Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 2:34 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LOS ANGELES -- Chip Kelly knew it was coming. The Oregon head coach had not spoken with the media extensively about the NCAA investigation into Will Lyles and his recruiting service but carefully avoided answering anything related to the matter despite being peppered with questions about it at Pac-12 Media Days.
"Obviously, I know the one question everybody is waiting to have answered is," Kelly said. "We sent out a release earlier concerning on -- we have great respect for the NCAA in terms of their review and examination of our use of recruiting services and we've cooperated fully with them and will continue to cooperate with them.
"As head coach of this program and of this football program, we're held accountable for everything we do. So we look forward to, when we can, I'd love to talk about it. There are a lot of answers I'd love to make sure we can get out there."
Though several recruits have said they are taking a wait-and-see approach with Oregon and the NCAA, Kelly eased Ducks fans' fears about the program's recruiting sliding.
"I haven't had to address it with the recruits right now," he said. "We're coming off back-to-back Pac-10 championships as we move into a brand-new league with a brand-new television contract, it's a bright future for us. We had a berth in the Rose Bowl, we had a berth in the National Championship Game. And I understand from the kids we've talked to, our recruit something going very, very well."
Kelly added that he has not made significant changes to how he recruits or how his staff goes about evaluating players. In regards to Lyles in particular, who Kelly has had frequent contact with in the past, the quick talker was not concerned with the outside perception of Oregon or other schools doing business with him.
"I can't speak to what any other school has done with him," Kelly said. "I know he deals with 80-some odd schools and what other services he's been involved with. But I know how we dealt with them. But again, I've got to defer to. -- I'd love to talk about it. And when we have a chance after the report comes out, I'll be able to clear up any questions that anybody has about the whole situation."
Posted on: July 26, 2011 12:09 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LOS ANGELES -- Oregon has been tabbed by the media to capture the inaugural Pac-12 championship, according to the Pac-12 Preseason Poll. The Ducks were picked to win the North and USC was selected to win the South. Because the Trojans are ineligible to play in the conference championship game due to NCAA sanctions, Arizona State would replace them in the league's first championship game.
The full poll, first place votes in parentheses:
1. Oregon (29).... 239 points
2. Stanford (13).... 220
3. Washington.... 142
4. Oregon State.... 120
5. Cal.... 110
6. Washington State.... 51
1. USC (24).... 230
2. Arizona State (13).... 207
3. Utah (4).... 170
4. Arizona (1).... 140
5. UCLA.... 89
6. Colorado.... 46
Pac-12 Title Game Champion: Oregon (28), Stanford (11), Arizona State (3).
The conference notes that the media poll has correctly picked the conference champion 27 of the past 50 years and has selected the correct champion 10 of the last 11 years. This is the third time Oregon has been picked to win the league.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 2:31 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LOS ANGELES -- Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens has released a statement regarding the expanding NCAA investigation into the program ahead of head coach Chip Kelly's remarks at Pac-12 Media Day:
“The University of Oregon football program, from Coach Chip Kelly through the entire organization, has tremendous respect for the NCAA’s important role in monitoring collegiate athletics and, to this end, continues to fully cooperate with the NCAA’s ongoing review.”
“The University of Oregon is committed to holding itself and the individuals associated with the University accountable to the highest standards.”
“As part of the University’s commitment to accountability, we want to reiterate that the institution takes this matter very seriously and remains dedicated to an open and transparent approach with the NCAA.
The university has retained outside counsel for this matter, Bond Schoeneck & King, a prominent and well-respected law firm with a practice group focused on NCAA compliance matters. The firm has been charged with making an independent assessment of the football program's use of outside recruiting services. In addition, they have been asked to provide the University with recommendations for areas of improvement within the football program and athletics department in order to meet best practices. We look forward to making the recommendations public at the conclusions of the process. The University, our Head Coach and the entire Athletic Department are fully committed to ensuring our program is following best practice.
As party of the University's commitment to accountability, we want to reiterate that the institution takes this matter very seriously and remains dedicated to an open and transparent approach with the NCAA.”
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:18 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Mark Emmert, you have lost our confidence in your ability to do the job.
The next time you speak, we won't be able to take you seriously thanks to news that Ohio State would not face additional charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control in the school's infraction case.
'It's all about what the NCAA can prove, not what we've read' is the company line. Well, you had a chance to prove things but you said you weren't going to try.
CBSSports.com took a thorough look at cheating in college football, spending nine days chronicling just how rampant the rule breaking has been over the years. The purpose was the examine the subject with an eye towards where the sport was headed in the near future.
Senior writer Dennis Dodd ended the series saying Ohio State would be a landmark case going forward.
"This is what NCAA president Mark Emmert has been advocating, a way to make the cheaters and liars think twice about cheating and lying," Dodd wrote.
The president failed, however, to send that message Friday. Emmert has called for tougher enforcement numerous times since taking office and here, in front of a primetime audience, was his Howard Beale moment.
He could have sent a message that he was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore. Instead, he lost what little confidence we had in "fixing" college athletics.
Dennis Thomas, the chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said on a conference call earlier this month that the committee "was not in the business of sending messages."
Sorry to say it, but the NCAA's enforcement staff and the Committee on Infractions are in the business of sending messages.
They sent one loud and clear: It's ok to cheat. Blame it on the coach if you get caught. No need to monitor emails either.
But you better check on that house 100 miles away.
Emmert has talked about openness and a better understanding. The organization invited several members of the national media to Indianapolis for what they called the "Enforcement Experience."
The aim of it, as Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach explained to compliance officers from across the country, was for a good number of positive pieces and to remind everybody that the NCAA and the Committee on Infractions are separate.
Last I checked though, the enforcement staff reports to the president. If Emmert wanted to push for a message, a simple walk down the hall could have resulted in serious charges against Ohio State.
According to interview transcripts, Jim Tressel mentioned an email tip to school compliance officers but failed to mention what was actually in the emails. The compliance office - or anyone else for that matter - failed to follow up on this. Yet the NCAA enforcement staff said the school "followed up on tips it received."
The school said they only found out about the emails in January "due to an unrelated legal matter." Ask Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany though and he'll tell you it was due to a FOIA request.
Appears no one, not even one of the most powerful people in the country, could get an accurate answer from the Buckeyes.
At one point in an interview, Tressel told the NCAA that Ohio State told him to get rid of documents so they wouldn't become public record.
The folks at Enron are very impressed.
If the committee can nail USC based on a two minute, thirty-two second phone call, they surely could nail Ohio State with all that.
Ohio State was lauded by many as having a large and well respected compliance office. Yet both the NCAA and Ohio State agreed in December that their education efforts were inadequate. That was the basis for allowing the so-called "Buckeye Five" to play in the Sugar Bowl.
So Ohio State didn't do a good job at rules education in December but by July, according to the case summary, the institution "provided education to football student-athletes and staff regarding extra benefits and preferential treatment."
That statement was contradicted by the enforcement staff five paragraphs later by the way.
"The institution took monitoring efforts designed to identify the sale or distribution of institutionally issued athletics awards, apparel apparel and equipment," but somehow didn't know Terrele Pryor was taking "whatever" he wanted out of the equipment room.
And let's not forget the school's treatment of their beloved "Senator."
"This is an individual that I have tremendous respect for," University president E. Gordon Gee said of Tressel on March 8. "He's had great success in working with young people and we applaud that. But I think equally importantly, he's had great success in building the character and reputation for this university, which I'm entirely grateful for. He's done so by example."
A few months later in the Buckeyes' self-report: "The institution is embarrassed by the actions of Tressel."
At least the flip-flopping when they're backed into a corner is consistent.
There's still one more chance for the organization to say enough is enough. The committee could add a failure to monitor charge or lack of institutional control charge following Ohio State's August 12th meeting with them. The committee did it with Indiana in the Kelvin Sampson case but has rarely done so. It can also choose to punish the school harshly despite the two serious charges, as it did with Alabama several years ago in the Albert Means case. They can also cite the enforcement staff for doing a bad job, which they have also done on occasion.
"I fully expect that every NCAA member institution be held to the same high standards," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said after USC's appeal was denied.
But based on everything that's happened so far with Ohio State, does anyone expect them to? Athletic director Gene Smith was the recent chairman of the NCAA Men's Basketball committee. Gee was Emmert's boss years ago at Colorado.
And even if the committee did hold them to those same high standards set in the USC case?
"I'll be shocked and disappointed and on the offensive, Smith told The Columbus Dispatch. "If I don't agree, we'll do everything we can to battle it and go through the appeals process."
Don't worry Gene, you've already won. Sorry Mark, you didn't.
After all, actions, Mr. Emmert, speak louder than words.
Tags: Alabama, Albert Means, Big Ten, Bryan Fischer, Buckeye Five, Committee on Infractions, Dennis Dodd, Dennis Thomas, Enforcement Expereince, Enron, Gene Smith Colorado, Howard Beale, Indiana, Jim Delany, Jim Tressel, Julie Roe Lach, Kelvin Sampson, Larry Scott, Mark Emmert, NCAA, Ohio State, Pac-12
Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 5:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Given the craziness breaking out in Columbus, Tennessee picked an awfully nice time to make a little announcement of their own: the Volunteers are self-imposing two years' worth of probation following violations committed under Lane Kiffin and former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions could still set stiffer penalties at their meeting with the Vols, a meeting that at this time remains unscheduled but which should occur in the next eight weeks. But the university feels "the penalties imposed during the course of its investigation, coupled with its corrective measures, adequately address the violations that occurred."
Besides the probation, the school also imposed some minor recruiting restrictions on Derek Dooley's (as well as new hoops coach Cuonzo Martin's) staff. Their 168 "recruiting days" for the spring 2011 evaluation period were cut to 162, and only five members of Dooley's 10-member staff are allowed to make telephone calls to recruits on Nov. 1 of this year, the first day of the "recruiting "contact period."
The penalties come in addition to a number of other penalties issued by Tennessee compliance earlier this year. As the story from the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports:
As noted in the response [to the NCAA], all individuals associated with the violations, with the exception of football Director of Player Personnel Steve Rubio, are no longer employed by the university. That includes former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned days before the June hearing, and former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his three assistants, who all collectively misled NCAA investigators during June 2010 interviews.The NCAA may slap on another year of probation or offer a few more (more substantial) recruiting restrictions. But unless another violation is uncovered during the two-year probation period, the worst for Tennessee athletics is now probably over.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:09 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Well, that didn't take long.
Ohio State has already responded to Friday's local television report that Jim Tressel alerted university compliance officials to a "tip" of violations in December, a month before the school claims it was alerted in its report to the NCAA. And for an official institutional statement, it does not pull its punches; the report is "categorically denied" and characterized as "unnecessarily damaging, inaccurate and entirely misleading."
The complete statement:
The university’s filings to the NCAA; Coach Tressel’s formal, written response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations on July 8; and the NCAA’s own Case Summary received yesterday on July 21 all make clear that when Coach Tressel was interviewed by a number of people within the institution on December 9 and December 16, he did not share his knowledge about the NCAA violation.Assuming Ohio State is right and the report is wrong -- and the transcripts of Tressel's Feb. 8 statements to the NCAA would seem to clarify the matter one way or the other -- it would certainly help the Buckeyes avoid any charges of institutional wrongdoing.
And apparently, it has. More on today's developments out of Columbus forthcoming.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:38 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 8:56 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As soon as the general public got wind of the Longhorn Network's plan to televise high school games, red flags went up across the nation. CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd mentioned that ESPN VP Dave Brown may have committed an NCAA violation by mentioning the names of two 2012 Texas commits in a June radio interview. The network has already asked the NCAA for guidelines on televising high school football games, but the weakened Big 12 conference wants to make sure the network has the league's best interests in mind as well.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe announced a temporary hold on the telecasts of high school football games on the Longhorn Network. Both the NCAA and Big 12 still need to make decisions on how the pending high school football media deal should be handled.
"It's not going to happen until and unless the conference can make it happen with benefit to all and detriment to none," Beebe told the Dallas Morning News. "It's fair to say what [ESPN VP Dave Brown] said publicly is why we're having conversations about this new world and what the parameters are."
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has stated that the university is ready to cooperate and wants to play by the rules in regards to the new network, and pledged his allegiance to the conference.
The recent developments with the network have re-started the rumors of Texas' rivals looking to leave the conference. Texas A&M's board of regents reportedly will hold a closed door meeting at the end of this week to discuss the new network, and wild (but concerning) rumors have swirled about Oklahoma considering a departure as well. The potential in-state recruiting advantage provided by airing high school football games on the network would be huge for the Longhorns, particularly if the game selection focused on the verbal commits and/or the highest profile recruits.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:13 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
I'm sure Dennis Thomas is a nice guy. I'm sure he's a smart guy.
According to his bio, the MEAC commissioner has brought financial stability to the conference and negotiated a new media deal in the past few years. He's done plenty of other good things in his years as a college administrator. Thomas is also the chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI) and tasked with leading the group that delivers findings and punishments for member schools.
And he also needs to go.
NCAA bylaws and infractions are not material designed for everyone, that's for sure. For reporters however, it has become almost a requirement to jump on an NCAA teleconference every couple of months and listen to the COI chair talk about the latest school to run afoul of the rules.
In the past six days, Thomas has been on a call with the media twice to discuss Georgia Tech's and LSU's NCAA infractions cases. Each time he has been vague, avoids direct questions and generally sounds like your grandpa does when he can't hear you talk about the ballgame because reception on your iPhone isn't that good.
For those who write about or explain things on-air about these often complicated cases, Thomas's style in answering questions has been extremely frustrating.
What takes the cake however is the almost comical exchange between him and FoxSports.com reporter Lisa Horne, who was interested in what might happen to LSU if the school was found to have committed violations in the ever-expanding Willie Lyles probe - a violation that would have happened prior to Tuesday's ruling but obviously a case the NCAA would be charging the university with afterwards. For nearly three minutes (and after Horne repeated the question three times) Thomas still couldn't give a clear and concise answer. You can listen to the call for yourself here.
On page 18 of LSU's public infractions report, it reads:
As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, Louisiana State University shall be subject to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168, concerning repeat violators, for a five-year period beginning on the effective date of the penalties in this case, July 19, 2011
To be even clearer than reading the report - which apparently Thomas could not have done - if LSU is found to have committed a major violation relating to the Willie Lyles fiasco, the school will not be punished as a repeat violator because the violations themselves took place before July 19th.
Simple, concise and directly from the report.
This is all on top of many reporters getting frustrated with Thomas' ability to not answer a question during Georgia Tech's conference call. Now it's not like previous COI chairs were any better on these calls but one would think that for one of - if not the - most powerful committees in the NCAA, the chairman would be well spoken enough to handle the media and be able to recall questions about bylaws relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, based on his time as chairman, Mr. Thomas is not.
So if the NCAA (and the member schools who could very well appear in front of the committee in the coming years) really wants to stop taking a hit from media members who bash the process, I'd suggest they start with a new COI chair. An NCAA task force that examined the infractions process suggested earlier this year finding a spokesperson for the committee to deliver reports, "someone who is media savvy."
To the fine folks at the NCAA and member schools: Either make this happen or get rid of the current chairman. You need someone who knows what they're talking about and can, well, talk.
And if you think it's just a few reporters that are upset about this, don't even begin to ask about the coaches.