Tag:NCAA
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 10:03 pm
 

Scott: Summertime before reaching BCS consensus

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LOS ANGELES -- Although the most recent BCS meetings wrapped up two weeks ago in Dallas and the NCAA tournament is fast approaching to steal headlines, discussion about the future of the college football postseason continues to bubble to the surface.

Speaking at the league's annual basketball tournament Wednesday evening, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott cautioned that any movement toward a specific postseason proposal would likely be months away from emerging.

"Once we start to get to the point where a consensus is emerging around a model or two, that's when conferences will be asked to kind of officially vote on something," Scott said. "It's a little hard to predict when exactly but it's probably summertime.

"I don't know if there will be a point where our conference declares exactly what it supports until there's a specific proposal in front of us. We're kind of far from that point and there's a lot more work that I need to do and my colleagues from other conferences need to do to narrow options and think of all the implications."

One of the few details to emerge about any new BCS deal over the past few months is that Scott and the Big Ten's Jim Delany prefer that only conference champions to be eligible for any sort of postseason playoff or plus-one. SEC commissioner Mike Slive, speaking to the Birmingham News earlier Wednesday, naturally disagreed with the notion, no surprise considering the all-SEC nature of the national championship game in January.

Approximately 50 proposals different have been presented to decision makers over the past few months and it seems that just about the only thing that anybody can agree upon is that the process will continue to evolve before everybody comes together again.

"It's an iterative process," Scott said. "The concepts will get more specific. I've been in constant contact with our AD's and presidents over the last few months - with our partners at the Rose Bowl in terms of priorities. We're starting to talk about options."

Which ones, exactly, remain to be seen.

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 3:20 pm
 

Auburn to unveil Heisman statues at spring game

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Auburn fans treating themselves to the Tigers' "A-Day" spring game are going to be treated themselves to a one-of-a-kind ceremony involving the school's three Heisman Trophy winners.

The Tiger athletic department had announced previously that they would be commissioning and erecting statuses of Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton to be unveiled at a later date. A release from the school Tuesday established that date as April 14, when the statues will be dedicated in a special ceremony at 10 a.m. prior to the annual "A-Day" game.

According to the release, Sullivan (who won his Heisman in 1971), Jackson (1985) and Newton (2010, in case you've forgotten already) are all scheduled to be in attendance at the ceremony. The statues will be placed on the east end of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In an interview with Auburn fansite The War Eagle Reader last April, statue sculptor Ken Bjorge said that the statues of Sullivan and Jackson had already been commissioned -- and completed -- when Newton's stunning Heisman season forced Auburn to ask for a third statue, and delay the unveiling of Sullivan's and Jackson's. In the interim, Florida became the first SEC team with a collection of Heisman statues, unveiling renditions of Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow at their 2011 spring game. 

The delay also meant, of course, that Auburn avoided the awkwardness of either dedicating or not dedicating a statue of Newton, whose infamous NCAA investigation only wrapped up last October. Though going through with an order for $100,000 worth of sculpted steel was already a sizable vote of confidence on Auburn's part, there's little doubt the school is highly appreciative the statue won't have to be unveiled with a Julie Roe Lach-shaped monkey on its back. 

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Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:54 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: USC


Posted by Bryan Fischer


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at USC.

Spring Practice Starts: Wednesday, March 6.

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14.

Returning Starters: Nine on offense, eight on defense and both specialists.

Three Things To Watch For:

1. Dealing with expectations.

USC safety T.J. McDonald and quarterback Matt Barkley are easy to tell apart if you see them walking around Heritage Hall or roaming around the Coliseum but they could not be more alike on paper after a remarkable run to close out last season. Both are captains, suit up in the cardinal and gold wearing number seven, each runs half the team and, most importantly to the Trojans in 2012, Barkley and McDonald announced they would return to school for their senior seasons on back-to-back days in late December. After two years without a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions, the message both talked about was so clear that it's become the program's unofficial motto as they head into spring practice: unfinished business.

In many ways, this is about where everybody expects USC to be year-in and year-out given the program's history. A No. 6 ranking in the AP Poll to close out 2011 and, with 19 starters returning and a favorable schedule, expectations are running high for the first time since Lane Kiffin took over in Los Angeles.

"I really don't think it's expectations as much as it is being free - we kind of feel like we're being let out of prison," Kiffin said. "It's normal now. It's refreshing not to have the negative distractions. People will talk about expectations and all of that but the good thing is we have practice at dealing with that from our time here before."

USC will likely end up as the preseason No. 1 or No. 2 team in the country and despite scholarship limitations, will bring in ninth-ranked recruiting class with several five-star playmakers to supplement the group that will head out to Howard Jones field. It may be a return to normal with the national spotlight once again on Troy and Heisman candidate Barkley but for this group, it is something new. While the media will certainly be swarming like they did in the good old days and accolades and praise will come early and often, it's worth remembering that from the seniors to the freshman, this team hasn't faced anything like these expectations before. Will they play too loose or be wound too tight? It's something to keep tabs on.

"This is all about going out and preparing really well and practicing hard," Kiffin added. "It has been very refreshing to not deal with so much negativity and distractions, some of which was based on me and some on the sanctions."

2. New staff and new look.

For the first time in the Kiffin-era, the still youthful head coach has had to deal with some staff turnover. While the big stage the program provides has attracted more than it's fair share of coaches looking to boost their resume, the fact that two coaches left so close to spring practice definitely added a question mark or two to the team's outlook. Scottie Hazelton will take over as linebackers coach and was a surprise pick by many but he brings a solid resume that includes being the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State last season as they won the FCS national championship. It's not a flashy hire by any means and it will be interesting to see how Hazelton deals with the level of competition taking a leap but luckily for him he'll have most of last year's linebacking corps back.

USC hasn't had a full-time secondary coach since right before the 2011 season following the sudden departure of Willie Mack Garza due to NCAA issues. Kiffin took his time in landing a replacement but lured Marvin Sanders out West after he had just taken over as FAU's defensive coordinator. Mostly known for his time as Nebraska's secondary coach, Sanders has coached several top NFL draft picks and contributed to some very good Cornhuskers defenses. He'll take over a group that needs some development but is among the deepest on the team, especially at safety.

"It's going to be refreshing to have a spring with all these guys in place," Kiffin said. "There will be some growing pains but we'll be rolling by the time we get to the fall."

The final hire might have drawn the most press given new receivers coach Tee Martin's place in Tennessee lore. Though his group dealt with drops in his final season at Kentucky, Martin is known for being a good recruiter and helped turn Randall Cobb into an All-American the year before. He'll have the best group of wide receivers in the country to work with this spring, led by All-Americans Robert Woods and Marqise Lee to go along with former five-star George Farmer.

3. Line depth.

The biggest question marks surrounding the Trojans are centered on the trenches. Four of the five offensive linemen return but replacing a top three NFL Draft pick in Matt Kalil will be not be easy despite the unit becoming the biggest surprise of the team last year. The interior of the line is the strength with Marcus Martin and John Martinez solid at the guard spots and All-American candidate Khaled Holmes leading the way at center. Kevin Graf will get first shot at replacing Kaili at left tackle while Aundrey Walker will be on the other side. Both played those positions in high school and, with several starts under their belt already, should ease some concerns. Beyond that though, and depth is still an issue until the fall.

The outlook at defensive line is not so rosy, with three starters gone and the Pac-12 leader in sacks impressing everybody at the NFL Combine. Pencil in Wes Horton and Devon Kennard at the end spot but depth behind them and who takes over at tackle will be the reason Ed Orgeron is up late at night (and not just the Red Bull). Those inside the program expect a lot out of sophomore George Uko.

"I'm really looking at seeing how well these tackles, Aundrey and Kevin do," Kiffin said. "I also really want to seeing the continued development of our defense with so much experience coming back and with two new coaches. I really want to be a dominant defensive team like (USC in) '02 or '03. Big five turnover or seven sack games, the type where you have just a suffocating defense."

If the Trojans are going to live up to expectations, figuring things out along the lines will be paramount this spring.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:53 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Oregon acknowledges NCAA violations in documents

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Oregon is dealing with several NCAA issues stemming from former scout Will Lyles and certainly knows when to dump release information regarding the case. The school released two heavily redacted documents late Friday afternoon to local papers as part of an open records request, detailing proposed findings of violations and shining a little light on an investigation that has been going on for several months following a Yahoo! Sports investigative report released last March.

According to the Eugene Register-Guard, the Oregon athletic department agreed that the football program did not follow NCAA bylaws and was not adequately monitored regarding use of recruiting/scouting services. The "proposed findings of violations" were sent from the NCAA enforcement staff to the school but is not a formal Notice of Allegations, which the report noted had not been received as of Friday.

At least three services did not conform to NCAA rules according to the documents and the program exceeded the number of permitted coaches recruiting by one between 2009 and 2011. Head coach Chip Kelly is believed to be near the center of the probe regarding his involvement. The school has retained attorney Michael Glazier, a partner in the firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, for his expertise in dealing with NCAA cases.

Oregon received a notice of inquiry in September to mark the formal start of the NCAA investigation into the Ducks' recruiting and use of scouting services. Lyles has claimed, among other things, that the school paid him $25,000 for influence with recruits in the state of Texas.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:08 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 5:10 pm
 

30 BCS schools vote against scholarship proposal

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The new NCAA legislation allowing schools to offer multiple-year scholarships to athletes only narrowly survived its recent override vote, with only two of the 330 votes cast needing to have swung the other way to have nixed the legislation, despite the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert. The overwhelming majority of support for the override came -- as expected -- from non-BCS or mid-major schools worried over the potential increase in costs.

But a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education shows that a healthy portion of BCS conference schools also voted for the override. According to this NCAA document obtained by the Chronicle, 30 different current and future BCS members supported the override, including the entire Big 12. The Big 12 was also the only BCS conference that exercised its institutional vote in favor of the override.

The Big Ten was the conference most solidly in opposition to the override, with only Wisconsin voting in favor. Among the other high-profile programs voting against multiple-year scholarships were Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and USC. After the Big 12, the conference with the most votes in favor of the overrides was the ACC, with five. (The Big East did have six override votes if future members Boise State, Navy and San Diego State are included.)

As for that 30 vote tally, the opinion here is that that's only slightly fewer than 30 too many. It's one thing for cash-strapped mid-majors or even BCS schools on a notably tight budget -- say, Rutgers or Colorado, both of whom supported to override -- to oppose a measure they would struggle to afford, giving more cash-flush schools an instant recruiting advantage. It's another for programs like the Longhorns, Bayou Bengals, Volunteers and Sooners -- all of whom the Chronicle names as four of the 10 wealthiest athletics departments in the country -- to attempt to vote it down when they have the kinds of budgets that will barely flinch under the new scholarship burden. The motivation in Austin, Baton Rouge, Knoxville and Norman isn't that they can't hand out four-year scholarships, it's that they simply don't want to. 

Of course, the legislation doesn't mean any school -- BCS, mid-major, or otherwise -- is required to offer multiple-year scholarships. But since that might put the schools that don't at a recruiting disadvantage against schools that do, the Texases (and USCs, and Alabamas) have tried to prevent anyone from offering them.

In short: because these schools don't want to promise their athletes a full four-year college education, they've decided the athletes at other schools shouldn't have the benefit of that promise, either. 

A full BCS conference-by-conference breakdown of votes in favor of the override:

ACC: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia

Big East: Boise State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State

Big 12: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, West Virginia

Big Ten: Wisconsin

Pac-12: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, USC

SEC: Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M

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Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:17 am
Edited on: February 18, 2012 11:23 am
 

Multiyear scholarship legislation withstands vote

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA's proposal for multiyear scholarships for student-athletes, adopted following the August 2011 presidential retreat, narrowly passed a membership override vote on Friday.

A total of 330 Division I institutions voted, with 62.12% voting to override the legislation. According to NCAA bylaws, a 62.5% percent majority of those voting is required for an override. According to NCAA.org blogger John Infante, only two override votes could have changed the outcome.

“I am pleased that student-athletes will continue to benefit from the ability of institutions to offer athletics aid for more than one year, but it’s clear that there are significant portions of the membership with legitimate concerns,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “As we continue to examine implementation of the rule, we want to work with the membership to address those concerns.”

The legislation does not require an institution to offer guaranteed scholarships for more than one year, but several notable football programs - including Auburn - have announced their plans to participate in the practice. While the multiyear scholarship legislation survived the override vote, a proposal to adjust the miscellaneous expense allowance is still being reviewed by the NCAA Board of Directors.

The Board will consider new options for the stipend legislation in April.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Roundtable: College football valentines

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

It's Valentine's Day, so pick someone or something from college football--person, team, conference, whatever. Who should they be sending a valentine to today, and what does that valentine say?

Bryan FischerI think the athletic directors at Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State should be sending a Valentine to Larry Scott this year. The Pac-12 commissioner unveiled his Pac-12 Network studios just yesterday, and that's appropriate considering the media deals he negotiated were the biggest reason those schools were able to off the sweetheart deals that landed their new coaches. Do you think the Bruins or Huskies could have afforded the assistant salaries before that money started flowing? Or that Wazzu was able to land a coach like Mike Leach? I don't think they do.

I'm guessing their valentine says something to the affect of, "Thank$ Larry for everything, hope you'll be our Valentine for several more years."

Tom Fornelli:  I'm going to say TCU and West Virginia owe Missouri and Texas A&M a valentine this year, one with some expensively-licensed cartoon character saying "Thanks for the sloppy seconds!" If not for those two leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, then both TCU and WVU are stuck in the Big East for 2012 at least--a Big East that's without a clear future at the moment, and seems en route to becoming Conference USA version 2.0.

Instead the Frogs and Mountaineers have joined the Big 12, which is in much better shape than the Big East and will provide far more money for both schools in the long run.

Jerry Hinnen: If I'm Mike Slive, I'm sending out a valentine to Dana Holgorsen -- or maybe Gus Malzahn, or Mike Leach, or Todd Monken -- saying "WILL YOU BE MINE?" festooned with as many hearts (and dollar signs) as it takes to convince them to try their hand (again, in Malzahn's case) in the SEC. There's no doubting the SEC's dominance on the defensive side of the ball or its overall array of talent, but the 2011 season also showed a league in dire need of an infusion of offensive ingenuity, preferably (for variety's sake) out of the spread school. Alabama's yawn-inducing strangulation of LSU in the BCS title game is Exhibit A for the conference's current cloud-of-dust tendencies, but the overall statistical picture is even more damning: six different SEC teams finished in the bottom 25 in the FBS in total offense, with zero finishing in the FBS top 25. (Arkansas ranked highest at 29th.) 

Some of that is good defense; an awful lot of it is terrible offense, too. And it may get worse before it gets better--look at the likes of former offensive juggernauts Florida and Auburn, currently undergoing dramatic offensive regime changes after regressing badly in 2011.

Defense may win championships, but offense often wins TV ratings, as the BCS championship Nielsens will tell you. The SEC's current regular season ratings are fine, of course, but Slive is about to go back to the negotiating table to try and keep his TV contract up with the Joneses of the Big Ten and Pac-12, a table to which he'll want to bring every single positive for his league he can gets his hands on. The SEC will be a-OK with or without the Big 12's reputation for high-flying offensive theatrics, but that doesn't mean Slive -- and a league full of fans likely tiring of watching Tennessee and South Carolina combine for 17 points and barely more than 500 yards in nationally televised prime-time -- wouldn't welcome someone who could shake up the conference's burgeoning reputation for Slugfest-with-a-capital-S football. Kevin Sumlin gets first crack, but we're guessing Slive would prefer he had some high-profile help sooner rather than later.

Chip Patterson: If I'm Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, I'm sending roses, candy, banners, and thankful notes to new head coach Urban Meyer.  Even with an ill-timed bowl ban from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Meyer has cooled much of the heat on Smith after the fallout surrounding Jim Tressel's departure.  Winning cures all, but hiring a two-time national champion to supposedly guide your program out of the darkness will certainly hold the Buckeye fans over until the bowl ban is lifted.  Meyer hit the recruiting trail hard after his hire, pulling in a top-5 recruiting class despite the sanctions from the NCAA.  

If Smith had whiffed on his hire to replace Tressel, he would find himself under further scrutiny with the additional sanctions.  Meyer is exactly the home run hire Ohio State -- and Gene Smith -- needed.  In fact, a valentine might not be enough.  Maybe Smith should get a tattoo. 

What? Too soon? 

Posted on: February 13, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Army opens spring practice, moves spring game

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not easy for our nation's men and women in uniform to make the trip to West Point for the Army football team's spring game. So the Black Knights are bringing the game to some of them.

Army announced recently that the annual Black/Gold Game will be held at Doughboy Stadium on the campus of Fort Benning, Ga. The game will be held March 9 at the conclusion of Army's spring practice, which officially begins Monday after some weekend walkthroughs.

"It's something we're anxious to do," Army head coach Rich Ellerson said in a statement. "It makes too much sense. As spring football games have become a little bit more of a media event, it's a chance for us to showcase the program and articulate that connection with the U.S. Army ... It will be a great experience for us and hopefully for the folks at Fort Benning. It's a first-time thing. We had to get an exception from the NCAA, but it makes sense given the institutional relationships. We'll see where it leads us."

Maj. Gen. Bob Brown, Fort Benning's commanding general, said the "theme of the event and the focus of the day" surrounding the game would be "Duty."

The game at Fort Benning will wrap up what shapes up as a key spring practice for the Black Knights, one Ellerson hopes will help turn around the momentum from a disappointing 3-9 season. Ellerson said after Saturday's workout that more team veterans will have more work to do in spring drills than in 2011--particularly in the area of ball security, where the Black Knights ranked 120th out of 120 in fumbles lost.

“Frankly, those guys need it very badly,” head coach Rich Ellerson said. “We had the ball on the ground a lot last year. When we talk about the fundamentals, in some cases, I’m talking about our older guys. We need to either get them right or beat them out.”

For a CBSSports.com ULive video interview with Army senior quarterback Trent Steelman, click here. 

HT: EDSBS

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