SEC’s Slive and Vanderbilt’s Franklin: Ridin’ Dirty

Wednesday I posted video of a vicious, blindside clip by Vanderbilt offensive lineman Logan Stewart on Georgia defensive lineman Kwame Geathers during UGA’s 33-28 win over the Commodores in Nashville last Saturday.

James Franklin Explains Logan Stewart Clip of Kwame Geathers

Despite Stewart’s dirty play, which included a 10-yard run-up, the Vandy player was given the same, subsequent punishment by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive as Geathers. (Geathers reflexively retaliated with a single punch attempt before walking away from Stewart on his own.)

Each player will miss the first half of his next game - Stewart against Army and Geathers against Florida.

Slive’s unwillingness to issue a more severe punishment to Stewart, who engaged in perpetrating a play that could have easily, and seriously, injured Geathers, is nothing new for the SEC Commissioner but no less indefensible.

Unless of course, you’re Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin.

Wednesday Franklin, like Slive, engaged in an opposite day evaluation of Stewart’s blatantly dirty play:

“I think when you watch the tape, Logan, you can see he was running and he was trying to get his hat across (the front of Geathers’ legs). There was a point where, in my opinion watching the tape, he wasn’t going to be able to get his hat across and he should have pulled off and he didn’t. We explained that to him and we explained that to the rest of the team.”

If I, like Franklin and Slive, had a dirty job that nobody wanted maybe I’d feel the same way.

Photo: An SEC Investigation In Progress (Nick Saban, Mike Slive, Cecil Newton, Mark Emmert)

(How Stuff Works®: An SEC Investigation in progress.)


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How Stuff Works: A SEC Investigation In Progress

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Photo: An SEC Investigation In Progress (Nick Saban, Mike Slive, Cecil Newton, Mark Emmert)

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2011 Auburn Cost To Keep NCAA Jail Away: $401K

Thanks to breaking news reported Wednesday by Clay Travis on his new website we learned why the NCAA investigation into the Auburn football program, as Travis put it today, “has now stretched into its tenth month.”

Auburn NCAA Defense Fund

(Aubs: $170K Over 7-Day Period To Keep NCAA Jail Away From The Plains)

Travis reported that the latest round of investigatory activity took place in Montgomery in late June:

NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes checked in to the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery and conducted interviews in conference rooms there. Thurnes investigation dealt with continuing issues surrounding the eligibilty of Cam Newton and other Auburn players implicated in pay-for-play scandals. 

Travis noted Thurnes was specifically looking into allegations made by former Auburn football players during a recent HBO Real Sports episode.  During her visit to Alabama, the NCAA investigator also attempted to confirm the validity of a separate claim that Cam Newton may have received discounts from a Montgomery-based clothier.

Of the lingering inquiry into the Auburn football program, Travis added:

The NCAA investigation has now stretched into its tenth month, leaving Auburn and SEC officials chastened. In SanDestin at the SEC spring meetings, Florida SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told me that there was no doubt the NCAA’s timeframe often conflicted with the immediacy of media coverage. That dichotomy, between media coverage of allegations and tangible proof of wrongdoing, leaves programs dwelling in a perpetual cloud of impropriety.

Often that cloud can impact recruiting, a point that was driven home to me by Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley in SanDestin. Indeed, it was Dooley’s questioning of the NCAA investigator in SanDestin that led to Chizik’s insistence on whether the NCAA had completed its investigation.

Recruiting issues may have prompted Chizik’s assertive tact, though the looting of the university’s “Auxiliary Enterprises-Athletics” fund by lawyers defending the school may too have something to do with it. Read more…

Photos: Alabama Faxcam Girl’s Identity Revealed

On signing day, the University of Alabama set up a live internet video stream of the fax machine in its football office.

Photo: Alabama Faxcam Girl Briana Baisden

As the commitments from recruits rolled in, an Alabama student and member of the school’s official Crimson Cabaret dance team was charged with picking up the faxes - resulting in her being caught on the webcam.

The next day, the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reported that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive disapproved of the dance team member, in her official UA uniform, being seen on camera while accessing the faxes:

SEC spokesman Charles Bloom says league Commissioner Mike Slive “felt it was inappropriate” and called Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore Thursday morning. Bloom says an SEC school called the commissioner, but wouldn’t identify the university.

Considering the woman seen on the webcam was a UA dance team member in the same uniform she often wears as an officially-sanctioned Univ. of Alabama representative, part of me is inclined to think that Slive owes an apology to the Alabama student for needlessly insulting her.

With that in mind, I have learned the identity of the Alabama student Commissioner Slive referred to as “inappropriate” so he might contact her to offer his regret for his “inappropriate” public comments made about her. Read more…

If The NCAA Is Right, Cecil Lied And SEC Cheated

In the aftermath of the NCAA’s decision to clear Cam Newton to play for Auburn, we can now verify two things:

Cecil Newton Lied Or The NCAA Is Wrong

1) On November 5, 2010, Pat FordeChris Low and Mark Schlabach of reported the following:

When interviewed by Thursday at the family’s home in Atlanta, Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, denied any wrongdoing.

“If Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge,” Cecil Newton said.

From the NCAA’s Wednesday ruling that cleared Cecil Newton’s son:

According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.

Cecil Newton cannot be telling the truth if the NCAA is correct in its statement.

2)  SEC Bylaw states:

“If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.”

The NCAA ruled Wednesday that, “According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football.”

The SEC bylaw clearly states that if a family member “agrees to receive” extra benefits from a SEC member institution, as the NCAA reported Wednesday, “such student-athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.”

By the SEC’s own rules, Cam Newton is ineligible to play football at any school in the SEC. It doesn’t matter - according to SEC Bylaw - that Auburn was not involved with the family member’s NCAA-confirmed impropriety.

Solicitation of funds is by definition to “agree to receive” funds, which is prohibited by the SEC bylaw.

If that wasn’t true, Newton would not have agreed to receive funds from a representative of Mississippi State if he was offered such funds.

The SEC is indisputably boxed in by its own bylaw thanks to the NCAA ruling: The NCAA says Cecil ‘actively marketed’ Cam to MSU while the SEC - by ignoring its own bylaw - implies Cecil wouldn’t have ‘agreed to receive’ any benefits from his ‘active’ marketing of Cam to MSU.

Both can’t be true. Read more…

Could Just 1 Person Be Responsible For BCS? Yes

Question: Why does the BCS exist and who runs it?

(They BCS is not a “they” or an “it”; It’s a “him”)

Answer: For the benefit of one person and his small constituency.One person is pulling the strings, along with a collection of mostly unwitting accomplices.To find that person, we have to identify who we indisputably know is not responsible for the BCS.1) NCAA President Mark Emmert: On Nov. 7, 2008, 16 months before he took office as new NCAA President, then-Univ. of Washington President Mark Emmert told the SEATTLE TIMES, “I happen to be one that thinks it’s inevitable we’ll have a [college football] playoff.”One week after watching his own organization, led by NCAA office colleague Greg Shaheen, reportedly internally initiate the expansion of the NCAA basketball tournament to 68 - and possibly 96 - teams in the future, new NCAA President Emmert said of the NCAA’s role in a future college football playoff system:

It’s not particularly relevant what I want as an individual in this one (NCAA football playoff). The NCAA knows how to run championships, if they (BCS) want us to be involved being helpful then I stand ready to do it.

So though the NCAA initiated the expansion of March Madness, NCAA President Emmert said his organization would have no role in initiating any changes in major college football’s postseason.2) ESPN (Disney): ESPN prints money not because of original programming, but because it has a death grip on broadcast rights to so many premium play-by-play properties - like major college football. (And the BCS.)The ability to exclusively broadcast the best and biggest games allows ESPN to charge cable operators - and viewers - by far the largest fees of any cable channel to carry its programming.  Take away the games, and you take away ESPN’s leverage to charge cable operators those exorbitant fees, which are nearly the sole source of ESPN’s hefty profit margins.To lose the ability to air college football games would strike at the core of ESPN’s business model. So in order to hold onto plum college football broadcast rights, ESPN does as it’s told.The next comment an official representative of ESPN’s business side makes in public about the validity of the BCS will be the first - and last.3) SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: The strongest public proponent of a playoff, and ditching the BCS, is also the man who presides over the BCS conference with the best collection of college football teams - by far.During the decade of the ’00s, SEC teams went 48-31 in bowl games while Big Ten teams went 28-41. In BCS bowl games during that 10-year span, the Big Ten went 6-11 while the SEC went 12-3. (SEC teams were 6-0 in BCS Championship Game.)Despite the SEC’s lopsided on-field advantage over the Big Ten, from 2000-2009 the conference actually received less at-large BCS bowl invitations than the Big Ten - which is why in 2008 SEC Commissioner Slive pushed harder than any other BCS conference commissioner for a limited playoff option but was reportedly blocked by the Big Ten.And why in 2006 Slive said of his term serving as “BCS Coordinator”: “These are my two years in the penalty box.”That same year, final entry to the BCS Championship game came down to the SEC’s 12-1 Florida Gators and the Big Ten’s 11-1 Michigan Wolverines. SEC Commissioner and BCS Coordinator Slive said at the time:

“I think any team that wins our league with one loss should have the chance to play for the national championship.”

When asked what his reaction would be if Michigan won out because of BCS computers and polling, the acknowledged leading public proponent of the BCS, Slive, said at the time, “I’d be disappointed.”So the man most responsible for representing the BCS to the public in 2006 said that had Michigan been awarded the BCS title game spot over Florida, he would’ve disagreed with the conclusion of the very system he was charged to support.To recap where we are so far:The NCAA President, the world’s largest and most influential sports television network and the man who oversees the top football conference in college football, the SEC Commissioner, have no power to remove or modify the BCS. 4) Chairman of NCAA Board of Directors and former Chair of the BCS Governance Oversight Committee Harvey Perlman: As current Chairman of the NCAA’s Board of Directors, many would argue that Perlman is the most powerful man in college athletics. But the NCAA Board of Directors is the final deciding mechanism on all things NCAA except the BCS.While Chairman of the BCS Governance Oversight Committee in 2009, Perlman appeared before the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights:

During his appearance, Senator Orrin Hatch asked Perlman: “Is it fair to pick teams when you do not even go and see–when the criteria does not require you to even go and see a game? And let us use the Mountain West Conference as a perfect illustration.”Perlman: “I appreciate that it may seem unfair and it may, in fact, be unfair.”When Perlman said that, “in fact,” the BCS “may be unfair,” he occupied the highest position that the BCS could provide.5) NCAA championships and business strategies guru Greg Shaheen: Shaheen is the man I first exposed early this year as the NCAA’s architect of the expansion of March Madness to 96 teams.An expansion that happened for one reason and one reason only: Increased revenue to cover the brutal shortfalls that result from staging nearly 100 NCAA championship events every year. (But not including the BCS.)Shaheen, who recently got a promotion from new NCAA President Emmert, said of the reported hundreds of millions of dollars a college football playoff could add to the NCAA and its member school coffers, “If I had the authority, I’d address that.”6) Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee: As president of the school with the largest athletic budget in the country, overlord of one of the highest-profile college football programs in the nation and probably the most vocal supporter of the BCS in the past decade, one would assume Gee exerts considerable influence in BCS matters.Remember Gee recently telling the ASSOCIATED PRESS that TCU and Boise State - despite BCS-enabled spots in the national championship race - did not face a difficult enough schedule to play in the national championship game?

“Well, I don’t know enough about the X’s and O’s of college football. I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it’s like murderer’s row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day. “So I think until a university runs through that gantlet that there’s some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to [be] in the big ballgame.”

Since Gee made his comments, have you heard any representative of the BCS come out in support of the Ohio State President?The only people who supported Gee’s contradictory stance on the BCS are the attorneys trying to use the BCS to get the NCAA’s anti-trust exemption removed.For someone long known as a leading proponent of the BCS, Gee’s criticism is rather ironic considering he sold the same BCS in 2007 to the CINCINNATI POST as inclusive to all schools:

“The rich would get richer and all the others would be excluded. Now, I happen to be at a school that’s at the top of the heap, but I recognize that this would be wrong. It would be against the university values system.“You would have to pry a national championship (tournament) from my cold, dead fingers. My view is a simple one. Any notion of a college football playoff system is absolute nonsense.”

Someone needs to get his story straight.OSU President Gee’s opinion of the college football postseason is also in direct conflict with his own coach, Jim Tressel.Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show on Nov. 12, 2010, Tressel said of his sport’s future:

“I’m sure we’re headed for change, playoffs one day I’m certain will be part of the package. Within five years we will be positioned for a playoff of sorts.”

With the nonexistent public support Gee received from colleagues after his statements about Boise State and TCU, who now has the more relevant opinion about the future of the BCS, Gee or Tressel?To recap, here are the people who are not responsible for the BCS:1) The NCAA President2) The Chairman of the NCAA Board of Directors3) The 2009-10 former Chairman of the BCS Governance Oversight Commitee (Top BCS Position)4) The NCAA employee most responsible for initiating and carrying out the recent expansion of the NCAA basketball tournament  - and the accompanying television rights negotiation5) BCS game broadcaster ESPN: the world’s most powerful sports television network6) The man who oversees the top BCS college football conference in America, the SEC Commissioner7) The University President presiding over the largest school athletic budget in the country and prominent BCS college football programs in the nation 8) You and me.My god. Who then does that leave?Who is still out there who benefits enough to want to do everything in his power to keep the BCS alive?THIS: Read more…

Dangerous Precedent If Fairley Goes Unpunished

If you visit this space regularly, you’ve seen a lot of cheap shots in college and pro football this season. But Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley’s spear of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is clearly the worst caught on video in a high profile game this year - if not in recent memory.

(Ignoring this play may come at a price for Auburn, SEC)

After the Bulldogs QB released a pass during the Auburn-Georgia game Saturday the Tigers defensive lineman lowered his helmet into the back of the unsuspecting Murray - after a five yard, unimpeded run-up.

Fairly was called for a personal foul on the play but remained in the game and later delivered another hit on Murray that knocked the quarterback out of the game.
Read more…

Schad: “I Don’t Really Care Who The Source Is”

Yesterday while speaking to Brandon Marcello of the JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive expressed concern about the prospect that Mississippi State-affiliated sources may have leaked information to the media about alleged impropriety involving the recruitment of Cam Newton.

Joe Schad: Mike Slive Does Care Who His Sources Are

(”Disappointed” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Does)

One of those reports, which the SEC has now verified as false, was a Joe Schad-authored ESPN story this week that cited, “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State.” Lede of that report:

Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.

Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the alleged conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to two other sources close to the football program.

From Schad’s story, the implication was that the SEC had been sitting on possible serious NCAA violations for 11 months. But after Schad’s report was released, the SEC confirmed that, to this day, it has never been informed of such phone conversations.

From John Zenor of the ASSOCIATED PRESS:

SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said Wednesday evening that there was also no mention of the reported conversations in either of the school’s reports to the league.

In the aftermath of Schad’s erroneous, Mississippi State-sourced report this week, Slive was asked by the Clarion-Ledger’s Marcello “if the SEC could punish MSU if coaches and/or staff members were found to have leaked information to the media?

SEC Commissioner Slive:

“That’s something we will have to determine once we really know who did what, what the facts are and … once all the established facts are in. When I mean established facts, I don’t mean when somebody (alleges) something. Once (the facts are) in, they’re in and we’ll be able to determine what’s appropriate.”

In other words, yes.

Thursday Schad appeared on the David Pollack & Mike Bell show on WQXI-AM in Atlanta. When talking about the sourcing of his reporting, Schad said:
Read more…

SEC, NCAA Issue Auburn Unmistakable Warnings

As Auburn ponders whether to play Cam Newton Saturday against Georgia, the NCAA and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive unfurled two not-so-subtle caution flags on Friday.

Mike Slive SEC Commissioner

(SEC Commissioner Mike Slive)

Most notably, Brandon Marcello of the JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER had this as part of an interview with the SEC Commissioner:

Slive said the SEC made Auburn aware of information it had collected from MSU in July, and gave Auburn five weeks to decide how to proceed. Cam Newton has since led Auburn to a 10-0 record and No. 2 national ranking

The information Auburn received from the SEC in July may not have changed the past four months, but the school can add a statement made this week by Kenny Rogers that accused Cecil Newton of seeking money for son Cam’s services to its possible evidence of impropriety.

The Rogers statement was subsequently corroborated by Mississippi State booster Bill Bell, who this week also turned over a voicemail from Rogers to the NCAA as it pertained to the Newton case.

In an additional statement to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS Friday, Slive was also careful to clarify that if Auburn plays Newton, it will be the school’s decision alone.

“The only thing we made clear is a decision about his eligibility is a decision that has to be made by the institution.”

Then there’s this ominous Tweet released by Charles Robinson on Twitter regarding the NCAA’s posture on Auburn’s dilemma.
Read more…

SEC Commish In College Station For A&M Talks

Jeff Platt of CBS affiliate WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi, and KZNE College Station radio host and publisher of the Texas A&M site Billy Liucci report Saturday that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is meeting with A&M officials today in College Station to talk about the prospect of the school moving to the Southeastern Conference.

Mike Slive current in College Station

No reason to doubt these reports, which could indicate that a decision from A&M will be forthcoming on future conference affiliation. Perhaps even before the Texas Board of Regents meets on Tuesday. Read more…