Unverified Voracity Is Suddenly Rabid

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2011 at 1:01 PM

[Ed: light day. Going to Gold Cup game(s). Also is June.]

If reporters looked like this the world would be a different, stranger place. College Football Live called up a local Morgantown reporter to discuss what Doctor Saturday has dubbed "As The Couch Burns." They immediately improved said reporters self-image:


If Mike Casazza woke up today with wolves and a fridge full of chocolate milk this is why.

While we're on ATCB, yes, it has been broached: bring back Rich Rodriguez.

"Mentor." The Dispatch FOIAs Tressel's communications with one Ted Sarniak and comes up with a heavily redacted set of information that invites questions as to who is mentoring who, exactly:

After Tressel received an April 2, 2010, email from a former player warning him of potential NCAA violations, the coach exchanged 77 calls and text messages with and spent a total of 4 1/2 hours talking on the phone with Ted Sarniak, the hometown mentor of quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Jeannette, Pa.

Their longest phone conversation - 18 minutes - happened on Dec. 21, two days before OSU announced Pryor and five others would be suspended for part of the 2011 season for violations.

The two also spoke for three minutes immediately after the Dec. 23 news conference benching Pryor, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas and Mike Adams for five games and Jordan Whiting for one game.

Tressel and Sarniak exchanged text messages on March 8, the day OSU announced that Tressel had known about the violations for months.

Sarniak will now offer tearful testimony about how Jim Tressel made him into a man. There's still a bunch of stuff that's redacted with OSU claiming it's "personal," but OSU also tried to withhold Chris Cicero's name and a bunch of other things besides that they had no legal ground to do so. That doesn't much matter since the NCAA can ask to see them on pain of pain. (I think, anyway. Lawyer me in the comments if I'm wrong).

"Mistake." Again with the "mistake" language, this time from bow-tie wearing university president and fool Gordon Gee:

"Any time that there is a mistake, or any time that there is an issue that flares up, and we go back through and scrub everything very, very carefully," he said. "We want to make certain that we're asking all the right questions."

It is not a mistake to engage in a months-long cover-up, just like it's not a mistake to give Jim Tressel a gentle massage when you find out he's violated a very serious NCAA bylaw. Nor is it a "mistake" to ignore two separate warnings that you are barely checking on your athlete's cars, or a "mistake" to talk with Terrelle Pryor's shady handler for four and a half hours.

Meanwhile, that article has another insight into OSU's compliance department:

The university's compliance department, however, did warn another university about a former Buckeyes player who has been linked to the NCAA scandal.

In January, former Ohio State running back Jermil Martin enrolled at Ashland University, an NCAA Division II school midway between Columbus and Cleveland.

As required by NCAA rules, Ohio State notified Ashland of problems with Martin's eligibility, Ashland athletic director Bill Goldring said.

Martin was cited in the SI article as a guy with a close relationship with Rife, so the eligibility issues they reported to the DII school should have led to an investigation and so forth and so on. Instead it was all like "whoops, third string fullback, you did bad and have to go and It Is Fortunate you are the only one."

On the other hand, OSU has just updated (in April) its compliance procedures to the satisfaction of the auditing committee. Close that barn door, baby.

Steelebits. Via Get The Picture, Michigan returns a higher percentage of its yards on offense than almost anyone—they're tenth at 93%. And they only graduate one starter on the line. The offense was going to take a step back in terms of FEI and other advanced metrics just by regressing to the mean, but trying to parse out how much of that is going on versus how much the offensive transition is hurting things is going to be difficult.

Actually, it might not be if they just can't run (or throw) out of the I. That'll be something tracked in UFRs. Because it's interesting, not because I am full of hate. Hoke Uber Alles.

Offtopic but wow. Haven't bashed a local columnist in a while and while it's probably not nice to make fun of someone obviously suffering from late-state syphillis… wow:

Pistons need tough leader like Isiah Thomas as coach

If only we had known about this before a dollar of penicillin could have prevented this tragedy. Isaiah Thomas will sexually harass the players, yo, and then he will do what he's done to every NBA team he's ever come in contact with: make them so much worse than you ever thought possible.

Etc.: Mike Hamilton resigns. With OSU on the Volunteer path that means Gene Smith has a couple months before he does the same.


Indiana Blue

June 7th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

time trying to distinguish between the color Scarlet and the color of Blood hemoraging from tsio.  Next up ... Smith,  on deck Gee.

Yes ... I'd like more popcorn please.  Thank you.   ( it just keeps getting better )

Go Blue !


June 7th, 2011 at 1:28 PM ^

identify talent.

If it means the Pistons will make the most of the lottery picks they'll be making over the next couple years, it won't be the worst thing.  Having an otherwise clueless coach who will be a hit with the fans while the team goes through more painful rebuilding - again, not the worst thing.


June 8th, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

is play basketball, and he's a little too old for that now.

WIth respect to identifying talent, I can only guess that you are pretending that his tenure with the Knicks never happened. (And, for that matter, his tenure with the Pacers - as a coach, developing talent is more important than identifying talent. Of course, he was both in NY, and look how that turned out.)


June 7th, 2011 at 1:42 PM ^

very cafefully". Wouldn't the correct word be investigate instead of scrub? You typically scrub to clean up the mess behind so it is no longer there. If that is the exactly quote, then I find it a bit hard to trust that man in the least. Seems like a freudian slip.


June 7th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

* As others have obliquely noted, Thomas (in the fine tradition of basketball players, whose first names, like Dwyane, are frequently misspelled), spells his name Isiah.

* I think Foster has something worse than an STD.

* Holgorsen needs a 1/2-inch buzz cut. His head is well-shaped for that look and I think it would work well for him.


June 7th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

Brian, I think you place a little too much emphasis on regression to the mean as a reason why a football statistic should change one year to the next. That concept refers mainly to random occurrences (like scoring a 90% when guessing on every question in a multiple choice test---obviously if repeated the average scores will be closer to 25%). With a football team, this is different. Getting as many yards as Michigan did last year didn't happen by some freak occurence of random chance, it happened because of an amazing talent at quarterback and a solid offensive line.

Michigan had an epically bad defense in 2009, and you suggested they would improve because of regression to the mean. They were even worse in 2010 due to their own set of freakish occurrences, but mostly because of terrible coaching. The defense didn't regress to the mean (improve) in year two because being a terrible defense WAS the defenses mean.

Now, I completely agree that this offense will suffer from decreased offensive output because of a new scheme, but this is hardly a "random chance" occurrence.


June 7th, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

more precisely, "regression to the mean" is a descriptive concept in that it only describes things after the fact.  Of course I agree that it does not cause anything.  There is no magic force in the universe striving to make things average out to what they averaged in the past.


June 7th, 2011 at 2:55 PM ^

it's not a very good basis for a prediction about the performance of a football team...I expect the team to rush for fewer yards this year than last, but that's because (like others) I expect them to struggle as they transition to a new offense, an offense for which their collective skill-sets are not terribly well suited.   

MI Expat NY

June 7th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

I agree with you.  In sports, your "mean" is your level of play that can be expected under normal circumstances, arising generally from talent and coaching.  Thus regression can only apply when factors, that have some element of luck, are outside the normal expected range.  In baseball, statistics such as batting average on balls in play can be indicative of an eventual regression to your personal mean.  In football, I feel there are very few statistics that are indicative of an eventual regression.  Turnover margin is often pointed to as one, and while I'm not in the camp that says it is all based on luck, there is certainly enough of a degree of luck to warrant expecting regression one way or the other.  The better example is record in close games.  Close games almost always turn on one or two key plays.  If you win an inordinate amount of close games one season, you'll likely not live up to expectations the next (see, Iowa 2009, 2010).  

As you say, we may regress in offensive statistical categories due to scheme change.  But at the same time, we may regress positively on turnovers, kicking game, etc. and actually score as many if not more points.


June 7th, 2011 at 2:55 PM ^

I also wondered why it was assumed Michigans offense would regress to the mean. I must be misunderstanding something. Good offenses deviate from the mean because they are good. They only regress to the mean when they cease being so good. Right?

Personally, I'd hope to see a stronger correlation between the yards Michigan gained and the points one might expect those yards to result in. There wasn't quite the correlation between those two stats last season that one might have expected.


June 7th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

Austin Jackson is regressing to the mean pretty damn hard this year.  There are some really obvious areas in football where regression to the mean is likely to occur.  For example, record in games decided by 3 points or less should be pretty close to .500, and if it wasn't you got lucky and are due for some regression.  Percentage of fumbles recovered should regress to .500 as well.  

It's possible for Michigan's offense both to be awesome AND to regress to the mean because it outperformed its expectations even as an awesome offense.  


June 7th, 2011 at 5:18 PM ^

However - and I'm not meaning to contradict you by saying this - the chance involved in football is relatively small.  The number of times that a ball bounces one way or the other (such as on a fumble or on-side kick) is dwarfed by the amount of times that the stronger line beats the weaker line or the faster wide receiver outruns the slower defensive back (or vice versa).  I don't mean to suggest that it's easy to predict football outcomes but I do mean to say that they don't have a lot to do with chance. 


June 7th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

my totally uneducated lawyer opinion on the ncaa asking to see docs that osu withheld from the public:

the ncaa can ask, but not demand, osu can show them (probably pursuant to a confidentiality agreement), but doesn't have to, and the ncaa can infer whatever it wants from osu's actions.


June 7th, 2011 at 2:15 PM ^

I don't see how the NCAA would have any more legal ability to obtain the docs than would the Dispatch, SI, etc..  On the other hand, the NCAA makes its own rules and can hit you for doing something (like withholding information) that you have a legal right to do.  It's not illegal, after all, to sell your gold pants. 


June 7th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

(please consider everything that follows as prefaced by "probably") That the NCAA can "ask" is right to the extent that they cannot legally compel, ie subpoena, the documents from osu.  If osu does not comply, based on the contracts, etc. between the ncaa and osu, the ncaa can sanction osu however they deem appropriate, subject to the appeal process that usc just lost.


June 7th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

Re: any records they're withholding due to "student privacy"- won't work. The NCAA has FERPA waivers from each student. Newspapers may not be able to get the records, but the NCAA can.

Re: the "personal records" of calls & texts- The NCAA doesn't have subpoena power, but failing to cooperate can be a breach of ethical conduct (the dreaded 10.1). From the web (apology for lack of block quote indicator):

Bylaw 32.1.4 states:

“The cooperative principle imposes an affirmative obligation on each institution to assist the enforcement staff in developing full information to determine whether a possible violation of NCAA legislation has occurred and the details thereof. An important element of the cooperative principle requires that all individuals who are subject to NCAA rules protect the integrity of an investigation. A failure to do so may be a violation of the principles of ethical conduct. The enforcement staff will usually share information with the institution during an investigation; however, it is understood that the staff, to protect the integrity of the investigation, may not in all instances be able to share information with the institution.”

Bylaw 32.3.11 declares:

“In the event that a representative of an institution refuses to submit relevant information to the Committee on Infractions or the enforcement staff on request, a notice of inquiry may be filed with the institution alleging a violation of the cooperative principles of the NCAA bylaws and enforcement procedures. Institutional representatives and the involved individual may be requested to appear before the Committee on Infractions at the time the allegation is considered.”


June 7th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

NCAA doesn't need subpoena power or any special power beyond what everyone in the country already has - the ability to file a Public Records Request to osu for whatever reason you want.  Under Ohio's Public Records law, a state actor, such as osu, must produce all records responsive to a public records request, except those which are privileged for any number of reasons.  If osu fails to produce all of those records, the person requesting those requests can get their attorney's fees paid for free, bitch.

So the NCAA can have access to all of these records, and there's actually an incentive for the NCAA and their attorneys to request the records from osu because they can get attorneys fees if osu doesn't produce them, and $1,000 per destroyed record if it is discovered that osu destroyed any responsive records.

This could be HUGE


June 7th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

Depends on the phones/e-mail systems used. If it's Tressel's personal cell phone that he pays for, then they can't request anything. If it's a phone paid for or belonging to the institution, then you've got an actual case to get the record. However, a request for documents is not prima facie evidence documents should be released. I don't know the burden of proof required to show the compelling public interest in having documents released, but if OSU can show (in a closed proceeding or series of briefs) that these are indeed just personal exchanges, then it's bit more of an uphill climb to get them released. It's entirely possible the NCAA or media can argue that it's impossible to separate the personal from professional in this situation, and obviously possible that they'll be able to show there's no privilege involved. But it's certainly not automatic that these exchanges will be released.

Of course, if they refuse to cooperate with the NCAA they're in a world of trouble anyways.


June 7th, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

Anything in a hard drive, even if erased is still there. Computer forensics companies retrieve data all of the time. Curious if the phone is paid for by aOSUor personal. Has he turned it in when he was terminated, oops, I mean resigned, then aal of that data is sitting in a drawer somewhere in the athletic department. Or, is it still in his possession, and he dropped it in the toilet, oops, those things are slippery.


June 7th, 2011 at 5:27 PM ^

begins to graze up against an NCAA doing cartwheels and headstands to somehow avoiding lowering the death penalty boom on OSU. I mean, Smith is calling Pryor? To ask if he's cool with the punishment? To beg him to hang in and not leave them? Some of this stuff could be priceless. 


June 7th, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

If he was ineligible b/c of his dealings with Rife and that was what OSU informed Martin's new school of, that could lead to a whole host of problems for OSU as far as what they knew or should have known about other players' relationships with Rife and when they (OSU) knew about those other players' relationships.   There seem to be many leaks in the ship that OSU is trying to sail through this storm.   


June 7th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

Everybody expects it but I refuse to believe that Denard, Molk, Lewan, Omameh etc..will allow that too happen. 

I can imagine Borges will get a special request for "I form power right" form Hoke on the headset  to appease the power fans so they can hang onto that theory but we will be a spread team this year.   We will be in the shotgun a ton.   Denard will run a bunch.   

Expect the Power I a ton against the MAC teams.  Maybe a little bit early in games depending on how much Hoke wants to send a message, but other than the MAC teams and burning the clock late in games expect  to see Deanrd in the gun. 

Hoke is smart.  Borges is smart. Now let's assume you are smart.   What would you do?

Michigan down 7 vs Notre Dame the lights are in full bloom and Michigan gets the ball on it's own 30 with 10 minutes to go in the game.  Spread the field and let Denard decide between easy throws to his Junior and Senior receivers or tucking the ball against a 6 man box or getting in 2 TE's and trying to grind it down the field.

Easy Choice. 

One last thought.  When Borges had Cade Mcnown he was in gun the majority of the time.  Now compare Mcnown and Denard.   Go back and watch the UCLA vs Miami shootout in the Orange Bowl.  Hoke is doing a great job getting everyone on board but right now we are a high octane offensive team with hopefully a serviceable defense.

Phil Steele can pound sand this teams winning the Big Ten.

I'll beat the drum until we are eliminated. 

2011  Michigan Wolverines Big Ten Champs






June 7th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

Put a bunch of Manball operational deception out there. It makes the old ways blue fans happy, and hopefully mis-leads our Big Ten opponents. And then, off to the races out of the shotgun.

I also think teams regress to the mean in line with the experience of their starters. In 2006 we had a very experienced senior defense, coupled with an experienced junior offense. In 2007, we lost several key defensive starters to the NFL draft, and managed to get Henne and Hart dinged up, but still were in contention for the Big Ten Title against OSU, and of course beat Florida with that senior offense. Then the offense went off to the NFL.

So by those measures we would expect Wisconsin to regress to the mean this year.


June 7th, 2011 at 3:00 PM ^

As to the WVU stuf...Huh?

As to the Tressel stuff...77 calls and text messages with and spent a total of 4 1/2 hours...

Wow.  I guess it'd be good to know the time span.  If it lasted...say...one year, that's a call or text almost every 5 days.  Other than my family, I don't talk to anyone that much.  What is he, a teenage girl?  To me, this seems like the most damning thing to come out.  It'd be like Steve Fisher talking to Ed Martin once a week.


June 7th, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

I saw that Law and Order episode last night.  The show said that syphillis  is only contagious in its early stage.  So, he has that going for him.