From Left Field
By BOB SHRALUKA
Okay, so Penn State got the almost-death penalty and its football program is more than decimated, it's obliterated. Well deserved.
But does anyone REALLY think the culture, as some have suggested, is going to change? Oh, sure, for a time — maybe six months, maybe a year — the money monster that is college football may go a bit slower. But by the time the 2013 season rolls around we'll venture to say college football will be right back where it was before the Jerry Sandusky thing hit the fan.
Everyone will be making millions of dollars — coaches, athletic directors, television networks — except the performers, the players. They will still be getting no more than a few bucks a week for laundry or whatever the administrators call it, will be expected to practice year-round, and will remain tightly under the NCAA's thumb, restricted by a few hundred — or thousand — rules and regulations.
The schools will make sure that the vast majority of the players get their grades and those same players will watch as merchandise sales and ticket sales and all manner of imaginable sales will flow to the schools ... while the players can't even sell some of their possessions for tatoos.
Does anyone REALLY think that is going to change? So long as he wins games, the football coach will still mostly do as he pleases, schedules will be at the will of the TV networks, fans will remain the last consideration, and teams will change conferences as often as ducks jump in water simply to make more m-o-n-e-y.
Already approved is a four-team playoff for the college football championship. How long before it's expanded to eight teams once all folks with their their fingers in the pie see how much money the three-gamer will bring in?
‘‘The sanctions (on Penn State) needed to reflect our goals of providing cultural change,’’ NCAA President Mark Emmert said as he announced the penalties.
At another point, he said, ‘‘Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,’’ Emmert said.
Sure. And donkeys will fly and Bob Knight will become goodwill ambassador to Iran and Decatur will become the capital of Indiana.
Freight trains and VWs
Former Decatur mayor Fred Isch well remembers Darrell "Pete" Brewster, the Portland native who became an NFL all-star in the 1950s and was spoken of here last week after a football field in his hometown was named in his honor.
Isch had the pleasure — probably not the correct word — of playing football against Brewster. "We played them down there and lost 7-6 and afterward we were all happy to have come that close," Fred said. "Then (Bob) Worthman (Decatur High School football coach) came into the dressing room and chewed us all out. He said there is no moral victory.
"Brewster played linebacker on defense and he hit you like a ton of bricks. Worthman was giving us hell at halftime because no one could block him. (John) Doan said, 'Coach, it's like trying to stop a freight train with a Volkswagen,'" Isch laughed.
Fred also remembers Brewster's graciousness. "A group of us went to Chicago once to see the Browns (Brewster's team) play. After the game, (Larry) Anspaugh and I jumped the fence and yelled at him that we were from Decatur. He took us to the dressing room and we got to meet Lou The Toe Groza and another player I can't remember. Brewster was so wonderful to us."
Huntington to the NBA
While Brewster is the only Portland native to play in the NFL, here's the next question: Who is the only Huntington College (now University) basketball player to get some time in the NBA?
He graduated from Huntington in 1947 (and Union Center High School in Huntington County earlier), played with the Anderson Duffy Packers and Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons in the NBA from 1947-48 to 1952-53. He became the basketball coach (there were no girls teams then) at Columbia City until 1957, was athletic director for a couple of years, then became the head coach at Warsaw High School from 1961 to 1971.
Ralph (Boag) Johnson, the only Huntington grad to make it to the NBA, died in 2005 at the age of 83.