Unverified Voracity Surveys Fallout (Not That Fallout, Nerds)

Unverified Voracity Surveys Fallout (Not That Fallout, Nerds) Comment Count

Brian June 3rd, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Jalil Irvin's commitment post is here.


One of many softball-related activities that did not occur yesterday [Brian Fuller]

Severe weather delay. Most of the WCWS was rained out yesterday, so they'll try again tonight. This might be good for Michigan since starting pitcher Megan Betsa has a sore back. Michigan plays LSU at 9:30, or after the conclusion of an Alabama-Oklahoma game that was stopped in the middle of the second last night. On the other half of the bracket, Georgia continued its Cinderella run with a win over FSU; Auburn beat UCLA. Game's on ESPN2 tonight.

Harbaugh just likes it man. While nobody is denying that satellite camps are about recruiting, for Harbaugh it's also about football. Pick a report from one of these camps and you'll get some insight into Harbaugh's maniacal intensity:

During one exercise -- a one-cut drill with running backs in linebackers -- Harbaugh was so into things he completely lost track of time.

Another staffer shouted over toward him after taking a look at his watch: "Ready to rotate, coach?"

"No," he fired back with excitement. "OK, I guess so."

247's Keith Niebuhr is an Auburn reporter who was at the camp for his own Auburn-related reasons:

-The kids loved being around Harbaugh. He's very personable when he coaches these guys. It seems genuine. He speaks their language. Makes them all feel special -- even the kids that have no shot of being D-I guys.

Dude just likes football more than most people like anything. But he dislikes "soup sandwiches."



Sliiightly misplaced priorities. Let's recap events in the SEC since Greg Sankey went on his smarm offensive about satellite camps:

The comeuppance here is truly spectacular, not that any of the various mouthpieces down south have noticed. Here's Tony Barnhart setting the last vestiges of his dignity on fire:

Hooooooly shit. Turn around and show us Sankey's hand up your back, buddy. Barnhart's descent into the SEC's personal Iraqi minister of information has reached its climax. What an ass.

Oh right and also that. Baumgardner runs down why Saban's crocodile tears about compliance are particularly funny/enraging:

Harbaugh did more than that. He called him out -- a hypocrite, actually. And I'm not sure how anyone can find fault with it.

Saban -- who has, of course, won four national titles at Alabama -- is literally in the middle of a situation where recruiting violations within his program were found. An assistant coach has been forced to resign and the school currently is awaiting the result of that NCAA investigation.

And if that were the only thing going on here, it'd probably be enough. But it's not.

Like in 2009 when a businessman paid for stars Mark Ingram and Julio Jones to go on a fishing trip. Or in 2013 when a former Alabama player was caught giving Tide offensive lineman D.J. Fluker impermissible benefits. Or later that same year when Saban had to fire a staffer after he paid safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Anyone remember that whole deal about the disassociated Alabama booster who continued to sell signed Crimson Tide merchandise -- from players who still were on the team -- back in 2014?

Like Ole Miss this is just the tip of an iceberg. It should be interpreted as a glimpse into a sophisticated NCAA rule violation factory that occasionally screws up. Alabama does not care about NCAA rules one iota. Saban doesn't want to know. Bo Davis's mistake was knowing.

Further Baylor fallout. Baylor's 2017 recruiting class turned into a ghost town, as you might expect. They're down to one dude. More pressingly, seven players from Baylor's already-signed 2016 class did not enroll as planned and are asking out of their LOIs. One of them is already free to pick another school because Baylor treated his LOI like a sexual assault and didn't report it to the relevant authorities. Baylor isn't releasing them yet because they're holding onto a vague hope that Jim Grobe will be able to salvage some of these guys. Survey says not likely:

The elder Cobb said it was a "good visit, but we let them know my son wants to pursue other options. His mind is made up."

Not likely at all:

"We bought in completely, and we're crushed," JP's mother, Emily, said. "And it's more than Briles. The whole environment is toxic, and there is no way a kid should have to go there."

"We were shocked and appalled when we found out Thursday the severity and widespread extent of Baylor's wrongdoing in multiple instances," Julian said. "We had no idea. Now that we know, we will not be a part of that."

Baylor has 30 days before it has to make a decision and can force the various players who want to go elsewhere to either delay enrollment or pay their own way for a year. It's unlikely it comes to that—it seems like most of the Baylor defectors have no intention of going to Waco, so Baylor would be further killing its reputation for no benefit.

This is another example of why the NLI does little to nothing for players and should be avoided if at all possible. Players can sign financial aid paperwork that locks the school in without locking the player in.

Revisiting potential NCAA involvement. I do think the NCAA is going to do something here. There's a recent precedent in which a school violated its own policies and got hit because of it: Syracuse. Syracuse had a bunch of different things go down under scofflaw Jim Boeheim. One of them was ignoring their own drug testing policy:

"Like many of the other severe violations involved in this case, the institution's actions regarding its dismissal of the written drug testing policies and procedures were aimed at preserving student-athletes' ability to compete for the men's basketball program," the NCAA report said.

Baylor's internal justice-type substances are in violation of their written policies and should be similarly actionable, since it was also in the service of preserving eligibility. Hopefully it's far more actionable than Syracuse's issues.

Uh, yeah, poke around these guys maybe. At least two of the Baylor defectors should be of serious interest to Michigan: four star OL Patrick Hudson and JP Urquidez are both high-profile players who can play tackle. That spot is a sore one for Michigan after Logan Tuley-Tillman was booted and Devery Hamilton flipped to Stanford. Michigan was vaguely involved with Hudson; Urquidez went off the board just a few months after Harbaugh was hired and did not appear to have any relationship with M beforehand.

Michigan will undoubtedly ask both about their interest once that's permissible—schools can't contact any of these guys until they are released.

A balanced schedule. A desultory hooray for Big Ten Hockey, which finally managed to put together a second half of the season for Michigan without a month and a half between games at Yost. Michigan's back half has eight games, all of them in the Big Ten, and the longest stretch without a game at Yost is three weeks. I'm slightly nonplussed by the two bye weeks Michigan has in the second half—the weekends of January 6th and 28th are open. But this is much better than the previous two years.

Adam covered the nonconference portion of the schedule when it was released. In short, it's nice for fans to get BU at Yost but other than that it's a bunch of middling-to-bad teams that won't help Michigan make the tournament if their record isn't as shiny as it was a year ago. Which… yeah. Probably won't be.

A shootout solution worth backing. In the let's fix soccer post I derided shootouts, as do all persons of quality, but didn't have a slam-dunk solution. This from Dario Perkins might be one:

Play the penalties before extra time. If one team outscores the other in the subsequent 30 minutes of open play, then that result will trump the outcome of the penalty kicks. If extra time ends in a draw, then the game goes to the penalty winner.

That's brilliant. While the shootout does still have its unsatisfying place in the game, playing it early reduces its impact and guarantees that one team will always be frantically pressing for a goal. That change should be implemented immediately.

Etc.: Pay-to-play in US soccer is a necessity because the money has to come from somewhere. Ken Starr's personality is to the best of his ability. Seriously, can we not send him to jail? Are there not laws against this behavior? Michigan's not attending Baylor's camp anymore, it appears.


Unverified Voracity Is Paterno 2.0

Unverified Voracity Is Paterno 2.0 Comment Count

Brian May 26th, 2016 at 1:22 PM

Baylor fires everyone some people. Others get tiny American flags. First Ken Starr, and today Art Briles. For Baylor to fire the best coach in their history by several light years, the reports that have already come to light are probably the tip of the iceberg. They're bad. They're very bad. But programs will go to extraordinary lengths to keep coaches as good as Briles around, so expect a bombshell. Like, another one. If "football team brings down university president" isn't enough for you. 

Oh and here it is:

That'll do it. Last time I mentioned Baylor I said you could "go either way" on Briles, which wasn't particularly clear: I meant whether he should lose his job, not whether he was implicated in this or came off well. Moot point now, and obviously there's no way to read Art Briles as anything other than despicable.

I wonder if the NCAA will get involved here. This is a million times worse than anything Ole Miss has done. Giving people money is generally helpful to them. Enabling sexual assault is… not. This should be the very definition of lack of institutional control; Baylor is systematically overlooking felonies to make their football team better. This is Paterno-level stuff here.

Pause. … Yeah, I mean that. Baylor created more rape in the world. This is probably worse, at least in terms of the actions taken by the football staff, than the Paterno thing since it appears people actively got involved in direct violation of title IX.

Meanwhile Starr is actually being reassigned to some cushy retirement position, the rest of Baylor's staff is staying on, and the athletic director somehow didn't get fired. Ooookay.

Like whatever man. This is my opinion on the #1 jersey:

I offered this opinion because like clockwork someone asked Edwards about #1 because someone had the temerity to issue it.

No offense to the Fab Five or Braylon Edwards, but I have massive fatigue about these topics. I don't want to hear about how Jalen Rose asked Sandy to the dance but Chris Webber already did that and now one of them is mad at the other and they haven't talked for 15 years. And I don't want to hear about Braylon Edwards's quest to take the One Jersey to Mount Doom and his inevitable opinion that anyone who hasn't taken the One Jersey to Mount Doom shouldn't get to wear it. I know how he feels about this. We can take it as read. I know that Jalen and Chris are in the world's longest performance of Mean Girls. I would rather hear about anything else.

Well maybe not anything else. It turns out that firing Jason Whitlock is necessary but not sufficient to have a successful venture. The first piece that's been social media'd into my lap from The Undefeated is this article on how black people don't do analytics from Michael Wilbon. Wilbon talks about how stats are dumb about as frequently as I talk about how people are just in charge of things, but usually he doesn't bring damn near 20% of the American populace with him. At least he included someone bombing his dumb ass in his own column:

“So many front offices are staffed by guys like me, who didn’t play the game, who didn’t come in through the coaching ranks … Don’t tell me that there are no black people who are good at math. There are black people who expert at qualitative analysis,” Elhassan said. “I worry that it becomes a way to exclude. Don’t tell me there aren’t any black people on Wall Street who are passionate about basketball. These people exist. Wall Streeters, people with qualitative analysis backgrounds. I know them. I went to school with them. I just don’t believe that one ethnicity is more predisposed to this than another. You realize, of course, that this is the new gateway into the game … into sports?”

I'll let Elhassan speak to the wider implications of Wilbon's piece. I just want to focus on Wilbon's inability to grasp what he's even saying. This paragraph is a perfect encapsulation of Wilbon's worldview:

My friend and ESPN colleague J.A. Adande relayed a conversation he had a couple of seasons ago with Stephen Curry when the then-future MVP was transitioning from shooting guard to point guard. Curry told Adande one of the biggest differences he noticed immediately was playing the point took him away from the corners of the court, where he felt most comfortable taking 3-pointers. Curry didn’t cite any numbers, just his comfort level shooting from the corners relative to the top of the arc. Only later, after the shift, did we learn how much better Curry was from the corners. One stat, according to ESPN Stats & Information, assigned Curry some number in excess of 100 for his 3-point sniping from the corners. This tells you just how bogus the exercise is if the “percentage” reports to be greater than 100.

Step by step:

1. Curry says playing PG takes him away from the corners, where he thinks he shoots better.
2. Statistic created by ESPN confirms this.
3. Wilbon agrees that this is true.
4. Wilbon dismisses the stat because it is over 100.
5. Wilbon thinks this means ESPN believes Curry hits more than all of his shots from the corner.

That is the most ignorant thing ESPN has put in the world for years and yes I am including First Take. Wilbon doesn't bother linking to or explaining what this metric is, because he's a columnist and that means he can put a piece on the internet that references something else on the internet without telling you what that is. But I bet one dollar that this metric, as many are, is calibrated such that a league average player gets 100.

In the very next paragraph Wilbon whines that efficiency metrics are per 100 possessions instead of per 48 minutes. If black people really were the monolith Wilbon suggests they are, they would do well to assemble and vote him out of the race. Ditto SAS, who apparently got on the same bandwagon in a Sportscenter clip you literally could not pay me to watch.

Etc.: David Schilling blasts the Wilbon article in a witheringly entertaining piece. Saddi Washington profiled. Samoans happy to get a visit from Harbaugh. Ross Fulton on OSU's defense in 2016. Josh Rosen on UCLA's endorsement deal. Hockey gets a commit from Jake Slaker, who had 42 points in 57 USHL games this year. Also team captain. 19.


Unverified Voracity Guards Seven Layer Dip

Unverified Voracity Guards Seven Layer Dip Comment Count

Brian May 23rd, 2016 at 2:39 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

Again. Congrats to softball, which won their umpteenth consecutive regional. Their super-regional against Missouri is this upcoming weekend. Wolverine Devotee has assembled the relevant information:

2 Michigan will host 15 Missouri in the NCAA Ann Arbor Super Regional next weekend on May 28-29.

  • Game 1- Saturday, May 28 (3pm/ESPN)
  • Game 2- Sunday, May 29 (Noon/ESPN)
  • Game 3 (if nec.)- Sunday, May 29 (3pm/ESPN)

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 8:30am for season ticket holders and to the general public on Tuesday at 8:30am.

You will not get tickets if you don’t already have them.

Awww yeah. Jane takes the 1986 Hawaii game and adores it:

10. When people tell you they want to see "Schembechler-style" football they mean they want to see a football game that looks sort of like the Battle of Verdun. Typically, the people telling you this will have a carefully-guarded recipe for seven-layer dip. I have no problem with any of this.

11. 27-10 is the score of a game in which one team is much better than the other team but doesn't really want anyone to know it. Like, you score 3 touchdowns but then, "whoa, let's not get cocky."

12. 27-10 is kind of the most Michigan score of all.

Expectations. Many people are expecting a good season from Michigan this year but this might be a tad much:

7 to 1 are the second best odds on the board behind Alabama at 6 to 1. This is not a power poll, many of which have Michigan around #5. Like this one from PFF:

5. Michigan

It’s all about the defense at Michigan, as they’re poised to be one of the nation’s best. They return the nation’s top-graded cornerback in Jourdan Lewis as well as two of the top three graded interior defensive linemen in Chris Wormley and Maurice Hurst. It will be on the offense to find a way to score points, but the majority of the offense returns and the results of their wide-open quarterback race – led by Wilton Speight – will determine just how far this Michigan team will go.

That’s a power poll. The betting lines aren’t. Those take Michigan’s iffy schedule into account. They’re also a collection of sucker bets that has less predictive power than a weekly line that sharps mostly control. (It also emphasizes how incredibly unlikely Leicester City was: you can bet on Navy or Air Force to win the national title at 1000 to 1. Leicester was infamously 5000 to 1.) But the expectations: they are out there.

About that defense. PFF details why they expect Michigan to have one of the best ones in the country again:

2. Their pass rush should be excellent…

As good as Henry was for Michigan last season, he was only the fourth-most efficient rusher on the Wolverines’ defense. Chris Wormley and Maurice Hurst formed the most efficient interior pass-rushing duo in the nation, with Wormley ranking first among defensive tackles in pass-rush productivity (45 total QB pressures, including seven sacks) and Hurst ranking third (30, including three). Hurst only saw 418 snaps last season, so the ability of both he and Wormley to stay productive and on the field will be critical to the Wolverines’ defensive success.

On the edge, Taco Charlton ranked sixth among 4-3 defensive ends in pass-rush productivity, generating 41 total pressures including six sacks.

Charlton did that in relatively scanty playing time as for much of the season he was splitting SDE snaps with Wormley. Only in the last few games did he end up starting at WDE. He could break out in a huge way with incremental improvement and a clear starting role.

PFF also offered up a couple of glimpses into their database that I don’t think we’d seen before, since usually the only hard numbers we get are from the top end. On Michigan’s departures:

The Wolverines only had one player drafted at all – defensive lineman Willie Henry, who went to the Ravens in the fourth round. That’s not to say they don’t have to replace some very productive players. Henry was PFF’s No. 34 interior lineman, LBs Desmond Morgan and Royce Jenkins-Stone both produced at a high level (linebacker in general is a bit of a question-mark position for Michigan), and SS Jarrod Wilson ranked No. 29 at his position after grading well in both run and pass defense.

I didn’t think RJS was that productive—not bad, but not great, either. And Wilson’s ranking is very boring, as is appropriate. A couple departures are omitted, one due to injury early in the year, the other… not due to injury.

Why does there have to be a seamy underbelly? Waco police and Baylor have conspired to keep a series of serious crimes by Baylor players out of the public eye. One of many:

In one case from 2011, an assault at an off-campus event in Waco ended with three football players being charged and Baylor and Waco police discussing the incident. Waco police, according to documents, took extraordinary steps to keep it from the public view "given the potential high-profile nature of the incident." According to a police report obtained by Outside the Lines, Waco's investigating officer asked a commander that "the case be pulled from the computer system so that only persons who had a reason to inquire about the report would be able to access it." The report was placed in a locked office.

This is bigger than the football program. The Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter that we became familiar with when Brendan Gibbons was belatedly expelled from the university is very much in effect at Baylor despite its private status, and there are a pile of accusations that the university has been operating like it’s still 1950 in this department. That could lead to serious repercussions for Baylor as a whole.

Via GTP, Chip Brown is reporting that Art Briles may be safe despite the fact that his teams seem to have a ton of bad behavior going on:

Multiple sources connected to Baylor told HornsDigest.com football coach Art Briles has a better chance of keeping his job after the school’s rape scandal than BU president and chancellor Ken Starr.

The sources said Starr will probably be reassigned to a position in BU’s law school as a result of the failed leadership displayed after multiple rape claims made by female Baylor students against five BU football players all but went ignored…

Briles, who has taken an irrelevant football program to two Big 12 titles in the last three years (including a bunch of new athletics facilities),  is sometimes referred to by Baylor brass as “Moses.”

Brown titles this piece “Starr—Not Briles—Will Be BU’s Fall Guy,” which is wrong. A fall guy is someone who takes the hit for something that wasn’t his fault. Scott Shafer was a fall guy for Rich Rodriguez. Here, Ken Starr is certainly responsible for massive failures and should be booted. You could make an argument either way for Briles, but it’s indisputable that Title IX stuff is above his paygrade.  (Uh… figuratively.)

That’s not to say that Briles isn’t under a lot of heat:

"If you don't (release the findings), it's going to look like you're hiding something given all of these allegations that are now out there," he said. "There's just been so much of it. All of that (Shawn) Oakman stuff. Now this."

And this is a salient point:

"These guys kept playing?" the coach said. "The message you're sending is, 'This isn't a big deal.'" … "This is a guy (Briles) who prides himself in being a players' coach and coaching his team like a high school team. It's really hard to believe that he didn't know about any of this stuff."

Michigan would still have Logan Tuley-Tillman on the roster if they acted like Baylor evidently has. The goings-on in Waco make Michigan’s participation in Baylor’s camp a dubious proposition. We’ll see if it continues as scheduled—Sam Webb mentioned there was some discussion of it but they still planned to go forward with it.

Still, this is more a story about Waco police corruption at the behest of Baylor’s administration more than it is a football coach. Someone’s head has to roll and unusually it look like the—or at least a—correct one will. Whether or not Baylor actually changes as a result is very much in question.

Praise to a sensible thing. More details on Big Ten hockey’s revamped playoff format have emerged, and they are equally devoid of neutral sites:

The tournament would be played over the course of three weekends and feature three best-of-three quarterfinal round series, two single-game semifinals, and one championship game. All games will be hosted on campus of the highest seed.

I assume they meant “higher” seed, not “highest” seed, FWIW. While I’d prefer best two-of-three to continue throughout the tournament, that change is close enough to what I’ve been advocating since Big Ten hockey started existing that I’ll take it. It’s more hockey, and a much much better environment for it. I assume the single game semis and finals are for TV purposes—the league can say we have these three games at this time and televise it without having to worry about if-necessary games. There would seem to be no other reason to have the above format.

While the story linked above seems to assume that the Big Ten will stay at 7, the format will obviously accommodate an eighth team without much disruption. Arizona State’s announcement they will join the NCHC means that particular bad idea is off the table, so the options are 1) swing for the North Dakota fences, 2) wait for a Big Ten school to add hockey or 3) take Miami, I guess.

BTW the comments here are 90% Minnesota fans bitching about Big Ten hockey…

Wow, it's been 24 hours since I thanked the Big 10 for ruining college hockey.  Thanks Big Ten!!!!

…and one North Dakota fan trolling. My favorite is the guy that imagines Minnesota has leverage:

Cleaning up this mess is Coyle's first priority as AD.  We need to force ourselves out of this debacle and back into regionalized hockey as soon as possible. He needs to play hardball like Alvarez played hardball in forcing Minnesota to accept this terrible idea.

They’re gonna make Minnesota hockey great again by playing hardball. That’s the ticket.

Etc.: Manuel on scheduling. Manuel on Harbaugh. Ian Boyd on how teams protect their matchup nightmare TE when he’s not a killer blocker. Relevant to our interests. Conference distribution numbers show the SEC and Big Ten on par, at least temporarily. Billy Donlon, defensive coordinator.