Two widely watched videos last week showed some of the worst and some of the best of college athletics.
The worst, of course, was on display in the video of the verbal and physical abuse of players that cost Mike Rice his job as Rutgers University men's basketball coach. The case raises many troubling questions, from the pressures on student-athletes to why university officials didn't act sooner even though they knew of the video long before it became public.
In contrast to that sorry episode were the heartwarming events at Nebraska's spring football game, which reminds us of the good in sports.
The game statistics show that Jack Hoffman of Atkinson, Neb., scored on a 69-yard touchdown run. They don't show that he's just 7 years old and battling a rare form of brain cancer. But thanks to some friends, like former star running back Rex Burkhead and the other Husker members of Team Jack, the crowd of 60,000-plus thundered as the kid raced to the end zone.
“To be out there and run with him and get him into the end zone and lift him up there — that's definitely the highlight of the game for me,” said Husker fullback C.J. Zimmerer, president of NU's chapter of Uplifting Athletes group.
It's easy in today's high-stakes world of big-time college athletics to overlook things like sportsmanship, generosity and inspiration. All suited up Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
After coming down off the shoulders of his considerably larger teammates, Jack summed it up perfectly. “It was awesome,” he said.
Yes it was.