UConn Disgraced In Absolving Calhoun Of Blame

Today UConn released a response to NCAA allegations of eight major rules violations involving the school’s basketball program. Included in the UConn response was the acknowledgement that the program did commit multiple violations and that it would offer to enact self-imposed sanctions that included minimal scholarship reductions.

Jim Calhoun

(UConn Officials To NCAA: Rogues Are People Too!)

Though despite taking 62 pages (pdf) to defend itself against a serious threat of harsh NCAA penalties, the UConn administration absolved Jim Calhoun of any serious blame.

The entire NCAA investigation started after Yahoo Sports (who else?!) first broke the news last year of an alleged relationship between Calhoun and his program, former UConn basketball manager, booster and de-certified agent Josh Nochimson and then-prized recruit Nate Miles.

Nochimson is the key player in the most serious of UConn’s myriad violations. The HARTFORD COURANT describes him thusly:

A team manager-turned-agent, Nochimson was Richard Hamilton’s business manager before that relationship soured and ended with Hamilton suing Nochimson for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from him. Nochimson, because of his time spent at UConn, is considered a “representative of the institution’s athletic interests,” by the NCAA.

He is accused of developing a relationship with Miles and providing him with gifts (lodging, transportation, meals, etc.) and also working closely with members of the UConn staff during Miles’ recruitment. Nochimson has not commented publicly since these accusations surfaced and his whereabouts are unknown.

So as a “representative of the UConn’s athletic interests,” by NCAA rule Nochimson was not permitted any contact with a prospective UConn recruit, let alone provide a recruit with significant benefits - as he reportedly did with Miles.

The heart of the story involving Calhoun’s UConn, booster Nochimson and recruit Miles was capsulated today by Dan Wetzel and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo: Read more…

Big East Coach To Notre Dame: Football Or GTFO

For the first time ever, it appears that Notre Dame may be serious about committing its football program to a major conference. Of course, the Irish are already full-fledged members of the hoops-centric Big East, save football. Now Notre Dame is reportedly considering the Big 10 as a landing spot for its entire sports program, including football.

UConn 33 Notre Dame 30 Scoreboard UConn Coach Randy Edsall

(UConn’s Edsall, Big East: First On Scoreboard, Last In Boardroom)

With that news, UConn football coach Randy Edsall, who was reportedly a candidate for the Notre Dame football coaching position before Brian Kelly was hired, thinks it’s time for the Big East to demand that the Irish either commit fully to their present conference or cut ties completely with the Big East. Read more…

Women’s Final Four More Interesting Than Men’s

That’s not a question, it’s a statement.

WNBA Live 2008

(’Coach’ Mode: Michael Cooper impregnates opposing team’s center)

I love Bob Huggins and his breast pocket mini bottles being in the Final Four, and Butler is a great story, especially in Indy. But if I could pick one game to attend this weekend at gunpoint it’s Brittney Griner vs. The Streak in San Antone on Sunday.

The sports media finally has a legitimately compelling women’s basketball matchup, but somehow the Sunday game isn’t getting more than the normal, politically-correct deference the women’s Final Four always receives. At least so far.

As I’ve written on more than one occasion here, Griner has a chance to be the Gretzky of not just women’s basketball, but the most dominant female athlete in the history of women’s team sports. Her dominant physical skills are like nothing we’ve ever seen from a team sport female.

In other words, she can dunk. Easily. That’s everything. Read more…

Jasper Howard ‘Took Swing’ At Murder Suspect

Dave Altimari of the HARTFORD COURANT reports today that two witnesses, including a player on the UConn football team, told police that “Jasper Howard took the first swing at the man accused of stabbing him to death.”

John Lomax Jasper Howard

The fight began after two members of the team — Brian Parker, a redshirt freshman, and freshman A.J. Portee — “disrespected a girl,” according to the 21-page arrest warrant affidavit for John W. Lomax III, 21, who is charged with murder in Howard’s death.

Parker and Portee “made a comment” to the girl, and then “got into a shouting match” with Johnny Fitzgerald Hood, 21, of Hartford.

Police dispersed the crowd, but seven witnesses said they saw Lomax and Hakim Muhammad, 20 — both Bloomfield residents who came to the dance with Hood — go to Lomax’s car and return to the crowd carrying something or concealing something under their shirts, the warrant states.

Read more…

Dude Selling Bootleg Jasper Howard Merchandise

The NEW HAVEN REGISTER reports the attorney general of Connecticut is demanding that a website stop selling Jasper Howard-themed t-shirts, despite claims by the site’s owner that proceeds go to the fallen UConn player’s memorial fund.

Jasper Howard TShirt

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Friday that Game Day Tease is using UConn logos and images from its Web site without permission to sell items purporting to raise money for Howard’s family.

Blumenthal says the Pennsylvania-based company never registered any fundraising efforts with state agencies as required, and called it a “shameful and unlawful exploitation of Jasper Howard’s tragic death for commercial purposes.”

Braden Byler, the proprietor of the site, claims all monies from the shirt sales would go to Howard’s family. And that “he’s in the process of linking with an established nonprofit so the proceeds will go to charity as promised.

Shouldn’t he have thought of that before he started selling the shirts?

Should Website Owner Be Allowed To Sell Jasper Howard T-Shirts?

View Results

And now instead of just going away, Byler has another scheme to keep the shirt sales going. Read more…

Arrest Made In Killing Of UConn Football Player

The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reports this afternoon that a Hartford man has been arrested but not yet charged in the death of UConn football player Jasper Howard.

Jasper Howard Death Suspect Arrested

(UConn Coach Randy Edsall, UConn player Desi Cullen, Howard)

Johnny Hood, 21, is being held on $100,000 bond in connection with the early Sunday morning stabbing outside a school dance at the Storrs campus. Cops said Hood was charged with interfering with an officer and breach of peace, but he has not been charged in the stabbing.

Witnesses fingered Hood as being involved in the altercation outside the UConn Student Union on early Sunday morning.  It’s not yet known if he’s a student at the school. Read more…

Video: Police Give Details On Jasper Howard Death

UConn Police Major Ronald Blicher gave a press conference today in Storrs. He provided some details of the ongoing investigation into the death of Jasper Howard: Here are some of his comments from the Q&A portion of the presser:

Jasper Howard Murdered In UConn Campus Stabbing

“It happened in front of witnesses … We have been interviewing people throughout the night and day (that saw the stabbing). … Second victim is a UConn student. … There’s no indication that act was pre-meditated. We have no reason to believe that he (suspect) is a danger to our community. (The stabbing was) subsequent to an altercation that occurred. This was not a random act of violence.”

A fire alarm was pulled before the killings, but Blicher said he didn’t believe it was a pre-meditated part of the crime. The stabbings happened in close proximity, but exact distance between stabbings is not known. Blicher said it was the first homicide in recent memory (on Storrs campus): “I do not recall one in the last 30 years.”

Video of his press conference after the jump. Read more…

UConn Football Player Killed In Campus Stabbing

The HARTFORD COURANT reports this morning that starting UConn cornerback Jasper Howard “died today after an on-campus stabbing.”

Jasper Howard Murdered In UConn Campus Stabbing

(UConn has posted alert on school’s website)

According to multiple sources, Howard, 20, was reportedly was stabbed near the student union. State Police major crime unit and UConn police say the stabbing happened just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday on Hillside Road near the center of campus. Police said two people were stabbed and were found near each other on Hillside Road. Read more…

Enjoy The UConn Cheerleaders While You Still Can

On Wednesday, Brooks informed us that the University of Connecticut had banned its cheerleaders from doing any death-defying stunts during athletic contests, done out of concern of the cheergirls’ chances of suffering serious injuries - and concern of the lawsuits that are likely to follow.

UConn cheerleaders

(You won’t be seeing this anymore)

But such a decision by UConn officials puts the Husky cheerleaders on a slippery slope. (”Husky” referring to the nickname of UConn’s sports teams, not necessarily the physical condition of the cheerleaders.) Why, if they’re going to keep the girls from standing on each others’ heads & leaping to the ground, what’s to stop them from disbanding the cheerleading squad altogether? The gals can still suffer strained shoulders from all that arm-raising & fist-pumping, not to mention the terrible wear on their vocal chords from all that shouting - and the school could be held liable.

So before things in Storrs come to this inevitable conclusion, let’s take a moment to appreciate what might soon be removed from Rentschler Field & hauled away from the Hartford Civic Center.

(Photos after the jump.)

Read more…

Stanford $$$ Flushed Down Coach’s $70K Toilet?

• While Stanford suffers through athletic budget problems, football coach Jim Harbaugh gets himself a new $70,000 private bathroom & shower.

Jim Harbaugh golden toilet

• The SEC is certainly a selfless b-ball conference. When the players aren’t giving up scholarships to allow other people onto the team, their coaches are giving up raises so they can afford team trips to Australia.

• UConn is taking the first steps to curtail catastrophic cheerleader injuries.

• Schools aren’t sold on Bud Light’s plans for college-colored Fan Cans.

• Are fantasy sports a nightmare for relationships & fan allegiances?

Read more…