Posted on: April 21, 2011 4:54 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A longtime Michigan assistant under Lloyd Carr who made no secret of the fact the Wolverine head coach position was his dream job, it's no surprise Brady Hoke doesn't care for Ohio State.
Given Michigan's epic struggles against the Buckeyes under Jim Tressel, it's maybe even less surprising Hoke has emphasized and re-emphasized that lack of care since his hire, even to the point of the Wolverines' breaking their spring game huddles with "BEAT OHIO." When your new maize-and-blue constituency want nothing more than a win over Ohio State, publicly making that win priority No. 1 is doubtless the right political move.
But then again, Hoke's hatred for the Buckeyes apparently runs deep enough that he doesn't have to exaggerate it for the Big House masses. Speaking to Adam Rittenberg this week, Hoke explained that because of its association with Ohio State, he refused to wear red while serving as head coach at Ball State and San Diego State --despite the fact that the Cardinals use (you guessed it) cardinal as their primary school color, and the Aztecs scarlet as a secondary color.
If that sounds like exaggeration, it did to Michigan blog MGoBlog as well, until its thorough search of the Internet turned up nothing more than a red tie at an introductory press conference and a handful of red accents on his BSU gear. The photos available to Eye on Football tell the same story, as shown by Hoke at SDSU against Utah:
At Ball State against Kent State:
And against Michigan itself, Nov. 2006:
It's a little too much to be coincidence, right? Brady Hoke, it would appear, legitimately hates Ohio State so much he's hated a color entirely out of his wardrobe.
How much that hate will actually help him against the Buckeyes is open to debate, and no doubt will earn Hoke plenty of scoffing from across the Ohio border. But optimistic Michigan fans can -- ironically -- point to the appraoch taken by Mark Dantonio when he arrived at their archrivals at Michigan State. He installed a countdown clock to the Spartans' annual grudge match in the MSU locker room, a move that drew its own scoffing from Michigan partisans and players alike. But now Michigan State has taken three in a row from the Wolverines, and Hoke has his own countdown clocks installed--for both MSU and, of course, Ohio State.
So if Hoke's single-minded focus on the Buckeyes can result in anything near the turnaround Dantonio's on Michigan has produced in that rivalry, forget Hoke not wearing red; the color might wind up outlawed across the entire state.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 11:33 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did an interview with the AP this week about the only thing anybody would really want to talk to Gene Smith about these days: the NCAA investigation of Jim Tressel. Smith happily obliged, and while he didn't give a lot of new information, he did put some new information out there. Like the fact that the $250,000 the school fined Tressel isn't even going to cover the investigation currently being held into Tressel.
"It'll probably eat up the whole $250 (thousand)," Smith told the AP. "I'm not sure. We haven't done any projections."
Smith said that if that's indeed the case, the school will likely dip into the money it got from Ohio State's Sugar Bowl victory to foot the rest of the bill. Which is somewhat fitting since that's the game where this whole controversy involving five Ohio State players, including Terrelle Pryor, really took off. The players had all been suspended by the NCAA for selling their gold pants and other items, along with getting some free tattoos, yet were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl anyway.
Of course, since then, things have only gotten worse for Ohio State, as we found out that Tressel sat the information for months, as he found out about his players' deeds in April 2010.
As for the disasterous press conference Ohio State held regarding Tressel after Yahoo! broke the story, the one in which school president Gordon Gee said he hoped Tressel "doesn't dismiss me," Smith said he wished things could have gone better. He also said he would have done a number of things differently, which anyone who saw the press conference can tell you, is not surprising.
Smith also said that the cost of the current investigation is not the only thing he isn't sure of just yet as well. As far as when the investigation will be completed, Smith doesn't know when it will be resolved. "It's just hanging."
Posted on: April 11, 2011 2:16 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's a tough time to be an Ohio State Buckeyes fan right now. Not only do you have to deal with the latest fiasco involving head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeye Five, but there's also the fact that once the season starts, neither Tressel or the Buckeye Five will be available for the first five games of the season. That means no Terrelle Pryor, no Dan Herron, no DeVier Posey and no head coach. Of course, while all this is going on, there's also the age-old tradition of kicking someone while they're down, and that seems to be the case with Ohio State these days.
The latest incident comes from the National Football Post's Dave Miller, who is reporting that, according to a source, Terrelle Pryor is considering leaving Ohio State to enter the NFL's supplemental draft rather than serve his suspension.
The dual-threat signal caller has not dismissed the idea of going the NFL Supplemental Draft route. According to a source, the odds of Pryor staying for his senior season are about 60-40, but Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd coming out and declaring for the supplemental draft would have a direct effect on his decision. Of course, Floyd dodged suspension by the school’s Residence Life committee after being arrested for DUI. However, head coach Brian Kelly suspended his star receiver for the foreseeable future.
Ah, yes, "a source" who says there's a "60-40" chance he could leave. Which leads to a whole lot of room for error should Pryor not leave Ohio State. After all, there's a 40% chance he won't! So if I were an Ohio State fan, I wouldn't get too worried about this story, especially in light of this tweet from Adam Jardy of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin.
Also, if that's not enough to squash any fears you may be having about Pryor's Ohio State career, there's more. While the National Football Post is an NFL website that has a good handle on NFL matters, it's track record with college stories isn't as strong. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday points out, the last time the site ran a story about a college player entering the draft, it was this story about Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.
According to that report, Bradford was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft following Oklahoma's bout with Florida in the 2009 BCS Championship. A week later Bradford announced he was returning to Oklahoma.
So don't lose any sleep, Buckeye fans.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 3:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Which is why it's such a pleasure reading about Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr., who made his return to the Spartan practice field yesterday after four years away from the game spent battling bone cancer in his left leg. Per the Detroit Free-Press:
He participated in MSU’s spring practice — including contact sessions — after the NCAA reversed his medical disqualification. He had been disqualified so as not to count against the team’s scholarship limit while he recovered.
A fourth-year senior eligibility-wise, Ray still has an uphill battle to earn any significant playing time; Dantonio said the plan was to work him back into the flow of practice "gradually" so that both he and the coaching staff could learn exactly what he's capable and not capable of after the layoff.
But after a series of chemotherapy treatments and surgeries that threatened his ability to walk again, much less play football, it's probably not wise to put anything past Ray. Eye on Football wishes him the best of luck.
*Come to think of it, shouldn't we just start calling it the "Fiasco Bowl" instead?
Posted on: April 1, 2011 2:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The whirlpool of scandal surrounding increasingly-notorious Texas recruiting scout Willie Lyles has gotten wider this week, as former Texas A&M assistant (and current Tulsa coach) Van Malone claimed that Lyles shopped the services of future All-American Patrick Peterson while Malone recruited Peterson (then called Patrick Johnson) to College Station.
That report has prompted swift denials from everyone involved except for Lyles, starting with Peterson yesterday and continuing through Texas A&M today. Aggie officials say that despite Malone's claims, he never passed that information along to A&M compliance or anyone else currently at the school:
A&M spokesman Alan Cannon said he talked earlier today with Aggies’ athletics director Bill Byrne and that school officials researched the possibility of a relationship with Lyles’ recruiting service dating back as far as the start of the Dennis Franchione era, which began in December, 2002. Cannon said no evidence was found and A&M officials consider this “a non-issue.”
It seems likely enough that with Peterson eventually going to LSU, A&M (unlike Oregon) won't be caught in Lyles' investigative wake. (Though could Malone? Failing to report Lyles' request to compliance could be a violation in itself, as Jim Tressel could tell you.)
But can the same be said for Peterson? The potential No. 1 overall draft pick claimed yesterday to have no relationship whatsoever with Lyles.
That statement, though, seems to have been contradicted by this 2007 recruiting story at Rivals, in which Peterson discussed an unofficial visit to College Station and mentioned a Houston-based "friend" of his father's he and his father visited. The writer of the story, Brian Perroni, has confirmed that the "friend" in question was in fact Willie Lyles. According to Malone, Lyles' request for $80,000 came shortly after that visit ... and after that request was denied, the official visit to A&M Peterson says he planed on making never occurred.
Was that anything more than coincidence? Recruiting visits both official and unofficial are often scheduled and unscheduled at a moment's notice, both Peterson and his father are clearly adamant they had nothing to do with Lyles' request, and of course at this time no one (Malone included) has yet accused the Petersons of having anything to do with Lyles' alleged solicitation. Unless something much more concrete emerges, neither Peterson nor LSU will be in any danger from the NCAA.
But given that the Petersons likely had some sort of relationship with Lyles, it's not time to be certain just yet that that something isn't out there.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's the first day of April, which means it's been nearly three months since we've had a college football game. Since then, however, the world of college football has been able to keep the four of us here at Eye On College Football busy. There are arrests to cover, coaching changes being made and, of course, all the fun NCAA violations and investigations. From Jim Tressel being the best coach in the country to share a secret with, to John Junker being the Elagabalus of bowl CEOs, and finishing with Willie Lyles' Football Star Emporium and Car Wash.
All of this has already happened, and we still have five more months of offseason to go before we get another college football game! Why, it's possible that so much will happen between now and September, we won't even remember half of the stuff that's already gone down. Which is why we're grateful to Ty and Dan of The Solid Verbal. They were kind enough to put together a lovely video for all of us, so we can look back on these memorable days and smile whenever we need to.
Luther Vandross would be proud.
Posted on: March 31, 2011 1:12 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Oregon State president Ed Ray is in something of a unique position when it comes to the Jim Tressel brouhaha at Ohio State. As a former vice president and provost in Columbus, Ray was one of the Buckeye officials who hired Tressel away from Youngstown State and knows Tressel personally. But as the current president of the NCAA's Executive Committee (the committee which oversees changes to NCAA's byzantine rulebook and bylaws), he's also heavily invested in seeing the NCAA's standards and rules upheld.
So it carries more than the usual weight when Ray opens both barrels on Tressel in an interview today with the Oregonian:
"I just thought the world of him ... " Ray said. "I would assume he's certainly been a very positive influence on many of the players that he had. But this whole episode to me is beyond the pale. It's totally unacceptable ..."As Ray himself points out, his opinion is not necessarily an opinion shared by the NCAA colleagues who will ultimately decide Tressel's punishment fate. And Ray's personal disappointment with a man he clearly respected a great deal is also likely coloring his remarks.
With that said, Ray also remains representative of the type of academically-focused officials who populate the NCAA and will be on the committee reviewing the Tressel case. If his response to Tressel's transgressions are even remotely similar to those shared across the NCAA, that five-game suspension could be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: March 25, 2011 2:17 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
With the NCAA investigation into Ohio State and head coach Jim Tressel still unresolved, the local media is bound to do some further digging on the topic. As we saw this past season in the high-profile cases of Auburn and North Carolina, the paper trail can reveal much more about the situation at hand, or in some cases misdirect the focus of violations in the first place. For Ohio State, this bit of information may raise more questions than it answers.
The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that when Tressel received the famous emails of warning regarding his players selling memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor, he forwarded them to a man close to star quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Ted Sarniak, 67, is described as "a prominent businessman in Pryor's hometown of Jeanette, Pa." Sarniak has acted as Pryor's mentor and advisor since high school, and reportedly was the recipient of the warning emails when they were forwarded by Tressel.
In the news conference to announce the violations against Tressel, the coach nodded when asked if he had forwarded the emails. He was quickly cut short by athletic director Gene Smith, and has maintained that the reason he kept the information to himself was to protect his players and the confidentiality of the federal investigation against the owner of the tattoo parlor. Tressel apologized profusely, and has since received a five game suspension as punishment for keeping the information from the university and the NCAA.
But the report also raises questions about Sarniak, and his relationship with Pryor/Tressel/Ohio State. Of all people involved with the Ohio State football program, why would Tressel choose to inform Pryor's 67-year-old mentor on the issue rather than Pryor's family. Ohio State has not turned over any email records as of yet, but compliance director Doug Archie was quick to erase any doubts regarding Pryor's relationship with Sarniak.
"Mr. Sarniak and Terrelle Pryor have been friends for a number of years, and their friendship dates back prior to Terrelle's enrollment at Ohio State," Archie said in an email to The Dispatch. "As the friendship developed, Mr. Sarniak is someone who Terrelle has reached out to for advice and guidance throughout his high-school and collegiate career."
When the NCAA investigation concludes, Tressel's five-game suspension and $250,000 fine could be upheld or increased. A big-name program like Ohio State would prefer that the investigation move quickly, so that the media attention can focus on football rather than independent investigation. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the NCAA has a tendency to take their time with these matters.
Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more on the Ohio State NCAA Investigation