Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 1:16 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
NEW YORK -- While most of the talk this week at Pac-12 Media Days was about the landmark networks that the conference is launching next year, there was always that elephant in the room with the league's two most high-profile programs, Oregon and USC, dealing with the NCAA enforcement process at one stage or another.
As someone who has gotten a crash course in the process recently, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott sees the trend of programs dealing with similar issues to continue over the next few years if things don't end up changing.
"It seems to me, in my two years here, that the cloud, the controversy, isn't going away," Scott said. "What I'm pushing for is aggressive reform at the NCAA level on the way enforcement is done, on the way we treat student-athletes, scholarships and other things like academic standards. I'm hopeful that President Mark Emmert, who is holding a retreat with the presidents, is going to try and drive an agenda.
"I'm not alone in this. Mike Slive, you'll hear (Jim) Delany, the six of us are aligned. We need some meaningful change, not incremental change. What shape that takes, I don't yet know. Mike and Jim have put out some specific proposals, which I admire them for, but the NCAA is a bureaucracy. There's a process they're going to have to go through. I hope the leadership at the president level is able to make more meaningful change than I've seen been able to be made in the last two years."
Given the fact that the money from television deals has never been higher and the news about violations has never been greater, many have just said to heck with it and the Big Six power conferences should just separate from the NCAA. Scott doesn't feel that's coming in the near future but recognizes that one group schools must be treated different than others.
"I think that would represent a tremendous failure of the NCAA if it comes to that," Scott said of a split. "I'd like to think that we are at a crossroads and at this retreat they'll recognize one size doesn't fit all anymore. There really is no such thing as competitive equity or even playing field. Certain schools obviously have more money than others and have better facilities and can pay more for coaches. Yet a lot of rules are based on one size fits all. That's just something the NCAA leadership is going to have to get over. If that's the standard by which any policy can get made, then I think it's destined to be an ineffective organization long term."
If there's one area that Scott hopes the leadership addresses, it's the legislative process itself.
"It needs to be more nimble," he said. "The thing they need to realize that these so-called clouds or scandals are all about the six conferences. That's what's affecting the image that everyone is talking about. The irony is the six conferences are ready to address those things. If they're held back on the basis that everyone can't do what you to do, then I think there could be challenges to the NCAA down the road."
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:18 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Mark Emmert, you have lost our confidence in your ability to do the job.
The next time you speak, we won't be able to take you seriously thanks to news that Ohio State would not face additional charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control in the school's infraction case.
'It's all about what the NCAA can prove, not what we've read' is the company line. Well, you had a chance to prove things but you said you weren't going to try.
CBSSports.com took a thorough look at cheating in college football, spending nine days chronicling just how rampant the rule breaking has been over the years. The purpose was the examine the subject with an eye towards where the sport was headed in the near future.
Senior writer Dennis Dodd ended the series saying Ohio State would be a landmark case going forward.
"This is what NCAA president Mark Emmert has been advocating, a way to make the cheaters and liars think twice about cheating and lying," Dodd wrote.
The president failed, however, to send that message Friday. Emmert has called for tougher enforcement numerous times since taking office and here, in front of a primetime audience, was his Howard Beale moment.
He could have sent a message that he was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore. Instead, he lost what little confidence we had in "fixing" college athletics.
Dennis Thomas, the chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said on a conference call earlier this month that the committee "was not in the business of sending messages."
Sorry to say it, but the NCAA's enforcement staff and the Committee on Infractions are in the business of sending messages.
They sent one loud and clear: It's ok to cheat. Blame it on the coach if you get caught. No need to monitor emails either.
But you better check on that house 100 miles away.
Emmert has talked about openness and a better understanding. The organization invited several members of the national media to Indianapolis for what they called the "Enforcement Experience."
The aim of it, as Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach explained to compliance officers from across the country, was for a good number of positive pieces and to remind everybody that the NCAA and the Committee on Infractions are separate.
Last I checked though, the enforcement staff reports to the president. If Emmert wanted to push for a message, a simple walk down the hall could have resulted in serious charges against Ohio State.
According to interview transcripts, Jim Tressel mentioned an email tip to school compliance officers but failed to mention what was actually in the emails. The compliance office - or anyone else for that matter - failed to follow up on this. Yet the NCAA enforcement staff said the school "followed up on tips it received."
The school said they only found out about the emails in January "due to an unrelated legal matter." Ask Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany though and he'll tell you it was due to a FOIA request.
Appears no one, not even one of the most powerful people in the country, could get an accurate answer from the Buckeyes.
At one point in an interview, Tressel told the NCAA that Ohio State told him to get rid of documents so they wouldn't become public record.
The folks at Enron are very impressed.
If the committee can nail USC based on a two minute, thirty-two second phone call, they surely could nail Ohio State with all that.
Ohio State was lauded by many as having a large and well respected compliance office. Yet both the NCAA and Ohio State agreed in December that their education efforts were inadequate. That was the basis for allowing the so-called "Buckeye Five" to play in the Sugar Bowl.
So Ohio State didn't do a good job at rules education in December but by July, according to the case summary, the institution "provided education to football student-athletes and staff regarding extra benefits and preferential treatment."
That statement was contradicted by the enforcement staff five paragraphs later by the way.
"The institution took monitoring efforts designed to identify the sale or distribution of institutionally issued athletics awards, apparel apparel and equipment," but somehow didn't know Terrele Pryor was taking "whatever" he wanted out of the equipment room.
And let's not forget the school's treatment of their beloved "Senator."
"This is an individual that I have tremendous respect for," University president E. Gordon Gee said of Tressel on March 8. "He's had great success in working with young people and we applaud that. But I think equally importantly, he's had great success in building the character and reputation for this university, which I'm entirely grateful for. He's done so by example."
A few months later in the Buckeyes' self-report: "The institution is embarrassed by the actions of Tressel."
At least the flip-flopping when they're backed into a corner is consistent.
There's still one more chance for the organization to say enough is enough. The committee could add a failure to monitor charge or lack of institutional control charge following Ohio State's August 12th meeting with them. The committee did it with Indiana in the Kelvin Sampson case but has rarely done so. It can also choose to punish the school harshly despite the two serious charges, as it did with Alabama several years ago in the Albert Means case. They can also cite the enforcement staff for doing a bad job, which they have also done on occasion.
"I fully expect that every NCAA member institution be held to the same high standards," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said after USC's appeal was denied.
But based on everything that's happened so far with Ohio State, does anyone expect them to? Athletic director Gene Smith was the recent chairman of the NCAA Men's Basketball committee. Gee was Emmert's boss years ago at Colorado.
And even if the committee did hold them to those same high standards set in the USC case?
"I'll be shocked and disappointed and on the offensive, Smith told The Columbus Dispatch. "If I don't agree, we'll do everything we can to battle it and go through the appeals process."
Don't worry Gene, you've already won. Sorry Mark, you didn't.
After all, actions, Mr. Emmert, speak louder than words.
Tags: Alabama, Albert Means, Big Ten, Bryan Fischer, Buckeye Five, Committee on Infractions, Dennis Dodd, Dennis Thomas, Enforcement Expereince, Enron, Gene Smith Colorado, Howard Beale, Indiana, Jim Delany, Jim Tressel, Julie Roe Lach, Kelvin Sampson, Larry Scott, Mark Emmert, NCAA, Ohio State, Pac-12
Posted on: July 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 12:39 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The SEC's feeling pretty good about itself these days, and you don't even need to see the league's impressively unsubtle media guide cover (or equally to-the-point Media Days T-shirt) to know it. When you're in the middle of a streak of five-straight national titles, distributing record amounts of revenue to your member schools, watching your most prominent critic scramble in the wake of the Ohio State scandal, and just generally becoming more and more college football's resident 500-pound gorilla, a little bit of chest-puffing is going to come naturally.
In fact (assuming the continuing NCAA investigation into Cam Newton's eligibilty doesn't gain any more traction), there's really only one black lining to the SEC's giant silver cloud: its television contracts.
Yes, the same contracts primarily responsible for all that record-breaking revenue. The money they're generating today isn't a problem; it's the money they'll generate in the year 2023 that might be, when the 15-year deals the SEC signed with CBS and ESPN in 2009 will still be in effect.
As the even-more-lucrative deal signed by the Pac-12 this year illustrates -- a deal that still allows Larry Scott's league the right to start its own network, an option the ESPN-locked SEC doesn't have -- by the time 2015 or 2016 rolls around, the SEC will be being paid far less than market value for its product ... to say nothing of the start of the next decade. That the Big Ten's and Pac-12's conference networks promise to produce exponentially increasing revenue during the life of the SEC's (finanically static) contract must make the situation even more uncomfortable for Mike Slive.
Which is why he addressed the topic head-on in yesterday's chat with the Associated Press, promising that his conference would not be simply twiddling its televised thumbs for 13 more years (emphasis added):
"Obviously when we did our deal we set the pace, and in our contract we have a concept called look-ins," Slive said. "At periodic points during the life of the contract, we can sit down with ESPN and take a look-in and look at the status of television, technology, all aspects of television, and at that point make adjustments that the parties agree are appropriate to make sure that everything that we intended to achieve with the contracts would in fact be available to us."Are we wrong in thinking this is Slive's veiled attempt at asserting that, yes, they will be asking ESPN for more money? That once that "status of television" has changed, the "look-in" will give him the opportunity to renegotiate the deal?
We don't think so. And if that's Slive's intent, it could make for some very interesting discussion at these "look-ins." Because when asked to comment on the SEC's contract in June, ESPN official Burke Magnus didn't sound particularly open to altering the basic terms of the contract (emphasis added):
"We knew when we made a 15-year deal that time was not going to stand still so we purposely built in these look-ins," Magnus said. "They don't reopen the deal. There's no outs. It's an opportunity for both of us to really take stock of where we are and see what we could be doing better."There's a lot of wiggle room in both of these statements, of course, even before we account for the possible game-changer that would be SEC expansion. Slive could simply be referring to digital distribution or kickoff times on ESPN2 or any of a dozen other things. Magnus could simply be indicating that the SEC won't be jumping to another network, not ruling out his network giving the SEC a raise. But the plainest reading, we think, is that Slive is going to want some fundamental monetary change to the contract ... and that ESPN may dig in its heels against "reopening the deal."
As SEC Media Days begins today, Slive will have plenty to celebrate. But until he secures the same financial footing for his league that the Big Ten and Pac-12 enjoy -- not just today, but for the future -- he'll still have one major question hanging over his tenure. Here's to hoping SEC Media Days gives us something approximating an answer to it.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:45 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Let's be fair to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany: When Delany speaks in this USA Today article on the problems plaguing major college athletics and the potential "fundamental changes" (to use Delany's Big 12 counterpart Dan Beebe's term) that might result, he's clearly not expecting the NCAA's power conferences to secede from the current model:
"Don't blame structure," Delany says, "until you have a group of core presidents, athletic directors, commissioners and coaches who are willing to embrace real change" and are shot down.That's a lot of people to all wrangle onto the same page. But if that "group" is "shot down"?
"At that juncture," he says, "then I think it's fair to look at how else you get it."Delany's not spelling it out, but he doesn't have to. "How else you get it" means one thing and one thing only: taking the Big Ten's (and the SEC's and Pac-12's and I guess the Big 12's and ACC's) ball and going home to a post-NCAA college athletics superleague.
And if that first quote indicates that (as the USA Today writes) that kind of split isn't yet "on the agenda," it's not that difficult to see that kind of consortium coming together over Delany's full-cost scholarship proposal. Those kinds of athlete stipends already have wide-ranging support (including, critically, from the SEC's Mike Slive) and are seen by many as one possible antidote to the improper benefits scandals that have given college football the black eye it's sported the last several months.
If Delany and his "group" champion those scholarships as a way to help clean up the sport, only for the non-AQ schools of Division I (which outnumber the AQ schools more than four-to-one and may vote to protect their men's basketball interests) to veto it in the name of competitive balance, then what? It seems as if this would be the exact excuse Delany would be looking for to "look at how else" college athletics might be managed.
Of course, these kinds of discussions are still off in the relatively distant future, and a NCAA split remains the nuclear option even Delany and Slive will likely take great pains to avoid deploying. But that Delany is already using that threat as a kind of posturing -- potentially to suggest to the rest of the NCAA membership that it should fall in line -- suggests that whatever deliberations and debates will surround full-cost scholarships and other sweeping reform measures, don't expect them to progress smoothly.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:08 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
After spending six seasons on the NFL sideline, Connecticut's Paul Pasqualoni has been getting back into the groove of being a head coach in college football. A big part of that in the offseason is the public relations grind. Pasqualoni made the short trip to Bristol this week spend time at ESPN participating in various programming for the network. In his appearance on First Take, Pasqualoni weighed in on the challenges of creating more money for scholarship athletes.
"I think we would all like to see the players be able to receive a stipend," Pasqualoni told First Take's Dana Jacobson. "Now having said that, it's a very difficult thing to do. If you do it for a I-A football player then to be fair you have to do it for all scholarship players. Of all the I-A teams in the country, and there's probably over 120 of them, maybe 40 of them are operating at a level of profit. I don't know exactly how you fund it, when you start talking about every student athlete and giving them a stipend."
Pasqualoni spent 17 years with the Syracuse football program, with 13 of them as a head coach. At 61, he is one of the more seasoned coaches in the game and it is refreshing to hear an even-keeled look at the situation. When Mike Slive or Jim Delany give their opinion on the issue, it always feels loaded (because it is). Many people would like to see scholarship athletes receive a stipend for their hours put into college athletics, which often leaves barely enough time for academics and no chance of a part-time job. But the logistics of creating, managing, and regulating that money is still something that needs to be agreed on before any additional stipends are put in place. Change, in general, can take a long time with issues involving money. But with the NCAA, there is no telling how long it will take for those discussions to take place in a serious manner.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:42 am
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."
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.
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arizona State, Auburn, Big 12, Big Ten, Bill Stewart, Bryan Harsin, Butch Davis, Cam Newton, CBSSports.com College Football 100, Chip Kelly, Colorado Rockies, Dana Holgorsen, Darron Thomas, Department of Justice, Dick Baddour, Enes Kanter, Florida, Greg Davis, Greg Little, Heisman Trophy, Jeremiah Masoli, Jim Delany, Jim Tressel, LaMichael James, Mack Brown, Mark Emmert, Mark Ingram, Marvin Austin, NBA, NCAA, Nebraska, NFL Draft, NFL lockout, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oliver Luck, Oregon, Pac-12, Quintin Coples, Russell Wilson, SEC, Stanford, Texas, Tom Brady, Trent Richardson, Vontaze Burfict, West Virginia, Will Muschamp, Wisconsin
Posted on: June 6, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:43 am
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. Enjoy.
30. LAMICHAEL JAMES, running back, Oregon. Granted, it was just Oregon's spring game. But Duck fans had to like the fact that LaMichael James had only three carries (lest he gets hurt) and that one of them went for a touchdown--your simple, run-of-the-mill, back-and-forth 67-yard "scamper" as the Oregon media described it. The run was almost par-for-the-course for the reigning Doak Walker Award winner, but that's the thing about James: when you're a threat to score just about every time you touch the ball, 67-yard touchdowns happen sometimes.
On top of setting his sights on a host of Oregon and Pac-12 rushing records this season, James hopes to help lead Oregon back to the BCS championship game and finish what the team came so close to doing last year. The Ducks have to replace several offensive linemen, but that might not be a big issue for James, who can hit the tiniest of holes in split-seconds. Speed is the 5-foot-9, 190-pound back's greatest asset, considering he moonlights on Oregon's track team and anchors the 4x100 relay team (among other things). James will leave the track behind soon though, moving on to playing a game of "catch me if you can" and blowing past defenses come fall. A second trip to New York as a Heisman finalist -- and possibly more -- seems likely. -- BF
29. LUKE KUECHLY, linebacker, Boston College. The ACC has produced several dominating defenders in the last couple of years, but few have demanded the attention from day one like Kuechly. Tapped to replace Mark Herzlich in the BC linebacking unit in 2009, Kuechly stepped in and set an NCAA freshman record with 158 tackles on the season. When the two were on the field together in 2010, Kuechly led the nation with 183 tackles and was named a unanimous All-American by pretty much anyone with a publication.
Entering his junior year the expectations are as high as ever for Kuechly. He is widely considered a first-round draft pick in 2012, but will need another impressive season to cement that status. The good news for Eagles fans is that head coach Frank Spaziani and the rest of the staff believe that Kuechly has done nothing but improve. But with a much younger defense alongside him in the huddle in 2011, Kuechly will need to provide more than individual statistics to help Boston College get back to the postseason. The good news is the mere presence of the 6-foot-3, 235-pound playmaker on the field is a tactical advantage, with the opposition always having to keep an eye on No. 40. Considering the potential for Kuechly in 2011, it won't just be the opposition--we'll all have our eyes on No. 40 this fall. -- CP
28. BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, title tilt, Indianapolis. For years and years, the Big Ten stood apart from the rest of FBS college football in one very unfortunate aspect: it was the only conference that did not employ either a full round-robin conference schedule or a conference championship game. In other words, only in the Big Ten could two teams potentially go undefeated in conference play (or otherwise tie for the conference championship) and have no way to break the tie on the field. In fact, that's not just a pointless what-if; it actually happened in 2002, when Iowa and Ohio State both ran the table in Big Ten play. Iowa had one blemish on its non-conference record and OSU didn't, so the Buckeyes went to the BCS Title Game and won. But Big Ten fans had (and still have) the right to feel cheated out of what would have been an excellent conference championship game.
No more, no more, as the Big Ten is going to be invading Indianapolis and the Lucas Oil Dome every December from now until 2015, settling the age-old controversy on whether being a Legend or Leader is better (more on that in a little bit). Purists are understandably chafed that the Big Ten--the conference that couldn't get more arctic or physical without literally employing polar bears as offensive linemen--is deciding its conference championship in a dome, but watching a game in horrible weather is miserable, and misery in the name of purity is still misery. It's good to see Jim Delany's still got something of a heart. -- AJ
27. THE SMURF TURF, home field, Boise State. It's rare for the actual field to be a school's most recognizable feature, but that's certainly the case for the love-it-or-hate-it blue turf at Boise State's Bronco Stadium. The only blue artificial turf in the world, it's rumored (though not confirmed, alas) that migrating birds sometimes mistake it for a giant lake and try to land on it. Like the birds that may or may not land flat on their face, opposing teams seem to nose-dive when they play on the turf, going 2-77 against the Broncos there since 1999.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the home team is perfect in conference games, going 40-0 on the Smurf Turf during WAC play. This is Boise State's first year in the Mountain West and they aim to keep that mark going, but it won't be easy. Looming large on the schedule is a game against departing MWC power TCU in the middle of November. The Horned Frogs aren't expected to be quite as good as they were last year (or in the teams' 2009 Fiesta Bowl meeting) but they do figure to be the Broncos' biggest road block to another BCS game -- and possibly even the national title game -- if they get by Georgia in their opener. With plenty of returning starters back from last year's 12-1 squad, don't be surprised if Boise proves unbeatable on the blue turf once again. -- BF
26. MIKE SHERMAN, head coach, Texas A&M. When Sherman was hired at College Station before the 2008 season, replacing Dennis Franchione, it wasn't exactly the kind of move that had Aggie fans celebrating impending national championships. A 10-15 mark through his first two seasons didn't help matters, and Sherman found himself on the hot seat even after signing a seven-year deal. That seat only got warmer when the Aggies started off the 2010 season 3-3 ... and then a funny thing happened. Sherman finally pulled the plug on Jerrod Johnson and went with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, and after that all Texas A&M could do was win. The team finished the year 9-4 after losing to LSU in the Cotton Bowl, but by then the Aggies had already picked up their first share of the Big 12 South title since 1998.
So it's safe to say that Sherman's seat has cooled considerably in 2011. Of course, while he may not have come to College Station with the highest of expectations, now that Aggie fans have a taste for winning again, Sherman's biggest task will be to keep that momentum going. To do that he's going to have to make sure his defense continues to improve. After finishing dead last in 2008 and 2009 in the Big 12 in points-against, the Aggies rocketed up to second in the conference last season, allowing only 20.3 points per-game. If Sherman can continue leading the Aggies to improvement on both sides of the ball, as he did last season, the Longhorns won't be the only team from Texas to worry about in the Big 12 championship race. -- TF
25. MANTI TE'O, linebacker, Notre Dame. During his time in South Bend, Charlie Weis seemed to have a lot of success recruiting offensive players. On the defensive side of the ball, while Weis brought in some solid players, the game-changing playmakers you need to win were never seemed to be among them. That is, until Weis went to Hawai'i and landed Manti Te'o. Weis may be gone, but the "Hawaiian Hitman" remains and Brian Kelly is thrilled to have him. The biggest factor in Notre Dame's strong finish in 2010 was a defense that shut down opposing offenses, and Te'o was the driving force in that unit.
Through his first two seasons Te'o has racked up 192 tackles (129 of them in 2010) and 14 tackles-for-loss. Te'o can be counted on to fly to the ball on every play, and while he's not as polished in pass coverage, he can stuff the run with the best linebackers in the country. What should scare offensive coordinators this year is that with the stockpile of talent Notre Dame has built on its defensive line the last few years, Te'o should be free to seek and destroy all season long. And if that's the case, it may not be long until Notre Dame is back on a BCS stage -- with Te'o the face of its success -- and college football fans are forced to hate the Irish again instead of just laughing at them. -- TF
24. LES MILES'S COJONES, coaching decision-makers, LSU. Since Les Miles took over for Nick Saban at the Bayou Bengal helm in 2005, it's no secret that LSU has won its fair share of thrillers. But it's not just the selective memory of the charmed 2007 run talking; over Miles's six seasons, LSU has gone a stunning 22-9 in games decided by seven points or less. Since we're talking about games potentially decided by a single bounce of the ball, most teams' records in these situations naturally yo-yo back and forth year-to-year--look at Iowa's rise-and-fall over the past few seasons, for instance. But not LSU. Aside from a 2-2 mark in 2008, Miles has finished above .500 in this category ever year of his Baton Rouge tenure.
The majority of observers (including many within his own LSU fanbase) have chalked this up to blind luck, and sometimes--as in Tennessee's 13-players-on-the-field penalty that saved the Tigers from themselves last season--they're right. But Miles also hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for the ballsy, go-for-broke, correct decisions that have often turned the tide in such games. While it's easy to note how fortunate Miles was when last year's botched fake field goal pitch against Florida bounced straight into his kicker's arms, it overlooks the fact that playing for a game-winning touchdown is by far the superior choice to settling for a long-distance field goal that would only tie the game even if good. If Miles ignores the criticism and continues to let his cojones do his thinking for him, expect another year of success for the Tigers in the dying minutes--and given how much talent his team will wield, potentially another run at a crystal football. -- JH
23. TODD MONKEN, offensive coordinator, Oklahoma State. Last season the Cowboy offense averaged 44.9 points and 537.6 yards per game. That, to keep the superlatives to a minimum, is rather good. Then Dana Holgorsen left Stillwater to become the head coach-in-waiting at West Virginia, and Monken was hired to replace him. Those are some high-octane shoes for Monken to fill, especially considering he hasn't been a play-caller since 2004, when he was working a previous stint in Stillwater for Les Miles. Since then, Monken followed Miles to LSU for a couple of years and then went on to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So there's going to be an adjustment period, but the good news is that Oklahoma State still plans to run the same system it ran under Holgorsen. Unfortunately Monken won't have the same command of the playbook right off the bat that Holgorsen did, but he does at least have Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon to help cover him. Still, if Monken doesn't get the handle of things quick enough, Oklahoma State's top-10 season could already be "over" (and the immense potential of another year of the Weeden-Blackmon connection "wasted") by the time things are firing on all cylinders.-- TF
But good lord, those names. It's one thing to deal with them over the course of an off-season, when they only come up once a month or so or whatever. Imagine what happens when they become part of the daily conversation. The derision will be deafening. Newscasters won't want to use them. Every time there's a slow moment in a football game, odds are pretty good that some bored color commentator is going to roll his eyes and casually call the division names stupid, and fans will laugh along with them. The Big Ten should be celebrating a brand new era and all of everything else that goes along with Nebraska's entry into the conference, and now instead it's going to have to defend the indefensible "LEGENDS" and "LEADERS" constantly. It's not too late to scrap them and just go with an admittedly imperfect-but-close-enough East-West nomenclature, right? Yeah, it's boring, but boring is good. It lets the on-field product speak for itself, and Big Ten football certainly can do that, right, Mr. Delany? Right? -- AJ
21. URBAN MEYER, television analyst/coaching free agent, ESPN. As we knew already and as Meyer spelled out for us just a few days ago, the most successful head coach of college football's previous decade won't be coaching anywhere in 2011. He'll be living the good life as a talking head at the "Worldwide Leader," offering what we hope will be pointed analysis and sharp X's-and-O's from one of the sport's shrewdest coaches.
But the shadow he'll cast over the college football coaching market will reach far longer than anything he does as a TV analyst. By specifically saying he won't be coaching "this fall," Meyer has all but announced he'll be looking for a new gig for next fall--meaning his name will be dropped into every conversation about currently vacant jobs (ahem), jobs that become vacant during the season, and even jobs that seem like they might become vacant if Meyer would show an interest. Like a prized NBA free agent, Meyer's influence is sure to be felt keenly in the narrative of the 2011 season ... even if he's not on the sidelines for a minute of it. -- 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 and 40-31. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.
Tags: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Brandon Weeden, Brian Kelly, CBSSports.com College Football 100, Charlie Weis, Cotton Bowl, Dana Holgorsen, Dennis Franchione, Doak Walker Award, ESPN, Fiesta Bowl, Frank Spaziani, Georgia, Iowa, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jerrod Johnson, Jim Delany, Justin Blackmon, LaMichael James, Legends and Leaders, Les Miles, Les Miles's cojones, LSU, Luke Kuechly, Manti Te'o, Mark Herzlich, Michigan, Mike Sherman, Mountain West, Nebraska, Nick Saban, non-BCS, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Ryan Tannehill, SEC, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Todd Monken, Urban Meyer, WAC, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: June 5, 2011 7:30 pm
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.
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.
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.