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SEC Headlines 3/16/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Two SEC quarterbacks are on the move.  Jalen Whitlow is leaving Kentucky and Coach Mark Stoops says he’s “disappointed,” wanted him to consider moving to wide receiver. Started 15 games in two seasons at Kentucky.

2. Matt Joeckel departing from Texas A&M. Joeckel has already graduated and will be immediately eligible at an FBS program. Aggies down to sophomore Kenny Hill and freshman Kyle Allen.

3. With Dorial Green-Beckham’s dismissal, Missouri has lost three receivers 6-4 or taller.  They’re being replaced by receivers all 6-3 or shorter.

4. Florida coach Will Muschamp likes his wide receiving talent: “I think we’re as deep as we’ve been at wide receiver…”

5. Georgia’s focus this summer – getting players leaner. “This league is a lot of no-huddle. We can’t be 330 pounds out there.”

6. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt wants leadership from his upperclassmen: “We need more out of them,”

7. LSU’s opener in Houston against Wisconsin will kick off in prime time.

8. LSU quarterback Brandon Harris will spend the month of May with former LSU quarterback Craig Nall and quarterback guru George Whitfield.

9. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on injuries this spring: “We had probably about a dozen guys that either missed all of spring practice or a great portion of spring practice…”

10. The left tackle battle at Alabama is a two-man race between third-year sophomore Brandon Greene and freshman Cam Robinson.

11. Kevin Scarbinsky defines the Bowden Triangle: “It’s the place where the best high school and junior college prospects come to play and the rest of the Football Bowl Subdivision’s dreams of a national championship go to die.”

12. Many thought Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was on the hot seat last season but A.D. Scott Stricklin says that wasn’t the case.“What people on the outside seemed to perceive wasn’t really the case.”

SEC/NFL

13. Former South Carolina players Kelcy Quarles and Victor Hampton are expected to be drafted next month.  They’re also reportedly wanted for questioning for their roles in a New York City nightclub fight.

14. Johnny Manziel will work out for the Cleveland Browns this weekend.

15. Missouri’s Max Copeland was a guard in college – wants to be a fullback in the NFL. Lost 50 pounds.  ”I would work until I puked and then keep working.”

16. 23 NFL teams at Georgia’s pro day.

Cuonzo Martin and Tennessee

17. David Climer on Cuonzo Martin’s departure from Tennessee: “While Martin was never fully embraced at UT, he never fully embraced UT, either.”

18. Tennessee A.D. Dave Hart: “There were a lot of distractions, you know what they were, you reported on them.”

19. “Hart and the rest of the UT administration should never again treat a coach the way they allowed Martin to be treated.” 

20. MrSEC: Martin was never embraced in Knoxville for one reason — he wasn’t Pearl.  

21. Martin on his new job at Cal:  ”It’s a place I could spend the rest of my life.”

SEC Basketball

22. Slate: Bill O’Reilly’s Racially Coded Interview With Kentucky Coach John Calipari

23. Rupp Arena renovation plans up in the air after legislature fails to vote on $80 million in proposed state aid.

24. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla on Missouri’s Jabari Brown – projected as a second-round pick: “I think he’s going to play in the NBA someday, but there’s a difference between playing in the NBA and becoming a true NBA player — a guy who stays in the league for 10 or 12 years.”

Extras

25. Unlimited meals and snacks on the way for college athletes.

26. The New York Times on the Jameis Winston case – “there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or by the university.”

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With Talk Of A Super-Division Booming, Here’s How We’d Re-Work College Football From Top To Bottom

super-division copyTalk of a new super-division in college football is at a fever pitch today following a string of hints/threats from conference commissioners over the past few days.

Here’s a sampling of what others are saying:

 

Big 12′s Bowlsby beginning NCAA dialogue that could spark real change

Is it time for football powers to split?

Big 12 boss calls for NCAA reforms

Bob Bowlsby, John Swofford call for major NCAA reform

Look for Division 4 to revolutionize college athletics

We are closer to a “super division” than we thought

 

Welcome to the party, everyone.  Not to go all Clay Travis on everybody, but we’ve been banging this drum for a bit longer than just one week.  For months we’ve been saying that a super-division is coming, that a full-scale breakaway from the NCAA would be impossible to pull off (good luck creating a whole new rule book, organization, etc), and that the only question remaining is how many schools will be welcomed into the new grouping.

Heck, Mike Slive rattled his own super-division saber back in April.  For some reason that didn’t generate the national coverage we’re seeing now, but it happened.  At the time, the SEC’s commish had this to say about his belief that the NCAA needed to change its ways and allow those schools that can afford to pay players to do so:

 

“When there are certain things that many of us would like to come into play, it’s our hope that those things can all occur in the current system.  Obviously, if things like that don’t get accomplished, then it may be appropriate to talk about some alternative or division or something like that.  But that’s not our desire.  That’s not our goal and that’s not something we’re trying to get to.”

 

That was April.  Going back a bit further, here’s what Slive had to say last December:

 

“There are some matters of concern to some of us, like full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.  And there is a level of frustration over the difficulty we’ve had in getting it through the system.  And so there are some differences between some conferences.  It’s just our hope that we can work through that in this system.”

 

By mid-April it had become clear that there is simply too much opposition to stipends or full-cost-of-tuition scholarships within the NCAA.  And for good reason.  The NCAA is made up of more than 1,000 colleges and universities.  Somewhere between 65 and 80 have the financial wherewithal to offer more cash to their student-athletes.  Sixty-five or 80… out of a thousand.  All those have-nots don’t want to be left behind.  And some refuse to budge on the issue simply as a matter of principle.

According to The Chronical of Higher Education in April: 

 

“The issue has driven a wedge through an already divided Division I.  Some institutions, including those that don’t compete in football at the highest levels, say they simply don’t have the revenue to offset the added costs.  Others worry that making additional payments to players — no matter how small, and for whatever reason — threatens the amateur model.”

 

So trace it back and you can see that there’s nothing new in this week’s super-division talk, other than the fact that commissioners are beginning to speak more openly about the possibility of a shift.  But that, too, was predictable.  Just think about it.

The big conferences say they want to give more cash to athletes.  Everyone else says, “You can’t do it.”  The big conferences have start talking more seriously about a new division, even hinting at a full exodus from the NCAA in order to let the smaller schools and conferences know that they mean business.  Eventually, a new super-division will be created in order to prevent a complete secession.  It will be hailed as a great compromise that benefits everyone.

Predictable.

Now, in case you’re interested in seeing just we’ve written on this topic and when, here’s a list:

 

December 12th, 2012:  With Massive Playoff Revenue Going To The Big Conferences, We’re One Step Closer To A New NCAA Super-Division

April 11th, 2013:  As Opposition To Stipends Increases, So Too Do The Chances Of A New Subdivision In College Sports

April 22nd, 2013:  A Super-Division Is Coming, But Athletic Directors Need To Be Part Of The Process

May 8th, 2013:  UGA Prez Adams: Big-Money Schools Will Eventually Separate From Small-Money Schools

May 13th, 2013:  Further Proof That A New Division — Not A Breakaway — Is Coming

 

So what will a new super-division look like?  Will it exist as a football-only division?  If schools intend to pay athletes other than football players then we’re looking at a new division overall.  It’s doubtful, for example, that basketball schools like Marquette and Georgetown would want to compete in the same division with schools offering larger scholarships or stipends that they themselves do not provide.

Flipping that around, if schools intend to pay only football players, you can expect moans, groans and possibly lawsuits from female athletes and athletes who play non-revenue sports.  Best guess?  Creating a new super-division will be messy.

That’s why we’re willing to step in and try to help out.  In May of 2012, we posted an article called “10 Steps To Better College Football Livin’” and in it the #1 item on the list was: “Set Up New NCAA Divisions Based Upon Budgets and Winning.”  Basically, if we were the NCAA, we would re-work today’s college football landscape and create a five-tiered system.  We would attempt to give full-cost-of-tuition scholarships to football players only, arguing — in court, if necessary — that football creates the greatest revenue stream in collegiate athletics by far.  For our purposes, let’s assume the argument would hold up.

Currently, college football is broken into four groups:

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SEC Headlines 6/30/2013

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Football

1. University of Florida walk-on redshirt freshman punter Grant Van Aman arrested for DUI – on his scooter.

2. As of late Saturday, no arrests made in Nashville sex crimes investigation that’s led Vanderbilt to boot four guys from the team.

3. David Climer: “Like it or not, Vanderbilt football has joined the long list of programs that are on trial in the court of public opinion.”

4. Former Pitt running back Rushel Shell will reportedly decide between Kentucky and West Virginia.

5. Ranking the SEC receiving corps.  Alabama with the best, Kentucky with the worst?

6. “Sagging student attendance is an issue across the country — even at schools winning championships — but at Tennessee, the drop has been especially stark.”

7. Kevin Scarbinsky has an issue with SEC football coaches and their schedules: “They’ve been overdosing on cupcakes for years.”

8. What Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs has learned about coach Gus Malzahn: “Probably the most obvious thing I didn’t know was I’m not sure he ever sleeps.”

9. “There’s no better time than now to be a freshman defensive end at Auburn.”

10. Outgoing University of Georgia president Michael Adams will always be remembered for forcing out A.D. and former football coach Vince Dooley.  ”I did what I thought was in the best interests of the university, and I still feel that way today.”

11, Here’s a breakdown of over/under win totals for every SEC team.

SEC Basketball

12. Kentucky coach John Calipari was asked about the possibility of Kyle Wiltjer returning.  ”I don’t know. He and I texted each other today. So I’ll probably text him to see where he is with things.”

13. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin sees increased confidence from Jordan McRae.  ”He feels like no one can guard him.”

College News

14. Phil Steele updates his list of college players out for the year.

15. Here’s how all the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences align starting tomorrow.

16. For many schools, the conference isn’t the only thing changing.  ”All told, there are a staggering 31 new head coaches at 125 FBS schools. That’s one of every four.”

17. Tomorrow is the first day of July which means we’re one day and one month closer to the start of college football.  The dancing gingerbread likes that idea.

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As Opposition To Stipends Increases, So Too Do The Chances Of A New Subdivision In College Sports

chasmIf you read this site often you know that we believe the top 70-80 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision will eventually create their own “super division” of college athletics.  The biggest schools in the biggest conferences are already pushing for the right to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships to their athletes.  The commissioners of the biggest, wealthiest conferences are behind the idea.  Embattled NCAA president Mark Emmert is as well.

But according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the divide between those who want to increase student stipends and those who don’t — or those who can’t afford to — is widening:

 

“In some ways, the issue has become a referendum on Mr. Emmert, whose attempts to get things done quickly have alienated certain factions.

‘There are some people who will oppose anything he supports, and that’s unfair,’ says Sidney A. McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State University.  As head of the NCAA Student-Athlete Well-Being Working Group, Mr. McPhee has become chief arbiter of the stipend debate.

The issue has driven a wedge through an already divided Division I.  Some institutions, including those that don’t compete in football at the highest levels, say they simply don’t have the revenue to offset the added costs.  Others worry that making additional payments to players—no matter how small, and for whatever reason—threatens the amateur model.

Such opposition is one reason some of the wealthier programs are pushing for a further subdivision of the NCAA’s top level.  If they can’t get their way on issues like this one, some observers say, they’ll just take their ball and go play somewhere else.

The climate has frustrated Mr. McPhee, who believes that even the less-wealthy programs have an obligation to make a priority of players and their unmet financial needs.  ‘If you want to compete [in Division I],’ he says, ‘you’ve got to step up.’

It’s also a matter of fairness, he says. Institutions increase aid packages for other students all the time, so why shouldn’t they do it for athletes too?”

 

There are only three questions remaining, in our view.  First, when will the new “super division” be created?  Second, will athletes from all sports be paid (if not, expect litigation).  Third, if all sports are included, are we looking at a split inside the FBS or an overall split among Division I schools in every sport?

While the 70-80 largest, richest football schools would obviously be ready to start their own new branch of the NCAA, would their be some big basketball schools — St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, for example — that are prepared to pay athletes as well?  One would imagine so.

Rest assured, a split is coming and a new “super division” will be formed.  It’s just a matter now of when it will be formed and who will be a part of it.

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What’s At Stake In NCAA Lawsuit? Schools “Might Cease Playing Division I Or Football Bowl Subdivision Sports”

lawsuitA potential class-action lawsuit that threatens  the NCAA amateur student-athlete model has the association fighting back in court.

A federal-court filing on Thursday revealed just how big the stakes are and what college officials fear could be the end of certain athletic programs at some schools, including football, at the FBS level.

Specifically, should college football and men’s basketball players be paid?  Here’s what Texas A.D. Deloss Dodds and women’s A.D. Christine Plonsky had to say in the filing:

 

Texas “has no interest in a model that would force us to professionalize two sports to the detriment of the balance of the athletics department’s sports, fitness and educational programs.”

 

Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch went even further.

 

The school ”might cease playing Division I or Football Bowl Subdivision sports entirely if pay-for-play became a reality…

“Instituting a pay-for-play model, even if the payments are deferred to after graduation would change the nature of the relationship Wake Forest has with its football and men’s basketball student-athletes. It would, essentially, turn those teams into professional squads. That would not be acceptable to Wake Forest.”

 

One issue that has university officials worried – Title IX and gender equity concerns.  California State University system chancellor Timothy White included this in his statement:

 

“Paying male athletes for their participation in sports would seriously undermine the objectives of Title IX and CSU’s ability to remain in Title IX compliance.”

 

These filings come as a result of  a judge’s  ruling in January allowed plaintiff’s lawyers to proceed with efforts to have the case certified as a class-action. The suit, initially filed against the NCAA and video-game maker Electronic Arts back in 2009, contends that, among other issues, defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school.

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Punter Chas Henry excited to be among Ray Guy Award finalists

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Last year for Christmas, Florida punter Chas Henry got a Ray Guy rookie card as a gift from one of his mom’s co-workers.

Since then, the joke has been that if the Florida senior wins the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s top punter, he’d have to get Guy to sign it.

Henry might have to get that card out of its frame in his family’s Dallas, Ga. home. He was named a finalist for the award for a second year in a row on Monday, putting him in the running with Georgia’s Drew Butler, who won it last year, and Iowa’s Ryan Donahue for the award.

“It means everything to him,” said Henry’s father, David, on Monday afternoon. “If you’re a punter, you don’t win the Heisman (Trophy). This the Heisman for punters.”

Henry leads the country with a 47.3-yard average on punts this year. That has helped the Gators (7-4, 4-4 SEC) rank first nationall in net punting with 42.24 yards per punt.

Florida has not had a Ray Guy Award winner since it was created in 2000.

“It’s a great honor, and it’s even a bigger honor, I guess, to be named twice,” David Henry said.

A national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, sports information directors, national media and former Ray Guy Award winners voted on the finalists and will cast a second round of ballots to decide the winner.

The award will be presented on The Home Depot College Football Awards live on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.


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Florida punter Chas Henry named Ray Guy Award semifinalist

Florida
Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Florida's Chas Henry has posted the nation's best punting average while taking on kicking duties much of this season. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

In addition to Chas Henry’s added kicking duties this year, the Florida punter has continued to be one of the best in the country at his position.

Henry was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award on Friday, the third time he’s been in the running for the country’s top award for punting. His 48.18-yard average per punt ranks first nationally. Twelve of his 33 punts have landed inside the 20-yard line and only 10 have been returned.

Henry has also been the team’s kicker since the beginning of October as Caleb Sturgis has been out with a hairline fracture in his vertebrae. He kicked the game-winning field goal in a 34-31 overtime win over Georgia on Oct. 30.

A national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, sports information directors, national media and former Ray Guy Award winners will select the three award finalists, who will be named on Nov. 22. Voters will then cast a second round of ballots to decide the winner.

The award will be presented on The Home Depot College Football Awards live on  Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.


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Arkansas Raking in Penalty Yards

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

Penalties have been a recurring problem for Arkansas this season.

It continued Saturday as the Razorbacks racked up a season-high 130 yards on 13 penalties in a 49-14 win over Vanderbilt. It marked the third time this year Arkansas had double-digit penalties and the second time the Razorbacks topped the century mark in penalty yards.

“That’s a lot of penalties,” quarterback Ryan Mallett said. “I looked at the scoreboard in the fourth quarter (Saturday) and I didn’t realize we had that many penalties. But that’s the little things we always talk about that we can’t do because it’s going to hurt us. We’ve just got to look at it, see what we did and work on that. We’ve definitely got to eliminate them, though.

“It’s just a lack of focus. It’s a lack of focus on all 11 guys.”

Arkansas leads the SEC in penalty yards this season and by a wide margin. The Razorbacks are averaging 74.1 penalty yards per game – more than 20 more than 11th-place Auburn. Only five other teams are averaging more penalty yards in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

But it seems Arkansas’ opponents are playing to the level of the Hogs’ sloppiness – or vice versa. The Razorbacks’ opponents are averaging a league-leading 59.1 penalty yards per game, meaning on average there are 133.2 penalty yards each time Arkansas takes the field.

Asked about the penalties Monday, Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said, “You know, we’re not going to talk a lot about the negatives. We’re going to focus on the positives and getting better, and then you work hard to get rid of the negatives.”

Defensive end Damario Ambrose said discipline is the key to eliminating the mistakes, especially at home.

“I know I personally jumped offsides,” Ambrose said. “I need to make sure I don’t do that. As an overall defense, sometimes when you start getting aggressive, you can start making mistakes. We just need to focus on the ball, eliminating mistakes and we’ll do better.”

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Arkansas Raking in Penalty Yards

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

Penalties have been a recurring problem for Arkansas this season.

It continued Saturday as the Razorbacks racked up a season-high 130 yards on 13 penalties in a 49-14 win over Vanderbilt. It marked the third time this year Arkansas had double-digit penalties and the second time the Razorbacks topped the century mark in penalty yards.

“That’s a lot of penalties,” quarterback Ryan Mallett said. “I looked at the scoreboard in the fourth quarter (Saturday) and I didn’t realize we had that many penalties. But that’s the little things we always talk about that we can’t do because it’s going to hurt us. We’ve just got to look at it, see what we did and work on that. We’ve definitely got to eliminate them, though.

“It’s just a lack of focus. It’s a lack of focus on all 11 guys.”

Arkansas leads the SEC in penalty yards this season and by a wide margin. The Razorbacks are averaging 74.1 penalty yards per game – more than 20 more than 11th-place Auburn. Only five other teams are averaging more penalty yards in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

But it seems Arkansas’ opponents are playing to the level of the Hogs’ sloppiness – or vice versa. The Razorbacks’ opponents are averaging a league-leading 59.1 penalty yards per game, meaning on average there are 133.2 penalty yards each time Arkansas takes the field.

Asked about the penalties Monday, Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said, “You know, we’re not going to talk a lot about the negatives. We’re going to focus on the positives and getting better, and then you work hard to get rid of the negatives.”

Defensive end Damario Ambrose said discipline is the key to eliminating the mistakes, especially at home.

“I know I personally jumped offsides,” Ambrose said. “I need to make sure I don’t do that. As an overall defense, sometimes when you start getting aggressive, you can start making mistakes. We just need to focus on the ball, eliminating mistakes and we’ll do better.”

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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