Around the Dorm: Week 8

In Week 8 of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Hilarey Wojtowicz, challenges Sports Assistant Alex Wolfe, Senior Editor Bobby Olivier and Editor-in-Chief Caroline Russomanno to answer questions about how successful Jake Peavy’s rehabilitation will be, whether or not student athletes deserve special privileges and if the Miami Heat will be able to use their emotion to earn more victories.

1. Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy’s surgery and rehab seem to have worked. Although his fastball reached 92 mph, do you think that Peavy can keep this up and possibly pitch a whole game again by the time the season starts?

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AW: Injuries are generally pretty tricky, so I’m a little wary to say this, but I think that Peavy will make a full recovery. Perhaps the most ringing endorsement that there is hope is that his catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, said that he felt that Peavy was making strides. Nobody knows a pitcher better than his catcher, and so I’m more inclined to say that he will make a full recovery rather than that he won’t. However, it was a significant injury, and it was apparently an injury that has not happened much, if at all, in the realm of baseball. So there is a chance that he might not be full strength, but based off of his first couple spring starts (he looked great in his second), he looks pretty good right now, and I would be more inclined to say that he will come out and have a productive 2011 season.

BO: Despite his raw natural talent and relatively young age, Jake Peavy will not reach his former all-star self this season. He is coming off of a detached muscle in his back — a serious injury for non-athletes, let alone those who are paid to play. Just because his velocity is up to 92 mph in meaningless spring scrimmages, his health, or at least his luck, will not hold out for the duration of the 2011 season. Pitching in the American League, he will face difficult lineups every time he takes the mound in 2011, and just because the fastball is well, fast, that doesn’t help the fact that he needs his back to be at full strength to stabilize himself and locate his pitches. Sorry Jake, not this year.

CR: It’s hard to tell with Peavy, since his injury is so rare for a pitcher, and the muscle injured is one of the most essential in the wind-up and delivery. But Peavy rehabbed hard and seriously, and he has been the best pitcher for the Sox in the preseason. Honestly, I think it’s too early to tell how any pitcher will weather the season, but I think Peavy’s chances to get back to full strentgh are good. His catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, said his slider was the best it’s ever been, and he retired 11 guys in a row in last Wednesday’s outing, and he pitched even better in his next start. If the White Sox start him slowly and don’t overtax his arm, I think he will be able to pitch a full game a few weeks into the season. Better safe than sorry.

HW: Caroline gets 3 points for saying that if the White Sox start him off slow, he’ll be able to regain his strength and speed. Alex gets 2 for noting that whether he gets back to his old self or not, Peavy is going to have a productive 2011 season. Bobby also gets 2 for knowing that Peavy is going to need the back strength if he wants to keep up his 92 mph fastball.

2. Stanford University recently discontinued a list of classes that was offered to student athletes by the Athletic Academic Resource Center in order to help athletes get “easy A’s.” Do you think colleges should offer student athletes these types of privileges or should they be treated just like every other student?

AW: I believe that “easy A” classes don’t have a place in college athletics. A college athlete is still a student and shouldn’t be held to a lower standard academically than any

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other student. I actually believe that it’s irresponsible on the part of colleges to let athletes get by without any work academically because if the athletic career of a student doesn’t pan out, they could be stuck with a degree in ballroom dancing. If the schools want to do themselves and their athletes a favor, they should make sure that all student athletes are required to take relevant classes that can lead to them getting a degree.

BO: Great question. I do not believe that a college or university should have to lower its standards for its student athletes, but I must answer this question in reality, not in an utopian institution. Unfortunately, it is too beneficial for large colleges — like Stanford — to allow its student athletes to skim by, and it is in the best interest of the college community to let this continue. This sounds horrible, but these athletes who have no interest in grades and perpetually waste professors’ time bring in huge chunks of money to the school through their physical accolades. That money can be invested in building better education systems for all attending. Let’s not kid ourselves. Let the one-and-done NCAA basketball stars slide through en route to millions of dollars. The end justifies the means, in the most twisted way.

CR: I understand that playing a college sport at any level, but especially Division I, is a real strain on a person and his or her schedule. But, come on, you’re going to college to learn, right? I think too many student athletes skate through school, don’t learn anything and then don’t go pro and end up working at McDonald’s. I think student athletes should be treated like anyone else. Maybe they can get extra attention with their classes, like tutors (which is something I know Seton Hall University does), as long as the tutors only help them keep up and don’t do the work for them. But they should have to take the same classes as everyone else, maintain the same grades and graduate with real degrees like everyone else. It may suck sometimes, but when the athlete isn’t in the one percent that makes it to the bigs, he or she will be lucky to have something to fall back on.

HW: Alex and Caroline both get 3 points for believing that college is college and whether a student athlete or not, you’re there to get a degree. Bobby gets 2 for stating NCAA schools need athletes, and they need them to pass their classes in any way possible.

3. The Miami Heat were “moved to tears” after a recent loss to the Chiago Bulls. Will the Heat continue to lose, or can they turn it around by the end of March?

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AW: The Heat are not going to be doing much better anytime soon. They are currently in the toughest spot of their schedule and are in the process of being exposed by some of the better teams in the league. They lost to the Knicks, the Magic, the Spurs, the Bulls and the Blazers before winning against the Lakers. However, the Heat still have to face the Grizzlies, the Spurs, the Thunder, the Hawks and the Nuggets, all playoff teams, before they hit their cream puff last part of their schedule. The Heat will get it together right at the end of the month against some lesser teams and coast into the playoffs, but as far as completely getting it together enough to beat some of the best teams in the league come playoff time, they probably won’t.

BO: The Miami Heat just beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time this season on Thursday, snapping the two-time defending champions’ eight-game win streak and their five-game losing streak. But, will the team continue to be in close games and lose some of them? Most likely. The Heat lack a dominant point guard in a conference that has several: Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups to name a few. It is difficult to manage the clock and put teams away when the guy dribbling up the court wouldn’t be starting for many of Miami’s opponents. I don’t doubt that the Heat will be able tp maintain a No. 2 or No. 3 seed heading toward April, but I do have my concerns as to whether any of those games will keep Eric Spoelstra looking young on the bench.

CR: Oh, the Miami Heat. Anyone who reads AtD regularly knows how I feel about the Heat and Crack King James. I predicted this at the beginning of the season and I will say it again. I still don’t think the Heat have gelled as a team, even though I will admit their record is better than I thought it would be. But James is 0-4 in last minute shots, and the rest of the team is 0-13. That’s pretty sad. Their defense is falling apart. I think if the big three can start playing as a team they can turn it around, but their defense has to tighten and they need to make moves earlier in the game to avoid these last minute plays. And if they do have to shoot in a tight spot, how about this: Make the damn shot, LeBron.

HW: Alex gets 3 for knowing the Heat’s schedule and where and when they will pull through or not for the wins they need. Bobby gets 2 for pointing out that Miami just beat L.A., but if they can’t keep that up, will they really snag a No. 2 or No. 3 seed? And Caroline gets 1 for really just hating on the Heat.

Alex wins this week’s AtD, 8 – 7 – 6.