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Start, Sit & Saving Higher Education

by Seth Woolcock

I’m a believer that the statement, “college is a scam,” is a misleading contradiction.

Sure, if you’re not careful, you can wind up with anxiety, crippling debt and a half-finished degree you might never use.

However, if you’re someone who has a true passion for something, mixed with a willingness to put in the work, college and higher education as a whole can be life-changing.

I could have never imagined how much it would change my own life when I was an arrogant 18-year-old, packing for my freshman year at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) preparing to study journalism and public relations.

I didn’t know much about IUP at the time, other than it’s where my brother and a couple of my friends from high school went. In fact, I didn’t know much about any colleges in my home state, because I never took an official visit to any. 

I even knew very little about journalism at the time – other than most of my heroes like Stuart Scott and Matthew Berry had studied some variation of it.

But despite this, despite no one knowing my name when I walked into that first journalism and public relations department meeting in August 2016, I made the most of it.

Katie (front, second to the left) and I (back, third to the left) pose for a photo with our freshman journalism and public relations class at IUP on the first day we met in August 2016.

The girl who was sitting two rows in front of me in that meeting wound up being the love of my life, the one I’ve been luckiest enough to call my girlfriend for four years now and hope to one day call my wife. 

Some of the students I met later that week at my first newspaper meeting became some of my best friends, ones that I made amazing memories with and even continue to work with today, here at In-Between Media.

But it was the faculty in the journalism and public relations department and the countless lessons learned from each one of them that were the foundation of my higher education and allowed me to grow as an individual. 

I started having conversations that made me view the world differently than when I was in my hometown. In addition to mastering more about journalism ethics, media formats and AP style rules than I thought my head could hold at times, I learned how one person and their writing can impact others and the world around them.

The three-and-a-half years I spent at IUP truly were the most influential moments of my life. Even when the world seemed to be falling around the life I once knew back in a small town, I had a home, a future and a purpose in life. 

Without the knowledge gained from my journalism and public relations faculty, in addition to some of the communications media faculty, In-Between Media would still be just an idea, crinkled somewhere inside the 29th page of an old notebook. But because of them and the inspiration and comprehension they allotted me, it’s a reality.

And now, they need our help.

IUP, along with seven other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, including California, Cheyney, Clarion, Edinboro, Lock Haven and Mansfield, has been threatened with retrenchment.

In an essence, retrenchment is laying off and shifting faculty members to other departments or universities. 

“A smaller faculty means higher student/faculty ratios,” according to the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties’ (APSCUF) statement on their website. “Classes could be larger, and programs could be cut.”

This retrenchment could make smaller, more intimate departments, like the one I was privileged enough to study in, go by the wayside. It’ll likely take away the smaller faculty-to-student ratio – one of the most valuable aspects of these state universities.

And if you’re like many and have never heard of these PASSHE schools like IUP and Edinboro and don’t know why you should care about this, just wait.

It’s only a matter of time before the more notable Division 1 schools also have to start taking similar action. Every university, including the Pennsylvania State University, where I am employed, is working around the clock, trying to figure out how to deal with the lasting implications that COVID-19 has brought upon the entire higher education system.

Not only is higher education enrollment a concern because of the pandemic, but it could jeopardize industry-sponsored research at universities as well. From college towns’ local economies, to collegiate arts and athletics, it’s putting a strain on just about every aspect of higher education and the experience surrounding it.

And while we can’t fix these problems overnight, there are places to start.  

You can visit APSCUF’s website for more information. You can also write your local representatives with your concerns or inquire about writing a letter to the editor to your local paper. 

The simplest thing I think we can all do is stop discouraging others, especially our youth, from investing in higher education. No, it’s not for everyone. But it’s certainly not a scam. 

And for those who it is for, it can change their life. Just like it did for me and millions alike. 

Now, let’s get to it.

The following start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft League.

Quarterback I’d Start this Week:

Joe Burrow (Cincinnati):  The Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick was a big flag plant of mine coming into the season. I was confident that both his talent and the lack of it on the Bengals defense would allow him to be a QB1 at season’s end.

Through his first three outings, he is the QB10 and gets a grisly Jacksonville defense that has allowed back-to-back QB1 finishes to Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Ohio kid should be back in the QB1 conversation this week and started in most formats.

Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:

Tom Brady (Tampa Bay):  Unfortunately, where I was right about Burrow being a value at the position in drafts, so far I have been wrong about Tom Brady.

The six-time Super Bowl champion came into Tampa Bay with high expectations due to his offensive weapons around him and head coach Bruce Arians’ gun-slinging mentality. 

However, so far, partially due to the Buccaneers’ offense not being at full strength, Brady hasn’t met expectations, pacing as the QB16 through three weeks.

He’ll face a Chargers defense that may be banged up, but is also top-ten against opposing quarterbacks and made Patrick Mahomes look human through three quarters in Week 2. 

Running Back I’d Start this Week:

Todd Gurley (Atlanta):  It doesn’t feel very far removed from when Todd Gurley was once the top player in fantasy football. Now, I actually have to sit here and talk people out of benching the former stud.

Todd Gurley is PPR RB27 through three weeks.

Look, it hasn’t been great for Gurley so far this season in his home state, rushing for 197 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries, combined with just three receptions.

A lot of people are writing off Gurley, especially after backup Brian Hill has 15 PPR points of his own in Week 3.

But, I think he has still has enough in the tank to make him a middle-of-the-road RB2. I especially like Gurley’s chance to boom this week when he plays the Green Bay Packers, who have been surprisingly susceptible to opposing running backs, allowing an average of 28.3 PPR points to them (third most in the NFL).

Running Back I’d Sit this Week:

Adrian Peterson (Detroit):  Listen, I love a good revenge-game narrative as anyone else. But that doesn’t mean I can trust Adrian Peterson this week going against the New Orleans Saints. 

This Lions’ backfield is a mixed back depending on the week, with each Peterson, rookie D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson taking more than 25% of the snaps.

Until there is more clarity, I’m not comfortable starting any Detroit running back, including this week against New Orleans that held Aaron Jones to a modest night in Week 3 and is allowing only an average of 17 fantasy points per game.

Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:

Marquise Brown (Baltimore):  Since a 15-point performance in Week 1, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has yet to hit double-digit fantasy points, including having only 3.3 points Monday night against the defending champs.

However, the opportunity to catch is still there as he continues to lead the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards. 

I expect both him and Lamar Jackson to bounce back here in Week 4 against the Washington football team, presenting massive upside if Jackson can regain his deep-ball connection to Brown again.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:

T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis):  This column is beginning to feel a lot like a “Jersey Shore” reunion, a great group of characters, but ones who have primarily passed their prime. The now-30-year old T.Y. Hilton, who’s yet to eclipse double-digit fantasy points this season, unfortunately fits that narrative.

He hasn’t had more than 100 receiving yards in a game since 2018 when Andrew Luck was still his quarterback. I don’t think Hilton is necessarily over the hill; I just don’t know if Philip Rivers has the consistent arm strength anymore to throw outside of the numbers to Hilton regularly.

Chicago’s Kyle Fuller will likely draw Hilton for much of Sunday’s contest. Fuller has had a rather bounce-back season, limiting big-play receivers Marvin Jones and Darius Slayton in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. And he kept Calvin Ridley somewhat in check last week, limiting him to 5-110-0. 

Season-long, I’m holding Hilton until his first big game and then getting out of the business entirely as soon as possible.

If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.

And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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