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I will watch this if you insist. I am doing you a favor.
“I just stood there - I didn’t even know what to do. And then to watch our kids react, now that’s the good stuff.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 7, 2019
The narrow escape. The NTSB report on the near-disaster before the Big Ten tournament two years ago is out:
The captain, Mark Radloff, told investigators that when he tried to tilt the plane upward it felt heavy, as if there were a stack of bricks on the nose.
"This thing is not flying," Radloff said to Andreas Gruseus, who was instructing Radloff on the plane. Radloff saw a chain-link fence in the distance and didn't think the plane could clear it.
"Abort, abort, abort," he called out.
Later, Gruseus told Radloff he wasn't supposed to abandon the takeoff at such a high speed.
"I know, but I had nothing, I had absolutely nothing to get the nose up," he said.
[After THE JUMP: same Wire reference as always]
Is you takin' notes? The first head coach to get immolated by the FBI probe is LSU's Will Wade, who was caught on a wiretap talking in not even code:
Dawkins is known to be on FBI wiretaps during the late spring and summer of 2017. ESPN, citing court records, previously reported that Dawkins had “at least three calls with a cellphone number belonging to LSU coach Will Wade, each of which occurred between June 19, 2017, and June 30, 2017.” Smart announced his commitment to LSU via Twitter on June 30, 2017.
“Dude,” Wade continued to Dawkins, referring to the third party involved in the recruitment, “I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.
“The problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit,” Wade continued. “It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn’t explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.”
Dawkins responded by saying, “Hmmmm.”
“It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer,” Wade continued. “Hell of an offer.”
“OK,” Dawkins said.
“Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid,” Wade said.
ESPN has further details on calls with Dawkins that remove even the tiniest slice of ambiguity:
In a different telephone call with Dawkins, Wade joked that the player would be compensated more than the "rookie minimum."
Wade told Dawkins that he had made deals for "as good of players as him" that were "a lot simpler than this."
This is pretty much it for NCAA enforcement: if direct proof of a head coach buying a player doesn't cause the roof to cave in on LSU it has all but ceased to exist. LSU did get around to step one in this dance by suspending Wade. I doubt they'll self impose a post-season ban, because they've got nothing to lose if their basketball program goes back in the crapper. Dan Wolken's probably right that LSU will enter the NCAA tournament with a team guaranteed to have their participation vacated.
Quite a system.
Let's go Congress. The interesting bit about this is who it's from:
WASHINGTON—The NCAA must allow student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness, opening the door for players to profit while in school, under new federal legislation proposed by a member of Republican House leadership.
The bill, to be introduced by Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina next week, would amend the definition of a qualified amateur sports organization in the tax code to remove the restriction on student-athletes using or being compensated for use of their name, image and likeness.
If both sides of the political spectrum think the NCAA is gross then something might get done. And if that gets done, it's probably all over. As I mentioned on WTKA, one of the first things that will happen if athletes get their NIL rights back is that EA will resume making NCAA football; to do so they'll have to negotiate with someone, and that'll inevitably be some sort of college athlete organization that will evolve into a union. And then the jig's up.
The pros are not your enemy. Interesting NCAA/NFL initiative for underclassman detailed by Adam Rittenberg:
The NCAA's Elite Football Symposium, launched in 2017, provides high-profile college players information they need for the NFL transition, while shielding them from the combine spotlight. Held at NCAA headquarters, located several hundred yards from the hub of combine activity, the event puts players through three days of meetings about agents, money management, NFL contracts, scouting, social media and branding, and other topics.
"They tried to keep us away from the general public overall," Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses said. "We couldn't stay out too late. They told us, straight up, that it's a business trip. You're not here to have fun. You're here to get information about your future."
Players are advised to not venture far from their hotel. They are asked to stay off social media, and to not wear team-issued gear when attending combine workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Most didn't even visit their ex-teammates participating in the combine.
Rashan Gary and Shea Patterson participated last year. Any movement towards acknowledging that some college athletes do go pro in sports and that's completely fine is good.
This would be a very bad idea. ESPN+ has an extensive look at the basketball coaching carousel, which isn't going to be very exciting in the Big Ten—new guy at Nebraska and maybe Penn State—unless someone goes off script. The guy being floated:
Matt Painter, Purdue: There has been some buzz that Painter could be open to a move this spring if UCLA or Arizona or a school such as that comes calling, and that's a possibility, given the tremendous job he has done with Purdue this season, especially on the heels of back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.
That would seem to be an exceptionally bad fit for Painter, who's not a bag guy. I can't imagine him trying to corral UCLA's collection of guys who are all Lonzo Ball-ish at some volume level. Arizona meanwhile seems like a pretty bad bet, because if Archie Miller is gone there's going to be a reason other than performance.
Speaking of bad ideas:
Steve Alford: After he was fired by UCLA in December, expect Alford to resurface for available jobs in the Midwest. He was briefly mentioned with the potential Nebraska opening, but the Cornhuskers are likely looking elsewhere. Alford will land back on his feet.
Not even on purpose. You may have noticed Matz Stockman doing some work against Purdue in Minnesota's (probable) bid-clinching win over the Boilers. Stockman got that playing time because he'd massively outperformed Eric Curry over the course of the season and Richard Pitino finally came to his s—
The Golden Gophers announced shortly before their game against Purdue on Tuesday night that Curry was hurt earlier in the week.
Ah. Nevermind then.
(Seriously though: Stockman has a block rate of 9.4, Curry 2.2. Curry's ORTG is 93 because he's hitting 47% from two with a 22 TO rate. What on earth is Pitino doing?)
Post combine mock drafts. NFL dot com has Bush 11th and Gary 13th; PFF has Bush 22nd and omits Gary. PFF tends to emphasize their evaluations, which would probably underrate a guy like Gary who struggled thro .ugh a lot of injuries and has a ton of upside.
Still no Winovich even after he put up really good numbers. Or Long.
Etc.: FSU-Miami is going to be on August 24th, a week before the rest of the nation starts.