Unverified Voracity Surveys Fallout (Not That Fallout, Nerds)

Unverified Voracity Surveys Fallout (Not That Fallout, Nerds)

Submitted by Brian on 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 Mostly About Spreadsheets

Unverified Voracity Is Mostly About Spreadsheets

Submitted by Brian on April 21st, 2016 at 2:05 PM


APR check-in. We no longer have to do the thing with the books and the deep dive into what is required of Michigan to avoid penalties, so let's just jam the latest APR data into a UV bullet. Michigan's multi-year football APR is now a very shiny 989, which is seventh nationally and somehow only fourth in the Big Ten:

Rank School APR
1 Wisconsin 992
2 Minnesota 992
3 Northwestern 992
4 Michigan 989
5 Illinois 982
6 Nebraska 981
7 Indiana 979
8 MSU 978
9 Maryland 977
10 Rutgers 972
11 Iowa 971
12 OSU 971
13 Purdue 968
14 PSU 960

Again, a lot of credit for this has to go to Brady Hoke, who inherited a bad situation and made it very good. Also that's another thing James Franklin lags his peers in.

Every other Michigan sport did very well, with many batting 1000.

Just when the satellite camp thing can't get any weirder. UCLA AD Dan Guerrero "didn't vote the way he was supposed to" per Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:

That makes two conferences who are utterly baffled at their own dang vote, with the Sun Belt the other. If those conferences had voted the way the vast majority of their coaches had wanted, the camp ban fails 8-7.

Guerrero's attempt to justify his vote is as bizarre as you might expect:

“My assessment was that one of the two was going to pass, and we didn’t know which one,” Guerrero said. “I had to vote for 59 because if that failed and 60 passed, Pac-12 schools would have been at a disadvantage.”

59 is the total ban. 60 allowed camps in the same state or within 50 miles. The Pac-12 apparently has a rule that wouldn't allow them to take advantage of the latter. Guerrero seems oblivious to the fact that the Pac-12 can, you know, change its own rules. He was also oblivious to the fact that the ACC and SEC were going to press for a camp ban…

“Going into the meetings, it was the feeling of many members of the D1 Council that these proposals would be tabled at the request of the FOC, thereby rendering both of these proposals moot, and keeping the current rule relative to ‘satellite camps’ unchanged,” he wrote to his colleagues last week.

…despite the ACC and SEC publicly proclaiming they would do so for a solid year. People in charge of things are just in charge of them, man. I mean, this is the whole email Guerrero sent out:

“Prior to these meetings, I had extensive conversations with Pac-12 representatives in regard to the Conference’s position on a number of legislative proposals — the ‘satellite camp’ proposals included,” Guerrero wrote to his Pac-12 colleagues. “With an 0–11–1 vote cast by the Pac-12 Council, a vote to oppose [both] proposals was the charge with the ultimate goal to refer the legislation [back] to the Football Oversight Committee (FOC).

“Going into the meetings, it was the feeling of many members of the D1 Council that these proposals would be tabled at the request of the FOC, thereby rendering both of these proposals moot, and keeping the current rule relative to ‘satellite camps’ unchanged. In fact this was the preferred outcome by our Conference as indicated in the preparatory materials I received prior to the meeting.

“When this did not happen … I made the call to support [the ACC’s version], which was the preference of the two options.”

That is a pile of wordvomit that an eighth-grader should be embarrassed about. It's flabbergasting that an athletic director can barely express himself.

Overdue for some Sankey smarm no doubt. Yep:

“What’s caught me by surprise is the notion that there’s a lot of name-calling and finger-pointing,” he said. “It’s not a healthy byproduct of the legislative process.”

When you have no case on the merits, attack the tone of the people with a case. That is also a brutally awkward construction, but I guess these days the job of an NCAA muckety-muck is not to explain but to obscure. Speaking of…

Let's define what a bubble is first. Economist Andrew Zimbalist thinks the NCAA is currently in a bubble environment because they might have to play players:

Zimbalist says this kind of spending is not sustainable, and he thinks litigation of some stripe — courts deciding players can be paid beyond their scholarships, for instance — could cause the bubble to burst. Among the other potential wildcards are an ongoing lawsuit pertaining to athlete compensation limits that seeks hundreds of millions in damages, concussion lawsuits, or a change in the National Labor Relations Board’s position on college athletes unionizing.

“There are big-time things leading it to pop,” says Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and author of Unpaid Professionals: Commercializationand Conflict in Big-Time College Sports. “It’s an unstable situation.”

This is a weird way to define a "bubble." If college athletics are in a bubble situation it's because of the changing landscape of cable. Their bubble is more or less ESPN's bubble, with ticket sales in an HD world a potential additional factor. Once people with no interest in sports can watch Naked and Afraid without having to give six bucks to ESPN, there might have to be some belt-tightening. Obviously, that doesn't appear to be kicking in just yet, or any time soon—CBS just extended its deal for the NCAA Tournament until 2032.

Being forced to reallocate revenues to athletes and away from coaches, administrators, and nine-digit palaces for nonrevenue sports is not a "bubble" unless you take an exceedingly narrow view of the stakeholders here. And, yes, for the vast majority of NCAA schools this discussion is irrelevant. For the ones for which it is relevant, their ever-increasing income is the opposite of a bubble. If this quote applies at all…

Zimbalist says athletics departments simply can’t keep spending so much. “Politically, it’s not sustainable,” he says. “Legally, it’s not sustainable. Economically, it’s not sustainable.”

…it's to the second tier who are a trying to keep up with the Joneses, which is an entirely different situation than most Power 5 schools find themselves in.

If you'd like a more erudite take, John Gasaway was also irritated by this article:

For starters the nominal news hook presented by the numbers — most athletic departments operate at what they are pleased to term deficits — would seem to be something of an awkward fit for our traditional stock of “bubble” iconography. Maybe it’s me, but I always assumed that tulip merchants in 1637, the South Sea Company in 1720, Webvan.com in 1999, and subprime lenders in 2006 instead showed astronomic operating surpluses. In fact I rather thought this was precisely the red flag in those cases.

Changing the distribution of a pie does not change the pie. I mean:

In 2011, the University of Michigan athletic department employed 253 people, according to state records. Four years later, in 2015, it was 334, up 32 percent.

During that period, the average salary grew 22.4 percent, to $89,851. Over a seven-year span, the number of athletic department employees making six figures went from 30 to 81. …

Michigan didn't add 32 percent more sports in those four years, or 32 percent more scholarship athletes, requiring 32 percent more staffing.

It just made about $30 million more dollars per year, from $122.7 million in 2011 to $152.5 million in 2015. Most of the increase came courtesy of the Big Ten Network.

Schools have a motivation to spend all the money they make so it looks like they don't have enough to pay their athletes. Dave Brandon's Michigan was the leading edge of a nationwide trend.

The reason this article comes out annually. USA Today has updated its database of income and expenses for D-I schools. Michigan is fourth behind Texas A&M (which had a huge donation surge for stadium renovations they're undertaking and will slide back into the pack next year), Texas, and OSU.  They've still got that niggling 200k or so a year counted as a university subsidy that looks bad despite the obvious fact that they don't need to have their income supplemented.

But would you go back in time to kill Baby Anonymous NFL Scout? It's that time of year again where NFL types operating under a cloak of anonymity slam the character of various draft prospects. One article out of Wisconsin on the quarterback class has an absolute pile of "say that to my face" quotes. On Connor Cook:

"Let's put it this way: he's not Kirk Cousins," another scout said. "The person kills him. Selfish. He goes out too much. It's a tell-tale sign when your teammates don't like you, and I know they don't. He's good, but that position is more than physical attributes. It's also leadership. Is he going to lead your guys? I don't think so

On Christian Hackenberg:

"He hangs out more with managers than he does teammates. It tells me he likes to be king of the little people rather than king of the big people."

And the doozy on Cardale Jones:

"Strong arm. Big, big body. Not the brightest cookie in the world. I worry about him when he gets money in his pocket. I just don't know if it's all there mentally."

Anonymous NFL Scout is the wooooooorst.

Rugby tackling is spreading. Pete Carroll's push to get more teams tackling like the Seahawks do—with the shoulder first, wrapping up the legs—appears to be taking off:

Dozens of teams, both on the Power Five and Group of Five levels, now utilize the rugby style during practice, drawn to a change in approach after watching a video from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll detailing the method. Boiled down, Carroll’s system — one he calls “Hawk Tackling” — offers a drastic change from tradition: rather than tackling with the head, defenders are taught to lead with their shoulders.

“It’s definitely a safer way to tackle,” said Rutgers defensive lineman Darius Hamilton. “With the rugby-style tackle, you want to kill the engine, which is basically wrapping the thighs, stopping the legs. So I definitely think this tackling system is more efficient, and it’s just going to take the matter of the more reps you can get of it because you can’t do something like that enough.”

Nebraska and Rutgers appear to be using that system. Will be interesting to see that in practice this year. Certainly hasn't hurt the Seahawks.

Alright then. Mike Spath reports that Michigan is going to have a lot of goalies next year:

Lavigne had a .914 in the USHL this year after a rough 2014-15; LaFontaine had a .921 in the NAHL. Michigan also has a commit from NTDP goalie Dylan St. Cyr next year, so things are about to be crowded even with Zach Nagelvoort graduating after 2016-17.

Michigan also added one of LaFontaine's teammates today:

Winborg is a 21-year-old Swede who has been a PPG player in the NAHL for the last couple years. Guys with his profile are usually depth players; Michigan does need depth. Fellow Swede Gustaf Westlund is a 2017 player, not a 2016 player as I incorrectly assumed, so Michigan could use an extra forward on next year's team.

Etc.: gotta respect the hustle here. Hopefully the dude gets asylum, because anyone who gets out of South Sudan should. The O'Bannon case did establish the NCAA as a monopoly. The woooooorst. Michigan killing the charity bowl. No mercy.

Unverified Voracity Cannot Close Its Eyes And Relax

Unverified Voracity Cannot Close Its Eyes And Relax

Submitted by Brian on March 3rd, 2016 at 4:31 PM



you probably are

damn you purdue

More work for Chief Enunciator Ace Anbender. Michigan's hired former Hawaii and Cleveland Browns coach Tony Tuioti as Chris Partridge's replacement. Michigan seems to be consciously trying to have one guy who is super-connected with every fertile recruiting ground they can find. While Hawaii might not be a likely spot for recruits, Tuioti is Polynesian. Polynesia is kind of a location you can get recruits, sometimes ukelele-playing recruits with massive manes of awesome hair who can play fullback and tailback. These are good recruits to get.

Greg Sankey has lost in the court of public opinion. He'll probably win in the court that matters, but it's nice to see that the portions of the media not completely dependent on the SEC for food and shelter* aren't buying what Sankey's selling one bit. Dan Wetzel:

College players can't negotiate the time off that NFLers have – organized team activities for the pros don't begin until late April and often not until late May. That's four or five months off for most players. Somehow the sport thrives. In college you get less than two – which doesn't even count crack-of-dawn "voluntary" weight training sessions just a week or so after a bowl game.

No one seems too concerned about that.

To focus solely on the issue of a handful of off-campus spring practices by one school, however, is to engage in absurd selectivity. The idea that players need spring break to themselves is a nice concept, but not some irrefutable argument.

Many players, just like most regular college students, can't afford to go away for spring break, no matter what the old movies claim. The majority of cash strapped "normal" students probably use the time to work.

Andy Staples:

A breeze floated in off the Gulf of Mexico a few miles west. The temperature had just dropped into the 60s following the sun’s plunge into the pink horizon. As darkness fell and palm trees swayed, Michigan tight end Jake Butt discussed getting his spring break ripped away by his taskmaster coach.

“We don’t have to worry about classes now. All we can focus on is football, and then we’re out on the beach relaxing. It’s unbelievable,” Butt said Tuesday. “Not everyone on our team is going to be able to take a spring break to get away. We’re away. We’re down here in Florida. Beautiful territory. Sun shining. Not too hot. Nice breeze. Eating great food with our brothers. I don’t have anything negative to say about it.”

What, you thought he was going to complain?

Andy Schwarz:

Are college sports power brokers actually concerned that Michigan's football players will be working on out patterns instead of holding down the business end of beer bongs? I doubt it. To the contrary, I think their supposed reservations are basically a tell—you know, the subtle tip-off a bad gambler does when he's bluffing—that lets the rest of us know just what actually matters in major college sports.

Hint: it isn't making sure football players have a relaxing Spring Break.

Bob Wojnowski caught up with a local high school coach who had a couple of insightful quotes:

“Because I also coached in college for years, I realize the value of what these kids are experiencing,” Gerber said. “Most of these kids aren’t gonna afford a spring break. And if you watch the tempo and demeanor of the practice, it’s purposeful, but they’re not bludgeoning them. It’s a learning environment. This has been very well thought out.”

I has occurred to me that the local media probably doesn't mind a working vacation in early March.

*[Or, like Michael Weinreb, have a contract with the devil requiring a concern troll about Michigan every six months.]

Hello: Jerry Kill? Per Sid Hartman, Jerry Kill might end up with a job in Ann Arbor if he wants it:

This week Kill spent time with his close friend, TCU coach Gary Patterson, and could wind up on his staff. Kill has always been close to Jack Harbaugh, father of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, and rumors around the Big Ten are that a job on the Wolverines staff is his if he wants it.

With Michigan's full assistant roster complete that would be one of those analyst positions that's come open as those gents move up the ladder. Everybody loves Kill and he has an impressive track record of dragging maximum performance out of iffy recruits, so that would be an excellent move.

A Fanhouse oral history. The Comeback has an enormous oral history of Fanhouse which is an excellent insight into how the first corporate sports blog rose and fall. I was a part of it from the beginning and faded away towards the end; only one of my completely fire takes made it in the story:

Brian Cook, college football blogger, FanHouse: I think hiring Mariotti was the most tone-deaf ridiculous thing they could have possibly done. Because he was just a blowhard, right? One of the things Spencer Hall says about SB Nation is [it's] the [internet's] the only sports appreciation machine. We weren’t lecturing from the top of a mountain like a lot of newspaper people tend to do. We were just fans being fans. And when you bring in the guys that do talk at you from the top of the mountain, do the Mariotti stuff, it’s completely antithetical [to] what the whole point of the enterprise was.

Fanhouse was an important bridge for me personally, as it allowed me to focus on MGoBlog without digging into savings. But this here site remained my focus because it wasn't tough to predict that AOL would not be in the content game long term. As a #content factory Fanhouse produced almost exclusively disposable content. Meanwhile it was difficult for it to have any specific voice when so many different people were contributing to it. The structure of the compensation—pay per post with a monthly on top of it—lent itself to lots of posts that took little time. The results were what you might expect.

Spencer's take on it is correct:

Spencer Hall, college football blogger, FanHouse, now editorial director of SB Nation:FanHouse was pretty good, but I don’t get sentimental over it. And honestly I don’t remember, I couldn’t name a thing that was written on FanHouse 10 years later. I could not name one piece that neither I nor anyone else wrote on FanHouse. I think it was a happy accident that I don’t want people to sanctify, which I would pretty much say about anything. I’d just like you to remember it accurately. It gave a lot of really cool people their first high-profile chance. I think in terms of mistakes, a lot of mistakes that the people running FanHouse made led to good things down the road.

Fanhouse was an early adopter and as such doomed to the same fate early adopters usually meet. It was housed in a large corporation that didn't really know how do to anything except its declining legacy business. It had some smart people in upper management; they were smart enough to know that they should get out while the getting was good. Those who remained thought Jay Mariotti was a good idea, and the story writes itself from there.

Fetch Tony Barnhart's fainting couch. If the man with Greg Sankey's hand up his back thinks it's "inappropriate" to issue barbs at another conference's commissioner there's no way he'll manage to stay upright after this:

Tennessee is of course facing a Title IX lawsuit focused on Butch Jones's program, one that featured an explosive affidavit from a former player in which he asserted that Jones called him a "traitor" for helping a victimized woman.

Get The Picture deconstructed an earlier Barnhart article if you're still fisk-inclined.

Graham Glasgow on Harbaugh. Ain't no time for feelings around these parts any more:

"He's treated everyone in our program essentially, not like a child, but he treated them like an adult -- like, as a man," Glasgow said. "And every talk he had with you would be man-to-man. He was brutally honest about everything."

This is probably the least surprising quote about Harbaugh I've ever heard. It is interesting that it seems like a departure from Hoke.

This is a good interview. The Daily catches up with an outraged Joe Cecconi:

TMD: Who is messier, you or Cooper?

Cecconi: Cooper. I always clean up. His side of the room is disgusting. He’s got all his guitars and his amps and all that crap everywhere.

TMD: Is it annoying living with somebody who makes so much noise making music?

Cecconi: He actually goes downstairs, to be honest. Sometimes he’ll give me a performance, and I’ll be tired and it helps me fall asleep, so it’s good.

TMD: Why weren’t you featured in his recent song?

Cecconi: I don’t know. I got to talk to him about that. I’m not too happy.

Tension in the locker room.

Etc.: Eliminating pro-rel in soccer would be terrible for everyone except the elite few, but some Brandon figure named Charlie Stillitano thinks it's a great idea. All five of Michigan's current 2019 hockey recruits have been invited to the NTDP evaluation camp. Kirby Smart spent more on plane travel than Harbaugh did. Jim Harbaugh's son might accidentally get elected to student government.


Unverified Voracity Isn't Surprised But Is Still Disappointed

Unverified Voracity Isn't Surprised But Is Still Disappointed

Submitted by Brian on February 22nd, 2016 at 2:59 PM

Everyone should go back to these logos. Wisconsin never changed theirs, but the lack of Jaunty Iowa Newsie in my life has been acute:

[HT: Hoover Street Rag]

It's not like the results are good when he does open his mouth. Useless person Jim Delany:

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told CBS Sports this week he has “no reaction at this point” regarding Michigan's spring break trip to Florida.

While this is disappointing, keep in mind that whenever Jim Delany talks he sabotages his own side. When called to testify in the Ed O'Bannon trial he accidentally firebombed the NCAA's case. Delany didn't bother to fight for home games in the Cofopoff. He said he "didn't have a lot of regard" for Alabama right before they curbstomped Michigan. The current SEC dominance was preceded by Delany writing a snotty open letter. Having him on your side is like having Mark May pick you to win. It ain't good.

But this is such a slam dunk that even Delany might be able to make a couple good points. Someone ask Greg Sankey what his opinion of this trip is:

The Vanderbilt baseball team will travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to start a six-day fall break team trip.

The Commodores will tour the capital and practice three days at the U.S. Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Md.

“That’s a huge plus for our kids just to be on the Naval Academy’s campus,” coach Tim Corbin said. “… It’s an opportunity to educate your kids in another way besides baseball. I’ve always wanted to take them to the capital.

Nobody cared about this then, and the only reason Sankey cares about it now is because of recruiting. That is transparent.

Team stuff. Harbaugh signed a bunch of autographs a couple days back and took some media questions while doing so; in addition to the Sankey stuff he revealed a couple of position switches, at least temporary ones:

I imagine that Hill's tenure as a fullback will be similar to Poggi's: he's much more likely to go out for pass than carry the ball, but he's good at that bit and a squat 270, so I can see that working. It's still pretty much the same fit for him as a blocky/catchy guy.

The Gentry move is a lot more interesting. It says either one or both of these things:

  • the quarterback battle is all but decided, likely in John O'Korn's favor, or
  • Gentry's brief moonlighting at TE during bowl practices was too impressive to ignore.

I lean strongly to the former since O'Korn's had the opportunity to play QB in front of Harbaugh for a year; Gentry may have impressed at TE but not enough to remove a touted competitor from the single most critical open position on the team… unless that position is not particularly open.

That's good since it's a tangible piece of evidence supporting the extremely positive practice chatter in re: O'Korn.

Meanwhile, Allen Trieu reports that Rashan Gary will start as a strongside end (or "anchor" in Brown's system) with Taco Charlton moving to WDE. Both of those are moves that we've projected for a bit. That does create a bit of a problem. Matt Godin was pretty good as Chris Wormley's backup early in the year—he actually played about as much as Wormley did—and not very good as a defensive tackle when injury pressed him into duty there. Michigan needs a fourth DT to rotate in with Glasgow, Mone, and Hurst. With Gary at SDE, either Wormley or Godin is likely to get sucked inside.

Finally, Harbaugh said that Mason Cole was going to play a bunch of center in spring.

PRATT. JUST PRATT. The highlight from Harbaugh's presser:

Pratt, my man Pratt’s got to get past a few more things. He’s one of the students. We had about 14 guys who were students who tried out about a month ago and did really good. They’ve been keeping up well, so we’ll be looking forward to seeing them on the field. Guys that were just going to the University of Michigan.

“A lot of them are freshmen. Pratt’s one that’s a junior, but if he walked in here right now, you’d say ‘okay, he belongs.’”

On if there are any fullbacks in the group:

“Yeah, there are. There are two or three fullbacks in the group and some linebackers and a kicker, a snapper. Pratt’s an offensive lineman.”

On what his first name is:

“He’s Pratt right now. He’s just Pratt.”

This will probably be the last we heard of Pratt just Pratt but it was memorable.

A DB coach candidate. Aubrey Pleasant is one possibility; Michigan is also interviewing Chip Viney, a QC coach for Oklahoma. Viney is a former UCLA corner who took a grad transfer to NMSU in 2011; afterwards he was scooped up by Oklahoma as a grad assistant before transitioning to the QC job last year. He is a Harbaugh kind of guy:

Viney also surprised the players by frequently wearing his cleats to workouts and challenging both other defensive backs and receivers to one-on-one battles. He went head-to-head against guys like Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders.

“A lot of those guys think since he sits in an office he doesn’t have it, but he still does have it,” Sanchez said. “Guys would talk, but if he put those cleats on, he will get you."

Viney is widely credited with Oklahoma's success recruiting the Fresno area and California more generally:

Chip is awesome,” first-year defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks said. “From a personality standpoint, he’s as good a recruiter from the G.A. spot I’ve ever been around. It’s easy for him to be relatable to these players. He’s phenomenal with that.

“He’s played the position and played it at a high level. He knows the details. I have complete confidence with Chip. It has been a blessing to have him.”

Viney, who played at UCLA, has become the name synonymous with OU’s recruiting success in the state of California.

Viney's a former corner; Zordich is a former safety. He's young, upwardly mobile, and an excellent recruiter in a part of the country that is a major focus for Michigan's national recruiting. Everything looks like a fit. The Oklahoman just published a glowing profile of him a week ago; would not be surprised if he was the guy. Harbaugh specializes in finding guys like him.

While we're on coaches. I don't think I mentioned that one of the open analyst spots is going to be filled by Jimmie Dougherty, who a lot of people though was going to be Michigan's WR coach before Jedd Fisch fell into Harbaugh's lap. Meanwhile, Matt Doherty returned to Miami.

OSU postgame, 1995. Via Dr. Sap:

Also here's 1981 MSU via Wolverine Historian:

Now that we definitely have a draftee can we have Willie Henry back? Kiper is projecting Graham Glasgow in the second or third round, and Harbaugh's unvarnished opinion is a major aid:

"Jim's highly regarded and highly respected, he's done a phenomenal job wherever he's been," Kiper said. "Jim's a phenomenal coach, whether it be in the NFL (or in) college football. He'll have Michigan right there with Ohio State and the best teams in the country, had a real good recruiting class ... his opinion is huge."

Henry is getting lost in the shuffle of a deep DL class, he says, but the combine could be impressive for Henry if that playing strength translates to bench press reps. Kiper also says Rudock will get drafted. If that happens it'll be a testament to Harbaugh's development skills.

Why you want the money to be on the table instead of under it, Part N. Somehow the Big Ten continues to lead the universe in TV ratings:


Amateurism is a handicap for the Big Ten.

Interesting job. Michigan posted an interesting "analytics coordinator" job with a bunch of responsibilities:

1. Perform data analysis for identification of play calling tendencies and strengths and weaknesses of our team and our opponents

2. Creation of and provision over research in regards to specific teams, conferences, styles, and College Football as a whole, that lead to insightful measures and reports

3. Weekly video scouting of top opponent players through an in-house created Player Evaluation System

4. Creation of Michigan post-game summary statistics and advanced measures of success

5. Weekly management of coach-produced player grades and helmet stickers

There are many other things, all of which seem like good things for Michigan to be keeping track of.

This is a good omen. When you have three really good scorers you tend to do well in the tourney:

Over the last 17 years, a handful of college hockey teams have had similar production from a standout trio. Of the eight teams that finished with three top-10 scorers during that stretch, three won national titles and another three finished runner-up.

Miami was the most recent in 2011; they got dumped in the first round. Red called Racine "the difference" in the Ferris State game… I can't agree with that, but he has been critical over the past month.

Half of this is Baxter, the other half Ferrigno. Michigan's increased emphasis on special teams paid off a year ago even if there were some hiccups:

Will be interesting to see how Michigan maintains there without Baxter. I don't think they'll give back all the gains. Harbaugh doesn't carry around guys who don't pull their weight like Hoke did.

Etc.: Illegal man downfield rule to be enforced vigorously. I'll believe it when I see it. Michigan moves up to 14th in Baseball America's poll after a 4-0 start. Omaha.com names them a CWS dark horse(!). Will Carr goes from GA to analyst at Texas. Rashan Gary's decision process; contains lots of fun quotes.

Horsefaces Everywhere

Horsefaces Everywhere

Submitted by Brian on February 19th, 2016 at 1:36 PM

I broke. Now I fisk everything.

Michael Weinreb, writerist who does not mind bashing head against same wall


Weinreb poops on Michigan in print approximately every six months with whatever logic is at hand. The latest is at Rolling Stone. Weinreb points out that Harbaugh is crazy, because that's a new insight, and then launches into his usual concern trolling act:

Not surprisingly, given that Harbaugh is an undeniably brilliant football coach, this strategy is working. The Wolverines lured the nation's No. 1 recruit, Rashan Gary, and one of the country's best recruiting classes. But there are two underlying questions to consider here:

Here we go.

The first is whether this can possibly be sustained, or whether Harbaugh will eventually burn himself out, as he did at Stanford and with the 49ers.

Anyone still parading this line out after the Jim Tomsula experience is either so braindead they're writing a 12,000 word article on Daniel Holtzclaw or simply dishonest. Harbaugh left Stanford for a job with the 49ers after a 12-1 season that completed the most stunning turnaround in recent NCAA history. Stanford did not want to lose him. They left everything more or less the same after he left.

Harbaugh left the 49ers after a year-long disinformation campaign by Jed York, who emphatically proved he was the problem over the past year. 49ers players fled San Francisco en masse after Harbaugh's departure. York hired a vastly unqualified yes-man who may literally have been Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force to run the team into the ground and fired him after just one year. Harbaugh's final 8-8 season was an injury-riddled mess; in his absence Colin Kaepernick evaporated and the team barely crossed midfield in most games. If you're still on Team York in 2016, you have issues.

What happens, say, if Michigan beats Ohio State and qualifies for the College Football Playoff next season and a top-tier NFL job looms on the horizon?

Like they did two years ago? Like they did this year? I don't think Harbaugh's guaranteed to retire in Ann Arbor but if he wasn't deeply interested in a run of significance at Michigan he wouldn't be here in the first place. Meanwhile this worry boils down to "what if Harbaugh is good at his job?" Heaven forfend.

What happens if Harbaugh doesn't get something he specifically demands from the Michigan administration?

This has already happened. It will continue to happen. Harbaugh may not have many filters but neither is he a literal child who will pout and leave the first time he's told there are limits, which, again, has happened repeatedly already. This is a guy who has turned around four separate football programs. One of them was under Jed York. He is used to not getting what he wants. Meanwhile find me an NFL team without an owner.

What happens if the academics in Ann Arbor began complaining about the bills coming due?

Michigan's athletic department is self-sufficient. Again, you'd have to be an idiot or deeply disingenuous to even bring this up.

And the second question surrounding Harbaugh is what all of this might mean for college football.

Nothing? Other than Michigan might be good?

Maybe, by essentially professionalizing the recruiting process, Harbaugh is dispensing with the pretense that college football is still an amateur sport.

This is the sentence that finally broke me. For one, the idea that Harbaugh is "professionalizing" the recruiting process makes zero sense. All he's done is recruit a little harder within the rules and his weirdness has made that viral. No part of that is professionalizing anything.

Meanwhile, the SEC and ACC are tossing six figures at recruits. Nobody cares about this. Michigan's athletic director publicly and repeatedly asserted that Rashan Gary turned down money to sign with Michigan, and the media reaction was absolutely nothing. Again, I am all for the professionalization of something that is already de facto professionalized, but pretending like it's Harbaugh shaking the NCAA's foundational concept is the work of an idiot, a liar, or a lying idiot. None of this has anything to do with money.

But here's the thing: If you read beyond the headline of Sankey's complaint, he has a legitimate point. A Pac-12 study last year revealed that athletes in the conference spent an average of 50 hours a week on their sport and were often "too exhausted to study effectively." I have no idea if Sankey and his member schools are serious about exploring this idea, but this is the sort of concept on which the Big Ten should be leading the way.

He does not have anything approximating a point. Michigan isn't adding time. They are moving it. They are in fact moving it away from finals, for as much as that matters. They are moving practice time to a point where there is no studying to do.

In reality, it doesn't matter either way. The players will put in the time, both in the Big Ten and SEC. A little money, a flight or two, doesn't matter. It'll help Michigan recruit, the players will get a bit of a tan, nobody will be negatively affected, end of story.

But Weinreb don't care. In six or nine or twelve months we'll get another of these. It's tradition. The man simply cannot be dissuaded no matter how bad these pieces look in retrospect. Remember this one?

I would worry that Harbaugh is doing this for the money (a reported $48 million over six years, which would make him the sport’s highest-paid coach) or out of some misguided sense of obligation to his alma mater, and that he is not prepared to play the game within the game by embracing the salesmanship of the job, the one key aspect college coaching demands that pro football doesn’t (see: Belichick, Bill).

"Worry" dispelled, worry about the opposite, rinse, repeat. Keep paternoing that chicken.

Greg Sankey, malfunctioning corporate robot


This is his feeble attempt to justify banning satellite camps:

“That had nothing to do with a particular program, just a concern of, wait, we have agreed to a recruiting structure,” he said.

We did, and it allows for coaches to act as guests for remote camps. You banned satellite camps amongst yourselves, but that's your business.

“… Are we going to allow the recruiting and the pressure on young people, the earlier recruiting, the bringing in boosters to practices to watch when you’re on these satellite camp tours?"

This is a non-sequitur, and particularly hilarious/infuriating coming from the SEC commissioner. Harbaugh shows up at camps. If players want to show up where Harbaugh is, they do so. If they don't want to go, they don't go.

Nothing about a satellite camp accelerates recruiting, and lol the SEC commissioner is talking about boosters. Greg Sankey is ON IT, guys. He'll get right to the bottom of this "booster" business, once and for all.

“Over and over I have sat in AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) meetings and heard football coaches say we don’t want football recruiting to go the way men’s basketball has gone, meaning, let’s try to anchor to the best we can our football recruiting in the scholastic environment. It’s around education, it’s around people who are supervised by administrators and school boards. That seems a healthy approach for recruiting, not going out to create other opportunities.”

…to be around football coaches in a camp environment that you have decided is perfectly fine as long as it is in a different geographical region. This is a complaint against 7-on-7 and Nike camps and Rivals camps and the like inartfully repurposed against Harbaugh.

Sankey is actually making an argument in favor of satellite camps, which bring NCAA compliance along with them and expose players directly to coaches without the intermediaries that infest basketball recruiting. This is the best argument he has against satellite camps: one in favor of them.

Mark Emmert, figurehead

...because he has lawsuits to deal with.

That's what "not prohibited" means. It means it is okay if you do it. I looked this up.

Maybe flatulent twit Mark Emmert should concentrate on enforcing the zillions of rules on the books currently that are being flouted more and more dramatically with every limp-wristed NCAA enforcement action.

Pat Narduzzi, personal foul enthusiast


going pro in something other than beer bonging

Behold the dumbest "think of the children" ever:

If I was a high school player, and you’re telling me I couldn’t go to Cancun or Daytona on spring break, I’d be kind of like, ‘Are you serious?’

Think of the casual sex and drunken falling off of balconies. This is the fake-ass concern people opposed to Harbaugh have come up with: college football players are being denied a week of drinking at 9 AM. A Notre Dame recruit died over spring break in 2010. A few years later we're fighting for the sanctity of waking up in vomit that may or may not be yours.

You'll note that the ACC and SEC are trying to ban satellite camps, too, but they don't talk about that over and over again in public, because they don't have even a fake-ass pearl to clutch there. There is zero reason for satellite camps to be banned; doing that in fact hurts various kids trying to get noticed. Think of the children! Why won't anyone think of the children?


All of these men are horseface. It has been decreed.

MGoPodcast 7.18: Ace's Gravitational Wave Podcast

MGoPodcast 7.18: Ace's Gravitational Wave Podcast

46 minutes


[Patrick Barron]

A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out 100years.moe for the rich history of Michigan's oldest apparel store.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, and the University of Michigan Alumni Association.


Ace doesn't know about gravitational waves. He does know about basketball. Michigan's win over Purdue was very strange. But it was a win. Caris return, Irvin going ham, Walton closing it out.

Gimmicky Top Five: Things The SEC Will Ban Next

starts at 24:30

This segment is frosty. Ace has never seen Hunt For Red October, which is just… that seems impossible to me.

Ace's Hockey Podcast

Starts at 36:29

The worst goal ever. Segue from there into general league competence stuff, of which there doesn't seem to be much. The team is the team is the team at this point.


"Across 110th Street"