3-point stance: Seeing the bigger picture

1. Northwestern has become the latest battleground over whether FBS players should be compensated with more than a scholarship. But even as it lost the first of what may be many decisions in the case, the university praised its student-athletes for their participation. That may be smart poker -- if you criticize them, how do you ask them to play hard -- but it also speaks to a bigger picture. The courts will decide if Northwestern is an employer. The university will always strive to be a center for learning and growing.

2. Former Tennessee All-American tailback Hank Lauricella died earlier this week at age 83. Lauricella, a Louisiana native who returned home to a long career in the state legislature, served as a mentor to another Louisianan who played for the Vols, Peyton Manning. Both men became Heisman Trophy runners-up. Former Vols Johnny Majors and Heath Shuler also finished second in the Heisman. Is there any FBS school with the history of a Tennessee that has come so close without winning a Heisman?

3. Even if UMass had made every right decision, the move from FCS to FBS would have been daunting. But the school didn’t make a lot of right decisions. Playing home games at Gillette Stadium, 95 miles away; hiring Charley Molnar as head coach; joining the MAC -- none worked out. So next season the Minutemen will play half their home games on campus. They have replaced Molnar with Mark Whipple, who led UMass to the 1998 I-AA title. And they will leave the MAC after 2015. Talk about your mulligans.