Take 5 | Pitt wrestling needs depth top-to-bottom, Pitt football uses NIL the right way


TPN File Photo

Pitt vs. Arizona State at a wrestling match on Jan. 14 at the Fitzgerald Field House.

By The Pitt News Staff

In this week’s Take 5, The Pitt News’ Sports Desk takes a look at Pitt wrestling’s chances at competing in the ACC, how Pitt football players are effectively exercising their name, image and likeness rights and more.

Pitt wrestling needs depth top-to-bottom to compete in the ACC // Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

Last season, Pitt Wrestling finished No. 4 out of six in the ACC standings, and finished third in the conference tournament. To compete with the cream of the crop in the conference, like NC State and Virginia Tech, they’ll need top-to-bottom talent. The Panthers announced on Aug. 5 that redshirt seniors Nino Bonaccorsi and Mickey Phillipi will return for the 2022-23 season, which helps them greatly next season.

Bonaccorsi and redshirt senior Cole Matthews won ACC titles in their weight classes last season, but the Panthers will need to fill the hole that former wrestler Jake Wentzel left at the 165 lb. level when he graduated. Three wrestlers can’t carry a team in a sport with 10 bouts, so the Panthers will have to get help from the rest of the card, including from senior heavyweight Jake Slinger.

Pitt has a relatively light non-ACC schedule this year, so the team should take advantage of this and prepare themselves for the conference gauntlet. Let’s see what head coach Keith Gavin has in store in 2022-23.

Pitt football players are exercising their NIL rights in an effective way // Dalton Coppola, Sports Editor

Since the NCAA caved in summer 2021 and allowed college athletes to capitalize on their name, image and likeness, many athletes have launched their own online stores filled with merchandise. But when the NCAA lifted NIL restrictions, it opened the door to a plethora of opportunities outside of making a quick buck.

Many members of Pitt’s football program are a prime example of players putting their NIL rights to good use.

This past week, senior defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre received national praise on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” when Harry Lyles Jr. cited his work with the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation. Alexandre is far from the first Panther to do charitable work too. Senior safety Brandon Hill launched his own campaign — Random Acts of Kindness — as well.

This isn’t even mentioning former Panthers, including Johnny Petrishen’s work with his local soup kitchen, Tre Tipton’s work advocating for mental health services for student athletes and Kenny Pickett’s work with the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsburgh.

Many saw NIL as something that will doom college sports as we know it — and some programs, coaches and players have abused the rules. In reality, players can and have used it for a lot of really good reasons.

College Football should have an “NFL Redzone” like program // Jermaine Sykes, Staff Writer

This college football weekend is loaded with critical matchups in AP top 25 play. No. 10 Penn State travels to No. 6 Michigan, No. 3 Alabama travels to No. 5 Tennessee and No. 8 Oklahoma State travels to No. 13 Texas Christian. Three top 25 bouts on a Saturday is enough to entice fans to tune in.

But don’t worry, there are four more matchups between top 25 teams.

This Saturday may remind some of an NFL Sunday, packed with intense games that will have significant results. But there’s a key difference. NFL fans have the luxury of NFL Redzone — a channel where they can watch all of the action from these games without commercials and without having to change the channel.

Seven marquee matchups in one day is great for college football. There are huge implications for conference championship races, the Heisman trophy race and the College Football playoff race just three weeks before the committee releases their initial rankings.

The only problem? There’s too much going on. For instance, three of the seven matchups kickoff at 3:30 p.m. 

If the NCAA implemented an “NFL Redzone” -esque program, fans could tune into their favorite players and teams. Fans could see a touchdown scored in Knoxville and then immediately after see a turnover up in Syracuse. The action-packed nature of Redzone would allow fans to see the best plays and players without the hassle of switching channels and missing games.

The Mets face uncertainty moving forward after crushing playoff loss // Jack Markowski, Staff Writer

At one point during the 2022 season, it looked like the New York Mets were destined for a deep run into the playoffs. With their stingy lineup and rotation filled with aces, they had all of the tools to succeed in the postseason. But just like that, everything came crashing down and the Padres eliminated them in the Wild Card round. 

After squandering one of their best chances at a World Series title in recent years, the Mets can’t simply “run it back” with the current roster. A number of key players are set to hit free agency, including starter Jacob deGrom and closer Edwin Díaz. In addition, they currently have the highest projected payroll for the 2023 season, and it isn’t particularly close to other teams’. 

Owner Steve Cohen has shown his willingness to go above and beyond to assure that the team is a contender year in and year out, but regardless nobody knows how far over the luxury tax he’s prepared to go. 

With names such as Max Scherzer, Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor still around, there’s still plenty of hope and potential surrounding the Mets. But the road forward has become filled with much more uncertainty. 

Take some time to enjoy the spectacle that is Victor Wembanyama // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer

Every once in a while, a prospect comes along in the sports world that makes spectators, coaches and scouts alike turn their undivided attention to every move that player makes. Sometimes the player pans out, and other times, not so much.

French basketball player and NBA prospect Victor Wembanyama is the latest sensation.

Whether Wembanyama’s lack of experience yields professional success is yet to be seen, but just watching this guy play basketball is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

The French prodigy stands at an eye-popping 7-foot-2 and, somehow, plays the wing. He rebounds and plays well on the defensive side, but possibly his most valuable asset is having a truly unblockable three ball.


He can also take command of the baseline, post up and do just about everything else you would need to do when playing basketball.

Sure, he’s still skinny, but he doesn’t really have much of a glaring weakness anywhere in his game. Wembanyama just needs to adjust to NBA speed and sharpen his skills before he enters the league.