Tewksbury’s Scott Oberg of the Tulsa Drillers: Injuries have hurt his development.Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Tewksbury's Scott Oberg of the Tulsa Drillers: Injuries have hurt his development.

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Cleaning out my notebook while wondering how long before I will be able to spell Garoppolo without having to look it up...

In college athletics, there is DIVISION 1, driven by football, football, and spring football. And eight miles below all that is the little division 1 sanely embraced by schools like UMass Lowell. The differences were made starkly transparent by the NCAA board of director's recent appeasement of big-spending athletic programs.

Granting certain legislative autonomy to the five so-called power conferences will allow their members to better reward those whose talents make $5 million coaching contracts and $100 million stadiums possible. The courts meanwhile move ever closer to shaking the archaic NCAA to its kid-swindling core.

The 65 schools in college's big leagues -- which include Boston College -- can now go their collective way in shedding certain recruiting nuisances while raising scholarship amounts and other benefits. They can stretch the NCAA boundaries that restrict nearly 300 other Division 1 schools whose athletic programs could all fit into Nick Saban's waiting room and who can't afford to play at the high-stakes table.

As contradictory to any educational mission that this all seems, this is as it should be. It is silly for the UMass Lowells of the academic world to have a say within the NCAA on issues that affect Alabama football or Kentucky basketball. It is two different Division 1 worlds.


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(As Division 1 splinters along bottom lines, UMass Lowell will be in a Division 3 within Division 1.)

Now officially outdated is that NCAA public-service spin that DIVISION 1 football and basketball players are "student-athletes" who ought to be grateful to have their education paid for -- even as their colleges and universities keep hiring administrators to divvy up the money these kids bring in. The "student-athlete" myth at big-time schools might be easier to spin if schoolwork wasn't always being interrupted to accommodate ESPN's weeknight programming schedule.

The athletes' fair share is long overdue. The NCAA fears big-time schools able to pay that share might go off to form their own governing body and turn the NCAA's Big Dance into a sock hop to the Final Four. Last week's submission by the NCAA is a first step toward shedding the hypocrisy and confessing the truth: big-time college athletics is professional sports, not an education.

Happy to be here

Old-fashioned NFL double-sessions are banned by the latest collective bargaining agreement, and also this summer's weather in Foxboro has rarely been oppressive.

What a life.

New Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell grew up in Houston, played college ball at LSU and spent his first three NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers, whose training camp is in Spartanburg, S.C.

Needless to say, he loves New England.

"This is the best weather I've ever had in training camp," LaFell said after last Wednesday morning's rainy, windy joint practice with the Eagles.

"Seventy degrees. Eighty degrees. If we got that in Carolina, we were happy. Best day ever," said LaFell.

Oberg back on DL

He's pitched well when he's pitched, but Tewksbury's Scott Oberg is back on the disabled list. Oberg, the saves leader for the Colorado Rockies' Double-A Tulsa Drillers was out nearly two months with a shoulder injury.

He returned July 31 and made two scoreless appearances before returning to the DL. Oberg's overall numbers this season: 0-1, 2.63, 14 saves, 27.1 ip, 22h, 6bb, 21 k.

New team, new name

Right-handed pitcher Heri Quevedo was last week promoted from Lowell back to the High-A Salem Red Sox, where he was before being sent here on a rehab assignment. He remained a Spinner when he struggled badly.

When he left Lowell, Quevedo led the Spinners in innings pitched (54) and the NY-Penn League in runs allowed (45) and home runs allowed (8). Yet Quevedo, 24, won four of his last five starts with the Spinners, including allowing only two runs on a bloop double over his last 13 innings. The Red Sox signed Quevedo for $150,000 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

The interesting part is that two years earlier Quevedo had signed with the Yankees as Heri "Olivo," a deal voided by an MLB investigation into his age and identity. 

Butler is No. 71

By Chaz Scoggins' count, catcher Dan Butler became the 71st former Spinner to appear in a major league game when he caught Boston's 3-1 victory in Anaheim last Sunday. Butler, a 2009 Spinner, provided a breather for Christian Vazquez, who caught all 19 innings of the 5-4 loss the previous night.

Follow David Pevear on Twitter and Tout @merganser10