Another tragic death, and what you can do to make sure there are fewer
Stephen Gant shouldn't be dead, or at least it seems like that. Someone that young should be looking forward to having been signed to play for one of the best baseball programs in the SEC -- not becoming a tragedy for his high school and the latest in a strong of tragedies for his future college.
And someone that young, with his entire life ahead of him, shouldn't be taking his own life.
But it uncovers an uncomfortable truth in our society that we for some reason don't want to deal with: We have far too many young people who make the same decision that Gant did. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24.
And that's not the worst part of the statistics. Surveys show that 15 percent of high school students -- more than one of every seven students in what are supposed to be the most carefree years of their lives -- have seriously considered suicide in the last year. Almost 150,000 of our young people between 10 and 24 are treated for self-inflicted wounds. So far more of the young people in this country are actually attempting suicide that are succeeding.
So yes, mourn Stephen Gant and pray for his family, as we do. But also mourn for and remember all the broken lives that end far too soon.
And by all means, go here or here or here if you have a young person in your life who you're afraid might be at risk. You should probably check it out if there's any young person in your life, even if you don't think they're at risk.
Because the only help you can ever regret in a case like this is the help you didn't offer.
KENTUCKY: STILL NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS
'I'm not going to be the New York Knicks coach'
I'm not sure whether to believe John Calipari or not -- and for Kentucky fans who think I'm just being a hater, it has very little to do with John Calipari and everything to do with how these things happen. Because this sounds very much like a non-denial denial.
"... I've made statements that I've got the best job in basketball and I'm not going to change my lifestyle. I'm not leaving."
But he said he's not leaving, right? Actually, he said he's made statements before the indicate he's not leaving. This is how you give a non-denial denial.
What do I think? My best guess is that Calipari probably doesn't have any interest in leaving for the NBA right now. But I wouldn't be surprised if he's willing to listen to offers after another championship or two -- and I wouldn't even be stunned if he listened to a few right now.
It's not like the money is that much of an issue
Calipari will pull in $750,000 in bonuses for winning the national championship, and that's before the inevitable contract extension with a comfortable raise that we should be hearing about in a few weeks now.
And Coach Cal's not the only one getting rich off of it
Everyone in Lexington and some national companies are also making money by the truckload.
Calipari does want to jettison the one-and-done rule
I still can't get why the NBA and the players' union can't agree on a rule that works relatively well in a sport that now has relative labor peace: baseball. The MLB rule, for those of you who might be unaware, is that a prospect can be drafted after their high school career is over or after their third year of college, but not in between. The best natural talents can go straight into the minor leagues and the players who need more seasoning in college can get it without it being a one-year audition and creating massive roster turnover. Maybe it's just too easy.
A.C. Leonard will almost certainly start for the Florida Gators in 2012
Even though the tight end pleaded nolo contendre to a misdemeanor count of battery. For what?
Leonard was arrested Feb. 15 after his 21-year-old girlfriend told police he shoved her and dragged her through his apartment by her hair and feet.
At least he was punished, in the kind of way that even Lou Holtz might find a touch too light.
Florida coach Will Muschamp immediately suspended him from team activities, though he was still allowed to use the facilities and be on the field for UF’s Pro Day. Muschamp reinstated him to practice March 26, but has not decided whether he can play in Saturday’s spring game or what his status is for the upcoming season.
"He still has a lot of things to work through before his status for the fall is addressed," Muschamp said.
It's not my team, so it's really not my place to say all that much, except that I would hope that if he were at South Carolina there would be nothing "to work through before his status for the fall is addressed." I hope he would be gone from the program long before then. There's a difference between having an argument with your girlfriend that gets physical, which is bad enough, and having one that ends with you dragging her through the apartment.
Oh, and you get one guess who his attorney is.
Florida changes rules of football
But only for the spring game, which will have four 12-minute quarters. Because the offense didn't have enough trouble scoring last year as it was.
Maybe the other other Tigers really are the SEC East frontrunners
Missouri has officially joined the SEC East for the 2012 season, and the best way to make that clear is to have a starting player with a lot of question marks. That would be their quarterback, James Franklin (MO). About two weeks after Franklin's shoulder surgery, he has gone from being back in time for the regular season to probably being back in time for the regular season.
"We're expecting that he won't" miss any games, Pinkel said after yesterday's practice, making his first public comments on Franklin's health since the quarterback's March 23 surgery. "But to say that can't happen, I can't say that. We feel that he can get ready to play. Bottom line, we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Not that it matters all that much. Like any good SEC team, the Eastern Division Tigers have Southeastern Louisiana as their opening game.
James Franklin (VU) wants -- nay, demands -- to eat more cupcakes
It hasn't taken long for him to focus on the most important part of improving Vanderbilt: Rich Brooks-izing the schedule.
"Most people in this league are playing one BCS game or one tough game and then three games they should win. We're playing two," Franklin said. "We should just be playing one of those. I can make an argument, if you studied our schedule, that we have one of the toughest out-of-conference schedules, and we shouldn't.."
You could actually make the opposite argument here: That Vanderbilt is not one of the stronger teams in the SEC, and yet it's blowing the other teams out of the water in scheduling. Maybe it's not that Vanderbilt should step down its scheduling game, but that some of the others should step theirs up.
Nick Saban tells the most West Virginia story ever
Saban was asked about Bobby Petrino's motorcycle accident, which led to this reminiscence about his own time on a hog:
"Every time no one was looking, I'd get on Charlie's Triumph. I took it to my girlfriend's house, and she lived on the side of the mountain, and there was a curve, and the water was running across the street, and a dog was chasing me down the street."
It gets better, so go read it.