Tag:Damiere Byrd
Posted on: September 30, 2011 4:20 pm
 

SEC RapidReport Roundup: It's all on Lattimore

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Running down everything you need to know from the current news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters (and others).



SOUTH CAROLINA. It doesn't seem possible that Marcus Lattimore could take on even more of a burden for the Gamecock offense, but that's how things look as his team prepares for Saturday's visit from Auburn. Lattimore's top two backups are both doubtful for the game with injuries; Kenny Miles is struggling with a sprained wrist, third-stringer Eric Baker might miss the game as well, and freshman Shon Carson tore his ACL in mid-September. Freshman Brandon Wilds could be the only scholarship running back available for Steve Spurrier other than Lattimore, but even if Baker is healthy, the junior has just five carries combined the previous three seasons.

Lattimore already leads the nation in rushing attempts with a whopping 26.75 per game. But given the problems Carolina must deal with when either anyone other then Lattimore rushes the ball or Stephen Garcia drops back to pass, that workload doesn't seem likely at all to decrease this week.

In other Gamecock news, true freshman receiver Damiere Byrd will make his long-awaited debut this week after all. His four-game NCAA suspension has been served, but in midweek Spurrier said he hadn't been "cleared" just yet. Now he has.

AUBURN. If the Gamecocks start to feel sorry for themselves, though, all they'll have to do is look to the opposite sideline this week. After already losing receiver Trovon Reed to a shoulder injury for this week and possibly longer, the Tigers also confirmed this week that defensive end Dee Ford will miss the remainder of the season with a herniated disk. Though technically a backup, Ford was the only junior in the entire Tiger defensive line's two-deep; his spot in the rotation will be filled by two players with a combined 23 career snaps.

It's those kinds of defensive issues that have forced Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn to slow down Malzahn's preferred up-tempo style during his Auburn tenure; the Tigers have averaged only one more play per-game under Malzahn than they did in the 12 seasons before his arrival.

OLE MISS. Things in Oxford are ugly off the field, with the Ole Miss chancellor himself writing open letters in response to anonymous "threats" and the Rebel community seemingly divided over the status of athletic director Pete Boone and coach Houston Nutt. But they might be even uglier on it right now, which is why Randall Mackey seems set to become the Rebels' third starter under center in five games as the Rebels travel to take on Fresno State.

And speaking of ugly, more than a few wags on Twitter had something to say about Nutt's decision to wear a flat-brimmed blue baseball cap during his team's loss to Georgia. He explained himself in straightforward fashion this week: he wanted to protect his face from the sun, and he couldn't wear both his preferred straw hat and a headset at the same time. Works for us.



ARKANSAS. Even after losing Tenarius Wright for 4-to-6 weeks, there is some good news for the Hogs on the injury front. Senior corner Isaac Madison is expected to play against Texas A&M after leaving the Alabama game with an injury, and running back Broderick Green has made startling progress from the ACL tear suffered during spring practice--so much progress that Green is already practicing and is now expected before the season's end, possibly as soon as this week.

On the downside, defensive coordinator Willy Robinson is less-than-thrilled with the performance of senior safety Tramain Thomas at the moment. "I'm not going to sit down there and allow what was going on during the course of the game to continue, so I made a switch there," Robinson said of pulling Thomas against Alabama. "This week he knows he's under fire, and he'd better give us better effort."

ELSEWHERE: Nick Saban said five-star running back recruit Dee Hart has made substantial progress since preseason ACL surgery, but remains highly likely to redshirt ... Vanderbilt starting linebacker Tristan Strong will miss the rest of the 2011 season after tearing an ACL against South Carolina. He was third on the team in tackles ...

Georgia
linebacker Christian Robinson is expecting to play "15-20 plays" in his return from injury. His partner in rehab? None other than Barbara Dooley, who Robinson promised he'd wear Derek Dooley-style orange pants if his Dawgs beat Derek's Vols later this season ... After initially asking to leave the team, Bulldog backup running back Ken Malcome changed his mind and rejoined the squad on Thursday ...

Tennessee freshman running back and returner Devrin Young is set to make his season debut after missing the Volunteers' first three games with a broken collarbone ... Fans at the Vols' game against Buffalo will be able to wave pink shakers in exhcnage for a donation to breast cancer research ... Mississippi State isn't unhappy with defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd, but would like to see more production from them all the same ... Why, yes, Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders is "frustrated" with his team's offensive struggles. We doubt you're surprised.

Posted on: September 19, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Gamecocks receive NCAA Notice of Allegations

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The same day their neighbors to the north announced their response to an NCAA Notice of Allegations, South Carolina has announced that the Gamecocks have received their own NOA. And the details don't look good for the Gamecocks.

According to the NOA (PDF), the owner of the Whitney Hotel in Columbia -- described in the NOA as a "representative of the institution's athletics interests" -- provided some $47,000 in improper benefits to various Gamecock football players in the form of discounted hotel suites. The suites were charged to multiple players at a cost of just $14.59 per day, and with several players' having their already-reduced rent deferred, the players also stand accused of receiving "impermissible loans."

With the violations occurring throughout the 2009 season, it seems likely Carolina will have to vacate their seven wins that year.

That's only the start of the bad news for Carolina. The Student-Athlete Mentoring Foundation and Steve Gordon -- also described as a "representative of the institution's athletics interests" -- have been charged by the NOA with providing some $8,000 "impermissible recruiting inducements." Gordon and the S.A.M.'s involvement has already led to the suspensions this season of Florida's Sharrif Floyd and the Gamecocks' Damiere Byrd.

Between those two allegations and others (which include a pair of track athletes also receiving benefits at the Whitney), Carolina has been charged with "failure to monitor" and are "considered to be potential major violations." It also won't help the Gamecocks' case that the NOA also considers the Gamecocks subject to potential "repeat violator" status.

The Gamecocks will go in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in Los Angeles this coming February 17 and 18. At that meeting Carolina officials will either agree with or dispute the allegatiosn and self-impose any sanctions they deem necessary.

As for the bottom line -- what sanctions the Gamecocks will self-impose and which additional ones the NCAA might tack on -- it's too early to make anything more than an educated guess. But combining the $55,000 price tag with repeat violator status and the failure to monitor charge could be a toxic brew for the Gamecocks ... and one that we feel means a postseason ban or major scholarship reductions, if not likely, can't be ruled out, either.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 3:18 pm
 

NCAA suspends Gamecock WR Byrd for four games

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The NCAA apparently doesn't think much of the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation.

A day after the Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd was suspended two games for his involvement with the Delaware-based S.A.M. (a decision which drew down as much furious wrath from Will Muschamp as it's possible to get in a single prepared statement), South Carolina freshman wide receiver Damiere Byrd was suspended four games for his association with the same organization.

Byrd sat out the Gamecocks' win over East Carolina because of S.A.M.-related concerns over his eligibilty and will also miss Carolina's games against Georgia, Navy and Vanderbilt. He will return for the Gamecocks' Oct. 1 home game against Auburn.

Like Floyd, Byrd will have to make a $2,700 repayment of "recruiting inducements and impermissible benefits" to charity before the NCAA will restore his eligibility. Unlike Floyd, however (who the NCAA found to have not received his benefits from a Florida booster), some of Byrd's were reportedly offered by a Gamecock booster. According to a statement by the NCAA, those booster's benefits "included lodging, transportation and meals during multiple unofficial visits to the University of South Carolina. It also included several parties at the booster’s home and gift cards."

S.A.M. president Steve Gordon told Columbia newspaper The State that while Byrd took Foundation-sponsored trips, Byrd's family -- including father Adrian Byrd, the S.A.M vice-president -- paid for them rather the Foundation itself.

Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman called Byrd an "outstanding individual" who "had no idea that being part of the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation would in any way affect his college eligibility." Hyman suggested the program might appeal on Byrd's behalf, but that Byrd would remain ineligible while the appeal was heard.

A consensus four-star recruit from Sicklerville, N.J., Byrd made waves throughout fall camp and was in line to join the Gamecocks' receiving rotation (though a starting job in the veteran unit remained unlikely). A redshirt following the suspension is possible.


Posted on: September 8, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Gators' Floyd suspended two games by NCAA

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Florida announced just before kickoff Saturday that defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd had been declared ineligible by the NCAA, their assurance that Floyd's "issue" was "not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida" suggested that he might return to the lineup sooner rather than later. That suggestion has been proven correct.

The NCAA announced Thursday that Floyd will have his eligiblity reinstated following a two-game suspension and the repayment of $2,700 in benefits to charity. Assuming Floyd makes the payment, he will miss this week's game against UAB but be eligible to return for Florida's Week 3 SEC opener against Tennessee.*

According to the NCAA statement, Floyd was declared ineligible by Florida "for violations of NCAA preferential treatment rules, including receiving $2,500 cash over several months from an individual not associated with the university."

That individual has been reported to be a man named Steve Gordon, president of an organization titled the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation. Involvement with Gordon and his organization has led to eligiblity issues for both Floyd and South Carolina freshman receiver Damiere Byrd. " "We don’t steer players (to specific schools), and the proof is in the pudding," Gordon told Columbia (S.C.) newspaper The State. "All I know is they are punishing Damiere and Sharrif for something they didn’t do."

To some extent, the NCAA seemed to agree, reducing Floyd's suspension from four games to two for "mitigating circumstances." Their statement explains:
In its decision, the reinstatement staff cited the totality of Floyd’s circumstances, including his personal hardship that led to the impermissible benefits being provided to the student-athlete by someone other than a legal guardian or family member.
Even that doesn't sound like it was enough for Florida. Gator AD Jeremy Foley released a statement stating that the Gators were "comfortable" with Floyd's eligiblity status, " yet the NCAA staff interpreted that there were violations."

He described Floyd's upbringing as "an environment where he didn’t have the things most of us take for granted ... In the absence of parents, there were kind people, in no way affiliated with the University of Florida, who were not boosters or sports agents, that helped him along the way."

While Byrd was unlikely to become a major contributor so soon for the Gamecocks, Floyd had reportedly been a terror in Gator practices throughout the offseason and was set to start at either tackle or end. He was named a CBSSports.com preseason All-SEC selection and should give Will Muschamp one more weapon on what already shapes up as one of the SEC's best defensive line.

So if Muschamp walks with just a little more pep in his step today, we won't blame him.

*On CBS, we just think you should know.

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