Tag:Mike Slive
Posted on: February 16, 2011 10:54 am
 

Report: Newton investigation still open

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

For Cam Newton, it's nothing but good news these days. His San Diego workout for the media drew a consensus of raves; he's projected to go to the Washington Redskins with the 10th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft  by many , if not to a different team much higher ; and he just signed what might be the richest athletic endorsement deal for a rookie in NFL history.

For the Auburn team he left behind, the news these days regarding Newton is ... mostly good. But the shadow of the NCAA investigation into his arrival on the Plains hasn't lifted just yet, according to a new column from Birmingham News writer Kevin Scarbinsky :
According to people with reason to know, the NCAA is still conducting an active investigation into Auburn's recruitment of Newton. There is an enforcement staff official assigned to the case, and that person is turning over every rock to make sure the NCAA doesn't get blindsided down the road.

Auburn fans won't like that information. Some of them won't believe it. They'll be joined in their displeasure or disbelief by fans of other schools who read this nugget: The bomb is not about to drop.

According to those same well-informed sources, the NCAA has yet to discover or uncover new information that would wipe out Auburn's national championship season.

This echoes similar statements made recently by SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who said "nobody had written him a letter" saying the case had been closed or that any new information had come to light. 

Which means that for the time being, the Newton scandal remains in the same limbo in which it's been mired since Newton was ruled eligible to play in November: no evidence that Newton or his family accepted any improper benefits to come to Auburn, but still enough legwork left for the NCAA to do that anyone who says definitively that no such evidence exists is jumping the gun.

As Scarbinsky points out, the last Heisman winner to walk away with the kind of deal Newton just inked with Under Armour was Reggie Bush. If there's anything we can say with certainty about the Newton case, it's that the NCAA isn't going to let the investigative media make its compliance staff look hopelessly behind (as in the Bush case) if they can help it. If the good news for Auburn is that there's no "bomb" poised to drop, the bad news is that they likely shouldn't expect an "investigation closed" resolution to drop anytime soon.

Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Pac-12's hands-on Scott leads officiating changes

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Larry Scott was named commissioner of the then-Pac-10 in summer 2009, more than one observer wondered how involved in football an East Coast-bred administrator whose only previous sports experience came in women's tennis would really be.

It didn't take long for him to give us an answer, aggressively reshaping the league into the Pac-12 and by many accounts nearly convincing Texas to become the tentpole for a 16-team superconference. Scott has already taken one step to extricate the league from its less-than-optimal television contracts, signing a lucrative deal with Fox for the new conference title game. And now two stories out of the West Coast show that Scott's not slowing down his proactive ways anytime soon.

The first: under the direction of former NFL official (and Fox replay-challenge expert) Mike Pereira, the Pac-12 is overhauling its football officiating programs , starting with the departure of longtime Coordinator of Football Officiating Dave Cutaia and continuing with ... well, we're not sure, but it sounds great:
"Like in other high priority areas, we have taken a fresh look at our program, and will be implementing a series of changes that are forward-looking, innovative and take our program to the next level," Scott said. "The game and level of play is always improving, so it's essential that in the critical area of officiating, the program continue to evolve and improve as well."

The adjustments to the Pac-12 football officiating program came after a season-long review of the entire program by Mike Pereira ... The implementation of the officiating program coincides with the beginning of the new Pac-12 Conference, which features the addition of the University of
Colorado and the University of Utah .
Again, what this "series of changes" entails specifically -- what "adjustments" will be "implemented" when the season begins -- are still a question mark. But given the occasionally laughable errors made by Pac-12 officials the past few years and certain ethically dubious officiating policies , it's clear there's plenty of areas that need the improvement.

But it's the other story that really illustrates how involved with his conference's member schools Scott wants to be. Remember when Washington's athletic director called Oregon's academics "an embarrassment"? Per the Seattle Times, Scott tried to arrange for U-Dub to issue an apology by writing their apology for them :
On the Monday following the Nov. 6 game, Scott sent to UW interim president Phyllis Wise what was referred to as "our suggestion" of a one-paragraph statement UW could release, apologizing for the incident ...

Wise, on Tuesday afternoon following the game, released a letter she had sent to Woodward admonishing him for an "uncharacteristic lack of judgment" and asking that he personally apologize to Oregon President Richard Lariviere . Scott's letter to Wise had not sought a personal Woodward apology.

One sentence in Scott's letter is almost identical to what Wise released, stating that Wise had called Lariviere and "reinforced that these comments do not reflect the views of our administration."

When discussing the most powerful commissioners in college football, the first two names that come to mind are Mike Slive and Jim Delany. But if Scott remains this insistent on managing his league's affairs in this kind of detail as well as leading the charge on issues like TV contracts and expansion, he might find himself in Slive's and Delany's company before too much longer.


Posted on: December 16, 2010 3:36 am
Edited on: December 16, 2010 3:43 am
 

Mark Cuban to start a college football playoff?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The BCS cannot catch a break these days. It's been only days since it finally shed the label of "most reviled aspect of collegiate sports" (the new winner being the Big Ten's "Legends" and "Leaders" division name change, of course), and already the BCS faces its toughest obstacle yet: Mark Cuban.

Cuban, the irascible and opinionated owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and various other holdings, proposed funding a playoff system during an interview earlier today:

Before Wednesday's game, [Cuban] talked openly about how he'd like to pitch a playoff system to select college presidents in BCS conferences. But he admits it's a long, long way from becoming reality.

"I'm actively pursuing it, but it's in only in the exploratory stage,'' he said.

Cuban has been reading the book "Death to the BCS'' and it has gotten him thinking about how a lucrative playoff system could change colleges, and perhaps even lower tuitions that have skyrocketed in recent years.

And how, precisely, would Cuban make these changes? Why, throw an unholy amount of money at the problem, of course:

The bowl games could still exist under Cuban's plan, but he said he would make it more profitable for programs to make the playoffs than a bowl.

"Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option," Cuban said. "Say, 'Look, I'm going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you're picked for the playoff system, you'll go.' "

One way to push school presidents toward approving the idea would be to lobby major donors of college athletic programs, Cuban said. He suggested convincing the donors to cut off their donations until their presidents approved a playoff system.

Our colleague Ben Golliver expressed doubt that Cuban would be able to make any headway in spite of a theoretical playoff's overwhelming popularity, but I'm not so pessimistic. The one thing the BCS has always been able to (literally) capitalize upon was that it operates essentially out of the purview of the NCAA. Sure, the bowl game committees don't break any NCAA rules when it comes to giving players gifts or anything, but that's likely due in some part to the fact that paying players doesn't advance the bowls' financial agenda nearly as much as paying the schools and conferences, which they do in insane amounts. In return, the bowl system -- which is ludicrously tilted in the financial favor of the six BCS member conferences -- gets to hand-select its participants with only the most basic of guidelines. People complain, but it's what works because it's what makes the most money.

But if Cuban comes along and suggests a playoff system that makes more money for the NCAA and its schools and conferences, well, the BCS finds itself in a spot of trouble, because it can't exactly come running to the NCAA to enforce any pro-BCS rules; again, the BCS is a separate institution, and one that generally relies on a postseason monopoly -- you either go to a bowl or you don't. There is very little to suggest that conferences like the Mountain West would pass on an opportunity to play for an opt-in title when its teams are going 12-0 in the regular season, only to be told those teams aren't allowed to play for the BCS Championship. Efforts by the power conferences to shame and intimidate the non-AQ conferences only serve to deepen the divide, and that's a power play that could backfire hilariously if the BCS isn't the only postseason game in town anymore.

Obviously, Cuban's plan isn't fully cooked yet, so it's impossible to judge the plan on its merits until we know what they specifically are. Further, opting out of the BCS entirely has never been attempted by a school or a conference (and really, why would anybody do that without a viable alternative?), so it's going to take a lot of contractual research to figure out exactly what that would entail. It may very well be the case that this playoff idea never gets off the ground for whatever reason. You really think Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive are going to let their BCS baby roll over at the first sign of a fight? Please.

Nonetheless, Cuban's insertion of himself into the BCS debate isn't a gamechanger; it's even better. That's because the game's always going to be the same, and that game is money. If Cuban can bring more money to the table and win the PR debate to boot, then it won't matter how many rich men in blazers the BCS bowls send to top schools; Cuban's going to win that game every time.


Posted on: December 3, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2010 1:19 pm
 

Slive, SEC sued by alleged cowbell assault victim

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC has probably had a lot of things in mind when it decided to allow cowbells into Mississippi State' s Davis-Wade Stadium (and, before this season, to mostly look the other way when it came to cowbell enforcement): allowing the Bulldogs to hold on to a long-held tradition that is specifically theirs; creating a unique atmosphere both for the fans in attendance and TV microphones; throwing a member school a bone in the interest of keeping all their proverbial ducks in a row.

Not on the list: getting your commissioner sued when a State fan uses a cowbell to knock another fan unconscious. But hey, turns out that's where we are :
The suit, filed late last month in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages from the SEC and commissioner Mike Slive because it says the league had a “knowing refusal” to enforce its own rule on artificial noisemakers that dated to 1974.

In the suit, William Matthew Brasher alleges that Brent Vowell knocked him unconscious with the bell [at the annual Ole Miss- Miss. St. Egg Bowl ], causing a four-inch laceration that required staples and resulted in “a concussion, memory loss, mental and emotional distress and anguish, depression, paranoia, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life and inability to pursue prior educational and professional goals,” according to the complaint ...

“If the SEC had taken the steps necessary to enforce its rule prohibiting artificial noisemakers, including cowbells, Mr. Brasher would not have been attacked with a cowbell," the complaint reads.
Maybe. But this is an SEC stadium the day of a heated in-state rivalry game. If it hadn't been a cowbell, it would have been a flask or a stadium seat or, if you're in a luxury suite, a nice chair or even a buffet table.

Which is why until the SEC successfully bans "rage" from their stadiums, the lawsuit's not going to have much impact in the future of the State cowbells. But we still wouldn't expect to see Slive ringing one himself anytime soon.

HT: The Wiz .
Posted on: October 25, 2010 2:26 pm
 

NCAA, NFL bigwigs convene for agent crackdown

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Give the NCAA and the NFL this: it sounds like they're legitimately trying to find a solution to the lax enforcement rules that turned this past August into one long "Player Suspended After Agent Gives Him Stuff" headline and North Carolina into college football's biggest cautionary tale.

Because if they aren't trying, last week's NCAA-sponsored conference on "agent issues" convened an awful lot of big names for them to not try together. Representing the NFL: Director of Football Operations Merton Hanks , two of his Vice Presidents, Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian , Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay , and two representatives from the NFL Players Association. Representing the NCAA: conference commissioners Mike Slive and Jim Delany , American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff , and a whole host of high-ranking NCAA officials. Agents from several high-profile sports management firsm were on hand as well, including none other than the dean of college head coaching agents, Jimmy Sexton .

So what did the meeting of this many powerful minds accomplish? They're not telling us just yet :

[The attendees] continue to make progress in identifying potential solutions.

The group has identified opportunities for greater collaboration, including enforcement efforts, potential post-NCAA financial penalties, best practices for the effective enforcement of state agent laws, educational efforts, as well as an examination of the frequency and timing of agent contact with student-athletes.

The only truly telling detail in that last paragraph is "potential post-NCAA financial penalties," a nugget that could potentially mean an NFL suspension or NFL-imposed fines when a player enters the draft. Knowing that whatever cash and benefits a player took today could cost him double that in falling post-suspension draft stock or fines might be a successful deterrent, and in any case would provide stronger negative reinforcement than simply being tagged with nebulous "character issues" ... issues that this month's Sports Illustrated cover story on the subject suggest are shared by nearly every top-tier player eligible.

Unfortunately, whatever strategies the group (which will meet again next month) might recommend, it's going to take a while to put them into practice; according to this release , the NCAA won't be able to change its related legislation until January 2012. Judging by how widespread the practice of illegal benefits seems to be and how big a black eye the NCAA's notions of amateurism has absorbed from them this fall, it might do the NCAA good to find some way of expediting that process.

But whether change comes in the short term or the long term, whether that change proves successful or not, bringing together power-brokers with as much pull as Hanks, Slive and Delany, and Sexton shows that the organizations involved aren't just paying the problem lip service. Now we'll see if they've got enough pull to make a difference.
 
 
 
 
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