Hot topics from summer sports scene
July 17, 2012 11:24PM
TAB MUG HUTTON Andy Lavalley/Post-Tribune ptmet
Updated: August 19, 2012 6:32AM
The Answer Man returns for a refreshing, cool break in the middle of this sweltering summer heat to update you on all the hot stuff going on in Northwest Indiana.
First question of the day: Is it true that Renaldo Thomas is going to be back in business at Roosevelt?
If Thomas gets the job, he certainly will. He confirmed to the Answer Man on Tuesday that he did indeed apply for the position. Several sources have told the Answer Man that Thomas is near the top of new principal Terrence Little’s list for the job.
Thomas would certainly be a good program builder for a school that is essentially starting over. Few people in Gary know the local/youth basketball scene better than Thomas. It’s unclear where Roosevelt is going to be classified in the future or even what is going to happen this year. Roosevelt expects to have about 750 kids in grades seven through 12 this year and a thousand total, which essentially puts them in the 2A range for now.
What about all the hysteria concerning Roosevelt dropping sports?
That’s all that was, hysteria, that was fueled in part by the lack of concrete details between the transition from the Gary public schools to Edison Learning. The key for recruitment and retention for Roosevelt, as it undoubtedly has learned from Bowman and other charter schools, is to have quality sports programs. Since open enrollment is the rule in Gary, kids will choose schools based on the quality of athletic programs. If anything, the emergence of Roosevelt as a player in basketball and football could revive the competitive metabolism of the athletic programs at the Gary public schools.
When will Murray Richards be hired as the West Side basketball coach?
Richards confirmed last week to the Answer Man that he indeed had been offered the job. The board, however, still hasn’t solved its budget crisis. Once that issue is resolved, Richards will officially be named the new coach. That probably happens sometime next month.
Will there be a referendum on the ballot in 2016 for the public to vote on a switch back to single class basketball?
Senator Jean Leising of Batesville would like to introduce a bill that calls for a referendum. Getting it done would be a long shot.
Indiana rarely allows referendums and this is a case in which a referendum to decide on how a basketball tournament should be run would have very little public support. The Answer Man noted that IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox actually sounded irritated when he told the Fort Wayne Journal Sentinel that “if the Indiana legislature is going to disrespect our school administrators and student athletes and wants to do something based on what adults want for their own entertainment, then they need to do that.”
The Answer Man is happy that Leising and Senator Mike Delph of Carmel are keeping the focus on our pathetic multiclass tournament, which is in desperate need of being fixed. There is no need for the tournament to revert back to single class but certainly Cox could be part of a solution to try improve the current four-class system. Cox defers to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association when it involves a solution to improve the current format.
Should Penn State’s football program get the death penalty?
There is no right answer to that question but the Answer Man believes the NCAA would have a difficult time establishing a precedent for giving PSU the death penalty, given what happened to Baylor when basketball coach Dave Bliss had illegally paid for tuition for his players. That was he aware of alcohol and drug abuse among his players and that he willfully ignored it That he had assistants make up false expense reports. That he urged his players to lie about Patrick Dennehy paying his tuition with money from drug dealing.
Baylor didn’t get the death penalty for all of those infractions. Hard to say that the cover-up at PSU by Joe Paterno, the president and the athletic director were worse than what Bliss did.