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The Russell Report: Gators dominating college sports

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:12 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Sports as we know them are finally coming back to some kind of normal, and that includes sports at the University of Florida. One of the many reasons gator fans love their teams is frankly because of their success. Look what’s happened in just the past few days.

Lacrosse won a seventh consecutive conference championship over the weekend and coach Mandy O’Leary’s team is ranked in the top ten, now getting ready for the NCAA Tournament. Both Gator Tennis teams hosted NCAA tournament action this past weekend and the Gator men are ranked No. 1 in the country. Regional bids are out today and Gator Baseball will again be hosting, and Gator Softball starts SEC Tournament play as one of the best teams in the league and in the country. We know how good Gator Track has been as well so won’t it be fun to watch all of these teams compete at such a high level? It’s easy to be good in one or two sports but when your program is among the best in just about everything, it says a lot about the athletes, coaches and administrators who put these fine teams together.

Going to give a shout-out to my long-time friend and ESPN hoops analyst Mark Wise. For years, he’s been saying the best way to curb the fouling problem in basketball is to call more fouls, not less, and I totally agree with him. There is a proposal now for a six-foul limit for players in the 2022 NIT, which has been used as a place to experiment with rule changes. An interesting twist: a player would be disqualified if he commits four fouls in a half or the six fouls overall, whichever comes first. There’s also a proposal to issue a technical foul for players who flop, and man do we see that in both the college and pro game. The flop would not be a personal foul and the opposing team would be awarded one foul shot. The game needs to be cleaned up and at least these proposals are a starting point to make that happen.

Finally, I love baseball. Always have, but the game I love is in trouble. There is simply too much dominance in pitching and that is resulting in a lot of strikeouts, few balls in play, and frankly, a rather boring game at times. How dominant is the pitching? When Wade Miley of the Reds no-hit Cleveland on Friday, it was the fourth no-hitter already this season. The last time that happened? Try 1917. And this is only the second season in baseball history that this many no-hitters have been thrown before the end of May. And the overall hitting is awful. Before the games were played last Friday, teams were hitting a record low .233. Maybe when it gets warmer the bats will heat up but I think baseball has to do something drastic. Either outlaw shifts or maybe even experiment with moving the mound back, as one minor league is going to do this year because right now, hitters don’t have much of a chance.

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