I don’t know if Chip Towers is trying to impress us with his ability to count, is simply doing the usual AJ-C blog fishing expedition or honestly believes this is all the same deal:
Maybe Lane Kiffin isn’t such a renegade after all. Or perhaps Mark Richt is.
They have, after all, committed the same number of NCAA violations in the last year…
The Bulldogs’ were as follows (by date reported by UGA):
- Jan. 9: Matthew Stafford and three teammates received complimentary tickets to an NFL game from an NFL player, a Level I violation.
- Jan. 21: Assistant coaches Mike Bobo and John Jancek left messages for the same prospect on consecutive days (can call just once a week), a Level II violation.
- March 17: New England Patriots tight end and UGA alum Ben Watson (deemed representative of athletics interest) telephoned signee Arthur Lynch to congratulate him on signing with the Bulldogs, a Level I violation.
- July 13: Coaching staff members “inadvertently” called prospective student-athletes (PSAs) before the permissible period and twice called the same PSA in the same week, a Level I violation.
- August 5: A recruiting graduate assistant telephoned high school coaches regarding transcripts, a Level I violation.
- Nov. 17: A coaching staff member evaluated a PSA more than once during the fall evaluation period (level undetermined as incident is still being evaluated by NCAA regulators).
Tennessee’s violations in general involved Kiffin more directly but also are considered secondary:
- In February he mentioned prospect Bryce Brown by name in a live radio interview.
- He mentioned prospect J.C. Copeland on his Twitter page.
- Twice the Vols were cited for impermissible game-day simulations.
- Kiffin was videotaped on an “Outside the Lines” piece while meeting with two recruits.
- Insofar as I can find the last violation is Kiffin calling the South Carolina signee/prospect at the center of his alleged “pumping gas” remarks to ask the player if he’d actually said those things.
Now maybe Towers’ point with this information is that people shouldn’t be merely focusing on the number of violations themselves as the key to judging Kiffin’s transgressions. And if that’s the case, that’s actually a very good argument. But I get the impression that it’s more of a false equivalence he’s demonstrating here, based on this:
Tennessee’s brash young football coach has been hammered by the national media — and more than once in this space — for his penchant for breaking NCAA rules. The Volunteers have been cited for six secondary violations in the year since he was tabbed their new coach on Dec. 1, 2008. Now they face at least two more violations as the NCAA continues an ongoing inquiry into the possible misuse of recruiting hostesses, impermissible visits and other infractions.
Those numbers sound roguish, but they can’t really be placed into context without some perspective.
And the context for Towers is that Georgia has been hit with as many secondary violations in 2009 as Tennessee has, and that six isn’t a particularly unusual number in a given year. There are problems with that logic, though. First of all, look at the violations he lists. How many times do you see Mark Richt’s name there? And how many more times do you see Kiffin’s? Beyond that, how often have we heard Mark Richt challenge other coaches’ recruiting practices, or conference enforcement of the rules as we’ve frequently heard from his UT counterpart?
The issue isn’t that Tennessee or Georgia is a rogue program. The data he shows us doesn’t prove that one way or the other. But it does show that in one case you’ve got a coach who doesn’t have a problem showing his arse to his peers or to the people responsible for enforcing the rules. That he’s ruffled enough feathers along the way to get the benefit of the doubt no longer shouldn’t come as a surprise to Towers or anyone else. The bed is made, and now Junior and his school get to lay in its orange-colored sheets.