Daily Archives: December 29, 2010

Mark Emmert doesn’t think we can handle the truth.

One thing’s becoming pretty clear.  Mark Emmert is a thin-skinned dude.

Several media and others recently concluded that very different situations involving student-athlete eligibility should be considered independent of their unique circumstances or interpreted with a “one size fits all” approach.

In particular, they are comparing recent decisions involving The Ohio State University and Auburn University (and others). Some have even suggested the NCAA plays favorites in these types of situations based in part or in whole on financial considerations.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

There’s an “Again, this strays from the truth”, an “another myth with no basis in fact” and an “Any insinuation… is absurd” tossed in for good measure, in case you’re wondering how big a hissy fit Emmert is having over this.

If I can pick at just one bone in the pronouncement though, how do we reconcile this…

In relation to the decision last week involving rules violations with football student-athletes at Ohio State, several current student-athletes were interviewed as part of our fact-gathering process. They indicated they were not aware there was a violation and learned of the issue based on later rules education, which was confirmed by OSU through interviews and supporting documentation.

Inadequate rules education is often cited in student-athlete reinstatement and other waiver cases…

with this statement from a former teammate of the suspended Ohio State players?

… Also in question is Smith’s comments the suspended players “didn’t know” they weren’t allowed to sell their Ohio State-issued items.

One former Buckeye, Euclid graduate Thaddeus Gibson, is questioning Smith’s statements. Gibson was signed by the 49ers this season after being cut by the Steelers, the team that drafted him in last April’s NFL draft.

Gibson told The Lantern, OSU’s student newspaper, last weekend he and the team were told often not to sell their personal items.

“Oh yeah, they (Smith and the coaches) talked about it a lot,” Gibson said.

That’s a pretty big contradiction there.  Either the NCAA’s fact-gathering process could stand a little polishing or the decision makers who based their ruling on that process could.  “Nothing could be farther from the truth” doesn’t really cut it as a definitive report.  As a fan of one of those “and others” institutions that took it on the chin from the NCAA earlier this year, I’d sure like to hear a specific explanation about how A.J. Green’s situation differed from Terrelle Pryor’s.

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UPDATE: Or, to put it another way

I also wonder what Georgia and its star receiver, A.J. Green, must be thinking right now.

If there is indeed such a thing as selective suspensions, which obviously there is, why was Green not allowed to play in some of those tougher SEC games to begin the season against South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State and then sit out that stretch that included Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky?

He sold one of his game jerseys and was saddled with a four-game suspension that began immediately.

More and more, it’s starting to sound like the way to go for players is to plead ignorance, that they didn’t know a certain rule was in place or that they didn’t know a family member was shopping them to a school.

This latest ruling with the Ohio State players sets another dangerous precedent.

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UPDATE #2: Seth Emerson asks a question that’s been on my mind.

… If the jersey-selling incident were only coming up now, and Green (having played all season) was on the verge of winning the Heisman, and Georgia was in a BCS game, would the NCAA have still doled out a four-game suspension, starting immediately?

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25 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

To have and have not

Pretty stark contrast here:

The profit for the 68 teams that play in the six major conferences was up 11% from the prior school year, according to a CNNMoney analysis of figures filed by each school with the Department of Education.

In the school year that ended in 2010, the vast majority of the schools in one of these deep-pocketed conferences posted a profit. Four of them broke even and only one — Wake Forest — reported a loss.

On average, each team earned $15.8 million last year, or well over $1 million per game…

… Bowl-eligible schools in the smaller conferences weren’t nearly as profitable. Fifty-three schools split profits of $26 million. Eight lost money.

Or as a specific example,

Texas Christian University and Boise State were the two small conference teams that met in the big-bucks Fiesta Bowl last year. But TCU’s $20 million in revenue, while the most among the small conference schools, would have put it 47th among the big-dollar conference schools. And that $20 million in revenue was only enough to allow the TCU program to break even.

This is why adopting a plus-one playoff format isn’t going to matter to people like Orrin Hatch as much as it might for you or me.  Our definition of fairness in this isn’t the same.

And to get some idea of where Hatch’s priorities might lead, click on the link at the bottom of the linked article that takes you to college basketball revenues.  As you go down the list there, note how much money Louisville’s program, which is the most profitable one in the country, earned and compare that number to the top five in football.

1 Comment

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Bobo on Murray’s room for improvement

Mike Bobo has an interesting observation about his starting quarterback:

… Murray also can become more consistent, said Bobo, who noted a curiosity about the quarterback’s season: He has tended to play better in the second and third quarters of games than in the first and fourth periods.

“I think in the first quarter he gets hyped,” Bobo said. “His mechanics get a little off; he gets juiced on his throws.” As for fourth-quarter slippage, that has been a team-wide problem that will be a focus of off-season attention.

That got me curious.  So I took a look at the tale of the tape, via the always invaluable cfbstats.com.  This is the breakdown of Murray’s passer rating by quarter:

  1. 159.00
  2. 160.56
  3. 181.58
  4. 156.21

It seems that Bobo is on to something here.  Murray’s completion percentage is lowest in the fourth quarter – how much of that is due to the problem Bobo alludes to and how much of that is due to game conditions is hard to say.  (Although, note that when you look at his performance based on the game score, he was at his worst this season when games were tied.)

By the way, I continue to be impressed with Murray’s drive to improve.  It’s one thing that gives me hope that there will be some offset to the inevitable drop off resulting from A.J.’s departure next season.  Now if the coaches could find some way to bottle it and give it out to other players on the team…

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Points program

Here’s a nice tidbit from Gentry Estes’ piece examining Georgia’s academic policy which Caleb King ran afoul of:

… Alabama’s written policy uses positive and negative points, with one point issued for “A missed class, tutorial appointment, mentor appointment, counselor appointment or study hall obligation,” and suspension being automatic when the total reaches 10.

UA also gives itself the flexibility to award positive points for, “Demonstrating special effort in the classroom, putting forth extra effort in study hall or by meeting proactively with faculty members.”

Does “demonstrating special effort in the classroom” mean something more than showing up?  Beats me.  You also kinda have to wonder how much input a certain head coach has into the points awarded process.

At LSU, they don’t bother with any pesky window dressing.

… Some are perhaps even less stringent. Asked for its class attendance policy, an LSU official responded, “We wish to advise that the LSU Athletic Department does not have a written student-athlete class attendance policy but does monitor class attendance.”

Before some of you get riled up and start in the comments section with talk about how Georgia shouldn’t put itself at a disadvantage with its rivals over something like this, let Mark Richt shame you back to reality.

“I just think it’s another way to tell our players, tell the players’ families, tell our recruits that we’re serious about academics,” Richt said. “We have a plan for them, and if they follow it, then they’ll be fine. If they don’t, they’ll have to suffer the consequences for it.”

It ain’t, pardon the expression, exactly rocket science we’re talking about here.  Maybe when Mike Slive gets done making sure that no kid tied to NCAA violations gets left behind playing in a BCS game, he can turn his attention to leveling the academic playing field in his conference a wee bit.

6 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football

Even in a spread era, it’s still the tight end, stupid.

Absolutely fascinating post over at Smart Football about the chess match going on between offensive coordinators successfully deploying spread offenses, defensive coordinators and their moves to get more speed on the field to counter spread attacks and offensive coordinators’ counters to those counters that’s well worth your time to read.

For example, take a look at this.

… Even if you don’t have a tight end in the program, start to develop one.  Over 80 percent of coaches polled by X&O Labs attack odd defenses by using various tight end formations. Whether by using 11 personnel (one tight end, one back), 12 personnel (two tight ends, one backs), or 21 personnel (one tight end, two backs), the tight end is pivotal in the run game.

We’ve all seen how productive spread offenses like Oregon, Boise State and Florida have been within the last three years.  What separates those teams from traditional spread teams is the implementation and execution of the tight end on normal downs.  According to our research, using a tight end in spread personnel accounts for two valuable advantages:

1.      It changes the structure of the defense: No longer can that safety/linebacker play in space, which is exactly what he wants to do.  Now he’s forced to cover down on a bigger, stronger opponent giving you leverage to get to the alley.

2.      It provides for an instant mismatch in the run game: Many of these hybrids don’t like to get their hands dirty.  These types, who usually weigh in the 180-210 pound range, are forced to balance up and fit in the framework against bigger tight ends.

It’s definitely food for thought for those of us who believe that programs like Georgia’s which continue to run pro-style offenses have an advantage recruiting that position over spread teams.  And that pro-style offenses offer the best way to attack three-down linemen defensive schemes with power running games.

5 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

The most honest man in college athletics…

may be Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, who, after successfully lobbying Ohio State officials and Jim Delany to avoid suspending any Ohio State players for his game, offered these words of consolation (h/t Coaches Hot Seat Blog) to Buckeye fans who felt those players should not suit up for his bowl game:

“I appreciate and fully understand the Midwestern values and ethics behind that,” he said. “But I’m probably thinking of this from a selfish perspective.”

I like this comment:

Hoolahan said the Southeastern Conference, which has its tie-in with the Sugar Bowl, was eager to “display its wares against this type of opponent,” referring to an intact OSU squad.

Damn, that Mike Slive sure knows how to work both sides of the street, doesn’t he?

I can’t wait to hear Mark Emmert’s spin on that whole “display its wares” thing.  It’ll probably have something to do with not knowing.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, The NCAA