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WOW Headlines – 6/13/13

Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith is scheduled to meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions Thursday…
Haith is charged with failure to create an atmosphere of compliance while coaching at Miami (FL)
Auburn University spent more than $1 million trying to save the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner and the school wants restitution from Harvey Updyke, the man who poisoned the trees
The state of Kentucky will use coal tax money to pay for renovations to Rupp Arena
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin reportedly turned down head coaching offers from NFL franchises this past offseason
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The Oaks At Toomer’s Corner In Auburn Are No More

toomers-cut-downThe two famed oak trees at the edge of Toomer’s Corner in Auburn have been cut and are being removed today.  Al.com is providing a live stream of the activity on the corner as workers continue to cut, clean and remove.

The two 80-year-old oaks were poisoned by Alabama fan Harvey Updyke following Auburn’s victory over the Crimson Tide in the 2010 Iron Bowl.  Updyke was sentenced to three years in jail for criminal damage to an agricultural facility earlier this spring.  He must serve at least six months of his sentence.

Regardless of the punishment handed down to Updyke, eight decades of Auburn and SEC tradition were finally felled this morning as a small crowd silently stood watch.

A damn shame.

And further proof that for some dimwits, sports are as much about anger and keeping people apart as they are joy and bringing people together.

Which is even bigger damn shame.

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WOW Headlines 9/25/12

Georgia leads the nation with 35 offensive plays of 20 yards or more
Kentucky QB Maxwell Smith is day-to-day with a shoulder injury
Dan Mullen on 4-0 Mississippi State: “The opportunity could be there for championships.”
Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze on this week’s foe, Alabama: “They’re the gold standard in football right now.
Rebel QB Bo Wallace is “optimistic” he’ll be able to play with a shoulder injury
Alabama fan and alleged Auburn tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke arrested in Louisiana for “terrorizing”
Florida guard Kenny Boynton tells ESPN that Tennessee will be the “toughest (team) to go against” this hoops season
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SEC Headlines 6/16/2012

1. Unlimited texting and phone calls – now available to a college coach near you.

2. Reaction from Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin: ”There are some cases where you’re going to turn off a lot of players and then there are others who will like it. It will depend on who you’re recruiting.”

3. Missouri basketball coaches like the new NCAA rules allowing more structured workouts in the summer.  “It’s phenomenal,” associate coach Tim Fuller said.

4. Florida basketball will open its season against Georgetown on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

5. “The possibility of four games on naval ships next season exposes the lack of leadership at the top of college basketball.”

6. Why the next few days are critical for former Florida gator Bradley Beal.

7. 18 months later, Harvey Updyke is going to trial next week.

8. Memorial service for former Auburn player Ladarious Phillips.

9. Kevin Sumlin likes having Kliff Kingsbury in charge of the Aggies offense.  ”He’s a student of the game and he’s one hell of a quarterback coach. We’re fortunate to have him.”

10. Mark Bradley: “The governing body of intercollegiate sports runs the playoff for every intercollegiate sport at every level — except for big-time football…”

11. Alabama trustees approve and name  the $2.8 million Champions Plaza.

12. Reverberations felt from Robert Nkemdiche’s decision to go to Clemson: Alabama recruiting options along the defensive line. LSU explores its options.

13. Tiger Stadium is getting a makeover.

14. When it comes to Georgia’s most important games in 2012 - Tennessee comes in at No. 7.

15. Former Tennessee players recall their days with Phillip Fulmer. Al Wilson: “We all believed in Coach Fulmer.”

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SEC Headlines – 3/15/12

1.  Alabama’s going to have to find some offense to hang with Creighton.

2.  The trial of Harvey Updyke — the alleged Toomer’s Corner terrorist — has been pushed back to late June.

3.  This spring practice notebook reveals that even after a severe ankle injury, Knile Davis is still Arkansas’ fastest player.

4.  Barring injuries, Trent Johnson says he’s “very confident” LSU will make the NCAA Tournament next year.  (Daring talk.)

5.  LaDarius White could become a bigger factor for Ole Miss’ hoops team next season.

6.  If Rick Stansbury survives at MSU, expect him to get a one-year extension for recruiting purposes.  (For now, that’s a big if.)

7.  This writer says those who are worried about Texas A&M making a bowl this season are being realistic, not negative.

8.  Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are settling in for their spring quarterback battle at Florida.

9.  Erik Murphy’s 3-point shooting is a new worry for Gator foes in the NCAA tourney.

10.  Georgia’s Mark Richt is now the sixth-longest tenured head coach in college football.  (Betcha you’d never guess the guy who’s #2 on the list.)

11.  Kentucky’s enters today’s game with Western Kentucky with confidence, not arrogance.

12.  But this writer says all UK has to do is show up and WKU will go down.  (Hard to argue.)

13.  Carolina coaches are happy with DeVonte Holloman’s versatility as he tries to replace the Cocks’ leading tackler from a year ago.

14.  Could MTSU knock off Tennessee with a series of high ball screens on Monday?

15.  A tweet from a freshman tight end could result in a secondary violation for the Vols.  (Said it before… coaches, get your kids off Twitter.)

16.  The legacy of Vanderbilt’s deep senior class is riding on this NCAA Tournament.

17.  Ex-Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien is interested in Penn State, not just Vandy.

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Man Seen In Post-BCS Title Game Assault Video Arrested

Alabama fan Brian Downing has been arrested.  The 32-year-old — allegedly — was caught on video sexually assaulting a drunken LSU fan in a Krystal in New Orleans after the BCS title game.  The video went viral and that was that for Downing.

He was booked on charges of sexual battery and obscenity.  For those who didn’t see the video, a police statement says Downing was taped: “placing his genitals on an LSU fan’s face.  The LSU fan appears to be heavily inebriated and practically unconscious.”

This whole story is sad. 


It’s sad that Downing would find it fun to degrade another human being — as far as we know a complete stranger — in such a way.

It’s sad that someone found the video funny enough to post it on the web.

It’s sad that a whole host of Bama fans were laughing it up, egging Downing on, and trying to involve themselves in the LSU fan’s humiliation.

It’s sad that not one person in the video — not Downing, not the other fans on hand, not a single Krystal employee — tried to help the drunken LSU fan.  No one thought: “Hey, this is wrong.”  No one.

It’s sad that one of our readers has so little compassion that he read our initial story on this subject and emailed us this response: “Hey, you pass out near Bourbon Street, you get what you pay for.”

It’s sad that several websites have jumped on this as though it’s a major news story, when in fact, it’s just a story about a sex act.  It’s salacious and that sells.  If it weren’t frat-boy funny, it wouldn’t have become as big as it did.

It’s sad that Alabama fans are now represented in the national consciousness by Harvey Updyke and Downing.  A tree-poisoner and a tea-bagger.  The vast majority of Bama fans and their school deserve better.

It’s sad that the SEC — thanks to the likes of Updyke, Downing and the Cam and Cecil Newton affair — continues to look as if its motto is “Anything goes!”


All that said, I do believe Downing should face justice for what he did.  If for no other reason than to take someone so heartless, uncaring and insensitive off the streets for a little while.  I also believe those people seen laughing and engaging in the LSU fan’s abuse should receive some form of comeuppance for their own callousness.  Where’s “Seinfeld’s” Good Samaritan law when you need it?

It’s an odd world we live in.  Many frat boys out there will think I’m a humorless, bleeding heart for not going at this story with gusto.  For not “getting the joke.”

Others — in my view, people who were raised right — will see this episode as a complete failure on the part of Downing and his cohorts to care for their fellow man.  Be that man drunk, homeless, sick, or even an LSU fan.  At some point, shouldn’t someone have shown basic human concern for the guy passed out on a table at Krystal?

I just don’t get any of this.  I don’t think it’s funny.  I don’t see how others think it’s funny.  And to put an old twist on this, I’ll betcha if the person being assaulted in the video was the son, daughter, wife, husband, sister or brother of some of the folks who have laughed at the video… they’d stop their laughing pretty damn quick.

Just sad.

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Accused Tree-Poisoner Updyke Will Need Another Attorney

Last week, alleged tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke went on Paul Finebaum’s radio show and apologized to Auburn fans for “all the damage” he had done.

Today, he’s in need of a new attorney.  Glennon F. Threatt said yesterday, “I just don’t feel I am the person (to defend Updyke) anymore.”

Threatt said he advised his client not to make the call or the apology.  “He needs somebody he will trust, and he needs somebody he will listen to,” the attorney said.

If the judge allows Threatt to walk away from the case, he will be the fourth attorney to ditch Updyke’s defense.

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SEC Headlines – 7/1/11 Part One

1.  Here’s a look at who’s had the most home field success in SEC football since 2006.  (And here’s a correction.)

2.  The trial of alleged Toomer’s Corner tree poisoner Harvey Updyke has been delayed until Halloween.

3.  Former Auburn and Alabama assistant football coach James Willis has pleaded guilty to charge of assault and domestic violence and has been sentenced to six months of deferred probation.

4.  Four people were charged with allowing underage drinking at the party where former Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas died.  (The medical report showed that Douglas had multiple drugs in his system, but not alcohol.)

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Updkye Apologizes On Finebaum Show… To Alabama

Alleged tree-poisoner and alleged assault victim Harvey Updyke made an appearance on the Paul Finebaum radio show yesterday afternoon.  With his attorney in the studio with the host, Updyke phoned in and answered questions about his initial call to Finebaum, his alleged involvement in the poisoning of Auburn’s oaks at Toomer’s Corner, and the attack he alleges befell him on Wednesday.

On the show, Updyke admitted to being “Al from Dadeville,” the caller who in February announced on Finebaum’s show that he had poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner.  Updyke — and his attorney tried to make sure of this by interrupting his client — never admitted to actually poisoning the trees.

Apparently we’re to believe that he just happened to call in with knowledge of the exact poison that was actually used… before anyone knew the trees had even been poisoned.  Uh, yeah.

For the guts of the story, turn here to Evan Woodberry’s report for al.com.  In it you’ll find that while Updyke apologized to the University of Alabama for causing the school troubles with his phone call he did not get around to apologizing to Auburn. 

To Auburn: “If I was in Auburn’s place, I would be upset, too.”

To Alabama: “I have hurt the University of Alabama and that’s the last thing I want to do.  I am an Alabama fan.  I’m not apologizing for that… I apologize for what I’ve done to the university.

He even ended his interview with a “Roll Damn Tide.” 

You can find a partial transcript here at Finebaum.com.


One last point — during the interview Updyke said that he has lived in Texas for most of his adult life but that there’s nothing in that state — Texas versus Texas A&M, for example — that comes close to the Iron Bowl rivalry in terms of heated passions.  “There’s nothing like this in Texas,” he said.

Indeed, there’s nothing like this anywhere else in college sports. 

The Iron Bowl rivalry — thanks to a number of fringe element fans — has become a punchline in American sports.  It’s a shame that normal, well-adjusted AU and UA fans are given a bad name by tree-poisoners, conspiracy theorists, finger-pointers, and angry, ranting callers to Finebaum’s nationally-syndicated radio show.  But it’s happened.  It continues to happen everyday.

When it comes to many fans across the country, the face of the Iron Bowl rivalry is now Harvey Updyke.

Just think about that.

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Updyke Story Just Goes On And On

Anybody else tired of all the Harvey Updyke nonsense coming out of Alabama?  I am.   

For that matter — right about now — I’m tired of the entire Iron Bowl rivalry in general.  Since the game was played last year, can you think of a single positive story or even mention of the rivalry?  It’s all been allegations, accusations, innuendos, threats, insults, a human-on-tree attack, and now, maybe, a human-on-human attack.

So rather than write something that the fringe-element fans — who are ruining a once-great rivalry — would surely find insulting, I’m just going to link you to someone else’s update.

SportsByBrooks.com has cobbled together the comments from the only reporter who spoke with Updyke post-attack yesterday.

Enjoy. 

I’ll be dreaming of a day when we can all just talk about football and basketball again.

(And, yeah, I know Updyke is schedule to speak this afternoon.  Which means it won’t be long until we’re dragged back into this mess.)

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