Michigan Football Soap Opera Kicks Into High Gear

Oh boy, this is gonna get ugly. It’s only been, what, four hours since the esteemed Mr. Jacobi wrote about the developing situation up in Ann Arbor regarding Michigan’s “voluntary” workouts, but it appears that the entire Michigan football team is now about to erupt into a Taiwanese Parliament fight. If any football fans out there thought the Wolverines would get back on track this season and surprise the (many) doubters, you might want to think twice about that.

Michigan Football


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.

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Speed Read: NCAA Tries To Erase History Again

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.

Derrick Rose John Calipari

(This never happened.)

Of course, the NCAA has been pulling these sort of shenanigans for years, “vacating” wins for schools that violate the rules. The latest to apparently earn this wrath is the University of Memphis basketball program, whose run to the 2008 title game is reportedly going to be vanishing from the NCAA’s memory today. As far as they’re concerned, the 38 wins accumulated that year never happened because Derrick Rose had someone else take the SAT for him in order to get into the school.

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.

John Calipari UMass

(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.

In a FOX SPORTS article, Antonio Anderson says it simply doesn’t matter:

“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.

Chris Webber timeout

(This…yeah, this happened.)

Should Memphis be forced to give up its 38 victories in 2007-08 if Derrick Rose cheated on his SAT?

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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.

Roy Halladay

Last night in Toronto, Clay Buchholz — one of the players rumored to be headed to the Jays in a proposed Halladay deal — outpitched the man himself in a 6-1 beatdown at Skydome Rogers Centre. The win, coupled with a Texas loss, put the Sox back into the Wild Card lead by a full game.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ “Plan B” when attempts to get Halladay failed, Cliff Lee, ran his record to 4-0 with a two-hit, 11 strikeout, complete game win over the Diamondbacks. Lee has pitched 33 of a possible 36 innings in his four starts with Philly and has a 0.82 ERA. Looks like he might be the 2009 version of CC Sabathia in Milwaukee, only for a much, much better team.

Cliff Lee

• Hey, everything I’m reading says that there’s still a lot of competition for the Vikings’ starting quarterback job. I am, of course, talking about D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, North Carolina. What, is there another team called the Vikings with some quarterback issues?

• Warner Robins, Georgia, won the Little League Softball World Series last night, crushing W’s favorite team from Crawford, Texas. Warner Robins is the first Little League to produce both a softball and baseball world champion (the boys won in 2007).

• 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:

• CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that ESPN THE MAGAZINE is allowing its subscribers to renew for a year AND get an ESPN.COM “Insider” subscription for a grand total of $1. The Mag’s GM claims that it’s a ploy to get more people to read Insider content, and not an admission that the mag is in trouble.

• ELEVEN WARRIORS says at least one witness says that Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller threatened a Florida man named Gray Decker, and that is why Decker flattened Moeller with a right hook at a bar and ended his season.

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.

Caster Semenaya

• ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says an Albuquerque high school baseball coach has been fired for hiring strippers to “entertain” his team while they were on a road trip in Denver last year. Says one parent:

“We thank all our friends in the Albuquerque baseball community for their support and well wishes during this unfortunate circumstance where no one comes out a winner.”

Whoa, hold on there. I can think of at least nine people who probably think they came out a winner.

• How’s this for ridiculous? The entire Angels starting lineup on Tuesday night in Cleveland has a .300 batting average or better, and all have at least 225 plate appearances. An all-.300 lineup hasn’t been on a Major League field since 1930.

Angels all .300 lineup

 • After missing more than a year, Billy Wagner is set to come back from injury … and the Mets are trying desperately to trade him. Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural season at Citi Field!

• Before the Mets’ game with the Phillies on Saturday, members of the ‘69 World Series champion Mets will help build the framework of a home for Habitat for Humanity. An hour later, the current Mets will help build the framework of another NL East title for the Phillies. Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural season at Citi Field!

John Smoltz has sucked this year. So the Cardinals are going to see if he can magically turn into a good pitcher again.

• Now, it’s time for fun with Twitter. First, the BOSTON GLOBE’s Amalie Benjamin is a little, uh, overpowered by David Ortiz:

Amalie Benjamin David Ortiz Twitter

And, Nick Collison comes dangerously close to calling his wife an unfortunate name. Good thing you got that period there, Nick!

Nick Collison Twitter


USC FB In Hot Water Over Coaching “Consultants”

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.

Pete Carroll

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.

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Auburn FB Recruiting: Glamourous, Sort Of Illegal

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.

Lache Seastrunk
(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.

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Longhorns, Texas Gov’t Play Scholarship Chicken

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.

william powers mack brown joe paterno

(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.

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NCAA Strips Seminoles of All Football Wins in 2007

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.

bobby bowden fsu

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.

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IU AD Falls On Sword After New NCAA Charge

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.

Rick Greenspan motorcycle

(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.

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Kelvin Claims NCAA Violations @ IU Not His Fault

It’s not Kelvin Sampson’s fault that Indiana had committed several NCAA violations during his reign as basketball coach. Just ask him yourself.

Kelvin Sampson arrest pose

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…

NCAA Finished With Flap Over UConn ESPN Visit

Last week, it was revealed that a little trip to the ESPN studios may have caused a big headache for the University of Connecticut. And now the NCAA has reached a verdict in their investigation.

Maya Moore ESPN studios

The HARTFORD COURANT learns that UConn was ruled to have committed a “secondary violation” for arranging a visit to the Bristol studios for basketball recruit Maya Moore. Read more…

ESPN Tours Can Cause NCAA Violations? LMAO

A high school recruit’s visit to the ESPN studios may have gotten the University of Connecticut into trouble with the NCAA.

Maya Moore ESPN studios

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…