Daily Archives: June 9, 2014

“You could see it coming from miles away.”

Chip Towers’ obituary for Tray Matthews’ Georgia career is… well, different.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Matthews is a bad kid. In my brief experiences with him over the last year, I found him to be very upbeat and gregarious and fairly forthright when it came to post-practice and postgame exchanges with media. But he had an other side off the field that became evident, one that I’ve seen way too many times over the many years I’ve covered college football.

He was a goof-off, a cut-up, a “knucklehead,” coaches call them. That’s not to say dumb. He just always seemed to be more interested in having a good time and enjoying the social side of college life than he did about the football and academic element of Division I college athletics. And it was always getting him into trouble, from dancing down the hallways of the team hotel after midnight before games to girlfriend drama to classroom misbehavior.

So few inside the program were surprised when Matthews was told to hit the bricks…

I don’t know about you, but the question that jumps to my mind is, if Matthews hadn’t been dumb enough to be involved in Checkgate, is the rest of the behavior Towers described enough to earn a player the boot from Mark Richt?

I will say Towers deserves bonus points for referring to Todd Grantham as Petrino’s “defensive henchman”.  So there’s that.



Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Carroll, please.

If Pete Carroll had only known that the NCAA was going to throw the book at Southern Cal…

“Had we known that that was imminent … I would never have been able to leave under those circumstances. When I look back now, I would have stayed there to do what we needed to do to resolve the problem.”

In the background, if you can’t hear it, is the world’s saddest song being played on the world’s smallest violin.


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

Pay for play, NCAA-style

While O’Bannon sucks all the oxygen out of the media tent, the NCAA does what public institutions tend to do – bury the news it doesn’t want anyone paying attention to under the attention directed elsewhere.

The NCAA today agreed to settle claims against the Association over college-themed basketball and football video games produced by Electronic Arts.  The agreement will end the Keller litigation and provide a monetary settlement to a class of video game plaintiffs.

The settlement will award $20 million to certain Division I men’s basketball and Division I Bowl Subdivision football student-athletes who attended certain institutions during the years the games were sold.

“With the games no longer in production and the plaintiffs settling their claims with EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the NCAA viewed a settlement now as an appropriate opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs,” said NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy.

If it’s got Donald’s seal of approval, you know it’s got to be good.  And it’s an amateurism-free settlement, to boot.

This settlement, and the previously announced settlement between other parties to the litigation, could result in some current FBS football or Division I men’s basketball student-athletes receiving a monetary award from a settlement fund.

“Consistent with the terms of a court-approved settlement, the NCAA will allow a blanket eligibility waiver for any currently enrolled student-athletes who receive funds connected with the settlement. In no event do we consider this settlement pay for athletics performance,” Remy said.

College athletes, if you get paid voluntarily, that’s bad.  But if you get paid as part of a litigation settlement, you’re golden.  I think the NCAA just handed you one helluva cheat around the amateurism guidelines:  sign a deal, have the other party default, sue, settle and take it to the bank.

I wonder what Stacey Osburn thinks about that.


Filed under The NCAA

The best quarterback in the SEC

Chris Low’s analysis of Alabama’s quarterback situation sounds guarded.

Jacob Coker hasn’t played a down for Alabama. For that matter, he hasn’t participated in the first official practice with the Crimson Tide. But already he’s the heir apparent to AJ McCarron, and the Tide are counting on him coming in and being their quarterback in 2014. He played behind Jameis Winston at Florida State last season and is extremely gifted. If Coker takes a little longer to develop, Alabama will likely turn to senior Blake Sims, who still needs to prove that he can beat teams throwing the ball.

That turns out to be the fifth best positional resume in the conference.  Better than South Carolina, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, all of which sport quarterbacks who have actually started for their schools.

It’s amazing how much deference the media has given Coker, as slight as his experience is.  And McCarron aside, how many great quarterbacks has Saban turned out?

Coker must be extremely gifted, alright.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

Does Georgia have a discipline problem?

Judging from what I’ve seen burning up the message boards and blog comment threads lately, I’d say a fairly large bloc of the fan base would say yes as an answer to that question.

Of course, half of them argue it’s because Richt is recruiting the wrong kinds of kids – despite the obvious rejoinder that players like Harvey-Clemons and Matthews were recruited by every major power in the South (and, in Matthews’ case, that may still be happening) – while the other half bitch that Richt is too tough with his discipline.  Not exactly a broad consensus there.

At least there’s one thing we can all rally around – when it comes to Georgia football, Herbie can be such an ass.


Filed under Georgia Football

“I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players.”

The most important thing to remember about a professional developmental football league isn’t this

Why is it likely to get off the ground? Vincent, who recently became the NFL’s head of football operations, cites a bunch of reasons, from training coaches and officials to finding players to testing rules.

“It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game,” he said.

or this…

Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, has a strong relationship with many team owners. He envisions a league being established for spring play, with all of the teams supplying players they want to see more from.

“After the NFL season and before the training camps, say March to July,” Ganis said. “It’s an open time in the sports schedule. The colleges are done and the NBA and NHL playoffs wind down.

“A league in the fall is really tough. It is not like baseball, where teams can be calling up players every day from the minors. There would be lots of restrictions on player movement then.”

or this…

“I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona,” said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. “Anywhere from four to six teams; I don’t think more than eight.

“I see it as tightly managed, with not a ton of travel. And I don’t think it would matter the size of the stadiums and crowds, because it’s a minor league, a place to look at players from the lower end of the roster or players trying to make it into the NFL.”

or even this…

“The networks have open time in the spring, and it’s an NFL product. There would be room on the networks for games on the weekend, and on the cable outlets for weeknights,” he said. “There’s really a dearth of major sports on the weekends then.

“I think you would see all the networks with cable channels — CBS, Fox, NBC, and of course NFL Network — to be interested. And ESPN would likely want in on the mix, although they need it the least.”

It’s that it would be an NFL-created enterprise.  Which means it would exist to serve the needs of the NFL and the NFL alone.  Which means this:

Tomlin is right that the NFL relies on the college game for developing the skills of potential pro players. That won’t change but, as the number of undrafted free agents who populate NFL rosters shows — 31.4 percent in 2014 — there are hundreds of players who would benefit from having a place to showcase themselves if the NFL doesn’t come calling.

Just a place to collect undrafted juniors.  Thanks, college football!


Filed under The NFL Is Your Friend.

The Pac-12 enhances the fan experience.

Unfortunately for the locals, it’s the East Coast folks the conference is going after with this:

The conference also announced that it has created an 11 a.m. Pacific Time television window on the Pac-12 Networks for the upcoming football season. The league said the move was made in an effort to reduce the number of night games across the league.

At that time slot, isn’t this newly targeted audience going to be watching ACC, Big Ten and SEC games anyway?

I guess Larry Scott figures there aren’t enough insomniacs on our side of the country to make it worth his while to accommodate the Left Coasters who, you know, might actually like to attend a game live at a sane hour.  It reminds me of the baseball player in Ball Four who, upon being told he had to report to the ballpark early for a Game of the Week, replied, “Eleven O’Clock?!  I’m not even done throwing up by then.”

It’s TV’s world.  The rest of us are just trying to find a place in it.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

It ain’t over until Stacey Osburn doesn’t sing.

A gentle reminder that the O’Bannon trial begins today:

Of course it does, bless Emmert’s little heart.

If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown, here’s an analysis from Sports Illustrated’s legal expert.

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Filed under The NCAA