Posted on: February 26, 2011 6:29 pm

Marvin McNutt out for spring after surgeries

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As the Iowa Hawkeyes head into spring practice, the passing game is going to look a little different. Okay, a lot different. Between the starting quarterback (Ricky Stanzi), starting tight end (Allen Reisner), and top three wide receivers (Marvin McNutt, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Colin Sandeman), all were seniors except for McNutt, a junior.

As it turns out, even McNutt won't be around for spring practice either; as the Cedar Rapids Gazette's Marc Morehouse reported today, McNutt is out for the spring with multiple maladies:

McNutt had surgery on a thumb and shoulder recently. He probably wouldn’t have done much this spring anyway, being a decorated senior receiver who’s put up numbers the last two years, but this clinches it. He is expected to be ready for fall camp.

Junior-to-be Keenan Davis is a likely beneficiary here, as Davis is now the most experienced wideout in spring practice. In fact, with McNutt sidelined, Davis' 11 catches for 131 yards and a score not only lead the returning wideouts in 2010 production, they do so by default; none of the other wide receivers in spring practice caught a pass in 2010. That Davis spent most of last season taking practice snaps with presumed 2011 starting QB James Vandenberg is a nice bonus. 

Thus, there's going to be a wide-open competition for the spot opposite Davis in the first team for spring practice. Johnson-Koulianos publicly praised freshman Kevonte Martin-Manley (redshirted in 2010) as having "my senior skills as a freshman", but considering the way DJK's Iowa career ended, it's probably safe to assume that Kirk Ferentz isn't exactly clamoring to hear endorsements from him. Still, so long as DJK's recommendation wasn't made from whole cloth, the McNutt/Davis/Martin-Manley trio could be formidable in 2011.

Also, as noted before, McNutt should be good to go for the start of the 2011 season, and that's notable from a record book perspective; McNutt has 16 career touchdown receptions, and the Iowa record is 21 (held by Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes). Six more is not only doable, but downright expected. That shoulder needs to hold up first, though.

Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:47 pm

Kouandjio payoff talk is baseless, embarrassing

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As most people are by now aware, Cyrus Kouandjio is officially a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, signing with the team days after briefly committing to Auburn on Signing Day. Alabama had long been the favorite to land Kouandjio, while Auburn was a relatively late player in his recruitment. Other schools being conidered were Iowa and, oddly, New Mexico.

Any time there's wavering from a top recruit over his commitment, especially in close proximity to Signing Day, there's always going to be some doubt that everything was on the up-and-up. When a school pops up seemingly out of nowhere in the recruiting battle, like Auburn did, it becomes basically common knowledge among partisan fans that someone was being paid illegally -- even when absolutely no evidence surfaces of any wrongdoing.

That's a shame, really. It's not a shame in that a particular school's integrity is being impugned; that practice is as old as the sport itself, and an integral part therein. Who doesn't enjoy needlessly slandering a rival team or its fan base? It's the type of devilish, puerile fun that helps make being a fan such a rewarding experience. No, the problem is not what the rumors say about the schools in question; it's what they say about the recruits.

Think about it. When an Auburn fan gets on the radio and accuses Alabama of paying off Kouandjio, the insinuation is that the Kouandjios don't care at all about Cyrus' well-being, or what school offers the best experience for him on and off the field. No, in a paranoid fan's eyes, all that Alabama (or Auburn, or Iowa, or New Mexico) needed to do was wheel out an SUV from some anonymous booster and the recruiting was done. That's a pretty lousy thing to assume about a family, especially when the father, Jean Claude Kouandjio, was on record encouraging his son to take his mind off the process for a day or two. To assume that this display of good parenting is just some act that belies a great misdeed would necessarily require a good deal of evidence, otherwise it's just plain mean-spirited.

And on the front of evidence, there is none in Kouandjio's case. Nobody has proffered any examples of conspicuous spending or shady deals made with any member of the family or anything of the sort. To make that claim anyway is to make a work of fiction, and when local media agencies report on these rumors even under the guise of "fans speaking out," they smear the public record. Our standards ought to be much higher.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 6:20 pm

Three fired for accessing Iowa players' records

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When the massive case of rhabdomyolysis hit the Iowa football team last month, football fans understandably wanted to know what caused it all, why 13 young men had to be sent to the hospital before their kidneys failed. And since we all turn into Dr. Gregory House whenever we're on the internet, some people noticed that one of the causes of rhabdo can be certain types of drug use. Say, didn't an Iowa player or two get arrested over drugs? Didn't athletic director Gary Barta say at the press conference that Iowa's drug testing program could have been compromised? Did House figure out another medical mystery?

Well, no; reports from the hospital shortly thereafter indicated that all 13 players had tested negative for drugs, so that theory was out the window (where it belonged in the first place). But hang on; aren't there federal laws prohibiting that type of information being leaked by anybody but the patients or the immediate family members of every single one of them? Yes, there are, and that's what got two hospital employees suspended ... and three more fired:

University of Iowa officials are in the process of firing three staff members and suspending two others without pay for five days for their roles in inappropriately accessing electronic medical records of 13 UI football players who were in the hospital.

The unidentified players were being treated for rhabdomyolysis, a rare muscle disorder.

UI spokesman Tom Moore declined to identify the names of the staff members, what information they accessed or how it was used, citing federal and institutional privacy laws and policies.

Seriously, people; federal privacy laws are no joke, and the UI Hospitals and Clinics really had no option but to take severe action against those involved. Even if the leak was intended to clear the program's name, the hospital isn't about to suspend enforcement of HIPPA laws just because the patients are anonymous and famous.

However, we at CBS know that readers value information over secrecy, so we're prepared to name all five disciplined staff members! They are, in alphabetical order... wait, our editors are standing outside with spiked bats and pitchforks. Never mind.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:04 pm

Indiana struggling to hang onto coaches

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Here's some good news for the beleagured Indiana fans out there: your highly-respected new coach, Kevin Wilson, has shown a keen eye in assembling his first Hoosier coaching staff, hiring the kinds of hot up-and-coming coaches that bigger-name programs would be happy to have.

Here's the bad news: those bigger-name programs didn't even wait for the ink to dry on the new Hoosier coaches' contracts before proving exactly how happy to have them they'd be. Wilson was forced to spend part of his Signing Day press conference announcing that two more assistant coaches have taken other jobs, bringing the total up to three after new offensive coordinator Brent Pease returned to Boise State to take the same position following Bryan Harsin's departure to Texas.

One of the two new ex-Hoosiers we mentioned already today : cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, who appears all but set to coach the secondary at Nebraska. The other is defensive tackles coach Jerry Montgomery, who will now coach the defensive line at Michigan instead.

Both are young coaches that appear to have bright futures, with Raymond a former LSU star and NFL veteran who'd coached the corners at Utah State the past two seasons; Montgomery is a former Iowa player who's gone from Northern Iowa to Wyoming to Indiana and now the Wolverines in just three seasons. But Wilson isn't wasting time mourning his losses, having already filled one of his vacancies with Air Force running backs coach Jemal Singleton, another with Nebraska program intern Brett Dierson, and not exactly shedding tears over the departures:
Wilson explained that he initially wanted Dierson from the beginning, while co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler liked Raymond.

“We’re kind of flip-flopping, one of the guys I wanted they didn’t get and vice-versa. Of guys we went after, we’re going to land on our feet in great shape,” Wilson said.

He concluded that he would rather have a coach at Indiana who wants to be here.

“If it’s better for a guy to be somewhere else, it’s better for his family, better for his career, it’s better he go there than be here,” Wilson said. “I only want guys who really want to be here, are excited about being here.”
That's the right thing for Wilson to say. But more helpful than anything he says will be just keeping the likes of Michigan, Boise, and Nebraska away from what's left of his staff.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 12:19 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: January 31, 2011 12:18 pm

Big Ten spending shows Wolverines lagging

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

magazine writer Kristi Dosh has continued a series on college football spending that started with the SEC with a closer look at the Big Ten's revenues and profits , and though some of her findings and conclusions aren't surprising -- Ohio State spends more on football than any other member of the league, the average SEC team generates more revenue and spends more money than the average Big Ten team, etc. -- some of them are legitimately eyebrow-raising.

Perhaps the most intriguing number is the difference between the revenue generated by the Michigan  football program and how much the university re-invests in those same Wolverines. These are the figures for how much gross revenue each Big Ten team creates:
Penn State Univ. $70,208,584.00
Ohio State Univ. $63,750,000.00
Univ. of Michigan $63,189,417.00
Univ. of Iowa $45,854,764.00
Michigan State Univ. $44,462,659.00
Univ. of Wisconsin $38,662,971.00
Univ. of Minnesota $32,322,688.00
Univ. of Illinois $25,301,783.00
Northwestern Univ. $22,704,959.00
Indiana Univ. $21,783,185.00
Purdue Univ. $18,118,898.00
And here's how much each team spends:
Ohio State Univ. $31,763,036.00
Univ. of Wisconsin $22,041,491.00
Penn State Univ. $19,780,939.00
Univ. of Iowa $18,468,732.00
Univ. of Michigan $18,328,233.00
Michigan State Univ. $17,468,458.00
Univ. of Minnesota $17,433,699.00
Northwestern Univ. $15,733,548.00
Indiana Univ. $12,822,779.00
Purdue Univ. $11,821,265.00
Univ. of Illinois $11,092,122.00
Note that when it comes to revenue, Michigan is a solid No. 3, only narrowly behind their rivals in Columbus and nearly $18 million ahead of fourth-place Iowa. But when it comes to expenses, Michigan drops back to No. 5, and a distant No. 5 at that; they spend less than 60 percent of what the league-leading Buckeyes do, and despite their massive revenue advantage barely outspend even their in-state enemies at Michigan State.

Contrast the Wolverines' approach with that of Wisconsin. The Badgers come in just sixth in the league in revenue, but (as Dosh points out) reinvest an incredible 57 percent of that money back into the football program, a number that exceeds even the percentages in the SEC and puts the Badgers' raw investment well ahead of not only Michigan but even revenue leaders Penn State. It's hard to argue the Badgers aren't getting a return on that investment, either, when they've posted nine or more wins six of the past seven years and are coming off of a surprise Rose Bowl appearance.

Michigan's troubles go deeper than just spending money, of course, and it has to be pointed out that there are institution-wide advantages to hogging so much of the football team's revenue as (the Big Ten's second-largest pile of) profit; the athletic department sponsors a wide variety of varsity sports programs (no, there's no scholarship field hockey at, say, Tennessee) and does so without financial support from the university.

But if the Wolverines are serious about competing for not only conference championships against the likes of the Buckeyes but Rose Bowl championships against the likes of Oregon or USC, or national titles against the likes of the Big 12 or SEC, they're going to have to start putting more of their football money to use in football (particularly in the area of coaching salaries ). Greg Mattison is a nice start, but he's only a start.

(One other note worth noting: thanks to the Big Ten Network, a revenue stream that according to Dosh's figures falls outside of the football-only numbers, the average Big Ten athletic department remains more profitable overall than the average SEC athletic department by some $2.5 million. The Big Ten has the money to spend. They just spend more of it, it appears, on things that aren't football.)
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:40 pm

All 13 Iowa players released from hospital

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Good news on Friday got better today as the University of Iowa confirmed in a statement that all 13 players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis have been released from the U of I Hospital.

Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz, under fire for his public handling of the situation, apologized for the incident:
“Getting all 13 student-athletes healthy and out of the hospital has been priority number one all along, so I’m very happy that they all are now back home and resuming their lives" ...

“These young men and their families have been through a difficult and trying time. They are under my supervision and watch, and I am truly sorry for what they’ve experienced. They trained extremely hard and ended up in the hospital, and there is no indication they did anything wrong. So I’m pleased they are progressing well and I look forward to seeing all of them being back to normal.”

Ferentz also took the opportunity to criticize the swirling rumor mill regarding the cause of the rhabomyolysis outbreak, calling the speculation "unfair and inappropriate." Athletic director Gary Barta, in his first public statement since the outbreak, asked that fans "refrain from any further unproductive rush to judgment."

Until an investigation determines the official cause of the outbreak, some level of speculation will inevitably continue. But with all 13 players well on their way to recovery and no longer needing hospital care, tonight that major positive is far outweighing that increasingly minor negative.

Posted on: January 28, 2011 6:10 pm

5 Iowa players released from hospital

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In what might be the first bit of good news for Iowa since the rhabdomyolysis story broke, a statement released by Kirk Ferentz announced this afternoon that five of the 13 hospitalized Hawkeyes will be going home from the University of Iowa Hospital today. Ferentz's statement continues:

"I have been communicating with each student-athlete and their parents, or guardians, since learning they were admitted into the hospital. Members of the football staff have also been communicating daily with this group. This communication will continue until each student-athlete is able to resume their academic and athletic commitments.

"As the parent of both a current and former member of the team, the health and well-being of each student-athlete in our football program is paramount. "I will work with all of the individuals and groups that contribute to the welfare of our student-athletes to understand what led to this occurrence in order to make certain it does not happen again."

Ferentz no doubt must make good on that last promise to retain any good will amongst the Hawkeye parents, who have reportedly been less than charitable with regards to Ferentz's absence during the incident and Wednesday press conference. It won't help the atmosphere of confusion and potential distrust that it was also announced today that the hospital will be investigating the potential "accessing" of the player's private health records by individuals without proper medical clearance.

Despite those issues and the whole of the ugly black eye Iowa will sport after this incident, the release of the five players and the expected return to good health of the other eight indicate that the media storm may be beginning to clear. Barring legal action on the part of any of the players or families, the worst appears to be over for Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com