Unverified Voracity Finds Out How Low JoePa Can Go

Submitted by Brian on December 21st, 2010 at 1:10 PM

RC Slocum, man about town. This doesn't have anything to do with anything but here's Joe Paterno doing the limbo:

 paterno-limbo

Sort of, anyway. I don't think you're supposed to go that way. Paterno probably thinks going backwards is a Hun affectation. Also prepare for the OBC to burn himself into your retinas:

rc-slocum-steve-spurirer

These are from a recently unearthed cache of photos of former Texas A&M coach RC Slocum that features both Gorbachev and Mathew McConaughey, although not in the same picture. Barking Carnival theorizes that Slocum is the most interesting man in the world, and it's hard to disagree. Gorby!

OTL on oversigning. ESPN's put out what's hopefully part one of an extensive series of interviews with college athletes who have been screwed out of scholarships and swept under the rug. It's LSU again:

So Les Miles…

  1. Runs a program that oversigns and cuts players who don't seem useful.
  2. Doesn't bother to tell players they've been cut in a face to face meeting.
  3. Relies on someone else to send a letter to the kid.
  4. Refuses to meet with the kid after he's received the bad news.
  5. Baldly lies about the kid at media day.

Then Elliot Porter shows up and says he had to be a man about getting cut by Miles, demonstrating more maturity than his erstwhile head coach. Unfortunately for those of us making huge "Please Be Our DC, Randy" signs for the bowl game, Randy Shannon's rep as an awesome dude also takes a huge hit.

Not to beat this dead horse for the thousandth time, but this is some bullshit right here and should be a major target for reform. ESPN's doing the Lord's work, and I hope they continue.

The inevitable redshirt. To reiterate something from Tim's presser recap, Devin Gardner's back problems held him out of the last eight games and have set him up to take a (surprise!) redshirt this season:

“His back has been better, and he’s been able to do most of the stuff today,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Saturday.

Should a medical redshirt be granted, Gardner would, in theory, have two years to hold the starting quarterback job. Denard Robinson is penciled in as the starter through the 2012 season.

Yes, the nature and timing of Gardner's injury is unbelievably convenient, but if they've got documentation they've got it and the NCAA will have to grant Gardner his redshirt. We should all go back and undo the Great Gardner Non-Redshirt Infighting, since it looks like Michigan's going to have its cake and eat it too… unless Rodriguez gets fired and everyone transfers and we're starting Jack Kennedy next year.

Gwaltney in repose. A Bruce Feldman article on well-travelled former blue chip recruit Jason Gwaltney, who I remember openly campaigning for Rivals to raise his ranking as just another message board plebe, has a random quote about Rich Rodriguez($):

He says he did learn how to practice full-speed from his days at WVU. "They chiseled that into my brain," he said. "Coach [Rich] Rodriguez instilled something in me. I still owe that man a lot."

Gwaltney ended up at a D-III HBCU in New Jersey and is in an upcoming all-star game with fellow spectacular flameout Fred Rouse. His brother Scooter Berry was an afterthought throw-in but developed into an All Big East defensive lineman as Gwaltney toured the lower divisions of college football, so he's got an obvious what-could-have-been in his own family.

Hello Georgia? After UGA's athletic director was pulled over for DUI with a girl in the passenger seat and her panties in is lap, UGA has a new athletic director. His first scheduling actions were cancelling games against actual opponents that the old guy had put in place, so it seemed like Georgia's brief glastnost period wherein they were prepared to end their infamous policy of never leaving the South was over. This, then, is a surprise:

Preliminary discussions have taken place with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State about the prospect of one or more of them scheduling a home-and-home series with Georgia in the future, UGA athletics director Greg McGarity confirmed to Dawgs247.

“We’d love to do a home-and-home with a Big Ten or Midwestern school that has a rich tradition,” McGarity said. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make that happen.

“Hopefully, within the next year, we’ll be able to have something in writing.”

Georgia and Clemson have a series that extends until 2014, so any series would have to wait until at least then. McGarity says the series would be "way down the road" so one school or the other would have plenty of time to cancel it.

Would Michigan be interested? I'd hope so. Dave Brandon's already set up a neutral site matchup with Alabama that's slightly cool but also thousands of miles from either campus in a generic, if swanky, corporate stadium. From a fan's perspective having a home and home with Georgia is way cooler than a one-off in Dallas. From a financial perspective not so much—Michigan's getting a home game's worth of revenue from the Jerryworld game—but money isn't everything and Michigan needs something to spruce up the schedule in years when Nebraska, Ohio State, and Notre Dame are all road games. Of course, "sprucing up" the schedule in those years means "making it brutal," so maybe not.

Would they be more interested than the other three schools listed? Probably not. I'd bet Michigan is the least likely of the four to actually land a series with Georgia. Because of their Notre Dame series they have to work in games against actual opponents where they can; Penn State and Ohio State don't have any annual commitments and Notre Dame has to fill twelve games every year.

Limbo update, or backdate, or whatever. Yesterday Tom's recruiting post quoted Darian Cooper saying Tony Dews told him Michigan coaches would "know January first" whether they'd be around next year. Recent commitment Desmond Morgan was told something similar with more confidence but something less than rock-hard certainty:

“I’ve talked with coach Rodriguez and the rest of the coaches and they’re pretty confident he’s going to be there after the season,” Morgan said. “I’m pretty confident as well. No matter what happens, Michigan’s a great football program.”

So that's Morgan and Countess in the boat no matter what. Picking up two commits during this time of uncertainty is a nice insurance policy against the uphill battle a January coaching change would see the new guy fight.

Bang-bang. Soony Saad's been called in to the U20 team, whereupon he scored in a dismantling of Canada and essentially announced he'd be back for 2011:

Philadelphia Union striker McInerney scored in the 50th minute while Saad also notched an impressive 25-yard half-volley score in the 34th.

It's nothing new for Saad, one of the top strikers of the ball in the country, who helped lead unsung Michigan to the College Cup as he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. "It was nice being in camp. It was kind of a tough adjustment coming off the college season," he said.

When the subject turned to the College Cup, where the Wolverines suffered a semifinal loss to eventual champion Akron, Saad declined to comment.

"Not until we win the College Cup next season," he said.

The usual disclaimers apply.

Etc.: Zac Ciullo comes in for an extensive profile in the News. Random New Yorker poem about Michigan. Jason King drops some positive fluff about the basketball team along the same lines as my column but with far fewer references to the DOS command line. Might want to update that photo, though.

Comments

Nothsa

December 21st, 2010 at 7:34 PM ^

It's the Deep South. Now it might well be that they would have fired him regardless. It's hard for me to think that Brandon could stick after getting pulled over in that situation... but I also wonder if the Georgia Highway Patrol would have called that one in if the AD had been white.

moffle

December 21st, 2010 at 3:05 PM ^

If given a medical redshirt, can a player still take a regular redshirt year simply by not playing?  If Tate holds onto the backup job it's improbable but not out of the question that Gardner doesn't see the field next year.  I doubt this would happen (or that Gardner would want it), I'm mostly just curious about the rules.

Ziff72

December 21st, 2010 at 3:52 PM ^

Man a lot of good toics to comment on here, but I can't get past the fact Terry Bowden ate Mark Mangino.   Terry just because you didn't get that Div 1 gig didn't mean you have to let yourself go.

gobluesasquatch

December 21st, 2010 at 5:06 PM ^

This goes against my normal views for a business relationship or worker/employee relationship, but unless you violate a student conduct code or an athletic department conduct code, I think you should retain your scholarship. Why I cringe as I say that is, if you get a guy who puts in NO effort besides showing up to practice, it's hard to want to keep him on the team. But little effort isn't quite the same as breaking team/athletic department rules/university rules.

Which brings me to the two upperclassmen in the article. All we have is one side of each story, and it makes the coaches look like jerks. Given Miles constant oversigning, yeah, he's probably a jerk (I wonder what Moeller things of him?). But what if this quarterback was a complete screwup and wasn't working hard? What if this kid at Miami was into something he shouldn't have been and this was the polite way for the university to avoid embarrassing him.

Now - when you sign a kid to a letter of intent with the promise of financial aid in the form of an athletic scholarship for their freshman year - you need to honor that. That should get a coach suspended or fired. Because lets face it, most of the kids playing D1 FBS football probably need a ton of financial aid to attend, and scrambling for loans at that point are tough. Glad to see the kid got signed to a scholarship by Kentucky. I hope he gets a chance to do some damage against LSU in the future.

Having said that, even removing the scholarship for an upperclassman is unfair. They have one year left, probably still need the fin aid to attend and finish up the year, and then you yank their scholarship. They might not want to transfer to complete their degree, but without the fin aid, they might not be able to finish at all. It seems like a bad precedent to set.

Good to see the Big Ten and Pac Ten limiting their oversigning, whether through league mandates or not. 

BondQuest

December 21st, 2010 at 5:41 PM ^

any school that signs up 100 players and then has to make cuts to get to 85 is going to do some despicable things to some of the kids.

The entire conference sucks for being so determined to give their teams an advantage over the other conferences.

Between recruiting so many kids, and having lower standards to get into the schools, the SEC sucks at a professional level.

Go Blue Eyes

December 21st, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Well according to the video SEC schools have to limit themselves to 28 new scholarships per year.  That should take care of the problem.  Oh wait, 28 times 4 = 112 over four years...

I also agree that any person that was pushing for Les mLIES for the coaching position should be embarrassed.

jmblue

December 23rd, 2010 at 12:47 AM ^

Between recruiting so many kids, and having lower standards to get into the schools, the SEC sucks at a professional level.

I'm with you on the first, but the second point is very much a pot/kettle situation.  There isn't a school in the country (Ivy League schools included) that doesn't lower its standards significantly to admit athletes.

jmblue

December 23rd, 2010 at 12:58 AM ^

Between recruiting so many kids, and having lower standards to get into the schools, the SEC sucks at a professional level.

I'm with you on the first, but the second point is very much a pot/kettle situation.  There isn't a school in the country (Ivy League schools included) that doesn't lower its standards significantly to admit athletes.

Ann Arbor Cardinal

December 21st, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

Maybe if a journalist reads this and I'm wrong, he'll correct me. But sometimes you read something like, "We wrote this scathing and poorly researched attack on a coach, and we called and left a message on the athletic department's answering machine. We gave the coach 10 minutes to call back, and we count that as hearing from both sides." (What they usually say is "Person X did not immediately return our call asking for a statement", or something like that.)

In the video, I believe they said the coaches declined comment. Which I take to mean they actually reached the coach, told them what it was about, and the coaches had nothing mitigating to say: they affirmatively declined comment. I think the 5th Amd. concept is great and all, but if you're given a chance to clear your name and you don't, it probably means you're guilty. I think their declining comment - combined with the SEC's objective history of oversigning - gives us the other side of the story.

treetown

December 21st, 2010 at 6:49 PM ^

4 thoughts popped into mind after watching that video - great selection.

1. The whole Les Miles and Randy Shannon episode just shows again the whole hypocrisy of big time college football. The top kids go to the big programs because they want to turn pro. The coaches at the top programs pretty much know that they have to win and win now to keep their jobs and there is little incentive outside of pretty broad rules about getting kids to go to class and actually learn anything. Making the rules tougher - that is limiting to the actual number of scholarships available + 1, for example might seem an answer but after what has been revealed, I'm afraid there will be wholesale "running" of kids off of campus to get their scholarships. In contrast Saban's over use of medical "retirement" seems downright paternal - at least trying to let the kid go to school. Bo and Woody were tough and so were Moeller and Carr. I think of guys like Antonio Bass. If he were down at LSU or Miami instead of here with a standup guy like Lloyd Carr, he would have been bounced out once the coaching staff learned he'll be lucky to walk normally and play pickup basket ball. These guys are just cold-blooded.

2. What is also amazing is that the Miami example was with a kid who was on the field and contributing. With that type of ruthlessness, they were still a bad team!

3. Each year at senior day, we see the players who are about to play their last Michigan game get introduced. Some are famous and have starred for years. Others are minor contributors who get a nod of recognition from their work on special teams. Others still get only a "whose that" response and most people in the audience don't have a clue who this kid was and what position he played. But they stuck it out and now they are walking with their family and friends and get a last final round of applause. I'm glad Michigan each year has a number of such players - players who were probably high school stars but for whatever reason didn't work out and didn't end up being a college star. I'm glad we are not a place who runs those kids out of Ann Arbor. Who knows, one of them might end up being a successful CEO and future AD.

4. If this is what it takes to produce a MNC, I'm much happier just winning the Big Ten every now and then. Camgate and this stuff prove, yes, there is a difference between the Big Ten and the SEC - and it isn't on the field. It is about basic decency and compassion. It may be down south, but the SEC looks like a pretty cold hearted place.

Bodogblog

December 21st, 2010 at 8:43 PM ^

have been subjected to the medical redshirt explanation over the last several months it's been highlighted on this blog? Mine doesn't get it, but she's now properly aghast at Les Miles*
<br>*she doesn't know who Les Miles is

bronxblue

December 21st, 2010 at 9:35 PM ^

It's been said by others, but of course the NCAA is going to ignore this oversigning problem because it would adversely some pretty high-profile teams like LSU and Alabama, and the NCAA has shown its hand by focusing far more on the financial aspects of college football than the notion of maintaing amateurism and educating young men.  I mean, look at the "investigation" they made into the Cam Newton story - they saw a team headed to the MNC game and a Heisman trophy winner pumping up the ratings, and they allowed another title to be cast into doubt and (if Auburn wins) very likely expunged from the record books in the future.

People have always wondered how the SEC came to dominate college football over the past 5-10 years, and I think we are starting to see a major reason why - whereas schools in most other conferences are limited to the players they actually recruit, teams in the SEC apparently are able to "trade in" any underperforming players with newer, better players every year.  In effect, they are operating as pro-style teams in an amateur system, and as a result they have a clear advantage when it comes to player development and talent level.  I'm happy to see ESPN shed some light on this matter - as opposed to documenting the bowel movements of Brett Favre - but I have my doubts that anything will come of it until the SEC loses a couple of big bowl games and are no longer as bankable in the eyes of the NCAA.