Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
I know that's like saying "Jessica Simpson still dumb," but in about a half-hour OSU will be holding a press conference to announce the findings of its investigation into its football, men's basketball, and women's basketball programs after, well, you probably know already about the Clarett stuff and the Boban Savovic stuff... but did you know Dave Thomas tried to give Savovic money? Yeah, that Dave Thomas, the dead one from the commercials.
Might the hammer go down? Dunno, but the O-Zone is somewhat apprehensive. If it does, expect an awful lot of Ed Martin finger-pointing from Buckeye fans over the next few days... and a deep, evil cackle from mgoblog's mysterious underground headquarters.
Update: Press conference didn't announce anything earth shattering but bodes unwell for the OSU basketball program. The Ozone has a list of the NCAA allegations up (sans permalink, the bastards). All pertain to basketball save for the last one, which is about the Troy Smith fiasco at the end of last year.
Most damning is this one:
Former men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien, through then-assistant coach Paul Biancardi, provided a cash payment of approximately $6,700 to then-recruit Alex Radojevic.
That's a nasty, nasty violation if it can be proven to be true. Michigan's Ed Martin problem was an instance of a third party giving money to players as an extra benefit. That allegation is the head coach giving money to a player as a recruiting inducement. The amount of the payment is largely irrelevant to the NCAA once you get past a certain petty threshold, what's important is who is doing it and for what purpose. The head coach is the worst person to be doing it. A recruiting inducement is the worst purpose to have. Put them both together and that's asking to get gored by the NCAA's horns.
I think OSU's basketball program may have more trouble on the way. If those allegations can be proven to be true the NCAA will probably perceive the OSU violations as systemic and institutional and levy scholarship reductions and at least an additional year of postseason ineligibility. Still a long way to go before the end of this whole thing.
Update II: Stewart Mandel has a great article on the OSU infractions that explains everything very clearly. Mandel says $6,700 payment I referenced is not as bad as it looks at first blush but several other violations are quite serious and can be backed up by phone records and O'Brien's own testimony. Money graf:
While the Michigan scandal involved much bigger player names -- such as Chris Webber and Robert Traylor -- and larger amounts of money -- reportedly $616,000 in total benefits -- an examination of NCAA case precedent indicates the Ohio State findings may actually merit harsher sanctions than the Wolverines'.
Bingo, Mr. Mandel. Mandel also lifts a sentence from the the NCAA's report that upheld Michigan's appeal:
"A review of [past] decisions ... which upheld a postseason ban revealed the presence of one or more of the following factors in each case: repeat violator status, lack of institutional control, or academic fraud. None of these factors is present in this case."
Check, check, and check. OSU is not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination here.
A by-team and by-league breakdown of the top fifty list follow.
|North Dakota||#3, #7, #18 #20||2||6|
|Boston College||#6, #8, #19||3||6|
|Minnesota||#1, #7, #14||2||5|
|Michigan||#2, #4, #10||2||5|
Schools with one player after #20: Bowling Green, Alaska-Fairbanks, Dartmouth, Yale, BU, Miami, Lake State, Michigan Tech.
What jumps out at me: Minnesota-Duluth outdid themselves this year. They're probably an easy choice for the #5 class behind the big four of BC, UND, Michigan, and Minnesota. Maine got completely shut out and BU only landed one player on the list. Expect the recent western (read: WCHA) dominace to continue. Only 13 players on the list are heading to eastern schools and almost half of them are going to BC.
|USHL||#6, #7, #9, #11, #12, #17||10||16|
|NTDP||#1, #2, #5, #10, #14, #18, #19||6||13|
|Minnesota HS||#3, #8, #13||3||6|
Leagues with one player 21-50: GHJHL, SJHL, EJHL.
The dominance of the USHL is the main story here. It and the NTDP share over half the names on the list. The various Canadian junior leagues supplied 12 names.
I think when this is revisited in a few years the biggest systemic flaw in the list will be an underrating of eastern players. There will be players in the ECAC and Hockey East that will be given major opportunities and flourish with the ice time given them. The problem is I have no idea who those kids are. I'll probably do a final update in a couple months and perhaps by that time I'll have an idea about the eastern players who should be in the later stages of the list.
However, I am quite confident in the top twenty-five or so, and it paints an ugly picture for Hockey East teams not named Boston College. UNH is the only team that can be remotely happy with what they reeled in this year (though Maine has a deserved reputation for uncovering hidden gems).
The softball team finished the season 55-4 (good) and was named the number one overall seed in the newly-expanded softball tournament. They'll be hosting a regional this weekend at Alumni Field against Canisius, North Carolina, and Seton Hall.
Odd how the softball team has turned itself into a perennial success but the baseball team labors to make the postseason. You'd think they face the same weather issues the men do. Perhaps the women... in the cold...
Nevermind. This post is over. Nothing to see here.
There's a guy on Rivals who posts on the various Big Ten boards as "Lester Diamond." He generally posts on the impending rise of Indiana football in outlandish and stunning fashion. He's clearly a schtick played for laughs. Or, at least I thought it was clear.
His latest work appeared on the Penn State Rivals board and is copied here for posterity's sake:
Sources in the IU athletic department report that Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli is indeed "very interested" in transferring to Indiana. Morelli is said to be "disheartened" at the prospect of playing in coach Joe Paterno's "outdated,archaic" offense. He believes the free-wheeling,point-a-minute offense of Coach Terry Hoeppner would be a natural fit for his ample skills. Insiders believe Morelli could win multiple Heismans and national titles piloting Coach Hep's spread attack. Allowing the transfer would signal a change in Coach Hep's "no-transfer" rule, as he previously dissuaded prize recruits Derrick Williams and Justin King from switching their allegiance to IU.
It is reported that Coach Hep engaged in a "heated exchange"(that began as an argument over the merits of the forward pass) with Paterno at a Chicago coaching clinic and the two had to be separated by fellow attendees. This may explain the abrupt change in Coah Hep's thinking. Adding fuel to the rumor is a recent trip Hoeppner took to State College. Insiders say that Hoeppner,ostensibly in town for an arm-wrestling tournament,met with Morelli and the two had an "involved,heart-to-heart discussion". Neither athletic department will comment publicly on the situation.
This is obviously a joke, and replies like "Nice work Les... appreciate the comic relief" and "not bad, I needed a laugh today" immediately popped up in the thread. Unfortunately for the editors of the Westmoreland Tribune-Review, crack Penn State beat writer Sam Ross, Jr. failed to pick up on this subtlety:
Morelli doesn't expect to be redshirted this year, but that doesn't prevent rumors from springing up on the message boards, like the one that recently had him transferring to Indiana of the Big Ten, ostensibly over his disappointment with his lot at Penn State.
Wow. Wow. Someone post a rumor that I've been hired by ESPN.com.
(hat tip: Matt Pargoff on The Wolverine.)