This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
Two further news items in the ongoing coverage of Alabama's oversigning escapades:
- Destin Hood was a second round pick of the Nationals and has signed an MLB contract. This doesn't affect Alabama's numbers. They were already at the 25-player maximum (actually 27 with two early enrollees) without Hood, who was always expected to play baseball.
- Ezekial Knight has a name that always looks misspelled. He has also been shot down by Alabama's doctors after surgery to repair a heart murmur didn't totally fix the issue. Is this legit? On the one hand, Knight was a starting linebacker in 2007 and 'Bama is now critically short at the position. On the other:
"They didn't clear him to play at Alabama for some reason," said Randy Boyd, his former coach at Randolph County High. "He thinks he can play, and being young ande ambitious, he's going to try and get cleared at a smaller school."
"From what he tells me, they tell him that he can't play, but they can't give him a reason why. They just tell him he just doesn't need to play. One or two smaller schools have told him if he gets cleared by the doctors, and the physical has been passed, they are going to let him play."
Of all the medical disqualifications handed out by Alabama, Knight's is the least questionable. He was a starting linebacker who had a heart murmur and lingering complications from surgery; if he were to keel over during practice or a game after the warning signs he's received it would have been a permanent black mark on Alabama's program. Also, he would be dead.
In any normal situation, no one would even cock an eyebrow at the departure, but this is the thing: once you put yourself in the spot Alabama is in you stop trying to retain kids at all costs and start trying to eject them. I probably should have put a question mark in the "Cut" headline -- "Cut?" -- because we don't really know what happened with Tarence Farmer. I think it's incredibly doubtful that a redshirt freshman wide receiver/defensive back would transfer in mid-July instead of, say, after spring practice or not at all. But it could have been a voluntary transfer after Saban pulled him aside and said "kid, you're never going to play here and you should transfer" or been rude to him or cold to him or indifferent to him. There are ways of encouraging kids to leave your program.
The thing that's often lost here is how lucky(?) Alabama is to only have one scholarship to go. Jeremy Elder commited armed robbery for 28 bucks. Jimmy Johns delivered coke so fast you'll freak. An incredibly large number of kids came down with medicalscholarship-itis. Farmer had a mysterious mid-July transfer he doesn't want to talk about. And they're still a scholarship over.
It doesn't really matter whether Farmer was explicitly or implicitly told he should no longer be at Alabama. Schools should not be in the business of encouraging attrition from guys who aren't likely to contribute on the field, or they should just give up on the idea they're a non-profit organization in the business of promoting capital-S "student-athletes". You are operating in dubious waters when the result of Tarence Farmer's transfer is not the loss of a potentially useful player but his replacement by a higher-rated one.
I've said it before and will say it again: you should not be able to sign a player to a LOI unless you can show the NCAA where the scholarship is coming from. Extend the signing period past the end of spring practice, require a uniform "returning roster" date, and permit only enough LOIs to fill that gap. No more of these last-second medical hardships or midsummer transfers. No more pushing kids out of the boat. Punish attrition.
This is Tarence Farmer. He is no longer part of Alabama's team:
Redshirt freshman wide receiver/defensive back Tarence Farmer has left Alabama's football team and is not expected back for the 2008 season, sources tell the Press-Register.
Farmer currently is at his family's home in Houston, Texas. He declined comment when reached today through a family member.
Asked by phone if Farmer had decided to transfer from Alabama, she replied, "Now that he would have to answer, but he doesn't want to speak right now."
Full up. The Bama Sports Report says Ivan Matchett has made his grades and will enroll at Alabama shortly. Matchett is the 27th recruit to qualify -- two enrolled early -- and Alabama has now maxed out their freshman class. Three players will have to go by September, and there are still two guys trying to get eligible.
Hello, nurse. Anyone with an interest in viral marketing, branding, or boobs probably knows that JC Penney has been scrambling to control the fallout from a fake teen sex ad that was leaked onto the internet. But everyone's missed the hidden subplot except an alert reader: that chick is a Michigan fan. Check the shirt she's putting on/taking off/putting on:
Thousands of sixteen-year-olds across the country will now find themselves inexplicably fond of winged helmets.
Slightly lame. A large number of departures from the quasi-revenue sports of hockey and baseball:
- 2010 hockey recruit Jared Knight has signed with the OHL. This is not a huge deal since that class is two years from seeing the ice and Michigan will no doubt secure a suitable replacement, but Knight would have been a first-round OHL draft pick without his Michigan commitment and is a disappointing loss.
- 3B Adam Abraham, SS Jason Christian, and top reliever Mike Powers have signed MLB contracts and won't return for their senior years. Putnam is still wavering after being selected surprisingly late, though.
"It was the greatest thing I ever did professionally," said Bob Lipson, who created the show in 1975 and produced it for 33 years. "It's me. That's my identity. I absolutely loved it and worked with three great coaches. Nobody had it better than me. It was a great run."
So what's to become of new coach Rich Rodriguez's show this fall?
One thing is certain: it will not be called "Michigan Replay."
"I own the name," Lipson said. "It's not for sale."
Feed me, multiply. Stadium and Main emerges from a long slumber with some original reporting:
...the most important thing about the BTN is having access to all of its "overflow" feeds, so you can see all of the games (without having to worry about whether you'll receive your team's game). This is especially important for me, since I live in Washington, DC. So if I only get one BTN channel, my "regional coverage" might be the BTN Game of the Week (which may or may not include Michigan), or worse yet, Penn State (since they're the closest geographically). This short blurb from the Baltimore Sun makes it sound like the BTN will be available on Comcast's Sports Entertainment Package in cities like Baltimore (stated), DC, NYC, etc. (inferred), which was expected. But what about those overflow feeds?!
S&M (...errrr) goes on an intrepid journey to get a comment on the matter from Comcast, finally surfacing with:
We plan to review this situation week by week, and hope to bring our customers as many of these extra games as possible, based on level of interest and available channel capacity. BTN has told us that these details of this opportunity will not be available until August, and that they are quite subject to change, week to week, based on the game selections by ESPN, ABC and NBC.
Bleah. Sounds like this remains in question; head over to Stadium and Main for a fuller parsing of the above.
Snippet. Oddly, I'm an Edmonton Oilers fan (long story involving Chris Chelios and Mike Comrie), which sucks when it comes to actual on-ice accomplishments except during the Pronger year but is pretty killer when it comes to blogging. One of the best Oilers blogs out there -- albeit one of the worst named -- is MC79Hockey, and they've just wrapped up the main problem with the "access" frequently trotted out as the reason you shouldn't read the internet. Former Sioux defender Matt Greene just got traded:
Looking at Matt Greene first, he’s a fifth or sixth guy on a bad team. I had to laugh tonight as Jason Gregor was promoting his upcoming LIVE INTERVIEW WITH MATT GREENE and then explaining that he saw his upside as being a number three defenceman, because he can’t play on the PP. It was a stark illustration of the corrosive effect of access on truth telling.
Not everyone goes that route, of course, but the ones who don't tend to be Sharp/Mariotti types who Speak Truth To Power in a super-annoying way. Access is a double-edged sword.
(Also re: Greene: " I’ll always remember him, but mostly because I went to school with the guy who hit him with his truck." ZING!)