Daily Archives: August 12, 2018

“We’ve got a long way to go to get better.”

Is it just me, or Kirby seem to put out the usual caveats about yesterday’s scrimmage a bit by rote?  Because it sure seems like he’s pretty pleased — and by that I mean more so than in the past — with how things are going.

Advertisements

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Welcome to the Will Muschamp School of Journalism.

Shot.

The day after a report about the culture of the Maryland football program under DJ Durkin, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp defended the character of his former assistant and decried the use of anonymous sources in reporting the article.

Friday’s ESPN article cited two unnamed former Maryland staff members in addition to two unnamed current players. The article said there was a culture of intimidation and humiliation among the coaching staff before offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death.

Maryland announced Saturday that Durkin had been placed on administrative leave as McNair’s death is investigated. McNair died two weeks after collapsing at a workout. That came after Friday’s announcement that some athletic staffers had been placed on leave as well.

Muschamp defended Durkin and disagreed with the coach’s portrayal in the article.

“He’s an outstanding football coach,” Muschamp said during a news conference. “He’s also an outstanding husband and father, and he treats people with respect.”

He went on to assail how the article was reported.

“There’s no credibility in anonymous sources,” Muschamp said. “If that former staffer had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on that?”

He added: “I think it’s a lack of journalistic integrity to print things with anonymous sources.”

Chaser.

Boom, MFers.

72 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom

Honk if you’re the fan of a Big Ten program with a coach on administrative leave.

Meanwhile, in Columbus, Ohio, D.J. Durkin’s former boss has the soap opera juiced.  (Helluvan asylum you’re running these days, Mr. Delany.)  This is about as good a summary of current events surrounding Corch as you’ll find.

As she has along the way, Urban Meyer’s oldest daughter, Nicki, on Twitter liked mentions of Herman being named as the source. His second, daughter, Gigi, retweeted stories mentioning Courtney Smith’s alleged claim to take down Ohio State.

Urban Meyer has been understandably silent since his statement on Aug. 3, but his family is making its opinion known.

And none of that matters.

No matter how the story started, Ohio State’s investigation of how Meyer and Gene Smith handled this will determine what happens. On Saturday, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Zach Smith will speak with Ohio State’s investigating team on Monday or Tuesday.

Tips start stories. Tips can come from people who want a wrong to be addressed. Or they can come from people who may gain from a story.

I’ll say that several days before McMurphy’s first story on Zach Smith appeared on July 23, a Twitter account tagged several reporters, including me, asking why no one had looked into a 2009 Gainesville, Fla., police report on Smith. I followed the account and planned to look into things, but McMurphy beat me to it. He later said on a podcasthe’d been working on the story for several weeks.

That account and that tweet have been deleted.

So someone knew about Zach Smith’s past. They wanted it known. He was never charged, but it does matter how Ohio State dealt with Smith. Maybe Urban Meyer and Gene Smith did exactly what they should have done.

Ohio State is investigating.

Yeah, but is Ohio State investigating the source of the tip or Urban Meyer?

11 Comments

Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

“I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there.”

The developing story in the wake of Jordan McNair’s death has an air of inevitability to it.

Several current University of Maryland football players and people close to the Terrapins program describe a toxic coaching culture under head coach DJ Durkin before offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death in June after a football workout.

McNair, who was 19, died two weeks after being hospitalized following a May 29 team workout. He collapsed after running 110-yard sprints, showing signs of extreme exhaustion and difficulty standing upright. No official cause of death has been released, but ESPN reported Friday that he died of heatstroke suffered during the workout and had a body temperature of 106 degrees after being taken to a hospital.

Over the past several weeks, two current Maryland players, multiple people close to the football program, and former players and football staffers spoke to ESPN about the culture under Durkin, particularly strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, who was one of Durkin’s first hires at Maryland in 2015.

By that, I mean not so much the testosterone-charged remaking of the program under Durkin, as the futile attempt to wall off the problem of McNair’s death from public scrutiny.

One current player told ESPN that university leadership, including athletic director Damon Evans and president Wallace Loh, had “a lack of action” in their response to McNair’s death.

“We had a kid die. … It took all summer for us to even get a third-party investigation to meet with, and the timing [of those interviews] is absolutely horrendous,” the player said. “This is a huge problem at Maryland.”

ESPN requested to interview Loh, Robinson and Evans, but university officials declined to make them available. According to a Maryland official, Evans addressed the team on multiple occasions, including a private moment of reflection on June 15 held in McNair’s honor that the athletic department organized for all student-athletes and staff. Evans was also in attendance at a June 1 meeting in which the team received a medical update on McNair, a June 13 team meeting, and a June 21 meeting for parents. Loh went to the hospital and funeral and “interacted with players at both,” according to officials.

The two current players who spoke with ESPN and other sources close to the program said they are concerned about how Walters’ investigation is being managed.

Players had to return early from their time off to meet with investigators on Aug. 1, two days before the first preseason workout. A sign-up sheet was posted on the office door of Jason Baisden, the team’s assistant athletic director for football operations and equipment. Meetings took place in the offensive staff’s meeting room in the Gossett Football Team House.

“They tried to interview players at the most inconvenient time, in Gossett, basically right in front of Durkin’s office,” one of the current players said.

“Basically anybody can walk by, any coach or whoever really wants to can walk by and see who signed up and see who’s talking to the investigation,” the other current player said. “They’re singling us out even more when it’s supposed to be an anonymous investigation.”

The player said that each meeting was scheduled for only 15 minutes. Players were asked what they wanted to share about the May 29 workout and were advised to see counselors.

“It was a joke,” the same player said.

That has gone as well as any sentient being might expect:  people inside the program reached out to the media to get the story out.  The end result?

The University of Maryland has placed members of football coach DJ Durkin’s support staff on paid administrative leave based on the initial findings of the external review examining the circumstances leading to the death of redshirt freshman Jordan McNair, the university announced Friday.

It’s simply amazing to me how supposedly intelligent people being paid large sums of money think that they can keep the story of a player’s death at a practice with his coaches in attendance locked down in this day and age.  These guys deserve to be run off as much for their arrogant stupidity as for the culpability in McNair’s death.

12 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, General Idiocy

Make college atmosphere great again.

In response to the question “Should college football players be able to license their name and likeness rights for profit?“, there’s a coach out there — presumably one making tons of money while making every time demand on his players the NCAA allows (and then some, likely) — who actually answered with this:

“No. I don’t like the way that’s going, to be honest, because I think we’re turning them into professional athletes. I’m not sure coaches deserve that right, either. I’d like to see us stay more of an amateur sport. From my view where I see college football going, everything is driven by money and it’s less like amateur sports. I think we’re losing the college atmosphere.”

Thoughts and prayers for you, bubba.

I can’t wait until he marches into the office of the president of his school and lays that down.  I’m sure it’ll make a huge difference.

7 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness