By May Jim Tressel Will Be A Pakistani Shepherd

By May Jim Tressel Will Be A Pakistani Shepherd

Submitted by Brian on March 25th, 2011 at 11:54 AM

pakistan-2004.1098179760.shepherd

hope you like sweatervests made from your own wool, sheeps

I mean, right?

When Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel learned last spring that some of his current players were in trouble, he shared the information with someone he thought could help his star quarterback even though he said he didn't tell his bosses.

Tressel forwarded the information to Ted Sarniak, a mentor to Terrelle Pryor, after the coach received emails warning that Pryor and at least one other player had sold memorabilia to a local tattoo-parlor owner who was under federal investigation for drug trafficking, multiple sources have confirmed to The Dispatch.

Sarniak is the "shady, cop-bribing handler whose glass business suddenly blew up" when Pryor materialized in Columbus according to Slow States. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I stare at "glass business suddenly blew up" a link does not appear under it. He's also the guy who spurred the most wackily conspiratorial post* in the history of MGoBlog since it was his Corvette Pryor infamously borrowed—seriously, how many cars can Terrelle Pryor drive that he does not own?

I'm not sure this particular item tightens the noose in the eyes of the NCAA, but if Sarniak got a forward that doesn't help any case they're going to try to make about the emails not being credible or Tressel not taking them seriously or forgetting about them. It's also hard to imagine an email worth forwarding to your sketchy Pryor advisor that doesn't get sent to, like, compliance. At best Tressel was trying to end-around the system to keep his guys eligible. At worst the stuff at the press conference about how Tressel was the only one who knew was as true as everything else.

*[One that now stands a 50-50 chance of being correct despite being essentially message board drivel.]

Fire Jim Tressel

Fire Jim Tressel

Submitted by Brian on March 10th, 2011 at 2:23 PM

[Ed: I said on WTKA this morning that I didn't think this should cost Tressel his job, but I changed my mind upon reading the Hayes piece that contained details of exactly what Tressel did in the months between April and now.]

So I was pretty pissed yesterday. It was one of those moods that's obscure until suddenly it isn't, and the moment of clarity came when one of the Eleven Warriors guy pinged me on IM, suggesting that I must be happy today. I responded that I'd be happy if Ohio State's prospects for the near future had actually been affected… and there it was.

Jim Tressel was dishonest and his team benefited to the tune of a Big Ten co-championship and a BCS bowl victory; Ohio State's response to this was to suspend him for games against Akron and Equivalent. Ask Georgia fans who watched their team stumble to 1-3 start absent the services of AJ Green how that feels:

As a partisan, my immediate reaction to the complete bullshit which emanated from last night’s Ohio State presser was a question:  what was Jim Tressel’s first thought upon hearing the news that A. J. Green had been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season?  “Suckers“?  “There but for the grace of God go I”?

I'm a partisan too but a couple months ago I went on the Bucknuts podcast and told them I though Tressel was a top five coach who had created a problem I never thought I'd have as a Michigan blogger: lack of material. I bought the Senator act wholly. My biggest complaint was that he was boring beyond belief.

I've now reverted to default partisan conspiracy-mongering and hatred. It's hard not to when the mea culpa press conference features Tressel lying his ass off about emails now in the public domain, forcing out stumbling answers that are such obvious crap that not even the state of Ohio thinks Tressel got what was coming to him:

image

Even the deepest red section of the country looked at OSU playing see-no-evil to a BCS bowl victory and said "uh-oh." In no way is OSU's response proportional to the crime. That's what pisses me off. Michigan eventually proposed penalties that were reasonable given precedence and were accepted essentially as-is by the NCAA. (The committee added a third year of probation, as they are wont to do.) Ohio State proposed functionally nothing for a far worse offense. Twelve coaches have violated the NCAA bylaw Tressel did in April, and eleven were fired.

What's more, they spent the press conference announcing their gentle wrist massage lying. Tressel invented a fiction about how he couldn't look into the matter because of "confidentiality" that absolutely would not prevent him from interviewing the accused or finding out whose frickin' names were on the pawned memorabilia and then suspending them for the proverbial violation of team rules. This would not have exposed anyone to lethal payback from ruthless drug dealers or whatever, not that anyone was actually in danger.

Ohio State's trying to pull a fast one, and the NCAA should hammer them. A show-cause for Tressel is just as viable as the one widely speculated to be heading down the pike at Bruce Pearl. Tressel's lies were repeated. OSU's official letter to the NCAA lays it out. As summarized by Matt Hayes:

• Tressel signed a document on Sept. 13, 2010 that said he was not aware of NCAA violations.

• He failed to tell school officials on or around Dec. 9, 2010 about emails he received in April explaining players’ involvement in selling memorabilia.

• He failed to tell school officials about the emails — or his knowledge of players selling memorabilia — when specifically asked on Dec. 16, 2010. He also misled school officials that day when stating he “did not recall from whom he received the tip,” and that he “did not know that any items had been seized.” …

Another significant — and potentially more damning — issue: In a Feb. 8, 2011 interview, Tressel admitted it was “inevitable” that players named in the email had committed NCAA violations and would be ruled ineligible. In other words, Tressel knew the players were ineligible and played them anyway.

Whether it's a lie of omission or commission it's a lie, and Tressel's had a much larger effect on his team than Pearl lying about whether or not Aaron Craft was at his house. It is impossible to believe he did not remember the repeated correspondence from this lawyer. He probably sent it up the chain, making this a department-wide decision, but we have no proof of that. We do have proof that Tressel had at least four opportunities to come clean, starting with the day he got the first credible email from that lawyer, and failed to take any of them. As a result Ohio State won a Big Ten title.

With serious benefits should come serious repercussions; Ohio State's incredibly weak self-sanctions are an insult to the NCAA. If the association doesn't want to make themselves a joke they will come down hard on OSU with a thorough investigation stretching back to 2001 with the potential for vacating multiple years and a show-cause penalty that should make it impossible for OSU to continue employing Tressel as their head coach. That's a punishment that fits a very serious crime in the eyes of the NCAA—eleven of twelve fired before the NCAA had a chance.

The NCAA should use this and the Pearl case as a warning.

Tatgate: Outrage And Other Things, But Mostly Outrage

Tatgate: Outrage And Other Things, But Mostly Outrage

Submitted by Brian on March 10th, 2011 at 1:15 PM

.jim-tressel-run-from-cops

apropos image via MNB Nation

The media explosion in the aftermath of Tressel's folly has been nigh overwhelming. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who writes about college football who hasn't put finger to keyboard in the aftermath. Even Inside The Hall, an Indiana basketball blog, decided to transcribe Bob Knight's clueless defense of Tressel so they could shake their heads at it. It's kind of a big deal.

File under…

Future Maize 'n' Brew writer. A kid at the Lantern, OSU's student newspaper, calls for Tressel's firing. (HT: Maize N Blue Nation.)

Well played, douchebag. Mark Schablach manages to piss off both OSU and Michigan fans in the same piece by laying into Tressel ("might be even worse than other coaches corrupting college athletics") in a fashion irrational even to this Michigan fan at the same time he conflates Michigan's stretching-and-confusion with what seems like a serious, games-will-be-vacated offense (At least Michigan "had fired their cheating coach").

And now… THE COMFY CHAIR! SBN OSU blog Along The Oletangy headlines a two game suspension against MAC teams "Jim Tressel Forced To Take Tough Medicine." Michigan suffered more concrete penalties for the Jihad—at least they lost some practice time. Of course, the NCAA probably isn't going to say "good job, here's an extra year of probation" when they get around to their own discipline.

Only in Ohio. The blacked-out name of the lawyer who tipped Tressel off in April has been revealed: Chris Cicero, a former OSU walk-on. I wonder if he's going to get hammered for trying to help the program. Also:

In 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended his law license for one year because of misconduct. The lawyer led others to believe he was having sex with then-Judge Deborah P. O'Neill, who had appointed Cicero to defend a client in a criminal case.

Our old friend. Remember Michael Buckner, the Florida lawyer who seemed to show up in every piece about Michigan's misappropriate stretching and GA sketch? He's back:

"Just looking at it, it may seem a little light, especially in light of the fact Tressel didn't report it to the university within a reasonable period of time," said Michael Buckner, who heads a law firm that helps schools deal with the NCAA.

OUTRAGE. "Disingenuous Tressel Is Wizard At Spinning Empty Words"—a Yahoo piece from something called "The Postgame." They're right about the spinning empty words bit.

OUTRAGE. "Armor of integrity falls from Ohio State coach Jim Tressel"

OUTRAGE. "No trouble spotting hypocrisy in college sports"—this one is just awful:

And now, our latest offering from a septic tank of a system that's unlikely to be flushed out in our lifetime.

/wanking motion

OUT—NEVERMIND, MILQUETOAST. "Tressel report appears damaging"

OUT—ACTUALLY, A REASONABLE QUESTION "Tressel docked, but what does it take for a coach to get fired?"

OUT—YES, OUTRAGE. "OSU's Tressel piles lies on top of lies," from the Akron Beacon-Journal. Also calls for firing. Via pdgoblue25.

Retrospective reaffirmation. Mets Maize has one Michigan-related takeaway from Michigan's recent turn under the lights:

Dave Brandon, like any good athletic director should do, showed tremendous leadership by taking the reins and guiding Michigan through a 6-month investigative gauntlet. He answered questions like a political ninja, hired a third-party independent firm to couple with an internal investigation, and reported back to the committee of infractions with a comprehensive review and self-imposed penalties in line with the violations and precedent. This was for stretching. The NCAA ended up adding 1 measly probation year and agreed to take away some of the most damaging charges--something unheard of in terms of appeal.

People complaining that Michigan's approach to their NCAA violations invited more bad press and ended up resulting in stiffer penalties than pretending there was nothing to see here are going to get empiricism in their face over the next six months. I've given Brandon a lot of stick for The Process and the results therein but the whole Identity is a Ceiling thing isn't all downside; he was still pimp throughout the whole process and saved Michigan the OUTRAGE you see above.

Can you imagine anyone associated with the Michigan athletic department saying "I hope he doesn't fire me" when talking about a football coach, joking or not? Bo could have been sitting there* and that wouldn't have happened.

This all banks on the NCAA crafting a punishment that fits the crime here, but I think that's likely given the existence of paper, both the emails sent to Tressel and the forms he signed and the transcripts of the December investigation. The NCAA has way more linking Tressel to a serious offense than they ever had on USC—though that was a more serious offense still—and OSU's pathetic wrist-slap will not help them avoid the penalties they have coming.

*[In a hypothetical world where Bo wouldn't have immediately suspended and possibly killed all six players.]

MORE OUTRAGE. "Lame defense affirms winning is the only thing that matters for Jim Tressel, Ohio State." I mean, right?

SEXY OUTRAGE. "Ohio State mess latest example of college athletics gone wild"

cats-gone-wild

PROTIP: do NOT start looking for humorous "gone wild" pictures by typing in "bears gone wild."

ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE OUTRAGE. Doyel. /wanking motion

OUTRAGE WITH SURPRISING VERBIAGE. Never thought I'd see this word in an H1 on AnnArbor.com: "Ohio State coach Jim Tressel: A fraud, manipulator and image whore." That's actually from the Drew Sharp of Central PA, David Jones, but dang.

OUTR—"Ohio State doesn't much give a damn about your outrage"

!!!

METAOUTRAGE. That's Ray Ratto writing a column about the columns that are outraged about Ohio State and their handling of this.

The Free Press Jihad ended with Bruce Feldman quoting people saying it's a "joke," Kirk Herbstreit declaring it a "joke," and the final NCAA word declaring the original lurid descriptions were overblown. The OSU reaction was such that people were writing columns about said reaction the day of. Boring, honest, NCAA-is-serious-business press conferences are so obviously the way to go.

Let's win this NCAA violation contest. "Document" on three.

I'll Get Right On That. Happy Easter.

I'll Get Right On That. Happy Easter.

Submitted by Brian on March 9th, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Via MVictors, the smoking gun:

tresselemails_thumb

Prepare for a vacation, Buckeyes. The NCAA has to come down harder on OSU than their limp response, doesn't it? They went through an entire season with four ineligible players, including their quarterback, and knew about it.

BONUS: A note for anyone compiling lists of funny business under Tressel: don't forget that when AJ Hawk's apartment was robbed he claimed three thousand dollars in cash was missing.

Unverified Voracity Watches Paint Dissasemble

Unverified Voracity Watches Paint Dissasemble

Submitted by Brian on March 8th, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Good news for people who like boring news. There is a webcam of Michigan taking down their new scoreboards. You can watch it, or you can look at this picture. They are basically equivalent:

image

Yes, they left the Big Chill lingo up.

Womp-rats? Yesterday at about 7 PM Yahoo released its latest article that terrifies and thrills, and it's a doozy:

Tressel knew of gear scheme last April

If true, that would expose Ohio State to the worst kind of NCAA justice. Cover-ups are very bad. They got SMU the death penalty and are soon to terminate the job of Bruce Pearl.

Can Yahoo/the NCAA prove it, though? The Robinson/Wetzel piece relies on one anonymous source who said Tressel was "troubled by the information" and promised to investigate. I don't think OSU can reasonably suggest they investigated and found nothing since it didn't take the NCAA long to confirm the story, but previous Yahoo gotchas came with paper trails—as of now there isn't one.

The worst-case scenario here is that this gets rolled into an investigation of Terrelle Pryor's perpetual loaner and it turns out that—surprise—zealous OSU boosters are funneling massive amounts of impermissible benefits to players. It's getting to the point where it's hard to downplay everything that comes to light as an isolated incident, especially when Antonio Pittman tweets that cats have been getting hookups on tats since 2001.

I don't think anyone knows where this is going but if Yahoo can produce paper a major violation, an actual one not about stretching, is in the offing. Eleven Warriors just tweeted that they are hearing Tressel will admit wrongdoing(!) and sanctions/suspensions are "possible."

No serious harm done. According to Mike Spath, Carl Hagelin and Billy Powers expect Louie Caporusso to return for next weekend's CCHA finals at the Joe. Presuming Michigan can get by Bowling Green, by far the worst team in the league this season, without him they won't be short in their quest for a one-seed.

Word. Best NFL draft evaluation ever on one Justin Boren:

Plays angry on the field but his mental makeup is in question after a transfer from Michigan. Day 3 prospect.

Love to bits. The SBN Oilers blog goes off on semi-regular rants about how numbers are just not understood, man, that I love to tiny bits. Their latest is about the Avalanche and their fluky run last year. According to hockey's advanced metrics last year, the Avs were a terrible team. According to the standings midway through the year they were pretty good. They managed to survive a massive late slump to squeeze into the playoffs and fans thought this was sustainable and numbers were stupid. This year they're pretty much the same team except they're not nearly as lucky, so they're just above the Oilers in the standings and fans are discussing whether they should fire the coach they were pumping for the Jack Adams last year.

Key section:

Avalanche fans are not alone in ignoring, even denying the evidence behind the performance of the team. In an article entitled "When the scientific evidence is unwelcome, people try to reason it away" in The Guardian, author Ben Goldacre explores what happens when people are "...confronted with scientific evidence that challenges their pre-existing view." His conclusion? "Often they will try to ignore it, intimidate it, buy it off, sue it for libel or reason it away." Goldacre references a 1979 paper from Lord, Ross and Lepper. From the paper's abstract:

People who hold strong opinions on complex social issues are likely to examine relevant empirical evidence in a biased manner. They are apt to accept "confirming" evidence at face value while subjecting "disconfirming" evidence to critical evaluation, and, as a result, draw undue support for their initial positions from mixed or random empirical findings.

Goldacre goes on to discuss a second group of people - those who attack the science behind the evidence presented to them.

When presented with unwelcome scientific evidence, it seems, in a desperate attempt to retain some consistency in their world view, people would rather conclude that science in general is broken.

This line of thinking is similar to that used by fans who argue in favor of shot quality. Shot quality has become the great foil used by those arguing against possession metrics as a basis of hockey analytics. The ever-increasing mountain of possession data, evidence and studies means little to the shot quality folks. Arguments abound in favor of shot quality with no evidence to back it up, so lacking so Desjardins challenged the world to prove the existence of shot quality. There were no takers.

Goldacre concludes:

When presented with unwelcome scientific evidence, it seems, in a desperate attempt to retain some consistency in their world view, people would rather conclude that science in general is broken.

What's that on the horizon? It's getting closer! It's getting closer very fast!Joe-Morgan

This is why numbers are important—they at least force you to consider things that conventional wisdom holds are ridiculous, like Derek Jeter being a pretty crappy defensive shortstop. The advanced metrics said the Avs were due to regress badly and they did. This would be just another guy who loves numbers accepting confirming evidence while some other team that defied the numbers would be seized upon by the Joe Morgans of the world as their confirming evidence… except for the fact that you can collect big sets of numbers and show they are accurate more often than not. We had a discussion about this before college football season when I predicted Iowa wouldn't do so hot and Iowa fans were like "numbers are stupid."

The other end of the spectrum from Joe Morgan is David Berri, who's just as wrong as Morgan and relies on a just-as-irrelevant credential ("I was the greatest second baseman of all time"/"I went to Princeton") in his quest to reduce everything in sports to a regression. I'm not arguing for that, either. The numbers gathered by football and basketball box scores are witheringly insufficient to hope to explain anything.

In reality, numbers are insufficient to fully explain anything but baseball for a lot of reasons. Baseball's easier and there are orders of magnitude more data—Pitch FX is insane. But in all sports advanced metrics can at least provide a much better answer for "what," if not how and why. An example: about a week ago LaVall Jordan tweeted that Michigan had the fourth best defense in the Big Ten. That's true on a pure counting number basis but if you do something like divide they were ninth*. That's a huge difference and the tempo-free number is indisputably better. There's a huge difference between talking about why Michigan has an above average defense or why they have a below-average one, and anyone who would prefer to talk about the former is just wasting people's time.

*[The MSU game moved them up to seventh.]

Hardaway explosion. Rod Beard's latest in the News has a wide array of quotes on the emergence of Tim Hardaway Jr. Vitale is involved, but don't let that phase you. Here's the most interesting bit on his recent blowup:

"When he was shooting a lower percentage earlier in the year, I called him in and we just talked a little about getting a better shot than he was taking," Beilein said. "(I told him) you're probably going to take just as many shots, but the ball will come back to you again.

"He did it immediately and his shooting percentage has gone way up."

Beilein has repeatedly praised Hardaway's coachability, which suggests he will continue to improve over the duration of his career at Michigan. Dad is also impressed:

"He's developed very well and the whole team has, from November to today," Tim Sr. said. "You can see a lot of confidence in them and you can see their swagger. They're playing well, they believe in the system and they believe in the coach."

Random offer thought. Michigan continues to litter the nation with offers, but a Q: could this be a more general pattern? The NCAA just implemented a rule that prohibits schools from sending written offers until August. In the past there was the verbal offer, which was more of an indication of interest, and the written offer, which was as close to official as something that says "we can revoke this at any time" gets. Now there are no written offers, nothing to distinguish between the two, and kids who may have waited to declare they had an offer until they had the actual paper in their hands now have nothing else do go on.

In any case, the universal predictions that this rule would lead to confusion and would do nothing to slow down the breakneck pace of recruiting have come true, like it was obvious they would.

Etc.: Posnanski writes something about the "joy of rooting against Lebron" that expands on yesterday's trash-talk assertions. According to Ira at WTKA via Brandon, Michigan's club seats and suites are sold out. Evolving Evan Smotrycz. Big Ten wrestling details.

Unverified Voracity's Jaundiced Eye

Unverified Voracity's Jaundiced Eye

Submitted by Brian on January 4th, 2011 at 12:18 PM

doom

Disclaimer. You probably don't care about any of this but while we wait for an "embattled" Rodrigez to meet with Dave Brandon today and the 7PM meeting with the players that seems like a likely moment for news to break, here's some other stuff. I've gotten a couple oddly-sourced things claiming that the office of Mark Hollis, Esq., Michigan State athletic director, is now telling people Rich Rodriguez is going to be fired today, not like that would come as a surprise or anything.

Also Harbaugh is now apparently a hot candidate for the Dolphins job, which would be a Michigan owner pirating Michigan's best coaching candidate to coach Chad Henne and Jake Long and would be the ultimate FOAD from God. Seriously, just jump.

Nothing to see here. Terrelle Pryor's college career should be over. He's already suspended for the first five games of next year and three(!) times since he arrived in Columbus he's been pulled over in someone else's car:

Three times in the past three years, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was stopped for traffic violations while driving cars that were owned by a car salesman or a Columbus used-car lot where the salesman worked, according to traffic citations obtained by The Dispatch.

Amazingly, Ohio State and Pryor spun out a story about car repairs and a test drive to Pennsylvania even after getting wind of a very familiar scheme…

Ohio State examined the relationship between its athletes and Auto Direct in July after receiving an anonymous letter saying that employees were trading use of cars for autographed memorabilia. Archie concluded that there were no NCAA violations.

…and the NCAA was all like "yeah, that makes total sense to me!"

Unbelievable. Michigan gets a "major violation" for niggling details and Ohio State players are bartering memorabilia for services at every business in Columbus and no NCAA violations are occurring. It's completely irrational to believe that if Terrelle Pryor was a 5'7" chemistry major that he'd get a free test drive of a thousand miles, but the NCAA turns a blind eye because logic is hard. Dan Wetzel's crusading about Pryor exposing the "charade of college athletics" and the NCAA can't even be bothered to suspend him for a measly year. I hate everything.

Chaos not limited. Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that Penn State's coaching staff could fall to bits in the near future? Yeah, didn't look like it would happen after Pitt insanely hired Mike Haywood. But then Haywood got in some legal trouble and got O'Leary'd and Maryland bizarrely hired Randy Edsall, leaving two prominent Northeast openings.

Meanwhile, Penn State message boards are filled with rumors that would be lurid insanity (mass chaos in the coaching staff, Paterno declaring his return without consulting anyone, threats of defection) if former players weren't talking trash on facebook and the highly-touted freshman quarterback who spent a big chunk of the year starting didn't watch a walk on throw five interceptions against Florida without getting a single snap himself and then book:

A day after Penn State's loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl, the father of true freshman Rob Bolden told Lions247.com that his son will seek a transfer from the school.

"It's true, he's looking to leave Penn State,"said Robert Bolden, Sr. on Sunday afternoon. "He's notified the coaches, that's as far as it's gone so far. We're waiting on the next step now."

With Kevin Newsome already headed out the door (and clearly more of a tight end than a quarterback by this point anyway) that leaves Penn State with McGloin and redshirt freshman Paul Jones. Jones is highly touted but there's probably a reason Bolden won the job in fall.

There are also rumors that much of the Penn State staff could be headed elsewhere. Tom Bradley missed on the Pitt job last time around but right now he seems to be one of two leading candidates along with Marvin Lewis of the Bengals. Lewis is now expected to "work out" his differences with Cincinnati, however, leaving Pitt with one giant blinking locally respected recruiting-class salvaging guy who seems to want to GTFO and take a big chunk of PSU's staff with him.

BSD has a roundup of the various things being said that includes the ridiculous—Bradley will leave PSU to become Pitt's defensive coordinator—and plausibly unsettling if you're a PSU fan; Slow States says that if Bradley does depart that "could and should" end the Paterno era, or "charade," if you will. Misery loves company.

Cheery reminder. FUN!

Robinson was asked after the game if he will be playing for the Wolverines if Rodriguez is not the coach.

"No response," Robinson said.

When asked how he would feel if Rodriguez does not return, Robinson did not say much more.

"That's my coach, that's who recruited me," Robinson said. "That's it."

If there's a new coach he's going to have a lot of work to do to convince Robinson to stick around.

Etc.: MVictors holding onto the Gordon Lightfoot lyrics. HSR writes an elegy. The women's basketball team could actually be good.

Unverified Voracity Needs A New Way Of Thinking

Unverified Voracity Needs A New Way Of Thinking

Submitted by Brian on July 23rd, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Agentzzz. Does the SEC's reaction to predatory agents seem, oh I don't know, slightly self-serving? On one level I don't actually disagree with the idea that maybe having a registered NFL agent represent a kid and possibly throw him some dollars isn't the worst way to bridge some of the gap between the amount of money players make for their schools and the amount of money they make for themselves. That would conveniently pay the players likely to be worth the most to their schools without actually acting as a drain on athletic department budgets.

But maybe the time to suggest something like this

The SEC commissioner says the current rules "may be as much part of the problem as they are the solution."

…is before half the schools in your league are under investigation and likely to lose key players. Watching the local journalists scramble to think outside the bun when their precious local programs come under threat is annoying when no one has a troubling word to say about the NCAA and their pursuit of Reggie Bush. You had five years to cluck about agents before the knocking got local. Doing it now is pure hackery. I can only imagine what the Free Press would write if Michigan had anyone involved in this. Probably not "we need a whole new way of thinking about agents."

Meanwhile, hearing Nick Saban position himself as the great and good friend of college athlete's eligibility is the sort of spectacularly brazen thing that is totally expected from Nick Saban. Seriously:

"I have no respect for people who do that to young people, none," Saban said. "I mean, none. How would you feel if they did it to your child?"

Do what, exactly? Oversign the hell out of them and then either end their careers with dubious medical scholarships or spawn a "voluntary" transfer? No. Give them money they shouldn't have because the NCAA says so. All right then.

Stupidzzz. So some guy outed the author of the Bylaw Blog. As a result, the Bylaw Blog is going on hiatus as the man behind it tries to clear it with his athletic department, which is Loyola Marymount's. Hopefully they take a look at the content on the blog and see it as a positive for their profile, which it certainly is, and let Compliance Guy continue being exceptionally useful.

As for guy who outs exceptionally useful guy: congratulations. You dug up a piece of information of no value to anyone and possibly/probably cut off the only insight into the increasingly important world of compliance that anyone had. You have committed an act of anti-journalism. Here, the truth makes us all dumber. I hope someone runs your foot over with a lawnmower.

Also then afterwards these gentlemen stop by and bend metal threateningly. Via Rittenberg comes this little bit of Barwis hype. On Mike Martin:

Bench-presses 505 pounds, squats 700 pounds … Power cleans 430 pounds, hang cleans 475 pounds …Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds

Strength coach Mike Barwis says: "Mike is an absolute warrior. He has a never quit attitude and is a natural born leader. He is one of the most impressive physical specimens I have ever seen."

And on David Molk:

Bench-presses 490 pounds, squats 660 pounds … Power cleans 420 pounds, hang cleans 440 pounds … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds 

Strength coach Mike Barwis says: "Dave is an outstanding worker and a natural athlete. He is one of the most naturally explosive linemen I have ever trained."

Whatever Fred Jackson's got, it's catching.

Martin totally pwns Northwestern DT Corbin Bryant, who squats like my grandmother (a mere 600 pounds) and is essentially on par with OSU DL John Simon; no comparables were available for offensive linemen.

Clean. We leave the fresh for the rest of the conference. Dana O'Neil has a remarkable article in which she anonymously surveys D-I basketball coaches and comes out with quotes like "If the NCAA was serious, they'd hire someone who knew what they were doing, not these women out here trying to get a husband.''

"These women"—referred to elsewhere as "gestapettes"—are the NCAA enforcement people tasked with wandering around summer recruiting events attempting to make sure everything is on the up and up. If only Bobby Knight was still coaching we'd have a likely candidate for that Mad Men-era quote; as it is it could be anyone.

Anyway, here's a feather in the cap combined with a shot at Tommy Amaker:

Which league is the cleanest? The dirtiest?

Congratulations, Jim Delany. Your league wins in a landslide. Of the 20 coaches surveyed, 11 said the Big Ten was the cleanest in the country. Three others cited the land where time stood still, also known as the scholarship-less Ivy League. (Although even the Ancient Eight earned one disparaging nod: "The Ivy League,'' one coach said before pausing to add, "I mean the Ivy League a couple of years ago, before all of that stuff at Harvard.")

But coaches cited the Big Ten's perceived willingness to police itself and rosters that "made sense," in which players traditionally come from the footprint of the schools they choose to attend.

Tommy Amaker got dirty enough to mention when he left Michigan for Harvard. Michigan is bringing a fork to a gun fight in basketball recruiting.

Some nice things were said about Michigan State that we will elide before getting to the next shocker:

…the Southeastern Conference was perceived as the worst, with three coaches partnering the SEC with the Big East and another tossing in the Big 12 (one coach went league-by-league, counting up schools). All in all, the SEC was named by 14 of the coaches.

"Oh no, it's not just a myth,'' one coach said about the SEC. "It's the truth.''

Maybe we need to rethink the way we perceive rampant cheating in college basketball?

Etc.: The WLA quibbles with the Offense of the Decade, suggesting that Drew Henson's abbreviated season as the starter should have won at QB. The numbers (61.6% completion, 14.7 yards per completion, 9.1 yards per attempt, and an 18/4 TD/INT ratio) are pretty compelling; I left him off because he only played about 75% of the season but… yeah. It depends on how heavily you want to weight that.

They also suggest Askew instead of Dudley but I did not really consider Askew a fullback since he spent most of his time as the deep back in a single-RB formation, IIRC, and anyway if I was putting together a team I'd rather have Dudley for short yardage than an okay tailback who can block.

Unverified Voracity No Longer The Size Of Sixth-Graders

Unverified Voracity No Longer The Size Of Sixth-Graders

Submitted by Brian on July 2nd, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Bigger, grungier, made of scraped anger. I've been guessing somewhat wildly that Mike Martin will move away from the nose tackle spot he gamely tackled a year ago. It makes sense in a ton of different ways; Adam Patterson's weird move inside also provides circumstantial evidence. If that guess is correct, there's good* news about the defense's stoutness. FSU blog Tomahawk Nation took a look at the general relationship between enormous angry men close to the opponent quarterback an defensive success, finding quite a bit of it. They then draw an arbitrary line at 1780 pounds (which they say 'one' might argue is arbitrary, so chalk me up as one of the ones) and suggest that being below that line is bad.

They then commit a superior act of link-baiting by relating this post directly to the readers here:

I broke down the Wolverines separately.  Michigan comes in at 1828 lbs, which really bodes well for their defense performance this season.  Last year they had a front 7 of 1720 lbs.  Extremely impressive improvement and the second largest we have seen (Mississippi State +120).  Even more so considering the move to a 3-3-5 hybrid.

Best,
Bud Elliott

That does assume that Brandon Graham is getting replaced by Will Campbell. (The three returning starters adding about twenty pounds each seems assured.) If that's the case, Michigan's front 3.5 can hang with anyone on a pure beef level; with Barwis's emphasis on good weight they should be even better on the BEEFCAKE level.

The secondary? Ask again later. Maybe Tomahawk Nation will come up with a way to make me feel better about that other than closing my eyes and hoping really hard.

*(Correlation does not equal causation but after the last two years give me a break here.)

Tom Crean: anti-Brewster. Brewster's twitter machinations establish the TRY FIGHT WIN endpoint of the CFB head coach twitter continuum. And while Crean isn't quite at the Weis point that marks the other end (Went to Bon Jovi concert with son/full stop/advised offensive linemen on awesomest Baskin Robbins flavors/full stop/story continues in next thirty-six tweets/full stop), he's not far off. Watch him bash anonymous opponent skeeze-merchant assistants, then entirely fail to repent and hit up the head men:

“Frankly some of the assistants we go against I wouldnt let valet my car. They either would lose the keys or drive away with it.” – June 29, 3:18 PM

“In all honesty there are some Head coaches that would be the same way. The ones that wake up on 3rd base and think they hit a triple kill me.” – June 29, 3:20 PM

There's no way Crean's talking about anyone related to the Michigan program, which is good and bad.

Broken resistance. Dennis Dodd is already on the list of people who I try not to talk about on the blog because I've already called them horrible names for writing dumb things, but come on:

Given certain NCAA limitations -- talking to you, Trojans -- we're more likely to see a Big 12 North rivalry in Pasadena in the near term (Colorado-Nebraska) than Michigan-USC.

Even if USC is be facing down a two-year bowl ban, they're more likely to to end up in the Rose Bowl than a team that lost to Toledo by 16 and couldn't fire their coach because they didn't have enough money. That's only part of an extended section about how the Rose Bowl is just horrified that Utah might end up in it when the new Rose Bowl contract already all but guaranteed that a mid-major would be selected for the game sometime before 2014.

Dodd then goes on to wildly praise Larry Scott for adding Colorado and Utah to his conference, a move that is extremely debatable financially and athletically, because he had big ideas, and caps that by proposing Big Ten divisions that split Michigan and Ohio State. These are dubbed "lessons."

Skinflint. These numbers on football spending rounded up by Fanhouse and broken down into a convenient Big Ten list by Fight For Iowa…

  1. Ohio State - $32.30 million
  2. Iowa - $26.90 million
  3. Wisconsin - $22.71 million
  4. Penn State - $19.13 million
  5. Michigan - $18.03 million

…are so crazy as to be suspicious. Michigan's enormous renovation of Michigan Stadium was in its first year. They'd just hired Rich Rodriguez , paid most of his buyout, and were still on the hook for the Carr assistants who did not take other jobs. Despite all this, Michigan checks in fifth in Big Ten spending and barely manages half of Ohio State's outlay. Clearly, these numbers all come from a big database and have not been sanity checked. I wouldn't put much faith in them.

Irony ironically un-ironic. This is not ironic:

The major sticking point everyone points to is the quarterback situation. In fact, some people are calling it a disaster. Once you get past the irony of a Michigan blogger calling the Penn State quarterback situation a "disaster", step back and ask yourself, "Is it really that bad?" Yeah, ok, we have to break in a new quarterback this year. Welcome to college football where you have to break in a new quarterback every other year. Lots of teams plug in a new quarterback and have very successful seasons.

Irony is a fanbase that roars when Beaver Stadium's chintzy pregame hype-up declares "WE ARE PENN STATE… AND THEY'RE NOT" perpetually accusing another fanbase of arrogance. (Will Michigan EVER make a bowl again, BSD asks, totally oblivious.) Someone with grand recent experience when it comes to disastrous quarterback situations declaring a setup with a walk-on, a couple true freshmen, and Kevin Newsome—who even BSD admits "looked terrible" in the spring game—is not.

100% committed until tomorrow. An update on the status of 2011 hockey commit Alex Guptill from the man himself:

For the time being, Alex is committed to play for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the United States Hockey League next season before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall of 2011. However, that may or may not change, following his meeting with Stars management in Texas today (June 30).

“Right now, I’m committed 100 per cent to the Waterloo Blackhawks,” Alex said. “I’m looking forward to stepping up in a little bit higher of a league and improving my game.”

Maybe "100 per cent" is not the best thing to immediately follow "right now," but it sounds like Guptill's strong preference is to play for Michigan next year. If the Kings had drafted him, that quote would be reason to worry. Dallas less so. Haven't had an update since, so we'll see.

Slightly good news? I'm not sure how much this helps but it certainly doesn't help. SEMO, one of the schools that's recently run into trouble for violating NCAA practice guidelines in a similar fashion to Michigan, saw an appeal shot down. But in the midst of saying nein they did also say this:

The presence of a coach before or after an otherwise voluntary workout may be inadvertent, or occur with no intent by the coach to confirm the student-athletes’ attendance or to otherwise engage the student- athlete in countable athletically related activities. Thus, while this committee does not set aside this finding, we note that this general statement in the report should not be construed as the mandatory interpretation of the relevant NCAA legislation without reference to coaches’ intent and other pertinent facts in a given case.3

The Bylaw Blog suggests that Michigan may argue that some of the impermissible events were still voluntary, though they'd obviously have to show that the presence of coaching-type folk had a legitimate purpose. Since they've already responded to the NCAA, that's not likely. It may be a further indication that Michigan won't get anything tacked on in August, not that Michigan seems to expect any additions.

Etc.: Six Zero interrogates MGoShoe, the poster with the highest signal to noise ratio in the history of MGoBlog. (SERIOUSLY)

Unverified Voracity Wonders About Magic Money

Unverified Voracity Wonders About Magic Money

Submitted by Brian on June 15th, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Worst State Ever goes national. On cable, but still:

You, too, can own this piece of History Channel-famous clothing. If you already own one, your Grandma needs one.

Why the hell? This is apparently the reason the Big 12 did not fall apart:

No FSN deal has been signed, and nothing is expected for several weeks at the earliest. But sources say FSN has told Big 12 officials that it would increase its annual payout to as much as $130-$140M per year. It currently pays $19.5M per year for the cable TV rights, a deal that ends following the '11-12 season

How in the flaming hell is that a good business decision for FSN? You're increasing your payout 600% for games that are on average less interesting without Nebraska—the Big 12 was recently reassured that ESPN would not demand a "rebate" on their existing contrat.

Sports Business Daily says that along with that payout will come "third tier rights" that include radio, stadium signage, local media, and third-tier TV rights. I'm not exactly sure what the value of that stuff is but since IMG is involved I imagine they're similar to the rights deals M and OSU have with IMG that amount to something like 8-10 million annually, with teams like Purdue getting maybe half of that. Ballpark those at 4 million per school (which is a complete guess*) and Fox is only… uh… more than doubling its commitment to the Big 12 after it lost a good bit of reach and interest.

We may see a system where more rights devolve to the league itself, thus artificially boosting the conference distribution without actually boosting the revenue much. It'll be like a heavily back-loaded NFL contract that's more show than substance. I'm sure the Big 12 will increase its payouts in a real sense, but the demographic realities that almost saw the conference implode aren't going away. I agree with this guy who is cited by USA Today as an expert:

However, he called the projected average annual TV splits of $20 million for Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, with the other schools getting $14 million-$17 million each, "too high, just not realistic."

"Now, who knows? Maybe they can break the mold and come up with a model nobody's seen."

More likely they'll just dress it up real purty to save face. Doctor Saturday has more.

*(But I think it's the right range since schools will be able to hold onto whatever other rights they require to start their own networks.)

Appeal not so much. The #1 must-read piece on USC's sanctions comes from the Bylaw Blog, which delves deep into the record-length document to reach some conclusions no one else has the expertise or care to. The main takeaway:

In that detailed account, the Committee on Infractions lays out the case that USC took in two student-athletes with no regard for the amateurism rules, and then failed to notice when they began accept benefits and enter into agreements in violation of the rules. The overall gist of the NCAA’s stance was summed up by one quote from Paul Dee, the chair of the Committee on Infractions during the teleconference discussing the report:

High profile players demand high profile compliance.

IE: no more see/hear/speak no evil for Carroll and Friends. Compliance Guy also provides a heartening opinion on why the document is so long and took so long: the NCAA lacks a true smoking gun and instead laid out its case meticulously in anticipation of a USC appeal. The top priority was making the penalties stand.

At this point a USC appeal would probably damage the school more than help it, as the penalties would just be delayed. So, go ahead, USC. Appeal.

Seriously pissed off, you guys. The hockey committee dropped a couple of major rules changes on college hockey:

  1. Icing always counts even if you're killing a penalty.
  2. Hits to the head are an automatic five and a game.

The second is just another version of the committee's temporary freakout about hits from behind after North Dakota's Robbie Bina was seriously injured by a dangerous check from behind by Geoff Paukovich. The NCAA decided to combat incompetent refereeing by making all hits from behind five and a game, leading to a brief period when every hit along the boards was accompanied by a nervous glance at the ref just in case he decided to toss your guy from the game. Refs started calling boarding instead and a few years later we're back to square one when it comes to hits from behind: still illegal. We'll have an annoying period where routine minors are wildly overreacted to, refs will start calling roughing, and everything will go back to the way it was.

The icing change promises to greatly increase the efficacy of power plays and has been met with fuming, largely because the coaches voted against it… unanimously:

“I think it’s just a crime,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. “I’ve been in college hockey for 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It was almost unanimous for the entire coaching body. How can the committee overturn the entire coaching body? I think it’s sad, the lack of respect that the committee had for the coaching body.

“We didn’t spend any time even talking about it because it was so radical. We just voted 12-0 and moved on.”

Coaches are also irritated by a change to delayed penalties where a team that scores on the delay still gets the power play, but that hardly ever happens so at worst it's a minor annoyance.

Other changes:

  • Goaltenders now change ends in overtime. This might be a direct response to what happened at the Fort Wayne regional, when Michigan got stuck with the long change for four out of five periods in the double-OT game against Miami. It's not a rule change that will have an impact anywhere else, but it's a good one anyway.
  • Icing modifications. The "obtainable pass" rule where a player who attempted to pass to a teammate who just missed it saw his icing waved off is gone, which I don't like. On the other hand, if an offensive player is clearly going to beat the defender to the puck they will wave it off. Net impact is about neutral, I guess.

The half-shield proposal was tabled so that more studies about injury could take place.

The rules proposals aren't final—they have to be addressed by the "Playing Rules Oversight Committe" in July. One dollar says the icing rule is dropped and never discussed again.

BONUS: That last article suggests the CCHA will drop the shootout. I actually didn't mind it once they went to a system where all games were worth the same number of points.

Etc.: Bacon goes way back to cover Michigan's brief withdrawal from the Big Ten around the turn of the 20th century. All of the CU/NU penalty fees will go to OU, Texas, and A&M. NHL.com profiles Carl Hagelin. Contrasting Michigan's response to the NCAA with USC's.

Unverified Voracity Wants More

Unverified Voracity Wants More

Submitted by Brian on June 11th, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Signed stuff by the bucket. Note for memorabilia-seekers: The From The Heart charity auction is up and going and has a ton of stuff for the man with an empty basement. As per usual, proceed go to charity.

mike-garrett-this-guy

this guy. 

Bombed, but not enough. USC has gotten a severe punishment, with two-year bowl ban and serious scholarship penalties. Woo! Question, though: how does the basketball program get off with nothing more than the self-imposed penalties they've already taken when the USC compliance department explicitly told Tim Floyd to drop OJ Mayo because there was a 100% chance he was on the take. I think they got the football punishments about right—they should have voided all of USCs LOIs and dumped transfer restrictions for the duration of the probation—but their basketball program should have gotten the same treatment.

And then… man. As MGoShoe points out, the current athletic director actually said this:

“As I read the decision by the NCAA, all I could get out of all of this was … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy, and they wish they all were Trojans,” Garrett said to cheers Thursday night at the San Francisco Airport Marriott.

Comparing and contrasting USC's response with Michigan's is too obvious to even undertake. The NCAA should retroactively give them the death penalty, and then do it again. How much do you think it would cost to hire a private investigator to go after USC full-time? Surely there are enough people in the country willing to chip in that we could get this done for five bucks each, right?

And don't get me started on women's tennis.

UPDATE: It is officially open season on USC juniors and seniors:

Juniors and seniors to-be on the USC Trojans' football team, hit with a two-year postseason ban among other punishments, will be allowed to transfer to other FBS programs without having to sit out a season, the NCAA clarified to ESPN on Friday.

"The second school would have to submit a waiver asking to waive the year in residence, but NCAA rules allow for this waiver to be granted if a student-athlete's first school has a postseason ban in their sport," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said in an e-mail to ESPN's Joe Schad.

A glance at the roster reveals that four of USC's top five corners are eligible to GTFO. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. We are down one corner, after all.

Izzout? After Tom Izzo spent 9.5 hours in Cleveland yesterday—far more time than anyone who is not Serious About Cleveland would spend—the tenor of the Izzo chatter in East Lansing is trending towards grim resignation. Jim Comparoni, the nut who runs Michigan State's Rivals site and in my experience has never once said anything remotely negative about anything related to State, says it is a "very bad sign" that Izzo's scheduled golf appearance has been canceled and that football coaches say it "doesn't look good." There may be a 4PM press conference coming up today. There may not.

At The Only Colors they're simultaneously convincing themselves that Izzo's statement is not bad news and evaluating the coaching tree for possible replacements. Insert your preferred Kubler-Ross interpretation here.

Don the tinfoil hats. If Dave Brandon is willing to bluntly state that he had nothing to do with Dorsey's failure to be admitted, I believe him:

"This is a decision that is owned by the admissions department, our admissions office," Brandon said. "It's always been owned by the admissions office. It is not unusual for a letter of intent to be signed with a prospective student-athlete where there's far more that needs to be done for the student-athlete to be admitted. It involves course work, it involves test scores, and a variety of criteria some of which is fact-based and where and how they went about improving their test scores."

You'd have to be foolhardy to make such a statement in a FOIA-laden environment, and Brandon doesn't seem foolhardy. As discussed yesterday, this had everything to do with grades.

Expansion-o-rama again. The to-date accurate Chip Brown has declared the interest level between Texas and A&M to be "NONE!!!!!!" which doesn't make a ton of sense given the very real benefits available to Texas and A&M if they were to join the CIC—financial benefits that dwarf the amount of money athletics makes, causing the Big Ten partisans in the expansion game to declare him a useful stooge for athletic directors wishing to get a message out, which kind of does make sense.

Meanwhile a report that OU is headed to the SEC has been quickly and widely repudiated. I guess we'll find out.

World Cup linkage. One: GOLAZO! More footie strategy at Zonal Marking, which has tackled the US side "good, but need tactical tweaks" the Slovenians, a typical hardworking, honest, boring 4-4-2, and the Algerians, who were mainly 3-5-2  but are apparently going 4-4-2 for the WC, possibly because of a run of poor recent results. The Algerian goaltender is described as "very, very dodgy," something that takes doing at the African Cup of Nations.