Daily Archives: May 30, 2013

A Catholic, a Southerner and a douchebag in a bow tie walk into a bar…

In this PC age, how Gordon Gee still heads a major state university is a mystery to me.


Filed under Big Ten Football

“You can’t regulate integrity.”

Word comes from Greg McGarity that the SEC is considering the possibility of the conference implementing a conference-wide substance-abuse policy, with a possible vote by its presidents tomorrow.  While the author of the piece thinks the devil’s in the details (“How frequent are the tests? What exactly constitutes a positive test? Would the SEC hire an outside company to conduct the tests or leave it up to the individual schools? Would all the testing methods be identical or just the penalties?”), I’m gonna put my money down on our old friend competitive advantage as the real sticking point.

Based on the substance-abuse policies obtained by ESPN from the schools’ official websites or through public records requests, a student-athlete at Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and LSU is dismissed after a fourth positive test, while the remaining 10 SEC schools dismiss a student-athlete after only a third positive test…

… Some SEC athletic directors and coaches, who didn’t want to be quoted, think that certain schools have “competitive advantages” based on how frequently — or infrequently — they test or how many games student-athletes miss for positive tests.

For example, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State require student-athletes to miss 10 percent of their regular-season contests after a first positive test, while the remaining 11 SEC schools don’t suspend a student-athlete for a first offense.

Punishment for a second positive test also varies greatly among league members. At Missouri, a second positive test results in only a seven-day suspension, compared to Auburn and Kentucky (suspended for 50 percent of the season) or Vanderbilt (a one-year suspension).

McGarity and Adams are the ones pushing this hard, according to the article, so you can bet this isn’t about relaxing Georgia’s drug standards to level the playing field.  So let’s just say that when I hear Les Miles play the fairness card in this area, maybe I’ll start to believe the conference is having a Come to Jesus moment on the subject.  In the meantime, it’s every school’s integrity for itself.



Filed under SEC Football

SEC schedule concerns, clear as mud

Again, given the variety of agendas on display, it’s no surprise that the SEC is sticking with the eight-game conference schedule for now.  But in the same breath, most folks sound like Will Muschamp.

“Personally, I think we’ll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “My personal opinion (is) you create an SEC Network, at the end of the day, it’s going to be driven by the dollar, and having those games is going to be important, and having enough quality games on television promoting a nine-game SEC regular season, in my opinion, will eventually happen.”

In the meantime, the official position of the conference is incoherent.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said it’s doubtful the 2014 schedule will be finalized this week at the league’s spring meetings. He’s declined to weigh in on whether he’s in favor of going to nine conference games. But he didn’t hold back on the importance of SEC schools upgrading their nonconference schedules.

“I don’t want us playing four games that mean less,” Slive said. “I made that very clear.”

In other words, coaches don’t want the added burden of another conference game on the schedule, ADs don’t want to lose a seventh home game, but the commissioner expects his  member schools to upgrade their non-conference schedules by adding another tough game that would most likely be negotiated on a home and home basis.  If there’s a logic to this, it escapes me.


Filed under SEC Football


Just shoot me now:

Justin Connolly, the ESPN senior vice president who will take the phone calls from screaming coaches or athletic directors every time some caller to Paul Finebaum’s radio show makes mention of a “bagman,” seemed perfectly at ease Wednesday with his decision to unleash Finebaum and his pigskin-loving version of Howard Stern’s Wack Pack on the SEC’s branded network. The choice, which proves once again that ESPN understands better than its competitors that people love college football and love to argue about college football, also proves something else.

This conference network will look nothing like the Big Ten Network or the Pac-12 Networks. “At the end of the day, we want to differentiate the network,” Connolly said. “We don’t want to just fill our days with re-airs of live-event content. What Paul does is bring some appointment television and some wow factor.”

What’s the old expression – lie down with pigs, get up smelling like garbage?  Only I don’t know if that pertains to the SEC, or those of us stuck paying the cable subscription fees supporting that nonsense.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

Calling ’em like they see ’em.

The SEC wants you to know it’s serious, by damn, about the new targeting rules.  No, really, Mike Slive means it.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the idea of creating a new rule has been on his mind for some time now. Last year, he suspended two players for controversial above-the-shoulder hits. Controversy also swirled around Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial’s nasty hit on a defenseless Aaron Murray in last year’s SEC championship game. The hit appeared to be helmet-to-helmet, but no flag was thrown and Dial wasn’t suspended for the BCS title game.

No doubt you were as shocked about that at the time as I was.

Slive applied the rule arbitrarily last season, so you’ll have to pardon me if I’ll wait to see if he’s got religion this year.


Filed under SEC Football

“This is what’s wrong with recruiting.”

This is one of the funnier things I’ve read lately.  For once, Mark Emmert has a good idea – deregulation of some of the NCAA’s byzantine recruiting rules – and actually follows proper procedure in implementing proposed changes, allowing the membership the opportunity to give feedback about the new rules.  So what happens?  The rules come out and the Big Ten freaks out.

As part of its deregulating agenda, the NCAA announced 25 recruiting revisions in January. Three proposals, which eventually were tabled and  suspended, would have granted programs unlimited contact — including through text messaging — with athletes before their junior seasons. Another would have allowed programs to hire non-coach personnel directors for recruiting and a third would have eliminated restrictions on sending printed recruiting materials to recruits.

Less than a week after national signing day, the league’s football coaches and athletics directors issued a statement admitting there are “serious concerns” about the three rule changes and how they would impact the sport and the schools. The statement also questioned if the changes “are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches.”

Several Big Ten coaches voiced their concerns publicly to the changes, including Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who said college athletics could become like Major League Baseball where the New York Yankees “start in the inside lane every year. They’ve got the biggest payroll.”

Other Big Ten coaches shared similar concerns. In mid-February, Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer sent a text message to Northwestern counterpart Pat Fitzgerald, writing “that there are already teams that have made plans to have separate scouting depts. [sic]. there has already been nfl scouts that have been told they will be hired to run the dept. (hired for over 200k). I checked with an NFL friend and he confirmed that there was much conversation about this. Appealing to scouts because of no travel. Also, there has been movement to hire Frmr players/coaches with big names to work in that dept. and recruit full time. This will all happen immediately once rule is passed. Thought u should be aware if [sic] this nonsense to share with who u feel can assist.”

Now keep in mind that all this financial hand wringing is coming from the richest conference in the land (Ferentz, notably, makes almost $4 million per year).

Delany, displaying his usual charm and tact, publicly announces his conference’s displeasure with the NCAA’s new course without letting Emmert know what’s coming.  That’s when it really gets hilarious.

The legislation ignited an email chain among league presidents, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and NCAA President Mark Emmert. Delany wrote Emmert on Feb. 14 apologizing for not calling him before the league’s Feb. 11 release but hoped the NCAA would delay the rules’ implementation or risk presidents overriding the legislation. Delany wrote that he wanted to maintain the NCAA’s reform deregulation agenda but feared the rules would result in “another level of staffing” for football programs.

Sorry we sandbagged you, Mark, buddy, and we support your agenda – except where we don’t.

Emmert’s response is spot on.

“If now the membership doesn’t want some of these changes, fine by me,” Emmert wrote. “But to be honest, I don’t know how the membership wants to make decisions. The process used to make these changes was as open, representative and democratic and I could imagine — other than the old town hall convention model I suppose.” Emmert also mentioned Big Ten staff worked on the group. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon chairs the NCAA executive committee.  [Emphasis added.]

(Of course Emmert, being Emmert, couldn’t hold the moral high ground without making at least one pointless and stupid observation, saying about one of his members, Rice University, “who I don’t believe is a mainstream D1 school,”.)

Delany’s response to Emmert is a classic.

Delany wrote that administrators understand the need for simpler rules, but added “I’m not sure anyone has an appreciation of the compulsions, competitiveness and energy that underlies that pursuit of a 16 year old recruit by an assistant coach at our institutions. This process of pursuing athletic talent nationally and globally is something we have never found even a half way healthy way of managing/regulating. This continues to be the case.”

This from a guy who’s never been shy about inserting himself into management issues at member schools.

Now he’s just the driver of the clown car.


Filed under Big Ten Football, The NCAA