Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Did the Big Ten publicly smack down a gossip blogger? Looks like it. Ouch.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Twitter is teh awesomest invention since Al Gore invented innerwebs. Gossip blogger Clay Travis found a Craiglist ad purporting to recruit fans to attend the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, set for Saturday evening in Indianapolis, Indiana and tweeted a link to his site.

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The Big Ten disputed that suggestion, and publicly called Travis out via its own Twitter account:

image Hilarity ensued.

It’s impossible to tell who’s behind the Craigslist ad or whether the offer is real. For all we know, this could be a prank by a crafty SEC fan. IBCR loves a good troll job, but it wasn’t us, I swear!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Auburn contact with prized recruit could rise to standard of major violation, experts say (UPDATED)

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SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE

Yesterday, IBCR reported that Auburn University likely violated its agreement with the Southeastern Conference and NCAA regarding the school’s report and self-imposed sanctions after the 2010 Tiger Prowl affair.

As explained yesterday, Auburn released reams of documents regarding multiple secondary violations discovered over the last two years, including violations revealed during an investigation into the Tiger Prowl visits the football program used as a recruiting tool in Spring 2010.

The documents show that Auburn agreed to self-impose a 60 day restriction on staff contacts—both on- and off-campus—with prized Hueytown Quarterback Jameis Winston. The restriction was to begin the first week of November 2011 and run through January 2012. Both the SEC and the NCAA agreed to deal and the matter was dropped from further consideration.

However, as also reported here yesterday, the prospective student-athlete told recruiting analysts that Auburn coaching staff visited him in his home Sunday night, in apparent violation of the terms of that agreement:

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Ms. McKeeman confirmed to us via email that Winston was her source for the report and that the report was accurate.

This would appear to violate the terms of the agreement reached between the school, the SEC, and the NCAA, and NCAA compliance experts believe that this could rise to the standard of a major violation, but that the SEC may seek to mitigate any potential penalties as a result.

“The standard of a major violation is nebulous—it is basically all other violations not secondary,” says Dr. David Ridpath, NCAA compliance expert and professor of Sports Administration at Ohio University. “A couple caveats are—was there a competitive advantage gained and was there intent to break the agreement, or was there a reckless disregard for the rules.”

“This could be considered major, but it is often in the eye of the beholder. If this visit took place—there appears to be intent to violate and a disregard for the rules. If this kid signs with Auburn—then there would be a competitive advantage. That does not mean it would automatically be a major violation because the NCAA is very inconsistent on application plus you can never underestimate the influence of the SEC in the mitigation of violations,” said Ridpath.

The SEC has so far declined comment. The NCAA has yet to return messages seeking comment and clarification. Auburn University cannot comment because the coaching staff cannot publicly discuss the prospective student-athletes it is pursuing.

“The best option for Auburn is to simply back off of Winston’s recruitment altogether and plead ignorance of the terms of the agreement in a report of a secondary violation,” said a college recruiting and compliance analyst. “If he never signs a letter of intent and never reaches the campus, it’s not that big of a deal, really. But if the school signs the prospect and it’s shown that they broke an agreement not to make contact with him, that would be a thumb in the eye of the NCAA. It sure wouldn’t go down well in Indianapolis.”

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UPDATE: al.com’s Evan Woodbery has a published report in which the Antonor Winston acknowledges that Auburn coaches Gus Malzahn, Curtis Looper and Trooper Taylor visited the family Sunday night.

This confirms Laura McKeeman’s report Monday afternoon and reported here later that night.

Woodbery’s story also acknowledges the existence of self-imposed restrictions that limited the Auburn staff’s contact with Winston through January of 2012.

What remains unclear is what—if anything—has changed since November 4, when the school released the documents in response to media open records requests.

What is clear? At the time of the initial violation in 2010, Winston was a high school junior. NCAA rules state that the Auburn staff was prohibited from having off-campus contact until November of his senior year—2011. This is the reason why the self-imposed penalties for the staff’s contact with Winston are different from the dates of the other penalties described in the report.

If those restrictions haven’t been lifted, then the coaches’ visit last Sunday would represent a violation of a standing agreement. 

There’s nothing to be gained by pushing this story any further. The key information is now in the news stream and nothing sanitizes better than sunshine. Further, Auburn officials are at a disadvantage over this story because by rule they cannot publicly discuss recruits or recruiting activities.

We’ll continue to follow developments but at least for the time being, we’re calling this one CONFIRMED.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Auburn may have violated agreement with SEC and NCAA in reported visit with prized recruit

image On November 4, 2011, Auburn University released a ream of documents related to the NCAA and school investigation into the football program.

While most of the documentation was related to the highly publicized investigation into the recruitment of former Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton, a number of other documents were also released, including details on numerous secondary violations committed by the program over a two year period.

Part of the documentation of the secondary violations included the school’s report on the Tiger Prowl affair, in which the school admitted to a handful of violations regarding improper contact with prospective student-athletes. As a result of those violations, Auburn restricted its football staff from having any on- or off-campus contact with Jameis Winston, the highly regarded football and baseball prospect from Hueytown, Alabama.

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Auburn also self-imposed a 60-day period of no off-campus contact from November 2011 through January 2012. However, recent reports indicate that the Auburn coaching staff may not be keeping up its end of the bargain.

On November 28, 2011, Fox Sports Recruiting Analyst Laura McKeeman sent the following tweet:

image Ms. McKeeman has since confirmed to IBCR via email that her source was Jameis Winston himself, and that the prospect “told me point blank that AU was in his house last night.” The contact was also reported on at least one other Auburn related recruiting site.

It was not immediately clear which Auburn coaches were involved with the reported visit.

While the initial contact in 2010 resulted in a secondary violation and resulted in relatively light penalties, it is also unclear whether a violation of the self-imposed sanctions would be secondary in nature. IBCR has reached out to NCAA compliance experts and more reports are likely to follow.

Exit Question: This isn’t a nuclear detonation by any stretch. Even if this violation rises to the level of a major infraction, the likelihood of harsh penalties is slight. But given the fact that the school has just recently escaped the scrutiny of a major investigation into its recruiting practices, isn’t this somewhat embarrassing for “the best compliance department in the country?’ And, could this result in the program ceasing its recruitment of the prospect altogether?

Helmet tap to Brian Warwick on Twitter.

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Ohio State officially welcomes Urban Meyer to the Buckeyes

image One week after vehemently denying reports that he had reached a deal to become Ohio State’s next football coach, Urban Meyer was officially welcomed by the Buckeyes on Monday afternoon. Meyer could deny those reports all he wanted but let’s be honest—his next coaching gig was set the day Jim Tressel walked out that door.

As also discussed here last week, the romance between Columbus and its Ohio-born paramour has many different plot twists and turns. Not the least of which will be the set of expectations his new bosses have vs. those of the fans. The Associated Press’ Ralph Russo told me that he believes the Ohio State faithful would fit in the SEC perfectly (in terms of expectations and rabid following). In short, Buckeye fans want crystal balls and they want them now.

The NCAA has still not published the Committee on Infractions’ ruling on the Tattoo-trading scandal that rocked the school and cost Tressel his job. The program has offered a five scholarship reduction in its response to the league’s notice of allegations, but many observers expect the Committee to hand down a harsher sentence. I’ve seen estimates of five scholarship a year over three years based on the severity of the offenses.

The pending sanctions, the negative recruiting being used by competitors and at least a one- to two-year period of adjustment to Meyer’s leadership and philosophy mean that Michigan’s win Saturday might be the first of several before Meyer gets the program's feet beneath it.

When Meyer left Florida, he cited a combination of health concerns and family/personal issues as the reason for his departure. The pressure cooker at tOSU is as bad as it is in any school in the SEC, so it’ll be interesting to see how his physical, mental and emotional well-being endures the next two years.

At the end of the day, Ohio State still got the guy they wanted. Without a doubt, they had to hire the best coach available and the guy who knocked down two BCS titles at Florida was, without a doubt, that guy.

Exit question: Should the Columbus Police Department open a new precinct on campus? Or, can we get some odds on the Buckeyes’ chances of winning the EDSBS Fulmer Cup?

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

RAMMER JAMMER, y’all

I’ve had a lot of folks ask me if the Million Dollar Band and fans did Rammer Jammer after last night’s Iron Bowl.

Of course they did.

Via Michael “The Big House” Casagrande at DailyBamaBlog. In case you missed it last night, here’s a spirited—and loud—rendition of the most hated game-ending cheer in the history of SEC Football.




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Tide domination elates Bama Nation, worries the Auburn Family

image Yesterday’s 42-14 blowout in the 76th Iron Bowl sent a powerful message from Mobile to Muscle Shoals, and the message seems to confirm a celebrated prophecy from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit: “All due respect to Auburn.. but when Alabama gets this thing going, they control that state.”

Alabama seems intent on painting the state Crimson, and while the Iron Bowl rivalry remains a hotly contested one, the only competition really seems to be between the fans rather than the programs.

It’s not been much of a rivalry on the field, recently.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is now 3-2 in Iron Bowls. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is now 1-2. Alabama has won three out of the last four, including two blowouts to end the 2008 and 2011 seasons. The combined score of the last four Iron Bowls is 130-60, for an average score of 33-15, a three-score differential not far from yesterday’s Vegas spread of 21 points.

Alabama fans couldn’t be more satisfied with either the body of work of the Crimson Tide over the last five years, or with yesterday’s statement-making blowout win. The defense is loaded with ferocious talent and impressive depth. The offense dominates the line of scrimmage and is in position to catapult its star into the program’s second Heisman Trophy in three years. From 2008 through 2011, Alabama has been in contention for the national championship in all four seasons. The program has two SEC West titles, one SEC Championship and a BCS Crystal Ball. If pundits and analysts are correct—Alabama is a better than even candidate to play for its 14th national title.

Alabama is a program that is still improving. Game to game, season to season, recruiting class to recruiting class. Alabama has dismembered every opponent on the schedule in 2011 except one (and is in line to avenge that loss).

The program’s opponents—and its chief rival—don’t need to concern themselves with the players who may or may not declare early for the NFL Draft. They need to worry about the guys the Alabama staff redshirted in 2011. Alabama’s backups to the backups would probably have been starters in Starkville, Oxford and Auburn, and the 2012 class is already looking like another one of then nation’s best. Two of Alabama’s biggest playmakers yesterday were Tight End Brad Smelley and Defensive Back Dee Milliner. When was the last time you heard either of these names mentioned during SportsCenter highlights? The team is full of great players that people have never heard of.

Auburn fans are mired in uncertainty and concern. Since Chizik and defensive coordinator Ted Roof arrived at the Plains, the program has produced statistically the worst three years in the program’s modern history. Chizik & Co. caught lightning in a bottle with last year’s experienced offensive line, talented playmakers and the twin freaks Cam Newton and Nick Fairley. They rode that to a 14-0 perfect season and their first title since 1957. But astute observers examine the body of work over the last three years and see a lot of unanswered questions. They look at the performance of their team over the 2011 season, and they see cause for grave concern. Offensively, they’ve regressed. They don’t look anything like the yardage eating, point scoring machine of last season. Have they even improved over the course of this year? Does Auburn’s offense look much better than it did at the end of the 2009 season? The answer to both questions has to be “no.”

Auburn is a program that made a lower tier bowl with Chris Todd in 2009 and will make a return trip to that tier with Clint Moseley. Despite three straight quality recruiting classes, Auburn is still a program populated by youth and inexperience. Auburn has been blown out by every decent football team they’ve faced. Clemson, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama each took turns beating the daylights out of the 2010 champs. Think about that. Auburn faced five decent teams in the 2011 season and never seriously challenged even one of them.

Think about this, also: As a head coach, Gene Chizik is 20-29 without a Quarterback named Cam Newton. That includes a 5-19 mark at Iowa State, an 8-5 season in 2009 and a 7-5 record to date this season. Twenty and Twenty-nine without Cam Newton.

When it steps on the field, Alabama is a serious threat to beat anyone they play. Auburn is only a threat to beat Utah State and Mississippi State in down-to-the wire finishes. Their possible bowl opponents include the same Clemson team that demolished them in September and a scandal-ridden Penn State. They’d likely only be favored against the latter. Alabama will be a coin toss against LSU and an overwhelming favorite against any Sugar Bowl opponent should the BCS selection process tap someone else.

The future is bright in Tuscaloosa. In Auburn, it’s uncertain.

The final score of yesterday’s game was an exclamation point on a statement that’s being written in Crimson. It’s confirmation that Herbstreit was right. Alabama has this thing going, it is controlling this state, and yesterday showed that there’s not much Auburn’s been able to do about it.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Auburn Eagle Trolls Itself

By: @LivingCrimson

From Auburn’s official Traditions page is a story funnier than anything the REC could invent. We are so not surprised the original eagle was as crazy as the current ones…


"War Eagle" is Auburn's battle cry, not a mascot or nickname. The most popular story about the battle cry dates back to the first time Auburn met Georgia on the football field in 1892 and centers around a spectator who was a veteran of the Civil War. In the stands with him that day was an eagle the old soldier had found on a battlefield during the war. He had kept it as a pet for almost 30 years. According to witnesses, the eagle suddenly broke free and began majestically circling the playing field. As the eagle soared, Auburn began a steady march toward the Georgia end zone for a thrilling victory. Elated at their team's play and taking the bird's presence as an omen of success, Auburn students and fans began to yell "War Eagle" to spur on their team. At the game's end, the eagle took a sudden dive, crashed into the ground, and died. But the battle cry "War Eagle" lived on to become a symbol of the proud Auburn spirit.


The great Auburn tradition, failed before it began. But never let it be said the Weagles accept repeated defeat.

Spirit must have heard about the first Auburn eagle

Even funnier is the Auburn family in the skybox who witnessed the modern Spirit’s desperate bid for escape from Orange oppression – and took pictures.


Crystal Whitaker, 32, always had to get the kids there early because seeing the eagle fly was their favorite part of the game… Whitaker and her three children were sitting on the front row of the luxury box Spirit crashed into during Saturday’s traditional pre-game eagle flight. She still can’t believe what she saw…

“Those windows are so clean you can see straight through them so we never let the kids touch them because anything leaves a mark,” Whitaker said. “Well it [the eagle] left a big grease mark right mark right in the middle (of the window).” …

“When he hit, he fell down to the concrete overhang. We really, honestly thought he was dead.”


 

Hey Barners, too bad your defense doesn’t hit as hard as your eagles.

More Bama updates on Twitter @LivingCrimson

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Black Friday from the most interesting blog in the world!


I don’t always shop online but when I do, I prefer Amazon.com.

Today’s Black Friday and as I write this, millions of Americans are out shopping hot deals and attacking competitors with pepper spray. There’s not much that can’t be had at Amazon at as-good-or-better prices and even if there was, why deal with being shot at or robbed to get to it?

Last year, I got my wife a Kindle and myself a Blu-Ray disc player. Santa brought the rug-rats a WII and all of the games came from Amazon. I’ll be checking things off the list again this year.

If you’re doing any online shopping this year, please consider using the link above or the links shown in the sidebars and banners.

You’ll be getting good stuff, you’ll be getting good prices, you’ll be safe from the Occupy Wal-Mart wackos and you’ll support this blog in a small, but much appreciated way. And, you won’t have to miss a down of football this weekend.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bama fans planning on rolling Toomer’s Corner beware…

They’re ready for you.

AUBURN, Alabama -- The Auburn police department will have a bird's eye view of Toomer's Corner this weekend after bringing in a portable observation tower to watch over the Auburn University landmark.

The tower is located across the street from the historic oak trees, which were allegedly poisoned by Alabama fan Harvey Updyke after Auburn beat Alabama last season. 

IBCR again has the exclusive coverage.

TheyreReady In case you missed our exclusive coverage of an organized effort to troll an easily trolled fanbase, mash here.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Saban and Miles vote in Coaches' Poll, Petrino left out

Via USA Today:

Should Arkansas beat LSU on Friday and Alabama beat Auburn on Saturday, it will create three-way tie for first place in the final Southeastern Conference's Western Division standings.

Arkansas, LSU and Alabama will each be 1-1 against the other two.

The tiebreaker then needed to determine who'll face Georgia next week in the conference title game involves the Bowl Championship Series standings that will be unveiled Sunday evening.

The USA TODAY Coaches Poll is one-third of the formula that determines the BCS standings. But of the three teams in the SEC West hunt, only Alabama and LSU have coaches among the 59 voters on this year's panel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Urban Meyer – Ohio State romance has many story lines and plot twists

image It’s like a dime-store romance novel. It’s on again. It’s off again.

It’s on again?

Earlier this week, former Florida Gators’ coach and current ESPN analyst told the Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley that he hadn’t visited Columbus and hadn’t interviewed for the Buckeye’s head coaching job.

But last night, news reports surfaced that he and the Ohio State powers-that-be agreed in principle to seven-year, $40 million nuptials. It’s a story that WE or Oxygen would drool over, isn’t it? After all, look at the story lines and plot twists, here.

Consider the jilted former lover in Gainesville, left behind by a coach who suddenly resigned, reversed himself, and then resigned for good. That page-turning chain of events was, according to Meyer, brought about first by health and then by family issues. Gator fans were saddened by his departure, but understanding and forgiving. That is, until reports surfaced that Meyer was the leading candidate for the job once held by the disgraced Jim Tressel at Ohio State.

It will be interesting to see how the Gator Nation handles the news if, as so many expect, Meyer and Ohio State finally consummate the relationship and join each other at the altar podium. Parting is indeed sweet sorrow, but it’s only sweet if your paramour isn’t jumping in the sack with the next pretty face.

And, as long as Florida was winning, Gator fans didn’t mind being in contention for the EDSBS Fulmer Cup. (for those of you who think college football coverage should be left up to professionals, the Fulmer Cup is awarded at the end of each offseason to the program with the collectively worst criminal record.)

Somebody should alert Columbus Police Department Chief Walter Distelzweig to let him know that his job may be about to get really interesting, and seeing how Ohio State fans deal with annual Fulmer Cup contention should be a storyline producing free blogging all offseason long.

Consider also the mean, hateful Alabama Crimson Tide. All Nick Saban and his 2009 National Championship squad did was show Meyer that competing in the SEC was a big boy’s job. They made his ass quit and made his quarterback cry. Does he really think the job of winning championships gets easier at Ohio State, where it took gaming the system to keep ineligible players on the field to get its first ever win over an SEC team?

This is another fascinating storyline to be played out--how does Meyer see his upcoming affair with the battling Brutuses? What would the ultimate goal of the relationship be? When he was introduced as the Florida head coach in December 2004, the stated goal was to compete at the highest level and contest for national championships. Meyer did just that—winning two national titles in 2006 and 2008. The goals at Ohio State are just as lofty.

But as Yahoo! Sports columnist (and BCS Anarchist) Dan Wetzel illustrates in a column yesterday, B1G commissioner Jim Delany isn’t thinking on such a scale anymore. In fact, Delany’s decision-making will likely make it difficult for even the B1G’s best to make beaucoup bucks in the BCS, much less compete for all the Tostitos and win a BCS title. A nine game season in the league makes it hard for even Ohio State and Michigan to emerge from the conference unbeaten, a task they are almost certainly required to complete before getting into the big dance. A one-loss Ohio State isn’t getting to the championship game like a one-loss 2006 Florida team did, because Ohio State is in the B1G, not the SEC.

The only way Ohio State gets into a title match is if some sort of plus-one or multi-round playoff is installed. Delany wants none of it and remains the most powerful conference commissioner to oppose it. When the SEC’s Mike Slive and the ACC’s Jim Swofford proposed a weaksauce plus-one system last January, Delany shot it down. This January, Delany will propose that the BCS sponsor only a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. While that would be awful for college football in general, it would be disastrous for an incoming coach who expects his team to win it all and coaches that way.

The plot will only get thicker as the story plays out. Chick flicks are fantasies but this is real, or something.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amid threats of violence, Bama fans obtain petition to roll Toomer's Corner

A group of well organized Alabama Crimson Tide fans--miffed over Auburn fans' pranks during last year's Iron Bowl--are apparently determined that should Alabama win Saturday's storied rivalry game, they are rolling Toomer's Corner.

Last year, Auburn fans taped a No. 2 Cam Newton jersey on Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's statue and seeded the grass near Bryant-Denny Stadium with the 28-27 score.

This year, with a very strong 10-1 Alabama team facing a somewhat weakened 7-4 Auburn team, Tide fans are seeking revenge. The internet publicity of fan intent has led to threats of violence and mayhem by Auburn fans, as seen in the message board posts below (click the image for the full resolution version).





Uploaded with ImageShack.us

The Alabama fans, led by the Tuscaloosa Chapter of the dreaded Red Elephant Club, anticipated the reaction beforehand and have taken legal steps to prevent any intervention in their planned, peaceful demonstration. They have obtained a permit application for use of the public space and intend to assert their rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

"We absolutely intend to exercise our rights as citizens of the United States," said lead organizer Cal Gregory. "The intersection of College and University is public space. We have a right under the US Constitution to peaceably assemble and we have the right of free expression. We don't feel that public officials--be they University or local law enforcement--have the right or the authority to prevent our demonstration. We are not violent and we don't intend to start any trouble. We just want to express our joy and satisfaction after the game, should our team be victorious."

"Mr. Gregory is correct," said a Birmingham civil rights lawyer who has been retained by the Red Elephants in the event city or university officials attempt to deny the permit. "Their actions may come off as obnoxious to some and are likely to offend some people. But these people still absolutely have the right to peaceably assemble and celebrate."

IBCR has obtained a copy of the permit application and has the exclusive:


Saturday night in Auburn should be interesting.

UpdateBar Join BAMS Radio tonight at 8:00 CST for interviews and updates on this developing story. Scheduled to appear (and possibly take your questions) will be Cal Gregory, organizer of the effort.

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Two new reports paint ugly picture of Penn State culture

image Two of the country’s largest and most influential daily newspapers—the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—have feature stories on key figures in the Penn State case that has engulfed a state’s largest public institution in scandal and controversy.

The Times has a story from Richard Perez-Pena explaining how former university President Graham Spanier enjoyed both success and secrecy, despite being one of the highest profile presidents in the NCAA.

Spanier, according to the report, had a policy of shoring up defenses when his institution’s actions came into question:


In his 16 years as president, Spanier and his administration had a history of circling the wagons in the face of criticism or scrutiny, fitting into what many say was an insular Penn State culture that preceded his tenure. It occurred when high-profile Penn State employees came under fire, when student actions threatened to embarrass the university, and when people sought to obtain information that almost any other public institution would be required to release.

That instinct might have accelerated Spanier’s downfall. On Nov. 5, when Gary Schultz, a senior vice president, and Tim Curley, the athletic director, were charged with perjury, Spanier released a statement saying he had “complete confidence” in their handling of the accusations against Sandusky — a statement that incensed university trustees, according to people briefed on their deliberations.


Also today is a detailed report from the Journal’s Reed Albergotti, who describes how Joe Paterno often bitterly fought school officials over disciplinary issues facing his players. Time and time again, and with increasing frequency in later years, football players would be caught or accused of serious wrongdoing, only to have the coach attempt to prevent school officials from imposing the same discipline it would on ordinary students.

Paterno’s insistence and an ultimatum delivered to Spanier forced the school official responsible for student judicial affairs system to back off, and eventually resign over “philosophical differences.”

Taken together, these and other stories—such as those outlined in this piece by LivingCrimson—show that the school’s carefully crafted image as a model institution of compliance and success was a fraud. It’s this revelation that probably has so many college football fans reeling over the news of the last few weeks.

Until news of the Jerry Sandusky indictments on child sexual abuse charges, Penn State University and the Penn State Nittany Lions were universally revered as what was right and good about major college athletics. Penn State was held up by the school itself and many mainstream media figures as the kind of program all should strive to be.

But as more of these news stories peel back the layers, the more this case feels like learning that the parish convent was running a brothel.

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Auburn fans are not happy with their coach

What would Iron Bowl week be without a dig at our upcoming rival?

I had this image sent to me by a reader via email. The chart below shows the median points scored since current Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was the program's defensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville.

Chizik left the Tigers after their undefeated 2004 season to coordinate the Texas Longhorns' defense. In 2005, Texas went undefeated and won the national title. Things on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage weren't as peachy in the years immediately following Chizik's departure. But the wheels really came off when Chizk returned as the head coach and hired current defensive coordinator, Ted Roof.



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Bruce Feldman: Arizona close to landing Rich Rodriguez

Bruce Feldman on CBS is breaking the following story:

Published on Free Bruce : CBSSports.com Blogs | shared via feedly

Expect Rich Rodriguez to be named the new Arizona head coach in the next 48 hours, according to several sources.

The 48-year-old Rodriguez, who was fired after three seasons at Michigan, had spent the past season working as a college football analyst for CBS. At Michigan, he went 15-22. Before his turbulent stint in Ann Arbor, he coached his alma mater West Virginia to a 60-26 records in seven seasons. His final three seasons he led the Mountaineers to top 12 finishes and two BCS bowl games.

Rodriguez will take over an Arizona team that is 3-8. The school had fired Mike Stoops at midseason.

Let us all hope that radio talk show hosts in Arizona don't start bad mouthing the Missus. In 2007, similar media confirmations swept the college football world when it appeared Rodriguez was on his way to replacing Mike Shula as Alabama's head coach. But according to many reports, an afternoon of mocking Rodriguez, his wife and their representations in a family portrait on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network infuriated the Rodriguez family and 72 hours after verbally accepting the job in Tuscaloosa, RichRod backed out.

Alabama later hired Nick Saban. Rodriguez went on to three unfortunate years at Michigan.

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US Senate schedules first hearing in wake of Penn State scandal

The Associated Press is reporting that the US Senate has scheduled a congressional hearing in the wake of Penn State child sex abuse scandal:

 

WASHINGTON -- The Senate has scheduled the first congressional hearing in the wake of the Penn State child abuse scandal.

Three senators announced Monday that a Dec. 13 hearing will examine how well the nation is protecting children from abuse and neglect.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey requested the hearing by a panel of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski says she hopes it will shed light on prevention and deterrence of child sexual abuse.

 


Two things of note, here. The first is that the hearing called by the Senate isn't specific to the Penn State case. That is, it's not likely that the same details from the state grand jury indictment and ensuing media coverage will be trotted out all over again. At least not to the detail we've seen crawling over our screens during the weekend's sporting events.

The second is that while this hearing isn't directly connected to the Penn State case, the hearing will almost certainly include officials from the school. 

Last of all, the hearing comes just three days before Penn State is to deliver its answers to the questions posed by NCAA President Mark Emmert in a letter last week. That letter informed the school president that the league was launching its own investigation into potential abuses of NCAA principles covering ethics and institutional control. And, the FBI appears poised to make a federal criminal case out of the allegations surrounding child abuse and an alleged coverup at the school.

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No, you !@#$ idiot! I said paint new HASH MARKS!

In preparation for the annual Egg Bowl contest between rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the host team has decided to spice up the endzone a little bit.

What's interesting is that an awful lot of old timers aren't gonna get it.

They don't have that thar tweeter thang in Starkvegas.

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Urban Meyer publicly denies deal for Ohio State job

image Keep in mind that public denials of this nature mean absolutely nothing until Ohio State University (or any other big time program) makes its hire and holds the press conference.

But at least for now, former Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer is on the record denying that he has agreed to take over the Buckeyes.

Rumors flew last week that the deal was done and that Meyer had already visited Columbus and that there was already a contract in place.

Per GatorSports.com’s Pat Dooley—about as reliable of a reporter as you’ll find—Meyer says there is no deal in place because there’s been no offer made.


The former Florida head football coach told The Sun he never interviewed for the Arizona job and has not interviewed for the Ohio State job. And if the Ohio State job is offered, the same issues that caused him to step away from coaching this past year are still in play.

“The concerns are still there,” Meyer told The Sun. “No. 1 — my health. No. 2 — my family. No. 3 — the state of college football. I've done some research into the second one. I've found that it is possible to have balance between your job and your family, that there are coaches out there who are doing it.

“I'm in a good place right now mentally and physically. So if something happens with Ohio State, I'll have a decision to make. But there has been no interview. There has been no offer to make a decision about.”


ElevenWarriors.com—a prominent Buckeyes blog—posted last week that there was mutual interest between Meyer and Ohio State and that an agreement in principle had been worked out. EW also reported that the two parties were in agreement over waiting to hear the NCAA’s final verdict on the TattooGate scandal that cost former OSU coach Jim Tressel his job, and that Meyer had already made some decisions on staffing. To wit, Meyer was believed to be all but certain to take current LSU offensive coordinator with him. The two have coached together at Bowling Green.

Stay tuned—one way or another, Ohio State is almost certain to have a new coach at the Horseshoe and the deal will likely get done next month. Will it be Meyer?

It looks like remains to be seen. But keep in mind that if Ohio State decides to reach out to an existing head coach and Penn State goes shopping as well, the 2010-11 Coaching Carousel is set to spin like an Iranian Centrifuge.

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Skynet is running the BCS computers

By: @LivingCrimson

A look at the science fiction of the Big 12 strength of schedule in the BCS computers. It’s also “Hate Auburn” week in Alabama, one of fifty-two we enjoy each year, so forgive us if we go afield.

The latest BCS standings have been released and the SEC  West  muscled  to  the  top: #1 LSU, #2 Alabama, and #3 Arkansas. Entirely deserved considering the Tigers, the Tide and the Hogs are a combined 31-2 this season, with the only losses coming from within this group.

But look below the top three and something foul is afoot in the computers. Any person would reasonably conclude the Big 12 SOS is inflated after five defeats in seven attempts at the national title (unlike the SEC with a perfect seven wins in seven attempts). The current BCS says, “Not so fast, my friend.” The other conferences say, “Awww, Corso it.”

Only artificial intelligence bent on destroying all football humanity as we know it could continue to plague us with SO MUCH Big 12 in 2011 BCS rankings.

Ergo, Oklahoma State (10-1) is only ranked #6 by the humans but elevated to #2 by the HAL 9000’s. Ditto Oklahoma (8-2) tapped out at #10/#11, yet it’s #6 in the databases. Kansas State (9-2) is #15 with the Daves and all the way up at #5 with the Joshuas. Baylor (7-3) at #20 with the people is #13 with the machines. And last but never forgotten, Texas (6-4) wouldn’t even be ranked by animals, yet is #20 in the Matrix.

That’s a Big 12 boost in rank by an average SIX PLACES. All other conferences including the SEC are almost uniformly adjusted downward in the computers.

Oklahoma State has never played in a BCS bowl. Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma has been thumped three out of four times in the National Championship Game yet keeps “earning” the benefit of the doubt in the “algorithms”. And the BCS computers would have us believe one of these teams is worthy of advancing to the title game if two SEC teams at the top of the stack should fall before December 4th.

Looks like we’re dealing with the Mother of all binary b*tches.

 

Or it’s all Auburn’s fault, take your pick. It’s a proven misconception that any reek in college football can always be traced back to Auburn. Let’s turn our eyes to the manure meisters of the Plains, who just  happen  to  run Apple.  Which just happens to control computers.  Who just happen to dictate one-third of the official BCS polls. Coincidence? We think not. How else can 7-4 Auburn be ranked #24!

Bama updates on Twitter @LivingCrimson

Saturday, November 19, 2011

VIDEO: Lee Corso drops an “F-Bomb” on ESPN Gameday (updated with statement from Corso)

At the close of ESPN’s Gameday broadcast from Houston, Lee Corso makes the last pick of the day.

And proceeds to have a “vocabulary malfunction” by dropping an F-Bomb as he makes his pick.

Look at Kirk Herbstreit’s face as he realizes what Corso said (warning: Expletive not deleted):



Corso later issued a statement, offering his apologies:

“Earlier today on College Gameday, while picking the SMU Houston game, I got a bit excited and used an expletive that I shouldn't have used. I apologize and can promise it won't happen again.”

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Bama Loves ‘Em Some Iowa State

By: @LivingCrimson

Reese Strickland/Getty ImagesRoll, Cyclones, Roll!  Bama is back in the BCS picture.

Unranked Iowa State upset #2 Oklahoma State 37-31 in double overtime Friday night. The Clones showed up with some gutsy offensive playcalling, a defense that forced five turnovers, and a big storm of BCS chaos.

As Michael Casagrande reported, the Tide’s LT Barrett Jones tweeted “Absolute mayhem in Hotel Capstone. Everyone in the halls hugging each other. Now WE control our destiny!”

One UofA student tweeted “Heard all the people from the RV's in the parking lot cheering from 7 floors up in my room!! #IOWASTATE #ROLLTIDE”.

What does all this mean for Bama’s chances to make the BCS national championship game, or the SEC championship game for that matter?

Logically Alabama will move up to #2 and obviously must win its two remaining regular season games against Georgia Southern and #24 Auburn. Dominating those opponents and winning convincingly would be the best way for the Tide to maintain a #2 BCS rank. If Bama were to fall below second place, any chance for the BCS National Championship Game would be lost.

The last BCS rankings to determine the #1 and #2 teams will be released the Sunday after the SEC Championship Game. Which teams stand between the Crimson Tide and the crystal trophy?


LSU


#1 LSU and #11 Houston now stand as the lone undefeateds in the BCS Top 25. Conference USA Houston’s signature win is UCLA, so not much chance of advancement for the Cougars unless several teams ahead of them crash and burn over the next three weeks.

To finish out the regular season, LSU must face Ole Miss today and Arkansas next week. Les Miles has never had an undefeated season in his head coaching career and has lost two of his last three games versus Bobby Petrino’s Hogs. If LSU fell to Arkansas, the SEC West would have a three-way tie between Alabama, Arkansas and LSU. In that event, the SEC rules for divisional tie-breaker would determine the team to advance to the SEC Championship Game.

For Bama to be the SEC West team in Atlanta:

  1. LSU must fall below both Alabama and Arkansas in the BCS rankings;
  2. Alabama and Arkansas must stay within five rankings of each other for the head-to-head results to kick in;
  3. By virtue of Alabama’s win over Arkansas, the Tide would advance to the SEC title game.

If LSU beats Arkansas, then Bama’s route to New Orleans will depend on the rise and fall of several other teams.


Oklahoma


#5 Oklahoma and #4 Oregon are tied in the BCS computer rankings. The human polls moved Oregon ahead of Oklahoma in just the last week. However, Oklahoma faces three tough games to finish out the regular season (#22 Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State), which should restore Oklahoma’s lead over Oregon if the Sooners win out.

In fact, an Oklahoma win over Baylor and then Iowa State (which beat #2 Oklahoma State) will likely be enough to move the Sooners ahead of Alabama in the polls. A win over Oklahoma State would probably make the lead ironclad.

There is no longer a Big 12 conference championship game, but that fact should not affect the strength of schedule for the Sooners this year.

If LSU wins out the regular season and the SEC title game, my expectation would be to see Oklahoma in the BCS championship game.


Oregon


#4 Oregon faces two remaining regular season games, at home today against USC and next week against Oregon State. USC spoiled #4 Stanford’s chances at the BCS title game. An Oregon win over the Trojans will probably keep the Ducks ahead of Oklahoma in the polls for another week, but not be enough of a boon to keep Oregon ahead for the duration if Oklahoma wins its remaining games.

Chip Kelly has won both matches versus Oregon State in his tenure. The rivalry is intense though and the outcome is never certain. If Oregon loses to Oregon State, it would still advance to the Pac-12 championship game by virtue of its win over Stanford. However, if the Ducks lose to USC and Oregon State, then Stanford would advance to the Pac-12 game.

If Oregon wins out and advances to the Pac-12 conference game, it will face UCLA or Arizona State (or an outside chance of Utah) (USC the leader cannot advance due to NCAA sanctions). UCLA is currently in the catbird seat to advance, and there’s the rub. If UCLA defeats Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, then the Bruins defeat by Houston in the regular season comes into play in the BCS rankings. The BCS would probably move Houston up to Oregon’s spot in the top 5.


Clemson


#7 Clemson and #8 Virginia Tech are longshots to be considered for the BCS championship game. Clemson’s most likely opponent in the ACC conference championship game will be Virginia Tech. If Clemson beats North Carolina State today, #12 South Carolina next week and then Virginia Tech, the Tigers have the most opportunity to advance into the top 5 of the polls. If LSU wins out in the regular season and the SEC title game, AND Oklahoma and Oregon lose in a big way, Clemson potentially could advance over Alabama into the #2 spot if the human polls don’t want to see a Bama-LSU rematch.


Georgia


#14 Georgia has two regular season games left, at home today versus Kentucky and next week at Georgia Tech. Assuming a win over Kentucky, Georgia will represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game.

If Georgia beats LSU in Atlanta, it’s highly unlikely Alabama would have any chance to make the BCS title game unless the other one-loss contenders failed in key games before December 3rd. Too many questions about the Tide’s “quality” opponents would prevent the human polls from keeping Bama in the top 2.


Playoffs


The camp supporting a playoff system in college football would probably like to see an Alabama-LSU rematch to boost its argument against the BCS system. My co-blogger @GulfCoastTider has an excellent article about the 2013 demise of the current bowl structure.

Depending on the strength of this view, the human polls could conceivably keep Bama in the #2 spot in the rankings despite any outcomes in the other one-loss team games. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Tide boasts a Heisman contender in Trent Richardson and the best defense in college football in 25 years.

All of the above is conjecture and can change rapidly over the next three weeks. The Tide must continue to focus on the things it can control, win its games and let the season speak for itself. And continue to carry the torch for the little team that could, the Iowa State Cyclones.

More Bama updates on Twitter @LivingCrimson

NCAA abandons policy and precedent with letter to Penn State

image NCAA investigations into the actions of member schools have always followed the same path. But in an unprecedented scandal, league President Mark Emmert decided that unprecedented steps need to be taken.

Long-standing NCAA policy dictates the procedure. Credible allegations are received and reviewed. Information is collected. A Notice of Inquiry is transmitted from the VP of Enforcement to the school president. The NCAA staff conducts its investigation and if it finds violations of applicable by-laws, transmits a Notice of Allegations. The school appears before the Committee on Infractions and later hears what penance it must suffer as a result of its transgressions.

In the Penn State case, policy and procedure are gone. In his three-page letter to interim President Rodney Erickson, Emmert sternly warns the school that the league’s bedrock principles of ethical conduct, honesty, dignity are at stake as a result of potential inaction surrounding the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.

The Emmert letter is unprecedented on two different levels. First is the fact that the letter informing Penn State of the pending probe comes from the NCAA president himself. In the modern era of NCAA investigations, never before has the president of the league written such a missive as this.  The official communication from the NCAA notifying a member school of a pending investigation has always come from the Vice President for Enforcement, the office currently held by Julie Roe Lach.

Also unprecedented is the fact that the NCAA has publicized the letter and publicly announced that it plans to launch an investigation. Having the letter originate from the office of the President is a big deal. Publicizing the matter is even bigger. The NCAA has vigorously guarded information regarding even the existence of investigations, steadfastly refusing to even acknowledge investigations that everyone knows are in progress.

So why make this one public? Emmert has said in interviews that this matter is not a traditional “enforcement” investigation and that ordinary rules aren’t in play here. He’s said that since the league doesn’t plan to send investigators to campus to interview coaches, officials or players, the policy governing enforcement procedure don’t fit in this case. But Emmert nonetheless cited specific by-laws that may have been violated, and violations of those by-laws in previous cases have brought harsh sanctions at the end of enforcement investigations.

There’s no doubt that the Sandusky scandal at Penn State is the worst, most-sickening stain on college athletics. Nothing even comes close. In an unprecedented case, Emmert is taking unprecedented steps. Some may cynically call it a PR ploy; accusing the league of trying to show that it is out in front of the story. There might be a mote of truth to that, but it’s much more likely that Emmert is finally getting the NCAA to do the right thing in the right way. If that means abandoning policy and breaking precedent, then so be it, says he.

But beware the law of unintended consequences. Abandoning precedent invites charges of arbitrary and capricious action, and provide the only good reason for judicial intervention.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

NCAA opens investigation into Penn State, inquiries to address “institutional control.”

The most dreaded phrase in NCAA Enforcement lexicon: “lack of institutional control.”

Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert took the unprecedented step of personally authoring a letter to Penn State interim President Rodney Erickson, initiating an investigation by the league into the school’s handling of the ever deepening, ever widening Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.

Click here for the three page letter.

The scandal has claimed the jobs of the university president, a vice president, the athletics director and once iconic coach Joe Paterno.

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Documents show Texas and ESPN conspired, lobbied NCAA on Longhorn Network

RedMeat In the Dallas Morning-News, reporter Kate Hairopoulos reports on several newly obtained documents that shed light on Texas A&M’s growing discontent with Texas, the Longhorn Network and the Big 12’s reluctance to stand up to the Austin giant.

The DMN story is unfortunately behind the website’s paywall. But the documents themselves are not.

One of those documents provides compelling evidence that ESPN and Texas worked together and lobbied hard for the NCAA to provide a rules interpretation allowing the Longhorn Network to air high school games. One stunning revelation is that ESPN “threatened” Texas Tech.

Perhaps the most explosive allegation of all—ESPN was “pushing hard to help Texas recruit high school prospects.”

image

The document excerpted above is from an email from Texas A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne. It is not clear who the recipient of the email was. Byrne also expresses deep concern over ESPN’s financial relationship with the NCAA and a too-cozy relationship between Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds and NCAA top brass. In fact, Byrne even says Dodds himself touted the relationship to NCAA brass.

The NCAA eventually concluded that the Longhorn Network would not be permitted to show high school football games, concluding that it would have provided a competitive advantage for Texas.

However, if Byrne’s conclusions are correct—that ESPN and Texas worked together to help Texas recruit high school prospects and lobby the NCAA for a favorable ruling—the implications are explosive. It suggests collusion at the highest level of a major university and ESPN executives, and Byrne was rightly concerned that the weight being thrown around might unduly influence the NCAA.

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Behold: The end of the BCS era?

image5ESPN Senior Columnist Gene Wojciechowski has a report that, depending on your view of the Bowl Championship Series, either horrifies you or has you cackling in delight. The current BCS agreement and contracts with the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls all turn back into pumpkins and mice after the end of the 2013 season.

According to El Geno, at least one of the proposals being seriously considered is scrapping the multiple bowl agreement and having the BCS manage only the championship game, freeing the major bowls to develop whatever matchups they can bargain for at the end of each regular college football season.

Such a proposal—if accepted—would mean the end of highly profitable yet deeply controversial system in which conference champions automatically qualify for a berth in one of the largest bowls, with the two top-ranked team meeting in the BCS Championship Game.


According to sources with direct knowledge of meetings held in San Francisco earlier this week, the suggested change calls for the BCS to sever its direct ties with the so-called BCS bowls -- the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio -- and concentrate solely on arranging a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national championship matchup.

In addition, the BCS title game could potentially be bidded out to nontraditional sites, such as Jerry Jones' Cowboys Stadium.

The proposal also would eliminate automatic BCS bowl qualifying status currently given to the six major conferences. All conferences would be free to make their own deals with the 34 other existing bowls.

The reconfigured BCS would undergo significant change relative to its present revenue sharing system, too.

"There's a lot of stuff being thrown at the wall," said one official who attended the meetings. "I think the people in the room really want to get it right. They're tired of getting beat up. So you'll probably see us go slow on this one."

The most radical of those ideas is also the least complicated: the BCS would be responsible only for creating a national championship between the two top teams in the country.


”They’re tired of getting beat up.”

Last January, when asked about pressure being applied from non-automatic qualifying conferences and football programs, Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany had this to say:

“The only thing I would say, if you think [the the non-AQ conferences] can continue to pressure the system and we’ll just naturally provide more and more and more.  I don’t think that’s an assumption that our presidents, athletic directors, football coaches and commissioners necessarily agree with.”

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott echoed the sentiment. “The six (BCS) conferences have bent over backwards and tried to be politically correct to their own detriment, probably further than they had to, maybe should have.”

Although he no longer presides as commissioner, then Big 12 honcho Dan Beebe was even more direct, and probably speaks from the mindset that produced the ideas Wojciechowski is reporting on. “Don’t push it past this because if you push it past this, the Big 12′s position is we’ll just go back to the old (bowl) system. You’re getting the ability to get to places you’ve never to gotten before. We’ve Jerry-rigged the free market system to the benefit of those institutions and a lot are institutions that don’t even fill their stadiums.” The “this” Beebe was referring to was the expansion of the system in 2004, which created the BCS Championship Game and opened the door to the BCS for more non-AQ schools to berths in bowl games built by traditional AQ conference tie-ins.

Judging from the mood of the conferences and the school administrations their officials represent, the BCS powers that be have grown weary of responding to calls for greater non-AQ access, only to be met with threats of anti-trust litigation, a full-scale media assault from BCS Anarchists and political action committees led by playoff zealots. Wojciechowski also reports that a number of ideas are being floated, including a pure playoff model and the plus-one model favored by the SEC and ACC.

But if you think the FBS presidents and chancellors are interested in creating the playoff zealots’ nirvana of a multi-round college championship tournament, you haven’t been paying attention. The CEO’s of the major universities want absolutely no part of an NCAA-run football playoff that provides automatic berths to Conference USA, Western Athletic Conference and the other current non-AQ leagues. And the BCS appears to be in no mood to continue having one (or more) of the big bowls hosting awful matchups like Oklahoma vs. UConn or Georgia vs. Hawai’i.

So the BCS may be on the verge of throwing up its hands, taking the least complicated route described in Wojciechowski’s story, and saying to hell with the rest of it. Which of course, means the end of having a WAC, C-USA or Mountain West team in a marquee bowl.

Sounds a lot like what we had in 1991, doesn’t it?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rose Bowl would accept Penn St. if bid earned

Published on ESPN.com - College Football | shared via feedly

The chief administrative officer of the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio says if Penn State wins the Big Ten title, the Nittany Lions will be "embraced" by the bowl.

For Mizzou Coach Gary Pinkel, a two-game suspension seems right

image No jokes about the SEC from this space.

Overnight, Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel was arrested under suspicion for impaired driving by Boone County law enforcement. He was booked and made the $500 bail.

Earlier today, both he and athletics director Mike Alden released statements regarding the incident. 

Pinkel:

"Last night after practice, I met some friends for dinner. After dinner, I was stopped by a Boone County officer and received a citation for impaired driving. First and foremost, I am very disappointed in myself for my lack of judgment in this instance. Nobody should drink and drive, including me. My staff and I constantly reinforce with each of our players the importance of not putting yourself into a position such as this. I did not follow that here and for that, I sincerely apologize to the University of Missouri, to our administration, to the Board of Curators and to our fans. I have already met with our staff and communicated with our players and have apologized to them. I accept full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate."

Alden’s statement was terse:

"We are extremely disappointed in Gary’s lack of judgment," Alden said in his statement. "He is known as a man of great character and integrity. However, this absolutely goes against everything we stand for, and everything that he teaches his players in regards to our social responsibilities. We hold ourselves to very high standards, and this is a very serious breach of those responsibilities. We are gathering facts and will take action appropriately, and when those actions are determined, we will communicate them publicly."

In August of 2010, Pinkel suspended two players on his team for the first two games of the season following their arrests for DUI. Having Pinkel miss the Tigers’ last two games of the 2011 season would be appropriate and consistent with punishment he has meted out in the past.

To those clamoring for his dismissal—just stop. Pinkel’s reputation as a man of good character and the goodwill he’s established throughout the coaching profession is more than enough of a mitigating circumstance. The timing of this incident is truly unfortunate, and Alden may decide that a simple suspension in this toxic environment doesn’t go far enough. Pinkel is a good man who made a one-time mistake in judgment. Let he who is without sin, y’all…

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Kentucky fan site reveals access to NCAA documents

image A user at Cat’s Illustrated—the Kentucky Wildcats’ Rivals.com fan site—discovered a link to the one of the NCAA’s Microsoft Sharepoint servers. You can visit that server (at least for now) by clicking here and browsing all sorts of information.

There are some interesting documents, including audited financial statements going back several years, President Mark Emmert’s resume’ and several hundred other miscellaneous files. A quick perusal of the documents don’t show anything sensitive or damaging, but having college athletics’ largest governing organization allowing public (even read only) access to its Sharepoint library is interesting, to say the least.

Via his Twitter account, NCAA Managing Director of Digital Communications Ronnie Ramos rather testily objected to suggestions that the NCAA financial records weren’t previously public knowledge. Indeed, the audited financials have been available for each of the years shown on the server.

It’s access to all the other stuff—like meeting agendas, meeting minutes, spreadsheets and such—seems highly irregular and just begging for a Wikileaks panty raid.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ex Fiesta Bowl Executive Indicted

PHOENIX -- The former chief operating officer of the Fiesta Bowl has been indicted on charges of filing false income tax returns for the bowl game, the first charges against a former official of one of the top national college football bowls and Bowl Championship Series member since a scathing report led to the firing of its president in March.


Natalie Wisneski, 47, also faces federal campaign finance and conspiracy charges over allegations she solicited campaign contributions from bowl employees for federal, state and local political candidates and arranged for the bowl to repay them. The U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix announced the indictment Wednesday.


Wisneski resigned from her job in March, shortly after bowl president and chief executive officer John Junker was fired after the apparent campaign-donation scheme was made public.

Associated Press via ESPN.com

Reports: Police have no record of McQueary's account

A central Pennsylvania police chief says his department did not receive a report from then-Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary related to an allegation of child sexual abuse against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

McQueary, now the Penn State wide receivers coach who was placed on administrative leave Friday, had told a friend in an email that in 2002 he stopped the alleged rape of a boy he thought to be about 10 years old and discussed the matter with police.

But State College police chief Tom King said Wednesday McQueary didn't make a report to his department.

"He didn't come to State College police. The crime happened on campus and we don't have jurisdiction on campus," King said. "We've had no reports (of Sandusky sexually abusing someone) from anybody."

Associated Press, via ESPN.com

Alleged Sandusky victim's lawyer calls former coach "coward," vows testimony

Via The Quad at the New York Times:

Ben Andreozzi, a Pennsylvania lawyer representing one of eight alleged victims in the Penn State sexual child abuse case, called Jerry Sandusky a "coward" on Wednesday and said that Sandusky's recent comments on television had emboldened his client to pursue sexual assault charges against Sandusky.

"Mr. Sandusky suggested in some of his comments about the victims that maybe people were backing off," Andreozzi said in a telephone interview from his office in Harrisburg, Pa. "My client heard that and has dug in his heels. He is feeling more comfortable about going through with this. The comments maybe backfired. They have caused victims to be more motivated to testify against him."

Andreozzi said his client, now in his 20s, met Sandusky through Sandusky's charity, the Second Mile. He said he had been around Sandusky for several years and was assaulted multiple times. Andreozzi has also advised other alleged victims in the case and said he was meeting with another potential victim this week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Proposed NCAA legislation won’t completely close the Cam Newton Loophole

image The NCAA has released the package of legislation proposed for consideration at the January and April 2012 NCAA Division I Legislative Council and NCAA Division I Board of Directors meetings. If you’re up for it, you can read each proposal here.

The proposed legislation includes amendments to or creation of by-laws governing organization and governance, personnel definitions, amateurism rules, recruiting rules, eligibility matters, financial aid, awards, benefits and expenses, playing and practice seasons, various NCAA committees and regulations governing executives.

Also included in the proposed changes is Proposal No. 2011-23, AMATEURISM – DEFINITIONS AND APPLICATIONS – AGENT. From the proposal text itself:


Intent: To specify that an agent is any individual who, directly or indirectly, represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain, or seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete's enrollment at an educational institution or from a student-athlete's potential earnings as a professional athlete.

Bylaws: Amend 12.02, as follows:
12.02 DEFINITIONS AND APPLICATIONS
12.02.1 Agent
. An agent is any individual who, directly or indirectly:
(a) Represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or
(b) Seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete's enrollment at an educational institution or from a student-athlete's potential earnings as a professional athlete.
12.02.1.1 Application. An agent may include, but is not limited to, a certified contract advisor, financial advisor, marketing representative, brand manager or anyone who is employed or associated with such persons.

Rationale: As the salaries of professional athletes have risen, age restrictions to participate in professional sports leagues have changed and the notoriety of elite student-athletes has increased with scouting and media exposure, the interest of outside third parties in elite athletes is now greater than ever. As a result, an industry of individuals has been created, including runners, financial advisors, marketing representatives, business managers, brand managers and street agents who seek to broker elite athletes for financial gain. Although governing bodies have attempted to impose regulations on these individuals and their activities, the competitive nature of the industry has resulted in many finding ways to circumvent the rules. One constant is the use of outside third parties. These third parties typically operate free of any governing body's jurisdiction. In order to regulate the interaction of these individuals with prospective student-athletes and student-athletes, the definition of an agent must be broadened. This proposal is not intended to include parents or legal guardians, athletics department staff members, former teammates or those individuals who have the best interest of a prospective student-athlete or student-athlete in mind in providing assistance or information, provided they do not intend to receive a financial gain for their assistance. [emphasis added]


This is an expansive proposal, as it is also targeted at the rampant abuse found in college basketball recruiting. But in my view, it only represents one step in the right direction. On the positive side, it identifies the people and defines the activities that need to be prohibited. From the rationale accompanying the proposed amendment, explaining that it would include family members seeking financial gain lassos parents with their hands out.

But on the negative side, it doesn’t go far enough in defining what penalties should apply or how certain circumstances might affect a student-athlete’s eligibility. While the proposed legislation would close the loophole used by Auburn to argue for—and get—Cam Newton’s eligibility restored, it doesn’t address the specifics in the case.

As we all know, Cecil Newton admitted that he participated in a scheme to solicit payment in return for his son’s services. The new legislation would have defined the elder Newton as an agent. But there was never any proof that Cam knew of his father’s scheme, allowing him to escape any impact on his eligibility. The proposed legislation doesn’t address this.

The legislation also fails to address another specific in the Newton case—while the elder Newton copped to shopping Cam to Mississippi State, there was also a lack of evidence showing that he was also shopping at Auburn.

Functionally, if the proposed legislation passes as written, all it does is provide a means for identifying the next Cecil Newton as an agent. What it doesn’t do is establish whether the student-athlete’s eligibility is affected, what penalties should apply, whether the student-athlete’s awareness of having an agent comes into play or whether school where the student-athlete finally lands should suffer any consequences.

While the proposal is a good first step and should be adopted, it should have been much more specific. As a result, the Cam Newton Loophole will be only partially closed.

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What happens to the Auburn offense when Gus Malzahn moves on?

image Scroll down for an update.

It might happen in January 2012. It might happen in January 2013, but sooner or later it’s going to happen—Auburn Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn will become a head coach at a major Football Bowl Subdivision school.

Last year, Auburn made Malzahn one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the country by upping his salary to $1.3 million. Malzahn was said to be the leading candidate in a number of jobs that opened in the offseason, including Vanderbilt. Vandy reportedly had a $3 million offer on the table but Malzahn chose to stay put.

Several very lucrative jobs will be open following the 2011 season. These include Arizona, North Carolina and likely UCLA. Penn State and Ohio State will also be open and those two programs will likely go after bigger names who are already head coaches, opening up two more potentially nice gigs (forget about Ole Miss and Tulane—Gus is too smart to take dead end roads).

Auburn’s dilemma is this—do they find another spread offense guru to come in and continue Malzahn’s wide open attack, or do they look for a more traditional pro set coach? Asking the question another way—why would a successful offensive guru take the Auburn offensive coordinator position? If he’s got the coaching chops, why not try to make the leap to a head coaching gig of your own?

Auburn’s offensive recruiting has targeted athletes geared towards running Malzahn’s offense. Kiehl Frazier is not a pocket passing, game managing quarterback. He’s a zone read guy, through and through. The offensive line is recruited and coached to play Malzahn’s zone read attack. They’re not road graders built or developed to pave the way for a 230 lb bowling ball like Trent Richardson, Knile Davis or Marcus Lattimore. Mike Dyer is a talented tailback, but he’s not built for a ground and pound play action attack. That’s just not what the Auburn offense does.

I’m not sure that Auburn can find and hire a guy with Malzahn’s uncanny ability to design and call plays that surprise and frustrate defenses the way his does. Auburn’s had some problems moving the ball and scoring this year, but little to none of the blame for that falls on offensive strategy or in-game tactics. They have six wins and are bowl eligible because of Malzahn’s coaching, not in spite of it. The program is rebuilding from last year’s senior and talent laden National Championship team and suffering the effects of two bad recruiting years in 2007 and 2008. The 2009 and 2010 recruiting classes were outstanding and the team has plenty of talent—it’s just still very young.

It’s also geared towards running Malzahn’s offense, and I don’t know of any other Gus Malzahn’s out there. I’m sure Auburn can attract a quality replacement for Gus. There’s too much money available to not attract a very good candidate.

Is Auburn prepared to deal with a 2012 retooling season as the players adjust to a completely new system? Is Auburn prepared to deal with that knowing that including 2011, the last three years have been Auburn’s worst in a generation for points allowed by the defense? That likely means subpar offensive production again in 2012 combined with a defense that gives up points like fat guys give up diet bars. Auburn likely finishes 7-5 this season. That would be a hard feat to repeat in 2012 with no Gus and Ted Roof’s leaky defense.

If Gus Malzahn stays at Auburn, none of these painful questions have to be answered. At least not until next year, when a whole new round of lucrative coaching jobs open up. But sooner or later, it’s going to happen and Auburn will have a dilemma on its hands.

Driving the Narrative Update: A mere couple of hours after this entry was posted, Auburn Coach Gene Chizik was asked about the subject of replacing Malzahn. And, in today’s print editions of the state’s three major daily newspapers, you’ll find this story on a highly regarded Malzahn protégé. Interesting timing, huh?

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