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SEC Headlines 4/11/2014

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1. Alabama linebacker Dillon Lee arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

2. Little Rock, Arkansas prosecutors say they’ll drop Alabama running back Altee Tenpenny’s drug possession charge if he doesn’t get in trouble in the next year.

3. Arrested in January for resisting arrest, Alabama freshman Tony Brown was granted youthful offender status Thursday.

4. With no charges filed against Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham – is this a defining decision for  Gary Pinkel? “Does the Missouri coach stand on his stated principle or side with expediency?” MrSEC:  ”Pinkel now sits in Coaching Hell.” 

5. Zach Price kicked off Missouri basketball team by coach Frank Haith.   Louisville transfer – who never played at Mizzou – was arrested twice after former teammate Earnest Ross had filed a restraining order against him.

6. Seven Mizzou football and men’s basketball players have been arrested eight times since January.

7. A former intern in the Vanderbilt athletics department files a lawsuit in federal court – says he should have been paid.

SEC Football

8. Thanks to Vanderbilt moving the game to LP Field, Ole Miss will play three straight games in NFL stadiums. 

9. Florida coach Will Muschamp on the impact of new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper: “I think there’s a lot of confidence level on our offensive side of the ball for the first time in a while. Quarterback Jeff Driskel has lost 15 pounds.

10. Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt doesn’t have a lot of patience for mistakes in the secondary.  “You mess up a couple of plays, you’re out.”

11. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee: “I want to make it very clear, we’ve not made any changes to our offensive line.”

12. Texas A&M running backs coach Clarence McKinney likes no longer having offensive coordinator responsibilities.  “I can focus on some technical things with those guys we kind of got away from last year.”

13. Brandon Allen on the quarterback battle at Arkansas: “My mindset is I’m the starter and I need to go out and prove to everyone that I’m still the starter.”  A.J. Derby moving to tight end.

14. Tennessee defensive end  LaTroy Lewis getting reps at tight end.

15. In addition to unveiling new uniforms, Mississippi State signs extension with Adidas - seven-year deal worth $17.5 million.

16. Economic study on the impact of LSU football: “Over a 7-game home season, total spending by fans from outside the metro is $62.8 million in Louisiana, with $47.7 million of that spent within Baton Rouge metro.”

17. Daniel Bush spent the past three years working on Alabama’s player personnel staff.  He’s now Arkansas’ new Assistant Recruiting Coordinator/Director of Personnel.

SEC/NFL

18. Johnny Manziel reportedly had the highest Wonderlic score among quarterbacks.

SEC Basketball

19. Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes expected to announce he’s entering the NBA draft.

20. For Kentucky basketball fans “no one in recent years — not Duke, not Louisville, not North Carolina, certainly not Tennessee — has been responsible for more heartache than the Connecticut Huskies.”

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SEC Headlines 1/18/2014

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1. Mississippi State has reportedly given a contract extension to defensive coordinator Geoff Collins who was being courted by Florida State.

2. Ticket prices going up at Mississippi State.

3. Gus Malzahn wins the  Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award -his  sixth national coach of the year award.

4. With new Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt making $850,000 a year, expect offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s contract to be revisited.

5. University of Kentucky receiver DeMarco Robinson arrested early Friday -charged with disorderly conduct.

6. Alabama running back Alvin Kamara will reportedly transfer.

7. Is AJ McCarron’s public image taking a beating?

8. Will Josh Holsey be a cornerback or safety for Auburn this fall?

SEC/College News

9. Division I administrators support the idea of giving the power conferences autonomy on issues such as stipends for athletes.

10. A Mississippi house bill would pay football players for bowl games after they graduate.

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SEC Headlines 12/22/2013

headlines-sun-150x150SEC Football

1. Potential new Florida offensive coordinator candidate scratched from the list.  New Southern Cal head coach Steve Sarkisian will reportedly retain interim coach Clay Helton – a Gainesville native.

2. Will Alabama coach Nick Saban address D.J. Pettway’s return in his final press conference before the holiday break?

3. Jeremy Pruitt is now Florida State’s defensive coordinator but he had a big impact during his time at Alabama. ”Jeremy was Kirby and coach Saban’s eyes in the sky.”

4. Auburn flashback to season opener against Washington State.  “If they could find a quarterback, they’d be a top-five team in the nation.”

5. Was South Carolina’s Kelcy Quarles the best defensive tackle in the SEC this season?

6. South Carolina wide receiver Damiere Byrd will miss the bowl game with a knee injury.

7. Georgia coach Mark Richt on the Bulldogs secondary: “There’s some work obviously that’s got to be done.”

8. Why Georgia’s tailback depth could be even deeper than Alabama’s next season.

9. Was Missouri’s Michael Sam the biggest surprise of the league this year?

10. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger may be out with a season-ending knee injury but, “I’m still part of this team; I’m still a leader.”

SEC Basketball

11. Mississippi State in Las Vegas to take on South Florida tonight.

12. Ole Miss hosts Mercer with Marshall Henderson on a hot streak - 41 points in his last two games.

13. Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson had 25 points in a losing effort last night -  ”as he continues to play like a guy on the fast track to the NBA.”

14. Kentucky coach John Calipari’s son tore his ACL in a high school game Friday night.

Extras

15. Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones gets some love from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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WOW Headlines – 12/21/12

After 15 years, DL coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner is leaving Georgia to take on the same role at Auburn
Asked about conference expansion, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said his league is watching “what’s going on around us with interest”
Slive also said the SEC would be interested in the “quality of the conference and the institutions,” not simply adding schools for the sake of numbers
Rumors of Nick Saban leaving Alabama to take over as coach of the Cleveland Browns continue to swirl
Alabama DB coach Jeremy Pruitt will be the new defensive coordinator at Florida State
Missouri OL coach Josh Henson has been promoted to the role of offensive coordinator
CBSSports.com reports that Tennessee QB Tyler Bray will leave early for the NFL
Alabama LB C.J. Mosley will return for his senior season
Since 2006 the SEC has sent more teams to bowls (55) and won more bowls (36) than any other conference
Friday Night SEC Basketball
Tennessee 66 – Western Carolina 52
Middle Tennessee State 56 – Vanderbilt 52
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Monday Wow Headlines 12/17/2012

Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter is turning pro
Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Waun James says he will return for his senior year
Alabama defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt headed to Florida State to become defensive coordinator
Former Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri reportedly joining Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Florida State
Missouri co-offensive line coach Josh Henson is the Tigers new offensive coordinator
LSU linebacker Kevin Minter named team MVP
$85 million expansion at LSU’s Tiger Stadium will bring capacity to just under 100,000
Ole Miss has sold nearly 21,000 tickets for the BBVA Compass Bowl
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HS Coach Claims Bama Aide Steered Commit To Another HS That “Could Take Care Of Him Academically”

As the NCAA moves toward tougher entrance requirements for student-athletes and attempts to change the “sports are king” culture, another mini-controversy has arisen involving an SEC school, a high school prospect, and the question of just how real some academic transcripts are.

You see, Darius Paige of Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida is transferring to Foley High School which is closer to Mobile, Alabama.  Paige is an Alabama commitment.  And Washington assistant coach George Schellang told The Pensacola News Journal that Bama assistant Jeremy Pruitt steered the player to Foley because Bama “had people there to help” Paige academically:

 

“Today, (Darius’) dad came in and withdrew him.  He just came in and cleared out his locker. I saw the withdrawal form and it said he was withdrawing to attend Foley High. All of his transcripts are being sent to Foley…

Darius came in the office one day during the summer after coach (Mike) Smith left and sat down and told me coach Pruitt, who is the Alabama coach who was recruiting him, wanted him to go to Foley High School.  Basically, he said (Foley High) could take care of him academically.

My reaction was shock and dismay that a Division I coach would tell a high school athlete that he needed to transfer, that they had people there to help…

My concern is the only one that will get hurt is going to be him. He’s a great kid and we love him. He’s a very nice young man. In the end, I think he’s going to be the one that gets hurt.”

 

Okay, now let’s just flush out the arguments that Tide fans will make in blind defense of their school (in the same way other fans of other schools would blindly support their team):

 

1.  The Washington assistant is just mad that he’s losing a player and he’s making stuff up.

2.  The Washington assistant said “basically” in his quote so he’s just summarizing what a player told him and both he and the player could have misinterpreted what Pruitt actually told Paige.

3.  Maybe “could take care of him academically” means Alabama knows Foley to be a better school with better teachers and academic advisors than Washington.

 

Yep, all could be possible.  But anyone who knows anything about college football recruiting knows that there’s nothing unusual about prospects getting academic “help” in order to achieve NCAA eligibility.  And recruiting followers also know that certain colleges have stronger ties to some high schools than others.  Personally, having seen/heard cases of these types of things happening with other SEC commitments, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to learn that an Alabama assistant did tell an Alabama commitment to transfer because he knew people at another high school who could help him with his grades.

As for Foley High, Todd Watson — the school’s defensive coordinator — told The PNJ that he wasn’t aware that Paige intended to transfer.  For the record, Watson once coached at Hoover High School in Alabama with… Alabama’s Pruitt.

Watson — who also told the Mobile Press-Register that Foley High has “not recruited the kid” and “did nothing wrong” — said Paige will still have to prove that he’s making a “bona fide” move before he can do anything athletically at Foley.  Becoming officially “bona fide” is a four-part process according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association.  (Apparently, the little Wharvey gals can’t just vouch for the kid.)

In case you’re wondering, Schellang says the AHSAA and the NCAA have already been made aware of the story:

 

“Our athletic director (Troy Faucheaux) has done his duties as an AD and reported everything he needed to report.  He has notified the AHSAA, but has not gotten a phone call back.”

 

If Paige does wind up playing for Foley, he’ll be following in the footsteps of other recent Bama standouts like Julio Jones, DJ Fluker and Robert Lester.  But Watson doesn’t want anyone thinking his old cohort Pruitt is steering players his way or that his school is aiding athletes’ transcripts illegally:

 

“That’ all nonsense…

(The accusation) insinuated that we just give away grades (and) that’s obviously not the case.”

 

I don’t know if Foley High gives away grades or if Pruitt steers players — including Paige — in Foley’s direction.  I do know, however, that many high schools across the South have absolutely finagled grades and transcripts in order to get their players’ scholarships.  It’s happened for years and it will go on happening regardless of the NCAA’s attempts to “change the culture.”

Getting players into college — especially the biggest-name school in a state — is good business for high school coaches.  The more stars they produce, the more they themselves can move up the coaching ladder.  So anyone suggesting that there’s not even a possibility of impropriety here is burying his head pretty deep in the ol’ sand.  It’s possible.  It’s not proven.  But it’s certainly possible.

This kind of thing goes on a lot more than many people want to believe.  Whether “this kind of thing” is actually what happened in the case of Paige’s move from Washington to Foley, well, that’ll be up for the ASHAA and the NCAA to eventually decide.  If they decide to look into the matter at all.

 

UPDATE — A University of Alabama spokesperson has declined to comment on the situation (because doing so would be an NCAA violation in itself).  Meanwhile, The Mobile Press-Register reports that Foley High’s block schedule would allow a student — Paige — to earn up to eight credits in a school year as opposed to the six credits the same student could grab at Washington High.  In that case, it would make sense for a player needing to make academic improvements to switch to a school that offers more potential credits and more room for improvement.

So, does that mean that Schellang misunderstood what he summarized as Paige’s Foley “could take care of him academically” comment?  Only Paige and Schellang know exactly what was said in their meeting.  Until the NCAA or ASHAA get involved — if they get involved — you can expect one side to continue to say “there’s nothing fishy here” while the other will repeat, “oh, yes there is.”

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