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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.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Texas Star Has Eyes On The SEC

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxDefensive back Jamal Adams from Hebron High School in Lewisville, Texas, knows plenty about the Big 12.

That’s one reason he’s anxious to visit some schools in the SEC.

Adams has offers from programs around the country, including Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.

Adams, who’s already visited Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas, told the Dallas Morning News his next visit will be to Texas A&M.

“I’m excited about heading down to Texas A&M,” he said. “They are definitely on the rise. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin is getting them right down there. Johnny Manziel is doing a great job of leading the team too. I’ve been to pretty much all of the Big 12 so I want to see something different. I want to see what the SEC is all about.”

Adams is only the latest prospect from Texas to show a strong interest in the SEC. It’s an interest that has increased in the last year thanks to Texas A&M’s arrival and early success in the league.

That doesn’t mean schools like Oklahoma and Texas will no longer be able to recruit in their own backyard. They’ll have plenty of success there in the future. But they’ll also have to deal with recruits showing more interest in the SEC.

An example: Gilmer, Texas, wide receiver Josh Walker, a Texas A&M commitment who last month told Sporting News that the Aggies have jumped Texas in the eyes of many recruits.

“I do think A&M has become sexier than Texas because of the fact that they’re the only SEC team in Texas and a lot of athletes want to play in the pre-NFL conference,” Walker told Sporting News.

The next two Texas A&M prospects to watch: linebacker Otaro Alaka from Houston and defensive end Jarrett Johnson from Katy, Texas. Both prospects were in attendance at Texas A&M’s Friday Night Lights last week and came away impressed by the Aggies.

Alaka will likely be the first of the two to announce his decision. He’s scheduled to make his commitment on Monday.

“I have a tough decision to make,” Alaka told Rivals.com.

Texas A&M has made Johnson’s decision more difficult. He was favoring Texas before his visit to Texas A&M last week. Now, the Aggies appear to have the edge.

“I feel like I was more impressed by what I saw and I felt more into the game by being allowed on the sideline the entire scrimmage,” Johnson told Rivals. “I was down there before they started (at Texas) but then we were sent to the stands.”

And so the battle continues.

 

Florida flips Clemson running back

Florida received good news last weekend when running back Dalvin Cook from Miami Central High School decided to switch his commitment from Clemson to the Gators.  Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: A New Trend… Stuffing Mailboxes

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxIt’s been established recently that many prospects prefer to communicate through text messaging and social media.

That’s why the NCAA is trying to figure out how to manage the way college coaches can interact with prospects.

But coaches haven’t forgotten their old school ways. We’ve recently seen schools use a “new” trend of mailing letters to recruits. A lot of letters.

Quarterback Drew Barker is the latest. The standout from Conner High School in Burlington, Ky., recently received 115 letters from Kentucky. The Wildcats wanted to make sure Barker knows he’s a priority in Lexington.

“I opened up the mailbox like I do every day, and they started falling out,” Barker told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ It was insane what it looked like in my mailbox. It was all crammed in there, and they had a bunch of rubber bands around them. It was pretty awesome and I was pretty shocked.”

Pretty awesome? Receiving 115 letters at one time might seem a little over the top to some people. But Barker’s not alone in feeling the love.

Athlete Stanton Truitt from Monroe, Ga., told ESPN RecruitingNation earlier this month he received 102 letters from Tennessee. Like Barker, Truitt saw it as a sign that he’s a wanted man.

“It was shocking and it shows me that they think highly of me and really love me,” Truitt told ESPN. “It makes me feel important to them and makes me want to work harder and keep doing what I have been doing.”

The mailbox-stuffing idea isn’t new. Alabama sent 2013 running back Alvin Kamara of Norcross, Ga., 105 letters in Feb. 2012. Kamara, for the record, did sign with the Crimson Tide a year later.

Will Kentucky, Tennessee and others have similar success in the future? Time will tell, but Barker admitted it helped Kentucky in its effort to land the U.S. Army All-American.

“People are wondering if recruits like that stuff,” Barker said. “I’d say if anybody got that amount of letters in the mail in one day, I think they’d definitely like it.”

Coaches will certainly take notice. And while they continue to post messages on twitter, coaches will likely send an assistant to the post office to grab an extra stack of Forever stamps.

 

Texas A&M leads the way

The Aggies continue to receive high praise on the recruiting trail. The latest comes from Sporting News.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 8/10/12

1. Breaux Bridge High School is providing some nice talent for LSU.

2. Texas A&M’s 2013 class looks strong so far. Could it be underrated?

3. Missouri missed on an offensive lineman but still looks good at the position.

4. The summer is coming to an end with Alabama once again looking good in recruiting.

5. Running back Greg Bryant on his future school: ‘It will be an SEC school.’

6. Sporting News takes a look at how James Franklin has improved Vanderbilt’s recruiting.

7. 2014 athlete Todd Kelly Jr. had a busy summer and still has plenty of recruiting to go.

8. Check out this recruiting podcast from ESPN RecruitingNation.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 8/3/12

1. Junior college linebacker Myke Tavarres has committed to Arkansas.

2. Mississippi State has five wide receiver commitments for the class of 2013.

3. Florida continues its heavy pursuit of defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker.

4. LSU commit Jeryl Brazil took a visit to Alabama.

5.  Here’s a look at the SEC’s 2013 classes as we’re “halfway to signing day.”

6. Florida has the top SEC class for 2013, according to Sporting News.

7. Former Auburn commit Jayron Kearse has committed to Clemson.

8. ESPN has updated its class rankings for 2013. (Insider account required)

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 5/25/12

1. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is ready to recruit the Southeast.

2. Auburn is preparing – and hoping – for another Big Cat weekend.

3. Florida coach Will Muschamp talked recruiting while he was in Tampa this week.

4. Did Georgia make a staff hire aimed at landing Robert Nkemdiche?

5. Sporting News has this list of the nation’s top uncommitted quarterbacks.

6. Linebacker Matt Rolin from Ashburn, Va., will visit South Carolina this weekend.

7. South Carolina and North Carolina lead for running back TJ Logan from Greensboro, N.C.

8. Here’s a recent story from the trio that committed to Arkansas this week.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 3/1/12

1. The NCAA has warned schools to be wary of recruiting star basketball player Shabazz Muhammad. Kentucky is in the mix.

2. Muhammad, by the way, is scheduled to visit Duke this weekend.

3. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher believes the Seminoles can play and recruit against the SEC.

4. Kelvin Taylor isn’t the only Florida legacy being recruited by the Gators for 2013.

5. Athlon Sports analyzes Tennessee’s class of 2012.

6. Defensive end Carl Lawson from Alpharetta, Ga., has already received more than 30 offers.

7. Brian McLaughlin of Sporting News takes a look at some of the nation’s top quarterback prospects.

8. Several basketball recruiting questions are answered by the experts at 247Sports.

Here’s a look at why so many basketball teams covet Shabazz Muhammad.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 2/21/12

1. Basketball prospect Nerlens Noel weighs in on his recent visit to Kentucky.

2. The coach of Auburn signee Avery Young says he wasn’t a “packaged deal” with Young to Georgia.

3. Braden Gall of Athlon Sports takes a look at LSU’s class of 2012.

4. Here are some Arkansas recruiting notes.

5. Mark Richt and Paul Johnson weigh in on the term “commitment” and what it really means.

6. Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com discusses Texas A&M’s 2013 recruiting in his recent mailbag.

7. Lane Kiffin and Southern Cal are making a run at a few Georgia prospects.

8. Brian McLaughlin of Sporting News looks at the recent junior day success for Florida and Texas A&M.

Prospect video: See why Noel is considered one of the nation’s top basketball prospects.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – Morning Edition

1. How did the 2011 All-SEC team rank in recruiting?

2. Alabama has the top class for 2012, according to Sporting News. Watch out for Florida.

3. Georgia has offered a scholarship to Georgia Tech offensive line commit Will Adams.

4. Mark Richt and Co. checked in on prospects committed to Alabama and Auburn.

5. Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is letting it be known he will sign with Florida State.

6. ESPN has its predictions on where many of the nation’s prospects will land. (Insider required)

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Does Arkansas Lead For Nation’s Top Receiver?

Dorial Green-Beckham can sign with any school in the country.

That’s why Arkansas is fortunate to be near the hometown of the wide receiver from Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Mo.

Sources from a program recruiting Green-Beckham recently told JC Shurburtt of 247Sports.com that Arkansas and Oklahoma are the top two teams on Green-Beckham’s list. Arkansas appears to have an edge because of its proximity to Springfield.

“It was their opinion that he would end up at Arkansas or Oklahoma and they characterized the Sooners as a ‘close second’ in the race,” Shurburtt wrote.

Texas and Missouri are also recruiting Green-Beckham but each school should be considered a “longshot,” according to Shurburtt.

Green-Beckham, who’s considered the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver prospect by 247Sports, Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and Sporting News, is just beginning to take his official visits.

He recently took his first official visit to Texas and still has trips planned to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and perhaps Alabama. He maintains his list of schools is wide open.

“I’m just taking visits and stuff right now,” Green-Beckham recently told Sporting News, “but I haven’t picked the school just yet. I’m pretty much wide open and taking visits. The pressure of it all, sometimes I get sick of it, but sometimes it’s fun to experience it.

“But I mean, I’m not really too picky about the pressure because I know how to handle it, and I let everything just fly by.”

Sort of like Green-Beckham has done against his competition. He set a national record this year by passing the 6,000-yard mark for career receiving yards, according to Sporting News.

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