game (UNC!). Villanova lost in the second round of the FCS playoff last season to finish 9-4. Pitt beat PSU by 3. Pitt lost to UNC by 1. Pitt beat Marshall (who finished 3-9) by 16.

          Pitt played mostly from behind against Clemson and OSU last year but did hold the rushing yardage down reasonably well. On the other hand, those two teams combined to throw for 1120 yards instead. However Clemson and OSU finished #6 and #7 in passing yards per game last season. Much like GT and rushing, it’s what they do. Syracuse, UNC and Miami were 13, 22 and 24 in this stat. OSU finished #64 and Clemson #73 in rushing yards per game last season.

          It is interesting to see that UVA (9), Marshall(13), UNC(14), Syracuse(15), Clemson(22), Duke (27) and Miami (29) finished in the FBS Top 30 for highest percentage of passing plays last season. NW finished 38 and OSU 39.

          Stats are fun.

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  10. by the way…PSU’s stadium may be big but it is a tired old erector set dinosaur compared with other college stadiums. Heinz is a much better facility than PSU’s stadium.

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  11. @Reed – I think my point was missed. I am not saying to take away a scholarship. What I am saying is that the conversation from coach to player is “you are not going to play going forward (non-contributor). If you want to play football, this is not the place for you. We will help you if you want to move on. Those discussions need to happen more frequently with non-contributors.

    If the kid wants to stay, so be it. If the kid wants a chance to play or loves the game and wants to continue playing than it is in the best interest to have them move on. That is the “talk”. The George Hill and the DL from last year that aren’t able to play do not remain on football scholarship. Athletics can give them a scholarship outside the 85 for medical reasons. It is not pulling a schollie. It’s more persuasion to move on. That is where Pellini is getting the power 5 transfers from. It’s a cottage recruiting industry to find kids that didn’t fit into their current teams plans and were shown the door via the talk.

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  12. I agree with Reed
    I agree with UPitt, Heinz is a crap hole
    I agree Pitt needs a multil purpose OCS that serves as more than just a stadium for more than 1 program
    Yes – winning will bring attendance numbers up but its also the experience, atmosphere and connection to campus
    Pitts D was good in Creepy Valley
    We will surprise those Cowboys…Okies cant breathe Appalachian air

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  13. Huff – I wasn’t thinking just about your posts – but that conversation does happen, and many times the player has said ‘No thanks, I’ll stay here”.

    Here is the thing – after their 2nd year at Pitt (or any D1 school) a player pretty much knows whether he’s going to start or be in the NFL later on. Some want to play more so they drop down in class such as Voytik did – but many others want to still be in a big-time program and be with all the teammate friends that had made over the past two years in the clubhouse.

    And some want the Pitt degree no matter what. And why not – for many football is second to getting a great education.

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  14. Ike:

    Were those 109,000 white shirts, or white overalls and tee shirts? I didn’t get to see the game, but I would have thought they all would have been sporting their finest agrarian apparel – it was, after all, NOT a rivalry game!

    BTW, every time I see a Chick-Fil-a commercial with the black and white cow, I think fondly of our countrified cousins to the East. (You do have Chick-Fil-a in Pa, doncha?)

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  15. SP good point and near record ticket prices through the psu ticket sales office. This ain’t no rivarly??

    Reed, psu is supposed to be an even better team this year with all the returning stars they have. This just in, this game was played ON THE ROAD.

    Considering PITT held down the psu offense to 312 yards with a Heisman Trophy candidate RB, (84 yards) a returning starting QB and possibly the best TE in college. Only 80 yards were given up to the psu WR’s. You like stats don’t you?

    How about the defense having to play their first series inside the 10 yard line? <<< This is an example how stats are big fat liars! … If you don’t see it then I stand by what I posted.. You never will! . . . . .. . ike

    You shouldn’t use the Lords name in vain.
    Gaad
    H2P!

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    1. Pitt gave this game to PSU on a silver platter in the 1st Q with the two turnovers that we offered up.

      The momentum shifted big time to the bad guys early after that. The previous Pitt teams that I’ve know over the past 30+ years could have easily rolled over & mailed in a typical SOP performance after that 14-0 start and then Franklin could have gotten his wish with second Akron type beatdown in as many weeks at say a final score like 49-10 or some such a$$ whoopin.

      That didn’t happen. Narduzzi’s boys are a different breed than the typical Pitt roster from day’s gone by. These kids have a very strong bond to a team spirit. You hear that mentioned from outsiders consistently, that there is a feeling of team unity with this program now. The term “family” is often referred to by recruits who visit. That’s a very good quality for a program to possess. It makes it a lot harder to just lay down against a superior opponent when you feel obligated to a higher authority than just your own self esteem.

      I saw that play out at Clemson. There was NO WAY Pitt wins that game after Whitehead’s 100 yard fumble recovery and run back for a TD gets overturned by replay review in Death Valley with 95% of the team’s that Pitt has fielded since the mid 1980s. NONE! However last year’s team refused to let it get away from them. That 14 point swing would have been a stake in the heart emotionally for a lesser team, but not those Panthers.

      It was that team synergy that kept Pitt from folding their tents early in that penn state game too. They might have gotten beat on the scoreboard by the Nitters, but they failed to defeat the Panthers mentally. Pitt played hard the entire game.

      This team is raw and inexperienced. Their coaching may also be suspect on the defensive side of the ball but they don’t lack the “want to” mindset. They play 60 minutes of football, I like that with this squad.

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  16. Of course we have Chick-Fil-a but we don’t have Piggly Wigglys, Of course the scholarship should be honored for four years, that is the promise actual or implied. If you pick a quitter it is on the coach.
    Upitt did you get a redshirt or were you held back? 🙂
    From the last thread I think it is great to have a QB fight; we have not had two legit QBs for far far too long. Go Capt Max.
    HAIL TO PITT

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  17. There was a marginal wideout from Texas, signed by HCPN, who got the boot, i believe, after one year.
    I have no problem yanking a scholarship for underperformance. Academic scholarships are yanked for poor performance. Folks are fired for poor performance. Military personnel are held back from promotions for poor performance. So why should some kid who under achieves, or gives half-ass effort, given a full four-five year ride?
    Whats next? Decreeing everyone gets to see the field?
    It ain’t peewee football.

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    1. True. Academic scholarships come with a minimum GPA requirement. But that’s a tad different because you’re never at risk of being beaten out by some other smart dude for a scholarship a year or two behind you.

      Still, having to pay for a year or two of college in order to finish your degree isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

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    2. I would extend that concept to the athletic effort offered up by the student athlete as well.

      After all, it is an ATHLETIC scholarship to begin with that gives the student athlete a free ride to start with. So what I’m saying is that for the type of kid who comes in to Pitt as a Freshman with a $hitty attitude from the start, dogs it in practice and is a malcontent from the get go on the team, I say “see ya” without feeling obliged to honor anything! A good example of that is the Rushel Shell situation.

      If that scenario had ended up with HCPC kicking him off the team rather than Shell himself quitting as it actually went down, I would have been up in arms against him receiving a continuing 4 year free ride at Pitt.

      I don’t condone any guaranteed four year “participation trophy scholly” for all student athletes simply because they had the privilege to sign a letter of intent to play a sport at the University of Pittsburgh.

      In my mind you have to earn that valuable scholarship everyday that it is in place by both physical & intellectual effort, 100% every day.

      Now if you recruit the appropriate individual to start with, this should not be a concern. There obviously will be those who just don’t make the athletic grade and are eliminated from the roster to make a spot for another more talented athlete. Those kids should be supported by the University by honoring their scholarship for the full 4 year ride if the want to continue their education at Pitt. However, every situation should be analyzed on it’s on merits and circumstances, although the goal should be to honor a four year scholarship to the student athlete if his being cut from the team is from no fault of his own other than just a lack of physical talent to make the grade.

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  18. That was WR Gentry Ivery and I don’t believe he got the boot – he was a late addition to the recruiting class of 2015, a 2* kid, and saw what receivers were ahead of him on the depth chart – knew he most likely wouldn’t have played so transferred…

    Wide Receiver List for 2015

    1. Dontez Ford Senior (Really good #2 type receiver, don’t think he’s an ideal #1)
    2. Tre Tipton Sophomore (I think he’s loaded with talent, he’s a breakout candidate)
    3. Zach Challingsworth Junior (He came on mid-season last year. He’s not flashy, but he’s a possession guy)
    4. Quadree Henderson Sophomore (One of Pitt’s few legitimate game-breakers, they’ll find ways to get him touches)
    5. Ruben Flowers Freshman (4 star true freshman with size, may be able to stretch the field)
    6. Jester Weah Junior (He looks the part, but he literally can’t catch)
    7. Ja’Quan Davison Sophomore (Incredible athlete, would be nice to see him put it together)
    8. Maurice Ffrench Freshman (Good enough to play, but may get a redshirt)
    9. Rafael Araujo-Lopes Sophomore (Hard to get a feel for him just yet, they have small-ish receiver I think are better)
    10. Aaron Matthews Freshman (Expecting a Redshirt)

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  19. Barvo, I think you have that backwards for the most part? you posted “I’ve seen this narrative before regarding Pitt’s defense in 2016. However it doesn’t at all fit the VT or Miami games when Pitt played from behind or briefly ahead yet VT rushed for 150 and Miami 178”.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I think that’s the point a lot of us try and make. When PITT isn’t scoring every 30 seconds it is in actuality helping the PITT defense to put up better numbers and allowed the opposition to play more ball control with the rushing attack. . . . ike

    H2P!

    Like

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