Thursday, January 3, 2013

Morning Six Pack: January 3, 2013

Thirsty Thursday always starts better with six college football stories from around the country.

O-Lines Paving Way to BCS Championship Game

Offensive linemen are usually the unsung heroes, the guys who only get talked about when they screw up.

Two Gators officially declare for the NFL draft

Florida’s struggles to stop Louisville’s offense and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater Wednesday night’s Sugar Bowl have already been documented. Now, the Gators have lost two of their best defenders.

If Kelly leaves for the NFL, what's next for Oregon?

The Ducks could look to Helfrich, but they will likely reach out to Petersen.

Notre Dame game personal for Tide fans

Before the 2011 Alabama-LSU game in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide's most anticipated regular-season game in my memory was in 1980 against Notre Dame in Birmingham.

Notre Dame's Bob Diaco means business

Bob Diaco's vision manifests itself in surprising ways, but the results are unassailable.


But determining the punishment for covering up an actual crime — for what a few men in high places at Penn State did, instead of what they should have done — is still a matter for the courts, not the NCAA. That's where the damages will be decided going forward, and where they had been until the NCAA took a whack. The lawsuit doesn't just guess at why the NCAA and President Mark Emmert overstepped the boundary line; it conveniently summarizes their "real motives" on page 4: "the opportunity to gain leverage in the court of public opinion, boost the reputation and power of the NCAA's president, enhance the competitive position of certain NCAA members, and weaken a fellow competitor."

Tough as any of those claims are to prove, the commonwealth's lawyers are on the right track. Most of Emmert's previous stabs at reforming the problems he can do something about — Google "Ohio State and coach Jim Tressel" or "Auburn and quarterback Cam Newton" or "Miami and agent Nevin Shapiro" — have been roundly panned. Maybe, like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the "Bountygate" mess, he couldn't resist a slam-dunk opportunity to look strong. And maybe a few others on the executive committee that rubber-stamped those unprecedented penalties didn't mind seeing Penn State being humbled and weakened. Added up, that looks plausibly enough like a rush to judgment.

One thing is certain. The claim at the center of the lawsuit — that the sanctions add up to a violation of antitrust law — has merit, according to one legal expert contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday. Besides, the NCAA's record in the courts isn't as good as you might expect for an organization that can wrap itself in the cloak of protecting "student-athletes' and issues rulings like they were thunderbolts from on high. So it's worth remembering: Even Jerry Tarkanian, the one-time UNLV coach and full-time outlaw, posted a 1-1 career record in court fights with the NCAA.

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