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An NCAA Show-Cause Penalty Would Likely Lead To Haith’s Ouster At Mizzou

Image: Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith watches his team play the North Carolina Tar Heels during their NCAA men's basketball game at the 2011 ACC Tournament in GreensboroFor the past week, we’ve been in a bit of an online debate with a few Missouri fans who took offense to our suggestion on the 17th that Frank Haith’s lawyer appeared to be “prepping Mizzou fans for bad news.”  In their view, the NCAA can not punish the Tiger program for violations Haith may have committed while coaching at Miami.

Well, it’s true that the NCAA isn’t going to hit Missouri with charges over any Miami mistakes.  However — and this is what those few holdouts still fail to grasp — MU can still be punished indirectly if the NCAA decides to go after Haith.  A recent SEC example: Bruce Pearl and Tennessee.

The NCAA did not drop the hammer on the Vol basketball program in 2011, as many Big Orange fans had feared.  But once it became clear Pearl was to be hit with a show-cause penalty (three years in his case), the school was effectively forced to dismiss him.  The Vol program is still trying to recover despite the fact that technically the NCAA levied more punishments on UT’s ex-coach than on UT’s program.

Yesterday, CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that a source “close to the situation” had revealed that Haith would soon receive notice from the NCAA that he would be charged with unethical conduct and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.  You know who else was hit with both of those charges?  Yep, Pearl.

In Haith’s case, the NCAA has reportedly been unable to prove that former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gave $10,000 to Haith’s staff to pay for the services of former Hurricane DeQuan Jones.  That’s the claim made by Shapiro.  But the NCAA still intends to hit Missouri’s coach with an unethical conduct charge because it believes — and Shapiro’s mother has confirmed — that money allegedly given to Haith’s assistants for “camp money” actually went back to Shapiro as repayment for the cash he provided to ink Jones.  In addition, Haith and three aides will face punishment for providing impermissible airline travel for two Miami players and for allowing interaction between Shapiro and Hurricane recruits during their visits to Coral Gables.

Haith said last evening that he and Missouri officials are “in constant contact with the NCAA all the time about this case, (and)… it’s inappropriate for me to say anything other than just that.”

The university put out its own statement:

 

“The University of Missouri is aware of today’s story from CBS Sports.  The University has been in communication with the NCAA regarding their ongoing efforts related to the University of Miami investigation.  Coach Haith and the University of Missouri continue to cooperate fully.  However, we are not at liberty to comment further out of respect for the NCAA process.”

 

If Goodman’s source is corrrect and Haith is charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, he’ll have 90 days to respond to the allegations.  A hearing would follow in the summer and then a decision would come sometime between the fall and the end of the year.

Haith’s attorney, Michael Buckner, wasn’t exactly thrilled with Goodman’s report:

 

“Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the CBSSports.com report is premature.  The NCAA’s investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing…

It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rule was worthwhile.  The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process.”

 

Buckner went on to say that “any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported.”

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn has said the NCAA does “not have a comment at this time.”

Armed with all that background info, there are still two major questions in need of answering…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mizzou Unveils Stadium Upgrade Plans

In June, the University of Missouri — which goes by MU instead of UM for some reason — announced that it would spend $200 million to improve its athletic facilities as part of its move to the SEC.  One of the first projects scheduled for completion is a renovation of Memorial Stadium’s east side.  The school plans to add 5,000 bleacher seats as well as 1,200 premium seats.

Renderings of the new exterior have now been made public:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The school will also convert some media areas on the west side of the stadium into club/luxury suites.  The west side work should be completed by August.  The east side project is expected to be ready in time for the 2014 football season, on year sooner than originally planned.

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Mizzou Sells Victory T-Shirt For Kentucky Win

Anything for a buck, right?  Perhaps that’s what Missouri officials were thinking when they printed and put up for sale t-shirts commemorating the Tigers’ big weekend win over… 1-8 Kentucky.

Now, if the shirt said something about the school’s first-ever SEC victory, then we would be a bit more forgiving.  After all, regardless of who such a win comes against, you only get one “first.”  But the shirt doesn’t appear to mention that point at all.  It simply gives the date, location and score from when Mizzou “CAGED THE CATS.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the SEC, most schools don’t sell t-shirts for wins over Kentucky unless said win comes in the sport of basketball.  In that case, t-shirts are okey-dokey.  Just a friendly tip to MU officials who’re selling the shirt at the school’s online store.  If you’re tired of the suggestion that Missouri will be a Kentucky-like football program in the big, bad SEC then you really shouldn’t feed that notion with graphic proof on fabric.

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Tweeting The SEC 9/10/12

A roundup of some our favorite tweets regarding SEC football.

Tennessee Football on Saturday’s games vs. Florida

Dave Matter – Columbia Tribune

Matt Hayes – Sporting News

Paul Finebaum quotes Pat Dye

Wes Rucker on Tennessee’s offense

ESPN’s Edward Aschoff on Ole Miss vs. Texas

Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin

Kendall Rogers

 

Follow SEC football year-round on Twitter with MrSEC.

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Mizzou Is As Mad As Hell And The Tigers Aren’t Going To Take This (Lack Of Respect) Anymore

It became clear at SEC Media days that Gary Pinkel and his Missouri Tigers were already growing tired of “how will you ever survive in the big, bad SEC” type questions.  As we noted at the time, there was no doubt about Pinkel’s theme for his 2012 Mizzou team: They don’t respect you.

Well, folks around the MU program are growing more and more eager to prove themselves.  And that’s not necessarily good news for a Georgia team that will be the first new SEC East rival to walk into Faurot Field.

Some examples straight from the mouths of Missouri players and coaches:

 

“I’m tired of hearing about it.  I think everybody is.  You see our shirts around here.  They have ‘RESPECT’ on the back.  It’s something for us to latch onto and give us motivation.” – receiver TJ Moe

 

“We’re getting mistreated with all the publicity.  People think we’re going to get dog-walked, like we’re just going to go out and lie down there for somebody.  And we’re not.” – defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson

 

“The Big 12 is an elite conference, team after team.  Is the SEC a good league?  No question.  But, come on.  All these people are bashing the Big 12 all of a sudden.  It’s different.  (The Big 12) might not be a convertible, but it’s still a damn good car.” — defensive coordinator Dave Steckel

 

“It’s not like, ‘Oh, man, we’ve got to be more physical.  We’ve got to be tougher.  We’re still going to do the same things the Missouri football program has harped on since Coach Pinkel got here.” — linebacker Will Ebner

 

It’s disappointing that Missouri is banged up — especially on the offensive line — coming out of fall camp and that Georgia is dealing with suspensions and its own depth issues.  It would be a lot more fun to watch that opener if both teams were coming in at full strength.  That would give us all an idea of just how much catching up Missouri really has to do… if any.

For a great read on how MU’s offensive and defensive schemes might be tweaked in the SEC, check this out.

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SEC Meetings Recap: League To Announce 6-1-1 Plan For 12 Years By Friday (Maybe)

Get ready for some dueling reports out of Destin this morning.

According to Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com, the SEC will adopt the 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan that many expected pre-SEC Meetings by the time Friday arrives.  We first showed you what such a plan would look like way back on October 20th of 2011.  We also told you on Monday that this would be the most likely solution, barring a fourth-quarter push by the television networks.

McMurphy suggests the plan will be adopted for a full 12-year run.  As we also noted Monday, schedules can be torn up and pitched whenever the league deems it necessary to add more teams (if it ever does so), so a 12-year announcement is far from binding.  However, if a 12-year announcement is forthcoming, it seems to say that the league isn’t going to be going to a nine-game conference slate anytime soon in order to appease CBS, ESPN or any other television entity hoping for better early- and late-season contests to broadcast.

The 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan is the best model available to the league barring a jump to nine league games.  Schools would face each of their division foes annually.  They would battle a permanent cross-division opponent once per year, too, preserving some of the league’s most important games.  And schools would rotate through their remaining six cross-division foes every six years.  It would still take 12 years to visit or host each cross-division squad, however.

Going to a 6-1-2 plan (and rotating two squads per year) would have been better for television, better to fend off “strength of schedule” attacks from other conferences and outside media, and better for — ya know — actually seeing the teams in one’s own conference, but the SEC’s coaches and ADs have apparently been given the keys to drive this bus… something that was not the case in 1992 when the league drove an eight-game schedule and a conference title game down their throats (which has since led to 10 national football crowns in 20 seasons).

According to McMurphy, only set of permanent cross-divisional foes will be separated.  McMurphy claims that Arkansas will align with neighboring Missouri — as MU coach Gary Pinkel suggested yesterday — and South Carolina will trade the Razorbacks for the Aggies of Texas A&M.

Ah, but on the other side of a Destin hotel lobby…

Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph and The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer — he’s so good one paper can’t contain him — claims “it now appears the SEC could keep voting on a scheduling model, with specifics — and who plays whom in which years — to be announced later.”

In other words, there’s a chance the format will indeed be selected this week, but the actual 12-year schedule and who plays whom could come later.

“Our goal — it’s our goal — is to have a format determined while we’re here, and then move on to schedules,” Mike Slive said yesterday.  ”You know, formats ans schedules are two different things.”

Georgia AD Greg McGarity told Emerson: “I don’t think we’ll have any grid or chart of who you’re playing, 2013 and beyond.  But hopefully there will be an approval of whatever the models are and information of that nature, but not who you play in 2013.  That will be a ways away.”

Whether a 12-year announcement is made on Friday, obviously, remains to be seen.  But it certainly sounds as though the 6-1-1 (fast rotation) plan will indeed be the format tabbed for the future.

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Will The Circle Be Unbroken: How A Mistake 20 Years Ago Has Nuked Conferences And Rivalries

Over the weekend, we linked you to a story from The Kansas City Star in which writer Sam Mellinger wondered if Missouri was now having regrets about leaving the Big 12.  (Two notes: 1. That damnable Mia Hamm ad will pop up as soon as you click the link.  2.  Yes, Tiger fans, we know you think Mellinger is a pro-Kansas, anti-Missouri man.)  Well, Mellinger’s item got me thinking about how things in the SEC, Big 12, ACC and — if all heck breaks loose in the next two months — all of college athletics might have been different had one school not shot itself in the foot more than two decades ago.

Everything at present time is moving in circles.  Mellinger just must not have realized that.  In writing about how the new SEC-Big 12 agreement has made the Big 12 more stable than anyone would have imagined a year ago, he stated:

 

“There is no way to know the answer for sure, but there are now plenty of college sports insiders who believe MU wouldn’t have left for the SEC if it knew this is how the thing would turn out.

The SEC is the most powerful league in college sports, so it’s dishonest to call joining up a mistake, but it’s easy to imagine that in their most unfiltered thoughts the MU decision-makers are now less certain they did the right thing.

The mantra all along was stability, the Tigers saying their best situation would be a firm Big 12. Turns out that’s exactly what they left behind.”

 

Actually, no.  That’s not what Missouri left behind.

When Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC, it was the fourth founding member to leave the league in about 18 months time.  Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State had all just been had their bids for membership in the Pac-12 rejected.  The league Missouri left was splintering.  (Heck, Oklahoma even came close to scuttling the conference’s plans to add West Virginia to replace Mizzou.)

It was Missouri’s departure that actually helped make the Big 12 stable again.  Scared that the league would blow itself to pieces and Big 12 teams would land everywhere from the ACC (who Texas also approached), the Pac-12, the Big Ten, the SEC and who knows where else… ESPN coughed up a huge payday for a 10-school league that covers just five states (including Iowa, Kansas and West Virginia, which are all rather sparsely populated).  ESPN feared that it would either a) have to renegotiate television contracts with every league under the sun or b) risk losing some games to other networks which were ready to bid — NBC/Comcast, Fox, etc.  As a result, the Big 12 got more than market value from ESPN (and from Fox).

But if Missouri doesn’t leave the Big 12, the only thing that’s made the league stable — all that television money — most likely doesn’t reach the levels it did.  Yet still, some question whether the Tigers should have just stayed put and enjoyed the Big 12′s current riches.

See the circle in all that?  Here’s another one.

Over on the Atlantic Coast, John Swofford’s basketball-first league tried to become a better football conference way back in 1991 by adding powerhouse Florida State.  In 2004, the ACC took things further and raided the Big East for Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College.  People forget that BC went to eight bowls in a row under Tom O’Brien and was averaging about nine wins per year when the ACC nabbed them.

But FSU’s program fizzled under an aging Bobby Bowden.  Miami’s program was undone by NCAA violations.  Virginia Tech never could win “the big one” and claim a national crown.  Boston College saw it’s successes diminish when O’Brien left for NC State in 2007.

The league’s football fortunes turned sour just as television contracts — which are driven almost entirely by football rights — were booming.  Now some of those very same football schools are talking about leaving the ACC which could ultimately bring down roof on Swofford’s head.

Had the ACC not added all those schools and had it remained a tight-knit, basketball power it likely wouldn’t be as rich as its neighboring leagues, but it certainly would be tougher to blow apart than it is now.  Dumping 60 years of tradition is tougher than walking away from 20.  Or eight.

Want another circle?  Let’s focus on Florida State.

In 1990, the Southeastern Conference put on a song and dance routine in Tallahassee in an attempt to lure the Seminoles into the SEC.  There were no certainly roadblocks from the folks in Gainesville 22 years ago.  FSU officials decided instead that the ACC was the better place for them.  They could dominate in football and bellying up to the lectern with strong academic institutions like Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia put a charge in the bow ties of FSU’s academicians.

But as noted above, FSU’s dominion over the ACC and college football ended.  In the 90s, the move looked sound. In the 2000s, not so much.  State became an average football team and that helped drag down the value of the entire ACC as television rights fees grew.  State fell behind the SEC and rival Florida in the money race.  FSU’s fans complain about having to play basketball schools like Wake Forest on the gridiron (maybe because the Demon Deacons have taken four of the last six from the Seminoles).

Now Florida State is on the verge of leaving the ACC because it can make more money elsewhere.  Even though it’s the top reason the ACC isn’t worth as much.

See the circle?  Now look at it in big picture form.

If Florida State had had the foresight in 1990 to join the conference that was clearly the best fit for it, the school would probably be healthier and wealthier today.  But it snubbed the SEC for the ACC.  The SEC got rich without FSU.  It’s landmark television deals in 2008 set off a series of conference moves that wound up destabilized the Big 12.  Eventually, that led Missouri to leave its old Big Eight rivals and flee the Big 12 for Mike Slive’s league.  ESPN then threw huge cash at the Big 12 in the hopes of saving it.  It worked.  And now Florida State is eyeballing a possible move from the ACC to the Big 12.

If FSU had simply done the sensible thing in 1990, the SEC’s roster of teams would definitely look more sensible on a map today.  Florida State would be on solid ground.  The ACC might have remained a basketball-first power and not brought in schools that would have no problem leaving and splitting up the conference.  Missouri might not have had a greener pasture to head to and might have stayed put in the Big 12 to preserve its old rivalries.  And perhaps leagues across the nation wouldn’t be trembling with fear over more possible expansion, realignments, and breakups today.

If FSU had moved to the SEC, Missouri might not have.  And if Missouri hadn’t left the Big 12, FSU might not be contemplating a move to the the Big 12.

And we all might never have become trapped in what seems to be a never-ending cycle — make that circle — of change.

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Mizzou Unveils New Ticket Policy

The University of Missouri is expecting an increased demand for tickets this fall thanks to the school’s move to the SEC.  That’s not surprising.  At Texas A&M they’re already talking about improving, renovating or replacing Kyle Field due in part to new, stronger ticket demands.

At Mizzou, the school unveiled a new policy yesterday that will require new season-ticket buyers to put their names on a waiting list.  The cost of signing up for the list?  That would be 100 bucks, but that would be deducted from the coast of season tickets if they do become available.

The school sold 40,000 season tickets last year and MU officials are hoping to move 45,000 this season.

Proving that the Mizzou administration already has a mind for SEC-style business, spokesperson Chad Moller admitted that the school thinks a few Alabama and Georgia fans might plunk down cash for an entire season-ticket package in order to insure they get in to see their favorite school’s first foray into Faurot Field:

“That’s absolutely part of our thought process.  I supposed if Alabama fans want to become donors and buy season tickets, more power to them, but we feel like going to this waiting list will help give preference to Mizzou fans, people who want to donate to the (Tiger Scholarship Fund) and come to all seven games.”

Several SEC schools have learned to package tickets — especially Kentucky tickets in basketball — in such a way that visiting fans have to buy tickets for more than just the game of their choosing.

Not to hurt Mizzou’s biz-nass, but I find it hard to believe most folks haven’t figured out by now that online ticket brokers are the way to go when looking for seats for one particular game.

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Mizzou’s New Nike Duds Not As Bad As they Might Have Been

First, let me just say that after last week’s short nugget about what Missouri insiders were saying about the school’s soon-to-be-released new Nike uniforms, it’s clear that Mizzou and its fans will have no problem fitting in with their new SEC brethren.

Under our post, many Tiger fans jumped into our comment boxes to claim that we were attacking their school, should keep our mouths shut, etc, etc.  Some comments were so nasty that they had to be deleted after some claimed they were offensive.  That’s A-1, standard, paranoid SEC overreaction.  Reading something into a story — “obviously we’re the redheaded stepchild of the SEC” type of jibber-jabber for instance — that isn’t even hinted at in the actual story?  Why that’s real SEC passion right there.

Anyone who doubted that Mizzou fans had the passion necessary to be overly sensitive or too easily angered by throwaway blurbs need only study the drama unleashed by our quick “ugh” remark regarding… a uniform.  Some readers even ignored the fact that we included a quote that made it clear these unis were designed to attract recruits first and foremost.  They ignored the fact that we also took a shot at Georgia’s garish, laughable 2011 Power Ranger uniform.  And that we ended by saying we hoped the uniforms “wouldn’t be as bad as feared” when finally released to the public.  Instead of grasping all that, some saw only our clear haaaaaaate for MU.

That type of buffet reading — “I’ll read this, misinterpret that, and totally ignore that” — is pure SEC gold.

And speaking of gold, now that that uniforms have been unveiled, I’ll still say that I’m not a fan.  I prefer old, shiny, metallic gold to yellow.  That’s a personal preference and I’m sure you have your own take on that one.  I’ll try not to be offended if you prefer yellow to gold as it’s really not that big of a deal and won’t cost me any sleep tonight.

The main unis — complete with the oval Tiger-head logo on a black helmet — aren’t nearly as Oregon-esque as some Mizzou officials had hinted.  We at MrSEC.com see that as a positive, you may not.

The alternate football uniform — the one with the yellow jersey and the big yellow Tiger head on a matte-finish black helmet that looks like its been splattered by a paintball — is rather CFLish, if you ask this scribe.  That’s the alternate uni at left.  Ick.  Sue me.

A few Tiger fans aren’t happy that grey — I’m sorry, “anthracite” — has been added to some of the uniforms, but I don’t think it looks too bad on the road white unis.  Of course, “anthracite” was first introduced by Nike as part of its Pro Combat design for West Virginia a couple of years ago.  Not sure how much coal mining is done in Missouri, but anthracite’s now part of the Tiger brand for better or worse.

The basketball uniforms are — in my opinion — worse than the football unis.  The grey-on-black-on-grey Tiger stripe patterns are just too funky for an old-timer like me and I’m not big on uniform numbers that are the same color as the uniform itself, either.  Again, just my take.

But these jerseys and pants and helmets weren’t designed for impartial critics like yours truly.  They weren’t designed for Mizzou fans, for that matter.  They were designed to appeal to 17- and 18-year-old kids who are actually wowed by abominations like this.  So again, things could have been much, much worse.

The biggest drawback to this non-MU guy is the loss of the big block M on the helmet.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Supposedly people confused Missouri with Michigan.  Is it just me or does anyone else think that’s a total crock?  Michigan has one of the most iconic helmets in the country and it’s got nothing close to a block M on it.  So we’re not going to buy the “they confuse us with Michigan” line even if Mizzou and Nike officials want to keep pitching it.

We liked the previous Tiger uniforms and thought they looked more traditional.  These unis are more modern and that’s part of the school’s new branding efforts.  So be it.

If recruits like Dorial Green-Beckham sign after seeing them and if the Tigers win games while wearing them, they’ll end up being a huge success.  Regardless of what fans or fashion critics or independent sites like this one are saying today.

So much for our sartorial review.

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UConn Transfer Oriakhi To Visit UK, MU

Last week we told you that UConn senior-to-be Alex Oriakhi was looking at three SEC school as possible transfer options: Florida, Kentucky and Missouri.  This in spite of a rule the SEC made a big deal about launching last summer that would block one-and-doners — those on the back end of their careers — from entering the conference for a lone, hired gun type of season.

The SEC confirmed its policy to us which basically states that as long as the player signs up for a major not offered by his old school, the league could still grant a waiver allowing him to enter the SEC for just one season.  Meaning that not a whole heckuva lot changed when the SEC put the new “rule” into effect.

Now comes word from The Connecticut Times that Oriakhi has narrowed his list of candidates — sorry Florida — and will visit four schools: Kentucky, Missouri, Duke and North Carolina.

That seems to provide further proof that the SEC will okay an Oriakhi transfer into the league… regardless of the widely-publicized policy it put in place last year.

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