no, YOU'RE off topic
This case involved the football program at San Diego State University and was centered on violations of NCAA bylaws governing impermissible out-of-season practice activities and a failure to monitor. The case was handled through the summary disposition process and was reviewed by the Division I Committee on Infractions during its October 11-12, 2002, meeting. During this meeting, the committee spoke with the university’s director of athletics with regard to several issues, including the likelihood that the committee would impose a two-year probationary period, the presumptive period of probation for a major case. In subsequent communications between the institution and the committee, it was made clear that the university did not agree that a probationary period was warranted. As a result, the institution requested an expedited hearing before the committee in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11.3. That hearing took place on December 14, 2002.
The institution and the enforcement staff initially considered that the case should be categorized as secondary, but the institution subsequently agreed that this case was major in nature because the violations were neither isolated nor inadvertent, as is required under the definition of a secondary violation, Bylaw 19.02.2.1. The committee concurred with this assessment, and also concluded that a competitive advantage was obtained through these out-of-season workouts. The assistant football coach who supervised the activities wrote in a newsletter that these workouts “have been good for our explosiveness and balance, (as well as) for building cohesiveness as a unit,” and “No other O-Line in the country is working out at 6 a.m. on the beach carrying a heavy LOG on their back.” In addition to the out-of-season practice activities, there was an associated failure to
monitor the football program and one violation of extra-benefit legislation. The violations were committed by the football coaching staff and demonstrate a lack of respect at times for certain rules. For example, the current head coach (henceforth, the Case No. M190 - “head coach”), should have known that using a taped towel in lieu of a ball (Finding II-B-3) would not legitimize impermissible team (11-on-11) activities. The former head coach and an assistant coach (henceforth, “the assistant coach”), should have realized that the sand workouts (Finding II-A) were, at a minimum, questionable, and the assistant coach also should have questioned the permissibility of the shirts and caps he issued to student-athletes (Finding II-C). The institution’s inadequate monitoring compounded the seriousness. However, the committee recognized that there was no improper booster involvement and no recruiting, financial aid, academic or unethical conduct violations in this case.
The summary disposition process is a cooperative endeavor that may be used when the NCAA enforcement staff, the member institution and involved individuals agree on the facts of an infractions case and that those facts constitute major violations of NCAA legislation. The institution also proposes penalties. In this instance, the committee approved the findings included in the report as well as the self-imposed penalties, which the committee found to be meaningful and significant. However, due to the seriousness of the out-of-season practice violations, the committee concluded that a waiver of the presumptive two-year probationary period was not warranted. After the expedited hearing on December 14, the committee deliberated on the issue of the probationary period, and concluded that a two-year period of probation was appropriate. As indicated in the introduction to this report, the two-year probationary period is a presumptive penalty in a major case, and, with very few exceptions, is considered by the committee to be the minimal amount of time an institution is placed on probation for major infractions. Probation is a period of increased self-evaluation by the institution and scrutiny by the NCAA, and includes annual reporting requirements by the affected institution.
In this case, the out-of-season practice impacted on student-athlete welfare issues since these practices were considered by the majority of the student-athletes to be mandatory and thus contrary to the spirit of mandated “time off” requirements for student-athletes. Student-athlete welfare is a point of emphasis among the membership in recent years. Moreover, the committee was concerned that these workouts were not sufficiently
monitored for potential safety issues.
San Diego State is a Division I institution and a member of the Mountain West and Mountain Pacific Conferences. The university has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students and sponsors six men's and 12 women's intercollegiate sports. The university had previous major infractions cases in 1991 (women’s basketball) and 1983
II. FINDINGS OF VIOLATIONS OF NCAA LEGISLATION.
A. IMPERMISSIBLE MANDATORY OUT-OF-SEASON WORKOUTS; IMPROPER USE OF STUDENT-ATHLETES IN A COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION. [NCAA Bylaws 18.104.22.168.2, 17.02.1-(c) and 22.214.171.124]
During the summers of 1998 through to 2001, the assistant coach conducted mandatory workouts with student-athletes who played the position of offensive line. The workouts (known as “sand training”) were conducted at 6 a.m. each Wednesday morning from late May through July. The sessions were approximately one hour in duration and consisted primarily of conditioning activities (e.g., plyometrics). The practices were held at Mission Beach, and the assistant coach kept attendance that was periodically posted in a newsletter distributed to the offensive line.
Further, in the summer of 2000, at least one of the sand practices (involving student-athletes with remaining eligibility) was videotaped at the assistant coach's request by the institution's video coordinator assistant. The video, entitled, “Deep Sand Training,” was subsequently made available for commercial sale through the assistant coach's Internet web site (www.offensiveline.net) to the general public, citing the assistant coach's institutional office telephone number as a contact source. “Deep Sand Training” was part of a three-video package. “Run Fundamentals” and “Pass Protection Fundamentals” were also videotaped on the university’s campus and depicted student-athletes with remaining eligibility performing drills specific to the position of an offensive lineman.
Information about this violation was initially reported to the NCAA and then appeared in an article in a San Diego newspaper. The enforcement staff, the institution and the assistant coach agreed that the sand workouts occurred over a four-year period and violated basic rules governing out-of-season practice activities (i.e., staff members having mandatory sessions with student-athletes).
The evolution of the sand workouts dates back to a practice of the offensive line coach who preceded the assistant coach. These workouts were held at the sand volleyball courts on campus as part of the strength and conditioning program. When the assistant coach assumed duties as offensive line coach in 1998, campus construction necessitated the removal of the sand volleyball courts and the relocation of the sand workouts to Mission Beach. The workouts in 1998 were loosely structured in the beginning and Case largely served the purpose of building comradery among the offensive linemen. The workouts were not exclusive to the offensive line, as several other position players and former student-athletes attended the workouts. By the summer of 1999, the assistant coach exerted more control over the workouts; attendance was perceived by the majority of student-athletes to be mandatory and was recorded. A typical workout consisted of the following activities: (1) warm-up jog and stretch, (2) explosions out of stance, (3) high jumps, (4) long jumps, (5) back pedaling and (6) plyometric movements performed with a log. The assistant coach contended that he could attend these workouts as long as student-athletes were not engaging in specific football-related activities and did not consider the workouts as mandatory. However, during the joint interviews of the staff and institution, the majority of the football student-athletes believed the workouts to be mandatory and a violation of NCAA legislation.
The previously referenced newsletters written and distributed by the assistant coach provided especially compelling evidence of the organized and mandatory nature of the summer beach workouts. One of the newsletters stated, “I have been pleased and proud of those who have made the workouts…It is being noticed by all!” Later in that same newsletter, the names were listed of all the student-athletes who had perfect attendance at these sessions. Next to this list was the following statement: “Congratulations to those
with PERFECT Sand Training attendance. Your commitment is respected and admired!”
B. IMPERMISSIBLE COUNTABLE ATHLETICALLY RELATED ACTIVITY.
[NCAA Bylaws 17.02.1-(a)-(3) and 17.02.1-(a)-(4), 17.02.1-(h), 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52.1, 184.108.40.206.2 and 17.10.6]
During the spring semester of the 2001-02 academic year and prior to the official starting date of spring football practice on March 19, 2002, the football coaching staff conducted countable athletically related activities during a time when they were not permissible. Specifically,
1. Several assistant football coaches held position meetings to discuss academics or other issues with the student-athletes they coached. However, each of these meetings included the diagramming of plays and “chalk talk,” in which the student-athletes took notes.
2. On at least eight occasions, the assistant coach conducted pass-protection drills that were referred to as "focus mitts." These sessions occurred immediately after the organized conditioning activities and lasted a total of 15 minutes. The assistant coach videotaped at least one focus mitts session. Focus mitts are large padded gloves held by one offensive lineman to absorb a blow delivered by another offensive lineman. Focus mitts are commonly used in martial arts training.
3. During the March 8-18, 2002, time period and in addition to permissible organized conditioning activities, the football coaching staff had members of the football squad participate in impermissible position-specific and 11-on-11 activities designed to simulate game or practice situations. The 11-on-11 activities were conducted on five occasions during afternoon practice sessions, while position-specific activities were conducted on eight occasions during both morning and afternoon sessions. Specifically, the one-on-one drills consisted of wide receivers running pass patterns against the defensive backs, who were covering them while other student-athletes were performing position-specific agility drills. The team activities consisted of an offensive and a defensive squad simulating plays with 11-on-11 activities including a taped towel in lieu of a football, as well as “11-on-air” situations. In this regard, the student-athletes followed formations, motions, cadences of the offense; and adjustments of alignment and coverages by the defense.
The enforcement staff and the institution agreed that improper meetings and practice sessions helped the team get an early start on spring football and that an advantage was gained from these activities, especially those described in Finding II-B-3. The committee agreed with this assessment. The violations resulted from the eagerness of a new football staff to familiarize the team with new offensive and defensive schemes.
With specific reference to Finding II-B-1, this violation was discovered through on-campus interviews conducted by the university and the enforcement staff. The coaches viewed the position meetings as a method to keep tabs on their players’ academics and for the student-athletes to familiarize themselves with the new coaches. The coaches reported that although the meetings began on the basis of discussing academic or other issues, the student-athletes often asked coaches to explain how the new “west coast offense” was going to operate; hence, the discussions digressed to “chalk talks.” The coaches would then diagram some of the plays and answer questions from the student-athletes. The student-athletes, however, viewed the meetings primarily as “chalk-talks” designed to familiarize them with the offense.
Like Finding II-B-1, the violations set forth in Finding II-B-2 were uncovered through on-campus interviews. The focus mitts sessions were conducted at the conclusion of organized strength and conditioning workouts in the weight room. These sessions were generally short and concentrated on one aspect of offensive line play.
The position-specific and team (11-on-11) activities took place during six days of a two-week period between the conclusion of the formal strength and conditioning program and the official start of spring practice. The one-on-one and agility drills were 20 to 30 minutes in duration, and were held after the morning and the afternoon weight training sessions. [Note: Some organized weight training continued after the “formal” conditioning program was finished.] Although there were a total of eight times when these activities occurred, it is important to note that each student-athlete was involved in only four of these sessions. This occurred because the team was split into two groups for the weight training sessions. Therefore, in the morning, for example, half the team lifted weights while the other half participated in the position-specific agility drills. In the afternoon, the groups rotated. Hence, each student-athlete participated in drills for 20 to 30 minutes on four occasions.
The team activities were rationalized by coaches as serving a conditioning component while simultaneously familiarizing the student-athletes with the movements (e.g., formations, motions, coverages) that would be used during official spring practice. These sessions were of 30 to 45 minutes in duration. The team and individual sessions provided at least a basic knowledge of the teams’ offensive and defensive schemes, reduced the learning curve of the new offense and defense, and ensured that the 15 permissible practice opportunities were more meaningful. The head coach acknowledged that these activities were “pushing it” and that the compliance staff should have been consulted about the appropriateness of these workouts.
C. IMPERMISSIBLE EXTRA BENEFITS – PROVISION OF APPAREL ITEMS.
[NCAA Bylaws 16.02.3 and 220.127.116.11]
During the 1998-99 through 2001-02 academic years, the assistant coach provided impermissible apparel to the student-athletes who played the position of offensive line. Specifically, at the commencement of training camp each year, the assistant coach distributed “flexi-fit” hats embroidered with the offensive line’s theme for the particular year. Themes have included “Big Block Boys,” “O-Line Finish the Block” and “Trench Warriors.” Further, at the conclusion of the 2002 spring practices, the assistant coach distributed shirts embroidered with the phrase “Tuff 15” to only those members of the offensive line who attended all 15-spring practice sessions. The fair market value of the shirts was approximately $35 and the hats, approximately $25.
The enforcement staff and the institution agreed that the apparel items were provided with no intent to violate a rule and provided little, if any, competitive advantage. However, the violations occurred over a period of four years, was not isolated or inadvertent and thus could not be considered a secondary violation. No student-athlete was withheld from a competition via the student-athlete reinstatement process due to these violations.
D. FAILURE TO MONITOR.
[NCAA Constitution 2.8.1]
During the period of the violations noted in this report, the institution failed to monitor its football program and failed to successfully establish an environment in the sport of football that caused the athletics department staff to report possible rules violations.
1. The "sand practices" were common knowledge among the football student-athletes, members of the strength and conditioning program, athletics training and football coaching staffs. The head football coach observed at least seven or eight of these workouts. Yet, the compliance staff and athletics department administrator charged with oversight of the football program were unaware of these activities. Furthermore, even though the student-athletes and the strength and conditioning staff considered the workouts to be a violation, no one reported a violation or requested an interpretation of the rules to determine whether these workouts were permissible.
2. The institution failed to monitor the out-of-season activities of the football coaching staff during the 2002 spring semester. These workouts were conducted on campus proximate to the institution's athletics facilities and were clearly contrary to the legislation governing countable athletically related activities. Furthermore, the head coach considered the activities to be in a “gray area” with regard to NCAA legislation, yet did not request an interpretation of the rules to determine whether these workouts were permissible or report a violation.
The violations acknowledged were of sufficient visibility and/or common knowledge to conclude that more vigilant monitoring could have detected the violations in Findings A and B. The institution has acknowledged its failure to adequately monitor its football program and has taken meaningful corrective actions and self-imposed penalties. A key aspect of the failure to monitor can be attributed to a communication gap between the compliance and football staff that began with the former head football coach. During his tenure, the former head coach tended to take compliance-related issues to the then faculty athletics representative rather than the director of compliance. This practice contributed to a disconnection between the compliance office and the sport of football, and hands-on monitoring suffered to some extent. The former head coach’s tendency to contact the faculty athletics representative for interpretation stemmed in part from the fact that the faculty athletics representative handled that responsibility before a full-time director of compliance was hired in October 1997. Although the responsibility for rules interpretation shifted to the director of compliance, the former head coach continued to contact the faculty athletics representative due to the trust and comfort level with one another. The decision to bypass the compliance director did not appear to be motivated to circumvent the rules, or to obtain a more favorable or sympathetic ear on questions of rules application. [Note: Neither the former head coach nor the current head coach reported the practice activities to the faculty athletics representative or sought a rules interpretation on this issue from him.]
III. COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS PENALTIES.
For the reasons set forth in Parts I and II of this report, the Committee on Infractions found that this case involved several major violations of NCAA legislation.
A. PENALTIES SELF-IMPOSED BY THE UNIVERSITY.
In determining the appropriate penalties to impose, the committee considered the institution's self-imposed penalties and corrective actions. [Note: the institution’s corrective actions are contained in Appendix 2.] The university imposed the following penalties on its football program:
1. The university reduced the total maximum number of allowable football scholarships from 85 to 82 in the 2002-03 academic year, 85 to 83 in the 2003-04 academic year and 85 to 84 in the 2004-05 academic year.
In addition, these reductions of the total number cause a direct reduction in the number of scholarships the university can offer at midyear, and a reduction of the number of initial scholarships it can award over the next three years. Normally, the football program is able to utilize Bylaw 18.104.22.168.5 (Midyear Replacement), to bring in on average 2-5 midyear transfer student-athletes on scholarship and defer them being counted in the initial category until the following academic year. This self-imposed penalty precludes the use of this bylaw because the university will not meet the prescribed bylaw criteria of having reached the maximum number of scholarships.
2. The university eliminated (or will eliminate) 21 practice days: three days from the 2002 preseason practice schedule, four days during the 2002 football season, seven of the 15 allowable days for the 2003 spring practice and seven of the 15 allowable days for 2004 spring practice.
3. The university reduced the number of permissible football coaches recruiting off-campus by one for a period of four days during the April 15 to May 31, 2002, evaluation period.
4. The assistant coach was removed from off-campus recruiting activities for a period of 17 days during the April 15 to May 31, 2002, evaluation period and was suspended for six practice days, five without pay, during preseason practice for the 2002 season. During that time, the assistant coach was not allowed to have contact with the program. The assistant coach was also suspended for an additional five days without pay at the conclusion of the 2002 football season. As a part of that suspension, the assistant coach was required to reimburse the university for the cost of supplies, equipment and staff time used in videotaping the sand workouts. Finally, a letter of reprimand was placed in the assistant coach’s personnel file with a specific warning that involvement in any other NCAA rules violations will lead to dismissal.
5. A letter of reprimand will be placed in the current head football coach's personnel file.
6. Letters of admonishment will be placed in the personnel files of the remaining eight football coaches as well as those of the head strength and conditioning coach.
7. The current head football coach and the assistant coach will be required to attend one of the spring 2003 NCAA regional rules seminars at their own expense.
B. ADDITIONAL PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS.
The institution has agreed that these violations were major and, as a result, imposed significant penalties and meaningful corrective actions. As previously set forth, these penalties resulted in the reduction of total grant numbers in football and reduced practice opportunities during the fall of 2002 and for spring football practice in 2003 and 2004. There were also significant disciplinary actions taken against those who were responsible for the violations. The self-imposed penalties and disciplinary measures are consistent with those penalties and disciplinary measures for “major violations” as identified in Bylaw 22.214.171.124.
Because of the significant impact of these self-imposed penalties, the committee chose to impose only the penalties of public reprimand and censure and the presumptive probationary period, as explained in the introduction of this report.
The additional penalties are as follows:
1. San Diego State University shall be publicly reprimanded and censured.
2. The university shall be placed on two years of probation beginning February 25, 2003, and concluding on February 24, 2005.
3. During this period of probation, the institution shall:
a. Continue to develop and implement a comprehensive educational program on NCAA legislation, including seminars and testing, to instruct the coaches, the faculty athletics representative, all athletics department personnel and all university staff members with responsibility for the certification of student-athletes for admission, retention, financial aid or competition;
b. Submit a preliminary report to the director of the NCAA committees on infractions by April 15, 2003, setting forth a schedule for establishing this compliance and educational program;
c. File with the committee's director annual compliance reports indicating the progress made with this program by October 15 of each year during the probationary period. Particular emphasis should be placed on compliance with NCAA legislation relating to playing and practice seasons; and
d. Include in the annual compliance report documentation of the university's compliance with its self-imposed penalties.
4. At the conclusion of the probationary period, the institution's president shall provide a letter to the committee affirming that the university's current athletics policies and practices conform to all requirements of NCAA regulations.
As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, San Diego State University shall be subject to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199, concerning repeat violators, for a five-year period beginning on the effective date of the penalties in this case, February 25, 2003.
The Committee on Infractions wishes to advise the institution that it should take every precaution to ensure that the terms of the penalties are observed. The committee will monitor the penalties during their effective periods, and any action contrary to the terms of any of the penalties or any additional violations shall be considered grounds for extending the institution's probationary period, as well as imposing more severe sanctions
in this case.
APPENDIX ONE: CASE CHRONOLOGY.
December – The NCAA enforcement staff began receiving information regarding the mandatory
summer workouts conducted by the assistant football coach and his provision of impermissible
apparel to student-athletes who played the position of offensive line. Initial information
indicated that documentary evidence was available that would substantiate that practices had
occurred and that they were mandatory.
Late April – The enforcement staff interviewed three individuals about the violations in the San
Diego State University football program who substantially corroborated the initial information,
but these individuals refused to be on the record and allow the staff to share information with the
Early May –The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper published several articles about the
football program that contained information about the out-of-season practices at a local beach
during the summers of 1998 through 2001. This was the same information that had been initially
reported to the NCAA. The enforcement staff contacted the institution, and a meeting was
scheduled between the enforcement staff and representatives of the institution.
May 9 to July – The institution and enforcement staff began a joint inquiry into the football
program. Approximately 30 individuals were interviewed. Most of the interviews were held on
Late July – The enforcement staff and institution reached agreement on the violations that
occurred. The staff and institution prepared a joint report requesting that the Committee on
Infractions process this case as secondary.
Late July – San Diego State University announced self-imposed penalties, including suspension
without pay of the assistant football coach, loss of practice opportunities in the fall of 2002 and
two subsequent springs, reduction of scholarship limits, and enhanced compliance oversight
September 17 – The enforcement staff and institution agreed to process the case via a summary
September 26 – Letter from the institution’s president to the Division I Committee on Infractions
consenting to the processing of the case as major in nature.
October 12 - The summary disposition report was considered by the Division I Committee on
December 14 − An expedited hearing before the Division I Committee on Infractions took place.
February 25 - Infractions Report No. 207 was released.
CORRECTIVE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE UNIVERSITY.
1 On one of the days where practice is suspended in the 2002 fall camp, the football
coaches and football operations staff, administrators, strength and condition coaches, and
trainers will attend a one-day mandatory rules seminar.
2. The athletics department will establish mandatory random monitoring by athletic
administrators of individual team practice activities.
3. The athletics department will establish mandatory rules orientation for all new coaches,
individually and by coaching staffs, whenever such a hiring occurs.
4. Senior athletics administrators will be required to attend the annual NCAA regional rules
seminar on a rotating basis.
5. The student-athletes with remaining eligibility, who received impermissible benefits
(special offensive line hats and shirts), were declared ineligible and required to make
Why? Because it's the World Cup. Leave me alone.
The World Cup draw is Friday, and FIFA has finally ditched its really unbelievably complicated seeding scheme for straight FIFA rankings, which screw you Sepp Blatter. In 2006 the USA would have received a seed if they'd gone with that.
Anyway, here's a hypothetically totally fair draw with each team given a seed corresponding to its FIFA ranking, with the team's Soccer Power Index (a Nate Silver joint) in parens afterwards:
|Seed||Team A||SPI||Seed||Team B||SPI||Seed||Team C||SPI||Seed||Team D||SPI||Avg|
|3||Holland||4||14||Ivory Coast||9||19||Australia||22||30||New Zealand||91||38.5|
The USA is in the second-worst group but even that group seems far more doable and balanced than what they got in '06 and what they're staring down on Friday. The Silver average reveals everyone's main desire: get drawn in the same group as South Africa, New Zealand, and/or North Korea. Those teams are all horrendous relative to the field.
Unfortunately, That's not happening unless the USA pulls the 1-in-8 longshot and slips into the South Africa group:
Pot 1 will consist of the eight seeded teams and will be drawn into groups at the outset of the Friday's event.
Pot 2 consists of CONCACAF, Asia and Oceania and will be drawn, next with no restrictions as to where those eight teams can be drawn.
The USA cannot draw in with Australia, North Korea, New Zealand, or South Korea, the #19, 28, 29, 30, and 31 teams in the tournament according to FIFA. Nor can they get in with #27 Honduras, but we knew that already. In sum: YAY. There is one team in its pot that the US wouldn't want to get drawn with: Mexico. The other six teams are the weakest in the field with the exception of Australia. The CONCACAF powers are worse off than any other team with a chance of advancing to the second round.
Why don't the World Cup doyens do it like this anyway? There's only one group that has an overload of one federation—Group 8 has three UEFA teams—and that can be fixed by flipping Ghana and Slovakia. If you want to separate Chile and Brazil you can just flip Chile with the Ivory Coast. You get geographical dispersion, seriously reduced chances at Groups of Death, and a fairer tournament all around.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – ESPN and The Augusta Sports Council announced today (Monday, Nov. 23) that University of Michigan fifth-year senior punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg HS) is one of three finalists for the 2009 Ray Guy Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter. Mesko is joined as a finalist by Georgia’s Drew Butler and Florida’s Chaz Henry.
Mesko is the second Wolverine to be named a finalist for the award. Hayden Epstein was a finalist during the award’s inaugural season (2000). Mesko was a semifinalist last season. He looks to become the fourth punter in Big Ten history to win the award, joining Wisconsin’s Kevin Stemke (2000), Purdue’s Travis Dorsch (2001) and Ohio State’s B.J. Sanders (2003).
A preseason first-team All-American, Mesko is sixth nationally in punting with a U-M season record 44.5-yard average. He has helped the Wolverines list second nationally in net punting with a 40.9-yard average. Mesko has been extremely proficient in all phases, with 17 punts over 50 yards, 18 fair caught, three touchbacks and 15 downed inside the opposition’s 20-yard line. He has punted 52 times for 2,312 yards, including a 66-yard season-long punt against Western Michigan.
Mesko has already been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the Danny Wuerffel Trophy. He was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation, and is a candidate for Academic All-America honors after being selected CoSIDA Academic All-District IV first team earlier this month.
The 10th annual award will be announced live on ESPN during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 10. The 2009 winner of the Ray Guy Award will be honored at a banquet by the Augusta Sports Council and The Augusta Chronicle in late January 2010.
AUGUSTA, Ga. –The Augusta Sports Council announced today that University of Michigan fifth-year senior punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg HS) is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2009 Ray Guy Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter. This is the second straight season that Mesko has been selected as a semifinalist for the award.
Mesko and Iowa’s Ryan Donahue are the only representatives from the Big Ten Conference. Following are the other semifinalists: Drew Butler (Georgia), Peter Caldwell (Utah State), Desi Cullen (Connecticut), Johnny Hekker (Oregon State), Chas Henry (Florida), Jeff Locke (UCLA), Rob Long (Syracuse) and Matt Reagan (Memphis). Mesko, Donahue and Henry are the only returning semifinalists from last season.
Mesko leads the Big Ten and is sixth nationally in punting with a U-M season record 45-yard average. He has helped the Wolverines lead the conference and list second nationally in net punting (42.4 avg.). Mesko has been extremely proficient in all phases, with 15 punts over 50 yards, 15 fair caught and 13 downed inside the opposition’s 20-yard line. He has punted 43 times for 1,934 yards, including a 66-yard season long punt against Western Michigan.
Mesko has already been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the Danny Wuerffel Trophy. He was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation, and is a candidate for Academic All-America honors after being selected CoSIDA Academic All-District IV first team last week.
A national voting panel will trim the list to three finalists, who will be named on Nov. 23. The 10th annual award will be presented live on ESPN during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 10. The winner will be honored at a banquet by the Augusta Sports Council and The Augusta Chronicle in late January 2010.
New safety recruit Carvin Johnson has a coach, and he stopped by the Rivals free board to post some stuff about the newest Wolverine. Since Rivals deletes posts after a while I've reproduced his comments here for posterity. Original thread will be here for a while.
Hey guy's. Just wanted to stop by and give you a little info on Carvin. I'm a coach on his team, and just wanted to throw a few things out there.
First and foremost, he is a football player. Bottom line. He is the kind of kid you want on your team. He is a good kid, with good grades who does the right thing. His 40 yard dash time won't dazzle you, but everything else about him will.
He is a tremendous athlete. Catches anything thrown around him. Whenever we get in trouble on offense, we put him in at WR and just throw him jump balls. 9 out of 10 he will come down with. Hits very hard for only weighing 185, and is always in the right place at the right time.
Just wanted to stop by and let you know that you are getting a tremendous football player. Don't let the ratings fool you. Your head coach got a phone call from PacMan Jones in the offseason telling him he needs to see this kid (Carvin). Carvin works with a well-known personal trainer here in the little bit of offseason we have, and he also happened to be training PacMan. They worked together, and PacMan absolutely loved him.
Anyway, just wanted to give you a little info on him. Best of luck the rest of the season, and if you have any questions at all about Carvin let me know.
Responding to a question about LSU:
LSU is weird about offering kids who haven't attended their camps. In fact, the LSU recruiting coordinator called school today asking if he dropped the ball on this to which our head coach replied "yes".
I understand your worries about offering a kid with no other big time offers. I too scratch my head over some of the guys LSU offers.
Like I said previously. Carvin is a very good player, playing against the highest classification in Louisiana High School football. He is a huge reason we are 9-0 and ranked 2nd in the state.
Re: Can he actually make plays on the ball as a DB?
Yes he can make plays. Has made some amazing INT's in his time at our school.
I canceled my Rivals subscription over a year ago so I can't tell, does he have any highlights out? If not, I'll make sure and send his highlights out by the end of the week.
Re: thanks for posting here, couple questions
Yes, the LSU recruiting coordinator called today asking if he dropped the ball on this one. I honestly believe that if LSU were to offer, it would be too late. Plus their class is filling up.
I'll talk to him tomorrow and find out what position he projects at, etc. because I honestly have no clue. I'll make sure to post more as soon as I find out.
Re: Thanks HHH, one ?...
In a lot of ways he reminds me of Craig Steltz(LSU) who also played for our high school. Craig had more size and speed, but they play the same way. They were both leaders and always in the right spot.
I'll make sure and tell him. IMO Miles has really gotten lazy in recruiting our area. You need to camp at LSU to get looked at. Ah well. Anyway, we'll be pumping out some new film on him shortly that you should enjoy.
I'm absolutely pumped that he chose Michigan because I personally have a lot of respect for what Michigan football is all about. The tradition, etc. That to go along with Rich Rodriguez being my favorite coach in the college game, and I'm excited. Our coaching staff used to go to WVU when he coached there, and hopefully we'll be making a trip up to Ann Arbor soon.
Best of luck this weekend and for the rest of the season. I'll be sure to drop by from time to time and let you know how Carvin is doing.
And on Rodriguez:
Re: RR being my favorite coach in the college game
The thing I like most about him is him as a person. When other coaches and myself made the trips to WVU in the past to see them practice, etc. he treated everyone of us with nothing but respect. This is rare in big time college football.
I also LOVE the offense he brings with him. All you need is a few key players, and this offense is damn near unstoppable.
As for his future with Michigan, its hard to say. I think if given until year 3 or 4, he will be winning the Big 10 consistently. It's such night and day under what you were used to with Carr, it's just gonna take a little while imo.
Press release below; I've replaced the headline with my own snark.
Key takeaway: #6 Big Ten team gets either the #7 Big 12 Team or a CUSA team in a really terrible NYD bowl game. Another game in which the Big Ten has a theoretical matchup advantage. I don't like playing CUSA. I'd rather play a mediocre B12 team than some random CUSA team. Kansas State or Texas A&M is more interesting than Houston to me.
COTTON BOWL STADIUM TO SORT OF CONTINUE NEW YEAR’S DAY BOWL TRADITION
DALLAS, TEXAS – Cotton Bowl Stadium, second only to the famed Rose Bowl Stadium in hosting [sic] more college bowl games than any other football arena in history, will once again be the home to a New Year’s Day intercollegiate post-season football game – the Dallas Football Classic [sic] -- following next year’s regular season.
“The promise of a new bowl game helps ensure that the Cotton Bowl remains a premier [sic] venue for college football,” said Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. “The renovated stadium is a great site for games, as well as an affordable and accessible [sic] option for teams and fans. We are excited to continue the bowl tradition at the Cotton Bowl and Fair Park.”
The nation’s newest bowl, the Dallas Football Classic will utilize a unique rotation system involving three major conferences. The Big 12 Conference, the Big Ten Conference, and Conference USA have all added the Dallas Football Classic to their future bowl line-ups, with all three agreements running through the 2013 regular season.
Following is the four-year schedule (selection placement shown for the Big Ten and Big 12 excludes BCS selections):
January 1, 2011 – Big 12 (#7) vs. Big Ten (#6)
January 1, 2012 – Conference USA vs. Big Ten (#6)
January 1, 2013 – Big 12 (#7) vs. Big Ten (#6)
January 1, 2014 – Conference USA vs. Big Ten (#6)
(Should an “at-large” selection be required, Conference USA will provide a back-up team in years 2011 and 2013, and the Big 12 will provide a back-up team in years 2012 and 2014.)
“Obviously we are honored that the Big 12, Big Ten, and Conference USA had the confidence to sign with us as we head into our inaugural season next year; they provide the key ingredients,” said bowl President Tom Starr. “In addition, we felt it was very important to land the New Year’s Day berth, because that has always been the traditional date for college bowl games [that weren't terrible]. We have outstanding conferences, the best game date possible, and a beautifully refurbished stadium filled with heritage and tradition; I couldn’t be more pleased.”
The game will become official after receiving its licensing from the NCAA at the annual post-season bowl meetings next April.
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe: “The Big 12 is pleased to have finalized its partnership with the Dallas Football Classic. This is a great location for our players, coaches, and fans. We also are excited about the match-up with a quality opponent from the Big Ten.”
Big Ten Commissioner James Delany: “The Big Ten looks forward to taking part in the inaugural Dallas Football Classic on New Year’s Day in 2011, the start of a four-year agreement to play in historic Cotton Bowl Stadium against a team from the Big 12 or Conference USA. The Big Ten has played at least one post-season game in the state of Texas in every season since 1995. With the number of Big Ten alumni in Texas, playing a post-season game in the City of Dallas is a natural fit and should provide an outstanding experience for our student-athletes, coaches, and fans.”
Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky: “For decades, college football fans have gathered at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium on New Year’s Day. We are so pleased that the tradition will continue. It is a special venue in a dynamic city. We are excited to be a part of it.”