Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

Bert’s all about doing it for the kids.

I’ve discussed the strategy behind the NCAA’s Proposal No. 2016-116, a package of rules changes designed to temper some of the flaws in the recruiting process, at least as the NCAA Division I board of directors sees it.  The hope is that there’s enough in the package that’s acceptable to coaches, such as adding a tenth staffer, to offset what’s less palatable.

Judging from this, that may be a tough balancing act.

The conferences appear to have found consensus on all of the above — except for adding April-June official visits. The Southeastern Conference and other leagues in the South are reluctant to sign off on the change.

They have proposed an amendment that would limit spring official visits to April, a month already congested by ACT exams and Easter. There’s almost no way a prospect could use all five of his official visits in April.

It’s easy for prospects from, say, Atlanta, to take unofficial visits to Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and ACC schools such as Georgia Tech and Clemson in the spring. Not so much to Penn State and Nebraska, especially if the prospect and his family have limited means and cannot afford to fly.

“It’s like Trump,” one Big Ten official said. “Except the SEC wants to build a giant wall around the Southeast.”

The SEC’s justification for its stance is what really has Big Ten coaches steaming — academics.

“It’s a joke,” one Big Ten coach said.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, in an interview with the Tribune, said it’s no joke.

“The North wants recruiting and signing day to move up,” he said. “I get it. But on the same account, you’d have kids potentially not focusing on getting good grades to end the school year, and to me that’s really dangerous.”

Fake unctuousness from Bret Bielema?  Why, Miz Scarlett, I nevah.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, SEC Football

The Auburn defense

I give this an “A” for originality.

An attorney in North Carolina’s ongoing academic scandal wants Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey removed as head of the NCAA infractions panel hearing the case because of a conflict of interest.

Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams wrote the NCAA this month saying Sankey ”has a personal, professional and institutional interest in the outcome” of the case involving his client, Deborah Crowder, a retired UNC officer administrator. He compared Sankey’s involvement to ”the Commissioner of the SEC refereeing a championship game between an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team and an SEC team.”

He also described Sankey as a potential witness regarding a previous case at Auburn during his time as an SEC associate commissioner that had similarities but didn’t lead to major violations.

I don’t think this has a shot in hell of succeeding, but you’ve got to admire his moxie.  And I have to admit I’d love to hear Sankey explain himself.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football, SEC Football, The NCAA

Now that you mention it…

In the course of a Q&A session last week, University of Maryland President tosses out the thought that the NCAA investigation into UNC-Chapel Hill would ultimately lead to the NCAA levying the so-called “death penalty” against the university.

“For the things that happened in North Carolina, it’s abysmal. I would think that this would lead to the implementation of the death penalty by the NCAA. But I’m not in charge of that.”

Now that his school is a member of the Big Ten, I bet that was a lot easier for him to say.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football, The NCAA

Don’t rock the boat.

Florida wants former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire as a graduate transfer for the 2017 season.  Zaire, by some accounts, has reciprocal interest.  There’s only one little problem holding the two back from tying the knot.

The SEC requires graduate transfers to hit certain academic benchmarks after they transfer, or the school is penalized by not being allowed to sign such players for three years. Florida is unable to take on new grad transfers because offensive lineman Mason Halter and linebacker Anthony Harrell did not meet the requirements after transferring in 2015.

This, you may recall, is the issue currently in front of Georgia with regard to Maurice Smith’s hope to play NFL ball and the effect it would have on Georgia potentially facing a similar penalty.  And therein lies the rub as to how SEC athletic departments think.  Whereas Georgia is merely hoping for an individual waiver in Smith’s case, Florida has bigger fish in mind.

Florida coach Jim McElwain told GatorBait.net that he hopes the rule will change and that he believes the SEC will re-examine the rule at its spring meeting.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says the rule was created to make sure schools didn’t stockpile player, without accountability.

“We put originally a five-year prohibition on taking more grad transfers because we wanted that accountability to be meaningful,” Sankey said. “We’ve moved that to three, and actually in our office we had a number of conversations observing, first of all, no one else has that kind of accountability in their own system.

“We don’t want to be overly punitive in how we create that kind of accountability.”

Some of that you can say is due to which side of the divide the two programs currently find themselves on this, but if Florida is successful in lobbying the conference to change what is certainly a rule that overreaches, it’s just another reminder of which athletic department remains among the SEC’s most passive.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, SEC Football

Get that education, young man.

Kevin Butler will reprise his role as an undergraduate student assistant coaching kickers this year.

Yes, he’s still an undergrad after all these years.

“Oh, absolutely. That’s the plan,” Smart said when asked by a fan if Butler would remain on the coaching staff. “As long as Kevin Butler’s in school, he will be an assistant. Hopefully we can get a deferred diploma plan where we just keep deferring him and deferring him and deferring him. We’re very thankful that he didn’t finish up when he was here.”

Butler, 55, was a two-time All-American and four-time All-SEC place-kicker for the Bulldogs from 1981-84, but did not finish his undergraduate work before being drafted by the Chicago Bears and embarking on an 11-year NFL career. After football, he entered into a successful business career. His son, Drew Butler, punted for Georgia and now plays in the NFL.

Butler said he will graduate with a degree in economics at the end of the fall semester.

By then, maybe the NCAA will allow coaching staffs to add another assistant.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football

A waiver for a waiver

Man, is the Maurice Smith situation complicated, or what?

… When Smith secured his graduate transfer from Alabama last summer, the SEC set down stipulations: Smith must stay enrolled towards his master’s degree in Public Health and graduate within two years, or Georgia would be precluded from requesting further graduate transfer waivers…

Smith has spent the time since Georgia’s season ended training mostly in his hometown of Houston, then did some training in Athens. If he ends up making the NFL, Smart said there will be a waiver process in place so Smith doesn’t necessarily have to take classes this fall.

“The commissioner is aware of that,” Smart said. “He understands that’s the kid’s dream, that’s what he wants to do. So he’ll take that into consideration.”

Jimmy Sexton never has problems like that when his clients want to move.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, SEC Football

‘You’re doing it again. Don’t do it.’

You have to read this Dennis Dodd interview with North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham about the ongoing NCAA investigation into the academic shenanigans there in its entirety to get the true flavor of its craziness, but the gist of it is expressed in one Slick Willie-esque paragraph.

Revealing what seems to be North Carolina’s defense in the case, Cunningham told CBS Sports, “Is this academic fraud? Yes, it is by a normal person’s standards. But by the NCAA definition [it is not].”

The NCAA, of which North Carolina is a proud, voting member last time I checked, isn’t normal.  That’s some defense you got there, Bubba.

The whole thing is nuts.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA