Once a year, I like to pretend to be a network television official. I figure out which Big Ten football games you can expect to see during the 1999 season.
OK, it sounds like a good way to kill 30 minutes. But are there any practical uses?
The Illinois volleyball team, ranked 14th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll released Thursday, will hold a "Meet the Team Night" at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Huff Hall. Fans are invited to talk to the players and coaching staff, collect autographs and watch a team scrimmage that will begin at 7 p.m.
Do not be surprised Antoineo Harris stood out among the Illinois newcomers who practiced earlier this week at Memorial Stadium.
The kid's never been shy when it comes to introductions.
CHAMPAIGN – During practices, they work hard to make their teammates better. Today, Brian Scott and Ivery Lewis were rewarded for their efforts.
The Illinois seniors have been awarded scholarships for the 1999-00 school year. Both players spent four years with the team as walk-ons.
Three Illinois swimmers and former Centennial standout Rachel Johnson combined to finish second this week in the U.S. 5K Open Water National Championships at Long Lake, Minn.
RANTOUL – There wasn't a long line as the check-in table opened Wednesday at Camp Rantoul. There was no line at all.
The Illinois football players took their time reporting for the start of training camp. They had from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., so there was no hurry.
- LONELY GUY: While most of the Illinois assistants worked with three or four players Tuesday, tight ends coach Greg McMahon had only one player under his command: Ken Boyle.
The News-Gazette All-Stater from Springfield liked the special attention.
Jerry Schumacher recalls a picture in football coach Frank Lenti's office showing nine Chicago Mount Carmel athletes in Illini uniforms.
"For all those guys to go there, the University of Illinois must be a pretty good place," Schumacher thought at the time.
CHAMPAIGN – Last summer, it was easy enough to pick out the junior college players on the Illinois football team. They hung out together on the field. At the same positions.
Four junior college receivers and two defensive backs entered Camp Rantoul. Only two, defensive backs Johnny Rogers and Johnnie Harris, are back this season.
When obstacles arose, Fess Hawkins always had a quick finger with the detour button.
He engaged in a determined diet after consuming too many biscuits as an Arkansas teen-ager, straightened out his academics after a losing run-in with the NCAA Clearinghouse, and survived the unfair financial strain of being required to pay out-of-state tuition when his scholarship was taken away as a freshman.