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SEC Headlines 6/17/2013

headlines-monSEC Football

1. Here’s more on the simple battery charge for Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison, a projected starter.

2. Pat Dooley has seven keys to success for Florida’s football team.

3. In case you missed it: Johnny Manziel tweeted he “can’t wait to leave College Station” during the weekend.

4. South Carolina wide receiver Damiere Byrd is among the nation’s fastest players, writes Chris Huston.

5. Former Vol Eric Berry on Tennessee coach Butch Jones: “He’s trying to do things the right way.”

6. Bruce Feldman discusses Kevin Sumlin’s future at Texas A&M as well as the recruiting surge of Kentucky and Tennessee.

SEC Basketball

7. Florida guard Michael Frazier II is a finalist for the USA 19-under basketball team.

8. So is Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes, who is among the 16 finalists.

Extra

9. AL.com continues its series on college football hits and safety concerns.

10. Alabama and Georgia picked up quarterback commitments during the weekend.

11. Here’s a national view of the USA 19-under basketball team.

12. Athlon Sports has released its Big Ten All-Conference team.

13. The fallout continues at Penn State following the trial of former coach Jerry Sandusky.

14. The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from winning their fifth NBA title.

15. This Jay-Z commercial during the NBA finals has received a lot of attention.

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NCAA Prez Under Fire For Losing Unwinnable Game

Penn State Abuse EmmertTalk about your thankless jobs.

With so many people worried about the heat members of the new college football playoff selection committee will take, there’s already an important figure in collegiate sports who’s got it far worse than any playoff panelist — NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Emmert took the reigns of the NCAA more than two years ago.  Today he’s been riddled with more bullets (verbal in nature) than Sonny Corleone at a tollbooth.  Coaches don’t like the NCAA because its rulebook is too thick.  Fans don’t like the NCAA because the organization is basically the police force of college sports and if their favorite school is cheating in some way, well, they don’t want them to get caught.  Media members attack the NCAA because that’s just what we do.  We look at big organizations and attempt to critique them, often in unfair ways.

And if happen to be the poor sap who’s agreed to sit atop the NCAA’s org chart — as Emmert has — then you’re the guy that coaches, fans and media members will target most often.

This week, Sports Illustrated is running a lengthy story on the overall failure of Emmert to reform the NCAA during his tenure.  (Of course, when he’s attempted to actually reform the rulebook, the changes have all been ixnayed after the fact by coaches and athletic directors who were not consulted).  Among the many negative reviews of Emmert and his team from SI.com:

 

“In many interviews with NCAA officials about enforcement, the topic quickly shifted back to the leadership of Emmert, who is known internally at the NCAA as the ‘King of the Press Conference.’  That’s not a compliment.”

“A portrait emerged of a (enforcement) department battered by turnover, afraid of lawsuits and overwhelmed by scandal.  One ex-enforcement official told SI, ‘The time is ripe to cheat.  There’s no policing going on.’”

“When talking to a dozen college officials to get a pulse on Emmert, many struggled to answer the question, ‘What has he actually accomplished so far in his tenure?’  Even the harsh sanctions against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal ($60 million fine, four-year bowl ban and the loss of 40 scholarships over four years) has painted Emmert in a bad light after he went on a television tour, which some perceived as a victory lap, to talk about the unprecedented action by the NCAA.”

“The NCAA failed to pass most of the initiatives Emmert has trumpeted.  Many agreed with the ideals behind Emmert’s ambitious agenda, including trying to give scholarship athletes a small amount of money to cover the full cost of school, and paring down the rulebook.  But the lack of results have highlighted the growing schism between have and have-nots in Division I and further polarized the athletic directors who feel largely ignored and highlighted how out-of-touch Emmert is with his constituents.”

 

Yikes.  It goes on from there and it gets no prettier.

Not to be outdone, The Sporting News put in some calls of its own to further pile on the easy-target NCAA president:

 

“Why does embattled president Mark Emmert still have a job?  The reason could be this simple: Firing Emmert could do more harm than good.  ‘If you force him out, you’re essentially telling everyone he has failed,’ one NCAA (university) president told Sporting News.  ‘When you’re dealing with (litigation), it’s not prudent to admit failure at the highest office.’”

*  “‘He is incapable of looking in the mirror and figuring out that he could be the problem,’ one administrator of a BCS school told Sporting News.  ‘A leader with a personality like that, it affects everyone he manages and it affects the way the organization is run.’”

 

The real problem might just be that reforming the NCAA is a goal that cannot be accomplished, a game that can’t be won.  Sci-fi heads, think “Kobayashi Maru,” the ultimate no-win scenario.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Free Advice To Schools: Don’t Ask For Outside Reviews On Scandals

As the academic/athletic scandal at North Carolina continues to get worse and worse — and it’s getting worse and worse — a special faculty committee at UNC is now “calling for an independent commission of outside experts” to review the athletics and academics at the school.

Carolina officials, are you NUTS?  If the Penn State scenario has shown us anything it’s that no school should hire an outside party to file a summary report regarding an on-campus scandal ever again.  Ever.  Are you listening, SEC administrators?

Penn State hired a team led by former FBI man Louis Freeh to look into the school’s Jerry Sandusky scandal and then put everything into writing.  Freeh’s team did as instructed.  They researched and read emails.  They drew conclusions and included opinions.  They speculated on some points.  They provided circumstantial evidence on others.

They did not provide a law enforcement investigation into the matter.  Heck, they didn’t even interview a single Penn State coach.

Who says?  On Friday The Chronicle of Higher Eduction cited “a source familiar with the investigation” whom it called “a member of the team” that produced the Freeh report as saying the NCAA was way, way out of bounds in taking that document and using it to batter Penn State:

 

“That document was not meant to be used as the sole piece, or the large piece, of the NCAA’s decision making.  It was meant to be a mechanism to help Penn State move forward.  To be used otherwise creates an obstacle to the institution changing…

In using this report largely as the basis for their decision, the NCAA could hurt Penn State’s enrollment, recruiting, and outside relationships and partnerships.  If you don’t attract good faculty and research dollars, your institution has no stature…

The report is critical, but nothing is black and white.  No investigation can totally answer all the questions everyone has…

The NCAA took this report and ran with it without further exploration.  If you really wanted to show there was a nexus to cover up, interview the coaches.  See their knowledge and culpability and how far this went…

The sanctions against Penn State were really overwhelming, and no one imagined the report being used to do that.  People thought it would help others draw conclusions about what happened and provide a guide for leaders to be able to identify minefields and navigate through them.

Instead, Emmert took the report and used Penn State’s own resources to do them in.  The institution is made of people, too.  And they don’t deserve this.”

 

Last week, someone reading this site suggested that my assertion that the Freeh Report not be taken as gospel was “basically akin to Holocaust denial.”  No.  Really.  Holocaust denial.  See?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, now none other than someone either on or close to the Freeh group has said that, indeed, it was just one view of events, it was not a full exploration into what Joe Paterno and other coaches knew, and it should not have been taken by the NCAA and used as a de facto investigation.

The lesson in all of this is that no school — again, are you listening, SEC administrators? — should ever hire anyone from outside that school to put anything in writing that the NCAA could grab and use in place it own investigation.  Because the NCAA has now proven it will do just that.  And according to several PSU sources, the NCAA told the school to accept the penalties that were based upon the Freeh Report or get the death penalty.  Mark Emmert denies making that ultimatum, but if you’re North Carolina or any other school would you really want to find out if the NCAA prez would or wouldn’t make such either/or threats?  I think not.

So the quick and easy, sure-thing takeaway of this matter is — whatever you do — do not ask someone else to provide a written summary of what they think went on inside your own school.  To do so is just asking for trouble.  Just ask Penn State officials today.  Or someone close to the Freeh group for that matter.

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It’s Time To Stop Deifying Coaches And Players

We at MrSEC.com have pretty much steered clear of the Joe Paterno/Penn State mess because — thankfully — it was not an SEC scandal.  And while it might be a story that’s generated pageviews by the zillions for anyone who’s written about it, we’ve not gone down that road.

We still aren’t.  Whether or not statues should be taken down or death penalties handed out in the case of Penn State is not at the crux of this short post.  Nope.  Instead, we simply wanted to say it’s time to stop putting up statues of living players and coaches in the first place.

The SEC is currently in the middle of a statue war.  From Florida to Auburn to Alabama and beyond, schools are racing to erect statues of their coaches — like current championship winner Nick Saban at Alabama — and their past Heisman winners — like Cam Newton and Steve Spurrier at Auburn and Florida.  Many of the men being honored are still alive.  And they are all mere mortals.  That means these men likely already have some skeletons in their closets and plenty of time left on this earth to create a few more.

The name Paterno was once revered.  To speak it evoked the ideas of dignity, morality and leadership.

That should have never been the case.  Paterno coached a football team.  He didn’t cure cancer or dedicate his life to feeding the hungry.  He decided whether a play should be run to the right or to the left.  He decided which player to sign and which player to cut.

It’s time to stop deifying players and coaches for their exploits and accomplishments on a football field or a basketball court.  These folks aren’t saints.  Even those who seem saintly — like Mark Richt and Danny Wuerffel, for example — would likely be quick to tell you that they’ve got a several sins on their resumes, too.

We all do.  Even coaches and players.

Fans and the media are to blame for all of this, of course.  Fans because many of them love, worship and adore anyone who’s ever scored a touchdown or sunk a basket for Hometown U.  The media because we love to build folks up… if only so we can tear them down later.

The name Paterno will now be associated with his greatest failure.  All of the thousands of players he impacted in a positive way and the millions of dollars he brought into his university will be forgotten.  Might as well have never happened.  PATERNO = BAD from now on.

But before the Jerry Sandusky issue came to light, the media held up Paterno as the perfect example of all a man should be.  Well, in some ways that was true.  All men are flawed.  Hideously, horribly flawed.  Capable of doing awful or stupid things.  Often both.  Paterno turned out to be the perfect example of a man after all, right down to his flaws and failings.

It’s time for the media to stop glorifying coaches and athletes as being anything more than just great coaches and athletes.  At least while they’re still walking and talking.  Living legends have a way of disappointing.  Best to honor, praise and idolize those who’ve already shuffled off this mortal coil.

The Roman Catholic Church only beatifies people after they’ve died.  Wise move.  Fans and media should take note and stop trying to deify people who simply played or coached a game.

And schools should stop putting up statues of leaving, breathing ex-jocks.  Just ask the folks at Penn State today.

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