Congratulations on being a true pioneer, Coach Freeze.
Category Archives: The NCAA
You know when somebody’s playing the “mistakes were made” card, it’s an attempt to make you look in another direction.
Here’s Freeze’s narrative: Mistakes were made. They’ll be held accountable — he’ll be held accountable, even as he points out that some of the violations were made by boosters, people “outside the building.”
But he also says Ole Miss has been targeted because of a dramatic leap, both in recruiting classes and subsequently on the field. He believes there’s backlash from rivals over the idea that a traditionally mediocre program has moved up in the hierarchy (“People don’t like Ole Miss winning,” he said). He bristles when reporters and others tell him they’re hearing from other coaches that Ole Miss has been cheating. He wants to defend himself and the program, which is why he said:
“The day that really matters is the day we get to share our side with the Committee on Infractions.”
Andy Staples points out that one part of that bullshit is accurate. If the NCAA finds a real problem, regardless of which staffer or staffers were responsible, Freeze will be stuck with the tab.
Freeze wants this to be an Ole Miss matter and not a Hugh Freeze matter, but that’s where it gets complicated and difficult to predict. In 2013, the schools passed a rule that allows the COI to discipline a head coach for the actions of his assistants even if the head coach didn’t know what the assistants were doing. In NCAA parlance, the head coach is now “presumed responsible” for more serious violations. The COI has the power to suspend the head coach for between 10% and 100% of a season.
You get paid $4 million a year, yeah, a little accountability should be expected. And that makes Seth Emerson’s question something worth keeping in the back of our heads.
Andy Staples points out something I’ve wondered about ever since Todd Gurley got nailed for taking $3000 in improper benefits… or, really, since AJ Green and his $1,000.
… From a public relations standpoint, a harsh penalty with no new allegations will satisfy Mississippi State fans and Alabama fans. But outside the fanbases whose schools play Ole Miss on an annual basis, it would appear the NCAA is decimating a program over a little more than $15,000 in extra benefits. Among those with no dog in the hunt, such sanctions will play quite differently in 2016 than they would have in 2006 or even in 2010. Freeze and every other coach in the SEC West make at least $4 million a year. The SEC rakes in millions from its network partnership with ESPN. The general public no longer views a few hundred dollars here and there—or a few hotel stays*, as the Notice of Allegations alleges—as sins that could bring down the republic.
In the context of things, he’s got a point. There’s so much money washing over college football these days, including the now-permitted COA stipend paid to players; how pushy do you really want to get over a relatively piddling amount?
On the other hand, there’s that damned slippery slope to consider.
… But if the COI doesn’t hammer Ole Miss, the people within the programs with skin in the game could view any leniency as a tacit approval to bring back Southwest Conference-style bidding wars. In its own way, the Ole Miss case might be as much of a referendum on the NCAA’s ever-shifting definition of amateurism as any of the cases currently circulating through the federal court system.
Hugh Freeze would love to set the record straight, believe you me, but the goddamn lawyers and those bastards at the NCAA just won’t let him.
Which makes this…
… so unfair.
All that money rolling in to college athletics, and one of the heroes of this year’s College World Series will leave school with $150,000 in student debt.
At least the NCAA’s got enough money to pay its lawyers, though, so there’s that.
(h/t Dan Wetzel)
Andy Staples makes a pretty good point here. Baylor is well on its way to self-imposing a kind of death penalty.
Meanwhile, Baylor will lose most of its talent core after this season. Russell is a senior. So is tailback Shock Linwood. Receiver KD Cannon is a junior but could move on to the NFL. The defense is senior-heavy. Into that void will wander the bottom half of the 2016 recruiting class and a 2017 class that currently has one commitment. There is no telling how many players will leave after Baylor picks a new coach. The remainder of the Briles staff likely will be gone by early December, and a new staff will have to hustle to salvage what’s left of the class of 2017 recruiting cycle.
It’s possible Baylor will hire a coach on the rise who can begin the rebuild with the 2018 recruiting cycle, but it’s just as likely this job won’t attract a strong candidate pool in the wake of the scandal. Baylor has an excellent location and excellent facilities, but the next coach will have to fight negative recruiting for years. The chances are much higher that Baylor’s program in three years will look much more like the Baylor that toiled at the bottom of the Big 12 before Briles arrived.
So to those who wished the NCAA would return Baylor football to doormat status, you’re on your way to getting your ultimate wish. But the NCAA didn’t have to do anything. The scandal did it all by itself.
Way to go, Bears. Enjoy the quality time coming. You’ve earned it.
Alabama just docked itself a secondary recruiting violation for this: “a trophy was temporarily placed in an area where prospects taking an official visit would be, which resulted in an impermissible recruiting decoration of that area.”
An impermissible recruiting decoration. Damn that Nick Saban, reminding recruits that his program’s been successful. What perfidy lies in store next?