Tag:JIm Tressel
Posted on: September 9, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 6:33 pm
 

NCAA hasn't reinstated three Ohio State players

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Last week, Ohio State suspended RB Jordan Hall, CB Travis Howard and S Corey Brown for the Akron game after learning the three players had accepted $200 for their presence at a Cleveland charity event. Ohio State expected its three suspended players to be reinstated by the NCAA for this week's game at Toledo following the conclusion of the NCAA's investigation.

Problem: the NCAA never agreed to a one-game suspension. As a result, all three players will be sitting out their second straight game.

Here's the official statement from Ohio State:

The three Ohio State University football players suspended for last week's game have not been reinstated by the NCAA and will not participate in the game Saturday against the University of Toledo. The university continues to work with the NCAA on the reinstatement process and is hopeful that the student-athletes will be reinstated soon. The university will have no further comment. 

On its face, this appears to run counter to the NCAA's speedy reinstatement of several suspended Miami players who had accepted much more than $200 from disgraced booster Nevin Shapiro. The problem for Ohio State is that this is more than an issue of just punishment; the NCAA is not satisfied with the results of its investigation, and the fact that the three players gave conflicting reports to officials and investigators about why they were at the fundraiser and who paid them cannot possibly help their case for an expedited reinstatement.

To that end, here is the official statement from the NCAA (emphasis ours):

Contrary to recent media reports, Ohio State football student-athletes Corey Brown, Jordan Hall and Travis Howard are not cleared to compete in the game on Saturday with University of Toledo. The nature and scope of their violations merit a minimum two-game suspension. In addition, the facts submitted by the university have raised further questions that need to be answered before the reinstatement process is complete. 

Two of the three suspended players named a former Buckeye as the source of the money, and the third named a "representative of athletics interests." All names were redacted by Ohio State on the documents acquired by the Columbus Dispatch.

It is strange that we live in a world where athletes in a multi-billion dollar sport/industry can be taken out of competition for something as insignificant as accepting a $200 gift, and it's been made clear recently that Ohio State has a few boosters who don't have much respect for those rules, but they are still the rules. So as long as giving money to players is still illegal, as long as the NCAA's sniffing around Columbus because of previous violations, and as long as the NCAA won't reinstate players who are being evasive with an investigation, it strongly behooves everybody involved with the Ohio State program to follow the NCAA's rules to a T. To do anything less is demonstrably harmful to the program, and it's strange that so many people around the team -- from Jim Tressel to everyone else who evidently wants to give these players an extra little something -- don't seem to realize this.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:37 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Sep. 3)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Ohio State isn't back, because they never went anywhere to begin with. Let's get one thing out of the way: Ohio State was only playing Akron. Beating Akron proves nothing. The Buckeyes probably aren't going to be the last team to beat Akron by 42 points this season.  And yet, that sure looked like Jim Tressel's Ohio State, didn't it?

It makes sense that OSU still looks mostly the same, to an extent; Luke Fickell is a Jim Tressel disciple, and the rest of the Tressel staff is still in place. Further, the vast majority of OSU's superior talent is back. Terrelle Pryor is gone, obviously, and there are a handful of starters who are suspended for the early going. But OSU's real strength didn't lie in its starters' talent, it was having second- and third-stringers who could start for pretty much any other team, and those guys are all still around. So Fickell's got some institutional advantages in place.

But keeping those players focused in the middle of what's arguably OSU's largest scandal is much easier said than done, and Fickell deserves a ton of credit for maintaining control of the program when it looked like all hell would break loose. Nobody's talking about Terrelle Pryor in Columbus today, they're talking about the Buckeyes. That's the way it ought to be. 

2. It's like thunder! And lightning! On its face, it seems silly to discuss non-catastrophic weather in a column called "what I learned"; everyone's got that sort of thing figured out by, oh, third grade. But I did learn that even in the legendary, leaderish Big Ten, they will flat-out cancel the rest of a football game on account of lightning if it persists long enough. 

That's precisely what happened Saturday, when Michigan and Western Michigan officials decided to call off a 34-10 contest with over a full quarter remaining in the game. The weather report looked grim at that point, and it was unlikely that the game could be finished before at least 10:00. Still, even though it's admirable that there are rules with the protection of fans and players in mind like this, it also seems decidedly un-football to do so. Oh, if it weren't for that pesky liability. Alas.

3. The Leaders Division is Wisconsin's to lose right now. Sure, Wisconsin's defense struggled at times with the UNLV rushing attack, but not disastrously so, and the second unit of the Badger offense was pretty pedestrian. That's all true. What Wisconsin showed on offense on Thursday rendered that all moot. Russell Wilson made the best reads of anybody in the Big Ten in Week 1, and he's only been in Madison for a few months. He also showed the best rushing acumen of any Big Ten quarterback not named Taylor Martinez or Denard Robinson. And oh yes, the Wisconsin rushing attack is as mansome as ever. The Badgers don't have a bruiser anymore, and mountain man Gabe Carimi is off starting in the NFL, but the mashing will continue apace for another year as long as James White and Montee Ball are healthy.

If Wisconsin had a decent second quarterback (or if presumptive backup Jon Budmayr's arm were healthy), or if this game were in November, it might have hung 70 or 80 on UNLV. The offense scored touchdowns on seven of its first eight possessions, and the only reason it didn't get eight was because it got the ball in its own territory with only 47 seconds left (that ended up being a field goal). It was 51-3 early in the second half. Yes, it's only UNLV, but the Badgers are probably going to score at least 31 points in every game in the Big Ten. Do you really see any team that's going to outscore them?

4. Being a running back at Iowa is still a catastrophic idea. Iowa tailback Marcus Coker was expected to be the workhorse of the Iowa offense in 2011, so it was jarring to say the least to see him put two fumbles on the turf early in the first quarter of Iowa's opener against Tennessee Tech. In came true freshman Mika'il McCall, who wowed fans with 61 yards on nine carries in the first quarter. For a backfield that's short on experience, that kind of firepower would be crucial over the course of the Big Ten season.

So naturally, McCall suffered a broken ankle on his ninth carry, and he is gone for the year, according to Kirk Ferentz. McCall is just the latest in a series of Iowa runing backs who have been stricken with serious injuries, missed seasons, or other early exits over the last few years, a list that includes former starters Jewel Hampton (ACLs, transfer), Adam Robinson (concussions, dismissal), Brandon Wegher (personal issues, transfer), Paki O'Meara (concussions), and even in a sense Shonn Greene (academics, early NFL entry). Former starting fullback Brad Rogers is also sidelined with a heart issue, although he's still working to rejoin the Hawkeyes at some point. It's a legacy of disaster that some have semi-jokingly blamed on the "Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God." The evidence seems to be overwhelmingly in the favor of such a god existing. At any rate, here's hoping McCall recovers well from his broken ankle and the Big Ten sees him again in 2012.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 3:48 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Ohio State 42, Akron 0

Posted by Adam Jacobi

OHIO STATE WON. 18th-ranked Ohio State throttled hapless Akron, 42-0, in both teams' season opener. Fans at "The 'Shoe" were treated to 517 total yards of offense by the Buckeyes, including a four-touchdown effort from senior quarterback Joe Bauserman. Akron, meanwhile, managed only five first downs on the entire game; OSU racked up 27.

WHEN OHIO STATE WON: As soon as the national anthem finished. Ohio State is just vastly more talented than Akron from players 1-85, even with the myriad suspensions, and this game proved the impossibility of Akron pulling an upset.

WHY OHIO STATE WON: The real story for Ohio State is the solid play of Joe Bauserman, who led the team for all but one series until the game was out of hand at 28-0 midway through the third quarter. Bauserman's final stats were gaudy: 12-16, 163 yards, 3 TDs, no INTs, plus six rushes for 32 yards and another score. Yes, it's Akron we're talking about here, and yes, Braxton Miller was effective after coming in for good (8-12, 130, 1 TD), but Bauserman looked like Ohio State's best option at this point in the season. Expect him to continue starting for at least another few weeks, barring injury.

WHAT OHIO STATE WON: The Buckeyes didn't look like they'd lost a step from Jim Tressel's regime, which is welcome news for anybody with lingering reservations about newcomer head coach Luke Fickell. That all stands to reason, as Fickell basically inherited Tressel's coaching staff and all the institutional knowledge therein, but still: head coaching changes matter, and it wasn't necessarily a given that OSU would roll so easily. Between Bauserman looking like a winner and Fickell looking like a major league head coach, it's fair to say that reports of Ohio State's demise were greatly exaggerated.

WHAT AKRON LOST: Akron doesn't have a whole lot going for it, so a 42-0 loss to a powerhouse like Ohio State isn't going to have much of an effect on the rest of the season. Back in 2007, the Zips gave an eventual 11-win OSU team fits in an ugly 20-2 Buckeye win, and then Akron went on to go just 4-8, so again: just one game here. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: Joe Bauserman brings a lot to the table, but few would argue that one of his greatest strengths is pure athleticism -- especially with speedsters like Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton also in OSU's QB corps. Yet there was Bauserman on a busted play, tucking the ball and running through the Akron defense for a 15-yard score in the second quarter. Bauserman didn't have to dive into the end zone, but he did it anyway, and it was delightfully graceless.

Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 1



Posted by Tom Fornelli


For thousands of peaceful, happy years the world was ruled by men. But no longer. Between women and machines, men watch helplessly as our power is tragically wrested away. Surely it can't be true. A world men no longer are in complete control of? Insanity. But how best to prove it?

That, my friends, is where Man vs Woman vs Machine comes in.

I am standing up for men everywhere, yelling from the mountaintops, "You can't take our football from us!" That's right. Every week, I will compete against my girlfriend, Lynn, and a machine, my Playstation 3, as we go head to head to yet another head picking winners of 15 of the biggest college football games of the week.

I will prevail. The fate of our gender and our species depends on it. I shan't let you down.

Let the reclamation of our throne begin.

Wisconsin (-35 1/2) vs. UNLV - Thursday 8pm (All times Eastern)

Man - The excitement of a new season is going to end rather quickly when Wisconsin has this one wrapped up before the end of the second quarter. While I'm a bit leery of spreads this large, I'm also fully aware of the brand of American Football that Bret Bielema likes to play, and I don't doubt for a second that the Badgers will go for 100 points if the possibility is there. Pick: Wisconsin

Woman - "I hate a spread this big, especially when it's being set by some button man UNLV alum named Mo at Caeser's Palace." Pick: UNLV

Machine - The Machine doesn't seem to have a "Crush, Kill, Destroy" philosophy that is as strong as Bielema's. Though the machine really believes in the power of Russell Wilson, as he throws for 4 touchdowns and then runs for another to cap off the scoring in the third quarter. Wisconsin wins 35-7. Pick: UNLV

Baylor vs. TCU (-5 1/2) - Friday 8pm

Man -  This game was a lot tougher for me to call than you would normally think it would be. I'm not sure how TCU's offense will look this season without Andy Dalton around, but I do know that this will still be one of the top defenses in the country. I also know that Baylor's defense is rather porous, which should help TCU because no matter how good Robert Griffin III is, the Horned Frogs defense will make a stop when it needs to. Pick: TCU

Woman - "Home field advantage won't win the game, but it will help cover the spread." Pick: Baylor

Machine - The Machine likes the upset! Apparently there is no defense that Robert Griffin cannot solve, as he throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead Baylor to a 34-30 victory. Pick: Baylor

Ohio State (-33 1/2) vs Akron - Saturday 12pm

Man - What should we expect from an Ohio State team this season that doesn't have Terrelle Pryor or Jim Tressel? I don't know yet, and odds are this game won't give us much of a clue either. Ohio State should still win rather easily, but with two quarterbacks and the team's top running back and wide receiver sitting this one out, I don't think the offense will be running too smoothly. Pick: Akron

Woman - "Little known fact: A pair of Goodyear rubber zipper boots inspired Akron's nickname "The Zips."  Coincidentally, the same chance it has of beating the spread." Pick: Ohio State

Machine - Suspensions? What suspension? The Machine has Ohio State winning this one 49-14, and that was with Joe Bauserman taking all the snaps. Pick: Ohio State

Alabama (-36 1/2) vs. Kent State - Saturday 12:20pm

Man - Is Alabama replacing a lot of star power on offense this season? Yes. Is Kent State still Kent State? Yes. Trent Richardson may rack up close to 200 yards in the first half and then sit out the second half, and though I'm somewhat scared that the Tide will call off the dogs a bit late in the game, I still like them to cover this spread. Pick: Alabama

Woman - "Hey, Kent State, do you really want to take the chance? I didn't think so." Pick: Alabama

Machine - Well, Kent State, at least you're going to get some points out of it. The Tide rolls 56-3. Pick: Alabama

Notre Dame (-10.5) vs. South Florida - Saturday 3:30pm

Man - It's a new year and the expectations for Notre Dame are high, so there's nothing new to report. Which is why I'm incredibly leery of Notre Dame being a double-digit favorite because this is a team that hasn't lived up to those expectations for a while, and I'm not going to buy in until the Irish show it on the field. I think Notre Dame starts its season 1-0, but it's going to be close. Pick: South Florida

Woman - "If Skip Holtz has any unresolved daddy issues, now's the time for payback." Pick: South Florida

Machine - Much like the Woman and I, The Machine isn't buying the Notre Dame hype either, and Brian Kelly is going to start feeling some pressure after the Irish lose 23-10 to the Bulls. Pick: South Florida

Florida State (-29 1/2) vs. Louisiana-Monroe - Saturday 3:30pm

Man - I'm not entirely sold on Florida State being ranked as high as it is to start the season, but I don't foresee the Seminoles having any trouble with Louisiana-Monroe this weekend. There's a chance the 'Noles will get caught looking ahead to their date against Oklahoma, but it's a small one. Pick: Florida State

Woman - "F-L-O-R-I-D-A-S-T-A-T-E cupCAKE cupCAKE cupCAKE" Pick: Florida State

Machine - It's a clean sweep as The Machine believes Chief Osceola will send his spear right through the heart of the Warhawks, 42-6. Pick: Florida State

Ole Miss vs. BYU (-3) - Saturday 4:45pm

Man - I know Ole Miss started its 2010 season with a loss at home against Jacksonville State, but to be an underdog at home against a BYU team that wasn't exactly a world beater itself in 2010? Why I'll gladly take the points and put my faith in the Reverend Houston Nutt. Pick: Ole Miss

Woman - "Is it just me or does "Ole Miss" sound like somebody's pet dairy cow or an arthritic spinster? Whatever, Spinster squeaks by at home. (And serves up a delicious applesauce crumb cake.)" Pick: Ole Miss

Machine - The Machine is not religious, but even it succumbs to the powerful words of the Reverend Nutt. There will be no Jacksonville State repeat, Ole Miss wins 44-20. Pick: Ole Miss

Florida (-34 1/2) vs. Florida Atlantic - Saturday 7pm

Man - While I have no doubt that Will Muschamp will have the Florida defense looking as strong as ever before the year is done, I have plenty of doubts about John Brantley and the Gators offense. Because of these doubts I have a hard time believing the Gators will blow Howard Schnellenberger's boys out of The Swamp on Saturday. Florida wins comfortably, but not by a blowout. Pick: Florida Atlantic

Woman - "The Schnellenberger's Last Season Effect: FAU will just beat the spread, which Charlie Weis will promptly schmear on some bagels." Pick: Florida Atlantic

Machine - A new offense? The same questionable quarterback? The Machine fears not these things, and the Gators roll 59-10. Pick: Florida

Oklahoma State (-37 1/2) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette - Saturday 7pm

Man - I'm of the opinion that Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon could end up with 2,000 yards receiving this season, and he's going to get a large chunk of those yards on Saturday night in Stillwater. The Ragin' Cajuns will come after Mike Gundy, but he's a man, he's over 40 and he has an offense that will put up at least 40. Pick: Oklahoma State

Woman - "The only Louisiana Lafayette I know hates vampires and wears false eyelashes." Pick: Oklahoma State

Machine - While The Machine believes in the prowess of Justin Blackmon (8 catches, 238 yards, 3 TDs) it is not nearly as confident in the Oklahoma State defense. Cowboys win 38-17. Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette

Texas (-23) vs. Rice - Saturday 8pm

Man - This game has me torn. On the one hand, I don't know that I want to count on Garrett Gilbert being able to limit turnovers enough to keep the Longhorns comfortably in the lead. On the other hand, Rice. After flipping a coin I've decided to believe that since this game is on the Longhorn Network and nobody will be watching it, Gilbert will feel much more relaxed and the Longhorns will win easily. Pick: Texas

Woman - "The Longhorns enjoy a rebound effect from last year's nightmare season and take out all their frustration on those wise old Owls." Pick: Texas

Machine - Garrett Gilbert for Heisman! Gilbert throws for 278 yards, 5 touchdowns -- half his total from last year -- and only 1 interception as the Longhorns roll 38-7. Pick: Texas

Oklahoma (-24 1/2) vs. Tulsa - Saturday 8pm

Man - This spread is pretty big for an offense that was as potent as Tulsa's last season, but I'm not sure the Hurricanes can put up astounding numbers against the Oklahoma defense without Damaris Johnson and Todd Graham. Landry Jones gets his Heisman campaign off on the right foot. Pick: Oklahoma

Woman - "Seriously, can someone explain why a school located in the heart of Tornado Alley calls itself the Golden Hurricanes?  Tulsa loses but covers." Pick: Tulsa

Machine - The Machine believes in the Tulsa offense a lot more than I do right now, but the Golden Tornadoes fall just short in a 31-24 loss. Pick: Tulsa

Georgia vs. Boise State (-3 1/2) - Saturday 8pm in Atlanta

Man - There are many who believe that Mark Richt is coaching to save his job with Georgia this fall, and his hold on the position will be a bit more tenuous after this one. Kellen Moore and Boise State are going to claim another BCS scalp on Saturday night in front of a packed Georgia Dome, and I don't think it'll be interesting in the fourth quarter. Pick: Boise State

Woman - "Sorry, adorable l'il Uga the Fiftieth, it's not happening." Pick: Boise State

Machine - Wow, I think Boise State's going to win this one comfortably, but The Machine doesn't even think Georgia should bother showing up. Boise State wins 48-9. Pick: Boise State

LSU (-2 1/2) vs. Oregon - Saturday 8pm in Dallas

Man - Is this game going to be played in a parking lot or a football field? To be honest, I'm not sure if being without Jordan Jefferson hurts LSU or helps it, and I hate going against the magic of Les Miles, but I just have fewer questions about Oregon right now. LSU may pull off another insane last second victory, but I still see the Ducks covering that spread. Pick: Oregon

Woman - "Les Miles will be flossing with Cowboy Stadium's Matrix turf." Pick: LSU

Machine - The Machine feels that Jordan Jefferson is incredibly important, and it shows in the final score. Oregon racks up 598 yards of total offense against the LSU defense and wins rather easily, 42-23. Pick: Oregon

Texas A&M (-15 1/2) vs. SMU - Sunday 7:30pm

Man - The team that's leaving the Big 12 against the team that would like to take its place. If SMU wins do they get in? I'm not sure, and I don't think they'll find out on Saturday. While I expect the Mustangs offense to keep things interesting, I think the Aggies will have too much in the end. Still, SMU covers and then Craig James will claim he doesn't remember a thing that happened during the game. Pick: SMU

Woman - "Aggies starting off what could be a great season and a Big 12 swan song with a win, but they won't cover." Pick: SMU 

Machine - The Machine sees a barnburner in our future on Sunday night. The Aggies narrowly escape with a victory thanks to a field goal in the final minutes, but it's not good enough for a cover. A&M wins 34-31. Pick: SMU

Maryland vs. Miami (-5 1/2) - Monday 8pm

Man - Randy Edsall's dream becomes a reality in his first game at Maryland against whatever is left of the Miami Hurricanes by the time the ball is kicked off. All I know is that I wouldn't be shocked if Miami won this game, but there's just no way I'm going to pick the Canes after the amount of work I had to put in to remove all the ineligible and suspended players from the roster before simulating this game. I hope Nevin Shapiro's yacht stalls in the middle of the ocean while you're out there watching the game. Pick: Maryland

Woman: "Instant karma and home field gives the edge to Maryland." Pick: Maryland

Machine: The Dream Job turns into an early nightmare. Despite having to pull players from the stands to complete its roster, the Machine still sees Miami pulling this one off 28-20. Pick: Miami 
Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:23 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 1:34 am
 

Miami to declare investigated players ineligible?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Of the dozens of Miami players named in Yahoo's now-infamous report from disgraced embezzler and Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, detailing a massive pattern of illegal benefits given to players over a period of nine years, 12 are still with the Hurricanes, awaiting word on the fate of their eligibility. That's a situation without a whole lot of extra time to be resolved, as the Hurricanes open up play just nine days from Thursday.

[MORE: Twelve current Miami players named in report] 

To that end, the Miami Herald is reporting that all 12 players are expected to be named ineligible by the university soon -- but with a better resolution in mind:

If it hasn’t already, the University of Miami is expected to declare the 12 or more football players being investigated by the NCAA ineligible within the next week if the school wants the NCAA to rule on their reinstatement in time for the season opener Sept. 5 at Maryland.

UM had not declared the players ineligible as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

This is, if nothing else, a precautionary step; by declaring the players ineligible, the school puts the players' fate in the hands of the NCAA rather than putting the players on the field and rolling the dice with NCAA penalties. The one single way Miami could face the most severe penalties from here on out is if the team knowingly lets players with eligibility problems compete anyway (look what knowingly putting Terrell Pryor and his friends back onto the field in 2010 did to Jim Tressel and Ohio State, for example). With a declaration of ineligibility for all players involved, Miami demonstrates a proper respect for NCAA rules and protocol.

Moreover, as the Herald article explains, the sooner these players are ruled ineligible, the more likely it is the NCAA rules on their punishment before the September 5 season opener against Maryland, which is the first day that ineligibility would truly matter. For example, as astute fans will recall, Cam Newton was declared ineligible by Auburn last season. Auburn quietly made the designation on the Tuesday prior to the SEC Championship Game, then happily announced Newton's reinstatement by the NCAA the very next day. While it's unlikely any of the 'Canes receive similar one-day vacations from eligibility, a ruling and subsequent course of punishment could come similarly quickly from the NCAA, and then at the very least the process back to the field will have begun for the players involved.

It's important to note that rulings on individual eligibility are separate from the NCAA's investigation into institutions, so even if the 12 players get their situations worked out within the next week or two, Miami itself is still in for what's probably a lengthy investigation. Here's more from the Herald:

Stacey Osburn, the NCAA’s associate director of public and media relations, told The Miami Herald in a phone interview that she could not comment on any specific cases, but elaborated on aspects of the process. In a reinstatement situation, any decision involves only that specific player and the facts presented. It is separate from the overall investigation of the institution, although if it is later found that a reinstatement decision is based on lies told by an athlete, the institution is subject to more severe penalties.

Still, as mentioned before, the 12 players don't have the luxury of waiting even two weeks (much less until the end of the investigation) before they need to have their eligibility resolved, so if and when Miami declares them all ineligible, it gets the ball rolling on putting them all back on the field, and it's therefore for their own good.

Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Mark Emmert says he's 'fine with' death penalty

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

NCAA
vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach said Wednesday the "majority of ... support" she encounters within the organization is for sanctions like bowl bans and scholarship reductions that stop short of the death penalty--even in the event of mammoth scandals like the one unfolding at Miami. But apparently, she didn't talk to the NCAA's own president.

Mark Emmert, having already taken the unusual step of commenting on an ongoing NCAA investigation with his initial statement on the Hurricane allegations, told the USA Today Thursday that the death penalty ought to be one "tool" at the Committee on Infractions' disposal:
"We need to make sure that we've got, for the committee on infractions, all the tools they need to create those kinds of deterrents. If that includes the death penalty, I'm fine with that."
Emmert said those deterrents should "provide serious second thoughts for anybody who thinks they can engage in this kind of behavior with impunity." He also commented on the Miami case directly again, saying that "if these allegations are true," they are "very troubling, and ... point out the real need for us to make changes and to make them thoughtfully and aggressively."

All of that certainly sounds noble enough. But Emmert's tough talk of change and nuclear-option sanctions won't mean much in the public eye if his organization doesn't back it up with legitimate reform, and penalties with teeth in cases of wanton rule-breaking (like, say, Jim Tressel's cover-up at Ohio State).

Discussing the death penalty is one thing, and it's fine as far as it goes. (Though the seemingly contradictory statements from Emmert and Roe Lach don't exactly portray the NCAA as an entity whose left hand knows what its right is doing.) But all the talk in the world won't do as much for Emmert's crusdade as one sensibly firm decision in a case like Miami's--and that decision doesn't have to be death penalty-caliber to prove the NCAA is serious.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Mark Emmert on Miami: "fundamental change" needed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The NCAA has a policy of never commenting publicly on an ongoing investigation, but for the epic maelstrom of malfeasance uncovered at Miami, apparently it's willing to make an exception.

That exception arrived Wednesday in the form of a statement from (suddenly very busy) president Mark Emmert, published at the NCAA website. It reads in full:
If the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the University of Miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental change in many critical aspects of college sports. This pertains especially to the involvement of boosters and agents with student-athletes. While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months. The serious threats to the integrity of college sports are one of the key reasons why I called together more than 50 presidents and chancellors last week to drive substantive changes to Division I intercollegiate athletics.
We won't argue with Emmert that college football needs some "serious and fundamental change" if it's to continue its status as an amateur sport for "student-athletes," or that the actions of Nevin Shapiro -- or, more specifically, Miami's inaction in response -- are the most powerful argument presented yet in that change's favor.

But we're skeptical Emmert simply reasserting his position while that particular iron in hot really what issuing this statement is about. The key sentence in it is this one:
While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months.
In recent months, the NCAA has taken a heavy dose of criticism for lagging behind as the media -- Yahoo! Sports, as often as not -- do their enforcement work for them. (See the media's unraveling of Jim Tressel's e-mail coverup for one example.) For once, though, the NCAA did not find out about serious allegations when the "many" of the public did--and from the looks of things, Emmert can't help but take the opportunity to crow about it.

We don't blame Emmert for being sensitive to the regular blasts of criticism aimed his organization's way; while much of it is deserved, much of it is entirely unfounded and unfair as well.

But this kind of passive-aggressive response isn't exactly the best way of firing back at those critics. Yes, it's good to hear the NCAA has been on the case. But given the magnitude of Shapiro's misdeeds, it's hardly such an achievement that it's necessary for Emmert to break with years of steadfast policy just to beat his chest about it.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:00 am
 

Report: NCAA investigating Pryor's trip to Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA has reportedly expanded their Ohio State investigation to include a trip Terrelle Pryor took to the Miami area in March, according to a report in the Columbus Dispatch.

The findings that left left Pryor suspended for five games and lost head coach Jim Tressel his job were in connection with improper benefits regarding a tattoo parlor owner and the sale of memorabilia. When the NCAA's investigation began to focus more on Pryor directly, the star quarterback abruptly left school in June and declared his intentions to participate in the NFL's supplemental draft.

The Dispatch cites two sources who claim that the NCAA was checking into Pryor's trip to South Beach over spring break in March, a trip that may have been arranged by Jeannette, Pa. businessman Ted Sarniak.

Sarniak, if you recall, was one of the people that Tressel turned to after receiving an email tip regarding possible wrongdoing in his football program. The former Buckeyes coach defended himself saying he was looking out for Pryor's safety, and Sarniak has been a mentor to Pryor since the quarterback was in high school. But Sarniak's mentor status was addressed already by Ohio State's compliance director in 2008 when Pryor began his freshman year. The school determined that the businessman may continue his relationship with Pryor, but "the relationship must change."

The NFL was supposed to hold the supplemental draft on Wednesday, but they have decided to postpone to a later date. Pryor is one of six players hoping to get picked up in the unique player acquisition event that allows a team to trade a future pick for the opportunity to draft a player who has become ineligible for collegiate play since the January deadline.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com