Don't forget South Carolina who is also under investigation. Oh yeah, and John Calipari at Kentucky will be soon. Maybe someday the SEC and Mike Slive can aspire to be a clean as the old Southwestern Conference. Until then, if ya ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'.
Last summer, Mike Slive made it clear at SEC Media Days that he wanted the SEC to start cleaning up its act. But here we are half a year later and the SEC is instead cleaning up its messes.
NCAA investigators finally delivered a letter of allegations to Tennessee yesterday. While the Vols’ football and baseball programs got some unexpected good news, the basketball program did not. The league can expect the Bruce Pearl Saga to continue to play out in columns and blogs across the country all summer long.
NCAA snoops continue to probe into Auburn’s recruiting habits, too. From Cam Newton to Thibodaux, Louisiana, each time an investigator pops up to ask questions, the blogosphere blazes with fresh headlines from Thayer Evans and the folks at SportsByBrooks.com.
Worse, the league’s dirty laundry could really be exposed at the end of March. It seems HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” is focusing its cameras on the SEC.
Producers and reporters for that show initially set out to investigate the role street agents play in college recruiting. Unfortunately for Slive, that investigation has led straight back to the SEC.
Yesterday word broke that former Auburn player Stanley McClover will be seen on the show admitting that he was provided illegal benefits by an assistant while he was a player on The Plains. (McClover left Auburn following the 2005 season.) Several sources have refuted McClover’s story, but that won’t keep it from airing before a nationwide audience next month.
But the HBO crew is also rumored to be digging into the recruitment of Chris Keys. Alabama beat LSU in the recruiting battle for Keys, but the player never lived up to expectations. He was eventually dismissed from Mike Shula’s team in the summer of 2006.
In addition, we know from former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond that HBO wants him — along with MSU booster Bill Bell — to chat about the Cam Newton situation on camera. Further, if you believe the messageboards and rumor mills, Kenny Rogers — who acted as Cecil Newton’s go-between with Bond and Bell — has a tape in his possession that could expose MSU’s unseemly involvement in the Newton case.
Turning away from television, you can now toss in the fact that LSU is still waiting to learn if its self-imposed penalties for recruiting violations will be accepted by the NCAA. With all that on the frontburner, it’s clear the SEC will continue to get the negative spotlight treatment for a while yet.
No doubt some will say that because the league is on top, outsiders will try to tear it down. Unfortunately, most of the damage being down is being inflicted by insiders. Which is why Slive has repeatedly suggested that only the SEC can mess up the SEC.
So is the league cleaning up its act as Slive had hoped last summer?
No, it’s still busy trying to clean up its messes after the fact. And there’s a big difference between the two.