The offseason brings us another variation from the format of your midweek news and notes, as a couple of big stories have dominated the college sports landscape. That being said, it’s not like I’m going to deprive you of your Wednesday motivational tunes.
Lack Of Institutional Control
On Tuesday, the NCAA finally sent their Notice of Allegations to the Hurricanes, after a week that saw the folks from Indianapolis as the well focused center of national ridicule. We’d be wondering what was taking so long in this process, given that the NCAA had been “involved” in the investigation for over two years- turns out that the time in question had been spent violating the NCAA’s own principals and going against the advice of their legal counsel in their conversations with Nevin Shapiro.
In addition to paying the attorney who was questioning Shapiro as a part of his financial issues, the folks at the NCAA also provided him with a “burner” cell phone to contact them and financial resources to his prison account. Again, not the best idea for an organization who prides themselves on holding people accountable because the “should have known” what to do and dings them for not doing it.
The fallout was immediate- NCAA folks terminated or “resigned”, and folks calling for NCAA president Mark Emmert’s head, which, given the recent friends that he’s made across the nation, completely seems within reason.
The news of the “injustice” done by the NCAA to the fine folks in Miami ended up finding many fans in an interesting place- turning to Da’ U as their white knight in the fight against the evils of Emmert’s staff. Tuesday’s official response by University President Donna Shalala continued to create the dissonance- she is right that the NCAA has overstepped themselves extensively, but seems to forget that the University’s representatives were involved things that led them to receiving what many say is the “lack of institutional control” label in their Notice. Read More
It is the football offseason and that means it is time for the NCAA rules committee to come up with its annual recommendations for rules changes. This year’s set of recommendations was released this week and has already caused a lot of controversy and discussion. Before I moved to Australia for work last year I was a high school football official in Michigan so in this column I take a look at these proposed changes from an official’s perspective, as well as a fan’s.
The biggest, and by far the most controversial, proposed rule change concerns the rule about targeting of a player above the shoulders. The current rule states that it is a foul when a player target’s and initiates contact to the head or neck of a defenseless opponent with his own helmet, forearm, elbow, or shoulder; the rule also states that if there is doubt in the official’s mind about whether or not it is a foul, then it should be considered a foul. While there is no change to the wording of the rule, the penalty is changed from a 15-yard penalty to a 15-yard penalty and an automatic ejection from the game. This proposed change is obviously based on player safety which has become a major point of emphasis at all levels of football in recent years. Considering the growing evidence about the long term damage caused by repeated blows to the head, even those that do not cause concussions, more does need to be done to cut down on the number of hits to the head that players sustain.
Well, here we are, at the second biggest shopping day of the holiday and fiscal season. It’s kind of sad, really- all those unwanted or mis- purchased gifts being dragged back to the mall, where “Good Will To Men” is certainly in short supply.
That being said… how hard is it to follow a list? And what part of “bullets” looks like “marbles”… grumble grumble grumble. Given what’s in the theaters beginning yesterday, you’ve got two choices for today’s soundtrack.
This week, Ohio State faces a Purdue coach that’s undefeated* against them, and seeks to rebound from a horrible defensive showing at Indiana. So, yeah- our soundtrack is something that should be harped on, even if it seems a little paranoid.
So here’s the thing.
The story of the day yesterday was the first episode of All Access, a behind the scenes look at the Buckeye program under the new regime.
But… in a moment of weakness, I DVR’d it And watched it.
And loved ever second.
How can you hate quotes like “Abso-smurfly”, “Bozo the freakin’ clown”, “I’m glad you’re a Buckeye, bro…”, “I like coaching you…” and other admonitions to play “hungry” and “angry”.
And the precision of the offensive staff’s work, the pride that Coach Mariotti puts into his time with the team, and the focus and plan that Coach Meyer is instilling into the team… it’s a really good piece. If you missed it and don’t mind the spoilers, the gang at LGHL have a really good review with picture pages and everything.
I’d be really excited about this, to be honest, if all things were equal. Given the bad PR that my favorite program received over the past few years for numerous self inflicted wounds, it’s great to get excited about OSU football again- and to see a national response (including Southern Cal and Clemson recruits commenting on it) that was pretty positive.
But, I’ll be honest- It’s still hard for me to not be wary about this series. You kick a dog and reach to pet him, he’ll wince and cower even if he lets you stroke his head again. Given what we know about ESPN’s agenda (Entertainment Sports Programming Network), it safe to see that they are interested in a narrative of redemption up until the point that they bang the drums marking a fall from grace.
Just watch the history- 2002 upset their narrative, and then the 2003 Clarett story was a bottom. The 2006 season’s coverage was the apex of good vibes, and then this past year seems to be yet another trough in their coverage- again, a story that Ohio State wrote for itself, but one that got presented over and over and over again on the largest stage while others were way way off Broadway in Coral Gables and Columbia and Chapel Hill.
So- we’ll watch (yup) and see. And, if nothing else, this will give us the chance to celebrate the splendor and power of an Ohio State team on a very particular mission.
Buckle Buckeye up.
On Tuesday, I was impressed by Danny from 11W posting his “OHIO” photo from the top of Mt. Baker, for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve lived in WA and skied at Baker all the time. Second, I was hoping to have a similar photo from the top of Mt. Whitney under my belt by the end of this summer, but a couple of family issues prevented me from enhancing the highest peak in the continental US in such a glorious way. Finally, I love shots of the outdoors, and just got back from a week long trek as well- the photo on the right is much lower than Danny’s, but includes at least one Michigan fan. Always good to spread the gospel, right?
It’s good to be back… right before the team goes camping as well. And here… we… go…
There has been much speculation about what was going to happen to the Penn State football program and it all came to fruition this morning in a huge way. The question isn’t will they recover, it’s can they? Let’s take a look at their punishment for covering up the crimes of a former assistant that needs not be named.
It’s not often that I show my negative opinions publicly but this commentary has given me a great opportunity to get things off my chest so to speak. Remember that my opinion is not necessarily that of tBBC and should only be considered as my opinion. Here it goes, with both barrels.
I already said my piece in regards to how PSU fans were reacting to the Sandusky news and how people were attacking the university. They are not one and the same. Since I went on vacation we have found out that said university did play a major role in covering up his actions and that includes Joe Paterno. Here is my belief in the matter. The only way they will be able to start over or continue forward is to cut all ties with the situation. Does that include tearing down the statue that was erected in honor of a great coach? Yes it does because it will be a constant reminder of the part of him that wasn’t great. The statue must go for the betterment of everyone to be able to move forward.
Does it also mean that the NCAA needs to step in and do something? Yes, if the answer is that they gained success in the football program by not reporting Sandusky as soon as someone knew. Imagine how long it’s going to take for the entire university to recover from this. Now, think about it before all of the victims were subjected to the horror they were? If they stopped it then, there may have been minimal damage to the program because they came forward and stopped a predator. Maybe would have been considered heroes for what they did had they taken care of business. Now, look at it from a pure football perspective. They gained recruits and success in their football program by not reporting a crime that was happening. That in itself, has to be considered a major violation just in the reason behind why they did cover it up. To preserve the football program and protect the university. Now, all of these years later there is a chance the university and its programs will not survive this at all. I feel for the victims and hope that the university does the right thing and helps to give them closure for what they have endured. Read More