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Category:NCAAF
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:27 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:20 pm
 

It's Urban's world, Big Ten -- deal with it

The irony is that Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin have almost become buds.

“As bizarre as this is because our relationship has been so public, I actually get along with him, probably, now,” Meyer told me this week. “We actually have conversations now. He’s fine. We’re fine. He apologized. I said, ‘I acted like a child too.’ ”

It was three years ago, that Kiffin started a year-long tweaking of the SEC establishment by accusing Meyer, then at Florida, of breaking NCAA rules.

“I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him,” Kiffin said of the now infamous and inaccurate accusation regarding receiver Nu’Keese Richardson.

Left in Kiffin’s wake were a half-dozen secondary violations remaining from his zeal to remake the Vols. As we know, his one-act play at Tennessee is long over. Kiffin has rehabbed both USC and his image the last two seasons.

“He reached out,” Ohio State's new coach said of Kiffin. “I reached back. Me and his dad [Monte] have been friends for a long time. I was as [much to blame] as anybody. I was very childish and egotistical. Then he reached out and said, ‘You know what? We didn’t start out on the right foot.’ “

This all comes in the context of a lot of childishness, Big Ten style. In the past 48 hours, Meyer has morphed from rock star free-agent savior come down from the heavens to rescue Ohio State football, to a recruiting bottom feeder. In the unholy marriage of Twitter, internet and incessant electronic talkfests, there were strong words thrown around to describe Meyer’s recruiting methods.

“Illegal,” said Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema.

“Unethical,” said Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio.

Really quickly, Meyer has become the Lane Kiffin of the Big Ten. Meyer’s boss, Gene Smith, felt compelled to issue a statement Friday. Without actually saying it, the coaches seemed to intimate that Meyer was “flipping” recruits, getting them to come to Ohio State after they’d committed to other schools. The description used Wednesday on National Signing Day was that Meyer had signed eight players who had previously committed to other schools.

So what? Flipped, turned. Whatever. The man had a few short days to fix Ohio State in recruiting, with a bowl ban thrown in to work around. The problem is as the story develops, it lacks nuance, subtly and context. You have to read the full quotes from Bielema and Dantonio (below).

I was in Meyer’s office Thursday and told him about Bielema’s Wednesday statements.

“He [Bielema] called and said that [pausing] It really wasn’t our staff, it was the previous [staff],” Meyer said, “something about where a pro player called a kid or something like that. A former Buckeye called a kid. That’s all I remember. I checked into it, there’s no truth to anything.”

Unethical? Name me a coach who hasn’t signed a recruit who had been favoring another school. It’s how the industry works. It’s cutthroat. It’s brutal.

“I tell our guys,” Meyer said, “you really have no value to a program if you can’t recruit.”

All this reminds me of the great Ricky Bobby who once said, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

Good call. There are no second places in a recruiting. You either get the guy or you don’t. As long as no NCAA or civil laws are broken, it’s every recruiter for himself. By some estimates, Meyer landed four kids who had committed to Penn State. It would have been a recruiting sin, if he didn’t pick over the remains of Penn State football. In fact, who didn't go after Penn State recruits? Maybe the best question for Meyer is, “Four? Why didn’t you get six?”

Speaking at high school coaches’ clinic Friday morning, Meyer had enough. He was quoted as saying (rhetorically): “You’re pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got nine guys [recruiters] who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time.”

How does that taste, Big Ten? Bielema told the Sporting News that Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez would speak to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany Friday about Meyer’s recruiting methods. There’s one problem with that. Let’s say that Meyer pissed off a bunch of Big Ten coaches by taking their commits. Again, so what? “Commit” should be stricken from recruiting glossary along with “slight lean” and “strong verbal.” They are contrived terms meant to shame a player into what has become some sort of promise/marriage/sacred bond.

But let’s say that somehow Delany pushes through an official Big Ten stance that no coach can intrude on a “committed” recruit. The one big problem: Even if all 12 Big Ten schools agree, there are 108 other FBS programs who won’t.

In fact, recruiters will be laughing all the way to their private planes during recruiting season. How do you think SEC coaches are going to react if the Big Ten coaches all agree to this little “gentlemen’s agreement?”

Probably by winning a seven consecutive national championship, for starters.  

“Gentlemen’s agreement?,” one incredulous former major-college assistant told me Friday. “[Recruiting] is a Clint Eastwood movie. ‘Hang ‘Em High, ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.’ Are you kidding me? Gentleman’s agreement?”

Context was an issue here. I had a Michigan State official call me to explain Dantonio’s quotes. Read the entire Bielema statement from signing day. Kind of takes some of the starch out of a flaming controversy that continues to have kindling thrown on it. Michigan State defensive coordinator "starts a recruiting rivalry."

You would hope. In fact, there should be a recruiting rivalry should exist with every Big Ten team. The Spartans haven't been to a Rose Bowl in almost 25 years.

Anyway, here's the full quotes ... 


Mark Dantonio
speaking in general on Wednesday:

"I would say it's pretty unethical. You ask people for a commitment, you ask for people's trust, ask for people to make a commitment to you, but then you turn around and say it's OK to go back after somebody else's commitment. That's a double standard.

"Everybody's got a job to do, there's a lot of pressure, but we're all grown men and we're trying to do a job, just like society today in every respect, whether it's a reporter or doctor or lawyer or somebody else. People are gonna try and do their job, they're gonna do what they have to do to get it done sometimes."

Specifically on Urban Meyer:

“They've got a new coach, there's differences when a new coach comes in. It's a new testing of the waters, but it's a two-way street, it's always a two-way street. There's always gotta be the other person listening, too. I think when it becomes a matter of twisting somebody, when you're a 50-year-old man or 40-year-old man twisting a 17-year-old, that's when it's wrong.

"I'm not saying that's happening in the Big Ten Conference, but I see that happening around the country. That happens when somebody decommits on the day of signing day and you've got to wonder about that."
 
Dantonio then released this statement on Friday: "Let me be clear: Some general recruiting statements I made were completely taken out of context when combined together by a reporter not in attendance. The timing of my comments was a reflection of an occurring matter on Signing Day and nothing to do with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. My comments regarding 'unethical' behavior were general in nature, according to my current coaching philosophy, and not directed toward any particular institution." 

Question to Bret Bielema on Wednesday: Is Urban Meyer’s hiring changed recruiting in the Upper Midwest and in the Big Ten?

Bielema:  "Well, I don’t think it, I hope it doesn’t change. I think the potential to change has been there. And, there’s a few things that happened early on that I made people be aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league that I had seen take place at other leagues, other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. And I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact. I actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him, and the situation got rectified.

“But the one thing I love about this league, it was kind of funny, when I was a younger coach, I was offered a job in another league, right? And this coach, I was working for $175,000 for Coach Alvarez, and he asked me what I was making, and I said I was making $175,000. He goes, ‘how many year contract?’ I said, ‘zero, just a one-year contract.’ He goes, ‘I’ll offer you $350,000 in a four-year contract.’ And I’m like, ‘ah, I don’t think so. You know, it’s not, money is not important to me at this point. I kind of want to stay where I’m at in the Big Ten. It’s got great values. I’m at a great place, a great institution.’

He goes, ‘okay, I’ll make it $450,000, and I’ll give you a five-year guarantee.’ I said, ‘okay, now I’ve got to talk to you.’ But it did make a point of interest to me. I didn’t tell you that I was just joking. But it was a real offer that was out there. And he said to me, ‘you know what the difference between the Big Ten and this conference is?’

And I said, ‘no.’ He said, ‘in the Big Ten, everybody tells on everybody. In our conference, nobody tells on anybody.’ And that made a huge comment to me. And I’ve been very cognizant of that, encourage our coaches to play by the books, to do things in a certain way. If you have to lie, cheat, or steal to get someone here, it doesn’t make a great point once you get them here about how you’ve got to handle them.

“So I think that’s the point that I’ll take moving forward. Our league is based on certain values that we’re going to hold to be true. And, you know, if you don’t hold to those things to be true in our conference, well, you’ll be held accountable.”

There’s a couple of ways of fixing this “situation.” It sounds like Delany is going to have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with his coaches to stop the backbiting. It happened with the SEC’s Mike Slive a couple of years ago when Kiffin was in full throat.

The other is to establish an early signing day, say the first week of December. High school players can be left alone to concentrate on state playoffs and their studies. Families don’t have to waste money on last-minute unofficial visits. Best of all, it relieves the pressure Signing Day, a date that has evolved into becoming an end to the process. 

It’s actually the beginning of a two-month signing period, but they don’t want you to know that. That’s an issue for another day. For now, it’s Urban’s world and the Big Ten is only living in it. 

Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:03 pm
 

Gene Smith statement re: Urban Meyer

This statement from Ohio State AD Gene Smith was released by the school early afternoon on Friday: 

"I am disappointed that negative references have been made about our football coaches and particularly head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting. In our league appropriate protocol, if you have concerns, is to share those concerns with your athletic director. Then your athletic director will make the determination on the appropriate communications from that point forward. The athletic directors in our league are professionals and communicate with each other extremely well. Urban Meyer and his staff have had a compliance conscience since they’ve arrived." 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 12:09 pm
 

From TVZ to DGB, Mizzou makes history

Somewhere Tony Van Zant is shedding a tear.

Until Dorial Green-Beckham signed with Missouri on Wednesday the landing of Van Zant, the Hazelwood (Mo.) Central tailback, was the signature recruiting moment for Tiger fans. Back in 1985, Van Zant was at least the top-rated running back in the country, if not the No. 1 overall prospect. Mizzou and its followers attached their hopes and dreams to the shifty kid from suburban St. Louis.

To say that Van Zant was a bust is an insult to the noun. He was supposed to be the foundation for “Woody’s Wagon,” the name given to the momentum created by hiring former Steelers defensive coordinator Woody Widenhofer. Van Zant injured a knee playing in a state high-school all-star game after his senior season. That caused him to miss his entire freshman season at Mizzou in 1986. Later, he injured the other knee. For his career Van Zant ran for a grand total of 214 yards.

Woody’s Wagon ran off the road. Widenhofer was fired after four seasons. Today, Van Zant is a high school coach in Saginaw, Mich. On Wednesday, Green-Beckham, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, inherited part of Van Zant’s legacy when he signed with the Tigers.

There can be a direct line drawn between Van Zant and Green-Beckham. They were both high school All-Americans. Both were Parade Magazine’s national player of the year. Both were known by their initials in the recruiting process – TVZ and DGB. Both were national recruits who stayed home. So which one is he, this DGB?

Is he Dishon Platt or Fred Rouse or is he Percy Harvin or Derrick Williams? Will he ever finish in the top 10 in receiving during his career? CBSSports.com checked the number of receivers ranked in the top 20 among national recruits in the last 10 years (according to Rivals.com). The idea was to determine how valuable highly-rated high school receivers were to teams and how they panned out.

From a group of 200 recruits over those 10 years, only 27 were receivers. That’s 13.5 percent. Of those 27, 14 played on at least one conference-winning team. Seven of those 14 played on at least one national championship team. Only two of those 27 ever finished in the top 10 nationally in receiving yards per game since 2002. (Tennessee’s Robert Meachem in 2006 and USC’s Robert Woods in 2011.)

So which one is Green-Beckham? He was only the third receiver in the last 10 years to be rated No. 1 overall. The other two were Florida’s Harvin (2006) and Penn State’s Williams (2005). Harvin was part of two national championship teams and has had a productive NFL career. Williams was one of the most versatile players in Penn State history becoming the only Joe Paterno player to ever catch, run and return a kick for a touchdown.

Is this a snapshot of Green-Beckham’s career?

Over the last 10 years, the receiver position is tied with running back (27 each) as the second-most abundant position in the top 20. Defensive line is No. 1 (41 players). Going into Wednesday, only 14 schools in the last 10 years have taken top 20-rated receivers. There are the usual suspects – USC leads all with seven in the top 20.

Then there are the all-out busts. Florida State had two of the biggest at the position in the last 10 years. In 2002, Platt was the No. 16 player in the country. He never made it academically at FSU, transferred to South Florida then faded into obscurity.  In 2005, receivers ruled. Williams and USC’s Patrick Turner were the top two rated players in the country. There were four wideouts in the top 18 including Cal’s DeSean Jackson.

The fourth wideout in that group, Rouse, went from playing in the Orange Bowl for FSU to transferring to Texas El-Paso to spending a couple of months in jail to Concordia College-Selma.

So which one is DGB? For now the foundation of Missouri’s jump to the SEC. Gary Pinkel’s offense has had stars of several wideouts over the past decades (examples: Jeremy Maclin, Danario Alexander). But that was in the wide-open Big 12.

If he never catches a ball, Green-Beckham, like Van Zant, has created momentum for Mizzou. Perhaps other players will follow. Perhaps he will be a game breaker. But SEC defenses are tougher. That doesn’t suggest he won’t succeed. Green-Beckham is the third nationally top-rated receiver to sign with an SEC school since 2008. The other two guys didn’t do too bad – Alabama’s Julio Jones (No. 4 overall in 2008) and LSU’s Rueben Randle (No. 2 overall in 2009).

Somewhere Van Zant is shedding a tear because of a career derailed -- and maybe because DGB has a chance to be the TVZ that never was.   


Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Big 12 commissioner candidates

Now that the Big 12 has formed a search committee to find a permanent replacement for Dan Beebe, it’s time to line up a list of candidates.

These four have been most often mentioned in administrative circles and published reports: Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowksy, West Virginia AD Oliver Luck and NCAA interim vice president of championships and alliances, Greg Shaheen, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick

 
--Banowksy, 51, is so highly thought of that his name was dropped by Neinas in September during his introductory teleconference. Banowksy is in his ninth year with Conference USA, which is currently in talks to combine and form a new conference with the Mountain West. There is already speculation that Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson would retain that title with the new conference, ostensibly leaving Banowsky free to take the Big 12. 

--Luck, a former NFL quarterback, has extensive administrative experience. In 1991, he made an unsuccessful run for Congress in West Virginia. Following that, he was general manager for two different teams overseas in the World League of American Football. Luck, 51, was the WLAF's president from 1996-2000 before the league rebranded as NFL Europe. From 2001-2008, Luck was CEO of the Houston Sports Authority and president of the Houston Dynamo of the Major League Soccer. Since June 2010 he has been West Virginia's AD. The school is in the process of moving from the Big East to the Big 12. Among his accomplishments at WVU is successfully implementing beer sales to increase revenue.

--Swarbrick reportedly finished as runner-up to Beebe the last time the Big 12 went searching for a commissioner in 2007. He was also a finalist for the NCAA president’s job in 2002. Swarbrick, 57, has a legal background having practiced law for 28 years before taking the Notre Dame job in 2008. He is credited with consulting on the NCAA’s move from Overland Park, Kan. to Indianapolis. Since he joined the Irish, football has continued its mediocrity. Swarbrick has had to fire Charlie Weis. Brian Kelly has yet to find traction in getting ND to the championship level. Heck of a question: Which job is considered better in the world of college athletics – Notre Dame or Big 12?

--Shaheen might be the most intriguing candidates. He is seen as one of the brightest minds in sports today. As NCAA vice president of basketball and business strategies, Shaheen was credited for the basketball-in-the-round concept that allowed the Final Four to be played in football stadiums. Also, during his watch the NCAA in general has become more open and media friendly. I reported in March 2009 that the Pac-10 twice took a run at him to be its commissioner before hiring Larry Scott. 

Here is a Sports Business Journal profile of Shaheen in 2010. He was mentioned on Jan. 23 in SBJ as a possible candidate for the Big 12 job. 

 

Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:07 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 6:24 pm
 

Big 12 releases 10-team schedule to TV partners

The Big 12 released a 10-team football schedule to its TV partners, the conference said Tuesday afternoon. That indicates West Virginia will be in the league in 2012.

The schedule will be released publicly "in the near future," the league said. CBSSports.com reported earlier in the day that the Big 12 would “likely” delay the release of its 2012 schedule until next week. As late as Tuesday afternoon the league was holding firm to a Feb. 1 deadline to have the schedule completed.

West Virginia and the Big East had been in deep discussions as to how to resolve dueling lawsuits over the school leaving the conference. A league spokesman told CBSSports.com last week that the Big 12 would release the schedule by Feb. 1

Rightsholders ESPN and Fox now have the schedule seven months out from the 2012 season kickoff. Sources have maintained all along that the rightsholders could move the dates of certain games after receiving the schedule. Moving Texas-Baylor and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State to the final day of the 2011 regular season was a major boost to the Big 12. Baylor's Robert Griffin III won the Heisman a week later. Oklahoma State won its first conference title in decades playing for a BCS bowl in prime time.

West Virginia had been in arbitration with the Big East trying to resolve their lawsuits. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas has said on numerous occasions that the 2012 schedule would be released by Feb. 1 and that West Virginia would be on it.

With West Virginia, the Big 12 would again have 10 teams, same as 2011. Without the Mountaineers, the Big 12 would have nine teams leaving the league schools to add at least one non-conference game to fill out their schedules at a late date. If the league drops below 10 teams that would likely trigger language affecting payouts to the Big 12 from both networks.

Late last year, West Virginia filed suit to leave the Big East sooner than the league-mandated 27-month waiting period. The Big East countersued. If West Virginia leaves the Big East this year, that would leave the conference with only seven teams for 2012. That would mean each school would have to find a sixth non-conference game to complete its schedule.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 27, 2012 5:20 pm
 

Did Oregon replace Chip Kelly this week?

Mark Helfrich would have made a fine head coach at Oregon.

So fine, that some think the Ducks’ 38-year old offensive coordinator could put the title on his job history. Right now. ProFootballTalk.com reported Thursday that Helfrich had indeed been given the job – if only momentarily -- when Chip Kelly reportedly went to Tampa Bay.

Oregon had already replaced Chip Kelly when he changed his mind 

That was the headline on ProFootballTalk.com Thursday morning. That’s also what PFT.com’s Mike Florio said this week on Tim Brando’s radio show.

In a column published Friday in the Eugene Register-Guard, columnist George Schroeder wrote,  that while Helfrich wouldn’t have been a splash hire replacement “ … for a little while late Sunday night, he was as about to be the right hire.”

Those two reports from reliable outlets suggest one thing for sure: The world is getting to know what college football insiders have known for a while: Helfrich is a rising star. Also that Kelly – if he did leave this week -- may have had to somehow “reclaim” his job at Oregon. And if you believe in the chain of command at Oregon, well, Nike CEO Phil Knight has been known to have some influence with the football program.

At the least, Kelly’s apparent departure so close to signing day had to ruffle some Duck feathers. Knight’s command of the moment – anger bubbling just below the surface -- was compelling on Thursday at the Joe Paterno memorial. No matter what you think of his stance on the Paterno/Sandusky issue, Knight owned the room. You can understand how the man got where he is  -- basically owning Oregon football.

Greg Schiano took mild criticism for leaving Rutgers so close to signing day on Thursday. Oregon has established itself as a national program. Think if Kelly had left this close to landing the school’s next class. The fallout would have been similar to Butch Davis leaving Miami a week before signing day in 2001.

Schiano had spent 11 years making the job and program matter when he bolted for the NFL. Kelly has been at Oregon three years. Despite the Nike influence, it is still a fragile football outpost. Kelly owes some of his salary and reputation to the coaches who made the absolutely right moves in replacing themselves with the right man at the right time. Rich Brooks hand-picked Mike Bellotti who then gave way to Kelly.

Safe to say, that if Kelly flirts with the NFL the next time he’d better take the job.

Kelly went on a local radio show Monday to say he “never committed to the [Tampa Bay] job, never flip-flopped.” It would be nice to know what the Bucs think of that comment. It is also legitimate to ask, if Kelly was adamant about his stance why didn’t he go on national radio/TV and get his message out?

While the locals may have been mollified, there are some remaining truths. Helfrich’s profile has been elevated in the last week. While Kelly obviously and rightly has his hands all over the offense, Helrich comes highly recommended.

“Everybody wants the hot flashy popular [guy],”  said Dan Hawkins, the former Colorado head coach. “Mark is very, very sharp [and] very, very smart. He was going to be a doctor when he went to college. He could be in a room of politicians or professors and they’d have no clue he was a football coach.”

Hawkins and Helfrich worked together for a total of six years at Boise State and Colorado. In between those two jobs, Helfrich was Dirk Koetter’s quarterbacks coach at Arizona State. He came to Oregon with Kelly as offensive coordinator in 2009. The obvious question going forward is how much Helfrich has to do with play-calling. Kelly is considered the Zen master, the offensive genius. Helfrich is the silent partner.

But if Oregon was considering elevating him – or had elevated him – the question had been answered. No matter who is calling the plays at Oregon, Helfrich was perceived good enough to run the entire program. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:10 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 3:11 pm
 

NCAA sickle cell testing debated

The American Society of Hematology issued a policy statement Thursday opposed to the current NCAA mandate that requires schools to test athletes for sickle cell trait.

The policy statement conflicts with that NCAA testing policy that is not yet two years old. For decades, the association had not tested for sickle cell trait but changed its stance as part of a settlement of a lawsuit over the death of a Rice athlete in 2006.

The NCAA requires that all athletes be tested for the condition unless they provide prior test results or sign a waiver. In a Thursday press release, the hematology society contended that “current scientific evidence does not justify screening.” It says that “universal preventive interventions” make testing unnecessary.  The society stated further that the Army uses such measures as heat acclimatization, hydration and work-rest cycles to deal with all situations regarding exertional issues.

Scott Anderson, Oklahoma head trainer and noted expert on sickle cell trait, countered: “Their [recommended] precautions are not working for individuals with sickle cell trait …”

Sickle cell trait is not a disease. It is a condition found in approximately eight percent of African-Americans and in a much smaller percentages of Caucasians.  Anyone with the condition can live a normal life. About two million Americans live with the trait. Problems occur when blood cells “sickle” due to overexertion.

Thursday’s policy statement seems to make public a large disagreement between organizations on how to treat the affliction. The hematology society said its position is supported by the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Public Health Association and Association of Public Health Laboratories.

That differs from the approach taken by the NCAA, NBA, NFL and the military academies aside from the Army.

Oklahoma has had major award winners play with the condition. But because of Anderson and his research, afflicted athletes are acclimated to heat and exertion over a period of days at the beginning of spring and fall practice. Testing becomes a further safeguard.

Several high-profile deaths caused by the condition have occurred in recent years at Missouri, Florida State, Central Florida and Rice.  
Anderson added that the NBA, NFL, Navy, Marines and Air Force do screen for sickle cell trait. In results published recently in Health Services Research Journal, it was estimated there would be one death in the NCAA if every athlete were tested over a four-year period. Without testing, the research concluded that seven players would die over a 10-year period.

Anderson said that 2011 was believed to be the most deadly year for athletes nationally regarding sickle cell trait since 2000. Not all of the deaths have been confirmed to be caused by sickle cell trait, Anderson added. It is known that sickle cell trait has been the leading cause of non-traumatic deaths among Division I college football players since 2000. The NCAA changed its policy in 2010 after lawsuit brought by the family of Rice football player Dale Lloyd. The association promised to require testing and increase awareness.

“When you look at kind of objectively, this was prompted by a lawsuit,” said Dr. Janis Abkowitz, president-elect of the hematology society. “We’re not against the NCAA … We hope that we could provide information to the NCAA in rethinking both the correctness of the initial policy, but also some of its downstream unintended policy.”

Dr. Abkowitz said the NCAA plans to extend its policy to Division II and Division III athletes, “every high school kid that is interested in sport would be tested and confused.” She want on to call it a “huge network of misunderstanding”. The society notified the NCAA before releasing its statement.

“We’re not out for a battle, we’re out to be helpful,” Dr. Abkowitz said.

In February 2010, Ole Miss player Bennie Abram died of complications resulting from sickle cell trait. The school, the NCAA and other entities are being sued by Abrams’ family. The death took place just as the NCAA was changing its policy.

 

 

 

 

Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:47 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 10:16 pm
 

Petrino not seeing No. 1 recruit Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino will not be making an in-person visit Thursday to the nation’s No. 1 recruit according to the player’s coach.

“A situation occurred,” Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest coach John Beckham told CBSSports.com

Beckham said that Petrino and Hillcrest receiver Dorial Green-Beckham “bumped into each other” earlier this month in San Antonio, Texas possibly creating an NCAA recruiting issue. Petrino was in town for the American Football Coaches Association convention. Green-Beckham was there for the U.S. Army All-Star Game.

Arkansas issued a statement Wednesday saying no NCAA violation occured.  

“When he was at the coaching convention in San Antonio, they bumped into each other,” said Beckham who also is Green-Beckham’s foster father. “It just so happened that another school that was recruiting Dorial happened to be there that day.”

This NCAA bylaw may apply: 

In football, one contact per prospective student-athlete is permitted during each week of the contact period as specified in Bylaw 13.17.4 either at the prospective student-athlete's educational institution or any other location (e.g., prospective student-athlete's home). A visit to the prospective student-athlete's educational institution and any other location (e.g., prospective student-athlete's home) during the same calendar day shall be considered one contact.

The Army all-star game was Jan. 6. The AFCA convention was Jan. 8-11. There were NCAA recruiting "quiet" and "dead" periods during some of those dates. During those times no in-person contact is allowed with recruits by coaches. Beckham added that Arkansas will send other coaches on Thursday.

Arkansas' statement: "No violation has occured and we are taking proactive steps we feel necessary to avoid any risk of one." 

As days dwindle toward signing day on Feb. 1, the rush to get Green-Beckham’s name on a national letter of intent has intensified. The 6-foot, 6-inch, 225-pound receiver has narrowed his list of finalists to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Alabama. He is listed as having the most Twitter followers among the nation’s top 100 recruits

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and assistant Jay Norvell visited the school on Monday. Texas coach Mack Brown is expected to visit on Wednesday. Green-Beckham made an Arkansas visit last week with his foster  brother Kingsley Ehie. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel flew in by helicopter to speak to the prospect last week. Green-Beckham's list of finalists are Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.

Recruiting analysts are hanging on every nugget of information regarding the national single-season leader in receiving yards. Rivals.com predicted Monday that the receiver would be heading to Arkansas. Maxpreps.com analyst Steve Spiewak says he can’t understand the perception that Arkansas is in the lead. Green-Beckham says he is undecided and will make his decision known next Wednesday morning at the school.

“People really read in too much to what he says,” Beckham said. “They interviewed [Dorial] last week before a basketball tournament in St. Louis. And he said … ‘I have to go to Missouri next week.’ They all got hung up on, ‘I have to,’ instead of ‘wanting to go.’ That’s just a little example.” 

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