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Army-Navy should be example/Paul Peterson

December 14, 2011
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

The Army-Navy football game this past weekend was like turning back the clock at least 50 years.

The two old rivals battled on the field for little more than pride, which is how it used to be in more innocent times on the college sports scene.

There were no bowls - with all their gaudy commercial trappings - at stake in this game. No hype or overhype about probable Heisman winners. Just plain, hardnosed football.

Now, I know that the Army and Navy football programs probably haven't been relevant on the national scene for decades.

You have to go all the back to Navy quarterback Roger Staubach in 1964 to find the last Heisman winner from a service academy. And Army football probably hasn't been famous since All-American end Bill Carpenter, who was better known as the "Lonely End" in the late 1950s. Carpenter, you see, didn't go to the huddle. He just lined up at his split end position and got hand signals from his teammates.

The players from this year's Army-Navy game aren't likely to end up on the roster of a National Football League team.

In all likelihood, they'll be serving this country on a battlefield somewhere in the world. And that's as high an honor as you can get.

While the cadets and midshipmen were battling on the field Saturday, a different kind of skirmish was taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio.

That was where the Xavier and Cincinnati men's basketball teams took part in one of the most disgraceful brawls seen in quite a few years.

There were more sucker punches thrown after the game than you'll see on Monday Night Wrestling. One of the Cincinnati players even took the liberty of kicking a Xavier player who was lying on the floor.

What might have been even more disturbing was the press conference held after the game. Even Xavier players showed little or no remorse, talking in general terms about "being disrespected and defending our neighborhood."

Now, Cincinnati has long had a tradition of playing rough and tumble basketball. Former Bearcats' coach Bob Huggins seemed to relish it whenever one of his players decked an opponent with a high elbow.

I understand there were something like eight suspensions handed out in the wake of the debacle. But there should out-and-out season expulsions for some of the worst UC offenders.

And if the coach doesn't go along with that ... he should also be given the boot as well.

Discipline, or a lack of it, is plaguing sports at all levels nowadays. And no one seems to want to be accountable.

I'll take a gold, old-fashioned contest like the Army-Navy football game any day of the week. That's the way a college athletic contest should be played.



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