If you’re reading this, you’ve survived Bloody Tuesday… don’t you just hate corporate bonding retreats?  Here’s some happy music to get you through the day.

Buckeye 411

  • Seeking Hyde- Tuesday, Coach Meyer indicated that all signs pointed to Carlos Hyde being cleared to play this weekend against Michigan State, but admitted that they’d know more after Tuesday/Wednesday’s practices.  We’ll keep you updated, but I’m excited to see some of the personnel groupings if Carlos can go- Hall at “Flex” back? Multiple TEs?  The mind, it is boggled.
  • Things That Go Bump In The Night- I’m not the only one excited about what weapons abound for the Buckeyes; in Tuesday’s B1G teleconference, Coach Dantonio stated that the weapons and playmakers that Ohio State had frightened him.
  • Getting Defensive- Also in the teleconference, Coach Meyer said that Ohio State’s distinction as the last team in the conference defensively was something that needed to change in a hurry.  If you would have told me in August that OSU would be last in defense at the beginning of conference play and that Wisconsin would be at the bottom offensively, I would have asked you to reevaluate your medicinal regimen.
  • Running Silent-  As they did last year prior to the OSU game, Michigan State’s assistant coaches and players have been declared “off limits” for the media this week. Interestingly, though, this is also the week that Gameday will be on campus, doing pre-game interviews and all that.  You’ve got to wonder, given what Ohio State’s local media experienced this summer, if ESPN has asked the school to give them an “exclusive” of sorts.
  • Saying Goodbye- There’s a great article at NJ.Com about our friend Jason Winrow- well worth the read. Also, the memorial service is Thursday at 4:00 pm in the Fawcett Center on campus.  Additionally, Dom Tiberi reported this evening that a fund has been established in Jason’s honor in order to assist his wife and kids; donations can be made to the Jason Winrow Memorial Fund at any Chase Bank.
  • The Dark Meyer Rises: Tuesday’s “What in the heck just happened?” internet moment that I’ve watched waaay too many times now:

Commentary-“Student” Athletes

This week’s installment comes from the “No kidding!” files, as a report this week disclosed that football players, particularly those at BCS programs, graduate at a much smaller percentile than “traditional” students at their respective Universities.  Inside Higher Education looked at the report and published the following chart indicating the difference between “regular” and “athletic” student graduation rates- a negative number indicates a lower percentage of football participant graduation:

Several observations:

  1. Congrats to the SEC for not being dead last, and being ahead of the B1G and Pac12. I’d be curious to see if this figure includes students who transferred/medically redshirted/left the program; an issue for every program, but something that the SEC has received significant criticism for in the past.
  2. Some will point to this being due to a cultural phenomenon, although I believe that the MEAC and SWAC positive graduation rates might have some insights on either the level of support that traditionally African American student athletes receive at those institutions, or a commentary on the graduation rate of the general student populations at those school.
  3. Along that line- African American football student athletes in the PAC12 are three times as likely to not graduate as their “white” classmates who do not participate in football.
  4. The report doesn’t indicate how it calculates student athletes who leave college to pursue their professional NFL careers; this is also a criticism of the NCAA’s annual figures.

A couple of interesting quotes from the article:

The special admissions practices at some institutions, for instance, could be bringing in athletes who are not prepared to be full-time students – much less while spending 40 or 50 hours a week training for, practicing for and competing in football. That same responsibility makes it ostensibly more difficult to juggle a full-time course load, yet athletes must continually satisfy progress-toward-degree rules that require them to earn at least six credit hours each term and meet minimum grade point averages.

And, a criticism of the NCAA’s policy
“The GSR is a misleading graduation rate designed to put athletes in the best light,” Gurney said. “I think the NCAA is determined to graduate athletes at any cost, regardless of the quality of education they’re getting. And that leads to major clustering[of athletes in certain majors] and devalued degrees.”

This research is from the University of North Carolina, who knows a thing or two about academic clustering and issues- in fact the writers indicate that the “stay eligible at all costs” mentality may actually have been at the heart of the Tarheel scandal.

In an era where, due to social media access and 24-7 coverage, we know about young adults who are being targeted to become the next member of the great recruiting class at our favorite institution, we’re obsessed with things like their 40 time and their vertical. However, it’s important to remember that this only addresses the second part of the “student athlete” moniker; our concerns should be as focused on their academic readiness to be a part of an educational community.

And the fact that we’re not interested in this latter is pretty telling about our understanding of what the “student athlete” label is really about.

You Know What’s Awesome?- TBDBITL Alumni Hat Cam:

Across The NCAA

Allen says Shapiro wasn’t trying to buy recruits. According to Allen, there was a five-star defensive back recruit in the class of 2003 who Shapiro told him he’d spent a lot of money on. The kid ended up signing with another school. “I’m not doing that anymore,” Allen recalled Shapiro saying. “We can’t outbid these [expletive] SEC schools.”

  • Picture Pages- See if you can find two things wrong with this photo (answer later):

“If everybody keeps their mouth shut and everybody refuses to talk to the NCAA, and by everybody I mean Thomas and the jeweler and whoever might have provided him this $30,000 if it did come from someone else, then there’s not much the NCAA can do if they don’t get information.”

  • Running Away: Tuesday, we discovered that Notre Dame is backing out of it’s longstanding game with the University of Michigan- I guess, since they finally won one they’re trying to leave on a high note.  Speculation is that this is being driven by their move to the ACC as well as their desire to not be labeled as purely a “midwestern” university, since they are maintaining their non-conference games with west and east coast programs.  It may also be an indicator of the future landscape of the “playoff”- conference titles may preclude “strength of schedule”, so out of conference games could be history.

The history here is interesting- Michigan is one of the programs that worked to keep Notre Dame out of the B1G back in the early days of the conference; you’ve got to wonder if that might be in the back of some minds here as well.  I’ll be interested to see if other B1G schools respond by dropping the Irish- MSU and Purdue are two other major historical games that could be impacted.

And Finally

I’m sure that Coach Beckman will get things turned around, so that this won’t be what passes for fun in the Land of Lincoln in the future: