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.)

Nah.

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Intent To Injure Gets Green Light From SEC’s Slive

Today Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive suspended Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart and Georgia defensive tackle Kwame Geathers for the first halves of their next games.

Logan Stewart Clips Kwame Geathers From Behind

(Video Source: ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

The punitive action was a response to an altercation between the two during Georgia’s 33-28 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday. From that incident, SEC Commissioner Slive decided that Stewart will miss the first two quarters of Vandy’s game against Army this Saturday and Geathers will do the same in Georgia’s game against Florida in Jacksonville.

While there’s no excusing Geathers for briefly retaliating after Stewart applied a vicious, blindside clip that clearly targeted the knees of the UGA DT, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would’ve reacted any differently than Geathers did.

Stewart’s move to collapse the knees of the towering Georgia defensive lineman with a chop block - following a 10-yard sprint behind the play - certainly indicated an intent to injure on the part of the Vanderbilt offensive lineman. And there’s not a college football player alive who wouldn’t have had the same, reflexive retaliatory reaction as Geathers if they were targeted for such a dangerous, dirty play.

(Watch Stewart give a “thumbs-up” after clipping Geathers)

Stewart knew full well that perpetrating such an act could easily end the football career of Geathers, but he did it anyway. In a blatant, premeditated way.

What kind of message does it send when Slive sentences Geathers to the same amount of sideline time as Stewart?

That if a victim responds to being wronged, no matter how serious the crime, he gets the same sentence as the instigator who tried to injure him.

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Raw Video: Richt Calls UGA Behavior “Horse—-”

Last night - via WSMV-TV in Nashville - I posted video from the postgame, on-field exchange between Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin and Georgia Coach Mark Richt.

(Raw Video Source: WSMV-TV Nasvhille)

During the heated, essentially one-way conversation, Franklin slammed UGA Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham in attempting to explain the ensuing altercation between the two teams following Georgia’s 33-28 win over the Commodores in Nashville.

WSMV has since released more of the exchange between Franklin and Richt - and Franklin and another Georgia assistant coach.

The video includes subtitles to identify what Franklin and Richt said in real time. Transcript:

Franklin: ”36 [Shawn Williams] comes up, after a tough game, talking — to me!

Richt:Okay.”

Franklin: ”Rubbing our face in it right after the game!

Richt:He’s a dumb—.

Franklin:And then your coach when I tell him about it, then he goes after me and the fight starts.

Richt:That’s what I thought happened, I apologize. It’s horse —- horse —-.”

After complaining to Richt, Franklin then vented his spleen to a Georgia assistant coach:

Franklin: Hey, 36 after a tough game, come over and going to talk —- in my face after the game. That’s not how my guys do it!

While Franklin has a point about the behavior of Williams, if that’s in fact what happened between the Georgia player and Vanderbilt coach, perhaps his enthusiasm for making accusations to the Georgia coaching staff should’ve instead been channeled into avoiding a further altercation by getting his team off the field.

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Did Richt Call UGA Player, Asst Coach ‘Dumbass’?

A postgame scene on the field between Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin and Georgia Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham last Saturday has led to Grantham being reprimanded by UGA AD Greg McGarity - with the SEC mulling possible punishment for the UGA DC.

(WSMV-TV Nashville: Richt-Franklin video source)

Though videotape of the incident between the two coaches suggests Franklin may deserve at least some blame for instigating the altercation.

Before Grantham admittedly went Dusty Rhodes on Vandy’s main man, Franklin can be seen on video pointing at and shouting in the direction of Georgia football player Shawn Williams  - but only after Williams is 10 yards away with his back turned and Grantham is conveniently within earshot.

With that in mind, a case can be made that Franklin waited to get the attention of Grantham, or any member of the Georgia coaching staff, before the Vandy coach loudly complained about Williams while gesturing in the player’s direction.

Video from a WSMV-TV report in Nashville also showed Franklin throwing Grantham under the bus in his explanation of what happened to Georgia head coach Mark Richt, who actually seemed to sympathize with the opposing coach by responding, “that’s what I thought happened. I apologize.”


And as first noted by Clay Travis of OutkickTheCoverage.com, it sounds like Richt may have also referred to either a Georgia player or Grantham as a “dumbass” as Franklin was describing what allegedly led to the altercation.

So what dastardly act by the Georgia players angered Franklin enough to call out UGA player Williams in front of Grantham?

Franklin told Richt that the Bulldogs were, “rubbing our face in it after the game.”

Glad to see Vandy got their man.

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Nutt Cracks On Auburn Recruit With 2011 Camaro

With the walls closing in on his coaching career at Ole Miss, Houston Nutt lashed out at Auburn Monday during a speech to the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

Using the defense of oversigning as a thinly-veiled pretense, Nutt seemed to intimate to the group that a late commitment to Auburn last February by a Mississippi high school recruit might indicate a lack of NCAA rules compliance.

From Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS:

“Gene Chizik came in and stole my man Jermaine Whitehead,” Nutt said during a speech today at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham. “I asked Gene, ‘Now Gene, you didn’t even have a home visit.’ It must be nice to hold up that crystal ball. Hold up a crystal ball and get one of my best players.”

Whitehead, a Mississippi native whose development this season has been praised by Chizik, was a four-star recruit last winter. At one time, Whitehead said he was committed to Mississippi State.

Nutt, who is often criticized for oversigning, said Whitehead was committed to Ole Miss for a month-and-a-half up to the final week before Signing Day.

“He took my hand and said, ‘Coach Nutt, I’m coming to play for you,’” Nutt said. “I took his word!”

Whitehead visited Auburn for its Big Cat weekend in 2010, for its game against Georgia in the fall and several other times, as well, including the final weekend before Signing Day.

“Jermaine didn’t go on Friday. He left Saturday,” Nutt said. “We stayed in his house until 10 o’clock on Friday night, the last weekend before Signing Day saying, ‘I know he’s not going to Auburn now.’ Wake up, starting to get nervous because Monday and Tuesday before Signing Day and now he doesn’t call. He won’t answer my call.”

Finally, Whitehead told Nutt he was going to sign with Auburn. Nutt described the conversation this way:

“Jermaine: ‘Coach, I gotta go to Auburn.’”

“Why? Why would you go to Auburn? They already won their title. They already have the crystal ball. They don’t need you. I need you.”

“Coach, it’s business.”

“Business? You shook my hand, man! You said you were committed to me!”

“I know, Coach. I’m sorry.”

Does that sound like an argument for oversigning or an all-out assault on the integrity of the Auburn coaching staff?

And why did Nutt single out Whitehead?

Obviously losing a top in-state recruit was a bitter pill, but Nutt’s choice of words in describing Whitehead’s flip probably wasn’t a coincidence.

Four months after Whitehead signed with Auburn, he linked the below photo of a new Camaro in an entry to his @J2Whitehead Twitter account.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

Whitehead later Tweeted that his parents had bought him the vehicle as a graduation gift, though the current Auburn Tiger later deleted the photo of the car he had previously posted.

Whitehead has since been officially cited as the owner of a 2011 Camaro in a July 21, 2011, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, speeding ticket.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

In a Pickens County, Alabama, speeding ticket a year earlier, Whitehead was cited as the owner of a 1999 Dodge Stratus.

Is it unreasonable to think that Nutt may have dropped the “Coach, it’s business” business into his speech given what we now know about Whitehead’s Camaro?

CJ Johnson's New Truck

(Nutt questioning a recruit’s late, about-face? Please)

Hours” before Whitehead signed with Auburn on Feb. 2, 2011, Steve Robertson of Scout.com reported:

“My final three are going to be Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn,” said Jermaine. “I am not ready to say who it’s going to be, but I have made my decision and I feel good about everything.”

Whitehead will sign and fax his national letter of intent in the morning and then join teammates, fans and media at a 1 PM press conference at Amanda Elzy High School.

In the end there can only be one, but Jermaine has found some positive things about all of his finalists.

Ole Miss: - “Ole Miss has a great coaching staff and great facilities. A lot of my boys are going up there, so it would be good to be able to play with them.”

Mississippi State: - “Mississippi State is a young team with a lot of talent. I believe they just need the right spark to get them playing at the highest level. They have a bright future.”

Auburn: - “The coaches at Auburn carry a swagger and you can tell they get the most out of all of their players. They have a great campus and great facilities.”

If you take the time to watch Whitehead’s interviews and read his comments throughout his recruitment, he clearly had a handle on the process. His most familiar refrain leading up to his Auburn sign was trying to find immediate playing time while still being in a winning environment. As he’s already on the field for Auburn, which is off to a considerably better start than Ole Miss and Mississippi State, it appears he made the right call - for now.

CJ Johnson Range Rover

(Nutt recruit CJ Johnson after flipping to Ole Miss)

While it isn’t unreasonable to have questions about Whitehead’s Camaro, considering Nutt has failed to translate his own recent experience as beneficiary of a late, about-face by a top-rated recruit into not getting manhandled by Vandy, you can’t blame any recruit for eschewing Nutt’s peepa heppin bidness.


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Spurrier: Cocks Can’t Keep Up With James Bond

After South Carolina’s 21-3 win over Vanderbilt last Saturday, Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier said, “I apologize to Gamecock fans for such a putrid offensive performance.


Still at a loss on Tuesday, the Ol’ Bawl Coach® seemed to attribute his choppy Gamecock offense as much to opponent espionage as lacking in block & tackle.

When commenting at his weekly press conference in Columbia on South Carolina Tight End Rory “Buster” Anderson, Spurrier volunteered, “we’re working at hiding [offensive play] signals from the other team, there’s all kinds of things we’re trying to get better at.

Spurrier was then asked, “Have you seen some indication that [opponents] are stealing your signs?

Spurrier:

“Oh sure, yeah sure. We haven’t done a very good job hiding our signals. So we had two guys signaling them last week. And of course we had Buster [Anderson] looking at the wrong signal man a couple times. [laughter] .. Stuff can happen so you just have to keep working on it.”

Spurrier was then asked, “Do [opponents] actively try to steal signals every game? Is that something you all do? Is that common practice?

Spurrier:

“Well if the other guy just stands right out there and shows you his signals, sure its helpful. you have to always worry about that. And maybe we’ve not worried about it as much as we should have.”

Even I know that when “the other guy just stands right out there and shows you his signals” it can mean only one thing.

Pulling. Guard.

Brooks is on Twitter, Facebook and at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

OSU’s Gee: ‘college sports most ignominious year’

The following is an opinion piece by Ohio State President Gordon Gee published in the COLUMBUS DISPATCH on the state of intercollegiate athletics.

Gordon Gee and Jim Tressel

I like to win. I also like to sleep at night. But after 23 years leading universities, I find it increasingly difficult to do both.

This has been the most ignominious year in recent memory for college sports. We’ve seen coaches behaving badly, academic fraud, and graft. Clearly, the system is broken, and fixing it will require more than sideline cheering.

Many athletic departments exist as separate, almost semi-autonomous fiefdoms within universities and there is the feeling that the name on the football jersey is little more than a “franchise” for sports fans.

As Bill Bowen and Sarah Levin point out in their new book, Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values, even at the best colleges and universities in the country, student-athletes are increasingly isolated. They do not participate in the extracurricular activities that are so important for personal growth.

They miss out on opportunities to study abroad or have internships. They spend too much time in special athletic facilities that are off-limits to the rest of the student body. And their world can too often be defined by coaches’ insatiable demands for practice and workout sessions.

True, this is the cost of staying competitive in college sports, where tens of millions of dollars are at stake. But should it be?

Over the years I have gotten to know thousands of student-athletes. They are as different as any group of individuals could be — with different skills, talents and aspirations. What they have in common, though, is a sense that they missed out on an important part of the college experience by focusing only on sports.

They also lose out by being stripped of their responsibilities as citizens of the university when we say that “all will be forgiven” as long as their performance on the field is up to snuff.

This must change.

In recent years, there have been a number of well-meaning and forceful efforts to reform college athletics, but they have not gone far enough. It is time for all those who are concerned about the future of our enterprise to get serious about addressing the crisis of credibility we now face. College presidents, working together, should commit themselves to the following reforms:

* All students who participate in intercollegiate sports should be required to meet the requirements of a core curriculum. The “permanent jockocracy” has for too long made a mockery of academic standards when it comes to athletes. We need to end sham courses, manufactured majors, degree programs that would embarrass a mail-order diploma mill, and the relentless pressure on faculty members to ease student-athletes through their classes.

* Colleges should make a binding four-year commitment to students on athletic scholarships. One of the dirty secrets of intercollegiate athletics is that such scholarships are renewed year-to-year. A bad season? Injury? Poor relationship with a coach? Your scholarship can be yanked with very little notice. Rather than cynically offering the promise of academic enrichment, colleges should back up the promise so long as a student remains in good academic standing.

* The number of athletic scholarships a school can award should be tied to the graduation rates of its athletes in legitimate academic programs. If a school falls below a threshold graduation rate, it should be penalized by having to relinquish a certain number of scholarships for the next year’s entering class.

A version of this proposal is part of a reform package now snaking its way through the NCAA.

* Graduation rates should be tied to television and conference revenues. If money is the mother’s milk of college athletics, then access to it should be contingent on fulfilling the most basic mission of a university — educating students.

*Finally, college presidents and others need to take a good look at the system we have created for ourselves, in which the professional sports leagues have enjoyed a free feeder system that exploits young people and corrupts otherwise noble institutions.

We have maintained the fantasy for far too long that a big-time athletics program is for the students, the alumni and, at public universities, even for the legislators.

It is time for us to call it what it is has sadly become: a prep league for the pros, who have taken far more than they have given back. We should demand nothing less than a system in which student-athletes are an integral part of the academic institutions whose names and colors they so proudly wear on game day.

Just one more thing. Read more…

Video: SEC Ref Blows Call Then Escapes Scrutiny

Down two with six seconds left at Vandy last night, Alabama’s JaMychal Green drove the baseline in a bid to get the Tide even.

Tim Higgins blows a call that cost Bama any chance against Vandy

Jeff Lockridge of the NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN reports on what happened next:

JaMychal Green, who scored 19 of his 23 in the second half, had a chance to tie it or put Alabama back in front, but he stepped on the baseline trying to drive past Festus Ezeli with six seconds.

All due respect to Lockridge, Green didn’t step on the baseline.

Not surprisingly, Don Kausler of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS saw things differently, as he was sure to report on the “controversial call” that cost the Tide the game.

1. The controversial call(s). No, JaMychal Green did not appear to step out of bounds as he drove the baseline for a potential game-tying basket with 6.3 seconds left. He appeared to be fouled by Vandy big man Festus Ezeli. The call/no-call is what everybody will be talking about this morning.

Now let’s get an account from a quality college hoops blog called Rushthecourt.net:

The win is stained a bit, though, by what looked to be a terrible call by baseline official Tim Higgins.

After a time out, Alabama worked it around to JaMychal Green who made a move along the far baseline toward the goal against defender Festus Ezeli. During the move, Green took a little contact from Ezeli. No call came from Higgins, but that was fine, because you can’t expect to get that call on minimal contact at such a late stage.

With his next step, though, Green planted his right foot very close to the baseline, but Higgins felt that Green had crossed it, blew his whistle, and gave the ball back to Vandy with just over six seconds left. They salted it away with two John Jenkins free throws.

Within seconds, Twitter was alive with people claiming that Higgins, despite standing right on top of the play, had missed it and denied Alabama a chance to tie. ESPN2′s second replay appeared to confirm that Higgins blew it, and announcers Rece Davis and Hubert Davis even stated on-air that they didn’t feel Green had touched the line.

So what’s the difference between the first two accounts and the last report? Read more…

Pitcher Has Nastiest Splitter In History Of Baseball

Freshman Vanderbilt pitcher Corey Williams suffered a positively awful injury last weekend during a college baseball game between the Commodores and the University of Florida.

Video Vanderbilt Pitcher Corey Williams Has Kneecap Split

In the seventh inning of the Saturday game, Gators third baseman Austin Maddox rocketed a line drive back at Corey, who had come into the game as a relief pitcher.  The hurler was struck by the baseball flush on the right kneecap.

Vanderbilt Pitcher Corey Williams Kneecap Xray

(Williams knee X-ray from Vanderbilt University Athletic Dept.)

From this X-ray of Corey’s knee after the game, provided to SbB by the Vanderbilt Athletic Dept., you can see that the force of ball off the metal bat cleanly split his kneecap in two.

After he was struck on the knee, Corey fell to the ground onto his stomach in excruciating pain but still had the presence of mind to roll the ball along the ground to Vandy first baseman Aaron Westlake for the out.

Vanderbilt Pitcher Corey Williams Has Kneecap Split In Two

I’ll never think of the word “groundout” the same way again.

Vanderbilt’s sports information department provided an update on Corey’s condition to SbB on late Sunday:
Read more…

Week In Review: Danica to Drop ‘em for ESPN Mag

Danica Patrick could be removing her racing suit to pose for an all-nude (yet tastefully done) pictorial for ESPN The Magazine.

Danica Patrick topless

(Well, it’s a start)

• And the Rick Pitino sex-tortion scandal gets more & more pitiful.

• This FIBA Americas basketball tournament is getting quite rough. If it isn’t Mexico & Uruguay throwing punches & chairs, it’s security hassling Charlie Villanueva & his mother.

• College football players could lose their hotel privileges - for home games. But keeping the kids out of the local Motel 6 could actually be a bad idea.

• Are fantasy sports bad for your relationships? Well, in Texas, it can certainly be bad for your health.

Read more…