I'm sorry that this space has yet to address Ohio State's latest run from justice. A lot of that is I'm still so flabbergasted I don't want to be held accountable later for whatever I write while suffering from apoplexy. Also life bler bler time to really pour through the documents and link all. Anyway in the service of having something here's flabbergasted e-pinion.
The NCAA's response came out last week and it's 139 pages of "aw shucks guys coulda happened to anybody." Noticeably lacking is anything that's been mentioned since, oh, late January. If you want the Cliffs Notes, and you do, user jbr12 kindly posted Michael Scarn's longer-than-an-actual-Cliffs Notes review of the Tressel interviews.
The focus is entirely on the Cicero e-mails and it seemed to me the staff was basically trying to get an answer to one question "did you ever think before the 2010 season that 'Oh these kids committed violations?'" But the whole time Tressel is telling them his primary concern was that the kids were part of this drug ring, and then six to seven weeks pass and Tressel learns the Tat5 were not part of the investigation into Rife and he's relieved. They ask why he didn't tell his bosses then and Jim says he, um, was ready to help the Feds. And nothing. I'm not a lawyer but I've seen a few depo's and this moment just astounded me.
By avoiding the most obvious Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control in ever ever, consider this used, and officially going back in the pile.
To my biased reading, the investigators were taking the (latest) OSU party line in focusing on the cover-up, and Jim was saying his major concern is that he thought his players were likely part of a drug and murder ring.
Nothing about the cars or where the equipment they gave to Rife was coming from…nothing that would possibly implicate anyone but Tressel. The questions did not at all seem intended to find what culpability Smith and Gee and the school might have had. Given the posture of the program since this stuff came out that's a very loud silence.
There is now only the slightest glimmer of hope that the NCAA may look again at the mountain of evidence everyone else piled up nice and neat for them since last January on the free "test drives" and unregistered cars since 2002, many more players trading memorabilia outlined in the SI article, the clear implication of equipment staff involvement based on the volume of material traded, the statements of those who claim Tressel told way more way sooner to his superiors, and the outrageous chutzpah of OSU's president and AD through the whole process, from "he fires me" speech to a 10-day "investigation" which came back and said "it's a training exercise."
If you imagine the Russian Ambassador saying this while the Times is sitting on the table between them with the headline "Russian Captain Intends to Defect," that's a pretty good description of OSU's findings. Which the NCAA…accepted?
What of the 180-degree blame shift of convenience when their initial "sweet spot" of a two-game suspension became Tressel resigning and promising to never return to college football except to recruit for OSU and be at the unveiling of his statue. If there's nothing more to see here, why was Terrelle Pryor, who had already promised to return and serve his 5-game suspension for everything in that report, suddenly out the door and no longer associated with the school when details of his cars and tats and so many free dinners became public knowledge?
That glimmer – the one I mentioned a few paragraphs up before the rambling took over -- is from Pac12 commish Larry Scott, via SF sportswriter Jon Wilner:
And he’s well aware that the NCAA didn’t find Ohio State guilty of Lack of Institutional Control or Failure to Monitor — even though its head coach knowing played ineligible players and then lied about it.
“You can be sure I’m tracking it,” he said.
In fact, he called Emmert after tOSU news broke on Friday.
The takeaway? Scott said there’s “a misperception in the media about the finality” of tOSU situation.
While he declined to get specific, I took his comment to mean that Emmert indicated the NCAA could tack on penalties in the cash-for-memorabilia case.
Scott has USC’s back on this one, no question.
Thin, man. Thin.
This is the part in the movie where you thought the Russian crew was all captured and Sean Connery is making friends with Alec Baldwin, and then the cook shoots the guy from Jurassic Park and he dies never having seen Montana. Then the bad-guy Russian sub shows up and that one dude's like "I think someone just shot a torpedo at us!"
Because we can't just hope a defection in their ranks is going to make this whole thing end happy until the cook is shot and their submarine blown out of the water. Meaning it would be all nice and justice if the Soviets were actually called out for being lying, cheating, and blatantly unapologetic scoundrels, but it's not our job to see that the U.N. doesn't make a fool of itself; it's our job to beat the damn reds.
Because Why Waste a Good Chart?
Yesterday Tim front-paged Rescue_Dawn's study of the Midwesterness of Michigan rosters under coaches since Mr. Schembechler. First I'd like to point out that this is the kind of effort that makes the user-generated content such a cut above on this site. The map especially – that is utterly fantastic!
That said, the conclusions are the opposite of correct. The money shot of the article (other than map of awesome) is a pie chart showing the makeup of all Schembechlerian rosters…
…followed by Mo, Llo, and Ro pies whose national slices don't look like they were cut by my wife during another Carb Inquisition.* The takeaway from these charts is that Bo's teams were made of real men grown right here in the Heart of America. NSFMF.
(click makes it big)
Now this is not at all accurate because like Rescue_Dawn I used data from Bentley and they don't distinguish from walk-ons** and those inflate the local numbers but contribute a disproportionately small amount of playing time. But it tells an important story that the total figures for each coach do not: trends.
Here, have a spreadsheet. The straight line at the top shows the trend (% of total) under each coach's career of total roster Midwest makeup. The squiggly line is the % of total year by year (and uses the same Y axis). The rest is not % but the total number of players on the team. I also split up the states a little differently based on which conference(s) were most local for recruits. Midwest= MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, & Canada; Northeast= New England, NY, NJ, DE, DC, MD, WV, VA, NC; Nebraska's in the central, Arizona's Pacific, etc.
You have to kind of mentally extend the previous coach into the next one but the trends show you important things that total % do not. Perfect example: it looks like Rodriguez did a good job keeping a Carr-level smattering of guys from Big XII country. Those guys: Banks, Steve Watson, Jared Van Slyke, Darryl Stonum, Troy Woolfolk, T-Robinson, Stephen Hopkins and Brandon Herron. 75% of that were Lloyd's guys.
You can also see evidence of pipelines, starting with Bo building the East Coast, then getting more and more from the South through the '80s. He and Moeller then got a thick chunk from the Plains States while Lloyd developed (not seen here 'cause I threw it in with Midwest) Pennsylvania and the West Coast.
Ultimately what you're seeing is coaches who were ALL opportunistic, using the national brand to recruit nationally when they could, taking advantage of Midwest recruits' biases when they couldn't, and otherwise being strategic but strategic like a company looking to grow new revenue streams who still mostly focused on its core product.
If you're looking for a coach who believes the world ends at the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, your man is Bump Elliott, and that worked terribly because back then the South was still segregated and their best men were winning championships for all of our rivals. Bo's the guy who either saw Michigan into the age of national recruiting, or took us there, depending on your view of agency.
* Nobody expects a Carb Inquisition. The secret is surprise. And smaller portions. And a fanatical devotion to pointing out that "carbohydrate" is Latin for "wet coal."
** And among many other laughs list a Terry T. Albott, and Obinna Ezeh, and completely cannibalize the Opong-Owusu family. Seriously: Cherie Opong-Owl.