The Seattle Times has decided to run a four part story about the off field problems of the 2000 Rose Bowl team. The stories of course are true, and they are eight years old. The Times say they have new information, and that is what makes the stories relevant to be told again since the program is at a crossroads following the firing of AD Todd Turner.
The stories on the players so far are well written, and they have a familiar ring, and that is the Hedges, Neuheisel, the police, a private attorney who was a UW alum, and the King County Prosecutors office gave these guys the benefit of doubt so they could stay on the playing field longer than they should have.
The first story was about Jerramy Stevens and it absolutely turns the stomach of anyone who reads it. It also is something that was just as well documented eight years ago as it was in yesterdays article. On a side note I always felt Stevens should have been kicked off the team. I always felt Neuheisel made a critical mistake concerning Stevens.
Today's story is about Jeremiah Pharms, and while still interesting it is a rehash of the same information that came out eight years ago. There will be two more stories in the series, and one will feature deceased Husky football star Curtis Williams who had some problems off field before straightening himself out enough to become a star in the UW secondary. Curtis's unfortunate injury and subsequent death has made him a martyr in the eyes of many. The Times will slay that myth later this week.
The timing of the stories just happen to coincide with the end of the 2008 recruiting season, and a bill that will be introduced in the legislature today to provide $150 million in funding to help remodel Husky Stadium. Since this all happened eight years ago the Times, or any other publication could have chosen to run the stories anytime they wanted, but why now?
Washington has gone 11-25 since Ty Willingham arrived to rebuild the program. Ty while not winning on the field has significantly changed the culture of the football team. His players go to school, they graduate, they donate considerable time to the community, and most importantly they stay out of trouble a lot more compared to their predecessors.
A football team is a microcosm if society. You are going to have kids that get into trouble no matter what you do just like the rest of the world in general. All you can do to prevent that is try your best to recruit kids with high morals, and do your best to guide them while they are under your supervision. Every once in awhile some will disappoint you, but if you put the right system in place, and recruit the right kinds of kids you are headed in the right direction. You can look inside the programs of Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State just to name a few, and find the same type of problems at times that manifested itself in the Husky program under Rick Neuheisel.
The real story here is that Washington has done an excellent job of cleaning up those problems after giving the presidents office, athletic department, and the football program a clean sweep five years ago.
The Times on the other hand believes that the firing of AD Todd Turner last December may herald the return of those win at all cost days at Washington which is one of their reasons for saying the stories are valid to run today eight years after they transpired.
I for one question the motives of the Seattle Times concerning the release of these investigative reports. I know they have the right to do it, and the public has the right to know, but after eight years you would think most of this would have been put to bed. I feel the timing of the reports is calculated precisely to prevent state funding for one half of the Husky Stadium remodeling project.
Bob Condotta says to wait till the end of the series to pass judgement. Sorry Bob, the timing is way to suspicious for me to buy that argument.
What is your opinion?
Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry of the Seattle Times
Ken Armstrong is a senior writer at the investigative desk, not sports. He has been one of the 5 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize on 3 occasions, most recently for last year's Pulitzer in recognition of his story "Your Courts, Their Secrets", for which he was also in the running for the Goldsmith Prize from the Schoenstein Center for Politics, Press and Public Policy and was awarded the Gold Medal for Excellence in Investigative Reporting from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2004 he received the Washington State Bar Association's Award for Excellence in Legal Reporting.
Nick Perry is the senior Higher Education Correspondent for the Seattle Times. He won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for a recent look at underfunding of the UWs Computer Science department and how community leaders were supporting the department and its quest for additional monies as critical to the state's infrastructure future. He previously reported on involvement by the UWs Office of Student Financial Services in a scandal with a Florida-based company that was marketing bunk loans to UW students and led the story that exposed the December-revealed news that the Seattle Marathon is actually only donating 1% of its proceeds to the UW Medical School, despite implications to the contrary.
Wildcats Punish Huskies
All thoughts of a possible sweep in the desert were extinguished on Saturday when the Arizona lit it up for a secnd game in a row with three's from the perimeter. You can live by the threes, and die by the threes, but at this point Arizona will be tough for anyone to stop at home shooting the way they have. Getting a split in Arizona is still a very good thing, and I look for this team to continue to improve over the rest of the season. An important goal for the team is to emerge with a winning record in conference play over the first half of the season. If they can accomplish that anything is possible.
Support Your Local Gunfighters
I received a lot of excellent feed back on this post in Dawgman, and this site over the weekend. the post was a call to arms for all Husky fans to support the stadium initiative by writing letters to their state representatives.
I think the importance of doing that was significantly brought to the forefront after the release Sunday of the Seattle Times Investigative report series. We all have to realize that we need to put petty concerns aside, come together, and fight for the life of the Husky Football program. Powerful forces are at work to make sure that the program never is rebuilt to the level it was in the early 90's. In fact those same forces would like to see Husky Stadium torn down and the team moved downtown to Qwest Field which for all intents and purposes would destroy the program permanently.
If you haven't written your representatives, you have three, get it done today. It may not seem like much, but it does make a huge difference when the representatives hear the opinions of their constituents.
Nathan Ware "We Are All Smarter This Morning"
The Times also informed us that former coach Rick Neuheisel ran an undisciplined ship. Don't you feel smarter knowing that fact on January 27th, 2008 when Neuheisel hasn't coached here in roughly five years? I'm sure that you had never heard about Neuheisel's inability to instill discipline. Good luck, UCLA fans. The Times also informed us that Barbara Hedges was an incompetent athletic director. Don't you feel smarter knowing that fact on January 27th, 2008 when Hedges hasn't been here for four years? I'm sure that you had never heard about Hedges' incompetence.
Cory MacKay is a Cougar
Cory MacKay has decided to pass on an offer from UW to become a LB, and go to WSU to become a WR. That means the Huskies still have up to two spots to fill before LOI day. This decommit doesn't really bother me at all since Washington actually has higher ranked recruits still on the board waiting for scholarship offers. Paul Wulff is still trying to pry Kavario Middleton ansd Jermaine Kearse from the Huskies at this time, but the chances are about nill that they will change their minds.