Is it possible to write things not about Ohio State's rapidly unraveling sweater? There is a hypothetical world in which this is the case, but it is not this one. Almost literally every day some new mortar lands in the Ohio State compliance department and detonates.
Some detonations are widely hyped and a little disappointing. Others are stealthy-like, come when you're watching Clint Dempsey add "…bitch" to the end of every sentence (and score!) and are like whoah. Blockquote unnecessary but present:
Terrelle Pryor, who announced through his attorney Tuesday that he would bypass his senior season at Ohio State, made thousands of dollars autographing memorabilia in 2009-10, a former friend who says he witnessed the transactions has told "Outside the Lines."
The signings for cash, which would be a violation of NCAA rules, occurred a minimum of 35 to 40 times, netting Pryor anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 that year, the former friend says. The source spoke to ESPN under the condition that his face not be aired on TV and that his name not be published.
As far as unsubstantiated anonymous sources go this one comes with a guy sporting an "infickellwetrust" handle on the eBays that was until recently "intresselwetrust" who sells all kinds of sports memorabilia including that from a lot of Buckeyes. So… wow. Get that paper, ignore the sense you are a walking self-parody. (Game used Henson cleats just 120!)
Does this add anything substantial to Ohio State's mounting pile of accusations or is it just a pile-on? Well, it has excised Terrelle Pryor from next year's season, leaving Ohio State to pick between Brooks Bollinger Memorial Eighth Year Senior Joe Bauserman, who's like 30 now or something and an assortment of underclassmen of whom true freshman Braxton Miller is the most touted.
But that's in the past, as Rich Rodriguez might have it. As for the future, this specific accusation is one that sounds scary but seems less likely to have a paper trail a compliance program can be expected to trace. Unlike the other accusations there's no email sitting in Tressel's inbox or compliance audit five years ago that was basically ignored or guy in charge of the equipment that should have one of those inventory things.
But while this specific thing may or may not add to the NCAA dogpile, if Brooks is correct about this…
In addition to Pryor’s past NCAA transgressions, today I confirmed that Ohio State was recently cited by NCAA enforcment officials for dozens of payments Pryor received in past years from a Columbus sports memorabilia dealer that are considered outside of NCAA rules.
The NCAA violations were discovered when the name of the local memorabilia dealer, Dennis Talbott, was seen on checks Pryor was depositing in his personal bank account.
…and personal bank accounts are being examined (probably with the threat of terminated eligibility hanging over the request), well, items have acquired a distinct nature of being in reality.
And then there's the stuff already known
Braves and Birds makes a point I've been trying to make but haven't done so as eloquently:
We are coming off of a season in which several teams lost key players because of suspensions for improper benefits. Ohio State’s head coach (and arguably their compliance department, which seems unable to find evidence of wrongdoing despite media outlets finding stories like candies tumbling out of a piñata) ignored evidence of similar violations on the part of his players. Doesn’t the NCAA have to reward schools like Georgia and North Carolina for being proactive in dealing with improper benefits by showing that the alternative is significantly worse? The NCAA needs to hammer Ohio State and not for punitive reasons or because the Bucks derived a major competitive advantage from its players trading memorabilia (that point is debatable), but rather to send a message to its members that self-reporting is a big deal. The whole system, which most closely resembles a rickety dam trying to hold back a flood of money headed towards the athletes who create it, depends on honest self-reporting.
It's hard to look at the USC violations, which were tied to the Trojan staff based on one two-and-a-half minute phone call to the running backs coach, and not see something worse coming down the pipe for OSU. USC:
- Had one player implicated for an awful lot of money.
- "Should have known" based on Todd McNair's Fisher-like desire not to know.
- Laughably stonewalled.
- Has one player implicated for a lot of money plus a half-dozen more confirmed NCAA violators plus an alleged two dozen more.
- Absolutely did know because the head coach was directly informed.
- Laughably stonewalled and, as a bonus, got the NCAA to declare its players eligible for the Sugar Bowl.
Unless the raw amount of money funneled to Reggie Bush is a significant factor (and I can't see why that would be since the difference here appears to be between low six digits and mid-fives) it seems hard to make a case that Ohio State shouldn't get penalties harsher than USC's—significantly harsher. I'd be interested to see if anyone can make a Devil's Advocate case that what's currently happening in Columbus is less severe than the Bush imbroglio. Pretty much the only person who's tried is Drew Sharp, and he did not do well* even considering he's Drew Sharp.
Seriously. The gauntlet is thrown down: can anyone make the case Ohio State should get off lighter than USC?
Anthony Standifer Goes Blue
When the ball is in the air, he goes up and gets it at its highest point. He also has very smooth hips for a kid who's 6'1" ...I also really like the way Standifer deals with blockers; they're nuisances to him and he finds crafty ways to get around people who are in his way... I have doubts that Standifer can be a truly elite corner because of his lack of high-end speed, but I think he has sufficient speed to be an impact corner in the Big Ten.
The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice:
All in all, with a couple years’ weight training and technical work, Standifer could become the sort of corner who, while not always locking down their man, won’t let up many big mistakes, and should position himself to make a play after the catch. While I like him better at corner, I wouldn’t object to placing him in a deep zone, provided he puts on some weight, ideally 10-20 pounds.
Mark Snyder of the Free Press talked to his coach:
"He's a kid who's over 6-1, may get to be 6-2 and is 6-3/6-4 in spikes," [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. "His physical makeup makes him also very athletic. He has long arms, good speed and a good vertical jump. He also has excellent instincts."
Verde also said that Anthony transformed from a great athlete int a great football player as a junior. For more, check out the Hello: Anthony Standifer post.
Scout's Allen Trieu has kind words for both Standifer and Gant (notably saying that Gant's athleticism is underrated by people who have only seen him on tape).
As the Buckeyes are the reigning overlord in the Midwest (at least from a recruiting standpoint), their struggles with following the rules are bound to have an effect on some of the other regional schools in terms of recruiting.
This week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News is a roundtable with Scout's Allen Trieu and Bill Greene. First, on OH OL Kyle Kalis:
Trieu: I think there is a good chance that he is going to at least take another look around. Obviously that doesn't mean he is going to decommit.
Greene: So if he thought about decommitting on Monday, and you were able to talk him off the edge on Tuesday, you've still got a long time between now and February 2012 when he can be signed. I would guess that you are going to have to revisit this issue again with Kyle Kalis.
Kalis talked to Tom about his commitment, and he's still a Buckeye, but considering a few other schools. Back to Webb. On OH RB Bri'onte Dunn:
Bill Greene: I think Michigan absolutely has a legitimate shot at Brionte Dunn. I think Penn State would be appealing to him too. I would not be surprised to him take official visits in the fall regardless of him reaffirming his commitment to Ohio State two days ago. I think there is still some uncertainty there.
and on OH DE Chris Wormley:
Allen Trieu: Even through all the things that he was saying, I always felt like Michigan was the leader for Chris. I think Michigan is the clear leader now and I think it would be an upset if he went anywhere but Michigan.
Bill Greene: I have had Wormley going to Michigan since the Ohio State camp last year. I still see Chris Wormley at Michigan and I've never wavered from that. We'll see.
There's much more in there, but you'll have to click through so I'm not stealing all of Sam's content. Next week's column will cover several more prospects with Michigan and Ohio State interest, including Dwayne Stanford, Kyle Dodson, and others.
Fox Toledo talked to Wormley, though he doesn't provide much insight into whether it changes his decision timeframe:
The Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo spoke to Wormley at the state track finals, and has a hunch that Michigan will land the talented Toledoan.
Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long thinks OH DE Se'Von Pittman was a Michigan lean even before Tressel got the axe.
Fox Sports Ohio covers the "risky time" for Buckeyes recruiting.
The Wayne Morgan Saga
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan had previously planned to make a final decision last Thursday, but his choice between Michigan and Rutgers is delayed. Since Michigan was the heavy favorite to land him, that's a bad thing, as it gives other schools a better chance to sway him.
From the sounds of things, Michigan's coaches wanted him as a corner, and the delay means that there will likely not be a spot for him when he decides (MA CB Armani Reeves dropped the Wolverines for similar reasons). Michigan's coaches are probably looking for a true free safety to close out the DB recruiting class.
May I suggest OH S Jarrod Wilson, who visited last Tuesday, and named Michigan to his top 3 shortly thereafter? He plans to decide before the start of his senior season. His coach, former Wolverine great Ricky Powers, told Tom that Jarrod plans to enroll early.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins was the guest of honor for a live chat with Rivals last Thursday. Some highlights:
- Ondre plans to visit Ann Arbor at the end of the summer, or for a game. He'll narrow his list in June, and his final decision will probably come in early December. He plans to announce at a press conference, but will finish his high school year rather than enrolling early.
- He spent a lot of time talking about his favorite football player: former Wolverine Lamarr Woodley. He plans to wear #56 in college to honor the Steelers all-pro, and Woodley is one of the mentors helping him through the recruiting process.
- His other recruiting advisors are Tennessee-bound DeAnthony Arnett (and his brother Ralph), and former Spartan Clifton Ryan.
- There are a lot of things Michigan has going in their favor from the start with Pipkins. He still considers Saginaw his home, and grew up a fan of Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan Stadium is tied for his favorite in the NCAA (with Alabama), and he says Michigan has the best helmet in the game. His favorite sports movie is Jalen Rose's "The Fab Five" (another tie, this time with fellow 30-for-30 project "The U").
- He wants to major in Business Administration, and a good program there (check) will help a school in his eyes, along with good relationships with the coaches, and a shot at early playing time (check).
He also seems to be high on Michigan's coaching staff, and the way they're recruiting him. For example, his answer to two separate questions (the first about Hoke and staff):
They seem very family oriented. Very honest and up front.
Yes, family is very important.
He also answered some specific questions about Michigan's coaching staff:
Q: How does the fact that Michigan has 3 DL Coaches, along with former Ravens Defensive Coord. weigh into your feelings with Michigan?
It really does ... because it's going to be a defensive-type of team and defense wins championships.
Q: Hows Greg Mattison as a recruiter. Heard hes the best in the biz.
He's very good ... he just tells you straightforward what you need to hear .
That certainly goes well with his answer to a different question, asked earlier:
Q: Do you ever feel some coaches just tell you what you want to hear and are just worried about you as the football player and not you as a person?
Yeah, I definitely feel that way. The ones that tell you wht you need to hear are the coaches that have the best interests at heart for you.
And finally, he talked a bit about his game. He doesn't matter what scheme he plays in, and doesn't care if he's simply used to plug holes so the linebackers can make plays. He loves opening lanes for the linebackers and making the plays himself, as well. His mean streak and hand movement are his strengths, along with versatility, while he admits he needs to work on staying low and getting an initial punch.
Ondre thinks he's a hard enough worker both on and off the field to be in the running for five-star status. He hasn't been invited to any All-Star games yet, but he is working hard to earn the honor.
[Ed: Pipkins was also talking about wanting Woodley's number on the Twitter. You can have the whole outfit, kid!]
CA DT Aziz Shittu will probably make his open commitment to Stanford into an official decommitment sometime soon. The highly rated big man wants to take his time and experience what other schools have to offer before choosing where to spend the next 4+ years of his life. He told Tom:
If he does reopen his recruitment that would likely mean he would take summer visits. "I'm not sure yet where I want to visit, but I'm going to get out there. I'd like to make it out to Michigan," said Shittu. "I like [Michigan's] tradition and the style of play they want to do."
Michigan was in his top-5 at the time he committed to the Cardinal, and academics are a big priority.
I would guess Pipkins is priority #1 at DT for the Wolverines (with Shittu near the top of the list as well). As for likely pipe dreams, NY DT Jarron Jones is still planning to visit Ann Arbor, so anything is possible.
MA OL Eric Olson visited Michigan yesterday. The Massachusetts prospect is relatively unknown to the recruiting services, but will make a decision soon.
CA OL Erik Magnuson is visiting this weekend. Tom says this is a "very big" visit for Michigan, so if Erik likes what he sees, it could be a great weekend for the maize-and-blue.
IL OL Jordan Diamond will be in Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header).
If Michigan closed out OL recruiting with that trio, I think there would be very few complaints.
Another tackle, PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, is also visiting today.
OH TE Sam Grant committed to Boston College.
CA TE Taylor McNamara committed to Arizona.
GA DE/LB Jarontay Jones committed to Virginia Tech.
IN QB Gunner Kiel is deciding soon ($, info in header). It seems like Michigan has fallen off in his recruitment.
CO OL Paul Thurston may be deciding soon ($, info in header).
MD DE Ryan Watson will camp at Michigan this summer.
Michigan is "in the mix" for MD DE Michael Moore ($, info in header).
Michigan has entered the top 5 for NJ S Elijah Shumate.
CBS's pre-season high school top-25 includes Farmington Hills Harrison (home of Michigan commits Mario Ojemudia and Devin Funchess), as well as several other schools with Michigan targets. Speaking of Ojemudia, he's been selected to join his future teammate Royce Jenkins-Stone in the 2012 Army All-American Game. Congrats, Mario!
Fellow commit OH LB Kaleb Ringer will move to outside linebacker this season to prepare to play that position at the next level.
The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp takes place next week.
IL WR Laquon Treadwell had a good visit to Ann Arbor last week. His teammate, Anthony Standifer, so enjoyed the visit that he committed to Michigan's 2012 class.
PA TE Adam Breneman will visit Michigan ($, info in header).
MI DT Kenton Gibbs is hearing from Michigan. He's a Cass Tech product, so Michigan should have a shot at him if they decide to pursue.
Michigan has offered CA LB Michael Hutchings ($, info in header). He's a product of Concord De La Salle (alma mater of Matt Gutierrez, Amani Toomer, and a few other former Wolverines).
[Ed: light day. Going to Gold Cup game(s). Also is June.]
If reporters looked like this the world would be a different, stranger place. College Football Live called up a local Morgantown reporter to discuss what Doctor Saturday has dubbed "As The Couch Burns." They immediately improved said reporters self-image:
If Mike Casazza woke up today with wolves and a fridge full of chocolate milk this is why.
While we're on ATCB, yes, it has been broached: bring back Rich Rodriguez.
"Mentor." The Dispatch FOIAs Tressel's communications with one Ted Sarniak and comes up with a heavily redacted set of information that invites questions as to who is mentoring who, exactly:
After Tressel received an April 2, 2010, email from a former player warning him of potential NCAA violations, the coach exchanged 77 calls and text messages with and spent a total of 4 1/2 hours talking on the phone with Ted Sarniak, the hometown mentor of quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Jeannette, Pa.
Their longest phone conversation - 18 minutes - happened on Dec. 21, two days before OSU announced Pryor and five others would be suspended for part of the 2011 season for violations.
The two also spoke for three minutes immediately after the Dec. 23 news conference benching Pryor, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas and Mike Adams for five games and Jordan Whiting for one game.
Tressel and Sarniak exchanged text messages on March 8, the day OSU announced that Tressel had known about the violations for months.
Sarniak will now offer tearful testimony about how Jim Tressel made him into a man. There's still a bunch of stuff that's redacted with OSU claiming it's "personal," but OSU also tried to withhold Chris Cicero's name and a bunch of other things besides that they had no legal ground to do so. That doesn't much matter since the NCAA can ask to see them on pain of pain. (I think, anyway. Lawyer me in the comments if I'm wrong).
"Mistake." Again with the "mistake" language, this time from bow-tie wearing university president and fool Gordon Gee:
"Any time that there is a mistake, or any time that there is an issue that flares up, and we go back through and scrub everything very, very carefully," he said. "We want to make certain that we're asking all the right questions."
It is not a mistake to engage in a months-long cover-up, just like it's not a mistake to give Jim Tressel a gentle massage when you find out he's violated a very serious NCAA bylaw. Nor is it a "mistake" to ignore two separate warnings that you are barely checking on your athlete's cars, or a "mistake" to talk with Terrelle Pryor's shady handler for four and a half hours.
Meanwhile, that article has another insight into OSU's compliance department:
The university's compliance department, however, did warn another university about a former Buckeyes player who has been linked to the NCAA scandal.
In January, former Ohio State running back Jermil Martin enrolled at Ashland University, an NCAA Division II school midway between Columbus and Cleveland.
As required by NCAA rules, Ohio State notified Ashland of problems with Martin's eligibility, Ashland athletic director Bill Goldring said.
Martin was cited in the SI article as a guy with a close relationship with Rife, so the eligibility issues they reported to the DII school should have led to an investigation and so forth and so on. Instead it was all like "whoops, third string fullback, you did bad and have to go and It Is Fortunate you are the only one."
On the other hand, OSU has just updated (in April) its compliance procedures to the satisfaction of the auditing committee. Close that barn door, baby.
Steelebits. Via Get The Picture, Michigan returns a higher percentage of its yards on offense than almost anyone—they're tenth at 93%. And they only graduate one starter on the line. The offense was going to take a step back in terms of FEI and other advanced metrics just by regressing to the mean, but trying to parse out how much of that is going on versus how much the offensive transition is hurting things is going to be difficult.
Actually, it might not be if they just can't run (or throw) out of the I. That'll be something tracked in UFRs. Because it's interesting, not because I am full of hate. Hoke Uber Alles.
Offtopic but wow. Haven't bashed a local columnist in a while and while it's probably not nice to make fun of someone obviously suffering from late-state syphillis… wow:
Pistons need tough leader like Isiah Thomas as coach
If only we had known about this before a dollar of penicillin could have prevented this tragedy. Isaiah Thomas will sexually harass the players, yo, and then he will do what he's done to every NBA team he's ever come in contact with: make them so much worse than you ever thought possible.
Etc.: Mike Hamilton resigns. With OSU on the Volunteer path that means Gene Smith has a couple months before he does the same.
Faster than a speeding bullet,
More powerful than a locomotive,
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…
Look, up in the sky!
It's a bird!
It's a plane!
It's the reason we'd rather watch college football than do almost anything else in the world.
It's been a week of ebullient celebration in Ann Arbor while Columbus burns but even those outside of The Sacred Brotherhood have started to muse on the actual justice of it all. WatersDemos took the premise of a New Yorker article – "Is college worth it?" and ran with it for college sports. Most prescient, I thought, was goodness of creating a class of "fake" (not his words) students to serve the interests of what's essentially brand marketing.
I'd like to take that further: what's so good about college sports?
(after the jump, it's a job [lowers voice] for Superman.)
All better. Denard doppleganger détente, dastardly dialogue defused:
That is downright eerie. They are the same person.
Manball cyborg of yore. Have a desire to see Tom Coughlin get his face caved in Gary Moeller? (Very gradually, anyway.) Here you go:
The skill position talent that year was Desmond Howard, Derrick Alexander, Tyrone Wheatley, Ricky Powers, Elvis Grbac, and Dave Diebolt. That's insane, and Michigan played like it when not going up against Steve Emtmann. They put up at least 20 points in every game until losing to #1 Washington in the Rose Bowl, put up 30 eight times (including a 31-3 blowout of OSU), and cracked 40 five times against Big Ten opposition.
Deep as the sea. The Daily's Tim Rohan got Larry Foote and Jarrett Irons on the record about player payments; what they have to say is surprising unless it's completely unsurprising:
“It’s a lot bigger than Tressel,” said Foote, who was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2001. “I’ve been telling people that. It’s a lot bigger. College atmospheres, big universities and athletic programs, they’re dirty — a lot of them are dirty. And coaches, they’ve got to take the fall.”
Both Foote and Irons said that in each of their own unique experiences they have come to understand it is common. Yet both denied any wrongdoing happening at Michigan.
“When I was at Michigan,” Foote continued, “that’s one thing I pride myself about Michigan, because the stories I hear about other teams with the money and the alumni and the stuff like that, the stuff I’m hearing — I mean it is brand new.
“And people don’t understand when they ask me, ‘How much money did you get?’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ I’ve never even heard of players at Michigan getting money. Not one story.
Irons is speaking from his experience attempting to recruit players to IMG, so he's a guy who would know. Michigan's compliance program coming down hard on anyone with a new car is recounted (again).
Maybe so? Previous skepticism about Notre Dame setting money on fire to join Hockey East because it has schools people have heard of (and by "schools" we mean "Boston College") is less skeptical now that one Jeff Jackson is on the record about it:
“It’s a possibility,” acknowledged Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson. “I know our athletic director and associate athletic director are doing their due diligence in looking at all of the alternatives.” …
Jackson said they will be looking at being in a conference with “like-minded schools” and that pertains to academics and other areas in addition to athletics.
“It’s not just about the hockey end of it,” said Jackson. “And we’re also looking at our access to TV rights.”
There are still a lot of hurdles. Hockey East does not want an odd number of teams so a 12th would have to be added, whether that's CCHA-killing Miami or one of the Atlantic Hockey schools that would like to offer a full complement of scholarships.
I'm not a big fan of the move, which would put the CCHA on precarious footing, but what can you do?
Go on you Tangerines. I linked this series on one Canadian's excellent adventure at the bottom of the Premiership table already but I'll do it again so I can grab a paragraph. Blackpool has just gone from 2-1 up with 33 minutes left to safety to 4-2 down and relegated. The third goal—the crippling one—was an own-goal by Blackpool stalwart Ian Evatt. In the aftermath Evatt is just shattered (example @ right). Cue Blackpool fans:
Marvelously, the Blackpool fans were chanting “ONE IAN EVATT…THERE’S ONLY ONE IAN EVATT.” Evatt, a few yards up the pitch from Holloway, head down and shoulders slumped, turned an acknowledged the support with a wave. I’ve mentioned it before but the relationship between clubs and fans in Europe is so different from the relationships in North America. When Steve Smith scored in 1986 to eliminate the Oilers from the playoffs, he was met with something less than complete support from the fans in Edmonton. As great as the Edmonton fans were in the 2006 playoffs, it was unthinkable that Ty Conklin could take to the ice again after his mistake in Game 1 - he didn’t have the reserve of goodwill to draw on that Evatt did but even if he did, it’s tough to imagine him receiving this sort of support. By turning the sporting experience into the commodity that it’s become in North America, in explicitly turning it into a business from which profits are expected to be generated, the relationship is different. Fans aren’t supporters in North America in the way that they are in Europe - they’re consumers. If the product that the team is offering stinks or the team hits on tough times, they react like consumers who are receiving poor service.
I'd like to think that college sports have some insulation from that but once PSLs come in and uniformz are deployed and it's clear your money teat is being milked not at all gently—80 dollar Eastern Michigan ticket ho—the differences are less than you might like. At least there's a damned war about booing people after things like the Toledo game. That's not a matter up for debate in pro sports.
(As a side note, what a good idea for a vacation: go to England during the final week of the Premier league season and go to as many relegation battles as possible. That's quality sports tourism.)
The court is a lie. Nobody circles the wagons like non-fake Buckeyes, even if they're Penguins. Former YSU quarterback and booster largess recipient Ray Isaac:
Number one, I’m totally responsible for what I did at Youngstown State University. Every year, from the time I was on campus, from ’88 to ’91, Tressel had compliance seminars — not to deal with bookies, not to deal with drugs, not to deal with not buying or selling anything. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I met [booster] Mickey Monus. It is implied that on the first meeting that I had with Mickey Monus that I received $150. That is the biggest lie ever told. … Jim Tressel never ever knew anything about our dealings. I kept it secret. To say Coach Tressel knew about this car, or knew about this money, listen, the only way that anyone knew about the money I received from Youngstown State University was Mickey Monus got indicted on $1.1 million worth of embezzlement and fraud.
In 1988, according to court documents from a jury-tampering trial involving Mickey Monus, a wealthy school trustee and the founder of the Phar-Mor chain of drug stores, Tressel had called Monus about arranging a job for Isaac. The player and the CEO had never met, but Isaac told SI that he had heard of Monus's "philanthropist-type hand" from two basketball players. At his first meeting with Monus, Isaac received $150. According to the court documents, by the time he left Youngstown State, in 1992, Isaac had collected more than $10,000 in cash and checks from Monus and Monus's associates and employees. …
Three years later Monus was on trial for jury tampering in the government's first prosecution of him, which had ended in a hung jury. During this trial (at which Monus was found not guilty) Monus and Isaac, who had pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a juror on Monus's behalf, disclosed their financial dealings while Isaac was a student and alleged that Tressel had set these in motion with that first phone call.
A reporter covering the jury-tampering trial called the school and reported Monus's and Isaac's testimony, prompting an internal investigation. That probe revealed that Isaac's car was the worst-kept secret on campus. According to NCAA documents, all of Isaac's teammates who were interviewed "except one" knew about the car or had suspicions about it. Even people outside the football family knew. Pauline Saternow, then the school's compliance officer, had such misgivings about the car that she recused herself from the investigation committee because, according to Cochran, she did not feel she could be objective. Everyone raised an eyebrow -- except Tressel.
You can believe Ray Isaac, or you can believe Ray Isaac in court and all of Ray Isaac's teammates except the guy who you have to send all the Snopes links to.
Etc.: North Carolina braces for a notice of allegations from the NCAA. It will be a while before any penalties are clear but it sounds like UNC folk are expecting to take a scholarship hit of "minimal" intensity. LeCharles Bentley writes a David Mayo-level column for ESPN Cleveland: "[Denard Robinson, Braxton Miller, and Nathan Scheelhaase] would not have chosen the Big Ten if Pryor had not chosen the Big Ten — except perhaps Robinson. But that goes back to the point: Robinson followed Rich Rodriguez to Michigan in hopes of changing the landscape of the Big Ten."
UMHoops checks up on Robinson, Stauskas and possible (but probably not extant) third 2012 recruit. Greg Schiano wants to replace the punt with a 4th and 15 from the 30. I'm intrigued. We could actually shoot threes last year.
For some reason they put a statue of Barry Switzer outside of Nick Saban Memorial Hospital. Seriously, why did Alabama put up a statue of Barry Switzer? I'm so confused.
- SEC teams can only sign 25 a year, down from 28. You can still backdate early enrollees.
- There's going to be some sort of conference overview of St. Saban Memorial Hospital.
- Attending summer school counts as enrollment—no more Elliott Porters.
- Anyone transferring to an SEC school must have at least two years of eligibility—no more Jeremiah Masolis.
That last one is kind of beside the point, but since these grad exemptions are pretty close to free agency it's understandable why they were an issue to be addressed. The arrival of Masoli and Florida pirating an all-conference cornerback from Utah were evidently unsettling, so no more of that.
It's the oversigning stuff that's everyone main focus, though, and passing those bylaws has been met by another raspberry, this one media-based. A Jeff Schultz from the AJC:
The SEC, as the highest-profile college football conference in the nation, had a chance to make a loud statement at its meetings this week. It kind of wimped out. Rather than attack the oversigning problem with significant legislation, it decided only that it would lower the annual scholarship offer cap from 28 to 25.
Let me translate: Coaches now have a lower limit as to how unethical and morally reprehensible they can be. Feel better?
This was sort of like the real SEC passing a rule: “We recognize that insider trading is a problem. So we’re going to cap profits from said illegal transactions at $2.7 million.”
While both parties are right that the Big Ten's approach cuts down on the churn and the SEC is not going that far, the legislation they passed will have a real impact. As mentioned in the earlier post, if this had been around the last four years Auburn would have signed 19 fewer kids—almost an entire class—Alabama 13, South Carolina 11, and so forth down the line. Cropping the limit from 28 to 25 cuts the cuts by about half at the worst offenders.
Meanwhile, adopting the Big Ten approach (you can only sign three more kids than you have available scholarships, and you have to petition the conference to do so) doesn't necessarily cut down on attrition. It just moves the abattoir from "whenever we find out if this guy qualified" to late January. While a combination of both rules is ideal, either in isolation is exploitable.
So this is exploitable, yes, but less so than it was before. It's something between pure public relations and Total Internet Victory. Partial internet victory is still kind of something—whine for five years and people will give ground. Nick Saban was pissed off when this happened. That's a heuristic that indicates a step in the right direction. While it could be better, complaints about the proposal are making the perfect an enemy of the good.
Someone else comes up with a simple solution to something that's definitely a problem. That said, I love love love the idea the first commenter on the above-linked Oversigning.com post lays out:
If we are going to create a new system, why not get rid of the 85 scholarship limit. What makes that number so valuable? Why not just set an annual signing limit of (pick a number) 30 to 35. Make the grants for 5 years and allow 5 years of participation (eliminate redshirts and medicals).
Under the system describe above the onus is placed squarely on coaches to evaluate, motivate, train and retain signees. May the best coach win.
30 to 35 is excessive, especially if you're giving everyone five years. That almost doubles the number of kids on scholarship, which will be fought by smaller schools and make life under the dominion of Title IX even more difficult for non-revenue men's sports.
HOWEVA, There is a number (somewhere from 22 to 25) that provides rosters approximately equivalent to today's and rewards keeping kids around in case they become useful. Once you find that number all of this goes away because you no longer have the perverse incentives the current system offers. In this hypothetical world people are mad at Nick Saban for being ruthlessly better at avoiding attrition. Another guy later makes a point that's especially salient what with all the chatter about full cost of attendance scholarships:
Scholarship limitations are not in the best interest of the SA. Scholarship limitations are about parity, which in is in the interest of the institutions. To make arguments about over-signing being evil is like saying we want what is best for the SA as long as it does not hurt my school. Which is to say the main goal is not the SA’s best interest, but the institutions.
If big programs want to move towards a system that places student-athlete welfare first, leaving San Jose State to pound sand, that benefits everyone worth benefiting.
(A few details I'd propose:
- Transfers in count as fresh enrollees.
- There would be a limit, probably 85, that once under you could offer scholarships to walk-ons if you wanted.
- You might have to offer some sort of leniency for schools that recruit a lot of JUCOs. This system places a premium on keeping kids around for four and five years and turns a JUCO from a easily replaceable quick fix to a guy who's an empty scholarship for two or three years. Guys who go to JUCO are mostly reclamation projects that college football should be striving to help, so maybe you can get a scholarship here and there back "early."