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AU’s Chizik Won’t Address Whether NCAA Is Investigating Robinson Case

Jovon Robinson was an Auburn signee in February and a Tiger player until August.  But last month, he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA after a guidance counselor at his Memphis high school admitted to having changed his transcript.  The NCAA is targeting the Memphis area hard right now and fellow SEC school Mississippi State is also dealing with potential issues tying back to the Bluff City.

Asked today if the NCAA is looking further into Auburn’s recruitment of Robinson, Gene Chizik chose to stay mum:


“I have one thing on my mind, and that’s winning a football game this week.  I’m not getting into that.”


That answer could mean one of two things.  First, it could be that Chizik doesn’t know what the NCAA is doing.  Second, it could mean that Chizik knows the NCAA is still looking into Robinson’s case — to find out who asked the guidance counselor to change the player’s grades, for example — but the coach doesn’t want to say a peep about it.

It’s highly unlikely that Chizik would pass on a chance to snuff out the rumor of an investigation if he knew for a fact that no investigation was underway.  So again, two options — he doesn’t know if the NCAA is snooping around or he knows the NCAA is definitely investigating but he doesn’t want to admit it.

It should also be noted that the NCAA instructs schools and their representatives not to say much about ongoing investigations.

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Thought Of The Day – 8/29/12

Okay, so today we’re not just picking the first song off the iPod.  Today we’ll be topical with our lyrical thought and musical interlude.

In honor of Mississippi State and all those schools who recruit the Bluff City so heavily…


“Maybe it was Memphis.  Maybe it was Southern summer nights.  Maybe it was you, maybe it was me, but it sure felt right.”


Pam Tillis – Maybe It Was Memphis


Best bet, recruiters?  Be very careful in Memphis.  The NCAA is watching.

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Slive Talks Scheduling And Television

In a quick Q&A session with The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, SEC commissioner Mike Slive opened up — sort of — about some of the major issues on fans’ minds these days.  We say “sort of,” because as Slive is wont to do, he didn’t make many definitive statements.

On setting up the SEC new football schedules, Slive opened with one of his favorite lines:

“The First Amendment is alive and well in the SEC.  When we put together this year’s 2012 schedule including our two new members, time was of the essence.  It was very complicated, and I was proud that every athletic director had to give something.  It wasn’t easy, but in the final analysis, we got it scheduled.

Looking ahead, each institution is trying to figure out how to protect their interests, but also what’s in the best interest of the league to help us maintain the success we’ve had.  Some rivalries have been lost nationwide in expansion, and we value rivalries.  Protecting rivalries is something we clearly want to do.  Our goal is get the scheduling done before Destin.”

Two things stand out there.  First, Slive’s comments about protecting rivalries seem to go hand-in-hand with the leaked word that permanent cross-divisional rivalries will remain a part of the SEC’s new format.

Second, Slive makes it clear he wants the schedule set before the SEC Meetings at the end of May.  Perhaps that’s because the league has other business to attend to and he doesn’t want to spend those few days at the beach hammering out future football schedules.  If that’s the case, then we hope the commissioner is currently providing behind-the-scenes “suggestions” to his league’s athletic directors that they put the league first in their decisions.  We’ve said here before that ADs tend to put their own interests first.  The commissioner and the SEC’s presidents are the ones who usually put league-first.  And whatever decision is finally made with regards to scheduling, it needs to be made with league-first motivations.

Regarding the SEC’s projected expansion-related television windfall, Slive said:

“We have started discussions with both our television partners (CBS and ESPN).  We feel adding Texas A&M and Missouri has strengthened us in lots of ways, but it certainly strengthened us in television.”

Big money’s coming, folks.  As we wrote last week, if a weakened Big 12 can make itself additional cash, imagine what a “strengthened” SEC can do at the negotiating table.

In addition to discussing a possible playoff — Slive calls it a “Plus-One” and won’t even say playoff — and possible new bowl partners, the commish was also asked if Memphis would be considered for a future SEC Tournament:

“We’re open for 2017 and 2019, and we try to stay five years ahead.  St. Louis also wants to bid.  We’d certainly welcome Memphis’ interest.  Any city interested should apply.  We don’t have a permanent home, and part of that is intentional.  People like basketball arenas, so we try to work as many arenas in as possible besides going to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.”

Why the SEC can’t cut a deal to play at Philips Arena in Atlanta — as the ACC just did for its tourney — is still a question we have.  But this seems to re-open the SEC Tournament door for the Bluff City, even though its most recent bid was rejected or pulled before being rejected.

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SEC Headlines – 1/4/12 Part One

1.  Erving Walker nailed seven 3-pointers to lead Florida past UAB 79-61 last night in Gainesville.

2.  Georgia has a number of issues to fix before the 2012 football season comes ’round.

3.  After trailing at halftime, Kentucky rolled past Arkansas-Little Rock 73-51 last night.  Now they must stop expecting thing to come easy for them.

4.  South Carolina thumped SC State 79-51 last night and enter SEC play having won six of their last seven games.

5.  After falling to Memphis 99-97 in double-overtime in Maui on November 22nd, Tennessee will travel to the Bluff City for a rematch tonight.

6.  Vanderbilt has dismissed center Logan Stewart and running back Mitchell Hester from the football program for breaking team rules.

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Meyer, Nutt Deny Coaching Rumors

Two ex-SEC coaches — well, one’s about to be an ex — are denying rumors and reports that they are set to become coaches elsewhere.

Despite multiple reports claiming that Urban Meyer has agreed to a $40 million deal to coach Ohio State, the ex-Florida coach continues to deny that any job has been offered or accepted.

“I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place,” he said in a statement.  “I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further.”

Meyer is not scheduled to work a college football game this weekend for ESPN, however.  It’s believed he will be at network headquarters instead.

Meanwhile, as Houston Nutt prepares to coach his last game at Ole Miss, rumors are swirling that he will wind up as the next head coach at Memphis.   A report suggested yesterday that a deal was already in place for Nutt to move the 85 miles up I-55 from Oxford to the Bluff City. 

Yesterday, Nutt was asked if he’d been talking to officials from the Tiger program:

“No, I have not.  No contact whatsoever.  They got a head coach.  Strictly a rumor.  I have not talked to anybody there with Memphis.  That’s really unfair to Coach (Larry) Porter.  He’s the coach there.  Everybody needs to respect that and let me finish this game here.”

Apparently no one asked him if his agent, Jimmy Sexton, had been talking to Memphis’ brass.

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Memphis AD: Tigers “Deserve” To Be In The SEC

Memphis — a school that drawn no interest from the wounded Big 12 or collapsing Big East — certainly has big dreams.  The school’s athletic director, RC Johnson, had this to say to WMC-TV in the Bluff City today:

“We want to get ourselves in the best possible place.  Ultimately we would like to be in the SEC.  That’s where we think we belong geographically.  We think we deserve to be.  But we’re talking to commissioners, we’re talking to chancellors, presidents.  We’re turning over every stone possible ’cause we want to make this a bright future for Tiger athletics.”

In this day and age, all it takes is a soundbite or a web video to convince people that a seriously long shot deserves serious consideration.  So no doubt, some will now follow up Johnson’s comments by talking about the Memphis television market, Tiger basketball, the geographic fit, etc, etc.

But the fact of the matter is, the SEC can already claim the Memphis television market thanks to Tennessee.  And Arkansas.  And Ole Miss.
SEC schools already recruit the area as well.  There’s no new ground — or viewers — added with Memphis.

From a football standpoint, the Tigers are abysmal.  In basketball they’re highly competitive, but they also have a couple of high-profile NCAA beatdowns on the ol’ resume (hey, maybe they are a fit for the SEC).

The school also fails to meet the SEC’s “profile.”  Counting Texas A&M, 12 of the SEC’s 13 schools are large, public universities located in towns of less than 300,000 residents with no major professional teams.

Memphis is a city of 600,000+ with an NBA franchise.  It’s viewed as a commuter school and the SEC hasn’t done commuter schools in the past.

In terms of academic reputation — something that chancellors and presidents take very seriously into consideration — Memphis is not numerically ranked by US News and World Report as it is graded instead as a Tier 2 school.

No offense to the Tigers or their fans, but this one’s a non-starter.  If the SEC were looking for this type of school, Cincinnati, Louisville and Houston would all be higher up the list.

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