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.

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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.

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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 ESPN.com 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 ESPN.com’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.

23 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

This week, in Title IX litigation

It’s Tennessee’s turn to step up to the plate.

Six women filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the University of Tennessee has created a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student-athletes, especially football players, and then uses an unusual, legalistic adjudication process that is biased against victims who step forward.

The lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs identified only as “Jane Does,” accuses five Tennessee athletes of sexual assault. They are former basketball player Yemi Makanjuola, former football players A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams and Riyahd Jones and a current football player named as a “John Doe.”

… In making its case that the university enabled an environment of bad behavior and used a disciplinary system that favored the players, the lawsuit cited more than a dozen incidents involving football players that included underage drinking, sexual harassment, assault, armed robbery and sexual assaults that did not involve the Jane Doe plaintiffs. Some of the incidents cited have previously never been reported.

What makes the situation in Knoxville somewhat unique in comparison with what we’ve seen alleged in places like Baylor and FSU is how institutionalized the process is made out to be.

The plaintiffs say that UT’s administrative hearing process, which is utilized by public universities across the state, is unfair because it provides students accused of sexual assault the right to attorneys and to confront their accusers through cross-examination and an evidentiary hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge who hears the case is appointed by [UT Chancellor) Cheek, the lawsuit says.

The details of that, as laid out in the complaint, are pretty amazing.

Tennessee is the only state in the country to use such an administrative hearing process, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that UT student-athletes frequently hired prominent Knoxville attorney Don Bosch to represent them in their administrative hearings.

“Athletes knew in advance that UT would: support them even after a complaint of sexual assault; arrange for top quality legal representation; and then direct them to the (Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act) hearing procedure that denies victims the right to a hearing and to the same equal procedural, hearing, and process rights as given to perpetrators of rape and sexual assault,” the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit.

That’s gotta be encouraging for a rape victim.  It certainly gives the administration a certain level of comfort in managing the process, and that’s what several of the allegations made in the suit point towards.

“UT administration (Chancellor Jimmy Cheek), athletic department (Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director) Dave Hart and football coach (Butch Jones) were personally aware (as ‘appropriate persons’ under Title IX) and had actual notice of previous sexual assaults and rapes by football players, yet acted with deliberate indifference to the serious risks of sexual assaults and failed to take corrective actions,” the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit…

The university “delayed the investigation process until the athlete perpetrators transferred to another school or graduated without  sanction or discipline,” the lawsuit said. Johnson was suspended at the end of his senior season but was able to participate in the UT commencement ceremony…

And this allegation is just nasty.

Two of the student-athletes named in the lawsuit — Johnson and Makanjuola — were publicly praised by UT coaches and administrators while they remained on their teams, graduated or transferred, even as those officials were aware that sexual assault allegations had been made against the players.

If true, either these people are too stupid or too lazy to worry about plausible deniability – or simply too arrogant.

There’s plenty more alleged in the complaint.  I don’t see how Tennessee has any choice but to fight this hard, given the way people all the way up the chain of command are named.  In any event, it sure looks like all the rumors about misbehaving Vol players being coddled by the administration going all the way back to the Fulmer era are coming home to roost.  Ugly.

80 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Crime and Punishment, See You In Court

“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.

40 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Not to interrupt your midday drool…

Before you finish trying to compose yourself after reading this morning’s Eason/Chaney post, you might want to take a minute to think about what a couple of folks are saying about Charlie Woerner:

“What exactly is he? He’s a utility player that can do a lot of things,” Smart said. “He’s getting bigger, he runs track. He’s played defense, he’s played offense. He’s not a guy that’s coming in and looking for the high-profile situation. All he wants to do is come in and play and compete. I’m excited because having gone against Jim Chaney’s offense, I know the way he uses players like that. I watched him do that with Hunter Henry (at Arkansas), I watched him do that with guys at Tennessee. He’ll find ways to get the guy the ball and put him in unique situations for his body size and matchup. We’re obviously excited about Charlie.”

Woerner’s high school coach at Rabun County, Lee Shaw, believes his pupil’s skill set and size could make for some interesting mismatches down the road. Last July, when Woerner committed to Georgia, Shaw said his standout player should be able to allow  Georgia’s coaching staff – which has since changed – to move him around in various formations.

“(Woerner) presents mismatches because you can force a defense into different fronts,” Shaw said. “Then you flex Charlie out, or send in trips open and he’s a single receiver, and you force the defense into a scheme they don’t want to be in. Charlie’s that guy. That’s why I compare him to (tight end Rob) Gronkowski and how they use Gronkowski at New England.”

Cigarette?

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“Preseason FPI is designed to take the guesswork out of preseason ratings.”

ESPN, any ratings system that has Tennessee coming out ahead of Alabama may be many things, but guesswork-free ain’t one of ’em.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Stats Geek!