Crazy Idea from Billy Reed: Character Counts


I had lunch with Billy Reed today.

Billy Reed is all about character in sports

The famed sportswriter was talking with a few members of the Okolona Business and Professional Association at the University Club about his crazy ideas about sports.

Billy thinks character should still count in athletics. He’s for university presidents placing an emphasis on academics. He thinks bad behavior by student athletes should be punished. At Georgetown College, where he’s heading up something called the Academy for Character in Sport, 25 percent of every coach’s evaluation is based on character development.

As part of that program, he’s put together a video series (airing on KET) of interviews called “Conversations with Champions.” Thus far, he’s had C.M. Newton, Jim Host and broadcaster Tom Hammond, among others. The conversations center on ways to emphasize integrity and character. Reed also talks about that topic on his Sunday radio show on WGTK-AM (Sundays at 1 p.m.)

He’s doing a lot of speeches too, and told me that when he talked about character recently at a Rotary meeting, he got a rare standing ovation.

So when Billy reels off the problems he sees in sports, and life, in the actions of everyone from Charlie Sheen to Ben Roethlisberger to Cam Newton, some people are listening, and digging the message. He says it’s obvious that much of the problem is because there’s too much money involved. It corrupts the thinking and actions of college presidents, coaches, student athletes and their parents.

Billy, who wrote 3 books in 2010 (about The Monarchs, Freedom Hall and the Yum! Center), says his favorite team to watch these days is the Bellarmine Knights. No one-and-dones on Scott Davenport’s roster, and the team manages to win while playing the game the right way, he says. Sure, Reed’s been to see U of L, but he doesn’t necessarily like a lot of the big-time college game’s emphasis on money and its pardoning of bad behavior.

And here’s some good news for readers. Billy is going to be sharing his thoughts on sports right here on the site. So look for it. In the meantime, check out his site