Arizona AD’s 140 Keys To School’s Football Future

A major announcement by Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne today signaled the future of the school’s football program.

Greg Byrne announced new Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez by Tweeting a photo of Rodriguez's family

(Arizona AD used clever Twitter post, photo to announce next football coach)

Byrne’s attention-grabbing Twitter and photography skills left the media and college football fans agog as they pondered the possibilities of social media.

He also happened to hire the school’s next football coach in the process. Read more…

‘95: Suspended Star Didn’t Know Of Dad Benefits

Wednesday the NCAA announced in a statement, “Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton is immediately eligible to compete, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

Lute Olson: Stoudamire did nothing wrong in '96, but still missed a game

Despite rendering Cam Newton eligible, the NCAA noted:

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.

In the same statement Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, said that Cam Newton not knowing about his dad’s activities is essentially what caused him to be completely cleared:

In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete’s eligibility, we must consider the young person’s responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.

The Newton situation is not without precedent.

In 1995, the father of Arizona Wildcats basketball star Damon Stoudemire was accused by the NCAA of accepting a plane ticket from an agent. Stoudamire denied knowing of the arrangement while his father, Willie Stoudamire, also denied accepting the ticket.

After the NCAA informed Arizona of its allegation against Stoudamire’s father, the school immediately suspended the star guard while simultaneously filing an emergency appeal with the governing body seeking Stoudamire’s immediate reinstatement.

In announcing the suspension of Stoudamire, the WASHINGTON POST reported that Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood said at the time:

“I need to make this very clear and very distinct. Damon has done nothing wrong. Damon knows nothing of what has transpired, and Damon has had no part in that.”

The BOSTON GLOBE subsequently reported that instead of immediately reinstating Stoudamire, as it did in the Cam Newton case, the NCAA “suspended Stoudamire for the last regular-season game, reinstating him for the postseason tournament.

In his 2007 book Lute! The Seasons Of My Life, Lute Olson wrote of the suspension:

Damon had done nothing wrong, he wasn’t even aware where his father had gotten the ticket.

Frank Burlison of the LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM reported at the time that the NCAA’s final ruling on the matter, which did not come until after Stoudamire had sat out a game and before the final NCAA basketball tournament brackets were set, may have hurt Arizona’s seeding for postseason play:

Arizona (23-7), expected to earn a No. 3 seed (perhaps in the West), was given a No. 5 seed and shipped to the Midwest, where the Wildcats will face at-large selection Miami of Ohio in Dayton on Thursday.

The lower-than-anticipated slot led many to speculate that the committee may have been told by the NCAA’s Enforcement branch that Arizona All-American guard Damon Stoudamire may not regain his eligibility for the tournament.

Sources said Stoudamire, a preseason all-American, was under investigation because of the possibility his father might have accepted an airline ticket from a sports agent.

Danny Robbins of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE reported the details of the NCAA’s decision to force Stoudamire to miss a game while possibly injure his team’s March Madness seeding:

Carrie Doyle, NCAA director of eligibility, said the one-game suspension was considered a sufficient penalty. She also said Stoudamire’s father, Willie, had repaid the value of the ticket. 

More from NCAA director of eligibility Doyle in 1995:

(Agent Steve) Feldman has admitted that he wants to represent (Damon) Stoudamire and had provided the (plane) tickets to his father in hopes of representing the son on a professional level. Damon Stoudamire states that he had no knowledge of the relationship between his father and Feldman.

The similarity between the Cam Newton and Damon Stoudamire cases is indisputable. Read more…

Hangin’ Out: R-Jeff, Luke Walton, K-Rush, Kroenke

Heres a couple photos sent to me by a reader today:

Kareem Rush, Luke Walton, Richard Jefferson Josh Kroenke cruise photos

(Full size version of photo here)

The photos include NBA players Kareem Rush, Richard Jefferson, former Univ. of Missouri basketball player and son of Nuggets Owner Josh Kroenke and Luke Walton and two other men sharing a drink and a banana boat.

Kareem Rush, Luke Walton, Richard Jefferson cruise photos

The photos were taken on a cruise earlier this summer. Read more…

Video: ASU Player Has LeGarrette Blount Moment

I’ve located some shocking, amateur cellphone video of an Arizona State football player landing a LeGarrette Blount-like punch on a University of Arizona football player after the two teams met last Saturday.

Vontaze Burfict punches Ricky Wolder after Arizona State vs. Arizona game

(Video was pulled off Youtube, but animation still shows what happened)

After Alex Zendejas kicked a last-second field goal to give the Wildcats the 20-17 win over the Sun Devils, players from both teams streamed together at midfield, and that’s when it got ugly.

Read more…

Oregon Cheerleader Struck By ‘Zona Bottle Speaks

As part of its cheerleader of the week photo featurette, has the first comments from Oregon cheerleader Katelynn Johnson since she sustained a concussion. While on the field following the Arizona-Oregon game in Tucson, Johnson was struck in the head by a bottle.

Katelynn Johnson Oregon Cheerleader Struck By Bottle At Arizona

Johnson revealed that she actually lost consciousness for some time after she hit in the head by the projectile, which was launched from a fan in the Arizona stadium stands.

Katelynn Johnson


 Everyone was on the sideline celebrating and it was such a great rush, but as we started to see items flying at us, the celebrating turned into a panic/fear.

Read more…

Oregon Cheerleader Hit By Bottle Was Hospitalized

After the Arizona-Oregon game in Tucson Saturday night, Oregon cheerleader Katelynn Johnson was, while still on the field, struck in the head by a full water bottle apparently thrown from the stands.

Katelynn Johnson

The PORTLAND OREGONIAN sets the “terrifying scene” Saturday night:

Oregon senior associate athletic director Joe Giansante, who announced the Ducks’ television replay broadcast in the corner of the field where Johnson was hit, said several items were being thrown toward Oregon players after the game.

“As the team was coming in, they were getting bombarded with water bottles, batteries, and various other items coming out of the stands,” Giansante said. “We were yelling at everybody to keep their heads up, but one got through and hit Katelynn in the head. All the kids (on the cheerleading team) are scared, but hopefully she’ll be OK.”

Brutal, inexcusable behavior by the Arizona fans.

Johnson sustained a concussion but has since been released from a Tucson hospital and returned home to Eugene.

Katelynn Johnson

The ARIZONA DAILY STAR reports that University of Arizona police have every intention of finding the person who injured the Oregon cheerleader and charging them with a crime. Read more…

That Sick-Kick-Pick-Six? Yeah, Um, Not So Much

You might recall yesterday’s post about the ridiculous go-ahead touchdown Washington scored on Arizona after a Nick Foles pass deflected off of WR Delashaun Dean’s cleats and into the grasp of Huskies LB Mason Foster. Hell of a way to lose a game, right?

Delashaun Dean Mason Foster Incomplete Pass Spikes

Hell of a way, indeed. That’s a closeup screencap - or actually somebody just taking a picture of their television from 9 inches away, it would appear - of the ball evidently touching the ground as it hits Dean’s shoe. So, you’re likely wondering, why wasn’t the play reviewed? Turns out, it was.

Read more…

Dolphins Take Their Time, But Colts Take The Win

• The Dolphins held the ball for more than 30 minutes longer than the Colts, but it was Peyton Manning & Co. who left Land Shark Stadium with a 27-23 win on Monday night.

Peyton Manning Dolphins

• It’s a Twitter trifecta: First, Redskins rookie LB Robert Henson takes “dim wit” Washington fans to task for booing at FedEx Field.

• Then Marcus Fitzgerald bitches on behalf of brother Larry about the lack of catches the Cardinals WR is getting.

• And Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema admits that one of his scouting techniques is following the Tweets of opposing players.

• A South Carolina man is sentenced to life in prison without parole for the vicious stabbing death of a high school cheerleader.

Read more…

Arizona’s Tuitama Goes From QB To Wings Server

Weep not for Willie Tuitama. He was a highly touted prospect when he committed to the Arizona Wildcats back in 2004, and he had a super-productive career with the ‘Cats, racking up well over 9,000 yards through the air and 67 TDs.

Willie Tuitama
(Here, he’s “serving” a handoff! Stupid joke? Bad schtick? Okay, we’ll stop.)

But Tuitama wasn’t drafted, something that may have something to do with his “extreme DUI” arrest a few weeks before the draft (special note to marketing majors: that it’s an “Extreme” DUI does not mean it’s spicy or comes with extra cheese). So now instead of living the life on an NFL rookie, he’s doing the next best thing - if by “next best” we mean “worst imaginable” - working at a local Buffalo Wild Wings as a server.

Read more…

Speed Read: Rumor Mill Heats Up Valley Of Sun

We last left the never-ending stand-up comedy routine that is Shaquille O’Neal’s life as he was engaging in a prank battle with Suns rookie Louis Admunson. But then came word that he might soon be taking his show on the road, as the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reported that the big man expected to be heading to New Orleans in the off-season in a trade for Tyson Chandler.

Shaquille O'Neal

While the prospect of O’Neal - who had something resembling a career resurgance this past season - joining Chris Paul and David West might make Hornets fans (hello, anyone?)  scream like a teenage girl bumping into Joe Jonas at an am/pm, the TIMES-PICAYUNE says that they can save their voices. They looked at the trade and said that the numbers just don’t work - basically, the Hornets would have to trade $8 million more in player salaries in addition to Chandler’s, which doesn’t help their goal of trimming salary to stay under the cap.

Anquan Boldin

So while the Suns’ trade of Shaq might have stalled, the same isn’t true of Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Anquan Boldin. First, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS said that Boldin appeared as a guest on Michael Irvin’s radio show and pretty much pleaded to be traded:

As for getting traded Boldin said, “I just want to get it resolved, it’s been going on way too long.” Later he said, “it would hurt but at the same time, change is necessary. My only problem has been management, always has been.”

While this was happening, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC was reporting that the Cardinals have changed their course and are now open” to listening to trade offers for Boldin, who has two years left on his contract, but still prefer to resign him. Boldin mentioned in his interview that he’d love to play in the NFC East. With basically every team in the division needing a go-to wide receiver, it certainly is an attractive option.

And while this all was happening, on the other side of the country former Delaware football player Julian James was hungry - really hungry.  The DELAWARE NEWS-JOURNAL says that a video surveillance camera at an off-campus apartment complex allegedly shows James entering an unlocked apartment and leaving with loot, while unsuccessfully trying to get into six other apartment. His haul?

Julian James

“100 frozen chicken wings, a pound of frozen salmon, 18 frozen Hot Pockets and 20 hamburger patties worth a total value of $82.”

Or as John Kruk would call that, “lunch.” I hope they recovered the stolen food before James had a chance to eat it; Otherwise, I’d think the state’s Exhibit A in the trial is going to be pretty smelly and disgusting.

  • What’s hotter than Miss America in a basketball jersey? How about Miss America in a basketball jersey draining an NBA 3-pointer. INDY CORN ROWS says current Miss America Katie Stam did just that before a Pacers game last night.
  • Miss America with the Pacers

  • What happens when a stick from an opposing team’s player gets stuck halfway through the glass in Boston? As PUCK DADDY says, it turned into a tug-of-war between Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev and a Bruins fan during the Canadiens’ 4-2 loss, with the stick breaking in half. If this were the 1970s and the Bruins were playing the Rangers, Mike Milbury would have made sure someone ate some leather.
  • Congratulations to Ichiro, who the SEATTLE TIMES reports set the record for most hits by a Japanese baseball player with a fourth inning single, giving him 3,086 for his career in Japan and the U.S. So that’s what was causing his bleeding ulcer.
  • As if the Flyers needed an obstacle in trying to take down the Penguins in their NHL first-round playoff series: the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS says that Philadelphia enforcer Daniel Carcillo has been suspended for Game 2 after giving a “message” hit to the back of the head of Pittsburgh’s Max Talbot at the end of the Flyers’ Game 1 loss.
  • In the wake of Nick Adenhart’s tragic death and with the Angels’ nearly tragic bus crash from 1992 still on longtime team fans’ minds, HALOS HEAVEN looks at MLB’s contingency plans in case of a catastrophic accident that wipes out a team. George Costanza can rest easy tonight.
  • The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH says that Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter left the team’s game against the Cubs in the fourth inning with a strained oblique. How did he get the injury? Taking a swing during an earlier at-bat. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE DH, PEOPLE!
  • Remember when the Cavs fans got on LeBron James’ case when he dribbled out the ball with the team needing one more point to ensure fans a free Taco Bell item? The CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER says King James was still ticked about Chalupagate as he addressed the fans before the team’s home finale.
  • If I am Kurt Busch and my NASCAR career has stalled, the one person I wouldn’t be yelling at during a race is his car owner, racing legend Roger Penske. FROM THE MARBLES agrees, and has the audio and video proof (about 55 seconds in):

  • Kenyon Martin on Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof to SI.COM after Maloof demanded an apology after Martin gave a hard foul to the Kings’ Spencer Hawes: “Apologize to him? I’m not apologizing to him. I apologized to Spencer after the game, but before he opens his mouth he needs to know what’s going on.” Guess someone just got uninvited to the Palms VIP suites this off-season.
  • Congratulations to former Arizona basketball star Eugene Edgerson, who the ARIZONA DAILY STAR says was arrested for his second domestic abuse charge within the past two months. Edgerson currently plays for the Harlem Globetrotters, leading me to wonder if his wife is the Washington Generals of marriage.

With Stephen A. Smith out the door, which ESPN talking head should be the next to get the ax?

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