Unverified Voracity Meant To Do That Comment Count

Brian August 12th, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Help a blog out. So Blogs With Balls is trying to get in on the next South By Southwest and needs internet help. If you could register with SWSX and then thumb-up the BWB topic idea, this would go some small distance towards helping this happen. Do it to it.

Turner return broached, unlikely. In the aftermath of Justin Turner's decision to transfer there have been rumors about a potential decision to reverse that decision once his family talks him off the ledge:

[WTKA's Sam] Webb says Turner spoke to his mom about the decision but not to other members of the family, some based here in Michigan.  They are coming up to talk to him and "see what was on his mind" including discussing "even up to and including whether or not he would entertain the thought of going back."

However, Webb thinks that outcome is unlikely. Even if Turner did decide to return his apparent lack of conditioning would probably make him useless this season.

It's a deke. Srsly. Michigan Hockey Net has been posting some old Michigan hockey clips of late; here's Brandon Kaleniecki breaking out the greatest deke in the history of hockey:

"He's got two and that was a weird one!"

And fin. Michigan goes in front of the infractions committee this weekend, at which point the final stories about practice (practice we're talking about practice) get written and attention returns to the stuff happening on the field. I have the vague hope some of the stories will have the perspective Bruce Feldman($), a guy who's travelled the country and seen the inside of dozens of programs, does:

If you've been to more than a handful of college campuses in the past decade or talked to any football coaches, you'd know that what the school was accused of are probably the most minor major violations you'll ever hear about.

Many folks cringe whenever they hear the excuse of "Well, everybody does it," but the reality here is this stuff goes on with top programs all over the country. Quite frankly, there's been much bigger offenders on these rules than what the NCAA has apparently caught in its net.

While it sucks that Michigan got dragged through this, nothing in the final report suggests anything except institutional incompetence and confusion about rules most people are confused about. My favorite evidence of the latter is the NCAA official site declaring the rules "nebulous," "difficult to understand," and "even harder to track."

Feldman is a guy who brings some authority when he says similar violations would be turned up just about anywhere; if he's right about that the main difference between Michigan and other schools is the attitude of the local paper.

Other numbers. Freshmen were omitted from this site's Fall Roster Overanalysis since they don't have a track record, but I did mean to link to Ace's focus on those freshmen. Most guys come in about where you'd expect except maybe the ever-expanding Richard Ash. At this rate, in two years we'll get to find out if having Norman Bombardini clog the middle is a good idea.

With Ace's post and a helpful reader sending a long a saved copy of the spring roster I  can highlight a couple additional interesting weight changes:

  • Stephen Hopkins is down from a Wisconsin-like 236 to a still-pretty-Wisconsin-like 227.
  • Christian Pace put on 21(!) pounds since the spring roster came out. I don't think it's possible for all of that to be good weight but if he's already 280 he should be physically ready to play center in the Big Ten when Molk graduates.

Sauce: weak. Les Miles defending the Elliott Porter oversigning fiasco:

He noted that Porter’s scholarship offer was still good, just postponed a semester. He said if somebody made the same offer to one of his sons, they would “certainly be disappointed that day, but recognize that, long-term, it’s not a bad thing.”

Miles said grayshirting can benefit players who could use time to allow their bodies to mature. “He might take his time to come in shape and to benefit his body and compete,” he said.

This is also called a "redshirt," except in that case you get to go to school like you were promised over a year ago. It's a simple choice between not signing that extra kid and taking the chance at going into 2010 with 83 or 84 scholarships or taking a kid who's been living in a dorm for a month and telling him GTFO.

Also note the headline on this thing "Miles defends grayshirt rule," as if there's some crazy NCAA mandate that requires him to dump Porter. The paper is attempting to move the responsibility for the thing from Miles to an NCAA bylaw. Since that bylaw is "you can only have 85 scholarships," fail.

(HT: Get the Picture.)

And so forth and so on. The cases of Noel Devine and Demar Dorsey aren't totally comparable—Devine never got into serious trouble—but his background was "Botswana-level" according to EDSBS:

When Devine was 3 months old, his father died of complications from AIDS.

When Devine was 11, his mother died of AIDS.

Devine's maternal grandmother assumed custody, but he often clashed with her and he eventually moved out. He moved in with the parents of one of his friends.

Devine was a witness to a shooting late in 2004 in which one of his closest friends was killed by a shot to the chest.

Devine had two children in high school in North Fort Myers, Fla., a girl and a boy, born seven months apart to different mothers.

When Devine was a high school senior, many programs backed off because they thought he'd never get into school; WVU seemed a little sleazy when they went after him and got him on campus. Now he's a senior-to-be forgoing the NFL—where his stock is at maximum since he's not going to grow three inches this year—for a degree. Will that degree have the general aura of jockishness? Almost certainly. Is it a better outcome for him than travelling the wilderness as a JUCO? Also almost certainly. I wish the media narrative about poor kids on football teams getting into trouble was less about scolding "win at all costs" coaches and more about what kind of outcomes various programs were achieving with the marginal players they acquire.

In related news, Demar Dorsey still isn't on Louisville's roster.

Maybe holistic and stuff. I'm pretty sure that Doctor Saturday is just reading the media zeitgeist when he suggests that the only thing that can repair the Big Ten's image problem is a national title, but he highlights a fact that's been true at least since Jim Delany's spectacularly ill-advised open letter bashing the SEC:

The Buckeyes' coast-to-coast run at No. 1 in 2006 in calamity, along with their surprising return to the top in '07, the two losses that still loom over the conference like a giant monolith that periodically drawls "S-E-C! S-E-C!" and has no input to receive data such as "the Big Ten and SEC have split their two annual bowl tie-in games 10 to 10 over the last decade."

When you bring this up to someone wearing SEC pajamas, they invariably respond with "bowl games don't matter except those two Ohio State humiliations." The Big Ten has been a bit down of late since Michigan and Penn State can seem to be good at the same time and USC has managed to lose a game against a Pac-10 also-ran yearly, but reports of the conference's demise have long been greatly exaggerated.

Etc.: A Steve Sharik comment on defending four verts with a three-deep gets front-paged at Smart Football. Holding the Rope UFRs Wisconsin's offense against Miami. I was planning on ranking the ten teams of the aughts for Of The Decade but MATW beat me to it so just consider that post part of the series. I didn't see this but a couple of different places on the internet are reporting that on Hard Knocks last night a Jets coach told Donovan Warren "if you'd played like that last year Michigan would have won some damned games," which is funny but not true. Michael Buckner appears in yet another story about Michigan's infractions—is there no other man on the planet with a law degree who can speculate darkly about possible outcomes?

And my "Michigan football" youtube subscription turned up… 60 Seconds With Taylor Lautner. Who is apparently in "Twilight." When I was a kid our vampire shows were full of smokin' hot chicks, not moody boy-toys. /get off my misogynist lawn.



August 12th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^


...at which point the final stories about practice (practice we're talking about practice) get written and attention returns to the stuff happening on the field.

During the period between the infractions committee hearing and the release of their report and determination of penalties, the stories won't go away.  They will be a constant drone in the background whether Michigan goes undefeated or puts up an O-fer. 

Gird your loins.

New subject. MVictors.com has the Donovan Warren Hard Knocks story. Greg's version of NYJ Asst Coach Bob Sutton's comment:

"Donny, that was a good tackle you made in that drill.  If you would have played like that last year Michigan would have won some damn games."

Essentially the same thing, but his post has the video.

big gay heart

August 12th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

This is an excellent point. Many of these kis come from warzones. Most CFB fans and regular media consumers are familliar with the rules that govern a rational society. But kids like Devine (et al) are expected to participate in a world in which they can't possibly understand. College is our premier social stratification tool. To that end, shouldn't universities (especially public ones) be willing to take chances on kids with-less-than-ideal backgrounds? For example, the University of Michigan states that it develops "leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future" and that it offiers "an uncommon education for the common man.” But, if this was really the case, wouldn't someone like Dorsey be someone whom the University would place an emphasis upon retaining? The world doesn't need more "leaders" with prep high school backgrounds and aspirations for running Deloitte & Touche. The world does need more "leaders" from urban backgrounds, kids who didn't see the light before they did.

Personally, I'd like to see more respource allocation, within the college sports landscape as a whole, to: (a) the identification of at-risk kids (b) the development of highly individualized personal education planning and (c) resource-heavy mentoring and skills coaching. All these things should be completely and totally seperate from football (or whatever sport). I know schools already emphasize these things to some degree, but not nearly enough (ime, from a semi-outsider's POV). 

Reflexively speaking, I'm equally troubled by how we, as sports fans and human beings, too often revel in the mis-steps of these kids. There's obviously an "us vs. them" mentality at play here, but why should we take pleasure in a kid from OSU or MSU fucking up? Why is that satisfying? There's a tendency to blame the MSM for its negativity, but we're all at fault here, too. The MSM didn't propogate horseshit like the Fulmer Cup. We did. You did. The bigger picture is that sports are neccesary distractions from the heavier things in life. There should be no joy in watching fellow humans act in hurtful and thuggish ways towards other human beings. Yet, we, along with the mass media, seem to take great pleasure in the soap-operatic dimensions of 19 year old men incontrovertibly damaging their own lives. What does that say about us?


August 12th, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

You would be amazed how quiet the media is down here on the UNC Agentgate scandal. First of all UNC is not nearly as "transparent". Second, the story gets sidebar mention in the sports segment, and the is spun glass half full. Of course the NC State and to some extent Duke fans post with familiar hater tones to the stories (and with accusations of UNC Alumni editorial bias). You would think the scandal though isn't at UNC, it is at Florida and Alabama, et al.

Clearly Michigan journalism grads have to stop going on to write for the NY Times, and take over the Detroit and Ann Arbor media. Even Sam and Ira's boss is a Sparty.


August 12th, 2010 at 2:40 PM ^

Really. Well wtf do they do down there on central campus? Who writes for the Daily? Who are all these people that keep admonishing my poor keyboarding and texting skills? There must be some LS&A major who goes out into the world to be a journalist besides Rosenberg.

At the very least maybe our business majors could take over the management. Oh yeah, they are smart enough to know the business case doesn't close.

big gay heart

August 12th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

It's never made much sense to me how one of the best public schools in the country could get by without offering a degree in journalism. Despite the industry's problems and its quixotically-absurd notions of nobility, the practice of journalism is quite important to inner-workings of society, especially with regards to interaction between social classes. 

Crime Reporter

August 12th, 2010 at 3:05 PM ^

I believe Michigan used to offer some type of  journalism program. Someone can correct me on that if I'm wrong.

State and CMU are going to continue to churn out the most journalism grads, and thus, flood the local market. They are the two best schools in Michigan for an accredited degree.

That being said, I have come to find a journalism degree means jack shit in the scheme of things.


August 12th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

"the Big Ten and SEC have split their two annual bowl tie-in games 10 to 10 over the last decade."

Right.  And I think it is only fair to point out that the SEC (and the Big 12 and Pac Ten) has a huge advantage in Bowl games because of where they're located.

My personal favorite was the 2007-2008 Bowl games:

  • Michigan played Florida in Florida
  • Ohio State played LSU in New Orleans
  • Illinois played USC in SoCal
  • Penn State played Texas A&M in Texas


August 12th, 2010 at 3:10 PM ^

That out of shape?  Someone needs to tell him he wouldn't have played D1 anywhere

Does he want to play FB?  If yes, transferring makes no sense.  Re-dedication is what's needed, and he could more easily do that here.  Work with your teammates, target end of year or bowl game to contribute

EDIT: GD you Les Miles Bastard


August 12th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

...the real villains here are the heartless coaches that make their players stretch for an extra 20 minutes per practice.  Those are the heartless bastards that ruin the lives of these fine young men.

Using track scholarships to recruit extra WRs or DBs, that's just some fine recruiting.  Over signing your roster and waiting until the kids are on campus before merciless cutting them and leaving scrambling in mid August to find a school to spend the next four years at, that's some darn fine recruiting.  

Stretching and casual contact with NFL agents, those are the poisons are destroying the lives of great young men.  Well those and Indian mascots (just ignore what the city we chose to based in is named for).  

The whole "major violations" thing really doesn't hurt anymore.  It seems almost like a stock phrase the NCAA tries to dust off for shock value every time they get their panties in a bunch.   So keep coming NCAA, keep hitting us.  We all know you're impotent.  That Pete Caroll and the entirety of USC gave you middle finger for a decade and you can't do shit except watch him cash his NFL checks.  Oh you got Garret to resign.  I bet him walking out the door with a decade worth of AD salary in his pocket really stung.  Plus you made it so some kids who weren't even there when Bush was and are completely unconnected to the violations are unable to play in bowl games for two years.  What's the following act to that?  Beating up a hobo (with some hired Blackwater goons right next to you of course, just in case the drifter is a scrapper)?

You're a joke, a joke that hopefully will be told to go fuck itself when the MechaGodzilla Conferences form and we form our own governing league.  Then you can hang out with the NAIA or whatever the heck that other governing body is talk about when you used to relevant.  Just don't talk about when you were effective, because you never were.

(Sorry I drank a pair of Vietnamese iced coffees and the buzz is making me cranky.  Maybe I should go sit on the Diag and yell the freshmen to get off my lawn.)


August 12th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

When it comes to the SEC the only thing as annoying as its consituents are the sports media asshats that can't distinguish between the SEC's sweaty sack and a cocaine-laced lollipop.


August 12th, 2010 at 5:19 PM ^

Glad to see he overcame his earlier troubles, reading his article on Rivals today it seems he has really matured and turned everything around. I think he can stick in the NFL as a returner and I will definitely be cheering for him.


August 13th, 2010 at 7:58 AM ^

"The paper is attempting to move the responsibility for the thing from Miles to an NCAA bylaw."

Gee, wish our papers were so defending of our coaches...