Lowering GPA Standards
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN2)
In a move that has generated controversy, some school districts across the country are lowering GPA minimum requirements for athletes. Supporters of the move say the reasons stretch beyond ensuring that high school athletes will be able to play for their teams. Reporter Paula Lavigne explains why some people believe lowering GPA requirements can contribute to the overall well-being of student athletes.
“I wouldn’t even be thinking about school, period. Really. I would probably be out on the streets doing something I shouldn’t be doing or in jail or – maybe worse – dead.” — Contrell Curry, senior high school athlete on how a lower GPA minimum has helped him
“I believe in high standards. I love a school that has that. But when we don’t have a support system for the students, it makes it more challenging to hold them to a higher standard.” — Ligia Noriega-Murphy, headmaster, The English High School in Boston
“It’s like they’re getting the reward without having to meet the standards. To just say, ‘Well, this keeps kids in school’ — if that’s the only thing keeping them in school, then how does that affect all the other kids that are there to learn?” — Ted Biondo, critic of lower GPA minimums for high school athletes.
Instigator, annoying, dirty…these are some of the words that are used to describe St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan. In fact, the defining moment of his career has become an ugly on-field brawl with Texans receiver Andre Johnson in 2010. But, if you really want to understand who Cortland Finnegan is, ask 19-year-old Kelsey Towns. The two met in 2010, when Kelsey was being treated for a rare cancer in her leg. E:60’s Chris Connelly shows us the many sides of Cortland Finnegan – the ornery scrapper known to opponents as “the dirtiest player in the NFL”, and the man, beloved by his friends and family. As Finnegan explains, “sometimes you got to be a hero, sometimes you got to be a villain.”
Since being picked No. 1 in the 2009 NFL Draft, Matthew Stafford has heard the approving roar of Detroit Lions fans. But in his four years with the Lions, Stafford has also heard the whispers of those who doubt him. E:60’s Rachel Nichols travels with Stafford to his hometown of Dallas, TX to see where his football life began, where it is going and just how tough of a player he actually can be.
The story of Portland, Oregon high school football player Hayward Demison, who suffered an on-field heart attack is a story of heroism, faith and resurgence. There are comebacks, and then there is Hayward’s Heart.
Traveling trophies have a long history in college football rivalry games, some dating back more than a century. While the Heisman and BCS National Championship trophies may be more recognizable, each year in-state and conference rivals duke it out for hardware like the Floyd of Rosedale pig, the Jeweled Shillelagh and the Old Brass Spittoon. But don’t let these quirky symbols fool you: these traditions matter to the teams involved. Chris Connelly reports.
“A shillelagh is an Irish magical stick, and we play for a couple of shillelaghs. Why wouldn’t you? You’re at Notre Dame.” — Chip Kelly, Notre Dame Head Coach, talking about the Jeweled Shillelagh trophy which goes to the winner of USC-Notre Dame game.
“You know, it’s like a bowl game in the middle of the season. It really is.” — Tom Wort, Oklahoma linebacker on the “Golden Hat” trophy, which goes to Oklahoma-Texas winner
There was a time not long ago when teams ran the ball in NFL to win. It was an era personified by the “workhorse” running back, a player who carried the ball 300-or-more times in a season and delivered punishment to defenders by running the ball between the tackles. Today, quarterbacks and wide receivers are the stars and have made the NFL a passing league. Many teams today employ a running a back-by-committee philosophy, making obsolete the era of one star back and “three yards and a cloud of dust.” Earl Campbell, the quintessential workhorse running back, narrates.
“When you think about a guy like Ray Rice, or Maurice Jones-Drew, (Arian) Foster, you know you see backs that have the ability to be there first, second, and third down and makes things happen. But, when you’re throwing the ball 40 times, 45 times or 50 times a game, you’ve taken the running back completely out of his element. You basically neutralize your own running back.” —Emmitt Smith, Hall of Fame running back on the de-emphasis of the workhorse back
Herculez Gómez was born in the United States to Mexican parents. He grew up in Las Vegas playing soccer, but never imagined he’d be where is today. After years of ups and downs, Gómez has resurged, winning a league title with his current Santos Laguna club in Mexico and becoming a key player for the U.S. Men’s National team. The forward has played in the last nine matches for the U.S., including its most recent win to reach the hexagonal round of CONCACAF qualifying.