Paul Zeise from the South Side:
There is silliness and insanity and something in between -- or better yet, a mixture of all -- in the NCAA and its rules.
And today's example of this is the NCAA rule that "protects" football players by not allowing them to practice in full pads the first four days of training camp.
That rule was put in place after a few players died of heat exhaustion. The thinking was that players need to gradually get back into shape before they are put back into full pads in the heat.
As with most rules that are put on the books as knee-jerk reactions, the short-sightedness of this one is evident to every single person who stands on the sidelines of these early camp practices and watches 300-pound guys and fast athletes attempt to practice football while wearing only helmets (and shorts and T-shirts) and somehow avoid falling down and collisions.
Today was Pitt's first day of camp and I observed, between the two practices, no less than 29 plays where players collided at full speed or close to it or where players were knocked to the ground -- and this was during 7-v-7 drills.
It is ridiculous to have these kids, who are in the best shape of their lives, who have been hungry to start playing football after sitting out since last season, in only helmets with no other protection.
After practice I asked Dave Wannstedt about his thoughts on this NCAA rule and not surprisingly, he echoed these sentiments and he said the Big East coaches even went so far as to submit their objections to the rule to the NCAA last year and it was rejected.
"I don't understand why we don't have shells on at least protecting the shoulders," Wannstedt said. "Obviously having no pads I think you're more susceptible to injuries than if you even have [shells] any type of thin protective padding on. I mean, particularly when you are blocking and tackling, I mean, that is the sport....."
Imagine that -- the participants of a sport that involves blocking and tackling wanting to block and tackle ...
There are rumors flying around the Internet that Pitt and Georgia Tech are nearing a deal to play a home and home in football. As it turns out, they seem to be just that -- rumors, and not very credible ones.
How do I know?
I asked Steve Pederson -- who in turn asked Chris LaSala -- and both laughed as they said they have never spoken with Georgia Tech.
Steve Pederson then sent a text to one of the assistant basketball coaches to find out if maybe it was a deal to play in basketball -- the response "no, though we did talk to them about playing a single neutral site game ..."
In other words, this Pitt-Georgia Tech stuff is another example of how someone thought they heard something, put it on the Internet and it became the gospel ...