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Report: UA Staff Member Provided Impermissible Benefits To Clinton-Dix

mrsec-breaking-newsSuspended Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix received impermissible benefits from assistant strength and conditioning coach Corey Harris, according to a report from

Harris, who has been placed on administrative leave, was also found to have a connection to a representative of a sports agent, according to the report. From TideSports:

Harris made a short-term loan to Clinton-Dix in an amount less than $500 at some point in the summer, an apparent violation of NCAA Bylaw, which states that “an institutional employee or representative of the institution’s athletics interests may not provide a student-athlete with extra benefits or services, including, but not limited to … a loan of money.” Clinton-Dix has provided bank records to UA athletic compliance department representatives that show a withdrawal in the amount he said he repaid to Harris, has learned.

Alabama coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday that Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

“I don’t know for how long this will be, so don’t ask me that either,” Saban said.

Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated doesn’t expect the suspension of Clinton-Dix to last long. But that might not be the biggest concern for Alabama.


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SEC Afternoon Roundup 9/6/2012

1. Friday night’s Tennessee-NC State game was the most-viewed game in the history of ESPNU.

2. Tommy Tomlinson on Tyrann Mathieu:  ”We couldn’t think of any other college football star who stuck around after getting kicked off his team.”

3. Kentucky running back CoShik Williams won’t play Saturday against Kent State.

4. Florida coaches watching almost three times as much film as normal in preparing for Texas A&M.

5. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward in his own words: “Football actually changed my life …”

6. Kevin Scarbinsky on the formula that gets Nick Saban stirred up: “Extraordinary compliments from the opposing coach of a massive underdog plus a jump to No. 1 in both polls after the first game plus a bad practice equals a Saban rant.”

7. New AU logo placed on the east side of  Jordan-Hare Stadium.

8. Sports Illustrated’s Ben Glickman breaks down the Washington-LSU game.

9. SI”s Stewart Mandel calls Mizzou-Georgia his upset special of the week.

10. Only five coaches in college football –  none in the SEC – have been in their current jobs longer than Mark Richt and Gary Pinkel.

11. The joyless relationship between former Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie and his players.

12. What’s the best college football town in America?

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Additional Headlines – 8/27/12

Just a few more quickie nuggets to throw at you…


1.  Stewart Mandel of foresees an LSU-Oregon BCS Championship Game (with nine other SEC squads going bowling).

2.  The NCAA’s examination into the history of Kentucky hoops signee Nerlens Noel rolls on.

3.  Love this one — The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy says the NCAA should ban unofficial visits in an effort to clean up recruiting.

4.  The NCAA is currently considering legislation that would allow football and basketball programs to create general manager-like positions to aid in recruiting.

5.  New LSU hoops coach Johnny Jones says Charles Carmouche will now transfer to LSU after beginning his career at New Orleans and then transferring to Memphis.

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LSU Now A “King”, UT Just A “Baron” According To Writer

Five years ago, Stewart Mandel of classified the nation’s BCS football programs as kings, barons, knights, and peasants.  In the five years that have passed, a number of SEC schools have risen or fallen in his view.  In terms of the top strata, one SEC school achieved kingly status, while another fell from that rank in the last half-decade:


“Ten years ago, LSU was coming off its first outright SEC championship in 15 years, having upset Phillip Fulmer’s second-ranked Tennessee squad. Four months after this column ran, the Tigers knocked off the Vols in Atlanta again en route to their second BCS championship in five years. While LSU solidified itself as a bona fide national power, Tennessee fired Fulmer a year later and sank further into a decade-long bout of mediocrity.”


It’s an interesting take, even though it’s just one man’s opinion.  (Bet he’ll be getting a lot of nasty emails today from folks all over the country.)  Not to steal his thunder — we encourage you to read his post in full — but here’s how he ranked the teams of the SEC five years ago and how he ranks them today:


  SEC School   2007 Rank   2012 Rank
  Alabama   King   King
  Arkansas   Knight   Knight
  Auburn   Baron   Baron
  Florida   King   King
  Georgia   Baron   Baron
  Kentucky   Peasant   Peasant
  LSU   Baron   King
  Miss. State   Peasant   Peasant
  Missouri   Knight   Knight
  Ole Miss   Knight   Knight
  S. Carolina   Knight   Knight
  Tennessee   King   Baron
  Texas A&M   Baron   Baron
  Vanderbilt   Peasant   Peasant


For those wondering how Ole Miss can still rank ahead of Mississippi State or why South Carolina failed to move up, Mandel reminds his readers that he’s not ranking winning percentages, but: “… a certain cachet or aura.  It’s the way a program is perceived by the public.”

With that as a guide, I would think it would be very difficult for schools to rise and fall at all in terms of national clout and perception.  Recognition is built up over time, not just five-year periods.  That’s why the winningest programs in college football history always seem to hit the deck for a while… only to rise again.  See: Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Southern Cal, Michigan, etc.  And, yes, as one of the top 10 winningest football schools in history, it’s likely Tennessee will rise again, too.  Eventually.

So while Mandel’s exercise is interesting — we linked to it, didn’t we? — it seems that five years might be too little time for a school to truly change its image in one direction or another.

But like Mandel, I’m just giving you one man’s opinion.

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Afternoon Headlines – 7/20/11

There are some stories relating to the SEC that aren’t coming out of Hoover, Alabama today.  Here are a few:

1.  Dennis Dodd of says South Carolina is this year’s Auburn, Houston Nutt’s seat is warm, Alabama can win with either of its quarterback and more.

2.  With Mike Blakely forced to redshirt, Auburn’s depth at running back could use another body or two.

3.  Here’s more on Mike Slive’s “bold” agenda for change.

4.  Can the SEC renegotiate its television deal with ESPN?  (It’s not like the league is getting left in the dust cash-wise… some folks need to calm down a bit.  Just our opinion.)

5.  Stewart Mandel of tackles quarterbacking in the SEC and the Texas A&M situation (stating as we have that the Slive does not want to be the aggressor).

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Draft Proves Cam Was The Man At Auburn

Earlier today we pointed out that the BCS champion Auburn Tigers had only four players selected in last week’s draft: Cam Newton (#1 to Carolina), Nick Fairley (#13 to Detroit), Zach Clayton (#212 to Tennessee) and Lee Ziemba (# 41 to Carolina).

For a senior-laden team, that’s an incredibly small number of draftable prospects.  In fact, it might turn out to be historically low.

Stewart Mandel of did some digging and found that no previous BCS champion — and there have been 13 now — had fewer than eight starters from their roster eventually drafted into the NFL.  The Tigers have six starters still on The Plains meaning that a total of 10 could some day be drafted.  But not all of those six appear to be future draft picks.

Below is the list of BCS titlists as well as the number of starters drafted from their rosters in the years following their championships:

BCS Champion
Eventual Draft Picks
1st Round Picks
Ohio State
Southern Cal
Florida State

* Five starters from Alabama’s 2009 BCS champion are still in school.

** As noted above, six starters from Auburn’s 2010 BCS champion are still in school

So what does Mandel make of those numbers?

“… based on the draft results, it appears the Tigers were the least talented team ever to win a BCS Championship — and it’s not even close.”

Fair enough.  He also heaps a great deal of praise upon offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn for having a “profound” impact on the Tigers.  No doubt many Tiger fans will also laud Gene Chizik for the excellent coaching job he did.

But it’s clear what made the difference at Auburn last season — Cam Newton. 

Many veteran SEC reporters and pundits believed that Tim Tebow was the greatest player they had ever seen in the league.  But just a year after his departure, the memory of Tebow was pushed aside by Newton who became even more of a one-man wrecking crew.  In fact, it’s quite possible that we may never see another player who steps onto the college football scene and has such an enormous impact — all by his lonesome — for one short but incredibly brilliant season.

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Jadeveon Clowney Announcement Preview

The world will learn the decision of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, S.C., when he announces his choice on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” this morning at 10:15 eastern time.

Clowney is expected to choose among South Carolina, Alabama and Clemson.

While I would still give (South Carolina) the edge,” ESPN analyst Jamie Newberg said last week, according to the Charleston Post and Courier, “I’ve got to believe in stuff I’ve learned from Signing Day to today that Clemson is right there.”

Clowney’s decision will come with much anticipation. He’s considered the nation’s No. 1 prospect by many recruiting services, including,, and ESPN.

Clowney has reached somewhat of a rock star status with the attention of his recruitment.

“There’s no way to describe it, and you couldn’t imagine how wild it’s been,” Clowney’s high school coach, Bobby Carroll, told

Carroll agreed with Newberg in calling South Carolina the favorite to land Clowney. Carroll also agreed that Clemson has made a late push, and he said Alabama has recruited Clowney the hardest of any team.

Many people have been critical of the attention given to Clowney, who has yet to prove his talents at the college level. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated understands why ESPN will cover the announcement live.

I do, too. While he has yet to play on the college level, Clowney has proven his athletic talents and left little doubt about his long-term potential. There’s no way to argue against the idea that his decision should have a significant impact on whichever school he chooses.

Clowney has also dealt with more attention in the last year than the average college football or NFL player receives. Clowney even told ESPN The Magazine he had to change his cell phone number to help lessen the amount of phone calls he was receiving from college coaches and members of the media. With the many hours he’s sacrificed for others, why not allow him to have the nation’s spotlight for half an hour?

While there’s little concern about Clowney’s ability on the field, there is a question of whether he will make it to a college field next fall. Pete Thamel of the New York Times wrote this weekend about Clowney’s academic concerns, which have been widely discussed before Thamel’s story was posted.

The eye-opener from Thamel’s story was the on-the-record comments from Hargrave Military Academy coach Troy Davis, who said he has spoken to Clowney about potentially attending Hargrave if he doesn’t qualify for college next year.

Davis told the Times he has reviewed Clowney’s transcript and considers it consistent with those of other prospects who had failed to meet the NCAA’s standards.

“A lot of D’s on there,” Davis told the Times.

As wrong as I think it is for Davis to speak in detail about a high school player’s transcript, it’s still out there. Clowney could be an immediate impact player at the college level, but he will also open himself up to more criticism if he doesn’t qualify for college after allowing so much attention to be placed on today’s announcement.

Clowney told the Times he will qualify next fall and hasn’t considered enrolling in a postgraduate school, such as Hargrave. He said he “was not going to have to” do such a thing.

Clowney will certainly celebrate the decision once it’s finally made public, and the attention will likely die down once the secret is eliminated. Clowney will have something else to celebrate, too. Today is his 18th birthday.

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National Writers Grade Football Coaching Hires

Yesterday must have been national “grade the coaching hires” day at the big sports sites.  Both Dennis Dodd of and Stewart Mandel of handed out their grades and/or rankings for America’s newest batch of college football coaches.  Their thoughts on Will Muschamp to Florida and James Franklin to Vandy?  We thought you’d never ask:

Will Muschamp

* Mandel gave the hire a B with an asterisk.  “Muschamp fits a similar profile to former Florida defensive coordinator Bob Stoops at the time Oklahoma hired him.  He knows how to recruit and motivate.”  The asterisk — and a downgrade from B+ — came because of “Muschamp’s bizarre hiring of Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator.”

* Dodd ranks Muschamp’s hiring as the #1 hire in the nation (out of 21).  “Florida should expect to compete for the SEC title quickly and win a national championship eventually under Muschamp.”

Our take:  We see nothing wrong with the hire of Weis as offensive coordinator.  He’s a big name and he can recruit offensive players.  He’s not the head coach, he’s the coordinator… and he’s always been pretty darn good in that role.  We agree with Dodd that UF should expect to compete for titles under Muschamp.  But with Florida’s money, facilities and recruiting base, we’d have said the same thing even if Jeremy Foley had re-hired Ron Zook.

James Franklin

* Mandel gave Vandy’s hire a B grade as well.  “It’s hard to gauge much from his time at Maryland, but the school’s previous administration thought highly enough of him to name him Ralph Friedgen’s head coach in waiting.”

* Dodd ranks Franklin’s hiring #16 out of 21 coaching moves this offseason.  “Just when you thought Vanderbilt had sacked up and decided to pretend like it was serious about football, it seems to be slipping back.  I’d blame the athletic director, but Vanderbilt doesn’t have one.”

Our take:  So Mandel grades Franklin’s hire as being equal to that of Muschamp’s?  Muschamp was chased by Tennessee last offseason.  His name has always been on the “potential next guy” lists of Georgia and LSU fans.  His roots are deep in SEC soil.  On the flip side, Franklin (and his staff) have few ties to the Deep South recruiting zone.  And Maryland’s current administration let Franklin walk in order to go hire… Randy Edsall?  Who knows who’ll be better in the long run, but on the front end, Franklin’s hiring does not rival Muschamp’s.

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