Worry about this, not about that

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2004

They’re lighting up the airways of local sports radio.

Callers who wait on hold for up to an hour to gripe, whine and moan about the biggest problems with their beloved Auburn Tigers or Alabama Crimson Tide.

Many Bama fans have been consumed lately by revelations that Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer served as a secret witness, leading the NCAA to put Alabama football on probation after a lengthy investigation.

A disturbing number of Crimson Tiders want to focus on the same garbage bag full of accusations and violations when they should be looking ahead.

The clouds around the Capstone are finally clearing.

Alabama’s bowl ban has been lifted and probation-free football is in clear sight.

The Alabama faithful would be much better served by giving the What-about-Tennessee rain dances a rest and taking a moment to enjoy the promise on the horizon.

Fulmer will get his, in due time.

But nothing that happens to Tennessee will reverse the penalties imposed on Alabama for cheating and getting caught.

It’s time to move on.

And with national signing day just two weeks away, Alabama’s coaching staff has given Tide fans plenty to be optimistic about with a solid class of verbal commitments, including local Briarwood star Simeon Castille.

That brings us to the misdirected concerns of many Auburn fans.

Many who cry War Eagle are crying &uot;Where are the recruits?&uot;

With the Tide’s stranglehold on in-state players, much of the Auburn nation is down about the low number of big-name commitments who say they’ll play football for the Tigers.

But Auburn fans need to realize recruiting is an inexact science. Even if the recruiting &uot;experts,&uot; who assess players using all sorts of sources, like this newspaper for instance, give Auburn a low grade for this year’s class, it’s nothing to fret over.

Many big-time recruits don’t even make it to the field because they fail to qualify academically. Others don’t quite live up to the expectations (Brodie Croyle and Jason Campbell were both rated as top-five quarterbacks nationally). And many times, verbally &uot;committed&uot; kids change their mind on signing day and pull a different team’s hat or jersey out of a bag to make a spectacle of their flakiness.

They must not understand the meaning of the word commitment.

At any rate, Auburn fans concerned with recruiting need to snap out of the five-star, four-star, three-star daze and focus on one of the biggest problems a school could ever face.

Auburn is staring down a possible loss of accreditation because its president has shown little control as the board of trustees mingled in the athletic program.

So to fix the problem, the board replaced the departed William Walker with former state school superintendent Ed Richardson, a member of the board of trustees by virtue of his state position.

If Auburn fans want to cry about something, they should cry about that.

And for all you nervous Bama fans, don’t worry.

Simeon Castille is not going to take off his Alabama hat on signing day and pull out a Notre Dame jersey.

Ashley Vansant is the sports editor at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at mailto:ashley.vansant@shelbycountyreporter.com