A new group of current and former players is now claiming the original group of current and former players are full of crap and no rules are being broken. Teammates calling each other liars, parents threatening other parents…this ain’t your father’s Big Ten football.
I have always thought it’s weird when people bring up the idea of removing steroid-era numbers from baseball’s official record book, as if history can be fixed simply by ignoring it. Say what you want about Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, but every single home run they hit counted in a real-life Major League Baseball game.
For those of you scoring at home, that’s twice now that John Calipari-helmed teams have seen Final Four runs erased from the books, although in 1996 UMass was only forced to give up its 4-1 NCAA tournament record, and not its entire season, due to Marcus Camby’s indiscretions with an agent. In this case, Memphis’ whole season is being invalidated and Calipari is about to find his coaching resume to be 38 wins lighter.
(This didn’t happen either.)
I suppose it makes sense on some level. If Rose shouldn’t have been eligible to play, then how could any of the team’s wins be valid? But ultimately, this is just a big fat case of “who cares?” Michigan vacated its two runs to the title game with the Fab Five, but what did that accomplish (other than banning the team from the postseason in 2003 for things that happened a decade earlier)? It’s not like they’re giving up anything tangible. The memory of what happened will always be there. Chris Webber isn’t suddenly off the hook for that timeout thing.
“Honestly, I don’t care,” former Memphis guard Antonio Anderson said. “We know what we did. We didn’t do anything wrong, but it is what it is.”
And he’s got a point. The rest of the team didn’t do anything wrong. Even Calipari, it seems, didn’t do anything wrong here. Derrick Rose did allegedly do something wrong, but it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen to him. He, like Camby and Webber, will go on to make tons of money in the NBA while their former teammates are told that their dream college seasons didn’t even happen.
Of course, thus far, only teams that didn’t win the title have had such sanctions levied against them. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA is willing to strip a team of a title and hand it to the runner-up if something like this happens in the future.
(This…yeah, this happened.)
So, remember how (insert contending team here) was crazy not to give up half their team to get Roy Halladay a couple of weeks ago? Well, there are at least two teams that are feeling pretty good about their decision not to mortgage the farm for a short-sighted chance at success.
• English soccer team Burnley, playing its first Premier League home game ever (and first in the top division in 33 years), did the unthinkable last night, shocking Manchester United 1-0 on an awesome volley by veteran Robbie Blake:
• Here’s more details on the odd case of Caster Semenya, who won the women’s 800 meter run by a ridiculous 2 1/2 seconds at the World Championships. She is undergoing what is reportedly an “extremely complex, difficult” set of tests to determine whether or not she is actually a she. A gynecologist is involved, so I imagine that “extremely complex” is an understatement.
Much has been written about the unique personality of USC Trojans head coach Pete Carroll. We know he takes walks through the ghetto in the middle of the night, hands out his cell phone number to random people on the street, and believes in the power of Twitter and positive thinking in order to WIN FOREVER. He’s an unorthodox man whose smile can brighten up all of southern California and whose personality is powerful enough to build a college football powerhouse.
But one thing Pete Carroll cannot do is hire “consultants” to circumvent NCAA limitations on coaching hires. This, however, is exactly what the NCAA alleges that he did last season when he hired veteran NFL coach Pete Rodriguez to “consult” his special teams units and report back to the head coach. That, not coincidentally, is exactly what a coach does. And it’s why they’re in a bit of a pickle.
Over the weekend, Auburn held a bit of a crazy bash for several recruits. It was called “Big Cat Weekend,” even though there were no actual tigers, lions, panthers, pumas, ocelots, mountain lions, jaguars, or this guy in attendance. Nonetheless, the recruits had a blast being celebrated, as you can see here.
(The NCAA might make Auburn a much less smiley destination for recruits.)
As a matter of fact, as one recruit (Ladarius Owens) was announced, another recruit, Lache Seastrunk (above) actually called out Nick Saban (that’ll end well, we’re sure), saying Saban was “S.O.L.” on recruiting Owens. Fans whooped and cheered at Seastrunk’s proclamation, and a great time was had by all.
Well, all but Auburn’s compliance department, anyway, since the whole thing was blatantly illegal.
A couple of days ago, the Texas state legislature made headlines by openly acknowledging a potential need to eliminate athletic scholarships at the University of Texas to facilitate the impossible increase in guaranteed acceptance students. What guaranteed acceptance, you ask? Well, before he was President of the United States, George W. Bush did a fine job ruining Texas’s education system, passing a bill in 2000 that ensured all students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class could attend any state college they chose. Naturally, nearly all chose to attend UT, and a shocking percentage of those Texas students then flunked out.
(The man on the right is forcing Texas to decide between football and an archaic admissions standard. Guess what they’re going to choose?)
Unfortunately, that failure rate never dissuades future students from attending Texas, and the constant influx has left the Austin campus overflooded. Since those students are guaranteed admission, UT has to find another section to cut students in, and athletics was prominently mentioned. Well, one of the country’s top athletic departments is openly talking about eliminating its crown jewel athletic department, according to the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN.
The findings of a year-long investigation into alleged academic fraud at Free Shoe Florida State University are in, and they’re not pretty for Seminole fans. According to the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Florida State will be forced to vacate all seven wins that Bobby Bowden’s football program earned in 2007. That’s the result of the exposure and subsequent dismissal of a member of FSU’s academic support staff, who cheated to help some 61 athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, track and field (which won an indoor national championship), men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball stay eligible. Oh, and swimming. Basically, if you were on a sports team at Florida State in 2007, you’re about to lose every single win you earned with your team.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK has a complete breakdown of the sanctions, and they are voluminous. Losing all those wins — and the national title — aren’t the only hit the Seminoles are taking. The sanctions that were released call for the school to cut back on scholarships for the football program (five in 2009-10 and six in 2010-11), men’s basketball (12 instead of 13 through 2011) and women’s basketball (13 instead of 15 through 2011). If you thought six scholarships aren’t that big a deal, consider how many borderline players actually make a big impact in college football … and how many times FSU has missed with its biggest recruits in recent years. That could be big trouble.
Rick Greenspan probably brought this all on himself — when you hire a coach who’s been busted for recruiting violations before like Kelvin Sampson, you’re going to take the fall if and when he’s accused of violations again.
So now with the NCAA’s recent revealing of a charge against Indiana University for “failing to monitor” the activities of both Sampson and assistant Rob Senderoff regarding phone calls to recruits, Greenspan decided to get out, his resignation effective at the end of the calendar year.
(He’ll be riding out of Bloomington with the wind in his hair.)
The INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports that the NCAA infractions committee handed down the charge because:
…IU failed “to provide the extra close oversight and scrutiny of all aspects of the men’s basketball program that was required by the prior infractions record of the former coach.” That refers to Sampson breaking recruiting rules while in his previous job at Oklahoma. Penalties from those violations followed Sampson to IU.
Mark Alesia of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR phones in news that Sampson & two former IU assistants will be heading to Seattle on June 13 to face the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The most serious charges Sampson faces include making unauthorized calls to recruits & lying about it to the university.
But Kelvin already has his defense all set: Read more…
Shelley Smith reports that her employer may have helped the Huskies commit violations when they allowed women’s basketball recruit Maya Moore to take a trip around the Bristol-based buildings. Sources say the UConn-requested tour was considered an “improper benefit” that Moore received during her 2005 visit to the school.
The NCAA apparently began the investigation after receiving a tip from the Huskies’ biggest on-court nemesis. Read more…