The Process 1, Michael Adams 0

If Kirby Smart never accomplishes another thing during his time as Georgia’s head coach, he still deserves a commemorative plaque mounted somewhere in Athens for having a hand in this:

There are changes in store to the University of Georgia Athletic Association Substance Abuse Policy.

In a summary obtained by 11Alive, the new policy appears to remove the former stipulation that any arrest regardless of the outcome in court automatically counted as a violation of the Substance Abuse Policy.

According to the 15-page document dated Sept. 1, there are now two levels of violations which now apply to student-athletes attending school at UGA.

They are:

Level 1 — “Defined as possession, use, or facilitating the possession/use of alcohol.”

Level 2 — “Includes, but is not limited to, any violation involving the operation of a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol and/or the use of drugs, acts of violence while using alcohol or drugs, destruction of property, disorderly conduct, or intoxication level that requires medical treatment or results in medical being called, even if treatment is refused, and any drug violation.”

Any violations of the Level 2 variety are considered violations of the Substance Abuse Policy.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity deferred comment when reached by UGASports until the complete UGA student-athlete handbook could be obtained via open records.

News of the changes came to light following the Dec. 4 arrest of Bulldog linebacker Natrez Patrick and wide receiver Jayson Stanley.

In my wildest dreams, never did I think this was a possibility.  I would love to have heard the Come-to-Jesus meeting somebody had with Morehead about UGA’s substance abuse policy.  (I’d settle for somebody getting a quote from Adams about having one of his perceived major accomplishments watered down, though.  I guess Georgia’s done with lobbying for drug policy at the SEC Spring Meetings.)  There’s nothing like a national semi-final game to make bureaucrats focus.

What’s that?  Oh, hells yeah, they’re playing.

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47 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Meanwhile, at one of America’s most beloved institutions…

It sounds like things are already rolling in Knoxville.

Arizona State’s athletic director was highly complimentary of the new football regime.

“The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster,” Anderson told Dodd. “Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director’s world is a pariah. It is not a good situation.”

Anderson is the guy who just made the bizarre decision to hire Herm Edwards as his new head coach, so when he talks about clusters, he knows a little something from where he speaks.

Jeremy Pruitt’s only been on the job for about a week, but it sounds like he’s looking for some of that sweet pariah action, too.

Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts has a difficult time believing Phillip Fulmer could have been involved in the process of pulling a scholarship offer from his quarterback, Michael Penix.

Roberts has never met Fulmer, but he knows the Tennessee athletic director had a sterling reputation during his Hall of Fame coaching career with the Volunteers. His impression from afar is that Fulmer is a man of integrity who did the right things in recruiting.

“I know that as an athletic director he has a lot to oversee,” Roberts said Thursday. “I can’t imagine he had a hand in how Tennessee’s new staff dealt with this.”

Fulmer is indeed a beloved figure in the Volunteer State, and a man the Tennessee fan base has rallied around since he took over as athletic director on Dec. 1. Thus, Roberts and others remain stunned at the awkward and uncharacteristic nature with which the new Tennessee staff cut ties to Penix, a well-respected 3-star recruit.

Penix, who had been committed to the Vols since April, stuck with Tennessee through Butch Jones’ Nov. 12 firing, a 26-day coaching search and the hiring of new coach Jeremy Pruitt.

It’s Pruitt’s first time as a college head coach, and calling the 11 players who were committed to Tennessee at the time was almost certainly one of the first things on his to-do list. Sure enough, Pruitt called Penix last week to tell the quarterback he was honoring his commitment.

That changed Wednesday, when Penix received a text asking him to call the UT football office. Penix said that when he made the call, new offensive coordinator Ty Helton told him not to come on the official visit to Knoxville that had been planned months earlier.

Apparently, the Vols had another pro-style quarterback they were bringing in to visit.

That’s nice.  Apparently, somebody in Knoxville has decided the time for mockery is past.  They’re going straight for active dislike.  Just like the good ole days!

56 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“It’s Herschel Walker. I don’t have to play him, so it’s all right.”

If you’re expecting Baker Mayfield to provide bulletin board material for the Rose Bowl, I’m afraid you’re gonna be disappointed.

That exchange offered a nice glimpse into the persona of Oklahoma’s record-setting quarterback. The dude knows how to work a room and is quite comfortable at a lectern. And he knows how to butter-up an opponent.

Mayfield insists he wasn’t just trying to endear himself to the Bulldog Nation by offering effusive praise about their greatest player of all time. But one started to wonder when he began to gush about the Georgia defense he’ll face when No. 2 Oklahoma faces No. 3 Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

Mayfield was asked if the Sooners’ had faced a comparable defense to Georgia’s this season

“They’re the best defense; you can’t compare them to anybody,” he said. “They’re in a league of their own and that’s the reason they’re in the playoffs. They follow behind that defense. You can’t compare them to other people because they’re so talented and they play so well together. To say they’re like anybody else would be downplaying how good they are.”

And so it went. If there is going to be any trash-talking in the first-ever meeting between these two powerhouse programs, it wasn’t coming out of the Red Room on Thursday.

Trying to get on our good side, eh?  Sneaky bastid…

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mickey’s big score

You may have heard that Disney is buying part of the Fox empire for a major chunk o’ change.  What’s the game plan with that?  Welp, sure sounds like sports to me.

But buried within the release is the announcement that Disney will be acquiring Fox Sports Regional Networks, a collection of cable channels that are broadcast to local subscribers across the country. (Fox Sports, the FS1 and FS2 networks and the Big Ten Network will remain with Fox.) Assuming the deal passes federal antitrust muster, this portion of the pact could have a seismic impact on Disney-owned ESPN, rearranging a business model that until recently was thought to be the cause of the network’s well-documented financial problems.

For starters, ESPN will be acquiring a massive amount of new content, as Fox Sports’ 22 regional sports networks (RSNs from here on out) control the local cable rights to the following professional teams:

NBA (17): Suns, Hornets, Pistons, Magic, Pacers, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Thunder, Hawks, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Spurs, Heat, Clippers, Bucks, Nets.

MLB (15): Diamondbacks, Tigers, Rays, Royals, Cardinals, Twins, Reds, Padres, Braves, Rangers, Marlins, Angels, Brewers, Indians, Yankees.

NHL (12): Coyotes, Hurricanes, Red Wings, Panthers, Blues, Wild, Blue Jackets, Predators, Stars, Lightning, Kings, Ducks.

That doesn’t even include college football and basketball, plus Major League Soccer and the WNBA…

ESPN will certainly slap its name on all of those networks, but this goes far beyond mere branding. Cable companies can charge customers top dollar for the right to have RSNs in their cable lineup, with monthly costs that approach the more than $9 ESPN gets monthly from each customer who has ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the SEC Network in their package. The price is so high because cable subscribers view RSNs as essential: According to a 2016 Neilsen survey of 1,500 pay-TV subscribers, the local RSN ranked as the fifth-most-important cable channel in their lineups, ahead of any other cable channel (including ESPN). In some markets such as St. Louis and Detroit — both of which are served by Fox Sports RSNs — the local RSN ranked higher in importance to cable customers than broadcast networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.

ESPN’s financial woes have stemmed from cord-cutting cable customers who have balked at the high prices cable companies are charging, with the network losing more than 13 million subscribers from its peak of 100.13 million households in 2011. Those losses, combined with steadily escalating rising sports-rights fees, led the network to lay off around 550 employees over the past two years, with the most recent round of job cuts coming late last month.

But customers might think twice about dropping their cable packages if it meant losing access to games played by their local teams. Those games — and the money cable customers pay to watch them — will now be under the ESPN domain.  [Emphasis added.]

Complain about the political leanings of their faces, or cord-cutting, or whatever else suits you, but there is still one essential truth underlying everything:  content is king.  The manner in which we receive our sports will always be secondary to the subject of the broadcast itself.   All ESPN is really fighting about is the access fee.  That’s the bet the WWL is making.  The more it holds, the stronger its leverage.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

Bullet dodged.

Well, now, it really is turning into a magical season.

The district attorney’s office in Winder, Georgia, has dismissed criminal charges against Georgia linebacker Natrez Patrick, his attorney told ESPN on Thursday. Patrick was one of two Bulldogs players arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges on Dec. 3.

These were some serious charges, too.

Patrick’s attorney, William Healan III of Winder, told ESPN that officers arrested Patrick after discovering a loose leaf of marijuana in the passenger’s seat of Stanley’s car. Healan said the leaf was smaller than a penny.

“When you get into someone’s car, you’re not going to search it to see if there’s marijuana in the car,” Healan said. “My client didn’t know the marijuana was there. If you’re sitting on a little piece of marijuana that you didn’t know was there, you’re not knowingly in possession of it.”

On a scale of withholding your middle name to emerging from an alley, that fits right in.  So while you may think a dismissal under these circumstances is no big deal, remember whom we’re talking about here and how things usually go in our little part of the world.

***************************************************************************

UPDATE:  You can’t put a street value on this bust.

90 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

We may never pass this way again.

I put up an item in the Gift Guide yesterday about UGA/Rose Bowl gear, because who knows when we’ll be there next?

I’m not being overly dramatic, either.  It’s been a long time since any SEC team has been to Pasadena for a Rose Bowl.

Before we sign off for 2017, let’s discuss the unique Rose Bowl pairing. As any college football fan knows, the Rose Bowl historically pairs a the Big 10 and Pac-10/12 champion. Even with the Rose’s inclusion in the BCS and later College Football Playoff, this tradition was mostly observed. However, with the Rose serving as a semi-final game and no Big 10 or Pac-12 teams in the playoff, this will be the first time since 2001 that both participants are not from the Big 10 or Pac-12. That national championship Rose Bowl marked the first non-Big 10/Pac-10 clash since the forties. Including that game and this one, there have been nine non-traditional Rose Bowl participants since World War II.

Amazingly, the Big 12 has accounted for five of those spots, with Oklahoma and Texas making multiple appearances. Georgia will be the first SEC team to play in the Rose Bowl since Tennessee in 1944.

I believe Georgia made its only appearance the year before.

I mentioned this to a buddy last night:  from a bucket list perspective, between a trip to South Bend and now this, the 2017 season’s been a helluvan experience for a Dawg fan.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Amateurism ain’t for amateurs.

You don’t get this without telling the hired help they’re only there for an education.

In a sense, that’s an education in and of itself.

11 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA