Commentary: College Football Playoff Expansion

By Adrian Blair

The College Football Playoff debuted shortly following the 2014 regular season, and has only grown since. From Larry Culpepper, the Dr. Pepper guy, to the weekly release of the new College Football Playoff rankings, college football owns November and December.

However, there is one area where improvement is needed. We, as college football fans, want an expanded playoff bracket, preferably to eight teams.

With eight teams, it is likely that no Power Five conference champion is left out, like in years past (sorry 2014 Baylor and TCU). Eight teams also gives an opportunity for two teams in the same conference to be in the playoff, via Michigan and Ohio State from the Big Ten.

Sports and money go hand in hand, and it honestly confuses me why they haven’t expanded already. Behind its “big brother” in the National Football league, college football is the No. 2 viewed sport in the American television market. TV equals money, so why not? Giving the fans what they want and making even more money doing it sounds pretty great to me.

Another area worth looking at is the media exposure. Last season, the final College Football Playoff rankings were released on Dec. 6, 2015, with the National Championship on Jan. 11, 2016.

During that 37-day span, media outlets across the country absolutely devour the College Football Playoff. Media coverage equals money. If it wasn’t already brought to your attention, money is the main root of why the College Football Playoff is even in existence.

Having great players in great games is really what fans watch for. Players such as Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, and  Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers all have their respective teams in the Playoff mix. The two most recent Heisman trophy winners have participated in the College Football Playoff, and have failed to disappoint.

With more teams, there is more dynamic and electric players on the field, making for a more exciting viewing experience.

While the newly created College Football Playoff doesn’t show any signs of expanding following this year, it is a strong possibility in the years to come.


Janitors having issues cleaning up the mess

By Phillip Steinmetz & Kyle Sanders

 

A dozen pieces of Tuesday’s homework balled up, a few spots of crushed cheddar Goldfish from two days ago and a milk carton from first period’s breakfast on Monday.

That’s what the floor might look like in an average Jeff High classroom at the end of the week.

However the mess is not the fault of the janitors slacking on their job. Instead, it’s a culmination of being understaffed, and not having enough qualified applicants to fill those positions.

“We are just trying to get the stuff done that needs to get done,” said janitor Chris Schwinn. “It all comes down to time management, working extra hours on the weekend and overtime to get stuff that must be completed done. We can’t pay attention to things like washing every window in the school. We’ve got to take care of other things that are more important: cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the trash, sweeping up the hallways, stuff like that.”

On a normal school year, JHS would expect to have three day-shift and eight night-shift janitors each weekday. This year, it has gotten as low as two in the day, and only two at night.

Also adding to the chaos is the illness of veteran custodian William (Willie) Thornton, who has been out since the beginning of the school year. Thornton, who has worked within Jeff High for over 29 years, has experienced health issues that has prevented him from attending work, where he is the lead custodian.

“We had our two-day custodians, Chris and Bridget, step up and have done everything we asked them to do and more in Willie’s absence,” said assistant principal Timothy LaGrange. “The building is in great shape. At times, we’ve had a sub for that third spot, but not consistently. I don’t know when we will get that third position filled. In Willie’s situation, if he came back, we want what’s best for Willie.”

According to LaGrange, there are a few obstacles that have made it challenging to hire custodians this year. The biggest challenge is that other businesses, like Amazon and the newly-erected River Ridge, are offering more money for employment, which is cutting the application pool.

“The pay is probably more important than anything else and that’s one thing we can’t compete with Amazon,” said math teacher Jim Spears. “The school corporation could spend more money on that or anyone’s position. Everyone deserves to make more than they are making, so how do you do that? Right now, we are in dire need of custodians, so how do you do that? It’s not an easily solvable work problem.”

Despite the hiring difficulties, the school isn’t far away from being back to full staff. At the time of print, LaGrange says JHS is two custodians away from full strength.

To make up for the less hands on board, some weekends or long breaks require JHS to bring in multiple custodians from other schools for a “blitz.” The blitz lasts one or two days, and the entire school is cleaned.

“It’s a challenge to meet our standards,” LaGrange said. “(It’s) not because of the people we have aren’t doing a great job because they are doing a great job. They are great workers, dedicated and do a great job.

“But we are understaffed and some of that is a larger, economic issue,” LaGrange continued. “There are a lot of jobs available, like River Ridge, (which) has created a little bit of competition for us.”

A creative way in which Greater Clark County Schools has tackled this challenge is by offering custodial job opportunities to high school students. The position offers $9 per hour to work up to three hours after school, everyday.

The hope for the hires is to give the custodians an extra hand while they are still filling in the other main positions.

“We’ve had a few people who have applied, we are going to hire a pool of high school students very soon to fill in and help us out as well,” said LaGrange. “I am excited for that and we’ve got some good candidates by the people I’ve talked to, we could use some more good people and high school students that want to work. It’s a very good part-time job for high school kids.”

Rape Culture Explained

“Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that a–” (Freshman Week chant caught on social media at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada.)

“Grab ’em by the (female genital). You can do anything.” (United States of America’s president-elect Donald Trump).

In today’s world and society, things like this are said and done all too often.

According to the Women’s Center at Marshall University, rape culture is defined as an environment in which rape is prevalent, and in which sexual violence against women (or men) is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.

Everyday in our world, millions of women and men are raped, sexually assaulted and violated.

To anyone who doesn’t think that the normalization and allowing of rape, or any other form of sexual violence happens, look at college campuses. Heck, you can even just turn on the news.

Take the Brock Turner case, for example.

Turner, a 20-year-old male attending Stanford University, assaulted an unconscious girl by a dumpster following a night of partying. To boast, there were even multiple witnesses. Based off of the evidence, one would assume his punishment would be a couple years in jail at least, right?

Well, if you guessed anything more than six months, you’re completely wrong.

Because Turner was a talented athlete (swimmer) at a prestigious school (Stanford), the ruling judge in the case didn’t think he was a threat to society. Instead, he got six months in jail, and served only three months due to good behavior.

Take a minute and imagine how furious you’d be if that was your mother, sister, or daughter. Isn’t it nice to know that in this country, you can get more time for the possession of drugs than taking away another human being’s dignity, intimacy, and right to privacy?

If that sickening example of rape culture in our world today isn’t enough for you, then look at Florida State University. The school and administrators covered up sexual assault allegations against Jameis Winston — not once, but twice. And why would any person with at least a twinge of decency, or moral, do such a thing?

Because Winston was the star athlete in a town focused around football, not the girls he violated. So according to authority at Florida State, and around Tallahassee, those girls don’t mean anything.

Even in pop culture today, things like this happen. In 2014, popular singer Ke$ha was forced by a judge to continue working with her producer, Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald (Dr. Luke)  who also sexually abused her for an extensive amount of time.  

The culture of rape and sexual violence in this generation has gone too far.

The crimes don’t just happen against women, but they do happen more. One in five women in the United States will get raped at some point in their lifetime, while one in 71 men will face the same fate.

The most staggering number? Out of those crimes, more than 90-percent don’t report them. Yes, you could blame the victim for not reporting. But in this world, would you report the crime if it happened to you?

Whether it’s not being believed or being blamed, the victim has a lot of good reasons not to report.

And when it comes to college campus assaults, the numbers aren’t getting any better. Even prestigious colleges like Harvard and Notre Dame have been investigated by the U.S Department of Education for the failure to investigate sexual violence.

Rape culture isn’t only the act of rape or assault, but it is also the derogatory terms thrown at females. You can hear those explicit words hundreds of times in the hallway of a high school.

The double standards make it seems as if when a woman has multiple partners, she is one of these words. But when a man has more than one girl, he’s praised by his buddies for it.

You may not know it, but that is all rape culture too.

Let me preach this one thing to any man (or even woman) that has been angered over rejection: you are not, ever, entitled to another human being’s body. Ever.

I took the time to ask a victim of rape (a student at JHS) how she felt afterwards: “I didn’t know what I felt at first. Then I started feeling ashamed and embarrassed, like you don’t want anyone to know.”

For more information and awareness on sexual violence go to http://www.nsvrc.org/. For more information and awareness on college campus sexual violence, watch the documentary “The Hunting Ground” on Netflix.

The feeling of shame, and as if the assault was the victim’s fault, is common. As a society based on prejudice and mostly negativity, it is our responsibility to end this culture of sexual violence.

If not for you, then for your mothers, sisters, or even daughters.

Ward’s Chamber

By Simone Brady

Aaron Ward sits in a desk, strategizing with his partner for a game in his history class. He’s all business, his normally-smiling face straight as the two of them agonize over the costs of an imaginary voyage on the Oregon Trail.

Ward is a junior, and he knows he’ll be graduating soon, so he’s been working harder than ever to excel in the classroom. Despite his concentration, he grins and answers honestly as questions are snuck in between calculations and discussions over which items will be the wisest purchases. He has a deep voice which carries, so he has to speak quietly, but he tends to keep to himself unless he’s in a group of his friends, so volume control isn’t too difficult for him.

Remarkably, he doesn’t let a mini-interview distract him from his schoolwork; after each response, he bows his head and scratches some more numbers onto the paper in front of him. That kind of determination is impressive, but it’s par for the course when it comes to him.

Ward was born Feb. 6, 2000, in Jeffersonville, Ind. He grew up with a sister, Allie, who is six years older than him. In his words, he grew up in a decent neighborhood and was a “very happy kid.” He attended Northhaven Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Elementary, and River Valley Middle School before arriving here at Jeff High.

He’s passionate about theater and choir, and he plays ultimate frisbee from time to time. Ward is also a low bass in Jeff High’s chamber choir. Additionally, he’s been in four productions in his time here, including Footloose, Rehearsal for Murder, the Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, and Bring It On.

According to Ward, what makes him unique is how easily he can get along with so many different types of people, his ability to form bonds with others and his ability to do various activities.

“I had a lot of good friends,” he said, when talking about his childhood. That seems to be true today, too, as he socializes easily with his friends from choir, theater, and ultimate frisbee. It’s rare to see him completely alone.

Ward is most proud of “the friendships [he’s] made, and how [he’s] keeping up with [his] schoolwork, and [his] faith, and just… keeping going in life.”

His plans for the future include getting a steady job to hopefully pay for his own college, then being able to financially support himself and maybe eventually a family. He hasn’t settled on a major, but is strongly considering studying criminal justice at the University of Louisville.

Aaron Ward is an easygoing guy whose life is focused mainly on schoolwork, his faith, his friends and his extracurriculars. He’s working hard to make sure he meets all of his goals for the future.

After all, you have to be dedicated and industrious in order to tackle the Oregon Trail, even a fictional version of it, and he started planning with no hesitation. With his determination and persistence, the sky’s the limit.