Category Archives: SEC Football

“This is an important issue.”

So, Greg Sankey is not going to lower himself to a Twitter war – “some childhood use of Twitter” – with Jim Harbaugh, because what’s at stake for the children is too damned critical.

“What’s unfortunate is people try to reduce this to simply a competitive issue, which it is not,” Sankey said.

The NCAA does not prohibit schools from conducting off-site practices during spring break, but Sankey believes the move by Michigan is counter-intuitive to the time-demand concerns discussed by Power 5 conference leaders and student-athletes at the NCAA’s annual convention in January.

“That’s the national issue and if I’m the only one that is going to speak about it, so be it,” Sankey said. “But it is one piece of this conversation that we don’t need to further. In addition, we need to understand that it’s really clear when people do things — push the boundaries — others follow and I think it is all in our collective best interests to say out-of-season sports using, in this case, spring break for practice purposes, is not appropriate.”

Question:  if this isn’t a competitive issue, then what business is it of the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference as to what the coach at Michigan does with his players?


Filed under SEC Football

Proof that nature abhors a vacuum.

Spurrier retires and Harbaugh steps up to fill the gap.


Filed under Big Ten Football, SEC Football

Hypocrisy for everybody!

Most of this Kevin Scarbinsky column on Jim Harbaugh’s perfidy in bring spring practice down South is bullshit, because we all know that Greg Sankey’s stated concern about infringing on kids’ spring break time is hypocritical, but since we’re on the subject, I have to acknowledge that Scarbinsky shoots and scores with this:

What about Jim Delany? What about the Big Ten commissioner who’s so concerned about the student-athlete that he proposed a return to the quaint days of freshman ineligibility?

If Delany was sincere in his belief that “a year of readiness” would benefit student-athletes before they were asked to play games, what does he think about Harbaugh’s plan to take away even more of their down time?

Surely, Delany can’t be pleased with this idea even if there appears to be no specific NCAA rule that prohibits it. Yet he’s been absent, at least publicly, from this debate.

What a surprise.


Filed under Big Ten Football, SEC Football

In the SEC, having a top ten recruiting class ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Bud Elliott breaks down this year’s numbers on blue chip (four- and five-star recruits) signings.  It’s about as lopsided as you might expect.

1. SEC (8.6 blue chips per school): It’s the SEC and everyone else. Six teams in the conference signed double-digit four- and five-star players. The split between the West (79) and East (42) is big, but perhaps not as big as I would have expected. The SEC signed more blue chips than any other two conferences combined. And it’s not just Alabama; half of the top-14 teams in the 247Sports Composite rankings were from the SEC, including Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

He’s not kidding in his first sentence.  The Pac-12 was second, at 4.9 blue chips per school.  The other three P5 conferences showed a very top heavy distribution.

But more on the SEC’s numbers and, more particularly, what they mean for Kirby Smart and Georgia.  The very good news is that Georgia signed more blue chip recruits than any other school in the East.  That’s the first step to take in heading back to Atlanta to play for conference titles.  The not-so-good news is that, at best, all Georgia did in the larger picture was tread water, as the three teams ahead of the Dawgs in the Composite rankings all signed more blue chippers.

In a four-team playoff world, the road to a national title runs through the SECCG.  (Just ask Herbstreit.)  For Georgia, then, merely running in place, even if that’s a better showing than its division rivals, won’t get it there.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

The smoke thickens at Ole Miss.

I’m not sure I’d say there’s a full-blown fire, but at least you can see the smouldering embers.

Mississippi’s football program was cited by the NCAA in 13 of the 28 rules violations levied against the school in the notice of allegations the university recently received, with nine of the violations occurring during current coach Hugh Freeze’s tenure.

The breakdown of violations by sport was first reported Tuesday by The Associated Press by a person with knowledge of the investigation, and later confirmed for by multiple sources.

The violations are a mix of Level I, II and III; the NCAA considers Level I violations the most serious. Many of the violations have already been self-reported by the school and, as sources told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy on Tuesday night, the ones that took place under Freeze’s tenure are low-level violations.

Ole Miss officials reiterated that there “were no surprises” in the NCAA’s report.

Yeah, well, except for the fact when the news first broke, the current staff wasn’t implicated for anything other than Laremy Tunsil’s poor judgment.  Not to mention that “many of the violations” being self-reported ain’t the same as “all of the violations”.  So Ole Miss has some maneuvering to do with the NCAA.

There is some good news for the school, though, assuming this is accurate.

Sources confirmed to’s Chris Low on Tuesday that Ole Miss was not cited for the more serious failure-to-monitor charge and that Freeze was not personally named in any of the charges.

Still, there’s enough in all of that, particularly the bit about a booster illegally transporting a recruit to campus, to give the NCAA something to dig its teeth into.  I doubt the end result will be anything too overwhelming, but it won’t be nothing, either.  And that means Freeze’s recruiting will face heightened scrutiny going forward.

Gee, I wonder if anyone will mention that on the recruiting trail.


Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

“This seems completely counter to the dialogue.”

The SEC is urgently requesting the NCAA to block Michigan from holding part of its spring practice in Florida because it doesn’t want Jim Harbaugh’s ugly mug getting extra exposure at IMG Academy it would be held during spring break.

No, really.  Cue Greg Sankey’s sad tears:

“We have work to do on [giving athletes a] day off. We have work to do on, how do you provide a postseason break? It seems where this is one where reasonable people could say we just shouldn’t be in this space.”

That is so sweet.  And if the NCAA doesn’t do it for the kids, then what?  Then Sankey intends to get medieval on Harbaugh’s ass.

“The net of that is to say the Southeastern Conference is not going to be outpaced in recruiting,” Sankey said. “If the national approach is that we want to have more aggressive summer camps and coaches touring around all summer, then we will not only engage in that behavior, we will certainly engage in that behavior more actively — probably more effectively than others.”

Sounds reasonable to me, Greg.


UPDATE:  The SEC actually has a rule prohibiting its members from doing what Michigan is doing.

I guess we know what Sankey’s first move will be if the NCAA turns down his request.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Georgia recruiting and the first rule of holes

For those of you who felt, like me, that Mark Richt’s stretch of chronic undersigning was the biggest mistake of his head coaching career, I’ve got some numeric evidence for you to review.  But first, a little context:

Between 2007-11, SEC teams averaged 25.4 players per signing class. Auburn (30.2 signees a year), Ole Miss (28), Mississippi State (28), Alabama (27.2) and LSU (26.8) were the biggest oversigners.

Since the signing cap with loopholes began in 2012, SEC schools are averaging 24.2 players per class.

So where does Georgia fit in?  Not at that end of the pool.

SEC Average Signing Class Numbers
Team Average Class 2007-11 Average Class 2012-16 Difference
Auburn 30.2 24.2 -6.0
Ole Miss 28.0 24.0 -4.0
Mississippi State 28.0 23.6 -4.4
Alabama 27.2 25.8 -1.4
LSU 26.8 24.4 -2.4
Arkansas 26.6 23.8 -2.8
Kentucky 26.0 25.6 -0.4
South Carolina 25.6 24.4 -1.2
Florida 24.2 24.4 +0.2
Tennessee 24.2 25.4 +1.2
Missouri* 24.2 22.4 -1.8
Texas A&M* 23.8 24.2 +0.4
Georgia 20.8 24.6 +3.8
Vanderbilt 20.2 22.0 +1.8


That’s right – from 2007 through 2011, the only conference team that averaged fewer signees than Georgia did was Vanderbilt.  During that period, Auburn signed about ten more kids a year.  That’s almost beyond absurd, and it should have taken someone other than Jeremy Pruitt rolling in a couple of years ago to scream bloody murder about it.

The good news is that Georgia sports the largest increase in period over period signings.  But that’s just a start on filling up a deep hole that was voluntarily dug.  (Don’t forget that even with the uptick over the last five years, the 2013 class has largely vaporized.)  Kirby Smart still has some filling left to do.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football