Unverified Voracity Talks Batnipple

Unverified Voracity Talks Batnipple

Submitted by Brian on July 25th, 2017 at 4:06 PM

Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Marcell Harris (26) reacts against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Exit these guys. Florida took a couple of hits in the secondary, one more important than the other. The important gent is returning starter Marcell Harris, who will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL. That knocks Florida down to 3 returning starters on D—sounds familiar—and robs them of their best safety. Florida has talented guys waiting to step up but they're green:

Sophomore Jeawon Taylor and freshman Quincy Lenton, who were injured this spring, could be options to step in for Harris, but new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon could get creative with his roster.

Starter Duke Dawson is slated to be the next big thing at cornerback, but he has played safety and nickel during the first three years of his Gators career. Like Harris, he's a veteran leader who understands the position and has proven versatility that could prove valuable considering the circumstances.

In that same light, sophomore Chauncey Gardner was solid last year. He played in all 13 games, starting three at safety with 36 tackles and three interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown. He's slated to start along side Dawson at corner but is certainly an option to move around if Shannon chooses.

The other hit is Chris Williamson, a second-year 3.5* cornerback. He's transferring. That removes an option in the UF secondary.

Another recruiting hire. A second former member of the SS Rodriguez jumps aboard:

Rick Neuheisel, proto-Harbaugh. This is terrific story from Rick Neuheisel in an excellent Jon Solomon article on coach paranoia in the aftermath of Wakeyleaks:

One year at the Pac-12 coaches’ meetings, Neuheisel wanted to increase the conference’s travel-squad numbers (60 players per team) closer to the Big Ten and SEC limits (70 players).

But Neuheisel knew he was toxic, especially in a room with so many big egos, such as Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh and USC’s Carroll. So Neuheisel had then-

Oregon State coach Mike Riley pitch the idea.

“Mike is the nicest guy in the world, so he pitched it to the ADs and we got 70,” Neuheisel says. “Had Rick Neuheisel pitched it, we’d still be at 60. No one looked at Mike Riley and ever thought there was a hidden ball trick going on.”

Harbaugh now faces this same paranoia at Michigan. He maneuvers through the NCAA rule book, such as taking the Wolverines to spring practice in Florida and Italy and holding summer satellite camps around the country to look for players.

“He’ll never get any legislation passed he wants,” Neuheisel said. “But if you go get Mike Riley from Nebraska, you’ve got a hell of a chance to get it done.

Keep an eye out for any Mike Riley pronouncements about the correct milk to drink.

Hockey commits. A couple of significant hockey commits in the past week. 2019 F Jack Beecher committed to Michigan over BU, BC, and OHL interest, and hoo boy this guy has some potential:

Other takes from hockey scouting twitter include "elite skater who drives play … lethal shot," "size, soft hands, and rocket shot" and "dominant tools." He's a 6'4" guy who has plenty of room to fill out and plenty of skill when he does. SBN's Jeff Cox:

Johnny Beecher, Elmira, NY, Salisbury School, Left Shot, 6’4”/210 - He’s a big time pro prospect with good size. He has decent to above average hands for a player his size. His stride and ability to protect the puck are both assets. He has that reach that you just can’t teach. He can put a puck out there, pull it back and rip a wrist shot on net. He drives the net and does a good job using his size down low and along the boards. He’s got that extra gear to win a battle along the wall and just separate himself from the defender to get to the slot and get a hard shot on net.

In January Hockey Prospect Dot Com ranked him 3rd in their OHL draft rankings; he fell to 85th because of his NTDP commitment.

Beecher is the first truly big-time recruiting win for Mel Pearson; he'll spend the next two years with the NTDP before arriving in Ann Arbor. Michigan no doubt hopes to latch on to fellow 2019 NTDPer Jack Hughes, a potential top 5 NHL draft pick and brother of incoming freshman Quinn.

The other commit is D Cole McWard, who Chris Heisenberg lists as a 2020. Less out there on him, but here's this tweet:

He's about 6-foot now and will grow.

The worst Freeze since the guy in the batnipple movie. I'm enjoying Dan Wolken unloading both barrels on Hugh Freeze, as it's something it seems like he's been waiting years to do. Now it can be told:

Whatever Freeze was doing to make enemies across the Southeast, it was often hard to distinguish what rival coaches saw as the greater transgression — the program’s loose relationship with the NCAA rulebook or his in-your-face piety.

Coaches who recruited against Freeze didn’t merely roll their eyes at him, and they certainly didn’t laugh, except when it came to the nickname a few called him behind his back: Jimmy Swag.

I could have been calling him Jimmy Swag for years if I had only known this. Alas. Wolken followed that up with another brutal missive:

There’s no reason to be coy here: Whispers about Freeze’s personal behavior have followed him since long before he became a college head coach. But at every stop along the way, it was difficult to do much with those rumors because so many people who were around him on coaching staffs and in athletic departments spoke so highly of him. His public embrace of Christianity, and the genuinely good charitable work he did, provided good cover and an easy narrative for all those glowing national newspaper profiles. Those who doubted his genuineness were written off as jealous or agenda-driven.

Sad thing about Freeze's behavior is it works. Once people believe a thing it takes an unbelievable amount of evidence to change their mind, and usually even that doesn't work.

Meanwhile Mark Schablach has a bonkers story on the sibling knife fight that is the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry:

Robertson had been butting heads with Ole Miss officials for the past several months, since they denied his open records request for an unredacted version of the notice of allegations the Rebels received from the NCAA in January 2016. Robertson wanted the names of the Ole Miss boosters who are accused of providing improper benefits to recruits, and university officials wouldn't release them.

When Mars advised Tyner about the call Freeze made to the escort service, he told him that he'd shared the phone records with Robertson.

"Steve is obsessed," Mars said Tyner told him.

"Had anybody in this state done their job, I wouldn't have had to do it," Robertson said. "It got to the point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of it. I was willing to pass the baton to someone, but no one was willing to take it."

Robertson filed a complaint with the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which ruled in his favor earlier this month.

This random fan has been FOIAing Ole Miss for months so he can write a book named "Flim Flam," which is being published out of state. This is a hatred to respect.

Etc.: Michigan-Rutgers features in the Blowout Matrix. Entertainingly goofy early signing complaints from the expected corners. SUH THE DESTROYER.

Obligatory Freeze Takes

Obligatory Freeze Takes

Submitted by Brian on July 21st, 2017 at 11:41 AM

freeze

Prevail and Ride

I was going to write about Hugh Freeze today, but then I realized I'd already said most of the things I think about this kind of stuff. There's a post from a few months back specifically on the Ole Miss situation, in which the world's worst burglars decided to steal college football's biggest diamonds:

1. Brazen. Ole Miss's problem is that they made it blindingly obvious. People are dumb but they ain't stupid, and when a nobody with one year of college head coaching experience shows up in Oxford and acquires

  • the #1 player in the country
  • a five-star offensive tackle from Florida, and
  • most egregiously, a five-star wide receiver from Chicago

it's just a matter of time before the walls cave in. Nobody in the history of Chicago has ever thought to themselves "Yes! Mississippi! Especially the bit where not having a plantation owner as a mascot is controversial!" …

2. There are only two options for Hugh Freeze. Option A, which is by far the more likely, is that he was fully aware of what was going on from the drop and is a brazen liar. The alternative is that he is so impossibly naïve and delusional that he thought his very presence was sufficient to turn around the history of Ole Miss football. The Machiavellian interpretation is kinder, but this is a guy who compared Ole Miss's struggles to Jesus's trials on the cross so it certainly could be the latter.

Point for the brazen liar theory after an FOIA request from Houston Nutt turned up a call to an escort service. Freeze tried to pass off as a misdial; his athletic director conducted a broader search and turned up a "disturbing pattern." But also points for naiveté and delusion. All theories are correct.

Freeze's most laudable trait was his stupidity. Enough guys like him mucking up the works with Wile E. Coyote plots and the amateurism edifice will collapse on itself.

A more general take on folks who are publicly confrontational about their faith or goodness or your lack thereof was written after Penn State's awful scandal ground its principals into dust:

Just lug the damn refrigerator. Stop telling everyone how great of a job you're doing of pulling the refrigerator. Maybe someone will notice, maybe not, but once you start talking about it yourself your self-regard starts chipping away at the core.

If Penn State had not been posited as a Grand Experiment, it's possible that one of the four adult-type substances who could have put Sandusky's second career to a stop a decade before it did would have had more regard for the possibility children would be raped* than for what people would think about them. It's too late for all of them, perpetrator and victims alike, now. But to me the lesson is to shut up about yourself and get on with it. It will help you not make terrible mistakes because you are trying to preserve what people think about you in the face of what you really are.

Freeze spent the entirety of his tenure tweeting out psalms about what a good refrigerator-lugger he was, the best refrigerator-lugger, really. His dissolution is the least surprising public humiliation of a smarmy doofus since Jamie Horowitz a few weeks ago. Horowitz fell prey to the iron "you're doing dirt if you invoke your kids as a shield" law merely by surrounding himself with their photos when it came time for a NYT photographer to capture his inner essence. Freeze straight up used his as a shield so he could get holier than thou about satellite camps, of all things:

"I'll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband," Freeze said when asked about vacation time. "I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. ... I think we work very hard, I don't think working hard is an issue. If you're asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot."

I immediately think "deranged sex criminal" whenever anyone does this and suggest you do the same.

Freeze schadenfreude roundup! Don't act like you're above it. Dan Wetzel:

There was never a concern for an injured party – be it Houston Nutt or all the recruits and their parents who the misdirection was designed to fool. They were the ones conned into sticking with the Rebels, led to believe everything was fine, when in truth bowl bans and sanctions that will crush competitiveness were coming. They were sold a false promise.

Freeze didn’t care about them, let alone Houston Nutt. Pumped up on hubris, he couldn’t do the simplest things – say he was sorry, tell the truth, admit his mistakes. He thought he could lie and preach his way through that one, too.

Geoff Calkins with the ONE SENTENCE PARAGRAPHS OF DOOM:

The record shows Freeze presided over a football program that committed numerous NCAA violations.

The record shows he called at least one escort service and likely more.

The record shows he did all this on his university-issued cell phone.

The record shows he did it while tweeting daily Bible verses.

The record shows that Ole Miss will now be in the awkward position of appearing before the NCAA and defending the integrity of a program whose coach just resigned because of moral turpitude.

The record shows a rise and a fall that will be remembered in these parts for a very long time.

Was Freeze a fraud?

Let's let him answer that.

“Because of Him, you don't need to fear unrighteousness," he recently tweeted. "It’s our delusion of righteousness that we should fear.”

Also:

Meanwhile Dennis Dodd manages to go too far:

Let's start with this being the single most embarrassing moment in the history of Ole Miss athletics.

If that history started with Freeze's hire this would still be incorrect. Ole Miss announced they'd stop playing "Dixie" at games last year.

Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway

Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway

Submitted by Brian on May 9th, 2016 at 1:46 PM

Gambling in this establishment. There has never been a more slam-dunk bolded header than the one you just read:

"I was shocked like everyone else living it out in real time," Freeze said of Tunsil's draft night comments. "But I'm confident our administration is going to find the facts and then give us a good report on it."

Good luck with that.

War. War never changes. Because one side is Grenada. You may remember NJ.com columnist Steve Politi from such hits as "Kyle Flood is real, man" and "Paramus asking Harbaugh to commencement is disgusting." He is an old-school pugnacious columnist who covers Rutgers. He's trying to build skyscrapers out of mud here.

But these were just warmups before his magnum opus:

Harbaugh's N.J. satellite camps are an act of war on Rutgers

You're probably thinking that authors don't write headlines and this is a junior intern clickbaiting you into a more reasonable article. Nope!

Harbaugh, long ago, stopped caring about any conference ethics about pitching his tent just miles from a Big Ten rival. You wonder: What does a New Jersey high school have to gain from offering its territory to an out-of-state recruiter? A number of state colleges and high schools have said no, in deference to Rutgers, but Harbaugh has found his landing spots.

A lot to unpack there:

  • The last time we made up fictional "conference ethics" I think we were talking about Roy Roundtree decommitting from Purdue. That's a blast from the past right there.
  • Again with the insane idea that coaches should be more loyal to state borders than their players.
  • Rutgers is the 13th Big Ten school to declare itself a rival of Michigan, and the most incorrect about that.
  • "In deference to Rutgers" has never, ever happened. Ever.

In response, baseball and softball leveled Piscataway, ending the brief but memorable War On Rutgers.

Speaking of softball. The tournament beckons. Michigan is coming off a ninth straight Big Ten title, and everything is more or less as it's been for a decade:

For those just getting caught up, here's how things look: Hutchins' team is ranked No. 2 in the country and on a 17-game winning streak. It closed the regular season on Sunday with an 8-0 win, improving to 44-4 overall and 21-2 in the Big Ten, and will now head to the Big Ten tournament next weekend at Penn State.

After that, a trip to the NCAA Tournament will feature NCAA Regional and Super Regional games likely hosted in Ann Arbor, as long as U-M keeps winning.

The overriding storyline will, once again, be Michigan's hunt for a second national championship under Hutchins.

If this sounds familiar it's because it is. The Wolverines ended last season with 17 straight wins to cap a 48-6 regular-season record. They sent that above storyline into a frenzy by charging to a national championship showdown against Florida, but lost in a best-of-three matchup.

#1 Florida, which actually run-ruled Michigan in the third game of the season, again looms at the end of the road.

On Paterno stuff. Buried in a legal document created as PSU and its insurer fight over which entity will have to pay for PSU enabling Jerry Sandusky is a bombshell:

Judge Glazer referenced several victims’ depositions, which are sworn testimonies, made out of court, that are recorded and/or transcribed. According to Judge Glazer, those depositions reveal that in 1976, “a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky” and that in 1987 and 1988 an assistant coach witnessed Sandusky committing sexual acts or having inappropriate contact with a child. Judge Glazer reasoned that while Paterno and the unnamed assistant coaches might have known about Sandusky’s acts, available evidence did not indicate that any Penn State officers, trustees or shareholders had such knowledge. As a consequence, Judge Glazer determined that Penn State is eligible to seek certain types of coverage payments from PMA (Judge Glazer also found that Penn State is not eligible for other types of coverage payments).

This is not a thing a court decided. It is a document produced by the insurer arguing its case. Twitter lawyer @Ugarles had a brief and useful explainer of what the court claim in fact was. For those allergic to links, the upshot:

A judge has not declared that Joe Paterno knew. Several people have told the court, under penalty of perjury, that Paterno was repeatedly told Sandusky was molesting boys going back some 40 years. This is in addition to the Mike McQueary incident, for which the best defense mounted was that Paterno was a confused old man. That defense won't fly for incidents from the 70s and 80s, leaving us choosing between two possibilities: several people are lying in depositions or Joe Paterno enabled Sandusky for decades. What's the Vegas line here? I know the latter is a serious underdog.

This isn't actually relevant to sports anymore since Penn State is not going to have their sanctions re-examined, but just wow man. People who run around spouting off about "success with honor" and the like are far more likely to be secret monsters than dudes like John Calipari. Calipari isn't trying to pass himself off as a Leader of Men. He's just a guy who coaches basketball and doesn't care much for NCAA rules. There's a nobility in not pretending to be noble, and a darkness in people who have to signal their virtue. (Anyone on Twitter's run across the latter all day every day.)

Anyway.

Photograph conveniently located. The NYT profiles Jamie Horowitz, the FS1 executive who's importing all the worst people in sports punditry, and this is a serendipitous virtual signaling example right here:

image

You may know me as a lizard person who offered Stephen A Smith a platform to excuse any and all woman-beating he may come across, but I also have children. It is a mere coincidence that I have framed this picture so that I am literally surrounded by them.

Etc.: "The incident is not the first between the clubs at a wheelchair basketball match." Mitch Leidner projected as first round pick by Todd McShay. McShay roundly mocked by Minnesota fans. Minnesota blog defends Leidner by linking video in which half the throws are wounded ducks and one is the "back-shoulder corner" throw against Jeremy Clark. Urban Meyer doesn't know some of his recruits' names.

On Laremy Tunsil

On Laremy Tunsil

Submitted by Brian on April 29th, 2016 at 12:02 PM

So the thing that everybody knew happened did happen.

As revelations go it's small time. Tunsil didn't get suspended for seven games for nothing.

Here is the best description of the admission. Tunsil went in front of the media almost as the Instagram stuff was posted and said these things in this order:

Then Tunsil was asked about the Instagram posts. He said he’d just found out about them, and reiterated that he’d made a mistake. Asked by reporter as to whether there’d been an exchange of money between Tunsil and a coach, he first responded, “I wouldn’t say that.” But when pressed a few moments later, he said, “Those messages?” almost as if he hadn’t understood the previous questions. “Those were true. Like I said, I made a mistake.”

Asked again if there had been an exchange of money, Tunsil then responded matter-of-factly, “I have to say yeah.” A further question about whether he’d met with the NCAA was being posed when Milam appeared from behind a curtain, cutting the session short. “He’s got no more comments. Thank you guys so much,” she said, tapping the offensive lineman on the shoulder, whisking him away and leaving media as baffled as Tunsil apparently had been.

Tunsil said it twice and was clearly referring to the Instagram posts since "those" is not a way you'd reference the bong hit. That's about as clear as it'll ever get.

Good for Tunsil, more or less. Dude got paid, got to the NFL as a mid-first-round pick, and got to do a gas mask bong in front of a Confederate flag. I guess that's empowering?

I don't have any issue with Tunsil's priorities. I assume 80% of college football players have taken hits off a novelty bong. I'm assuming his family is not particularly wealthy; it's a logical decision to get paid when you happen to be an incredible prospect in a field that has a professional career that lasts on average 2.6 years. Maybe don't film yourself doing a thing that you know the NFL is irrational about, but the only proper response to tut-tutters is to roll your eyes.

Meanwhile I can get behind following that up with an honest admission he got paid to go to a university with negligible football history and Confederate flags behind every bong. I'll only be vaguely irritated at Tunsil if he walks back those admissions. He doesn't owe anything to Ole Miss; a look inside the sausage factory can only speed up the day when people can give money to college football players over the table. There is a point at which the NCAA must admit that they have no ability to prevent people from getting paid and drops the whole charade.

And what a charade it is. Whenever I bring this up and advocate near-total deregulation of money headed to college football players there is a pushback from people who say

  1. but then people with money will have influence on football programs and
  2. but then college football players will have the money.

I look at these people and wonder why they think 1 isn't already true—even at programs trying to stay between the lines—and why 2 is a problem. The text message exchange is an attempt to get a bill paid for his mom. We have zero issue with 18 and 19 year olds getting paid in any other sport; paternalistic concerns they might do something harmlessly stupid with the money are nonsensical since then the players are merely back where they started.

Ole Miss got greedy. The reason that Ole Miss might actually take a fall here is because they got greedy. They had a story why they might acquire Robert Nkemdiche—his brother was already on the team. They had zero plausible story why they'd acquire Tunsil or Laquon Treadwell, out-of-state five stars with zero connection to a program that hadn't done anything since the 1960s. Tunsil in particular seems to have come with some serious family baggage that may explain why Ole Miss was able to outbid others:

Suspicion for the hacks quickly and naturally fell upon Tunsil’s stepfather, Lindsey Miller, with whom Tunsil has been engaged in a lengthy and nasty legal battle.

Last June, Tunsil was arrested on domestic-violence charges after a fight with Miller. Tunsil told police that his stepfather had pushed his mother, and he punched Miller to protect her, and pressed charges against Miller. Miller told police that Tunsil hit him at least six times, that the attack was unprovoked, and that the argument started over Tunsil having impermissible contact with agents. NCAA investigators interviewed Miller over his claims that he had proof of rules violations committed by Ole Miss.

A month later, Tunsil and Miller agreed to drop the charges against each other.

This past Tuesday, two days before the draft, Miller filed a lawsuit against Tunsil, claiming Tunsil assaulted him and defamed his character. The suit alleges “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

If you're Alabama you can just move on to the next kid. (Or maybe not.) Ole Miss can't, and that may be their undoing. And it should be. While paying players is morally fine it is also against the rules.

Hi, Hugh Freeze. If there's ever been an example of a guy who just along for the ride it's Hugh "muh families" Freeze. Dude is an anonymous high school coach before a one-year apprenticeship at Arkansas State and then Ole Miss. Upon his arrival they start recruiting like they matter, and he bitches about having to work.

Gus Malzahn is a great comparison here. Malzahn also came from high school and also had a one year apprenticeship at Arkansas State before getting the Auburn job, but beforehand he was OC at Arkansas and Auburn and Tulsa and had excellent success at all those places, getting chased about because sometimes those places are insane. Malzhan got his job because he's a good football coach, and if Auburn's paying some guys to come that's only part of his success. Survey says they are, but not egregiously.

Freeze has nothing to his name other than the ability to not observe cash payments to high-profile recruits, and over the past year his program has seen one Nkemdiche fall out off a balcony whilst high, the other Nkemdiche leave the team and get hospitalized twice with "personal issues," and now the Tunsil thing. One of the appeals of the Ole Miss program appears to be a total lack of adult supervision. The NCAA changing official visit policies so that parents can come along will not be a help to them.

It's to the point where the NFL notices:

Multiple sources told The MMQB that Tunsil’s off-field behavior was becoming increasingly worrisome and reason for some teams to remove him from their draft boards altogether. Much of it had to do with the culture at Mississippi, sources say.

A Freeze implosion here would be richly deserved. Whether the NCAA has the ability to deliver it is very much in question, unfortunately.

Unverified Voracity Has Yet More Hot Takes To Deal With

Unverified Voracity Has Yet More Hot Takes To Deal With

Submitted by Brian on April 14th, 2016 at 1:14 PM

Just another day in the life.

lake-invaders_0One of our photographers wrote a book. You've probably seen Bill Rapai's hockey photos around these parts. If you like those you'll no doubt love his new book, which is about invasive species in the Great Lakes. For some reason it has a picture of an SEC coach reacting to Harbaugh's latest antics on the cover. Bill on the contents:

It’s called Lake Invaders: Invasive species and the battle for the future of the Great Lakes and it explains how these little beasties got here, the damage they are doing, how they might be controlled, and why you should care. (Yes, you should care.) There’s even a chapter on everybody’s favorite invasives, the Asian carps.

It's available on Amazon for anyone who's interested.

DRAKE JOHNSON GOT RUN OVER BY A FORKLIFT!? Yes. He is apparently fine afterwards, if 1) very bruised up and 2) understandably pissed off.

Do not run people over in forklifts, people. I shouldn't have to tell you this.

Tick tock the hot takes don't stop. All it took was for Jim Harbaugh to say some pointedly critical, but true, things for people to lose their minds about the dude. NJ.com columnist Steve Politi has been a reliable source of humor ever since that "Jim Harbaugh may be flashy, but Kyle Flood is real" column, and he is undeterred by being as wrong as humanly possible about that. His reaction to Man Invited To Give Speech may even top his earlier opus:

Steve Politi, a columnist for The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, said Paramus Catholic should be ashamed for having Harbaugh give the speech. …

"The big problem here is Paramus Catholic president Jim Vail who, in announcing his decision to give an out-of-state football coach a free infomercial at his school, called Harbaugh a great leader and educator. Come on, Harbaugh speaking to your students is as much a recruiting advantage for your football program as it is for Harbaugh at Michigan."

I love all these accusations that PEOPLE might be DOING THEIR JOBS WELL. While there's no doubt an element of publicity and recruiting on both ends, Jim Harbaugh is also a very interesting and successful person who might want to give people some guidance. And he's sure as hell going to be more interesting than whoever my high school graduation speaker was. I have no idea if there even was one. Chris Ash is openly envious, and he's real, so…

This undercurrent of "wait a second… wait just a minute here! I see what you're doing! You are trying to make your football team good!" is a never-ending source of entertaining spittle these days. Remember that Alabama dude who clutched his pearls and fell over because Michigan's satellite camp at Prattville was really about recruiting? This is just the latest episode. Here's Mike Florio accusing Harbaugh of the blazingly obvious:

If we’re going to pull back the curtain on why the SEC and ACC coaches wanted to keep Harbaugh out of their backyards, it’s only fair to pull back the curtain on why Harbaugh wants to frolic in them. Although Rosenberg does his best to defend the satellite camp process by baking the concept into the apple pie of American dream chasing, it’s obvious that the camps had become at least in part a pretext for recruiting the best players in a setting that, from the perspective of a high school kid, doesn’t feel like recruiting. It all leads to a more organic, authentic, and visceral bond.

That's the point! Also it is good! We have reached the point in this dumb conversation where people are accusing Jim Harbaugh of trying to have a real relationship with the people he recruits. I feel like I am going crazy here.

Yes, e-goons of the world, people have motives. When they pursue those motives within the rules and without negatively impacting anyone, pointing at them and screaming "YOU ARE PURSUING YOUR GOALS" is literally the dumbest argument possible.

I mean, yeah, get on Harbaugh for the various decommits last year. That's a legit criticism. This stuff is moron central.

Shots fired. I assume you've all seen the Harbombing of the satellite camp decision in SI. While Harbaugh talking to a dude who tried to sabotage the program with bogus allegations of NCAA violations is a frequent irritation, I'll take it as long as he's willing to say the things that are true in public:

Says Harbaugh: "You've got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time. That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don't want to work harder."

Hugh Freeze responded to this with the time-tested retort of the smarmy gasbag: muh families.

"I'll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband," Freeze said when asked about vacation time. "I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. ... I think we work very hard, I don't think working hard is an issue. If you're asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot."

When someone talks about being a family man in this way they are always attempting to shut down criticism by being holier than thou. See: Dave Brandon's "this hurts my family" talk on his last-ditch media spree after the Shane Morris incident. It also blows by a point: if you don't want to do them, don't do them. Nobody's making you. You are in fact making the demands.

Freeze then doubled down on the smarm by criticizing Harbaugh for being right, but in public:

Along with being recursively hypocritical, this is an admission that Harbaugh is correct but also mean. I like mean.

Elsewhere in shots fired. High school coaches are just as fired up about the ban:

"Realistically, I shouldn't have been surprised." said John Ford, the head coach at Roswell High School, which is located north of Atlanta. "The NCAA works in opposition to what benefits young kids and student athletes. They work to protect the few as opposed to protecting and promoting the many. The hypocrisy is pretty well known."  …

"I've been doing this for 15 years and I know it's really, really helpful for kids at these camps," [Toby] Foreman said. "It makes it extremely difficult, and I personally don't think the NCAA has kids interests at heart. You're almost punishing people for being proactive. Go out and recruit harder. Quit being lazy."

I wonder if the pushback on this is going to be sufficient to torpedo the rule change here. These days a lawsuit-stricken NCAA is very sensitive about public relations, and there are a ton of people on the warpath about this. It is really rare to see guys with skin in the game come out with these kind of statements, and the condemnation for the rule change has been near-universal. The only people sticking up for it are guys like Tony Barnhart who are more or less bought and paid for by the SEC and a less-than-lucid Dennis Dodd.

Tommy Tuberville, for one, thinks that the ban will not stand.

Elsewhere in how Freeze gets work done. Interesting little glimpse inside the sausage factory Freeze is running at Ole Miss from a doofus with money:

An Ocean Springs businessman claimed to have offered his guest house to unnamed college football players rent-free, only to later amend his story. But a source with knowledge of the situation said Scott Walker’s neighbors were told by the renters they paid for a two-night stay at his home last weekend.

Renting his home on a short-term basis would be a violation of local ordinances, and when first contacted by the Mississippi Press Walker said it was “four university players” who were “absolutely not paying” to stay in his guest house.

That raised red flags, because a booster (Walker is an Ole Miss grad and fan) offering free or reduced rent is a clear-cut NCAA violation.

Ole Miss cheats. Hardcore, all the time. That's how a nobody high school coach with one year at Arkansas State who arrives at a school with a fanbase that mostly still wants a plantation owner as their mascot and zero success in the past 50 years starts recruiting five-stars. I'm resigned to the fact that this will happen forever, and that the correct solution is to let people pay the players without repercussions.

But you run the cheatingest program in the country and you get sanctimonious about your free time? Harbaugh's just trying to level the playing field out a little bit here. Freeze can take his vacations and come back knowing that an Ole Miss offer has thousands of dollars behind it that a Michigan one doesn't.

That solution could be on the horizon. Via Get the Picture, this is a potentially huge move towards an Olympic model of amateurism:

Big East commissioner Val Ackerman told SI Now’s Maggie Gray on Friday that the NCAA is reconsidering allowing student athletes to sign endorsement deals.

Under the current rules, student athletes may not be paid for the use of their image or likeness or they would forfeit their amateur status and their collegiate eligibility could be affected. When Gray asked Ackerman why students shouldn’t be able to capitalize on the value they bring to their university, Ackerman responded that the NCAA is considering changing that rule.

“That’s one that’s actually under consideration I believe by the NCAA,” Ackerman said. “It’s actually a time right now where student athlete interests are being closely examined. I don’t have an answer for you on that one today but I will say that and a number of other topics are under review, and I think rightly by the NCAA and it’s very possible that over the course of the next year or two as these these ideas work their way through the legislative system you could see changes.”

In the next year or two! As always I will remind you that even if you don't like the idea of players getting paid directly by the university, opening up outside compensation is a very good thing when you command a money cannon like Michigan does.

Warde Manuel sticks up for his guy. Good to see that Manuel isn't shying away from the fight either:

“People say this is Jim Harbaugh, he wants to do it this way,” Manuel told the Free Press today. “No. This is a rule that has been allowable for a long time. With all due respect to … questions about not being able to recruit (during the NCAA quiet period), all that stuff was there before, and people did it. Now it’s no good? Some kind of way, it’s bad for the game? It’s crazy.”

That is direct and devoid of hand-waving CYA business speak, so bully for that.

Elsewhere in laziness. Iowa DE Drew Ott will not get a fifth year after a midseason injury. That's not much of a surprise since he played in six games a year ago and the NCAA does not budge on injury redshirts if you've played more than 30% of a season. The timing of the announcement, however, has irritated many since Ott cannot enter the NFL draft proper and will have to go the supplemental route. Why did this come so late? It's not on the NCAA:

In fairness to the NCAA, it does seem like the lengthiest delays in this entire ordeal were not their end -- it sounds like Ott's case wasn't even sent to the NCAA bodies that rule on this matter until late February.  His case was with Big Ten authorities until that point.  What took the Big Ten so long?  Good question -- and one that neither Ott nor Kirk Ferentz had an answer for during their press conference earlier today.  So perhaps our ire at the glacial pace of the decision-making in this situation should be directed at Jim Delany & Co. rather than the NCAA folks.

That is especially odd since Mario Ojemudia suffered a similarly ill-timed injury and found out he would not get an exception in December.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with MSU's attempt to get sixth years for three players, all of whom appear to have taken voluntary redshirts. MSU keeps telling people they'll be back but the NCAA is very strict about sixth years; going to be tough to come up with sufficient documentation about an injury when these guys have bios declaring they were scout team player of the week.

Etc.: FFS just fire Butch Jones already. Willie Henry getting talked up as a second rounder now. Cut off one of Harbaugh's heads and he grows two more.

Unverified Voracity Tries To Prevent An Infinite Loop In You, The Reader

Unverified Voracity Tries To Prevent An Infinite Loop In You, The Reader

Submitted by Brian on April 12th, 2016 at 1:00 PM

A note if you think you may have already read this post. You did. Your brain shut down because of the following section and won't let you remember it out of self defense. You should probably go read the Economist or something and come back later this afternoon.

23385448595_7587e434da_z

what does any of this even mean [Bryan Fuller]

The nonsense doesn't stop. Ace covered much of this yesterday but since it just keeps coming, let's talk about satellite camps some more. Dennis Dodd wrote an article that was so nonsensical he took his twitter account private. In it he decries the hypocrisy of… I have no idea?

It's the reaction to closing that little loophole that smacks of hypocrisy. With satellite camps shutting down, the conversation suddenly became about depriving poor kids of opportunities.

This is in contrast to the conversation being about Harbaugh, I guess. This is because before Harbaugh was doing things, and now the NCAA is doing things. Thus the conversation shifts.

Proponents argued satellite camps provided “exposure.” I'm sorry, did that Internet that Harbaugh so expertly hijacked suddenly go down? Phone service, too?

This segues into a discussion of this new "Hudl" thing Dennis Dodd just discovered, which is so detailed that it even has… phone numbers. Therefore because Hudl there is no reason to have a camp. I'm not fisking this. This is not a fisk. I'm not

Here's the further hypocrisy: If satellite camps are truly about opportunities for recruits, it's about time to double down on that assertion.

Um, okay, and how would you do th

How about providing those same opportunities on the back end? Let college players participate in the NFL Combine without penalty. If they don't like their performance or draft projection, allow them to return to college and retain their eligibility.

AAAAAARGH WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING

THIS IS NOT A FISK

That jarring nonsequitur probably shut down many readers' brains and… just a second. Okay, I've prevented an infinite loop with the section at the top of this post. Anyway, in response to a satellite camp ban affecting high schoolers, Dennis Dodd suggests that the NCAA should loosen its rules for an entirely different cohort of people. He talks about the "hypocrisy" of people who don't like the ban without even gesturing towards a way in which their words and actions might conflict, and finally:

The whole satellite camp episode was a lot more about closing off Harbaugh than opening opportunities for all those deprived prospects.

This is 100% wrong. The clumsy total ban of satellite camps does significantly impact staffs and players around the country, leading to more unfortunate situations where a kid gets midway through his career only to discover that he's in the wrong place.

Gah. I'm going to do something more productive and argue with my plants.

Harbaugh don't stop can't stop. Dude is giving the commencement speech at Paramus. All I got for Michigan's commencement was some poet laureate.

There is a petition. While online petitions are of questionable efficacy, a big number on this one in what is essentially a PR battle might help something. Also it was started by Donovan Peoples-Jones's mother, which is interesting. We've heard a lot from current college athletes upset about the ban, but not so much from recruits. Even if this is indirect evidence it is evidence.

Mike Leach has no time for lyin'. Mike Leach is a gentleman and a pirate.

“The voting process, that’s a rabbled-up mystery too,” Leach said. “From what I understand, this is befuddling, and I do plan to find out because our conference voted to eliminate satellite camps, and yet the vast majority of schools in our conference were in favor of satellite camps.

“I can’t fathom how it’s possible we voted to eliminate it. I don’t know the details. Whether it’s smart, dumb or in the middle, it’s wrong. It’s wrong. If you’re some kid in south central LA who’s really worked hard at football and worked really hard for your grades, now all of a sudden you don’t have the opportunity to see as many schools as you would otherwise. That’s crazy.”

Leach said the vote will “further oppress low-income families.”

To be fair, the rule change was two sentences long. Hugh Freeze, he of the "you can't work because I don't want to work" quote, is also surprised about how words work in an Andy Staples article:

Monday morning, Freeze’s phone rang. On the other end was a coach wondering if he was no longer allowed to work the Ole Miss camp. The coach worked at an FBS school, and Freeze realized that coach would be banned by a rule passed Friday. … Freeze realized quickly that the ban had a serious consequence he hadn’t considered. In keeping Michigan coaches from working camps at high schools in Alabama, Florida and Georgia and Oklahoma State coaches from working camps at a Division III school in Texas, the schools also had banned Bowling Green coaches from working Ohio State’s camp and Arkansas State coaches from working the Ole Miss camp.

Freeze is clarifying his position into something even more selfish: you can work as long as you aren't competing with me.

“I would love to continue that,” Freeze said Monday. “I just don’t want satellite camps for the Power Five. I am for non-Power Five schools being able to attend and evaluate.”

This is so dumb it reminds me of the way college hockey works. We have a rule that 1) all athletes hate, 2) most of the Pac-12 hates despite the fact that they voted for this, 3) even people in support of it don't understand, and 4) turned the Sun Belt Commissioner into Perd Hapley. Staples again:

I’ve told you for a year that the satellite camp argument was one of the stupidest in the long and storied history of stupid NCAA rule arguments. It came to the stupidest logical conclusion Friday when a vote that should have been 11–4—because each Power Five conference vote counts double—against the ban came out 10–5 in favor of the ban.

Hugh Freeze's only asset as a coach is that he turns a blind eye to the most obvious bagmen in the country, and he will eventually be found out.

Yet another dumb thing. All other levels of football think satellite camps are fine. From an article on the impact to SMSB:

Despite the camp being held in Detroit, schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan programs will not have the opportunity to scout and interact with potential recruits in what could be considered each program's own backyard. However, Football Champions Subdivision, Division II and other coaches will still be able to be in attendance.

This really is a rule that some selfish coaches voted into existence because they didn't want to be jackhammers.

The great Hackenberg debate of 2016 is not much of a debate. PFF posted a draft evaluation of Christian Hackenberg, presumably because they don't have a draftable grade for him and people keep asking them about it. They explained themselves. Witheringly so:

This season his completion percentage when adjusted for drops, spikes, etc. was 64.0 percent, which was 120th in the nation. In 2014, he was 105th. Every accuracy number you look at sees Hackenberg struggle, and the tape shows the same thing.

Even when under no pressure at all this past season, he completed just 61.9 percent of his passes. That’s the same completion percentage Cardale Jones managed on all plays, not just pressure plays, and Jones is a player whose accuracy is seen as a negative.

Hackenberg’s completion percentage under no pressure at all of 61.9 percent would only have ranked 44th in the nation, if it was his real completion percentage.

This goes on and on for paragraphs, each piling more problems on Hackenberg as an NFL quarterback. While it is by no means a nice evaluation it is backed by a ton of numbers and game charting and more or less confirms what any neutral observer saw out of Hackenberg over the course of his career: brief moments of being John Elway amongst a sea of turfed screens and airmailed out routes. Michigan got a taste of that last year when Hackenberg put together a couple of pinpoint, NFL throws on a day where his other accomplishments were seeing Jabrill Peppers misplay a jump ball and piloting an offense that barely cracked 200 yards.

The PFF evaluation seemed pretty definitive to me, but Penn State folk kind of lost their minds about it. Black Shoe Diaries in particular:

At what point do I, as a Penn State alumnus and fan, step back and try to be even more subjective about the NFL draft stock of Christian Hackenberg?

Did you mean "objective"? Because it feels like you meant "objective," but then the rest of your piece makes me think that you actually meant "subjective" since it's all hand-waving at some pretty eye-popping stats. PSU fans seize on one error—the Allen Robinson catch at the end of regulation against M a couple years back is held up as a example of a bad decision without taking the game context into account—to dismiss the whole thing when it contains startling facts like "16% of Hackenberg screens are off target."

While I don't know exactly how PFF goes about their business, my grades and theirs for Michigan players generally line up*, and charting pass accuracy is probably the easiest thing I do. An outfit like PFF isn't going to be so far off with the above numbers that Hackenberg actually looks good. By a few hundred words into the piece it's clear that the dude is just swinging in the dark, and this…

Lack of Upside

lol, okay

…is waving a tiny punt flag in the face of a guy who actually put in the work. At least it led to one of the most entertainingly one-sided twitter fights in recent memory:

This was said in response to a piece that dealt with every Christian Hackenberg throw over the past two years. He might get drafted but only because there are mugwumps running NFL teams. Hi, Jed York!

*[To the point that when they were pumping up the Michigan D and noted that only one major contributor wasn't grading out very positive I knew exactly who that was because I also had one major contributor not grading out very positive.]

Etc.: Basketball ticket sales not going well. Man hired to do job. Man has job, doesn't do it, and everyone thinks that's fine. Jimmy Vesey won the Hobey because the saps who vote for the thing bought his PR story about why he returned to college. Why does that even matter? I don't know, but it does.

This Week in the Twitterverse

This Week in the Twitterverse

Submitted by BiSB on February 8th, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Twitter is vast, and there are tens of tweets I don’t see every week. If you happen across anything you think should be noted in TWIT, feel free to tweet it to @Bry_Mac. And while you’re there, you can follow @Bry_Mac. Or not. But do.

Don’t Worry, No One Will See That Tweet

Sometimes people have a hard time understanding the “social” part of social media. Take, for instance, Oregon DE commit Davin Bellamy. Last weekend, Mr. Bellamy took a visit to Eugene, and had a fine time. Unfortunately for him, he decided to (a) document that fine time, and (b) share that documentation with the world. See if you can identify the problem with this picture he tweeted (hint: it’s NOT the bong on the table):

DavinBellamyBong

Uh oh… backlighting.

Okay, I lied. It's the bong on the table. And while the state of Oregon did legalize weed recently, I’m pretty sure the NCAA didn’t [ED: Wrong hippie state. Somehow Oregon HASN'T legalized weed]. But I’m more concerned about the thought process. Anyone who has ever posted a picture to social media has done the same three-point check: 1) look to see if your fly is down; (2) be sure your hair isn’t doing that thing it does sometimes; (3) check for drug paraphernalia. In Davin’s defense, he was two out of three.

The other briefly shared photo that made the rounds was from none other than LaQuon Treadwell, who totally put those suggestions of Ole Miss funny business to rest by allegedly posting this little number:

 LaQuonMoney

Now obviously we can’t be sure that this is Treadwell. Or that this is Treadwell’s cash. Or that the cash was ill-begotten. There are plenty of reasons a teenager would have a few hundred dollars in cash, and only 93% of those reasons would violate NCAA rules. But yeah, I betchya your compliance office will probably have a word with you.

Hugh Freeze, on the other hand, is having none of your insinuations, no matter how ridiculously well-founded. Not long after the Treadwell pic made the rounds, the Ole Miss head coach took to Twitter to defend his recruits (and his program):

He has since deleted the tweet.* You have to respect the coach for defending his guys, but I bet the poor schlub in the compliance office would prefer if you didn’t direct every troll south of the Mason-Dixon line directly to his inbox. The poor guy gets to the office, fires up the coffee maker, and HOLY HELL why do I have seven thousand emails with the subject “CHEATERZ!!!!!1”?

[*NOTE TO TWITTER USERS: Please stop deleting your questionable tweets. Once they’re there, you can’t get rid of them. You’re just making my column less visibly appealing. ]

I Tried ‘Perspective’ Once. Didn’t Care For It.

David Dawson is one of the jewels of this recruiting class, and by all accounts is a genuinely nice kid who has been through quite a bit in recent years. He also took one of the more circuitous routes to signing day, which Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) documented in a recent article about how recruits are treated on social media. And I’m sure that despite his brief decommitment, Michigan fans everywhere maintained perspective and treated him with the utmost respect, especially on social media.

Fans sent him Twitter and Facebook messages telling him they hoped he broke his leg or that he was a "piece of s---."

Worst of all, some fans took shots at his late father.

"They said a couple things about my dad, like, 'He didn't teach you to keep your word,'" Dawson said.

Or not. On the bright side, the article makes clear that Michigan isn’t alone in treating kids poorly, which, hurray we're not worse than Clemson (insert sarcastic slow clap here). The moral high ground we occupied when Buckeye fans were wishing gout upon Kyle Kalis seems to be tenuous. Obviously we’re talking the least stable segments of every fanbase, but let this serve as your reminder: tweeting recruits is generally not cool, but tweeting ill-wishes to kids is even less cool.

From that same article, though, comes possibly my favorite panic-inducing out-of-context tweet of all time, in which Christian Hackenberg announces his dinner plans.

Canes is some sort of food establishment; Christian Hackenberg declared his intention to eat food. Happy Valley flips out thinking he was decommitting for Miami. I guarantee the words “NCAA conspiracy” were used. Crootin, man. Crootin.

[OBLIGATORY SCOLD: This is your weekly reminder to NOT TWEET OR FACEBOOK MESSAGE OR SEND SMOKE SIGNALS TO RECRUITS. I asked John Infante (@John_Infante, he of the Bylaw Blog and the overwhelming NCAA rule knowledge) to clarify, and he confirms what others have said: it is an NCAA violation. This remains the case until the student actually enrolls. The guys who just signed NLIs are still “prospects” to the NCAA. They are also high schoolers. So, no.]

We Won’t Get Fooled AgaHELLO: RANDOM PERSON

On Monday, MGoBoard users were greeted with an unexpected Hello post for Jahmere Irvin-Sills, a three-star corner out of Maryland.

You may remember Khaliel Rodgers as an OL with whom Michigan had a brief flirtation when there were rumors of a commit wavering last summer. He also attends the same high school as Irvin-Sills, so attention was paid. Film was evaluated. Y U NO ELITE trolls were summoned. And, of course, within a half-hour the commitment was debunked by Sam Webb and others. This was predictable, of course, because Irvin-Sills had never been on a recruiting visit, appeared on anyone’s radar, or, you know, been offered a scholarship.

The wisdom of The Who is great and all, but I’d bet a shiny new quarter that the next time someone tweets something like this, we’ll go all salmon of Capistrano all over again.

Look Away, Dave Brandon. Nothing to See Here

You’ve probably noticed that the “nameplate with no names” thing has caught on pretty big over the last couple of years. Either that, or you found it very odd that Air Force managed to field a team entirely out of guys named Service. Last week Akron tried to take it to the next level by putting the team’s twitter handle (@ZipsMBB) on the jerseys:

AkronTwitterJerseys

Synergy, we think.

Unfortunately, the NCAA decided to be a killjoy and put the kibosh on the idea. If Michigan had tried to do something like this, Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork would have a heck of a day. But this is Akron, so from my perspective this would have been fun. They aren’t trying to Create the Future. They’re just trying to grab some attention for a team that averaged 3,400 fans per home game last year.

If you ask me, Akron should have even taken it a step further; they should have put individual players’ twitter handles on the jerseys. And then they should have made Bill Walton call the game. The joy of hearing Walton have to utter phrases like “@I_B_Smooth41 needs to hedge harder on those ball screens” or “great job by @AkronBalla4Lyfe of recognizing the mismatch down low” would almost make up for the pain of having to listen to Bill Walton. 

How to Make Friends and Influence Good ol’ Boys

Reuben Foster has had a fun year. He originally committed to Alabama, then in July, he switched his commitment to Auburn (which is like switching from Michigan to North Korea). He felt so confident in his decision that he got a rather large Auburn tattoo on his forearm, which must have made for some awkward conversation at his switcharoo back to Alabama on Monday. He then took to Twitter to explain everything to everyone:

Auburn had no problem taking him up on his invitation to hate him. Edits are mine; these fans did not care for SFW language.

This is my shocked face  /makes normal face.

Unrelated Tweet of the Week

Joe Theismann had an interesting theory about the Super Bowl power outage.