Unverified Voracity Hit Mark Emmert With A Chair

Unverified Voracity Hit Mark Emmert With A Chair Comment Count

Brian May 14th, 2018 at 12:21 PM

No news yet on the Jalen Wilson front. Other than the fact that he received his offer:

Standard "everything went great" takes from Josh Henschke at 24/7, but Henschke does mention he has an interview scheduled with Wilson. That in and of itself is a fairly good sign.

All-22 aggression. Via Cody Alexander:

This is the kind of stuff I can't see from the broadcast angle. One caveat: pretty sure that's Rutgers providing the opposition. Michigan had almost as many sacks (5) as Rutgers had completions (8) in that game, thus allowing things like "deep centerfield safety gets his nose on a ballcarrier at the line of scrimmage."

Alexander's Don Brown clinic notes are fascinating and available at the link.

*swoon.* Brad Stevens on a sticky wicket he found himself in:

I would not trade John Beilein for anyone. Brad Stevens makes you think, though.

WELCOME YOUR NEW GOD GAMBLOR. The Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports gambling, thus paving the way for every state hard up for a little cash to legalize and regulate the wildly popular activity. (Probably: Richard Hoeg has more law-talking details.) And if college athletic departments have their hand out…

…wait, what? Here is your justification:

"If this is legalized, what the ADs said is that we'll have to spend more money on compliance and we're going to have increased risk," McMillen told ESPN in a Thursday phone interview. "What was shown, at schools with regulated [sports betting] markets -- Nevada, UNLV -- they spend considerably more on compliance, because it's more open, more transparent, more in your face than the other schools where it's illegal. The fact of the matter is that the onus is going to fall on Marshall and West Virginia."

Those compliance departments have to send out way more than one tweet in March about not joining an NCAA pool? They have to have a workshop about how gambling on sports is bad if you play sports? I'm not sure what the big expense is.

Brian Windhorst has an interesting article about the push from pro sports leagues to legalize sports betting in the US; the NCAA is likely to get caught up in this whether they want to or not.

BAH GOD SHE KILT EM. A post-committee Condoleeza Rice is more explicit that the NCAA should restore name and likeness rights to athletes:

"We believe that students ought to be able to benefit from name, image and likeness but you can’t decide a program until you know the legal parameters,” Rice told USA TODAY Sports. “That was the point. I think some of the commentary suggested that we didn’t really speak on this issue. I think we did speak on this issue, it’s just that we understand there’s a legal framework that has to be developed first.”

Rice said she thought the commission’s report was “pretty clear” in its support of athletes being able to cash in once the various legal issues are resolved. But she maintains that the NCAA cannot do this while a pair of ongoing cases are pending.

"I think people may have looked at the fact that we said there's a legal framework to be developed and said, 'Oh, well, maybe they're punting on this.' Nobody was intending to punt on it."

As something that costs the NCAA nothing, has broad public support, cuts down on a bunch of self-contradictory rulings, and would pave the way for the return of NCAA Football, restoring NIL rights to college athletes is an obvious slam dunk. It thus has a 37% chance of actually happening.

One and done doesn't even accomplish much. John Gasaway has created a history of one and done that convincingly asserts that it accomplishes little:

We don’t yet know the order in which the freshmen of 2017-18 will be selected, of course, but, by Jonathan Givony’s lights, we may be due for a similar evaluative echo next month on draft night.

                     RSCI 2017    Projection 2018
Marvin Bagley III        1               3
Michael Porter, Jr.      2               8
Deandre Ayton            3               1
Mohamed Bamba            4               5
Trevon Duval             5              45
Collin Sexton            6               9
Wendell Carter, Jr.      7               7
Mitchell Robinson        8              22
Jaren Jackson, Jr.       9               4
Kevin Knox              10              15

Yes, Duval stands out, and, sure, projected No. 6 pick Trae Young made very good use of the one additional year of evaluation afforded to NBA teams. The question then becomes whether one-and-done earns its evaluative keep simply by having flagged the fact that Duval “should” drop 40 spots and Young “should” jump 20.

That’s pretty much all the current eligibility requirement is accomplishing in terms of player evaluations. Otherwise, we could have held this draft a year ago, and it would have looked highly similar to what will (we think) transpire next month.

Actually, even that gives one-and-done too much evaluative credit. In an alternate reality where players could be drafted straight out of high school, it’s possible Duval would have been a 2017 pick — but Young, surely, would have gone undrafted. Then, after the amazing freshman season that we now know happened, Young would have been a 2018 lottery pick. In this scenario, then, the lone evaluative function of one-and-done with regard to the top of the board is to prevent Duval from having been a high draft pick a year ago, period.

And Duval had to enter the draft anyway because Duke recruited over him with authority. There are probably some extraordinary busts the NBA has avoided, but the one-and-done rationale about preventing Kwame Browns is extremely flimsy.

No seed for softball. Michigan gets shipped to Lexington for the opening round of the tourney:

Lexington Regional

No. 16 Kentucky vs. UIC | 2:30 p.m. ET Friday on WatchESPN

Michigan vs. Notre Dame | 12 p.m. Friday on ESPN2

Softball regionals are, well, regional, so that's not a definite statement that Michigan was #17, but if they weren't they were fairly close. Unfortunately, Michigan is entering the tournament on a skid after getting blown out twice at the Big Ten tourney.

Iggy can dunk. But he has still not set a video of himself to Lust for Life.

Etc.: Remembering the 2004 Clemson-South Carolina brawl. Excellent set-piece goal in stoppage time gives AFC Ann Arbor a 1-0 win over Detroit Suburb Residents FC. More All or Nothing potentially on the way? Who the F is Tom Brady? Transferring is not really an epidemic. Adam Silver is not just in charge of things.


Unverified Voracity Cut Half The Team!

Unverified Voracity Cut Half The Team! Comment Count

Brian April 25th, 2018 at 2:31 PM

download (1)

yes, i am available to give your Blue Ribbon Committee a sheen of respectability

I mean it wasn't going to be any different. The NCAA's Look We Hired Condi Rice Again commission has delivered their deliverable, a 52-page report about "putting the 'college' back in college basketball." As with all these things it's more of a CYA activity than a genuine attempt to address the problems inherent in a system that prohibits compensation for people who other folks would really like to compensate. Some major takeaways include "end one and done"—which the NCAA has no control over—and "enforce rules better"—good luck.

But! Even in this document there are some grudging concessions:

Rice expressed tacit approval for providing athletes with a cut of the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses, which is currently before courts.

“Most commissioners believe that the rules on name, image and likeness should be taken up as soon as the legal framework is established,” she said. “It is hard for the public, and frankly for me, to understand what can be allowed with the college model — for the life of me I don’t understand the difference between Olympic payments and participation in ‘Dancing With the Stars’ — and what can’t be allowed without opening the door to professionalizing college basketball.”

Unfortunately, the "professionalizing college basketball" has already happened in every meaningful way. TV now dictates game times. Revenue is ruthlessly maximized. Players get more or less cut annually. The only way in which college basketball has not professionalized is in the literal paying of their workers, so we get all the downsides of it without even the compensation of thinking "well, at least it's sort of fair now."

The NCAA will not meaningfully change in the near future unless Jeffrey Kessler's lawsuit is an end-of-Cretaceous event.

"These are great, and no one is holding a gun to my head." The National Association of Basketball Coaches has issued walking orders for the rank and file:

Under the heading “A Message to NCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches," the document signed by NABC executive director Jim Haney and deputy director Reggie Minton declares, “In short, it is imperative that the Commission’s recommendations be met with unequivocal support from each of us.”

The NABC even listed a series of “Key Talking Points” for members to follow.

— “Change was necessary, and we knew that change was coming. As coaches on the front lines, we are uniquely positioned to offer valuable insight as the Commission’s recommendations progress through the legislative process.”
— “As coaches, we are committed to working with the NCAA in evaluating the recommendations and will provide appropriate input as legislation is drafted.”
— “We are appreciative of the Commission’s efforts to address necessary change, and for welcoming the input of the NABC.

The commission doesn't actually advocate any meaningful change. Coaches are currently the main beneficiaries of amateurism and must support a document that waves hands at everyone around the sport without actually affecting their bottom lines. But they have to make it look like they are supporting Change, Which Is Good.

The stick and ball games are doing fairly well. Softball is currently on a 14-game winning streak, which isn't that unusual. Freshman pitcher Meghan Beaubien is crushing the competition:

Beaubien, who leads the nation in wins, improved to 27-2 and lowered her ERA to 0.74, which is sixth in the NCAA. She threw a one-hitter against Maryland on Friday, striking out seven in seven innings in a 6-0 win.

One thing that is unusual: there's a Big Ten team within shouting distance. Softball takes on Indiana in a critical three game series this weekend; the Hoosiers are just a half-game back.

Another thing that's unusual: that's not the longest winning streak on south campus in late April. Baseball is up to 20 straight, largely because Eric Bakich pulled off an unprecedented recruiting class:

ANN ARBOR -- The 2017 recruiting class for Michigan's baseball team was the highest ranked ever for a Big Ten team.

Its 10th overall ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper created high expectations for the 13 incoming freshmen and two junior college transfers.

With the Wolverines coming off a 42-win season, their first 40-win season since 2008, many of the newcomers would be counted on to fill key roles after the team lost 15 players from last season, including a program-record 11 MLB Draft picks.

Although some of them struggled to start the season when the team lost 11 of its first 15 games, the freshmen, most notably pitchers Ben Dragani, Jeff Criswell and Angelo Smith, along with first baseman Jesse Franklin and outfielder Jordan Nwogu, have been key contributors during the Wolverines' 20-game win streak, the program's longest since 1987.

The pressure is still on because of that rough start. Baseball bracketologists usually have Michigan in the field but as one of the last four teams.

Another transfer pass. Sophomore SG Austin Reaves is leaving Wichita State and has mentioned Michigan amongst 22 schools in contact, leading to the usual "!?!??" articles and message board threads about the possibility of adding him. Folks, Reaves is Just A Shooter who must sit a year before playing two.

Does Michigan need a 6'5" JAS shooting guard? Not really. Would he be better than Adrien Nunez? Maybe, maybe not. Would Reaves occupy a 2019 scholarship in a class that's looking like 2 or 3 tops? Yes.

This one is better than the sit-one-play-two guy with a 102 ORTG in the NEC, at least. Reaves is still not a fit unless Michigan wants to stop swinging at the top 50 guys in the 2019 class they seem to have a lot of traction with.

Quite a disconnect. Most Michigan fans high fived themselves when they saw next year's single plays

Home: Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue
Away: Illinois, Iowa, Rutgers
Home/Away: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin

…and so did the MGoSlack. Skipping road games against two of the four tourney teams from last year and one of the two NIT teams seems pretty good. But not so much, says Bart Torvik:

Best guess at the discrepancy: Michigan misses three of the easiest games in league play. From a tourney resume perspective that's good; from a league title perspective not so much. At least this year the 20 game schedule means the schedule gap is significantly smaller than it was a year ago, when MSU was handed a dubious banner.

Again, small hockey schools can pound sand. Niagara fired its hockey coach and replaced him. His first act? Cutting eight guys. Eight! Niagara says they'll honor scholarship commitments, largely because they have to say that, but chances are these guys are headed elsewhere. It's one thing to have to squeeze out another year of junior for a player because of college hockey's crazy recruiting environment. Cutting eight guys is entirely another. This only happens in college hockey because you can import a bunch of 21-year-old freshman-type substances, another small-school innovation.

This is not an isolated incident. When UMass-Amherst cut ~nine guys last year. When you hear people complaining about Michigan flipping recruits, tell 'em to get stuffed! Get stuffed, I say!

Etc.: Don't click here. Intact coaching staff? Wagner scouted. Economist makes the case that the sports EMU is cutting are actually profitable for the school because it is not full on students. Maybe it's okay the USMNT didn't make the World Cup! /sits weeping in corner


Michigan Softball 2017 Season Preview

Michigan Softball 2017 Season Preview Comment Count

South Bend Wolverine February 10th, 2017 at 4:00 PM

[Ed-S: Team 40 played their first game today, beating Delaware 7-0. Before you ask: no, the Delaware softball team doesn’t use wings on their softball helmets]


It’s that time of year once again! [Photo credit: Bryan Fuller for all photos]

For the last four years, and especially the last two, Michigan softball has been defined by two women named Sierra. The two Sierras, Romero and Lawrence, headlined a star-studded line-up that shattered school, conference, and national records and propelled the Wolverines to the highest echelons of the sport. Perhaps even more importantly, the 2015 and 2016 teams catapulted the softball program into the spotlight among Michigan fans, capitalizing on a void left by underwhelming performances from the revenue sports. Over the course of the last two years, tickets to big games at Alumni Field have sold out in hours, game threads have exploded in length, and the names of the stars – Romero, Lawrence, Christner, Wagner, Susalla, Sweet, Betsa, and more – have become household names.

Now, it’s time to turn the page, and the Michigan softball machine will have to turn to younger talent to fill out the roster in 2017. Even with a number of returning stars there’s no mistaking the sense that we’re entering a new era, and things are going to look different. After several years as one of the nation’s top offensive teams, this year Michigan’s fortunes will most likely be determined by how far their ace pitcher can carry them. Especially in the post-season, when teams often lean on a single pitcher game in and game out, Michigan’s senior flame-throwing righty will be the driving force. If the last four years have been the Era of Sierra, 2017 should be the Year of Betsa.



Farewell, Sierras.

Bidding farewell to the class of 2016 has not been easy, neither for fans who will miss watching living legends step to the Alumni Field plate week in and week out, nor for the coaches working overtime to find ways to replace their remarkable production. This remarkable group of young women won a staggering 210 games in their time at Michigan, 4 Big Ten regular season championships (3 outright), and 1 Big Ten Tournament Title. In the post-season, they earned 4 trips to both the regionals and the super-regionals, went to the WCWS 3 times, and reached the final game of the season in 2015.

In addition to role-players Olivia Richvalsky, Lauren Connell, and Mary Sbonek, the 2016 class included some true Michigan legends.

[cont’ after THE JUMP]


Unverified Voracity Surveys Fallout (Not That Fallout, Nerds)

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

Brian June 3rd, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Jalil Irvin's commitment post is here.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not likely at all:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Unverified Voracity Slaps Knee

Unverified Voracity Slaps Knee Comment Count

Brian June 1st, 2016 at 12:46 PM


Dan Murphy at Bo's grave. A memorial day thing:

The cemetery groundskeepers say that during most weeks there are a few maize and blue trinkets at the foot of Schembechler's grave, but traffic really picks up in football season. On a spring day this year, there were a pile of pennies, a few Canadian dollar coins, a bell, a blue foam football, a couple of rusty "Beat Ohio State" buttons and an egg keeping Bo company. No one is quite sure what the deal is with the egg, but the best guess is that Bo often liked to jab at his guys by calling them "ham-and-eggers" when they weren't being as productive as they should be.

Women's College World Series on deck. A dramatic comeback win in game two of softball's super-regional sends them to Oklahoma City, with #1 seed Florida watching on TV. Michigan gets the late game Thursday (9:30 PM) against LSU; Alabama and Oklahoma are the other half of their bracket. All games are on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Meanwhile Brendan Quinn profiles Carol Hutchins:

Carol came along in 1957 and immediately raised hell. In fifth grade, playing with matches, she set a field behind the family home on fire. Two fire engines arrived to douse the flames. The Lansing fire chief pulled young Hutchins aside to let her know: "You're lucky you didn't burn down the entire southside of Lansing."

When her father arrived home in his blue trooper uniform, Carol ran up and said, "I have to tell you something: I burnt down the field."

She was grounded.

Even more satellite kerfuffle. SEC meetings are happening so there are more opportunities to ask southern college coaches about the scourge of satellite camps. They still don't like them.  The reasons they offer are still a blend of hilarious and infuriating. Nick Saban is the latest, and he followed the script:

"I don't know how much it benefits anybody because all the people that say this is creating opportunities for kids, this is all about recruiting," Saban said. "That's what it's about. Anybody that tells you that. What's amazing to me is somebody didn't stand up and say here's going to be the unintended consequences of what you all are doing."

Again with the SEC's insistence that going around and scouting football players is—gasp—part of a recruiting strategy, again with the yammering about unintended consequences. This is a conference that managed to set off a firestorm of recriminations because their two-sentence rule change unintentionally screwed over small schools nationwide. Now they are complaining because something that was legal remaining legal will have unintended consequences.

A second talking point the SEC keeps hammering is about the influence of "third parties":

"All you're doing is allowing all these other people that we spend all of our time at the NCAA saying, you can't recruit through a third party. You can't be involved with third-party people and that's exactly what you're doing ...

Then hand met podium.

" ... creating all these third parties that are going to get involved with the prospects and all that. And who gets exposed on that? I go to a camp and I'm talking to some guy I don't know from Adam's house cat and he's representing some kid because he put the camp on, and then I'm in trouble for talking to this guy? And who even knows if the guy paid to go to the camp."

Not only is this amazing chutzpah from the League of Extraordinary Bagmen, this argument wants us to believe that allowing college coaches to go to camps and directly interact with players is going to increase the influence of middlemen. Because someone has to give those kids a ride…? I guess?

Harbaugh, as is his wont, ended the internet again with a tweet.

That is the other thing: Alabama is the worst possible cow to have moo about compliance issues. Saban has pushed the envelope for years himself. There's a bump rule named after him. When he was recruiting a couple of five-stars from Dr. Phillips in Orlando he coincidentally had Alabama's bowl practices at that high school, mirroring Michigan's trip to IMG this spring. His huge pile of medical hardships forced the conference to start reviewing all hardship requests. The program itself has been the target of investigation after investigation dating back to the Stone Age. Nobody in the state of Alabama has ever—everrrrrrrr—shown any indication that they give one tenth of a crap about compliance except insofar as sanctions are a drag on wins.

On the one hand, this is knee-slapping stuff. On the other, the construction of vapid arguments that a segment of partisans will lap up veers way too close to politics for comfort. Nonsense delivered in the cynical pursuit of power is best left to trivial things like the nuclear codes.

And all this over what? Over nothing.

“I think that’s probably the unique thing and I can say after observing Harbaugh last year, the vast majority of kids at this camp are probably not Division 1 football players or aren’t likely to make it there. But I thought every one of those kids got the same attention and the same direction from the Michigan coaching staff whether they really showed that potential or not.

"They all walked out of here thinking that was a pretty worthwhile camp and left an awfully nice taste in their mouth about the University of Michigan."

One of these things is not like the other. PFF has a reason for hope for each Big Ten team, many of which are items like "Cornerback Jalen Myrick may be a better player than 2015’s NFL departees" for Minnesota or "The aerial attack is intact" for… uh… Nebraska. Rutgers's reason for hope is a return specialist.

Michigan, on the other hand:

Michigan: The Wolverines could be fielding a historically great defense in 2016

That would be okay. In our ongoing quest to get a read on every player in the PFF database I believe this is the first time they've mentioned where Ryan Glasgow ended up in their system a year ago:

Returning on the defensive line are three of the top 16-graded interior players (Chris Wormley, Maurice Hurst and Glasgow), and DE Taco Charlton, who in 2015 had the highest pass rush productivity of all defensive ends coming back this year.

They've talked a ton about Wormley and Hurst already so I'm guessing Glasgow is their #16 interior DL from last year. At this point I think we've seen or deduced their opinion on every starter from last year save Jeremy Clark.

This is a bad idea. Signing Day is at the right time. It is after the yearly coaching carousel has concluded, giving players and coaches a month or two to find appropriate landing spots after the chaos of December. Allowing players to sign before that will inevitably lead to many more instances where player and school are a poor fit. And yet there seems to be a push to do that very thing:

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has long been an advocate for a rather radical change to the process of signing recruits to letters of intent –eliminating signing periods and instead allowing prospects to sign at any point when they’ve decided they’re ready to end the recruiting process.

Johnson said at the ACC meetings in early May that he thought that the option was gaining in popularity. He may have known what Division I football oversight committee chairman Bob Bowlsby acknowledged in an interview with the AJC last week – that the committee is looking into it.

“I think a case can be made for that,” Bowlsby said. He called it a “large departure from where we’ve been in the past. Maybe it’s time for consideration of that."

The reasons offered up here are somewhat compelling—being able to sign right away resolves questions about how "committable" an offer is and how solid a commitment is—but the downside outweighs them considerably. Whenever this comes up I suggest a more flexible model:

  • Commits can sign a non-binding LOI at any time before Signing Day
  • The school has to offer a full LOI when the time comes.
  • School and prospect have unlimited contact and can arrange an additional official visit.
  • Prospect cannot take an official to another school.
  • Other coaches cannot contact prospect.
  • Prospect can withdraw LOI at any time.

That goes a good distance towards resolving the issues Johnson's proposal resolves without locking players into situations that can change radically by the time they're on campus.

Etc.: Baseball was left out of the tournament after a late slide. MGoFish looks at what's next. Saban also proposed a commissioner, which is never happening. Verne Lundquist to step down as SEC game of the week guy after this year. CFB is losing their best announcers at a disappointing rate. Popular opinion is that Baylor won't get the Penn State treatment from the NCAA.


Unverified Voracity Is Seeded Second

Unverified Voracity Is Seeded Second Comment Count

Brian May 16th, 2016 at 12:32 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

#2 overall. That's the softball team's seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament:

Ann Arbor Regional – May 20-22 at Ann Arbor, Michigan

Notre Dame (41-11) vs. Miami (OH) (34-21)

Valparaiso (18-32) vs. No. 2 seed Michigan* (46-5)

Notre Dame should present the toughest test for Michigan. The two teams didn't play this year and there's very little in the way of common opponents; ND is ranked around 20th in the national polls and is thus a considerably tougher second-round opponent than you'd generally expect—it's the equivalent of a one-seed in the basketball tournament drawing a six-or seven-seed in round two.

MGoUser South Bend Wolverine has written excellent previews the past couple years and we pinged him; we hope to front-page it later this week.

Exit Rawak. Chrissi Rawak is leaving Michigan to become Delaware's AD. Rawak is a name those of you who have read Endzone probably remember. Rawak, Dave Brandon's second-in-command, features prominently both as a symbol of the change Brandon wrought and as a crutch increasingly forced to take on roles that she's not comfortable in. The book makes it clear that she was rather divisive, especially amongst the old hands forced out because of a lack of personal loyalty to Brandon.

I'm skeptical anyone Brandon could rely on so comprehensively was a good fit with my ideal Michigan athletic department, so the move is a win-win. Rawak gets an AD job with winged helmets to ease her transition, and a prominent Brandon apparatchik is no longer wondering what's wrong with a giant noodle ad in the Big House.

Ever aft… uh. Speaking of the Before Times, infamous Dave Brandon mansion "Ever After" is up for sale for a cool seven million dollars.



Not pictured is the other plaque by the gate, for obviou's reasons:


May its next resident be better at apostrophes and email.

I still can't get over the spectacular hubris of naming your home the thing that fairy tales say after the princess gets rescued by the dashing prince. If there was ever a better example of "be about it, don't talk about it" I can't think of one. The same hubris that caused "Ever After" is the one that caused "find a new team" and eventually resulted in the thing being put up for sale. It's nice to know that cosmic justice does strike, at least occasionally.

Relevant to our interests. Ian Boyd writes on how 4-3 defenses—that would be us—are adapting to the "smashmouth spread"—that would be OSU. MSU's defense features prominently, as they've increasingly found their safeties matched up one-on-one with receivers they cannot hang with. You may remember a number of Jake Rudock passes in last year's game that would have been touchdowns had they been accurate; Baylor and Oregon have also made a habit out of bombing it deep to slot types.

Michigan's changed so much over the past few years that it's hard to draw any conclusions from what they're doing. (Other than "don't do that against OSU again.") MSU's adapted, as teams constantly do; Boyd says that to cope with smashmouth spreads that run a lot of RPO these are the key components:

To make this style of man/zone combination work a defense has to have a few particular components. The first is a lockdown corner to play man coverage on the weakside. If the opposing team has an ace WR in that spot and love to throw him the ball on standard downs then this scheme is DOA without a corner that can match him.

The second is a pair of DEs that are fundamentally sound and good at responding to different blocks. If that DE can't consistently contain the ball inside on the weakside this scheme can get into trouble fast.

Finally, the strong safety should be a player worth featuring as a free hitter against the run game.

Michigan appears to check all these boxes, pending the resolution of the WDE spot, and looks set to be a 4-3 over team this fall.

The other thing you haven't considered. Steve Politi keeps banging the War On Rutgers drum because all of a sudden his articles are clicked when he does this. I keep banging on the War On Rutgers drum because it is deeply hilarious to me. Anyway, this episode:

Now that we have the seeds of a Rutgers-Michigan feud planted,


now that we have the New Jersey high school coaches lining up behind their state university in an eye-popping show of solidarity,

against Paramus Catholic with Rutgers as a proxy

now that we have a reason for the national college football media to pay attention to our state in early June,


we should probably point this out:

Satellite camps are a farce.

yes, but not for the reasons you think.

The rest of the article is the usual reiteration of Politi's worldview that Harbaugh is a Machiavellian manipulator of the media and "fake," whatever that means. Anyone who's laid eyes on Harbaugh knows that his personality is on full display, and at maximum volume, at all times. This insistence that the guy is anything other than genuine is the least convincing rival smack talk I have come across. Crazy, sure. Phony, no. That's the equivalent of accusing David Shaw of being excessively emotional.

One strikeout. A couple times this space has wondered why Michigan State was telling people they expected three sixth-year players back when none of them seemed to have any case. Here's the resolution to one of those cases:

Veteran defensive tackle Damon Knox will not play for the Spartans in 2016 and has decided instead to pursue a career in law enforcement, the school announced on Friday afternoon.

MSU didn't even submit paperwork for him; as of a few weeks ago they hadn't done so for either of the other two guys, LB Ed Davis and OL Brandon Clemons. This is a really weird situation: it seems like the relevant persons at MSU are unaware that a sixth year is much harder to get than a fifth year.

The spin here rankles a little. Knox didn't get a sixth year because he never had a case for one. It's not because he has a passion for The Law. but the aforementioned oddity means outlets who haven't been paying much attention write articles like this:

There’s something you don’t see every day.

Friday, Michigan State announced that defensive tackle Damon Knox will not be returning to the Spartans for a sixth season.  The reason?  The lineman has decided to pursue a career in the field of law enforcement.

Uh… no. That's not CFT's fault They're just aggregating a story. It is the fault of the universally credulous Spartan beat, which will get around to investigating Max Bullough's suspension any day now.

Etc.: Rutgers fans remind each other to thank Jim Delany for "the biggest gift the school had received since Colonel Rutgers donated the money to revive the college back in the 1820s," which is accurate.

People attempting to purchase Budweiser-taunting "Murica" beer disappointed to discover it doesn't exist. Hey man take a cue from InBev and just put the same beer in a different package. Just one incoming hockey recruit, Will Lockwood, mentioned amongst the top 100 prospects for the upcoming NHL draft in an extensive article. BU is cleaning up.

Again, I would like to apologize to dogs for my insensitive comments about their intelligence.


Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway

Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway Comment Count

Brian 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.)


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:


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.


Dear Diary Settles on a Yellow

Dear Diary Settles on a Yellow Comment Count

Seth July 10th, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Here's where yesterday's maize poll stood around noon:


I initially had labels for the first few hundred voters, which stole maybe 100 votes from Iowa—I think most people didn't realize our official corn shade was darker than theirs. Anyway 80% of the readers who voted wanted Michigan to wear something appreciably darker than what they currently do, and over half preferred the orange-iest options. There's still a large and vocal minority—about 20%—who like the brighter yellows.

One of them, stephenrjking, wrote a diary to demonstrate the lighter shades have been part of Michigan's uniforms a very long time:


Also that stills are notoriously bad—the saturation is way high on the left and way low on the right. Stephen isn't crazy; he too noted the modern hue is too damn loud. Here's the Woodson interception in the '98 Rose Bowl that he submitted as a preferred shade, with a color swatch I grabbed from it:


That is exactly the same color as the "faded from the 1970s" swatch people voted on, with an average hue of 53. Hue (similar to Tint on your old television set) is a circular axis through a 360-degree rainbow spectrum, with 360 and 0 being red, 60 is yellow, 120 is green, 180 cyan, 240 indigo, 300 violet, etc. That "53" matches the official Iowa color, but the saturation is toned down about 30%. By contrast, the Adidas color online is 60 (straight up yellow), and almost everything I got from the last four years of MGoBlog photos was usually around 65, sometimes as high as 70, i.e. 5 or 10 steps toward green. Michigan's official maize, on the other hand is 48; if you get to 45 you're half-way to orange (aka "gold").

So if washout is traditional, it's much closer to official M(official) than Adidas(what they're using now) on the orange scale. Here's what it would look like with the "maize" parts on Woodson and Peterson changed to the various shades we've been arguing over (matched to Woodson's knee—click from big):


From left: current Adidas yellow, Iowa's yellow, and Michigan's official maize.

Perhaps a good compromise then is to take it back to the low 50s and tone it down so the primary blue can stand out more. That won't placate the "I actually like the bright yellow" crowd, but I'd rather have 20% of the fanbase bitching about it than 80%.

Further reading on apparel. See Maize.Blue Wagner's interesting trip through historical department store catalogues (this was how we did Amazon before the internet, people who don't know what a tint dial is). Here's the 1980 Sears jersey:


And here is a sweatshirt of a bear wearing a sweatshirt:


Picking a Quarterback

Right, the actual football. I highly recommend MilkSteak's quarterback comparison diary, where he showed various previous Michigan QBs at the same age vs this year's starting candidates. I'll give you the upshot but only if you promise you'll hit the link and give the author a plus for his work. Done? Okay:

Beyond the Gardner comparisons, Rudock appears to be a less turnover prone version of 1998 RS Junior Tom Brady, which is nice. Rudock had 22 more attempts than Brady and 5 less INTs with a TD/Int ratio of +11 to Brady's +4. The Y/Att and Adjusted Y/Att are very similar, and the QB Ratings are damn near identical.

I would take "1999 Tom Brady with fewer interceptions." Shane Morris's scant data isn't that different than a slew of other passing era guys we didn't see until they started. His freshman data jives with sophomore Todd Collins, however last year's performance, mostly against Minnesota, looks like freshman Denard Robinson minus the legs. Upshot: 2001 John Navarre, presumably with Darboh doing his best Marquise Walker impression.

Etc. Low Key Recidivist mentioned the Jeff Zuttah story (Michigan wanted to medical him so he transferred to Stanford, and medicaled) as it relates to Pipkins. Erik in Dayton tackled the ethics of it. Also by EiD: recruiting rankings of starters on Harbaugh's last Stanford team. Was a the Deflategate report dur or derp?

Board stuff: The big news is Sara Driesenga got her medshirt!

Pitcher Sara Driesenga, who suffered a rib injury in the early season and only played in a handful of games, has been granted a medical redshirt and will come back for a 5th year!

This gives Michigan a 4-pitcher staff. They'll have every class represented with 5th year Driesenga, B1G Pitcher of the Year Megan Betsa who'll be a Junior, Tera Blanco who was recruited as a star pitcher as a Sophomore and incoming freshman Leah Crockett.

The team that nearly won the national championship receives an almost a one-for-one replacement for Haylie Wagner, and everyone else returns except catcher Lauren Sweet. National Championship or bust!

Board questions answered.

I'm gonna skip most of the board because it was a lot of "Omigod Nike!" But I will answer a few questions:

Whats' the best burger in Michigan? The best greasy spoon is a little dive (just a counter and four high tables) attached to the Seville Motel on Woodward in Royal Oak called Monty's Grill (my dad claimed that way back in the day it used to be Biff's and stood where Comerica Park does now). Best pub burger is Sidetracks in Ypsilanti. Please trust me that I have investigated this thoroughly—at least in the lower peninsula—and there is no question.

How would you allocate your hate? If all of my hate could damage Ohio State even a little bit I feel I have to try, so 100% to Ohio State, and Michigan State will have to make do with a sizeable portion of my contempt instead. I guess that answers this too.

Jorts? No.

What's your favorite Michigan Replay? A: The one after 1997 Ohio State when Lloyd cannot stop smiling despite trying to do so the entire episode.

Your Moment of Zen

Here you go ladies: a glistening and shirtless Jake Butt, and I promise you'll be watching his hands anyway:


WTKA Roundtable 6/4: Softball So Close

WTKA Roundtable 6/4: Softball So Close


[Bryan Fuller]

This is our final roundtable before our summer hiatus; we pick things back up in early August. Craig is out because he's in Hawaii; Sam is out because he's going to like almost all of the Summer Swarm camps. Topics:

  • Softball was just about there
  • They should be really good again though
  • Michael Onwenu says he'll take visits—how will Harbaugh react?
  • The slow recruiting start (this is a meme that is probably going to die in the next month)
  • John Baxterrrrrrr!
  • Chili from TLC kind of calls in