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Sanctioning Schools For Dimwit Fans? It’s Hard To Police Thought

black-thought-policeNBA player Jason Collins’ decision this week to announce his homosexuality to the world has been met — mostly — with congratulations and shrugs.  Many feel Collins has knocked down yet another barrier in our society.  Many others are past the point of worrying what their favorite athletes do behind closed doors.

But some — if the 34-year-old free agent signs with a team this offseason — will no doubt shout heartless/gutless insults at Collins if/when he takes the floor again.  Just as sure as the majority of sports fans aren’t heels, there is most definitely a small set of sports fans who are.  Why some people feel the need to taunt and harass is beyond me, but anyone who’s ever attended a game knows that some believe ugliness to be a legitimate part of sports.

For those types, Collins might as well wear a “taunt me” sign on his back.

So what does this have to do with the SEC?  Well, NCAA president Mark Emmert said yesterday that he’s in favor of penalizing schools whose fans hurl verbal abuse at players because they are different.

Emmert was speaking at an Inclusion Forum in Indianapolis.  The goal of the get-together was to urge campus leaders “to make school policies more welcoming for women, minorities, disabled athletes and those with different sexual orientations,” according to ESPN.

When the subject of Collins’ announcement came up, Emmert said:

 

“At the very least, I hope it does make it much easier for athletes in universities and other environments to be open about it and be supported by their coaching staffs and teammates.  We’re talking about a culture change, and it’s slow and arduous, but what I’m seeing on campuses is that the inclusion issues has moved up…

I’m delighted by it.  The need for a high-performing athlete to fell he can be open and honest about his sexuality is long overdue.”

 

First, an admission.  My social views are libertarian.  I personally don’t care whether a ballplayer is married to a woman, a man, or a maple tree.  It’s your life, live it.  So when I look at those statements by Emmert, I’m not shocked, aghast or overjoyed.  Those statements – those statements — fall right in line with the statements made by most other educated people across the country since Collins’ announcement.

It’s what Emmert later said about sanctioning fan behavior that caused me to perk up.

When someone in the audience in Indianapolis pointed out that female basketball players “seem to be getting singled out” over their gender identities during games, Emmert asked the person what she thought could be done to stop such behavior.  The woman suggested schools could be sanctioned for improper fan behavior.

Remarkably, here was Emmert’s response to that notion:

 

“I would certainly support a proposal that would do that.  If that’s a rule that makes sense and there ought to be some sanctioning like that, then I hope the membership brings that forward.  I think that would make good sense.”

 

No.  That would most definitely not make sense, much less the good kind.

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AU’s Dyer Not Gone To ASU Yet, But What’s Up ‘Tween Chizik And Malzahn?

So much for the report that Mike Dyer was enrolling at Arkansas State yesterday.  It seems no one at the school has seen the Auburn tailback put pen to paper.

The athletic director at ASU said yesterday, “there’s nothing I can confirm or deny.”  He added, “I have no knowledge of anything in that regard.”

Still acting as the Red Wolves’ coach through their GoDaddy.com Bowl appearance, David Gunn also dismissed the talk:


“A few days ago, maybe a week or so ago, some things had gotten out on Twitter.  That was, I guess, quickly put to rest.  Now this is the second time I’ve heard hat and the first time today.

With all this speculation, it’d be most appropriate for me not to make any comments.  Michael Dyer’s a heck of a football player.  He’s had an outstanding career at Auburn and I’m sure they would want that to continue.”


Matt Harris of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette tweeted a quote from a source close to Dyer who said, “I’m telling you, he has not filed paperwork to do anything.  If that happens, trust me, I’m sitting beside him.”

So Dyer’s not at ASU at the moment, but it sure sounds like Arkansas State is his clear fallback choice should things end in divorce at Auburn.

Meanwhile, contacts on the Plains say that Dyer’s status has not changed and that he remains suspended indefinitely from the Tiger team.

Charles Goldberg of Al.com wrote last evening that “someone familiar with the situation” told him that Dyer “is considering asking for his release so he can transfer to another school.”

The website AuburnUndercover — sorry, the story’s behind a paywall — also reported yesterday that Dyer plans to transfer.  They claim he is asking for a release from his scholarship, but such a release has not been granted yet.

All this begs the following question: What’s up with the relationship between Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn? At last week’s Chick-fil-A Bowl the two appeared hunky-dory.  Is there a rift between the men behind the scenes?

From our view, there are two possibilities:


1.  Chizik has had it up to the collar of his leather jacket with Dyer — despite his two 1,000-yard seasons — and he’s ready to jettison the kid from his program so long as Dyer and/or his family come to meet with the coach first.  “If you fly right, we’ll keep you.  Otherwise, hit the bricks.”  If that’s the case, then Chizik probably wouldn’t mind Malzahn taking a shot at Dyer.

Or…

2.  Chizik is ticked as hell that his offensive coordinator might have been luring his tailback to the coach’s own new program while said coach was still on the Auburn staff. 


As is the case with everything else in this story, there seem to be no solid answers coming from inside the walls of Fortress Auburn.  For every rumor, report or leak, there’s an equal and opposite rumor, report or leak.

At this point, it certainly appears as though Dyer is inching closer and closer to Arkansas State.  What that means for Malzahn’s relationship with Chizik is still a very gray area.

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Malzahn Leaves Auburn For Arkansas State

After turning down Vanderbilt last year and being named in connection with Maryland, North Carolina, Kansas, Southern Miss and Ole Miss since, Gus Malzahn has agreed to become the next head coach at Arkansas State.

Read that again.  Arkansas State.

Now mull this one over: Malzahn will reportedly make about $850,000 a year at ASU… as opposed to the $1.3 million he makes each year at Auburn.

Four things may be at play here:

 

1.  Malzahn — a Fort Smith native — wants to get back to his Arkansas roots.

2.  Malzahn truly believes ASU gives him the best chance to win and further his career.

3.  Malzahn realizes that his stock has fallen since Cam Newton departed and he’d better get while the getting is good.

4.  Malzahn just wanted the heck out of Auburn for some reason.

 

Whatever his reasons for leaving, Malzahn is now the second coordinator Gene Chizik must replace on his staff.  Defensive coordinator Ted Roof saw the writing on the wall and left for Central Florida last week.

This latest move seems to be a fitting end to a year that left so many fans on The Plains disappointed.  Their Tigers went 7-5, were blown out in the Iron Bowl, and now go into the Chick-fil-A Bowl without their best player (Mike Dyer), their defensive coordinator, and possibly their offensive coordinator (if Malzahn jumps to ASU ASAP as expected).

Of course, we tried to warn folks back in August that AU would struggle with so many young, inexperienced players taking over so many key positions.  Remember when Tiger fans were so angry over “disrespect” from preseason pollsters who only had Auburn ranked around #15?

In our view, 2011 shouldn’t have been disappointing, it should have been expected.

At any rate, here’s what’s being said about Malzahn’s move:

 

Gus Malzahn leaving Auburn

Malzahn leaves Auburn

Auburn’s Malzahn moving on

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Joe Fisher’s postgame show, ASU

The Voice of the Commodores, Joe Fisher, talks with men’s basketball head coach Kevin Stallings following Vanderbilt’s 86-73 win over Appalachian State Saturday afternoon. Plus, Tim Thompson’s interview with VU’s player of the game, and his radio call of the play of the game. Download the audio for free on VUcommodores.com.
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Mountaineers not talking Michigan before facing Gators

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

For this week’s blog exchange, Swamp Things turned to Tommy Bowman of the Winston-Salem Journal. Tommy covers Appalachian State, so be sure to check out his stories and his blog.

1. Quarterback DeAndre Presley seems like he’s been successful running this year. Why is that? Is that something the Mountaineers hope to take advantage of vs. a Florida team that hasn’t contained running QBs well?

One of the staples of ASU’s Spread offense the past four seasons, with Armanti Edwards at quarterback, has been the quarterback running the ball frequently — both as result of designed plays such as a quarterback draw, and scrambling ability from the pocket when the quarterback sees an opening. Presley has similar-type running ability (he might not have the explosiveness or quite the elusiveness that Edwards had, but he might actually be faster). Edwards was pulled back from running so much as a senior, and Presley has actually carried the ball more this season. It is a big part of the Mountaineers’ offense, and a quarterback with running ability can keep defenses honest. Presley, who is from Tampa, leads the Mountaineers in rushing with 72.7 yards a game.

2. The Mountaineers seem to have a pretty balanced offensive attack. Who are the players to watch in the running and passing game, besides Presley?

Travaris Cadet, who has been a quarterback and receiver and does most of ASU’s punt returns, was moved to running back this season. He is the rushing leader among the running backs (52.1 ypg) but his status isn’t certain as result of a hip pointer sustained last Saturday. Devon Moore is a more conventional running back and was ASU’s leading rusher last season, with 1,374 yards. He had his first 100-yard rushing game last Saturday against Wofford. Presley does a pretty good job of spreading the passes around, but I suspect that tight end Ben Jorden — whose grandfather J.T. Martin played for the 1969 New York Mets championship team — might be a viable target Saturday. The Mountaineers’ big-play threat at receiver is Brian Quick, a 6-5, 220-pound junior who is an NFL prospect.

3. What’s one thing Florida fans should know about the defense?

It has improved over the course of the season, after a shaky start. The thing to watch for Saturday, I think, is how well its secondary can defend the pass. The Mountaineers have played teams the last two weeks, Georgia Southern and Wofford, that do little other than run the ball. Plus, the Mountaineers will likely be without strong safety Mark LeGree, who has 22 career interceptions, as result of a hamstring injury. One of the Mountaineers’ cornerbacks will move to strong safety, leaving the Mountaineers with a corner who hasn’t started. John Brantley could have a big day.

4. Appalachian State has 24 sacks, and the Gators’ pass protection has not been good this season. Do the coaches and players see that as one of the keys to the game?

The Mountaineers typically get good pressure on the quarterbacks with their defensive ends. Jabari Fletcher and John Rizor are the ones to watch there.

5. How much as Jerry Moore (or any of the coaches) talked about the 2007 Michigan win? Are they using that as motivation?

Really, not that much this week. But, of course, that victory undoubtedly does provide an underlying sense of confidence. The Mountaineers do have a few players from the team that beat Michigan. Moore likes the idea of playing bowl-division teams. The Mountaineers have played LSU twice the last few years, and have Virginia Tech next season and Georgia in 2013.


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