I admit that I don't really have 200 words to meet the diary limit. I'm relying on this note from Brian at the bottom of the requirements section:
Something that requires effort you would like to keep around for posterity's sake should be a diary.
Trust me, I put plenty of work into this. I can't take any more of the emo posts about Beilein and RichRod and the NCAA investigation and "How many games does RR need to win to keep his job" and so on and so forth. We need something more WOO FOOTBALL and less WHY DOES LIFE HATE US?!?
With spring practice ready to start, hopefully this gives everybody a few warm fuzzies and gets you excited again about what we can be. I present to you "Sometimes When You're On: 2010" (and yes, this is the only appropriate song at this point for a Michigan football highlight video):
The resolution option isn't showing up for me yet, but it should be available in HD. Enjoy. Be happy. Go Blue.
To steal a fellow Mgoblogger's signature (sorry, I can't remember whose it is):
"When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing!" - Bo Schembechler.
No MCLA program in the country had as a difficult start to their 2010 season as the Michigan Wolverines. With true road games against the #22, #5, and #6 teams in the country, there were never going to be any claims of Michigan padding the schedule with soft opponents. Despite playing without a number of starters in one of the contests (more on that later), the Wolverines emerged unscathed, and are ready to take on yet another top opponent this weekend.
In each game (against Arizona, Arizona State, and BYU), Michigan got off to a slow start, but managed to come back for the win. This isn't exactly a sign that they will be as dominant in the 2010 season as they were in 2009, but if they can work out the early-season jitters, an undefeated run isn't out of the question, especially with the toughest stretch of the schedule out of the way. Part of those mental mistakes - namely numerous offsides violations - can be attributed to the offseason loss of Goalie Coach Brad Gigliotti, who had been running the substitution box for the Wolverines the past several seasons.
The Wolverines welcome Simon Fraser University into the friendly confines of Oosterbaan Fieldhouse on Friday at 7:00 PM for the home opener. The Clan was ranked #3 in the nation last week, but dropped non-competitive games to Colorado State and Colorado (17-7) - both upcoming Wolverine opponents. Against the Rams, Fraser led 5-4 at the half, before allowing five consecutive goals in the third quarter on their way to a 12-6 loss. Since 3rd-quarter runs have been a strength for Michigan through three games, that bodes well.
On Saturday, the Wolverines "travel" to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan in a cross-county CCLA Conference Matchup. The Eagles went 3-4 against MCLA Division 1 opposition last year (6-5 overall), including a 33-8 pounding at the hands of their conference brethren very slightly to the west. This season, they have started with a 1-3 record, defeating only CCLA D-2 squad Calvin College.
Michigan held just a 5-3 advantage at halftime, but exploded in the second half for a 15-5 victory in Tucson. Junior Goalie Andrew Fowler got the start in net, and went the distance for the Wolverines. Reigning CCLA scoring champ Trevor Yealy put in 6 goals, and faceoff specialist David Reinhard won 62.5% of his 24 draws. Every healthy field player saw action for the Wolverines in the blowout.
The Wolverines took a 1-goal advantage after a period in Tempe, and matched the Sun Devils goal-for-goal for the remaining three quarters to come away with the 11-10 victory over ASU. The goalies each played a half, with Andrew Fowler getting the start, and Mark Stone making a last-second save in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Trevor Yealy had a relatively quiet game for the maize-and-blue, scoring only two goals (tied with David Rogers and Freshman Thomas Paras for most on the team). Reinhard was again exceptional, winning 84% (!!!) of his 25 faceoff attempts.
Against rival BYU, the Wolverines were shorthanded, with six players suspended for violating team rules. Captain Svet Tintchev, along with fellow seniors Kevin Zorovich, Clark Mcintyre, and Josh Ein joined juniors Steve Levitt and Matt Asperheim on the bench. All except Levitt are starters, and their absence was a huge blow to the Michigan effort, also forcing midfielder Jamie Goldeberg to play out of position at attack. Now that the scene is set, take a look at the freakin' awesome setting for BYU's field:
Trevor Yealy was back to form, leading MIchigan with four goals, tied again with Paras for most on the team. As just a freshman, it's clear Paras has a great future ahead of him for this team. Mark Stone went the distance in net for Michigan, and Reinhard again dominated faceoffs, winning 70.1% of his 24 opportunities. Michigan again had some mental mistakes, committing 33 turnovers along with 2 offsides penalties. However, it's the final score that counts, and Michigan's 13-9 victory kept them undefeated on the season.
While North Carolina isn't quite the Goliath they have been in the past, Michigan did have to go into Chapel Hill and face the #12 team in the nation with what's been a suspect offense at best. It didn't turn out all that well. Michigan was swept on the weekend, losing two extremely close games on Friday and Saturday, and was blown out on Sunday to fall to 4-7 on the season.
Starting pitching on Saturday and Sunday just wasn't good enough to compete with the Tarheels, but there was some life shown by the offense.
Full Recaps and Series Thoughts after the jump
(photo to right from minervacat's photo stream)
There was a post that devolved into a discussion of the of NFL Draft eligibility rules about a week ago. As I was the person who was largely responsible, I decided to examine Maurice Clarett's situation more closely. Enjoy.
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NFL eligibility rules, like those of the NCAA, can be a contentious issue. This is likely because, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with a rule, the rules are somewhat arbitrary. Since we’re discussing Maurice Clarett here, I’m going to discuss the NFL’s policy that players must be three years removed from high school graduation in order to enter the NFL draft—in other words, they must have completed their Redshirt Sophomore or true Junior season in college football. Clarett challenged that rule in federal court in 2004, where he first was successful in the Southern District—whose ruling was then reversed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
I want to emphasize that I am not a lawyer, and while the lawyers out there are free to destroy my argument and pick apart my almost certainly incorrect usage of legal terminology, that doesn’t necessarily mean my viewpoint is without validity. As a reference for the legal issues, I’ve used a summary of the case, which is available at the bottom of the page.
This is a topic I feel very strongly about. To me, it’s appalling that an adult who is highly qualified for a job is prevented from pursuing that job simply based on his age. Make no mistake; waiting three years after high school is essentially another way of requiring that NFL players be 20-21 years old on draft day. Of course, for me to be upset in this case, I must assume that Clarett and Mike Williams would have been drafted (or at least signed as an undrafted free agent) by an NFL team in that draft. Both were drafted the next year, so I think it’s safe to assume they would have been drafted the season in question.
My argument isn't about what’s best for the fans, or even for the players, it’s about what should or shouldn’t be legal. I would love every college player to stay in school for four seasons. I primarily follow the college game, and the game’s great players are a significant part of why the college game is, to me, the best sport in the world. However, is it acceptable for the government to allow a private entity to not allow an adult to work in a profession he is clearly capable of pursuing? I’m not saying the NFL had to draft Clarett and give him a huge signing bonus, but they essentially prevented him from even applying for a job, despite having met all non age-related qualifications. I’m going to examine if my argument is valid, and whether it’s reasonable to disagree with the court decision the allowed the NFL to deny Clarett entrance into the draft.
Clarett’s lawyers argued that the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement violated various anti-trust acts by denying eligibility for employment to players “who had not first exhausted all college football eligibility, graduated from college, or been out of high school for five football seasons. Clubs were further barred from drafting any person who either did not attend college, or attended college but did not play football, unless that person had been out of high school for four football seasons.” The NFL Commissioner was authorized to admit players via “Special Eligibility,” provided three years of college football had elapsed—these are early entrants to the draft.
The initial case in the Southern District essentially ruled that the Clarett had anti-trust standing; holding that the “’inability to compete in the market’ for NFL players' services is sufficient injury for antitrust purposes.” The Southern District also found that the NFL’s eligibility rules were “blatantly anticompetitive” in ruling in Clarett’s favor. The NFL argued that younger players were less emotionally and physically mature, and therefore more likely to fail at the NFL level. They further argued that younger athletes may attempt to rush their body’s maturation by taking steroids, etc. These are logical arguments that I’d expect the NFL to make here.
Obviously, the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Appeals Court disagreed with the lower court's ruling. Their discussion opens by stating, “It has long been recognized that in order to accommodate the collective bargaining process, certain concerted activity among and between labor and employers must be held to be beyond the reach of the antitrust laws.” This allows unions and employers to negotiate work rules together in good faith—the so-called anti-trust exemption. This is called a “non-statutory exemption,” which is inferred "from federal labor statutes, which set forth a national labor policy favoring free and private collective bargaining; which require good-faith bargaining over wages, hours, and working conditions; and which delegate related rulemaking and interpretive authority to the National Labor Relations Board."
The Appeals Court systematically struck down each of Clarett’s arguments based on past court rulings and federal labor law. According to federal labor law, rules for initial eligibility are required in the collective bargaining process, and may make eligibility more difficult for outside parties, which can be used by unions to protect their workers. Unlike the Southern District, the Appeals Court granted the NFL a non-statutory exemption and allowed them to deny Clarett’s entry into the draft.
The discussion above is what happened during the process. Clearly, assuming that the appointed members of the federal court system are accomplished jurists—which is likely the case—intelligent people can disagree here. I found it interesting that age was not mentioned once in the case summary. When Clarett initially challenged the NFL, I thought it would be a simple case that would immediately fall in Clarett’s favor. He was an adult, and it’s illegal to deny someone a job due to age, which I contend is a clear consequence of the time removed from high school eligibility rules. I was wrong. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states on its website that only workers over the age of forty are protected by age discrimination provisions of federal employment law. That is clearly why age wasn’t mentioned, however, I’m surprised that was not challenged, especially due to the perishable nature of NFL level football ability.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into the morality issue in this diary. I obviously fall on the side of allowing an adult to apply for a job he is qualified for, but many others on the board do not in the case of pro football. I also feel it would have been right for the NFL to allow Mike Williams and Maurice Clarett in under some sort of special exemption. They did win the initial case, and were forced to spend a year in limbo waiting to be drafted—which may have contributed to Clarett’s eventual problems. Had he been able to remain in the very structured environment of organized football, those problems may have been mitigated or never appeared.
Feel free to debate below, but apparently, Maurice Clarett, and I, was wrong based on federal law. Hopefully it was an interesting read.
There have been a lot of requests for this to become a recurring feature (as it was on Varsity Blue), so I'll post the rankings weekly in the diaries, and frontpage it occasionally. The team rankings are very rough estimates until the services have released more full individual grades.
Action since last rankings:
3-5-10 Illinois gains commitment from Hunter Wells. Michigan State gains commitment from Lawrence Thomas.
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals 250||Scout Average||ESPN 150|
I'll only make charts for the teams that currently have commits. Rivals 250 means that a given prospect is on the Rivals 250 to Watch, and ESPN 150 means that a prospect is on the Watch List for the ESPNU 150. Scout ratings are on the 5-star scale.
|#1 Ohio State - 2 Commits|
The Buckeyes start their recruiting class with a couple bigtime defensive ends.
|#2 Minnesota - 2 Commits|
Minnesota has a solid beginning - for now.
|#3 Michigan State - 2 Commits|
The state's top prospect picks the Spartans.
|#4 Michigan - 3 Commits|
Michigan's first three prospects are not super-heralded at this point.
|#5 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Illinois gets a big in-stater to start off the class.
|#6 Northwestern - 1 Commit|
Northwestern holds steady with one prospect.
- Friday 3pm ET – Live stats, CiL Live Blog
Alan Oaks (1-1) vs Matt Harvey (1-0)
- Saturday 2pm ET – Live stats, Live Audio
Matt Miller (0-1) vs Patrick Johnson (1-1)
- Sunday 1pm ET – Live Stats
TBA vs Colin Bates (2-0)
Opponent Record (rank): 7-1 (#13 in CBI's composite poll)
Michigan Record (rank): 4-4 (unranked)
All Time Series: 7-3 (Last game – W 1-0, neutral site, 3/6/2005)
Chapel Hill, NC
This weekend, Michigan takes on the University of North Carolina as an underdog. The Tarheels enter the series ranked as high as #12 in the coaches' and writers' poll. The lowest ranking they have is #20 in the BaseballAmerica poll. They've got a 7-1 record over nobody of importance and a loss to Maine.
UNC is one of the more talented teams Michigan will face this season, coming off a College World Series berth and one of their best teams ever. The good news is they lost the anchors to last years team, including pitcher Alex White and hitter Dustin Ackley, the #15 and #2 overall picks in the last MLB draft. They also lose their second starter and their second and fourth best hitters. This isn't the same Tarheel team.
As such, this year's UNC team has struggled despite their pretty record. Like Michigan, they've had games with big offensive numbers, but decent to good pitching spells trouble. They aren't scoring as few runs as Michigan, but they aren't blowing out the teams they've played. Given their quality, they probably should have. In their loss to an unusually solid Maine pitching staff, the Tarheels managed 11 hits, but scored only 3 runs and stranded 9 base runners.
They sound, not only from the Maine loss but their entire season, like a team reminiscent of Michigan last year. A type of team where a pitching duel would leave them in some hot water. That's exactly what Michigan wants to do this weekend.
Plus, recent history is on our side. In our last game against UNC in 1995, Michigan won in a pitchers duel by a score of 1-0. Michigan registered a game winning double in the top of the 9th to secure an upset of #10 UNC at a tournament in Greenville, NC. [Continued after the jump.]