A Story Begging for an Investigation and So Long to the Crocodile Hunter

I don’t see, hear or read too many things that make my jaw actually drop in disbelief. One of those rare events happened Saturday morning when I picked up the paper and read about the Ole Miss football recruit Jerrell Powe.
In a nutshell this 340 pound defensive tackle was recruited by Ole Miss to play football. Turns out there was a slight problem for this person recruited to this institution of higher learning. He can’t read. At least that’s what his mother states in a letter appealing for Ole Miss to “give him a chance”. The school now says “no” but he filed a lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order allowing him into the school and allowing him to play ball.
Some additional background info: According to the CA, he didn’t get a diploma but rather a certificate from his high school. After high school, he spent a year at a military school where he got “Ds” and “Fs” in nearly half of his courses. However, once he started taking correspondence courses from BYU, he managed to turn his grades around from “Fs” to “As”. This occurred in justs five months time. Wow!
This posting isn’t so much about this specific player. You know and I know that it happens way too frequently and it shouldn’t happen at all. But it does and in my opinion, it’s a crime. People should be outraged but I’d bet that most aren’t. Still, my point is, there’s a great story out there just waiting to be covered. I’m talking about this BYU Correspondence school that seems to work miracles. It’s not a story that will or could even be covered by local TV news. It takes way too much time and effort. It could be covered by local newspapers or magazines if there is a “will” there. I’m not sure how much of a “will” is there. Some cable news outlet or national news magazine might be able to do it justice but probably won’t because Ole Miss isn’t a national powerhouse. It’s probably just a great story that will never get done and that’s a shame. So we end up with this guy who may or may not play for Ole Miss and if he doesn’t, he has managed to make it through at least 12 years of public and some private education and can’t read. What an incredible shame.
And then there is the extremely bad luck of the Crocodile Hunter. My younger brother told me about Steve Irwin back in the early 90’s. He told me that I really needed to see this guy. I actually tuned in a few times, waiting to see him get bitten by some nasty creature and hear him utter “Crikey!” He always seemed to be a disaster waiting to happen but always narrowly avoided it. His luck ran out over the weekend when he was swimming close to a stingray while doing some videotaping. The stingray whipped up its tail and the barb not only penetrated his chest, it pierced his heart. I’m sure we’ll see the video at some point in time. Just give them a few weeks to get it turned around in post.

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4 Comments on “A Story Begging for an Investigation and So Long to the Crocodile Hunter”

  1. autoegocrat Says:

    Sounds like a job for the bloggers to me.

  2. Doug Johnson Says:

    Don’t forget Joe, when I started reporting at NC3 back in 1990, I was a functional illiterate. After some on-the-job training and some correspondence work, I was able to pull myself up by my bootstraps. Of course, I had to get some boots first. With straps. Anyway, you’re not really surprised that a good football player didn’t have to hew to the same rules that most students do, are you? Of course, I’ve always been a cynic.

  3. Joe Larkins Says:

    Oh no, I’m not surprised that schools recruit athletes who might actually have to go to classes. Remember the football player from Auburn a few years back who couldn’t read some sort of civil action against him. I think the judge asked him how he managed to graduate and he told the judge that he never had to attend classes.
    I guess part of what caught my attention is that this guy has filed legal action against the University of Mississippi which basically forces the school to let him in. At last word he was allowed to become a student on a part time basis on Friday but can’t play football or use the football facilities.
    I don’t know, maybe you don’t even have to pretend you’re going to attend classes anymore.
    It brings back the arguments for skipping the pretense of student athletes and just setting up colleges as farm teams for the pros.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    If my memory serves me correctly, Keith Lee,the former Memphis State and NBA player either could not read or only just get buy. I remember he was on the stand in some trial and could not read his basketball contract. I don’t know where he is today. He is probably teaching elementry school in Memphis.


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