Daily Archives: June 3, 2016

It’s not Uncle Verne’s job to love a corpse.

Verne Lundquist has the perfect response to those who complain about broadcasters being biased in favor of certain schools.

“At CBS, we want Georgia to succeed. We need them to succeed like we need Florida to succeed, Tennessee; we need some battles in the East that we really haven’t had.”



Filed under SEC Football

Eh, what’s one more game?

Behold, college football’s latest dumb idea.

Are you finished?  Allow Bill Connelly to retort.

This is like settling it on the field times infinity, right?  Or, it could just be about the money.

Yeah, I think I’ll go with the money here.  I’d say that I hope the Big 12’s first championship game results in the conference being knocked out of the four-team playoff, but all that will lead to are calls to expand to eight.

Maybe they can arrange to broadcast the game on the Longhorn Network.


Filed under Big 12 Football, General Idiocy

“Awareness and comfort are two different things.”

Greg Sankey informs Scott Stricklin that he must have been misinformed.

“It’s interesting to hear that, and to read that, and to be asked that question, because I’m quite protective of that communication,” Sankey said. “I saw the word ‘comfortable.’ I would not express comfort with a situation like that. It is difficult. We are the conference wrestling with these issues, and obviously in a public way. And certainly no one in the commissioner’s office, in my office, would communicate comfort with that situation. Yet the reality is those institutional decisions are still left at that level.”

If that’s not exactly “drop dead, MSU”, it’s at least “leave me out of this shit, boys.”


Filed under SEC Football

That depends upon what your definition of “saw” is.

This is mindboggling.

A question during News 10’s interview with former Baylor Chancellor and President Ken Starr about a rape victim’s email that was sent to his office and to several other officials led to an awkward interruption during which a well-known crisis management specialist convinced Starr to change his response.

The email, with a subject line that read, “I was raped at Baylor”, was sent by a former student who says she was raped while attending the school in 2010.

The woman, who has not been identified, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Wednesday morning that she did not believe Starr’s call for transparency was genuine because he never responded to her email.

KWTX anchor Julie Hays asked Starr if he had seen it, he first responded “I honestly may have. I’m not denying that I saw it.”

After he answered, Merrie Spaeth, whom Starr had introduced as a family friend, approached KWTX News Director, Mikel Lauber, who was positioned behind the camera during the interview.

Lauber says Spaeth asked him to promise to not use that portion of the interview.

When he said no, Spaeth interrupted the interview, telling Starr as the camera continued to roll that she needed to talk to him.

When Hays tried to ask another question, Spaeth interrupted and insisted that she needed to talk to Starr.

The two then left the room.

Several minutes later they returned, and Spaeth told Hays to ask the question again, saying that she wanted to make sure the answer didn’t end up “mis-edited.”

After a few minutes out of the room, the two returned.

When Hays asked again about the email, Starr responded, “I’m honestly going to say, I have no recollection of that.”

He then turned to Spaeth and asked, “Is that OK?”

Spaeth replied, “Don’t look at me, look at her,” referring to Hays.

He then turned back to Hays who asked the question a third time.

Starr responded, “I honestly have no recollection of seeing such an email and I believe that I would remember seeing such an email. The president of the University gets lots of emails. I don’t even see a lot of the emails that come into the office of the President. I have no recollection of it. None.”

Jeebus.  They’re gonna have to come up with a whole new Rule of Holes for Kenneth Starr.

The “family friend” is, as I’ve noted before, the same media genius who advised Craig James.  Any advice she’s giving Starr beyond “I don’t think you should open your mouth in public” is a waste of money, assuming she’s charging him anything.  And if she isn’t, you know what they say about what free advice is worth.

Make sure to watch the clip at the linked article.  It’s even more mindbogglingly incomprehensible than simply reading the transcript.


Filed under General Idiocy, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

When it comes to targeting, can you ever have enough eyeballs?

Seth Emerson has a good run down on the thinking behind the SEC’s shiny new collaborative replay review set up.

A command center in Birmingham, where the SEC offices are located, will be manned by three replay officials. They will work in tandem with the replay official on site at each SEC home game.

The ultimate, final decision still belongs to the main replay official.

“But if you’re going against the three guys in the command center, you better be able to bet your career that you’re right,” SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said, smiling.

I get that the conference remains concerned about targeting and worries that some calls are being missed.  It’s a good thing about which to be vigilant.  Buuuuttt… (and you knew one was coming, right?) I can’t help but wonder if another level of buck passing is inevitable.

Remember, the way the conference defended the initial version of the targeting rule, with its automatic 15-yard penalty regardless of whether the call on the field stood on review, was to let the officials on the field know they had their backs.  Flags needed to fly, err on the side of caution, etc.  The penalty call is no longer enforceable if targeting is waved off by the replay official on site, so at some point, cooler heads weighed in and prevailed on what led to certain travesties.

Now the replay official on site has someone looking over his shoulder.  And ultimate, final decision or not, if you’re that guy, do you really want to find out if Steve Shaw was kidding?

If they’re still missing targeting calls after this, do they introduce another level of review above the conference command office?  I mean, why not?  Either that, or crowd source it…


Filed under SEC Football

“All of us believe in second chances.”

Good Lord, this is arrogant stuff, especially coming from a school that had an SEC transfer rule named after Saban’s last mistake.

“All coaches think they could save everybody,” Battle said in Destin. “Nick has had great success in taking players in his history. Some of them have really done well. And some haven’t. But probably more than not, he has been able to change behavior. I think that’s part of his DNA.”

Sorry, but the minute you believe your coach’s ability to save kids is part of his DNA is the minute you guarantee you’re going to enroll someone who can’t be saved.  Which means somebody else is going to pay a price for your delusion.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

The redemption of Richt

Boy, in the wake of the debacles at Baylor and Mississippi State. you could see this take coming a mile away.

During a wide-ranging interview Thursday morning in his office at the University of Miami, it only seemed natural to steer new coach Mark Richt toward the topic of player discipline in light of what happened in the past week at Baylor.

Richt, after all, was central to one of the great Internet memes in the history of the SEC when a raft of key football players at Georgia were suspended for the 2012 opener. Suddenly, “Mark Richt has lost control” became a thing both within the Georgia fan base and outside of it, where it evolved into a shorthand for pretty much any deficiency in the program.

But the irony of “Mark Richt has lost control” as a concept is that Georgia’s annual list of player dismissals and suspensions meant he actually had quite a bit of control. And regardless of whether it was a star player or an expendable backup, Georgia players were going to face discipline for offseason infractions — usually to a greater degree than their counterparts at other SEC schools.

There were even occasions players dismissed from Georgia resurfaced at other SEC schools and, in the case of former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, had a direct hand in putting Richt a little closer to the hot seat.

Yet so warped is the mindset of the college football fan that Richt’s greatest virtue — his willingness to do the right thing for the program, even if it was against his self-interest as a coach trying to keep his job — became something people beat him over the head with time and time again.

“People” includes his old fan base.  Which is perhaps noteworthy in that those Georgia fans aren’t exactly being let off the hook in this piece.

But here’s the rub: Richt never won a national title at Georgia. And though it’s impossible to pinpoint one thing that could have gotten him over the hump, Georgia fans will forever be torn over their devotion to the so-called “Georgia Way” and their burning desire to be a little more like Alabama.

If the roaring, full house at Georgia’s spring game was any indication, the pendulum in Athens has swung to the latter. Kirby Smart isn’t going to get everything he wants — Georgia’s stricter-than-industry-standard drug policy is staying intact for now, anyway — but little by little the Sabanization of the Bulldogs is taking hold.

We’ll soon find out whether that means more Saban-style discipline and willingness to give players as many chances as they need if they’re good enough to deliver titles, but the hunch here is it will. And Georgia fans will cheer just as loudly for that as they did puffing out their chests about how Richt did it the “right way.”

Eh, I think Wolken’s ignored one group – the folks who will insist that Georgia is getting the best of both Richt’s ethics and Saban’s management.  They’re the ones who decided to make the change at head coach, after all.  Other than that, it’s likely to turn out to be a fair cop.


Filed under Georgia Football

They’ll decide when you’ve paid your dues, kid.

While I’m on my righteous indignation kick this morning – gee, it’s great to be back from vacation – tell me who comes off better in this exchange:

Akeel Lynch went from starter to backup at Penn State last season as freshman Saquon Barkley emerged as one of the best running backs in the country.

Facing the prospect of spending most of his final season of college eligibility on the sideline, Lynch decided to take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows graduates to transfer and be immediately eligible to play.

“I felt like I served my time at Penn State. I helped them get through the sanctions. I realized that my football skills weren’t needed at Penn State and Nevada was one of those schools where I could use my skills,” said Lynch, who has been accepted to the Reno school’s master’s in educational leadership program…

“I just think it’s got a lot of phoniness to it,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is also the chairman of the NCAA’s football oversight committee. “If it’s about going out and employing a hired gun to come in and be a player, then that’s one set of discussions. If it’s really about continuing to pursue education, the statistics indicate that’s not happening.”

Bowlsby, of course, is the guy who leads the conference that initially voted to deny a year of eligibility to a walk-on who transferred, then voted again to leave that rule in place, until finally, after realizing how bad the optics looked, voted one more time and changed the rule, albeit with a twist.

… Instead of allowing all walk-ons to transfer regardless, the reps amended the original proposal, allowing only walk-ons without written scholarship offers from their original schools to transfer without losing a season of eligibility. If the walk-on elected to transfer after being offered a scholarship from the original school, then the player would face the league’s same eligibility restrictions that apply to scholarship players.

That’s mighty decent of them.  And even with that, there were still three no votes.  Why?  “The opposition to the first proposal was centered on concern that without any restrictions, schools within the Big 12 would begin to recruit one another’s walk-ons with the promise of scholarships.”

Gee, Bob, I must have missed all the hand-wringing over continuing to pursue education there.  Evidently, kids shopping for better opportunities for themselves is anti-academics.  If, by academics, you mean control, that is.  Just ask James Franklin.

“I think the thing that’s probably concerning to administrators, commissioners, school presidents is: What are we doing?” Franklin said. “Are we truly offering another educational opportunity somewhere else or is this strictly a football decision?”

Notice how nobody seems concerned about whether the student-athletes are concerned.  Nor is anyone accusing coaches who object to such transfers of making strictly football decisions.

Which brings us to the noble defender of all things good in college football, Greg Sankey.

In the Southeastern Conference, if a graduate transfer does not complete the graduate program, the player’s school cannot enroll another athlete under the exception for three years.

“That is a way to say to our universities, ‘Bring people in at the graduate level who are serious about going to school,'” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.

If “serious about going to school” is the measure of all things student-athletes, there ought to be a lot more docking going on than just for your graduate player transfers, big guy.  I’m not sure how many SEC programs could field men’s basketball teams if Sankey were serious.

But that’s the great thing about being a college sports administrator.  You can utter all kinds of bullshit and never get seriously called on it.


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t making our campus unsafe…”

There are times when I really hate college football.  This shouldn’t be one of them.

It’s early June.  The latest batch of signees are enrolling this week.  It’s a time to start analyzing strengths and weaknesses, to look forward to the schedule… hell, it’s not to early to get a headcount on my group going to the Cocktail Party so I can start making reservations.

Instead, I have to wallow through the mess at Baylor and now this.

One game against South Alabama.

That’s the suspension Mississippi State announced for incoming freshman defensive end Jeffery Simmons, who was caught on tape punching a woman as she lay on the ground in March. Unless an evaluation reveals warning signs that inspire Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin to lengthen the suspension, the Bulldogs’ top-ranked incoming recruit basically will serve the same penalty as a player flagged for targeting in a game.

“That’s an interesting way to put it,” Stricklin said Wednesday, “and that’s not how we compared it.”

But that is the message Stricklin sent Mississippi State’s athletes when he settled on one game. A man punching a woman is the same as a targeting foul or a first positive marijuana test. No big deal.

Staples isn’t exaggerating in the slightest there.  Stricklin referred to the person who did this…

… as “a pretty docile young man”.  That action, by the way, is described in the school’s official press release as “… in an effort to break up a domestic fight between his sister and another adult woman, he used physical force against one of those involved in the altercation.”

Even worse, Stricklin’s made this decision despite having any real understanding of what Simmons is capable of.

“Which is why it’s really important we have a complete understanding of what his risk factors really are,” Stricklin said. “I have a surface understanding and on the surface, I don’t think Jeffery will have any issues. But I want someone who is a professional and is trained in this area to tell me that also.”

That, I’m sure, is of tremendous comfort to every woman on Mississippi State’s campus.

What’s truly remarkable about this decision is that Baylor’s situation is still fresh on our minds.  In fact, “fresh” may not be an adequate description.  They’re still issuing statements and people are still resigning in Waco.

And don’t think the folks in Starkville are deaf to that.  Just check out Dan Mullen’s profile in courage.

That’s not the most nauseating part of this.  That would be reserved for some of the calculations behind the decision to allow Simmons to enroll and play at MSU (after that one-game suspension, that is).

Yeesh.  And that’s probably part of how you get Greg Sankey’s blessing.

Comfortable, eh?  Thank goodness satellite camps weren’t involved.

Everyone involved in this deserves condemnation.  And none of them should ever try to lecture anyone else again on morality.

At a certain point, school officials must decide and declare what kind of behavior they deem unacceptable. The one-game suspension Mississippi State announced Wednesday shows how much the Bulldogs actually care about this issue. “It sends a message that there is going to be a consequence,” Stricklin said.

It sends a message all right. Don’t punch women, because you might miss the South Alabama game.

I need a shower.


UPDATE:  When you’ve lost Mr. Conventional Wisdom

My belief is that we have reached a point in our culture where we must take a stand and say that protecting women from violent behavior has to trump everything else. We have to let women know that we care about them more than we care about a damned football game.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, SEC Football