The And The Valley Shook! guys are at it again with their preseason evaluation of SEC units. Today, they look at offensive lines and, well…
7 Mississippi St.
10 Ole Miss
11 South Carolina
13 Texas A&M
The expression “from your lips to God’s ears” comes to mind here, but, seriously, if they’re close to being on the mark with this (don’t forget, Steele is pretty strong on the Dawgs’ offensive line’s prospects, too), the offense may be poised for a nice comeback.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed. In Pittman we trust.
Alabama has more players on the media’s 2016 All-SEC preseason first team than Georgia has on all three.
You know when somebody’s playing the “mistakes were made” card, it’s an attempt to make you look in another direction.
Here’s Freeze’s narrative: Mistakes were made. They’ll be held accountable — he’ll be held accountable, even as he points out that some of the violations were made by boosters, people “outside the building.”
But he also says Ole Miss has been targeted because of a dramatic leap, both in recruiting classes and subsequently on the field. He believes there’s backlash from rivals over the idea that a traditionally mediocre program has moved up in the hierarchy (“People don’t like Ole Miss winning,” he said). He bristles when reporters and others tell him they’re hearing from other coaches that Ole Miss has been cheating. He wants to defend himself and the program, which is why he said:
“The day that really matters is the day we get to share our side with the Committee on Infractions.”
Andy Staples points out that one part of that bullshit is accurate. If the NCAA finds a real problem, regardless of which staffer or staffers were responsible, Freeze will be stuck with the tab.
Freeze wants this to be an Ole Miss matter and not a Hugh Freeze matter, but that’s where it gets complicated and difficult to predict. In 2013, the schools passed a rule that allows the COI to discipline a head coach for the actions of his assistants even if the head coach didn’t know what the assistants were doing. In NCAA parlance, the head coach is now “presumed responsible” for more serious violations. The COI has the power to suspend the head coach for between 10% and 100% of a season.
You get paid $4 million a year, yeah, a little accountability should be expected. And that makes Seth Emerson’s question something worth keeping in the back of our heads.
Andy Staples points out something I’ve wondered about ever since Todd Gurley got nailed for taking $3000 in improper benefits… or, really, since AJ Green and his $1,000.
… From a public relations standpoint, a harsh penalty with no new allegations will satisfy Mississippi State fans and Alabama fans. But outside the fanbases whose schools play Ole Miss on an annual basis, it would appear the NCAA is decimating a program over a little more than $15,000 in extra benefits. Among those with no dog in the hunt, such sanctions will play quite differently in 2016 than they would have in 2006 or even in 2010. Freeze and every other coach in the SEC West make at least $4 million a year. The SEC rakes in millions from its network partnership with ESPN. The general public no longer views a few hundred dollars here and there—or a few hotel stays*, as the Notice of Allegations alleges—as sins that could bring down the republic.
In the context of things, he’s got a point. There’s so much money washing over college football these days, including the now-permitted COA stipend paid to players; how pushy do you really want to get over a relatively piddling amount?
On the other hand, there’s that damned slippery slope to consider.
… But if the COI doesn’t hammer Ole Miss, the people within the programs with skin in the game could view any leniency as a tacit approval to bring back Southwest Conference-style bidding wars. In its own way, the Ole Miss case might be as much of a referendum on the NCAA’s ever-shifting definition of amateurism as any of the cases currently circulating through the federal court system.
Plantation talk at the University of Colorado:
After learning through a campus climate survey that some African-American students said they didn’t feel valued and supported on the Boulder campus, the chancellor began meeting regularly with students and staff to try to better understand the problem.
“(The staff member) said that even though the black football players and men’s basketball players are getting a free education and a free ride, everything they do pays for the young white female playing tennis or on the golf team or track and field,” DiStefano said. “He said they talk about being part of ‘The Plantation,’ that their sweat and tears are really for other people, not for them.”
He said he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about that story since he heard it.
“It’s one of the reasons our black athletes don’t come back to campus,” DiStefano said.
It’s what you get when you live in a world where money matters above all else.
The point here isn’t to rail about the unfairness of amateurism, believe it or not. It’s to point out that if the schools are serious about protecting that protocol, they need to do a better job of making sure their black student-athletes don’t feel so alienated. That probably means offering a little more than “you’ve got a scholarship, so shut the hell up and play”.