I was shocked and saddened to learn of the medical diagnosis regarding Tennessee head women's basketball coach Pat Summitt: early onset Alzheimers. It's also scary for me because she isn't 60 years old yet, and I just turned 60 this year. Former head men's basketball coach at North Carolina, Dean Smith, has also been diagnosed with Alzheimers. He's nearing 80 years old, so this diagnosis isn't as discerning as Summitt's.

When you think of dementia, which is Alzheimers, you think of a person who is old, very old in fact. The literature on slowing or stopping the progression of Alzheimers includes being active, doing things that are mentally challenging, nutrition, and attitude, among others. Summitt's life has been all of those things. Yet she has become afflicted with the disease.

I believe genetics has something to do with Alzheimers, too. Summitt was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic, which is one of the most competent places in the world to be examined. I'm sure Pat has signed herself up for all experimental testing of Alzheimer-suppressing drugs. I'm encouraged that she will beat this thing because Magic Johnson beat HIV-AIDS, which he was diagnosed with back in the 1990's when the disease guaranteed a quick and painful death. He took all sorts of experimental drugs then, and I'm sure he's still taking them now.

I've always been a Pat Summitt fan, especially when she contributed a chapter in a coaching book I wrote. She has a super support system behind her, too. I'm praying that she can continue her coaching career the way she wants for many more years.
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My youngest daughter is a senior at Carolina-Chapel Hill. So like all other Tar Heel fans, I was truly dismayed by the scandal that developed within the football program in 2010. With NCAA investigators probing the scandal, and the university shelling out millions of dollars to former coaches and legal counsel, the situation just got messier. Holden Thorpe, the Chancellor of UNC, has admitted to committing a secondary NCAA violation by answering a reporter's question regarding a scholarship offer to a student-athlete.

That student-athlete happened to be the son of fired Carolina football coach, Butch Davis. Supposedly, Davis offered his high school senior-son a scholarship before he was fired, and when Thorpe found out about it, he was none too happy about it. When a reporter asked him about the situation, he answered the questions. Well, NCAA rules don't allow anyone to talk about scholarship offers until the student-athlete has accepted the offer, and not until after signing day in February. So Thorpe reported the violation to the NCAA himself.

This is not only embarrassing to Thorpe and UNC, but it also goes to the ridiculousness of the NCAA Rules manual. New NCAA president Mark Emmert is making it a top priority to streamline the manual, which now is at the 500-page mark, which makes it impossible for compliance people and NCAA people to monitor. Thorpe fired Davis last month, he said, to protect the academic integrity of the institution. Some UNC faculty members are calling for university administrators to dissolve the football and men's basketball programs because they feel the wrongdoings of these big-time Division I athletic programs bring disgrace to the academic integrity of the institution, which should always be the top priority of all institutions of higher learning. I don't think that will happen, but there is always some truth to the argument.
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Paul Dee, when he was athletic director at the University of Miami, also happened to be the chair of the NCAA Infractions Committee for several years. He happened to be the chair who recommended the heavy punishment on USC for the Reggie Bush scandal. Dee has since left Miami and the NCAA Infractions Committee. Now it's come to light that the current Miami football scandal started during his watch at Miami.

Nevin Shapiro, a convicted felon now in prison for masterminding a multi-million dollar ponzi scheme, was a big-time donor to the Miami athletic department. It's probably not going out on a limb to say that some of that ponzi-scheme money may have been used as donor money. He was given field access during football games, and other perks that ultimately brought him in close contact with Miami athletes. Miami is being investigated because Shapiro says he gave money, prostitutes, game bounties, and other illegal benefits to former and current football players and basketball players. He is also alleging that former coaches were aware of what he was doing.

If these player and coach allegations turn out to be true, look for Miami to be dealt with very harshly by the NCAA. Also, because Dee helped Shapiro become a celebrity within the Miami athletic family, look for his name to be muddied throughout the investigation. When the punishment is dealt out to Miami, there will probably be many athletic administrators at schools that received NCAA sanctions because of Dee's recommendations who will be smiling. "What goes around, comes around" is an adage that Mr. Dee will be experiencing with the ensuing investigation and sanctions when they are delivered.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Brennan, a former educator and college basketball coach, has Masters degrees in Educational Administration and Sport Psychology, and a Doctorate in Performance and Health Psychology. He is the author of several books, including Six Psychological Factors for Success and The Recruiters Bible (3rd Edition). He is President of Peak Performance Consultants, and the President and CEO of the Center for Performance Enhancement Research and Education (CPERE). Steve is the developer of the Success Factors Scales, both Corporate and Athletics Editions. http://www.peakperformanceconsult.com and http://thebestcollegerecruiter.com/