Unverified Voracity Would Settle Everything at Trafalgar

Submitted by Seth on February 21st, 2013 at 4:23 PM


Legolas is cooler than Treebeard. Brian's taking a short vacation and left me to write UV today. That's too bad because he's missing the party after Spath heard from Norfleet's mentor/7-on-7 coach ($) that the MGoFavorite little bugger's defensive foray was a temporary thing:

"He's supposedly going back to offense," Blackwell said. "They will use him in the slot and in the return game, and some as a running back. Coach [Greg] Mattison is saying he can still use him on defense and is making an argument to keep him there, but Dennis' passion is for the offense. That's where he wants to play, and from talking to Dennis it appears that's where he's going to play.

Putting him with the other elves made some sense when the cornerback two-deep was the starters, and what carries he could siphon last year from Toussaint, Rawls and Hayes would now have to be defended from Drake Johnson and three highly rated incoming freshman. The rooting for Norfleet to take over Smith's role comes from simple fan interest: it's way more fun to hold your breath and watch this guy scamper around like a maniac than to plunge a tree into the enemy lines and watch him fall forward for the same result.

Contempt for compliance, not photos of Donna Shalala. The Miami (of course THAT Miami) case was to be the Austerlitz of the new and improved NCAA enforcement empire; instead it's going to be a summer of Waterloo metaphors and Shalala vs. Emmert lead images. SBNation's Robert Wheel's afore-linked take calls for Emmert's resignation, while admitting that won't do anything to fix the underlying problem:

If the NCAA were enforcing rules that didn't require a lot of investigation, then this lack of power would not be a problem. But as long as college sports remain a big time moneymaker with rich guys who want to circumvent the rulebook to see their teams win, said rich guys will find ways to try to outfox the rules. Unless we want to give the NCAA subpoena power (we really don't) then this will always be a losing battle. The NCAA will never have the ability or the resources to catch up to people breaking its rules.

In a real legal system the Canes could discredit the prosecution's only witness and get the case thrown out. This isn't a real legal system: schools don't get in trouble for breaking NCAA rules, they get in trouble by publicly reminding everybody that the NCAA can't really enforce them. USC tried this and got slapped down despite the evidence in hand being too weak for any court. Meanwhile investigators with bees up their butts couldn't prove what every 4-year-old knows in re: Ohio State gives players cars, or really much of anything in the original Tatgate story until the NFL forced Pryor to talk. For stonewalling so politely the extent of the Buckeyes' punishment was to end a 12-0 season with Meyer on their sidelines and Tressel on their shoulders. The dumbest thing Shalala could do is comply.* The second-dumbest thing she could do is say na-na-na-boo-boo to an organization that only slightly cares if it turned up doo doo.

The obvious answer is pay the players (FoxSports in re: Clowney and the risk of injury) and end the shadow ring where guys like Shapiro are the only people who can perform the otherwise perfectly legal function of paying adult U.S. citizens for the services they provide.

* There are a select few schools like Michigan who don't have a choice because our whole thing is being the good guys, and because we're among those who would benefit the most if tradition, competitiveness and the quality of education were the only factors in recruiting and retaining college football talent. Kind of like how Great Britain would prefer to settle everything with a sea battle.

Basketball on verge of spread revolution. Weinreb dug up a budding Mike Leach from a D-II school in West Virginia to highlight a story about how pacing in basketball has slowed way down while the smart guys beating up the lower ranks are going the other way. That coach's motto is "Don't do it unless you can rationalize why you're doing it." He's too old to end up in Ann Arbor, but apparently the Yost alleles for engineering-minded coaches are still going strong in Appalachia. Beilein small ball isn't speed ball, but this…

When Crutchfield recruits, he looks for kids who react quickly — "You can make up for a lot of quickness and speed if you react mentally," he says — and play with high intensity: If they get beat on defense and they don't D up even harder the next time down the floor, he starts to wonder if they might not fit into his system.

… is similar to Beilein. HT and board discussion itauditbill. While we're on Grantland's court Shane Ryan has updated his chart of the Big Ten's "Big Six" versus each other on the road:


That's part of a discussion on how road game success can be a strong predictor of postseason performance. I've used it for predicting NBA and NHL playoff results, and March Madness would be right there with them if it wasn't such a crapshoot in general. HT again from the board: SoFlaWolverine.

Assistant Coaches like money too. There's a rumor that Oklahoma may be going after Jerry Montgomery (Meinke via Footballscoop). Cam Cameron you may have heard just joined Les Miles's staff, further evidence to my theory that LSU is the In a Mirror, Darkly evil twin of Michigan from another dimension.


Dark universe Les Miles is in his 5th season as head coach at Michigan, where he's been slowly rebuilding the school's reputation shredded by win-at-all-costs Evil Lloyd Carr

Cameron will be making $3.4 million over 3 years, and this has made internet people start buzzing about top assistants commanding the kind of salary you give the school president. /mind blown. /thinks about the difference between GERG and Greg. /mind unblown.

It's right because the internet said so. The NCAA cover vote on Facebook has moved to a semifinals where the S-E-C!!! vote has been split (to Eddie Lacy's doom and random A&M guy's benefit) and Denard now leads. Every time this appears on the board cynical-me goes to erase it because it's playing to somebody's marketing ploy, and enchanted-me says "But Denard on the cover would be a wonderful thing!" I wish Denard would be on the cover because he is the living symbol of what is singularly spectacular about NCAA football; I also wish they could have come to that conclusion without somebody "developing an engaging social media campaign" that might only settle on Robinson because a cat playing guitar hero wasn't allowed in the race. #AIRBHG2014

Etc. People of the East Coast, check your DVR schedule or wind up recording a Virginia-BC game. UMHoops takes on Michigan's defense, scores a bazillion points (ha!). Zoltan's foundation update. FAU's marketing department derps stadium sponsor, double-derps wikipedia entry. MGoAndroid App is updated, report bugs here. NFL logos if they were designed by British people.



February 21st, 2013 at 4:47 PM ^

I originally wrote "veracity" (Conformity to facts; accuracy: "the veracity of the story".) instead of "voracity (Consuming or eager to consume great amounts of food; ravenous.)

The latter is what Brian uses for the column. Its origin is from a newspaper guy who used "unverified voracity" to describe internet media. It's actually quite clever when you think about it.


February 21st, 2013 at 6:50 PM ^

I guess I would disagree with the clincher description. Yeah, they owned the seas for the next 100 years, but there was really no competition. Hell, even at Trafalgar, even though they outnumbered the Brits, half the French sailors were newbie impressed men, and the Spanish were almost all forced into helping due to an alliance. England wasn't exactly taking on the best and brightest.

If I'm talking about the Golden Age of British sea supremacy, I put that late 1600's to early 1700's


February 21st, 2013 at 7:57 PM ^

It's interesting.  Losing the Hundred Years' War (and thus all their territory on the Continent) arguably ended up working in favor of the British in the long run.  With no land borders, they could neglect their army and focus their resources on building up their navy (since the only way to invade them was by sea).  Everyone else in Europe had to maintain a powerful standing army to deter land invasions, and consequently couldn't focus as much on their navy.  The Brits could sit back in their ships and, with the money gained from their overseas trade, bribe other countries to do the land fighting for them.


M - Flightsci

February 22nd, 2013 at 1:38 PM ^

Were quite the near run thing for the Brits.  If the sale of Invincible, the newer half of the carrier task force, had gone through to Australia, the Royal Navy wouldn't have had a fleet to send to the South Atlantic.  The RN was a shadow of it's strength even in the 1970's, where it had a small force of conventional carriers to project power.  The fight in the South Seas was also a much closer contest than the results indicate.  Had a few of the Argentinian bombs fuses been set correctly for their low level employment,



a couple more British warships would be on the bottom of San Carlos Water, and the expeditionary force would have been forced to retire back to the UK, I'm sure much to the chagrin of Fleet Street, which would have eaten Thatcher alive.


February 21st, 2013 at 8:13 PM ^

...Virginia, not only does my guide list it as Michigan-MSU, the subtitle under College Basketball is "Big Ten Wild Card Game".

UVa-BC is scheduled to be shown on WDCA 50 (Verizon 6/506).

Throughout the season we have not experienced a regional split. I'm banking on them showing our game here.


February 21st, 2013 at 5:11 PM ^

and listen to the inane dribble from their respective marketing geniuses about how this arrangement was going to leverage their strengths, monetize their market position, and be a win-win for everybody. The unfolding clusterfuck will be fun to watch.


February 21st, 2013 at 5:15 PM ^

"For stonewalling so politely the extent of the Buckeyes' punishment was to end a 12-0 season with Meyer on the sidelines and Tressel on their shoulders."

Perfect. I wish I'd written that.


February 21st, 2013 at 5:51 PM ^

the prosecution would have subpoena power, Shapiro wouldn't be the only witness, and it wouldn't matter if he were discredited. (It also might be difficult to discredit him.)

kevin holt

February 21st, 2013 at 8:03 PM ^

IANALyet, but I was going to needlessly nitpick this point as well. Even if the prosecution only had one witness, it would not be enough to get a case thrown out by simply saying the witness wasn't credible or enough evidence to convict. That's the whole point of a jury: to decide who and what is credible. Having a single witness that incriminates the defendant is enough to get to the jury, because the defense would have to say "take everything they've said as true and they still have no case" to get it thrown out. In this case, taking everything as true would mean they lose.

On actual points, why doesn't the NCAA just go with contractual obligations? I don't know if it would count as it is, but they could just make schools agree to a contractual relationship whereby they would have to comply with legitimate investigations or be in breach of contract. Is that crazy? They wouldn't have a subpoena power per se, but schools who na na na na boo boo like osu would be in breach and subject to sanctions anyway.


February 22nd, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

Because they don't want to?

That's too glib, of course--there are a lot of conflicting interests involved. But I think if a very large majority of university presidents, including nearly all of the major powers, really wanted an effective enforcement mechanism, they'd have one.

As it is, they have an instrument they can use when an incident could threaten to turn public opinion against the sport (Penn State comes to mind, or Dave Bliss) or when an upstart crashes the party by brazenly violating the rules (SMU) or when third-party shakedowns threaten to get out of control (Albert Means). The rest of the time they can somehow fail to uncover much, give a slap on the wrist, and plead incompetence/impotence.

The system in place has evolved because, frankly, it's what's desired. It's good public relations, it keeps expenses down, keeps everyone sort of within some established guidelines of allowable cheating, and doesn't actually threaten anyone's position in the sport.

I think there's plenty of evidence for this; the two incidents that kind of turned the light on for me were the lifetime blackballing of Bliss's whistleblowing assistant (damn it, if your primary outrage was directed at him and not at Bliss himself there's something wrong. that's you, mike krzyzewski, and pretty much everyone else too) and the bizarre, witness-leading deposition of Tressel, probably typical but I'd never actually seen an NCAA deposition transcript before, where the NCAA's own investigator carefully walked him through the defense OSU had prepared and guided him back on track when he got confused and started to confess other stuff.

That's not incompetence. That's systemic satisfaction with the status quo. I have no doubt that there are competent and eager people in the NCAA's investigative arm; I also have no doubt they're hamstrung.

Low Key Recidivist

February 21st, 2013 at 8:28 PM ^

And this is one of them IMO.  

Couple of comments though.

1) Coaches are notoriously conservative animals, probably due to they being the true demonstration of free enterprise - if they don't perform and get the desired results, they are updating their resume.  It takes some very innovative thinking to get them out of their comfort zone, and the current paradigm seems to stress control/tempo (Brian could probably go to town on statistical analysis of this);

2) Another area which has slowed the game down in my personal opinion (and having been an AAU and HS BB referee, I'm not completely talking out of my tailpipe), is that way too much contact is allowed by defenders, especially on drives to the basket.  This is compounded by what I view as substandard officiating overall.  It used to be forearms only, now I consistently see hands used to check players (cough Craft) and get away with it.  That is a HUGE advantage.  And they don't show balance; there's a huge difference between calling a trivial reach-in 30 feet from the hoop and calling a hand check on a drive where the offensive players has a distinct advantage.  We understood that in HS hoops and it was emphasized in clinics.  Not sure where this was lost.  


February 22nd, 2013 at 12:59 PM ^

Another thng that seems to have changed through the years is the amount of contact allowed off the ball. I don't mean post play so much--that's been physical for as long as I can remember--but the incessant bumping and grinding of players simply moving through an  offensive set.  It doesn't get called because it's considered incidental--it's off the ball, it isn't directly taking away a scoring opportunity, we don't want to interfere with the rhythm of play...but it is interfering with the rhythm of the game.

You can stop a cut by getting in defensive position in front of the cutter. You aren't supposed to be able to grab him when he beats you, or hip check him as he goes by. I suppose it's like interference in hockey--the decision whether or not to enforce the rule really determines how the game will be played. I think this interruption of fluid movement off the ball is one of the things that's forced the game into what seems to me like an endless succession of ball screens. The offense makes sure all the action is focused around the ball, because that's the only place defensive fouls will be called.


February 22nd, 2013 at 7:57 AM ^

Norfleet can do more for the team on offense then on defense. It makes more sense. He can probably develop into a specialized weapon on the offensive side of the ball. I look forward to see if they develop certain plays for him.

Hugh Jass

February 22nd, 2013 at 10:12 AM ^

that running a Blog about all things University of Michigan was a vacation.  I was kind of wondering when Brian was going to finally get off his ass and get a real job.




February 22nd, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

The obvious answer is NOT to start paying players. I just joined and love this blog, but there are many comments about "rich guys," "greed," etc., but people think it wise to pay players? I'm of the opinion that UM football stays as pristine as possible, even in today's commercial climate. If you start paying players you've opened Pandora's Box. And you will just reminisce about the days when the stadium did not display 60-foot Pepsi signs next to the Mich bench. Thx.


February 22nd, 2013 at 1:05 PM ^

I'm a little confused by the linkage of the two. There are proposals on the table to pay players some sort of limited stipend to compensate for the fact that their sport is a full-time job and they can't hold down a student job to get some spending money.

But I don't see what this has to do with Miami. None of my work-study jobs paid me anywhere near what would be required to finance a Miami-class drug/prostitution/boat cruise lifestyle. Tossing some pizza money at the players would do away with some of the temptation that causes fairly minor violations; it's not going to do anything about this.


February 22nd, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

Time and again, the first "in" the Shapiro-types have is when a player needs $60 to fill his tank. Then he doesn't have any cash on Sunday for pizza and the cafeteria is closed, and he remembers that one guy said come on over anytime and hang out and he'll order whatever you want.

Very few student athletes walk into college thinking "man, where do I go to get a boat full of prostitutes?" They get invited to a thing, and then a thing, and then they "borrow" $20 bucks, etc.

I turned down very little in the way of free stuff that came my way in college. We used to have newspapers from around the country come and take Daily editors out to dinner and recruit them. I had a circuit of metro-Detroit Jewish tailgates I would go around for free chili and whatnot. I'd hang in the basement of South Quad for hours to talk about Lord of the Rings with my buddy while he served burgers at the Underground, and not a few of those burgers ended up flipping my way when he screwed up an order. If I was an athlete those would all have been violations.

Section 1

February 22nd, 2013 at 3:53 PM ^

lol, right.

No problems, with paying college football players.  None whatsoever.  None, that is, after you get past players' difficulties with tax preparation and tax evasion; the new College Football Players' Association Collective Bargaining Agreement; the new Association of Collegiate Players Agents; the court cases involving disputes over the SEC's (inevitable) violation of the salary cap (under the aforementioned CFPACB); the NCAA's hopeless task of policing pay limits; the loss or relegation of 120 different college football programs which absolutely cannot afford to pay players; the antitrust cases; and the myriad other federal and state litigation surrounding payments to players.

When there is a rule allowing the payment of college football players, I will respectfully and very forcefully suggest to the Board of Regents that they "pull a Chicago" and abandon football.  Put all the helmets and uniforms in a museum.  Bulldoze the Stadium, and turn it into a nuclear energy research facility.  Enjoy memories, of the good old days, of college football.