Tar Takes 4/1: Coby White, Nassir Little, Zion William’s NBA draft outlook, recap from Duke + UNC’s early NCAA exit

Tar Takes 4.1.19

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes, Ryan Lipton and David Matlock give their takeaways from the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils’ early exits from NCAA March Madness and why the exits might not have been as surprising as one might think.

Tar Takes also examines whether it is the right decision for Nassir Little to enter the NBA draft, if Coby White should follow Little’s footsteps and leave for the NBA, looks forward to possibly landing the No. 1 G in the country in Cole Anthony and Zion Williams/Ja Morant talk.

Tar Takes 4/1 Topics:

Thoughts on UNC’s loss to Auburn in the Sweet 16 and Duke’s loss to Michigan State in the Elite 8.

UNC F Nassir Little declares for NBA draft. Is that the right move for Nassir?

Should Coby White declare for the NBA draft? His decision is still unknown.

What are the prospects for next year’s Tar Heel team? Armando Barcot is committed, Cole Anthony is looking hard at UNC but some think his decision depends on Coby White.

Would a Cole Anthony and Coby White back court work together?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

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Tar Takes 2.18: Duke-UNC preview, will LeBron/Lakers make NBA playoffs?

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes, we spend most of our time breaking down the matchups when the North Carolina Tar Heels travel to Cameron Indoor to take on the Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday night.

After we break down everything in the tobacco road rivalry, we discuss if LeBron James and the Lakers will make the NBA playoffs.

Can anything be taken from UNC’s win over Wake Forest after tough loss to UVA? Tar Heels defeated Wake Forest by 38 points on Saturday.

Are you worried about UNC’s health heading into the Duke-UNC game on Wednesday? Cam Johnson and Nassir Little dealing with ankle injuries.

Do the Tar Heels have any chance to win on Wednesday against Duke in Cameron Indoor?

Barack Obama will be in attendance for Wednesday’s UNC-Duke game in Durham. Are we surprised?

Will LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers make the NBA playoffs?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes 2.12: Breakdown UNC Tar Heels’ loss to UVA

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes, we give a heavy does of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball. We discuss Monday night’s loss to the Virginia Cavaliers and look forward to next week’s UNC-Duke matchup in Cameron Indoor.

During the episode, we break down what went wrong during the UVA game, the implications of Monday night’s loss, discuss why Kenny Williams is an unsung hero, look into Luke Maye’s recent play and talk about whether or not Coby White is a special player and why he isn’t getting the talk he deserves at the next level in terms of NBA draft talk.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes 1/21: Who is Tar Heels’ leader? NFL change OT rules? Pats/Rams best teams?

UNC Forward Luke Maye – Photo via Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes we break down the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball season to date and discuss what we saw on Sunday in the NFL’s Conference Championship games.

UNC Basketball: Do they have a leader and if so who should UNC’s leader be?

Tar Heels have won six out of seven and are 4-1 in conference play. But how confident are you in the team?

Evaluate how the UNC freshman have done thus far in the year.

Did the outcome of yesterday’s games reflect which teams are actually better?

New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints 

Should the NFL change overtime rules?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Trae Young and the making of a celebrity college basketball player

Photo via Rob Ferguson - USA Today Sports

Pompous pull-ups from 30 plus, high-floating layups with improbable angles and perfect touches of English, step-back jumpers over outstretched hands. Swish. I’m not talking about Steph Curry, and this isn’t under the bright lights of the Bay Area. Believe it or not, this is college basketball in the last place you would expect it.

Deep in the heartland of football country, the eyes of the basketball world have descended upon a short, skinny 19-year-old with an unorthodox jump-shot and overt confidence. We’ve seen this story before. And now, everyone wants to be a part of it. These days, it seems like anybody who’s anybody in basketball has something to say about Trae Young.

“Keep going young King!! Don’t stop fam!!” exclaimed the current King of the NBA, Lebron James, on Instagram, laying early claim to a prince that could potentially be primed to one day take the throne.

“He’s unbelievable,” Steph Curry told Bleacher Report, the player Young had so clearly studied meticulously and endlessly. “I call it ‘the flair.’… when I turn on the game, [I’m] just watching him on the floor, where he is at all times.”

“He has early eyes,” repeated ESPN college basketball broadcaster Fran Fraschilla over and over as Young made one miraculous no-look pass after another in Oklahoma’s game against Alabama this past Saturday.

“If you know an NBA scout, he was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend,” declared ESPN announcer Rece Davis, a statement that would have been unfathomable just three months ago.

In the latest tally, 57 NBA scouts traveled to Alabama’s home court to watch Trae Young and fellow top prospect Collin Sexton battle it out this past Saturday afternoon. Both players are projected lottery picks in the next NBA draft, and both possess an undeniable appeal and charisma.

Just like Sexton, Young had turned down offers from perennial powerhouses to stay local. And now, at the same time these titans of industry played their Saturday games, the attention of college basketball was diverted away to a matchup most often associated with football.

Young did not want to be just another product in the basketball prospect machines of Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari or Bill Self. Here is a player who is confident enough in his ability to take the road less travelled, who did not want to simply fit into a proven formula.

It is refreshing. Young wasn’t going to just be the next guy, he was going to be the guy. In what is a rarity nowadays, the young man is playing his one-and-done season with purpose, his home state proudly displayed on the front of his jersey.

This passion radiates in his style of play. The way Young controls his tight handle, finds the open man with his head turned in a different direction and flicks his shot from his shoulders all seem effortless.

At the same time, Young always looks like the player on the floor who is working the hardest. He jabs at opponents, waves play-calls vigorously and runs around the floor in an endless pursuit of the basketball. When the ball is in his hands, as it so often is, he is a perfectionist who consistently pries and probes for just the smallest space he needs to let it fly.

Unlike many of his fellow top prospects, Young’s presence is always felt on the court. Curry referred to this as his “magnetism.” Despite struggling in the first half of the Alabama game, only scoring five points, Young was still very much in control. On one telling play, Oklahoma freshmen Brady Manek caught the ball at the top of the key. Young ran behind Manek looking for a handoff, and when he was denied, swooped around the right side of the court and then through the paint under the basket, finally concluding his journey in the opposite weakside corner.

In the process, Young had drawn the help of a second defender, leaving big man Khadeem Lattin wide open on the block. Manek tossed an alley-oop to Lattin. Without even touching the basketball, Young’s presence on the court had shifted the entire defense and opened up space necessary for an easy two points.

For any team that goes up against Oklahoma, the game plan has only one simple objective: shut down Young. When a defense forces one of his teammates to take the shot, it is a sigh of relief. Yet despite the double teams and constant ball denial, Young still finds himself responsible for almost 50 percent of his team’s production. This is what happens when one is handed the keys to the offense and is afforded the freedom to take any shot, from any distance, without consequence.

Young is the rare college basketball player that is his very own maker. While top prospects at more historic college programs are limited by detailed, precise offense systems and checked by comparable surrounding talent, Young stands alone in Norman. He always has the ball in his hands and is given the opportunity to make decisions with it. This makes it unsurprising that he is atop college basketball’s leaderboard in points (29.6 ppg) and assists (9.6), and, as a natural consequence, turnovers (5.3).

Yet, most casual basketball fans would not know about Young’s struggles with turnovers, or that his team has already lost 10 games, including the one against Alabama, in which Young was outplayed by Sexton.

Many pundits and analysts have come to label Young’s increasing stardom as the result of the fact that he is the first of the “Steph Curry era,” the first guy whose impressionable years as a player coincided with the rise of Curry’s popularity and style of play.

More profoundly, in my opinion, is that Young is one of the basketball prospects of the “Highlight Era.” Scrolling through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, it’s easy to find short clips of his deep line-drive threes and his no-look passes, or photos of him alongside his improbable stat lines in bold letters. While most know Trae Young, and most have something to say about his game, many less have actually watched one of his games.

Young is a basketball celebrity built by virality. For die-hard followers, internet highlights have accompanied him since high school. He is one of the first players to have grown up alongside his biggest fans. We have watched him develop as a player, each step meticulously documented through recruiting forums and highlight videos.

American culture has a nasty habit of attaching itself to a narrative. It loves to create heroes, and also villains. For skinny basketball players with overt confidence levels and unorthodox jumpshots, it is easy to become enframed in this culture.

Last year, it was Lonzo Ball and his bombastic father who captivated the prospect spotlight. Before that, there was Jimmer Fredette, with his relatable looks and brave three-point pull-ups. To a fault, we are constantly in search to bill someone as the next protege. Trae Young was next in line.
Looking past his profile, it is important to keep in mind that Young is still only 19, and is still developing as a player. He is not yet a superstar, but a prospect. Fredette could not live up his billing and shuffled around the NBA before finally relocating to China’s top league. Although Ball is showing flashes of being a more-than-capable NBA player, he does not look like the future perennial all-star he was once made out to be. Young is immensely talented, and has the perfect resume for NBA stardom. However, we must keep in mind that the alternative is still a possibility.

At the end of the Alabama game, with one minute left and the Crimson Tide up about 10 points (the contest fleeting, but still in reach), Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger made the curious decision to pull Young out. In what was in reality just another meaningless season game, I believe this move was meant as a lesson for Young. It was an opportunity for him to take in his own defeat, and accept the fact that he had been outplayed. It was an opportunity for him to think about how he could get better. For a prospect emerging into a celebrity, this was a sobering moment, an important reminder, one very much needed.

The article can also be found on the Miscellany News!

Texas college football power rankings, ranked No. 1-11

Texas is home to eleven football programs, with five belonging to Power Five conferences. But who is the best in this great football playing state? Check in every three weeks to find out.

Photo via TCU Athletics

No. 1, TCU

Going in to Stillwater and knocking off Oklahoma State was impressive, to put it lightly. The Horned Frogs under Patterson have a strong defensive identity, but the offense is not shabby by any means. Slowing down Oklahoma State’s offense is extremely difficult, but TCU was up to the task. They added another impressive win to their record after besting West Virginia. TCU is in the playoff hunt now, and they are deservedly the best in Texas.

No. 2, Texas Tech

I will admit it, I am biased here. I am a Texas Tech student, but I will try to set aside my bias and defend this rank. Beating Arizona State is a decent win, but breaking Houston’s home winning streak was the best win on the young year. Texas Tech had a shot at knocking off Oklahoma State, but fell just short in the upset bid in a 41-34 defeat. Crushing Kansas is not really impressive, but the team was finally able to win soundly. At times Tech has struggled to do that under Kingsbury, and this shows the team is developing. If the defense really is as improved as early returns indicate, this could be a good year for a program looking to get back to the glory days under Mike Leach.

Kellen Mond being pursued by Keith Holcombe of Alabama (Photo Via: 247Sports)

No. 3, Texas A&M

The Aggies were a national laughingstock after blowing a 34-point lead at UCLA. The Aggies showed heart against Alabama, but were not seriously threatening the Tide. They have a streaky offense with Kellen Mond in his freshman season, but the defense has play-makers and Texas A&M has managed to close out two dogfights against Arkansas and South Carolina.  Between A&M and Texas Tech there is very little separation. The Aggies fall behind the Red Raiders because of their collapse at UCLA, which is just an unfathomable choke.

No. 4, Texas

After a disappointing loss against Maryland at home, the Longhorns are showing some of the talent that their recruiting class rankings promised. While the Longhorns are struggling mightily on offense, the defense has been superb since the Maryland game. Sam Ehlinger might be the new answer at quarterback for Texas after leading a comeback victory over Kansas state. Tom Herman has his work cut out for him, but Texas is moving in the right direction.

Derrick Willies being tackled by Cougar defenders (Via:  The Venture)

No. 5, Houston

You thought I was just going to stick the Power Five teams this high up here didn’t you? Two words whenever Houston is mentioned: Ed. Oliver. This man among boys is the best defensive player in college football. I dare anyone to prove that statement false. I watched as Texas Tech triple-teamed him and he was still able to bring pressure. Houston struggles offensively, but Ed Oliver is good enough to change the game. The rest of the defense is not shabby either, and if the offense can improve Houston could be poised for a run at the AAC title.

No. 6, SMU

SMU has relied on a stellar offense for their success thus far. A deep receiving core led by Courtland Sutton have led the offensive attack. While SMU was dispatched by TCU in a 20-point defeat, the Mustangs put up a good fight early demonstrating the progress Chad Morris has made. SMU still has much more to prove, and losing to Houston showed they still are not ready to compete in the AAC.

UTSA celebrates a touchdown during their upset bid over Baylor (Photo Via: SportsDay)

No. 7, UTSA

Stunning Baylor earns them the seventh spot above the Bears. I would have loved to see the match-up against Houston, but Hurricane Harvey had other plans. UTSA is playing good football, and this could shake up to be one of the best years for the program.

No. 8, Baylor

Man, Baylor is really bad. The winless Bears under new Head Coach Matt Rhule have shown some signs of life, but the program is in shambles. I can’t say I am shaken up about the Bears’ collapse, considering the scandal under the previous regime led by Art Briles. Matt Rhule is trying to do things the right way, but it will be awhile before Baylor is even close to heights it reached just a few years ago.

No. 9, Texas State

A positive for this program are that they played Appalachian State close, and that is something to build on.

No. 10, Rice

Rice is in a rough state, but a win over UTEP gives them the nod to the 10 spot.

No. 11, UTEP

Sorry to anyone who is a big UTEP fan, but they are the worst in Texas as of now. Just an all-around struggling program, UTEP needs a drastic turnaround to leave the cellar of Texas football.


Michael Macon is a contributing writer for The JR Report.

Penn State vs. USC: Morals in college football never existed

Written by Madison House

Photo via Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading up to the Rose Bowl matchup between Penn State and USC, the media was pumping up the event as the “big comeback Bowl Game.” Both teams, having historically been very strong football programs, were in their first good season since harsh sanctions each had received several years prior.

USC’s sanctions were the result of an aspiring sports agent paying the rent for running back Reggie Bush’s parents. Penn State’s sanctions followed something far different. The president, athletic director, vice president, and head football coach covered up the wrongdoings of their beloved Jerry Sandusky for at least 10 years.

We shouldn’t condone the actions of the USC athletic program. Giving money to college athletes or their families is against NCAA rules. However, it’s important to recognize the difference between helping the family of a player, who needs that economic support, and the occurrence and subsequent institutional suppression of child molestation.

Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky began coaching for Penn State in the 1960s and created a strong football program with one of the highest graduation rates. Their program was known for its integrity and morality. The fame and influence of these coaches extended off of the football field as well; Sandusky began a presidentially recognized charity organization called the Second Mile, which aimed to support underprivileged children in Pennsylvania.

Second Mile children often developed relationships with Sandusky, accompanying him to football games, meeting the players, and playing on the football field. To children living difficult lives in rural Pennsylvania, excursions with a celebrity onto the most important site in town was special.

In 2001 or 2002, a PSU coaching assistant saw assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a ten-year-old boy in the showers of the Penn State locker-room. He reported his findings to head coach Joe Paterno who passed that information along to President Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley. Originally, as an email conversation suggests, the three concluded they would report the incident to the authorities. Somewhere it was decided to “handle” it internally.

 

Joe Paterno close up.jpg
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno (AP Images)

 

Why would the president, athletic director, and head coach hide child rape or even questionable Sandusky-child relationships?

The athletics program at Penn State made about $53 million a year during the Paterno-Sandusky era. This profit was largely based on the reliance of its town, State College, and the sparkling legacy of the duo that created a historic football and academic program from scratch. Many argue that the administration wasn’t aware of the extent of Sandusky’s actions, but a 1998 investigation of Sandusky’s possible sexual involvement with children gave a background for the allegation in 2001.

It wasn’t until eight years later that a new investigation on Jerry Sandusky opened up the extent of his violations: 52 young boys came forward with cases about Sandusky, including Sandusky’s adopted son, Matt, and eight victims testified in court. Most victims had similar stories of having poor backgrounds and becoming enchanted with the famous man picking them up but taking the loving father figure too far.

A few years earlier, PSU’s “comeback” rival was facing a far different scandal.

Reggie Bush grew up with a single working mother and little to no relationship with his biological father. Reggie Bush’s need for economic stability made him an easy target for a questionable sports agent.

 

Reggie Bush vs. Notre Dame.jpg
Reggie Bush vs. Notre Dame (Photo via G.N. Lowrance / Getty Images)

 

With the power of education or socioeconomic status, he might have refused the offer, but isn’t the point of college football to give Bush enough education to support his mother and his future?

USC received harsh sanctions justified by their supposed “lack of institutional control” because the athletic director allegedly knew of the wrongdoing and failed to stop it. A valid point, even though the NCAA evaluation gave no individual charge to either the athletic director or the head coach, just a general lack of institutional control.

 

Jerry Sandusky in a jumpsuit.jpg
Jerry Sandusky in a jumpsuit (Patrick Smith/ Getty Images)

 

How does the NCAA justify punishing a football player for accepting rent for his mom’s apartment more harshly than an administration that covers up for a man molesting and raping ten-year-old boys on its campus?

The NCAA’s job is to sanction college athletic programs when rules are broken. Thus, the USC football program received sanctions of scholarships reduced by 30 over the time span of three years, loss of all wins from the 2005 season and two from the 2004 season, and two years of a postseason ban. Penn State received a four-year postseason ban, loss of 112 wins (from 1998 to 2011) including two national titles, one year of the school’s football revenue in a fine, and a loss of 40 scholarships over four years.

These two sets of sanctions are considered two of the harshest sanctions in NCAA history, just short of the “death penalty,” banning that team’s athletic participation for one year. The extremity of the sanctions on Penn State calmed the situation after the initial shock by the horrible actions of Sandusky and the neglect of the Penn State administration to help the young boys.

However, both USC and Penn State appealed for the reduction of their sanctions due to the detrimental effects such sanctions have on a strong football program. USC was denied any reduction of their sanctions, extending their punishment until the 2016-2017 season. Penn State’s appeal lowered their sanctions to the fine and the 112 vacated wins.

USC vs. Penn State ariel shot.jpg
Photo via Mark Holtzman

How come the sanctions on both schools were so similar? And why were the PSU sanctions repealed, making them significantly less detrimental than those on USC? Both universities displayed a lack of institutional control, but which caused more damage?

While the NCAA claims that a “college degree is at the heart of our mission,” this value often isn’t translated into practice; most student-athletes aren’t required to graduate to become professional athletes, they receive school benefits, and even those that do graduate are given academic “advantages” to maximize the time they spend on the field. Because very few can accumulate enough wealth as a professional athlete, a vast majority of college athletes will need to rely on other skills that were possibly compromised due to their athletic value.

This opportunity for the exploitation of students questions whether or not college athletes should be paid because universities have very little incentive to educate their players or ensure a good quality of life for them. Thus, universities can take advantage of the fact that many aspiring football players lack financial means to get an education or make a living without utilizing their athletic gifts. The NCAA should be their avenue to use physical talents to get a strong education.

As many argue, Reggie Bush should’ve been financially aided for his contribution to the university and to the NCAA which likely would’ve eliminated any relationship between his family and the agent.

As for the effects of the PSU case, many argue that child rape is a worse crime than murder, as raping or molesting a child can have serious effects on that child’s life. About one-third of rape victims consider suicide, and the younger the child, the more their world is morphed by their experiences.

Another prominent defense of the PSU administration is that even though they didn’t punish Sandusky or prevent future harmful interactions, they didn’t completely ignore Sandusky’s actions: they took away his key to the locker room.

Pedophilia is largely considered a mental disorder, a disease, not to mention the mental illness necessary to sexually take advantage of another human being, no matter the age. Coupled with the about 50 young children molested or raped by Sandusky, it’s hard to argue that Sandusky was mentally healthy. Though that in no way justifies his behavior, it increases the necessity of the healthy to ensure the protection of the children who lacked the ability to advocate for themselves.

Paterno, Curley, Schultz, and Spanier likely weren’t pedophiles, likely don’t have a history of sexual assault, so shouldn’t they have been responsible for protecting the situation? They were aware that Sandusky was having inappropriate relations with young boys on school campus and failed to stop it. All of the child rapes and molestation by Sandusky from 2001 to 2011 could’ve been prevented by any of those four men contacting the authorities.

If that’s not a “lack of institutional control,” it is not clear what is. The only control they demonstrated was protecting their football program from the bad publicity of child rape.

There is little to no acknowledgment of the reduction in Penn State sanctions. In fact, many continually display Penn State as having received the harshest sanctions in history, when, in reality, they received very minimal punishment.

Ultimately, the NCAA is faced with recognizing the complexities involved in sanctioning universities. Regardless of which team you cheer for, it’s important to look at why each violation occurred and how harmful that violation was in order to determine the equity of the sanctions.

Historic debate continues: To foul or not to foul

Photo via Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review

For any basketball fan, it’s the type of nail-biting, game-deciding situation that leaves you screaming at your TV. Your favorite team just scored a big basket to put them up by three, 10 seconds left. What should the defense do? Defend the play, and run the risk of a game-tying three? Or should they foul, forcing free throws and a maximum of two points?

These are the age-old questions that have polarized some of basketball’s greatest minds. There’s Team Rihanna and Team Beyonce, Team Edward and Team Jacob and now, there’s Team Defend and Team Foul.

The most prominent display of a defend or foul dilemma (maybe of the last decade) occurred on the basketball’s biggest stage in the Final Four matchup between powerhouse Gonzaga Bulldogs and cinderella South Carolina Gamecocks with the Zags up 75-72.

After the Gamecocks managed to cross the mid-court line, Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins gave the strategic foul with 3.5 seconds left, sending Thornwell to the line for two shots.

Thornwell stepped up and nailed the first free throw. With very little time left on the clock, Thornwell had no choice but to intentionally miss the second, in hopes for a fellow Gamecock to grab the rebound and put it back in for two points to send the game to overtime. However, Gonzaga freshmen center Killian Tillie grabbed the board and was fouled. Tillie would go on to hit two throws, giving Gonzaga a four-point lead, effectively ending the game.

Gonzaga’s defensive sequence was a defend or foul situation executed to perfection.

Perkins picked the right moment to give the foul. There was not enough time left (3.5 seconds) for South Carolina to have a chance to gain another possession and Thornwell was handling the ball about two feet outside the three point line, which made him unlikely to begin a shooting motion and draw a three-shot foul.

However, in the heat of the moment, there was a divide in the Zags huddle about the play call, as many players were uneasy about Gonzaga coach Mark Few’s call to foul. “I was screaming at my teammates to foul because I saw they weren’t fouling,” said Gonzaga starting point guard Nigel Williams-Goss in an interview.

Although Few has been one of very few coaches to be a proponent of fouling, he too was torn by the decision at hand.

Few pointed out, choosing to foul leads a team to run the risk of not obtaining the rebound off the intentionally missed second free throw, giving the opposing team another possession to either tie the game or win the game with a three. This is the nightmare scenario that often scares coaches away from fouling and instead electing to play out the final defensive possession.

However, a player knocking down a clutch three-pointer is much more likely than the team grabbing an offensive board off an intentional miss after a foul.

So is fouling the right move?

“I would pressure the ball and slow them [the offensive team down by three] down and foul after they get over half court,” said Vassar basketball player Steve Palecki. “Limits them from tying the game with a three but necessary to rebound on the free throws for this plan to work.”

One does not have to look at the numbers to recognize that defending often turns sour for the defensive team more often than fouling.

Recall the 2008 NCAA national championship game, where Memphis choose to defend, resulting in Kansas knocking down a clutch three-pointer to tie and send the game to overtime.

Kansas would eventually go on to win. But can anyone recall any game in which fouling under six seconds actually resulted in an overtime?

Evidence goes to show, when in doubt, just foul.


The article can also be found on the Miscellany News!