Sponsored By:


Kansas city, Mo. -- Every day, a good-natured insurance man walks into his office restroom to wash his hands. On the walls, all over the john, are the most peculiar memorabilia. There is a matted slab of lime-green artificial turf that is harder than a mallet. There is a photo of a quarterback straining for the end zone.

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, the stories said, played this season under a terrible burden. Te'o was whipsawed between personal tragedies along the way. In the span of six hours in September, as Sports Illustrated told it, Te'o learned first of the death of his grandmother, Annette Santiago, and then of the death of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua.

“I’M not hiding,” Sonny Vaccaro told a closed hearing at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2001. “We want to put our materials on the bodies of your athletes, and the best way to do that is buy your school. Or buy your coach.”How to Fix College Sports Vaccaro’s audience, the members of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, bristled.

TIME’s Sean Gregory spoke Friday with Jerry Frump, a long-time college football referee who served as a “replacement ref” during the recent NFL labor dispute. Highlights from the conversation, including Frump’s thoughts on the wide range of experience among his replacement colleagues, can be found here.

Over the past month, BYU has been held up as a symbol of all that is decent in college sports for its unsparing treatment of Brandon Davies, the African-American basketball player who violated the school's honor code by reportedly having sex with his girlfriend. Davies was suspended shortly before the NCAA tournament, and a braying mainstream press lauded BYU for sticking to its principles.

He was described in the grand jury presentment only as "a Penn State graduate assistant." Anyone reading the 23-page presentment released on Nov. 4, 2011, would be horrified by the prosecution's version of what the witness said he saw a decade ago. 

The kicker stands behind a podium in the Heidelberg Room, on the top floor of the Baton Rouge Hilton, and pauses for a moment while grown men dry their eyes. Mo Isom has just finished telling a story of loss and brokenness and occasional self-loathing, a story that Isom has lived for much of the last 22 years.

As big a football fan as I am, I had never seen any part of a draft, to say nothing of its final four rounds, which are a roughly seven-hour marathon that lasts until sundown. And yet, on that day, I sat riveted.

I can still hear the quick crunch of his vertebrae cracking. That's the meddling of hindsight, of course — he was too far away, out in the middle of the night-dark field, and there were too many people around me and around him: the fans heckling, the grunts and dull thud of 16 men crashing together in the scrum, then an ominous silence. People breathing hard, whispering, yelling for help.

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors.

Follow Us Friend?