Tag:NCAA
Posted on: June 21, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:57 pm
 

UNC receives Notice of Allegations from NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

In June 2010 the NCAA began to investigate the North Carolina football program in regards to possible violations regarding players receiving impermissible benefits. After a tumultuous season that saw 14 players miss at least one game (with seven missing the entire season), the first steps of closure can begin with this multi-pronged investigation into the North Carolina football program.

The official Notice of Allegations (you can see the full letter here on TarHeelBlue.com), includes nine different allegations.

Three (3) of the allegations are against former North Carolina assistant coach John Blake:

- Unethical conduct for providing false and misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution and for failure to cooperate with the investigation.
- Blake marketed athletic abilities of student-athletes to agent Gary Wichard
- Blake received outside income that he did not report to the institution

Two (2) of the allegations are against former North Carolina tutor Jennifer Wiley:

- Unethical conduct for refusing to provide information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution
- Wiley provided extra benefits to student-athletes in the form of ravel and parking expenses, and tutoring.

The rest of the allegations: - Allegations of fraud against student-athletes and the tutor
- Allegations that student-athletes received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits
- Allegations against a former student-athlete for unethical conduct
- Failure by the institution to adequately monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation; the social media activity of the football team for a period in 2010; and possible extra benefits triggered by agent legislation.

The notice of allegations tells the school the alleged NCAA violations the enforcement staff found during the investigation process. The school has 90 days to respond, though they may request more time. After the school issues their response, a hearing date is set with the Committee on Infractions. The Committee on Infractions meets about six times a year, usually lasting for two to three days over a weekend. Most recently the committee heard cases related to Boise State and Tennessee. Ohio State, the grandaddy of NCAA cases these days, is currently scheduled to go before the committee on Aug. 12.

The NCAA requested that the school limit public comments on the details of the investigation and the Notice of Allegations until the hearing before the Committee on Infractions, which has been set for Oct. 28. However, head coach Butch Davis did offer a statement in the official release.

“I feel terrible that these allegations occurred under my watch," Davis said. "I especially regret that the university has had to endure this scrutiny because of the football program. The responsibility for correcting any problems that put us in this position is mine, and I take that responsibility very seriously."

Chancellor Holden Thorp also took responsibility for the allegations, but also credited the football program's cooperation with the NCAA during this year-long process.

“I deeply regret that Carolina is in this position," Thorp said. "We made mistakes, and we have to face that. When the investigation started a year ago, we pledged to cooperate fully with the NCAA, to go where the facts took us, and to face the issues head on. Our level of cooperation is evident in the allegations, some of which arise from facts that we self-reported to the NCAA. We will emerge with a stronger athletics program, and we will restore confidence in Carolina football.”

It is not until after the hearing the Committee on Infractions will put together their final report, which will include the penalties for the violations. Different forms of NCAA sanctions include reduced scholarships, postseason bans, vacated wins, recruiting restrictions, and television bans. In recent cases Michigan. USC, Florida State, Texas Tech, and Alabama have received some form of NCAA sanctions.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:49 pm
 

There's cause for concern in Oregon

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Drip, drip, drip.

That's generally how news comes out about NCAA investigations at schools and it appears Oregon fans are finding that out all too well this week. Monday night Oregon released several documents to the media as part of open records requests stemming from the NCAA's investigation into the scouting service run by Will Lyles. The biggest nugget to come out of the documents was the fact that the university paid $25,000 for a scouting report that was two years old.

Lyles' "2011 National Package" was full of recruits from the 2009 class and had, among the notable names, SMU's junior starting quarterback Kyle Padron. In fact, none of the 140 players in the booklet Oregon turned over were identified as recruits in the class of 2011. Lyles has been connected to current Oregon running backs LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk and former running back Dontae Williams, all of whom are from Texas.

So what's next?

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd, who is in Eugene this week, wrote Tuesday morning that it's hard for him to believe Oregon could be this dumb. After all, paying $25,000 for something that pales in comparison to any other national package and paying that amount for old and relatively useless information is something they can smell all the way in Indianapolis.

While most Oregon fans can admit that the entire episode seems shady, it's hard to see what NCAA bylaws the school broke in paying Lyles $25,000 for his recruiting service.

There are four main bylaws that govern scouting or recruiting services: 11.3.2.5 (school personnel can't consult or endorse services), 12.3.3.1 (services can distribute student-athletes information but can't be paid a fee based on placing them at a school), 13.1.7.20 (coaches can't watch off-campus video of athletes provided by services) and 13.14.3, which is the main definition of a recruiting or scouting service.

Oregon needs to be concerned about 12.3.3.1 and 13.14.3 (below):

An institution may subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes, provided the institution does not purchase more than one annual subscription to a particular service and the service: (Adopted: 1/1/02, Revised: 1/16/10)

(a) Is made available to all institutions desiring to subscribe and at the same fee rate for all subscribers;

(b) Publicly identifies all applicable rates;

(c) Disseminates information (e.g., reports, profiles) about prospective student-athletes at least four times per calendar year;

(d) Publicly identifies the geographical scope of the service (e.g., local, regional, national) and reflects broad-based coverage of the geographical area in the information it disseminates;

(e) Provides individual analysis beyond demographic information or rankings for each prospective student-athlete in the information it disseminates; (Revised: 4/13/10)

(f) Provides access to samples or previews of the information it disseminates before purchase of a subscription; and

(g) Provides video that is restricted to regularly scheduled (regular-season) high school, preparatory school or two-year college contests and for which the institution made no prior arrangements for recording. (Note: This provision is applicable only if the subscription includes video services.)


Based on the documents turned over to the media by Oregon, Lyles' service he provided the school fails to fit (c) and (d) because he did not distribute reports at least four times per year and his geographical scope does not fit the definition of a national package. The "National" package Lyles sent was supposed to contain information on 22 states yet only contained information from five states and all but five players were from the state of Texas. A national package it was not.

According to George Schroeder of the Register-Guard, the media requested the video Lyles sent along but a school spokesman said 'Lyles delivered some video, but said the school had difficulty retrieving the video from its computer system, or separating it from video gathered by other means.'

While it is difficult to predict what the NCAA enforcement staff will do, it's very possible they will declare this an impermissible recruiting service. The staff could then argue that the $25,000 was - in essence - a payoff for delivering players and a violation of bylaw 12.3.3.1. This would place the players eligibility in question as well and could result in victories being vacated for playing ineligible players. It would also mean Oregon committed a major violation.

Oregon and the Ducks' coaching staff would certainly have to explain themselves (so far the university has issued a no comment). The Committee on Infractions would certainly want an explanation and would no doubt dare Chip Kelly and the compliance department to show how they could justify $25,000 for old information. Saying they were just defrauded by Lyles likely won't cut it and failure to answer the question truthfully or a failure to explain why they didn't raise the issue beforehand could result in a 10.1 violation for unethical conduct. Ask Jim Tressel and Ohio State what happens when they commit a 10.1 violation.

One BCS conference compliance officer told CBSSports.com that based on what they've read, "It doesn't look good but I won't predict how it plays out." Another said, "It's possible Oregon thought what they were doing was permissible but got it very wrong."

The school has not been issued a Notice of Inquiry, which marks the formal start of the investigation but the NCAA is certainly looking what has been going on in Eugene. Combined with an inquiry into the basketball program and the fact that Oregon coaches exchanged around 400 text messages and numerous phone calls with Lyles, things are starting to get very interesting.

No one knows how things might turn out for Oregon but there is cause for concern in Eugene.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Mushnick doesn't know what he's talking about

Posted by Adam Jacobi

(Lest this all comes across as purely a defense of Rich Rodriguez on the grounds that he too is now part of the CBS Sports family, the scenario of former Florida coach Urban Meyer being hired by ESPN fits Mushnick's argument quite nicely too, so feel free to replace "Rich Rodriguez" with "Urban Meyer" and "West Virginia" with "Florida" when necessary.)

Permit me, if you will, to not take Phil Mushnick's latest diatribe seriously. In it, Mushnick (a columnist for the New York Post, which, yeah) excoriates the CBS Sports Network for hiring former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez, noting that Rich Rodriguez recruited Adam Jones and Chris Henry at West Virginia. If that seems like a peculiarly weak argument, well, let's have Mushnick make it himself:

The same Rich Rodriguez who regularly recruited and indulged criminals and assorted bad boys as the head coach at West Virginia and then Michigan?

Yeah, that one.

Pacman Jones and the late Chris Henry, for example, starred for Rodriguez at WVU. Both would accumulate rap sheets as thick as playbooks. But such players helped land Rodriguez the gig at Michigan, where the stadium they call "The Big House," began to take on the other meaning.

For one, Michigan's three years under Rich Rodriguez weren't characterized at all by excessive crime, so while the "Big House" crack would seem clever to someone operating with no knowledge of the situation, it's so transparently false that it doesn't even make sense. Lame jokes aside, Chris Henry and Adam Jones did accumulate substantial criminal records... as NFL players. While at WVU, Jones received probation for one fight, and Henry's worst transgressions were limited to unsportsmanlike behavior on the field. Hardly the stuff of rap sheet legend.

As for the other "criminals and assorted bad boys" that Rodriguez "regularly recruited," what is Mushnick even talking about? Sure, what Pat White and Steve Slaton did to Georgia's defense in the 2006 Sugar Bowl ought to be illegal, but this notion that Rodriguez turned Morgantown into Compton, West Virginia is basically a figment of Mushnick's imagination and nothing more.

Mushnick then bizarrely claims that -- again, this is a quote -- "few college presidents, ADs or head coaches could beat racketeering indictments," then offers no evidence before moving on. As Wikipedia would say, [citation needed].

The rest of his argument is spent on basically making the case that there should be no such thing as college athletics at all; it's the only conclusion possible when Mushnick conjures up the bogeyman specter of big-time athletes having "no other business enrolled in the college" while ignoring the 939 APR (essentially, a student-athlete retention rate of at least 94%; here's how it's calculated) Rodriguez left West Virginia with in the spring of 2008. That's essentially the average across the NCAA, and it's considerably higher than the general student retention rate in higher education, where over 40% of incoming students fail to graduate. Now, there's a difference between remaining academically eligible year-by-year and actually graduating, but by and large, NCAA student-athletes seem to be outperforming their fellow students in the classroom. Not bad for a bunch of thugs.

Mushnick's column is a perfect encapsulation of low-information stereotypes of NCAA athletics. It is drive-by, tabloid moralizing. It has all the permanence, importance, and elegance of last night's dinner floating by in the sewer. It is, in the words of William Faulkner Shakespeare, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  



Posted on: June 17, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: June 17, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Buckeye signee Price asks for release

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With Jim Tressel gone and the NCAA hammer seemingly poised to fall this August, it won't be a surprise if some recruits who signed in February with Ohio State have second thoughts.

And now the first of those signees has made those second thoughts official. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Pittsburgh-area linebacking prospect Ejuan Price has requested -- but has not yet received -- a release from his letter of intent.

Price's Woodland Hills (Pa.) High School coach George Novak told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Price "just didn't feel any stability there" in Columbus, even before Tressel resigned and Luke Fickell took over as the Buckeyes' interim coach. Per Novak, Price doesn't have any particular school in mind as his fallback destination, but he has "some ideas."

As far as losing recruits go -- and assuming the OSU administration grants the release, a likelihood but not a certainty -- the Buckeyes could have absorbed a bigger blow than this one. Price was just one of four linebackers in Ohio State's 2012 class, including five-star recruit Curtis Grant; as things stand today, the Buckeyes have much, much bigger problems on their plate.

But if Price's decision to leave the program is just the first of many, the Buckeyes will end up needing all the bodies they can get. And right now, it looks awfully unlikely Price will ever be one of them.


Posted on: June 8, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:42 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 10-3

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun.

We're now down to the nitty-gritty: Nos. 10-3 below, No. 2 tomorrow and our No. 1 unveiled Friday. Stay tuned.


10. JOHN MARINATTO, commissioner, Big East. Marinatto joined the Big East executive staff as senior associate commissioner in 2002, just in time to see the biggest shakeup in membership since the conference began football competition in 1991. Now, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have shaken up the conference landscape with the expansion to 12 teams -- as well the ACC and Pac-12 recently negotiating lucrative multi-network media deals - the onus falls on Marinatto to bring the Big East up to par with the new standards of major conference football.

In his discussion with CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, Marinatto made no mistaking that the primary driver of Big East expansion is the expiration of their current television deal with ESPN at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Beginning in September 2012, the Big East will have a 60-day exclusive negotiation period with the network. At that point Marinatto hopes to have expansion completed, and be holding all the attractive chips for a bidding war that will pay out the way it did for the Pac-12. TCU's arrival next season obviously holds the greatest national intrigue, as well as reaching a very un-Big East audience in the Southwest. But where will expansion stop? With the right moves, the league cound finally abandon its role as college football's BCS-conference punchline.

For now Marinatto insists that there is no model, and all options are still on the table. The only driving factor in the eyes of the conference is how will the addition of a certain team add value to television contract negotiations. College football is a big money business that networks will pay for, and after seeing the deal that Larry Scott got for the Pac-12 everyone will one a piece. But we'll get to Scott soon enough ... -- CP

9. LANDRY JONES, quarterback, Oklahoma. With Oklahoma being the popular pick to start 2011 on top of the polls, there's no arguing that quarterback Landry Jones won't begin the season as a Heisman favorite. But it's not just the visibility of being under center for the nation's No. 1 team: the junior-to-be has thrown for 7,916 yards and 64 touchdowns in his first two seasons in Norman. The formula will be pretty simple--the more games that Oklahoma wins, the more talk you'll hear of Landry Jones.

The Sooners offense has been an explosive one for as long as Bob Stoops has been at the wheel, and one that gives the quarterback a lot of toys to play with. Life is a lot easier when you have guys like Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills and James Hanna to throw to. Still, Jones is the kid in charge of driving the car. He doesn't have a ton of room to improve this year, though he has thrown 26 interceptions in his career. If Jones can cut down on turnovers this season it will only boost his touchdown numbers, Oklahoma might never let go of that top spot, and Jones will be in New York this winter to pick up some hardware. -- TF

8. MIKE SLIVE, commissioner, SEC. If you thought for one red second someone other than Slive was the true ruler of the SEC, we hope you paid attention to the league's recent spring meetings. Slive proposed a "soft cap" of 25 signees per class, among other "roster management" initiatives designed to curb oversigning. The SEC's 12 head coaches voted against the proposal 12-0. But with the final decision in the hands of the league's presidents, the proposal passed anyway, the presidents voting 12-0 in favor. What Mike Slive wants, Mike Slive gets.

Well, except maybe a new television contract. The "no outs" nature of the league's current 15-year deal, signed three years ago, looks worse and worse as league after league (most notably the Pac-12) strike it rich on the open market and the Big Ten Network's revenues continue to grow. The SEC is hardly hurting for money, though, and it's Slive who has overseen the conference rise to five consecutive BCS championships -- spread across four teams, even more impressively -- even as its number of programs under probation has dwindled (pending a few open investigations, mind). The modern SEC might still be the Conference (former commish and BCS visionary) Roy Kramer Built, but Slive has done a masterful job of pressing its football advantages while pushing a handful of successful academic measures (like the oversigning legislation) to battle the league's win-at-all-costs image. If the SEC does make it six-for-six in 2011, its commissioner will no doubt get some measure of credit--and it's hard to argue he won't deserve it. -- JH

7. BILL HANCOCK AND THE BCS, Executive Director of/and championship cartel. Boo! Hiss! The BCS and Bill Hancock aren't the most popular topics amongst college football fans, but they are both incredibly influential in the world of college football. It's the BCS that helps inject more money in the BCS conferences, and is also a driving factor behind the conference realignment we've seen the last few years. After all, 2011 isn't TCU's final year in the Mountain West if they hadn't just finished two undefeated regular seasons and not gotten a chance to play for a title. Of course, while it's fun to rage against a acronym, it's also nice to have a face to go with that acronym.

Which is where Bill Hancock comes into play. No matter who you are -- a fan, a writer or the United States government -- if you present the BCS with a rational, well-thought and logical complaint about the BCS system, Hancock is the man you'll hear from. He'll be the guy telling you that you're wrong, and that the BCS is perfect. The BCS will then go about its business doing things the way it always has, and at the end of the season they'll determine who has the right to play for a national championship, and you won't. -- TF

6. JIMBO FISHER, head coach, Florida State. First Will Muschamp burned Texas to accept the job at Florida, then the recent Dana Holgorsen/Bill Stewart feud exploded at West Virginia. It seems like one of the only "coach-in-waiting" situations that has worked out recently was Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. After contractually getting the title in 2007, Fisher waited behind the legendary Bobby Bowden to take control of the powerhouse in Tallahassee. But in those last few years under Bowden, the Seminoles had slipped from being perennial national title contenders to perennially playing December bowl games. But that all seemed to change when Fisher took the reigns and delivered the Seminoles' first 10-win season since 2003.

Now Florida State returns 17 starters from that squad, and last year's backup quarterback E.J. Manuel steps in after leading the Seminoles to victory over South Carolina in the Chick Fil-A Bowl. Fisher's promotion also paid immediate dividends on the recruiting trail, with blue-chippers like defensive back Karlos Williams and running back James Wilder Jr. giving the 'Noles their strongest haul in years. (The 2012 class, incidentally, is already shaping up to draw consideration as the nation's best.) The pundits now have Fisher's team tagged as ACC favorites, and there is once again a major buzz around Tallahassee regarding Seminoles football. Fisher has demanded that his players understand what expectations mean. "Just because you're picked to win, they don't give you a trophy when the season starts," he explained recently.

The fast-talking Fisher will fill your ear with areas where his team needs to improve. He never gets complacent, and constantly asks more from his players. It was complacency that arguably played a major role in Florida State's fall from grace after the turn of the century, and now Fisher has a great chance to restore that dominance in 2011, in just his second year as head coach. College football's next true powerhouse could get its start here. -- CP

5. ANDREW LUCK, quarterback, Stanford. Luck finished runner up for the Heisman last season and many figured he'd be house shopping in the Charlotte area after dismantling Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Every NFL pundit was labeling him a surefire number-one pick and future Hall of Famer after watching him shred opposing defenses every time he dropped back. CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang called him the best quarterback and elite prospect he's ever scouted. With his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, headed to the San Francisco 49ers, many assumed he was a lock to bolt for NFL riches.

The architectural design and engineering major from Houston had other plans, however. He kept his Palo Alto address and announced he would stay at Stanford for his redshirt junior year to try and capture the inaugural Pac-12 title. He'll be gunning for the few Stanford quarterback records he hasn't already broken and look to get back to a BCS bowl as well. He's not just an accurate pocket passer, though; he can run and doesn't mind giving a shove to defenders if they end up in his way. It's good that he's mobile as two of the Cardinal's biggest challenges under new head coach David Shaw are replacing several starters along the offensive line and finding a few targets for Luck to throw to. Despite the issues on offense, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year. He's got a lot riding on his heavily insured right arm in 2011, but with a manageable schedule and the fact that he's competed over 70 percent of his passes for his career, don't be surprised if the talented Luck keeps the Cardinal offense humming and the team in the national title hunt as well. -- BF

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4. NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS, punitive arm of legislative body, NCAA. The 10 members of the Committee on Infractions (COI) might be the most talked about group in sports that no one really knows anything about. Of all of the committees that make of the NCAA, the group may also be the most infamous, meeting behind closed doors and dishing out sanctions through press releases. It is this group that is tasked with being the grand jury, judge and jury for every school that comes before them and, in just about every case, has a school (and their fans) in considerable disagreement with their ruling. The members that made up the committee run the athletics gamut (three independent lawyers, three professors, three from league offices and one athletic department veteran at the moment) but all have some law or compliance background. 

The COI will be in the news a lot this year, as the off the field headlines in college sports have dictated. First up is Boise State -- battling the dreaded charge of "Lack of Institutional Control" for violations in several sports -- and Tennessee this weekend. The Volunteers' case is one many observers are looking at with a close eye due not only to the coaches involved (Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl) but to see how they treat a coach that blatantly lied to investigators ahead of their later date with Ohio State and Jim Tressel. In addition to levying scholarship reductions, bowl bans, probation and a host of other penalties, the COI has also started to hand out suspensions to coaches, such as the three-game suspension for UConn head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

The committee is not bound by prior case precedent -- though they say they use it as a guide -- so decisions can feel arbitrary and vary from case to case. All of that simply makes predicting what they will do harder than getting the right lotto numbers. It's not a courtroom where schools have due process rights; the COI, rather, is all about finding "clear and convincing evidence" to support the NCAA enforcement staff's case against schools. The NCAA has recently tried to be more transparent with the COI, showing how things are done and opening the door into their world ever-so-slightly under new president Mark Emmert. Questions still remain, though, about what penalties will eventually come out of the room for schools such as Tennessee, Ohio State, and eventually North Carolina. The only answer at the moment is to wait. -- BF

3. NICK SABAN, head coach, Alabama. It's the year 2011, and the argument is over; Nick Saban is the most powerful college football coach in Division I. Every rival who might have challenged him for that honor is in decline, or gone entirely. Jim Tressel: resigned in disgrace. Pete Carroll: fled back to the NFL just ahead of the NCAA posse. Mack Brown: went 5-7, ceded Big 12 superiority to Bob Stoops. Stoops: has seen Saban win two rings with two different teams since he won his last. Urban Meyer: retired to punditdom (however temporarily). And when it comes to being the biggest, baddest head coach on the FBS block, are they really any other challengers?

If Les Miles can down the Tide in Tuscaloosa this season on his way to a second crystal football, or Chip Kelly can get his Oregon team over the hump of their nonconference struggles, or--most likely--Stoops can finally grab that elsuive second national title, then we can talk. But it's Saban until then, not least because he's as likely to come away with this season's ultimate prize as anyone; between what projects as the nation's clearcut No. 1 defense and what should be a punishing ground game, even a potentially up-and-down passing game (featuring a first-year quarterback and wideouts mostly more steady than spectacular) may not be enough to prevent the Tide's second BCS title in three years.

The old saying is that college football teams take on the personality of their coaches, and nowhere is that more true than at Alabama. Saban's brutally professional, clinically detail-oriented, obsessively driven approach has created a program where sloppiness and shoddy preparation--from offseason workouts to gameday routines to play execution--isn't so much "not tolerated" as nonexistent. It's not a particularly personable philosophy, which is one reason Saban has arguably become the SEC's most hated villain. But as the 2011 season grinds into motion, it's also what's made him the nation's single most successful active college football coach. -- JH

The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:42 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 20-11

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun.

We're now down to the nitty-gritty: Nos. 20-11 below, 10-3 tomorrow, then No. 2 Thursday and our No. 1 unveiled Friday. Stay tuned.

20. OLIVER LUCK, athletic director, West Virginia. Luck's influence on college football is two-fold. The first (and most important) has been his effect as the athletic director of West Virginia. Recently, his role as the face of this athletic department has become much more challenging due to the ongoing Bill Stewart/Dana Holgorsen soap opera. In the next few weeks, Luck will have to clean up a he-said/she-said that could end up defining West Virginia football -- and the entire "coach-in-waiting" strategy -- significantly for the near future. If Luck decides that Stewart was trying to convince reporters to dig up dirt on Holgorsen after his hiring in December, he may be faced with the decision of promoting Holgorsen early or -- as some have suggested i- bringing in an entirely new head coach. Somehow, Luck will have to find a way to juggle all of this responsibility while instituting the first year of beer sales at West Virginia athletic events. Despite a negative reaction from many fans, Luck is convinced that the selling beer at the games is going to be the best way to discourage binge drinking before the games and at halftime. It is not entirely uncommon for schools to make this decision, but the logic is often difficult to explain to fans who disapprove of alcohol at college events entirely.

Oliver is also the father of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck shocked the professional ranks with his decision to return to Stanford for (at least) another season. His return shakes up the entire Pac-12 race, and with Terrelle Pryor's off-field issues has made him the frontrunner for next year's Heisman Trophy. The decision for a college player to come back almost always is a family one, and while the elder Luck has kept himself out of his son's affairs for the most part, his influence on Andrew's decision has no doubt changed the football landscape for next season. -- CP

19. THE NFL LOCKOUT, potential season-dissolver, NFL. Think the NFL lockout isn't hugely important to the college game? Watch what happens if/when college games are the only games in town. Watch what happens when all the "Monday morning quarterbacks" are still talking about Saturday instead of Sunday. The fact is that college football is uniquely positioned to siphon tens of millions of football fans from the NFL, even if it's just on a temporary basis. And unlike college basketball and the NBA, where the pro version is a vastly superior product to the amateur version (sorry, but it's true), college football can be every bit as enjoyable as the NFL.

Of course, the lockout situation is still fluid, and there's certainly a possibility that pro football will be "back" well before the college football season starts. And yet, the antitrust lawsuit filed by Tom Brady and friends has a hearing that's scheduled for September 12... four days after the NFL's regular season is supposed to start. The NFL is gearing up for a long work stoppage; college football teams should take full advantage. That means courting the newly disenfranchised fans and filling as many stadiums as possible with them, even if it means dropping ticket prices. That means openly promoting celebrating the fact that college football is never going anywhere, never relocating to another city 1,000 miles away, never locking players out and threatening to cancel a season, and never treating fans half as poorly as the NFL is treating its own right now. -- AJ

18. VONTAZE BURFICT, linebacker/eater of souls, Arizona State. Burfict has developed a bit of a reputation for being a cheap shot artist. It's not exactly an unfair label, as any search of his name on YouTube will provide the evidence of his work. Yet, having a linebacker on your defense that plays with a chip on his shoulder isn't exactly a bad thing, especially when that chip complements the heap of talent that comes with it. Through his first two seasons with the Sun Devils, Burfict has made 151 tackles, leading Arizona State with 90 last season.

Entering the season, Arizona State seems to be a trendy pick in a lot of preseason top-25 polls, and Burfict is one of the reasons why. (Our colleague Dennis Dodd named him the national Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.) While Arizona State's defense was middle of the Pac last season, the rush defense was third best in the conference, and an even better Burfict could make for even better numbers this season. If the Sun Devils are going to live up to the preseason and make some real noise in the Pac-12, the defense is going to have to do its part. And that defense will be led by Vontaze Burfict. -- TF

17. BUTCH DAVIS, head coach, North Carolina. When Davis arrived in Chapel Hill, his charge was to make North Carolina football relevant on a national level. In 2010 North Carolina football has had as many headlines as all the perennial powers--just for many of the wrong reasons. In a year that has been filled with NCAA-related scandal, the Tar Heels are preparing to finally wrap up an investigation on impermissible benefits and academic impropriety that began last summer with Marvin Austin and Greg Little. Throughout this entire process, Davis has remained steady and confident in his team and his job. One year later, Davis has dodged all of the attacks and still stands as the head coach in Chapel Hill.

But despite promises to right the culture of wrongdoing, Davis continues to catch criticism for his ignorance. Defensive lineman Quintin Coples is already a topic of interest after being spotted at a DC-based NFL Draft Party. Considering the "sign-out sheet" that was going to help keep tabs on players, Coples' misstep in judgement reflects poorly on Davis and the program leadership.

But unlike other head coaches in charge of troubled programs, there has been no hard evidence to show any kind of cover-up by Davis. When a player's eligibility has been put in question, the school has pulled the player from the active roster and relied on a "next man up" mentality until NCAA clearance. Not only have Davis and athletic director Dick Baddour been cooperative with the NCAA, but North Carolina won their first bowl game since 2001. With no hard evidence yet to surface, Butch Davis continues to avoid the pressures of investigation with ignorance and wins. As long as both factors continue, Davis will be on the sideline in Chapel Hill. -- CP

16. JIM DELANY, commissioner, Big Ten. The man who stands atop college football's most prosperous conference is back again, and he's got quite a production to unveil this year. The new-look Big Ten has a slew of changes, and all of them--from newcomer Nebraska to the newly named trophies and division names--have Delany's fingerprints all over them. As such, the success or failure of these changes are going to be laid directly at Delany's feet, for better or worse. We're banking on "better."

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So why is he only 16th on this list? Because when push came to shove and Ohio State (Delany's flagship football program) started to melt down in the wake of Jim Tressel's transgressions, Delany was nowhere to be found. Sure, he held a teleconference last Sunday, after Tressel was already gone, but remember that it took five months for the Ohio State brass to go from "notified of Tressel's problem" to encouraging him to resign. If Delany was truly upset about what happened in Columbus, shouldn't he have at least put a little public pressure on OSU to move on? Yes, Ohio State should be encouraged to deal with its own problems, but this is the conference of Legends and Leaders, right? Do those names actually stand for anything, or are they just meaningless labels? And if they do stand for something, shouldn't the commissioner enforce them a little more actively than Delany did with OSU? -- AJ

15. MACK BROWN, head coach, Texas. Since becoming the head coach in Austin in 1998, Brown's teams have gone 133-34, won a national title, and earned two Big 12 championships and six division championships. Brown has won the Bear Bryant Award, Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, and has been the Big 12 coach of the year twice. That's a lot of notches in the belt, but those accolades don't mean much in Austin right now, as a lot of Longhorns fans can't see past 5-7, Texas' record last season. It's hard to believe that a coach who has had as much success at Texas as Brown has could be considered on the hot seat, but if Brown doesn't turn things around this season, he will be.

Brown made the changes he felt were needed after 2010, firing Greg Davis and hiring Bryan Harsin, but he also lost the man who was supposed to replace Brown himself, Will Muschamp, to Florida. So in 2011 Brown will not only have to lead Texas back to its winning ways, but do so with two new coordinators. If he can, Texas will be back in the national title picture. If not, there may even be a job opening in Austin this winter--one that would have a seismic impact on the rest of the college football world. -- TF

14. RUSSELL WILSON, quarterback, free agent. Wilson is worth paying attention to, first and foremost, because he's a quality quarterback whose addition could single-handedly change the fortunes of whatever team he happens to join. But his situation is also worth watching because -- like some sort of sci-fi superhero experiment -- Wilson is the first and possibly last of his kind. Never before has a player of Wilson's impeccable on- and off-field credentials been available as a no-strings-attached, one-year free agent. And judging by the SEC's decision last week to eliminate single-season transfers like Wilson's and Jeremiah Masoli's, one may never be available again.

That alone makes Wilson one of the year's biggest stories. But the impact he makes on the field could be just as key. Wilson has already visited Auburn (reportedly) and is due to visit Wisconsin soon (reportedly). Given the ample (if unproven) offensive talent that would surround Wilson in either location, both teams would suddenly see their expectations rise another rung up the ladder and would become dramatically more dangerous threats to the favorites in their respective divisions. Wilson's free agent adventure might still come to nothing (returning to football from the minor leagues means giving back a huge portion of his Colorado Rockies signing bonus), but until it reaches its conclusion, we're going to be riveted all the same. -- JH

13. TRENT RICHARDSON, running back, Alabama. There's no polite way to say it, so we'll just say it: the state of Alabama has dominated the sport of college football for the past two years. Each of the last two Heisman Trophies are sitting in Cotton State trophy cases. They just happen to be a stone's throw away from each of the last two BCS championship trophies, also in those same cases. In 2009, Alabama gave us the sport's most complete, dominant defense in years. In 2010, Auburn gave us the sport's most dynamic, polarizing player in years. So what are they going to do for an encore?

Thanks to Trent Richardson, they might just make it three-for-three on both the BCS title and Heisman Trophy fronts. Even as Mark Ingram took home the famous stiff-armer in 2009, Richardson was bullying his way into the backfield (as a true freshman) all the same; he finished the season with 144 carries, many of them coming in critical situations in the season-saving comeback against Auburn and the national title tilt against Texas (where he topped the 100-yard mark). After a productive 2010, Richardson now has the starter's job to himself, one of the best offensive lines in the country opening holes for him, and a defense on the other side of the ball that could be the equals of 2009 (and should give Richardson ample opportunity to close out nationally-televised wins). Deja vu all over again, for both Alabama the team, and Alabama the state? Definitely possible ... and possibly even likely. -- JH

12. CHIP KELLY, head coach, Oregon. Chip Kelly hasn't been a head coach for long but he's already accomplished quite a bit. He's taken a program with only recent success and turned the Ducks into the Pac-12's flagship program after a couple of off-years from USC. With back-to-back BCS bowls under his belt and a high flying offense that he gets the lion's share of credit for, it's no wonder he was recognized by Fast Company and several other organizations for his creativity and genius on and off the football field.

2011 will put Kelly's coaching abilities to the test, though, as the Ducks look to finish what they couldn't last season. Oregon has to replace several starters along the offensive and defensive lines but returns starting quarterback Darron Thomas and Heisman Trophy finalist LaMichael James at running back. This will be the first year for the Pac-12 and Kelly would like nothing more than to have his name on the inaugural trophy. His reputation has taken a hit this offseason after allegations regarding payments to Will Lyles for his scouting service, and the head coach would like nothing more than to put those things behind them--with the same quickness with which Kelly attacks everything he does. -- BF

11. MARK EMMERT, president, NCAA. Since taking over less than a year ago as the NCAA's new president, Mark Emmert has barely had time to catch his breath. He walked right into a widening agent scandal at North Carolina, had to deal with the fallout from the severe sanctions at USC, and handled the controversial reinstatement cases involving Kentucky basketball's Enes Kanter and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Needless to say, Emmert has had a lot on his plate ... and that's not even getting to the mess at Ohio State.

Emmert has been criss-crossing the country lately, meeting with administrators, student-athletes and others to get a sense of what is going on in college athletics since he took over. He has a big year upcoming as he looks to finally make an imprint with a new NCAA legislative cycle. Emmert has constantly said the organization won't pay athletes under his watch but he has talked with the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and others about full cost of attendance scholarships, so that could be a significant push he makes this year. On top of that, he'll have to deal with an inquiry from the Department of Justice into why the organization doesn't run an FBS football playoff. With all that is on his plate, Emmert will continue to have a regular presence in the headlines. -- BF

The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31 and 30-21. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.



Posted on: June 5, 2011 7:30 pm
 

Delany "disappointed" about Ohio State situation

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Speaking to reporters about the Big Ten title game Sunday afternoon, commissioner Jim Delany said he was not angry at Jim Tressel or how Ohio State was handling their NCAA case invovling several players taking extra benefits. In a line surely to get him a call from PETA, Delany deflected talk that he was upset and feels that the school will eventually move past the bad prediciment they find themselves in.

"I kind of reserve anger for my dog, I try not to get terribly angry. I was disappointed, I wish it hadn't happened," he recalled upon receiving the news. "It wouldn't be accurate for me to say I was angry. I knew it was serious but I don't remember going into a rage.

"I would say that whenever you have a program, or programs, that operate at the level of exposure and public notoriety as ours do, when things don't go well it's not going to be a fun time. It's been hard on the coach, it's been hard on the players, it's been hard on the fans. I will tell you that at the same time, the test is how resilient are you? How do you manage this kind of challenge?

"It's not easy for Ohio State, it's not easy for the Big Ten but I have tremendous confidence in that program to be resilient and to do the right thing and to reestablish themselves."

An attorney and a former NCAA enforcement agent, Delany has handled his fair share of infractions cases at multiple stops in his career. As the situation in Columbus seemingly takes a new twist every week though, he did say there were plenty of lessons to be learned for all of the conference's schools.

"I think that the number one lesson is, from my perspective, is that when you're in a position of responsibility - as an athletic director, a president, a head football coach - and you come across a certain kind of information, the responsibility and duty arrises to do something with that information," Delany said. "Going back 20 years, we've been working with our institutions about processes and procedures with how you handle information in that situation."

Delany has been criticized for his role in lobbying the NCAA for the so-called 'Buckeye Five' to be eligible for Ohio State's appearance in the Sugar Bowl last season. While he vaguly addressed the criticism, he did note that his actions were based on what he knew at the time.

"At the time that I was involved with the eligibility issues, I took the facts as they were presented to me," Delany said. "I analyzed it and for me, a lot of that has been written about that, but for me there wasn't a coach involvement, there wasn't a booster involvement, there wasn't an agent involvement, there kids that made some bad judgements. So on that basis, we forwarded the information to the NCAA and they made the decision that they made about the Sugar Bowl."

The involvement of Tressel, the now former Buckeyes head coach, did seem to take Delany back given all that has been revealed. He said that the facts of the case have generally been agreed to by all parties and realizes that sometimes even people you know best will withold information.

"I was surprised to find out in January that Coach Tressel had previous knowledge about that. I guess I'm enough of a realist to know that can happen," Delany said. "I knew it was a very serious matter because I know, we've said for a long, long time, making it very clear to our coaches and our athletic directors and our faculty, that when that kind of information becomes available you have no choice. Your only choice is to forward it through the system. I recognized at the time that the failure to forward it through the system was a fundamental error and I wasn't exactly sure how the NCAA or the institution would handle it. I was disappointed, I was surprised, but I've been around long enough to know that those things happen."

Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 12:57 am
 

Former USC coach files lawsuit against NCAA

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LOS ANGELES -- Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, claiming the defendants caused him to lose his job and destroyed his career after finding he was guilty of unethical conduct.

In late April, the NCAA denied McNair's appeal of the original findings and punishment stemming from his involvement in the organization's case against USC for extra benefits provided to star running back Reggie Bush. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions ruled that McNair knew or should have known about benefits provided to Bush and that he provided false and misleading information to investigators.

The infractions committee gave McNair a show-cause penalty last June, prohibiting him from recruiting and forcing schools to "show-cause" as to why they should be allowed to hire him. The committee also placed USC's football program on four years probation, stripped the school of several wins, took away 30 scholarships over three years and banned the Trojans from postseason play for two years. The school's separate appeal was denied in May.

McNair filed his lawsuit on June 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages for libel, slander, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, tortious interference with contractual relations, breach of contract, negligence and declaratory relief. The lawsuit names only the NCAA and does not include the names of individuals involved in the case but they may be added to the suit later.

Following the release of the original report from the Committee on Infractions, the school chose not to renew McNair's contract the following month. McNair could not be immediately contacted for comment.

In his appeal with the NCAA, McNair alleged that the Committee on Infractions committed misconduct and mischaracterized facts in the case and that they used false statements to support the unethical conduct finding against him.

A link to the court documents can be found here.
Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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