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September 09, 1998 - Image 29

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 9, 1998 - 29

Ohio State investigates academic problems
Buckeyes' athletic director responds to Cooper as players remain academically ineligible
.COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio support unit would mean that the athletes ing about everybodv" in in a few football players. was put
State athletic director Andy Geiger would have their own special place and it Asked who in particular did the mis- in jeopnrdy because the academic coun-
rsponded sarcastically yesterday to, would become even more elite and more calculation. Cooper said, "Quite a few eling department misinterpreted a Big
ach John Cooper's suggestion that exclusive and more incubated than it is people. I don't know who exactly is Ten rule regarding credit hours. Those
tball players' classes, meals and prac- now," Geiger said. responsible for that." athletes were cleared after the confer-
tces be set up at the team's practice facil- The subject came up when Cooper Kirk's family blames the academic cncc's compliance committee looked
ty. was asked about his players' recent aca- counselors and has hired an attorney to into the situation.
"Yeah, we could have the dorms and demic problems. Butkus Award-winning look into appeals. Family members say "There is no ongoing problem in aca-
be dining halls and the classrooms and linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer, first- he was only taking the courses he was demic counseling," Geiger said. "And
Ae study hall all at the Woody Hayes team All-Big Ten safety Damon Moore told to take. Kirk said it was "a total making them the scapegoat in this situa-
Athletic Center" Geiger said yesterday. and second-team all-conference offen- shock" he couldn't play. tion is grossly unfair." Cooper said the
"We could be the University of the sive guard Rob Murphy all passed sum- Geiger said the athletes were responsi- recent academic problems should open
Woody Hayes Athletic Center football mer-school classes to maintain their eli- ble, not academic counselors. everyone's eyes.
am." gibility for the current season. "In neither case could the student-ath- "I hope this is a wakeup call for all of
At his weekly news conference But a pair of important backups - lete have been eligible if a counselor us," he said. "I know this, I'm going to
ionday, Cooper said Ohio State has a freshman defensive tackle Paris Long acted any differently," he said. do a better job as a head football coach
oblem because services for athletes are and junior inside linebacker Chris Kirk Geiger said academic counselors are doing more to make sure this doesn't
ot centrally located in the massive prac- - were surprised to find out they were not happy. happen again. Because I don't want to go
I* facility a short distance west of cam- not eligible in the days leading up to "If the staff makes an error, it is in try- through another summer like we went
. Saturday night's 34-17 opening-game ing very, very hard to service the kid and through." Geiger said he didn't want to,
"Ideally for us, you come over to victory over No. 1I West Virginia. service the coaches and trying to make either.
Woody Hayes, you practice, you go to Geiger and Cooper both acknowl- the guys eligible," he said. "We don't "Without question, what we created
study hall, you eat and then you go edged that Long's academic advisers have a situation where there's we-they. for ourselves was a cruel shock for the
hbme," Cooper said. incorrectly counted his credit hours. There may be now, after John spouted youngster and a public relations problem
But Geiger said it was important for "Everybody that has anything to do off yesterday. I've got a pretty unhappy for ourselves, because it wasn't recog-
,athletes to mix with the student popula- with academics is concerned about those group of people here" nized earlier," he said, referring to the
n and for students to have much the two instances," Cooper said. "Both of He said the counselors work hard to two players' academic problems. "The
same academic and social opportunities those kids thought they were going to be get athletes "out of bed in the morning coaches are surprised. And none of us as
as athletes. eligible. First of all, Paris Long, we just and get them to go to class." A year ago, human beings deal particularly well with
a"Having a centrally located academic miscalculated. When I say we, I'm talk- the eligibility of 57 Ohio State athletes, surprises."

No. I Ohio State has found It more difficult to make the grade in the classroom,
than In the polls. The Buckeyes host in-state rival Toledo on Saturday.

Adversity is old
news for QB


gthme Penn State coach Joe Patemo Is getting closer to No. 300. This Is Patemo's 49th season In
py Valley. Saturday the Nittany Lions host Bowling Green.
ao v
'Aterno one vctoy fro-m 3 00

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Born with feet that turned inward
and saddled with leg braces, Chris Wallace was not expected
to walk on his own.
Maybe that's why the prospect of playing top-ranked Ohio
State on Saturday doesn't faze the Toledo Rockets' record-
setting quarterback.
"I like to defeat the odds," Wallace said yesterday. "I've
defeated the odds all my life. I've had no choice."
Wallace was born with club feet, a deformity that turns his
feet toward each other. His feet also were green because
blood never reached them. Doctors told his parents not to
hold out much hope of seeing their son walk.
Doctors broke the bones in his feet and put them in casts
the day after he was born. Braces came next. But his mother,
Reda, didn't give up, taking off the braces and massaging his
feet, hoping for a miracle.
It came when Wallace was nine months old. He got up and
started to run. It took many more years of therapy before he
could trade in his orthopedic shoes for tennis shoes, but he
hasn't stopped running since.
HOTO "My parents were great" he said. "I didn't know what faith
n was at that age. I didn't know what confidence was. They
instilled that in me."
His confidence and leadership has shown on the field.
Wallace had a record year for the Rockets and was the Mid-
American Conference's top quarterback last season. He set a
school record with 27 touchdown passes, including five in a
game against Bowling Green.
in The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior threw for 2,955 yards and
t rushed for 232 more in his first season as a starter. He's also
the guy the offense turns to when the game is on the line.
th "He's one of the best leaders I've been around," Toledo
coach Gary Pinkel said. "I would bottle him and take him the
rest of my career."
Wallace credits his outlook to his early years.
it. "That experience kept me humble and helped me under-
stand people," he said. "It kept me open-minded, and I know
anything can happen."
Wallace will lead the Rockets (1-0) into Ohio Stadium for
21 the first time in school history. The Buckeyes are coming off
a 34-17 victory at West Virginia in their opener.
One of Wallace's best friends will be on the other side of
his the field, Ohio State's starting wide receiver Dee Miller. They
were an unstoppable combination at Springfield South High
School. Growing up two houses apart, they also were nearly


STATE COLLEGE (AP) - Even though
Saturday's opponent may only be struggling
Swling Green, Penn State coach Joe Paterno
ys he still doesn't have time to consider the,
tory at hand.
'I don't want to sound like I'm not grateful
Alat we're going to have an opportunity to win
10 games," said Paterno, who would become
must the fifth coach to reach that plateau. "I
't want to sound like a big phony up here.
4o feel good about it, but I really don't have
ine to say, 'Boy, oh boy!'
-"You haven't got time. You fight for min-
ves now to look at one more detail, one more
pe, get one more thing done," he said
aterno, 71, improved to 299-77-3 with last
ekend's win over Southern Mississippi, but
dIed be remiss to stop preaching "team, team,
inam" to celebrate his impending milestone
Do that, he warns, and the Falcons - com-
ng off a 37-0 drubbing to Missouri - may
lst delay the party.
'-"That Missouri game, you've got to be
:eful," he said. "Nobody knows how good
,souri is. They may be an outstanding foot-
team. They were just a little bit better
n Bowling Green last Saturday in most
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,~ <

He's talking Bowling Green, not No. 300
the locker room, and the players said they'r
trying to avoid getting distracted.
With all the hoopla around Paterno's 300t
win, it certainly makes it harder for players.
"He's told us in a couple of meetings to
focus on our plan," quarterback Kevin
Thompson said. "We just have to downplay
Playing Bowling Green is a lot easier than
trying to get Paterno's 300th win."
Penn State jumped four spots to No. 9 in
the polls with its 34-6 defeat over then-No.
Southern Mississippi.
Paterno figured out who his starting quar
terback is, watched a solid performance by1
offensive line and saw a bevy of inexperi-
enced backs step up.
His defense held the Golden Eagles to nit
yards rushing and stopped the big passing
But Paterno wouldn't be a coach if he wa
n't still concerned. He knows the big test is
two games away: No. 1 Ohio State at
Columbus on Oct. 3.
"I'm just as concerned, because regardles
of what somebody does in one game, that
doesn't get you home free. I'm still concern
about the fact.that we don't have any experi
ence," Paterno said.

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"I could look out the front door and talk to him," Wallace
said with a smile. They still talk on a weekly basis, but their
conversations have avoided this week's showdown.
Miller still takes inspiration from the hardships Wallace
faced in school and the difficult time he had with the braces
in school. With each step, there was a clank and a thump.
The other kids stared, not knowing what to think. It wasn't
until the third grade that he got rid of those clunky shoes.
"He used to come to school with these braces on his legs
and real hard shoes on his feet, "Miller recalled. "Being kids,
we didn't know what it was about back then. But now, it's
something I thank the Lord that he got over."



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