Unverified Voracity Clones Pam Ward

Submitted by Brian on May 18th, 2016 at 12:52 PM


it’s back [Bryan Fuller]

Single digits. Via the twitters,various numbers for incoming freshman are now known. The most significant development for Michigan numerologists: Crawford and EMB are both getting the #1. This is good; the number had gotten too bound up in its history to actually get used most of the time. I’m willing to give it to a guy who isn’t AC yet just to get it out of mothballs. Issuing it to a defender too is an interesting twist, especially a linebacker.

Other numbers: Devin Asiasi and Lavert Hill are both #2—no pressure, Lavert—and Rashan Gary will retain his #3 from high school—no pressure, #3.

[UPDATE: Seth relates that some of these numbers are just sticky notes, not plates, and that those are not official. Never mind some of this, then.]

Goodbye, ESPN. The last guy left in Bristol who can call college football is Joe Tessitore. All games this fall will be called by him or the army of Pam Ward clones currently being decanted in the basement:

  1. Mike Tirico left for NBC,which caused the accursed NFL to yoink Sean McDonough for Monday Night Football.
  2. McDonough’s broadcast partner Chris Spielman left for FOX, where he, too, will call f-ing NFL games.
  3. There are plenty of rumors that Brad Nessler is leaving for CBS, which seem to be backed by the fact that Tessitore got promoted to Saturday nights.
  4. Brent Musberger is still in SEC Network purgatory.

Tessitore is fine, and Fowler is fine. It sucks to lose McDonough, Spielman, and Nessler, all of whom are great.

Not that it matters so much to the Big Ten. They must have had a teleconference, because various reporters are now quoting ADs and Delany about the second half of the Big Ten’s rights package. Is the following real or posturing for a better deal from suddenly-miserly ESPN?

“No one has amnesia about the relationship we have had with ESPN. John Skipper and that group, they have been a wonderful partner. But we’re at a different place and I think they’re at a different place in 2016 than we were in the last round (of negotiations). That doesn’t mean we can’t get to the altar together and get married again. But we’re at the dating stage right now. And that’s a process.”

Whenever this comes up you hear that coaches are loathe to not have a relationship with the gorilla in the sports media ecosystem

“I believe the Big Ten schools are, at a certain point, going to demand from their leadership, ‘We have to be on ESPN, for recruiting and for publicity. We can’t give that partnership up, it’s too valuable for us in in terms of our conference competing against other conferences for high school players,’” Deitsch said on his podcast. “I’m going to bet, in the end, there’s a deal there.”

…but I’ll believe a college athletics conglomerate is willing to leave money on the table when I see it.

Departing ESPN wholesale for (probably) FOX would be interesting. Right now the Big Ten gets a ton of viewership—would that move tank it? Or would the prospect of having an army of Pam Ward clones do every game at ESPN do so?

On that Tunsil lawsuit. Tunsil’s stepfather is on the stepfather is on the warpath:

Miller met with an NCAA investigator in July and told him about other possible improprieties he had witnessed dating back to Tunsil’s high school recruitment, when Tunsil turned down Nick Saban at Alabama and Mark Richt at Georgia to sign with Hugh Freeze at Mississippi.

Miller claims Tunsil’s academic records were altered. He said Polingo used to receive Western Union deliveries of money from Barney Farrar, Ole Miss assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations. An apparent reference to Farrar was made in the year-old text messages on draft night; when Tunsil asked the Ole Miss administrator for money, he responds, “See Barney next week.” Farrar has denied giving money to or being asked for money by Tunsil, Ole Miss is investigating and Farese predicts it will turn out to be “much ado about nothing.”

Some of that has already been accounted for in the allegations the NCAA has investigated. This lawsuit promises to uncover further things, because it looks like Ole Miss got caught giving him a bunch of different piddly stuff:

The NCAA said Tunsil was not initially honest but that five rules violations were confirmed: Tunsil improperly used three loaner cars without paying during a six-month period; received two nights’ lodging at a local home; accepted a free airline ticket; used a rental car for one day for free, and received an interest-free four-month loan to make a $3,000 down payment on a used car.

That’s not a one time thing, that is five different incidents of giving the guy cash, directly or not, and looks like the tip of the iceberg. What are the chances that this pattern is not repeated with other players? What are the chances that these are the only five things Tunsil was provided? Zero and zero.

Old school items. Via Dr. Sap:

I don’t know why people suspected Caris was soft. He has a broken foot:

LeVert revealed here this week that his injury -- the nature of which was kept under wraps during the season -- is a Jones fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. The injury, he said, is similar to the one he suffered earlier in his career.

He hoped the fracture would heal on its own, but when that process was slow-going, he opted instead to have surgery after the season by Dr. Martin O'Malley.

LeVert was still on crutches this week in Chicago, and said he will need to wear a boot on his left foot for another four weeks. That means he won't be doing any predraft workouts with teams.

The idea that Levert would try to avoid playing time this year was always goofy. Nobody wants to enter the NBA draft after two years mostly lost to injury. Even if he was only thinking of his draft stock, he would have played if at all possible. But rabblers gonna rabble.

Inevitable comparison. Beilein is going to go there with Xavier Simpson. He’s going with Trey Burke:

"I do," Michigan coach John Beilein was saying recently, asked if he sees significant comparisons between the two, other than they're both from Ohio.

"I see the dog in him, and I mean that in a positive. He goes out there and guards people and plays and he's a high competitor.

"This guy might be a guy that comes in the door with those competitive instincts."

Yeah buddy.

A step towards sanity. The Big Ten will start using campus sites for hockey playoffs once ND joins, with a single week of best two-of-three games before a single elimination final four at an as of yet undisclosed location that I hope is the league winner’s home ice. The winner gets a bye, you see, and it would be weird if their reward was not playing any games at home. 

Etc.: Coaches complain about transfers, news at 11. M a slight favorite at MSU, near touchdown dog at OSU. Wojo on satellite camps.

John Gasaway compiles a list of the top shooting performances in the Kenpom era that surprisingly does not include a Stauskas or Burke team; it does include last year’s MSU game, with Michigan on the “whoops” side.



May 18th, 2016 at 1:46 PM ^

I mean, it's generally true (think of Dungy's facial tics/never knowing where to look) but in-game commentary is a totally different world that's closer to radio given the lack of camera time.

Point is supposed to be: check the box on the first two so you will have credibility and what you say will resonate. That study shows up in basically every media/presentation training deck.

Leaders And Best

May 18th, 2016 at 1:17 PM ^

"Spielman, who began his broadcasting career with FOX Sports Net in 1999, serves as a game analyst during the upcoming NFL season and contributes to the network’s extensive college football coverage."

That sounds like Spielman may contribute in the studio from time to time on college football. I think he is going to be a regular in Fox's NFL broadcast teams so I think that will preclude him from working college football games on Saturday anymore.

Leaders And Best

May 18th, 2016 at 2:19 PM ^

It is pretty much impossible to do both because you have to be on location a day or two before the game to interview coaches and do preparation for the broadcast. If you are doing an NFL game on Sunday, it pretty much precludes you from doing a college game the day before. I can't think of guy who does both NFL and college football games right now.

Maybe he gives up the NFL when the B1G moves to Fox, but right now it looks like he is going to be in the NFL based on the press release.


May 18th, 2016 at 1:44 PM ^

though, throwing them on noon games between Vanderbilt v. South Carolina is not because they are women, it is because they are not very good.  Are they seriously going to use her and Ward to call 3:30 ABC Games?  OK, Fowler, Tessitore, is there anybody else?  Who called the Michigan v. Indiana game this year?  They are still around.  There is Patrick - yikes.

This could legitimately get ugly for ESPN. (And us, because we are going to be on ESPN every week and Harbaugh loves noon games).  This could start to put a damper on my game excitement this fall.  I wonder if they have a "Next Gen" ready that we don't know about yet?  I wonder if there are NBA announcers that could move over?  I would have to think they will find a way to bring Musberger back for certain 3:30 games.  Those can be College Gameday games a lot of the time and they can't have B-team crews there calling the games.


May 18th, 2016 at 1:16 PM ^

If I try to think like a businessman here, I am guessing espn figured that whoever is calling the game has little or no effect on how many viewers it draws. I mean, who says "oh I'm not gonna tune into that Michigan-Michigan State game because so-and-so is calling it." 


May 18th, 2016 at 2:05 PM ^

with the 3:30 ABC Games.  Take the Michigan v. Michigan State game this year.  Great call by McDonaugh.  It had a must see feel from the minute coverage started.  That game does lose some luster and ratings if it is a Pam Ward call. 

My guess is that they will shuffle the Thursday night guys to the 3:30 "big game time slot."  Like I said above, I also could see ESPN finding a way to bring Musberger over for certain 3:30 games.  The announcers do matter.

Go Blue in MN

May 18th, 2016 at 3:22 PM ^

Keep him out in his SEC pasture.  I can't stand listening to that blowhard.  Among other sins, he began the ridicuous habit of saying, every single time, that a team "burned" a timeout, not matter what the reason for calling it.  And now everyone copies it.


May 18th, 2016 at 5:09 PM ^

Yeah, mine too. But I'm not on TV (afaik), and therefore it's confined to a healthy arena: porn on my computer. And since none of those women are truly college students (at least, not for long...), the whole thing cancels out.



May 18th, 2016 at 1:30 PM ^

avoiding certain games when a pair of announcers is doing a game.  If the game is lopsided or kind of meh to begin with I'll just skip it and go watch something else.  I am particularly not fond of  Ed Cunningham who I think is just an absolutely horrible color guy.  Brock Huard isn't very good either.


The pairing of Fowler and Herbstreit has definately cut down on my late ESPN/ABC watching.  Herbie is great, Fowler not so much.  He was a much better studio analyst.


Back in the late 80's and 90's if Keith Jackson or Ron Franklin were doing a game I would watch just because they were doing them.


May 18th, 2016 at 1:19 PM ^

I counted 461 commentators employed by ESPN at this site:


There are only 8760 hours in a year. That's an average of 19 hours per commentator. Even if you throw 2 in the booth at any one time and spread them across 4 channels, we're still only talking 152 hours. How can I get me one of those jobs? I'm pretty sure I can talk nonsensically about sports for 19 hours a year.

I would expect more consolidation (fewer people) as we move forward. They can start by getting rid of STEPHEN A. SMITH and Skip Bayless.

kevin holt

May 18th, 2016 at 1:25 PM ^

That mlive article about the jersey numbers... Am I mistaken or is the writer actually coming at it with a pro-Hoke, anti-Harbaugh tone? Does anyone really think Harbaugh would pass up a chance to foster competition? Maybe he thinks giving multiple people a certain number makes them compete more than giving nobody a number and saying they can earn it (but with much less direction about how to do so).


May 18th, 2016 at 1:49 PM ^

He wrote a piece aroung the time of the open IMG practice noting what he saw about the difference between Hoke's regime, which he characterized as being primarily about talking tough but not actually following through, and Harbugh's, which he saw as being all about competition and creating toughness.

Trader Jack

May 18th, 2016 at 1:30 PM ^

Said this in the original thread about Levert's injury and didn't get a response: am I the only one who doesn't understand how Michigan put him out on the floor against Purdue with a Jones fracture??

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