Category Archives: It’s All Just Made Up And Flagellant

Keep your chin up, kid.

University of Alabama Chancellor Robert Witt says that even though mistakes were made, embattled UAB President Ray Watts still has his undying support.

“There is no doubt that our governing structure and the synergies of UA, UAB and UAH are a point of tremendous pride for Alabama and a model for the nation.  It is extremely unfortunate that a vocal few would choose to disagree.”

And after reading the complete PR memo that laid out the plans to shut down UAB’s football program, I can see why Witt has his back.  After all, if college is about preparing students to deal with the real world, how much more of an education could UAB’s student-athletes get than this touching send off?

Make History, Show Your Heart: This will be a difficult transition, but it will demonstrate your ability to deal with hard times and show heart, work ethic, loyalty, and dedication. These are traits to be proud of and this is a story you will be able to share and benefit from in every job interview for the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to prove your ability to deal with a difficult situation and to help others through the same — something employers look for.

Yeah, making sure that somebody you interview for a job hire has the experience of suffering through a layoff in the form of a D-1 college football program being closed is the kind of thing 21st-century employers are seeking out in droves.  Especially in Alabama.

A model for the nation, indeed.

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Life After Football

Who you gonna believe, me or those lying documents?

I’m not sure what I like best about this AP story on the UAB memos, that the university president thinks the old story line still works despite printed evidence to the contrary, or that the state legislator who’s calling for his head runs a Rivals Web site dedicated to UAB sports.

Either way, it’s quintessential Alabama.

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Political Wankery, Whoa, oh, Alabama

At UAB, the fix was already in.

You will be shocked, shocked to learn that the decision to kill the UAB football program was made before the release of the report the school had hired a consulting firm to furnish.  Hell, it may have been made before the start of the 2014 season.

… according to documents obtained by AL.com, the decision to kill football and the other two programs may have been made prior to the start of the football season.

The documents show that public relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. prepared detailed plans for UAB to announce last September that it would eliminate the three programs, months before the school made the actual announcement.

The documents also show the school pushed back the announcement date until the conclusion of the football team’s regular season on the advice of both Sard Verbinnen and CarrSports.

The documents indicate that Watts misled his student-athletes, coaches, supporters, faculty members and others on at least three separate occasions in November and December when he said the decision to kill the three sports wasn’t made until November.

As appalling as flat-out lying may seem – really, when will bureaucrats ever learn the coverup is usually worse than the original story? – it’s the rationale expressed for delaying the decision until after the football season ended that’s really shameless.

That memo offers “our basis for opposing a mid-season announcement.” It suggests the potential for “a critical mass of immediate transfer requests … where students refuse to finish out the season” or “a full team boycott.”

“If not effectively managed,” the memo says, “it is conceivable that UAB would not be able to field a competitive team – or any team.”

The memo also suggests the possibility that UAB football players “may react very badly if an announcement is made during the season.”

In other words, don’t do it for the kids.

And this is just as bad.

Sard Verbinnen, the New York PR firm, advised UAB in September to “allow other tough decisions to set the stage” to announce the review’s results. For instance, the university announced last June that UAB Medicine Employees would not receive annual merit raises based on “profound shifts in healthcare.”

Sard Verbinnen advised UAB that “further isolating the athletic department’s results from others announced earlier in the season will also lessen the chances that the UAB lumps all ‘tough decisions’ together and concludes that the university is in financial duress.”

It just goes to show you can never have enough bad news to prime the pump.

So why go to all the trouble to mislead almost everyone with an interest in UAB athletics?  It can’t be political, can it?  Nah… just ask the PR folks.

Also, Sard Verbinnen advised to wait until after the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees meeting in November to help mitigate “unwarranted speculation” that the decision was driven by the board. Many UAB supporters believe several powerful trustees with Crimson Tide ties, including Paul Bryant Jr., got football killed. The board oversees UAB.

“The strategic review required time and careful deliberation by the department and the community’s perception of it should not be compromised by the negative optics that could result if it were communicated in parallel with a Board of Trustee meeting,” Sard Verbinnen wrote.

Good to see that’s been avoided.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Reason #28416 you shouldn’t believe their math

Auburn – you know, the Auburn that supposedly is losing money running its athletic department – is about to spend somewhere between $70 and $120 million upgrading Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Starting with a $14 million scoreboard.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

“It all just creeps me out.”

It sounds like Lennay Kekua may have an imaginary cousin in Mississippi.

Kinda embarrassing for Hugh Freeze, eh?

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Carroll, please.

If Pete Carroll had only known that the NCAA was going to throw the book at Southern Cal…

“Had we known that that was imminent … I would never have been able to leave under those circumstances. When I look back now, I would have stayed there to do what we needed to do to resolve the problem.”

In the background, if you can’t hear it, is the world’s saddest song being played on the world’s smallest violin.

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Everyone’s a winner, baby.

Tell me, is there any money in claiming old national championships?  Because I’d hate to think Auburn’s flirting with national ridicule simply to try to keep up with Alabama’s example.

Jacobs said the consensus from Auburn fans so far is “pretty strong” that the university should retroactively count past championships.

Alabama, the bitter in-state rival of Auburn, has questionably counted national titles for years. Alabama claims 15 national championships, but counted only six until the mid-1980s.

One of the titles claimed by Alabama is from 1941, when the Crimson Tide lost two games and undefeated Minnesota was widely recognized the consensus champion. Alabama had a final AP ranking of No. 20 and finished third in the SEC. Alabama claims 1941 because it was No. 1 in the Houlgate System, a mathematical rating from 1927 to 1958 that ran in syndicated newspapers.

How truly silly is this? This silly:

For instance, the National Championship Foundation recognizes Auburn as a national champion in 1993 (when the Tigers were on NCAA probation and served a postseason ban) with Florida State, Notre Dame and Nebraska. Florida State is widely considered the only national champion in 1993.

The National Championship Foundation was created in 1980 by Mike Riter of Hudson, N.Y., to retroactively count pre-1980 national titles. The foundation also started naming champions in current time.

So, like I asked, is there any money in this?  ‘Cause I’m wondering if we’re underutilizing the Mumme Poll.  I can be as open for business as the next Mike Riter of Hudson, N.Y.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant