Tag:NCAA
Posted on: April 28, 2011 8:24 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 8:25 pm
 

Candidates for Fiesta Bowl job

NEW ORLEANS -- Three names have emerged in the search for the next Fiesta Bowl executive director.

Big East senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli, Pac-12 associate commissioner Kevin Weiberg and WAC commissioner Karl Benson all have either been mentioned in college circles or are interested. Fiesta officials here for the BCS meetings would not discuss any specific names of candidates. 

Weiberg, 54, is Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott's right hand and currently is involved in setting up the conference's new network. Benson, 59, has been in charge of the WAC for the last 17 years. Carparelli is in a unique position. He has been here this week at the BCS meetings as chair of the NCAA bowl licensing subcommittee which will determine whether the Fiesta will be licensed going forward after a scandal rocked the 40-year old bowl.

It is not known whether any of three is on the Fiesta's short list. But it is known that at least Benson is interested in pursuing the job.

The Fiesta is restructuring after the firing of veteran executive director John Junker. It officials were here the past two days trying convince the NCAA and the BCS that it should remain a major bowl. Fiesta officials met with that bowl licensing subcommittee on Thursday. Earlier in the day, NCAA president Mark Emmert called for a task force to oversee bowl licensing, the feeling being that it has become too easy to be licensed. The assumption is that the Fiesta scandal was the tipping point.

The first step in that "healing" for the Fiesta is picking a credible executive director. Weiberg was hired 14 months ago as the then-Pac 10 deputy commissioner. Previously he held the same position at the Big Ten from 1989 to 1998. From 1998-2007, he was Big 12 commissioner. Weiberg was on the verge of convincing the Big 12 to start its own network before being rebuffed by Texas. Shortly thereafter he left the league. His expertise is in television and expansion. Weiberg is given credit for integrating Penn State into the Big Ten. He and Scott were part of the near-raid on the Big 12 that would have led to half the league coming to the Pac-10.

Benson deserves credit for doggedly keeping one of the lower-tier conferences together over the years. In May 1998, he was flat on his back on the couch after eye surgery as the 16-team WAC began to crumble underneath him. Half the teams bolted to start the Mountain West in 1999. In the last year the WAC has lost Boise State, Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada.  All four will leave the league within the next two seasons. Benson and the WAC have kept the league alive adding Texas State and Texas-San Antonio in future years. 

Carparelli is listed as overseeing football and corporate sponsorships in his specific duties for the Big East.

The Fiesta will learn within the next month whether a BCS task force will decide whether to keep the bowl in the BCS. The NCAA bowl licensing subcommittee is waiting on the task force's decision before proceeding.

Fiesta board chairman Duane Woods said the group of CEO candidates are "diverse." 

"It's somebody that the football committee would trust," said Nick Carparelli chair of the licensing subcommittee. "The committee feels like that the issues were systemic issues. There was an executive director in place [John Junker] that everybody did trust. Clearly, too much authority was given to that one individual."

Junker faces possible criminal charges for improper political contributions.

"It's always difficult to go back over the story again," Woods said after meeting with the NCAA. "It's painful. I think rebuilding trust takes up a lot of these conversations. No matter how tight the controls are, you are always disappointed when you find something like this. Yeah, we found some bad things."
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 2:36 pm
 

NCAA: No new bowls for next three years

The NCAA announced Thursday a moratorium of up to three years on the addition of any new bowls. That is more of a mathematical reality than reform because there are currently 35 bowls taking up 70 slots. NCAA research has shown there have been an average of 72 bowl-eligible teams since the 12-team regular-season was instituted in 2005.

NCAA president Mark Emmert also announced a Bowl Licensing Task Force to "examine the purpose, criteria, process and oversight of the NCAA licensing procedures for football bowl games. " Emmert didn't say specifically but the creation of the task force seems to be a reaction to the recent Fiesta Bowl scandal. The approximate 10-member task force, chaired by Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, will report back to Emmert by October. It will be asked to look at "the way we currently license bowls," Emmert said.

The moratorium will be a maximum of three years or up until the time the task force completes its duties. 

As of now, that licensing is more or less a rubber stamp. The NCAA bowl licensing subcommittee certifies bowls on a four-year basis but can review them year-to-year. The only bowls ever rejected by the NCAA are the old Silicon Valley Bowl and Seattle Bowl. Both of those had financial problems. The Fiesta is currently being scrutinized by a BCS task force as well as the licensing subcommittee. After a failed whitewash investigation, the bowl commissioned a special committee that found lavish spending by the bowl and possible criminal activity involving improper political contributions.

  "Those are the kinds of things that none of us find acceptable and we all find completely contrary to the values of intercollegiate athletics," Emmert said. "We simply can't abide by those kinds of behaviors."

  Emmert also said the NCAA is "... making sure that each of the bowl organizations have appropriate oversight and governance ... That they have established conflict of interest rules and policies."

PlayoffPac, a Washington, D.C. political action committee, reported that nine members of the licensing subcommittee accepted what it termed "a three-day golf trip" from the Fiesta Bowl in the past. The annual retreat formerly known as the "Fiesta Frolic" has changed its name to "Valley of the Sun Experience and Fiesta Seminars." Regular attendees of the event argue that legitimate business is conducted during the three days. PlayoffPac published a 2008 itinerary from the Frolic where the word "golf" is mentioned 15 times. Emmert did not speak specifically about a possible conflict of interest by subcommittee members.

  Emmert said he brought up the subject of increased bowl scrutiny to the executive board in January.

  "It became clear to me that a review of those criteria and those processes were overdue," he said.


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Fiesta Bowl, NCAA
 
Posted on: April 26, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Will Ohio State avoid a postseason ban?

Was Ohio State cut a break in its notice of allegations from the NCAA? So much so that the school may avoid a postseason ban in the Jim Tressel case?

Draw your own conclusions from these conclusions: While the 15-page NOA delivered last week seems fairly damning, it does not contain the NCAA's scarlet letter designations -- "failure to monitor" or "lack of institutional control". In most cases, the allegations are made by the enforcement staff in the NOA. Either can be added by the committee on infractions in the penalty phase but that is a rarer occurence. Despite the depth and scope of Tresselgate neither were included in regards to Ohio State. 

Failure to monitor is more specific in terms of points of oversight in a specific area of the athletic department. Lack of institutional control says there is little or no oversight in general regarding a case. Go to the front of the NCAA Manual. The "Principle of Institutional Control" reads like the opening sentences of the Book of Genesis. [Emphasis added}

"It is the responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Association. The institution’s president or chancellor is responsible for the administration of all aspects of the athletics program, including approval of the budget and audit of all expenditures.

"The institution’s responsibility for the conduct of its intercollegiate athletics program includes responsibility for the actions of its staff members and for the actions of any other individual or organization engaged in activities promoting the athletics interests of the institution."

Merely taking into account the information in the NOA, it's hard to believe that Ohio State didn't get lack of institutional control. Its head coach lied and systematically circumvented the system by hiding damaging emails. I've said this in the past but this case comes down to the following: A 67-year old businessman in western Pennsylvania knew that Terrelle Pryor's name had popped up in a federal drug trafficking investigation before either the Ohio State AD or president


That's bad enough. What a lot of folks have forgotten is the beginning of this case. Part of the reason those Ohio State players were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl was they "did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred," according to the NCAA. Once they got that rules education, another game was added (for a total of five) to the players' suspensions that take effect this season.


So if you're like me, you're wondering how an athletic and compliance department that didn't educate its players on an extra benefit rule that is considered common sense in the industry, didn't get cited further by the NCAA. Ohio State AD Gene Smith threw his compliance department under the bus back in December saying the nine-member staff was "complicit" in the violations because they did not make the extra benefits rule clear to players. We can argue why Ohio State got a break for its players when it is assumed that everyone knows, or should know, you can't sell your memorabilia. The point now is, why didn't Ohio State at least get "failure to monitor" when the NOA was delivered last week? 


Both the NCAA and Smith called out the compliance department. That's a helluva place to start in assigning the scarlet letter.


An answer might be found in the manual. One of the presumptive penalties for a lack of institutional control violation is a postseason ban. It was described to me by a veteran of NCAA cases this way, "There is a higher presumption of a postseason ban," with a lack of institutional control. The manual states that a postseason ban is likely "particularly" when the violations reflect a lack of institutional control. There are almost always mitigating circumstances in these cases, but it seems by not citing Ohio State's oversight, a postseason ban is off the table. 


That doesn't necessarily mean Ohio State won't get a bowl ban. The NCAA alleges in the NOA that Ohio State is a repeat violator, meaning that it has committed another major violation within the allowed five-year window. While OSU won't get the death penalty -- one of the possible penalties for being a repeat violator -- it could received enhanced penalties because of the repeat designation. Because of that, maybe the NCAA didn't feel it was necessary to allege lack of institutional control. The school already has hung itself for being a serial violator.


The case isn't over and who knows what will develop between now and when the penalties are released which, at the earliest, seem to be midseason? But if you read between the lines it seems that a postseason ban is unlikely. Think more in terms of at least two years probation, a vacation of wins from 2010 and perhaps some scholarships. The juiciest question, though, remains whether Tressel will coach again at Ohio State. Without answering that question at the moment, I will leave you with bylaw 11.1.2.1, "Responsibility of Head Coach".


"It shall be the responsibility of an institution’s head coach to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the program supervised by the coach and to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches and other administrators involved with the program who report directly or indirectly to the coach." 


Category: NCAAF
Tags: NCAA, Ohio State
 
Posted on: April 9, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Miles on Willie Lyles, state of college football

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Les Miles told CBSSports.com Friday he didn't know who Willie Lyles was until he saw him in December at the college football awards show in Orlando, Fla.

Lyles is a Houston-based trainer currently under investigation by the NCAA. His name first became known nationally when a Yahoo! Sports report stated last month that Lyles was paid $25,000 for his high school recruiting service by Oregon. The school eventually signed standout tailback Lache Seastrunk who Yahoo! Sports said was mentored by Lyles. In subsequent reports it became known that Lyles provides a high-school recruiting service to several programs. 

If it is determined Lyles is a booster, Oregon could have committed an NCAA violation.

Lyles' name came up most recently in an ESPN.com report  alleging that he had asked Texas A&M for $80,000 to sign star cornerback prospect Patrick Peterson. Peterson, who denied any relationship with Lyles, eventually signed with LSU which is why Miles spoke out Friday during a wide-ranging nearly 1 1/2-hour conversation. 

"In every recruiting scenario, sometimes it's a street agent, sometimes it's the guy's lifelong mentor," Miles said. "Sometimes it's the [high-school] assistant coach who really has [a recruit's] best interests at heart. Some people's interests are more self-serving."

Miles was particularly disturbed, like a lot of coaches, at the so-called third-party influence on recruiting. Coaches used to dealing with parents and high school coaches in the process now feel frustration at having to deal with a "handler" who may be marketing the recruit. While that has been common practice in college basketball for some time, it has just recently become an issue in college football. The NCAA is determining whether to form a focus group to concentrate on such issues

During the conversation, Miles stressed the cleanliness of his program in terms of NCAA compliance. His reference to Lyles emerged from the nationally televised college football awards show at Disney World. Coaches typically accompany their players to the show.

Following LSU's spring game on Saturday, Miles was asked about the rash of scandals in college football lately.

“I still am very much an advocate of college football. I realize what it does for a great majority of the youth of our country. It is still a place where you reward hard work ... The reality of it is, there’s a difficult issue in perception because it’s not uniform ...  [There] needs to be a common sense approach to this. College football is wonderful. It’s not something that should be viewed in a light, in any way, that’s anything but productive. The change that needs to take place is evident. And I think, honestly, there’s a want and desire to make those changes ... Don’t change the game so much that you don’t recognize it because, frankly, it’s magnificent."
Category: NCAAF
Tags: LSU, NCAA, Oregon
 
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:11 pm
 

A lecture for Big Blue Nation re: "The Question"

HOUSTON -- For all of you who weren't actually there, I wasn't baiting John Calipari. I wasn't trying to upset him. I was trying to get an anecdote and/or quote for my story.


It worked. I filed the story, and moved on. Obviously, some of you haven’t.


To make things perfectly clear, there is an interview session with each head coach and selected players on the Friday before the Final Four. Anything is in play, well, basically there's free speech and we're the folks who exercise it every day. Anything is in play, especially for the coaches who have so many obligations that if you have a question to ask, you better do it then. So I did. Near the end of Calipari's on-podium interview session I prefaced a question to him by saying, "I'm being facetious ..."


We made eye contact -- him on the podium, me out in the great media beyond. 


How does it feel to coach in your first Final Four?


Funny. Clever. No harm, no shady ACT score. At that point, I'm pretty sure Cal "got" what I was going for. It wasn't one of those "do you still beat your wife?" questions where you're guilty either way. 


Let's just say that the question was a lot better than the answer.


"I don’t deal with that," Calipari said. "We’ve been here three times. Those players played those games and did what they were supposed to. I’m so proud of what they’ve all accomplished. It’s been fun. It’s been a good experience. This is going to be a good experience."


Fair enough. End of discussion. So I thought. It started with various friends and colleagues coming up to me in the media work room asking, "Was that you who asked the question?" Well, yes. "Great job." 


Again, I wasn't looking for attention. It was probably a question that needed to asked over the weekend in some form. I chose the path of, what I thought, was least resistance. But when word got to cyberspace, it seemed like half of you congratulated me for asking the Kentucky coach "The Question", the other half of you reside in no-maintenance condos in Big Blue Nation.


I understand that your views are clouded by adoration of a man who makes $3 million a year at the state university for coaching basketball. What you don't get is that's the reason that question had to be asked. Calipari is a public figure, maybe the highest paid state employee in the state. If the governor had stains on his record, wouldn't legitimate questions be worth it? 


I also understand that the BBN reaction to "The Question" is the same reason some Bucknuts are tired of the Jim Tressel criticism. Both guys win. That, to me, has always been the thinnest argument. You are who you have beaten. If Cal won half his games or Tressel was on the other end of those Michigan scores, they would suddenly become a lot dumber.


That's why BBN -- and its kin in college athletics -- need us: The objective, the even-handed, the informed. Yes, even the opinionated. The basic duty of the media is to be a watchdog over the rich and powerful. That's why the Fiesta Bowl was taken down. That's why there is a cloud of scandal hanging over college football and basketball. That's why NCAA president Mark Emmert squirmed last week when he was asked is salary on PBS' Frontline. Sooner or later, we'll know it. We deserve to know it. 


You may not care but that's why we do what we do. Sometimes we give you stuff you need to read, as opposed to want you want to read.


I speak for my colleagues when I say the only thing we'll root for tonight is a goody storylines, a quick game and a media shuttle that is prompt. Whether I or anyone else ask Jim Calhoun a tough question matters. We have a narrow window to ask it, public officials are accountable and whether you admit it or not, you want to know.


Someone now please help me down off my soap box. 


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:56 am
 

HBO fouls it off; college athletics just foul

There hasn't been much good news at all for Auburn since Wes Byrum hit that field goal at the gun to beat Oregon.

That was 80 days ago. Makes sense that it seems like the football program has been around the world.

If it wasn't someone poisoning their oak trees, it was their former Heisman winning quarterback under investigation by the NCAA. And now this: Failing to get any more dirt on Cam Newton, HBO settled for four former mostly-disgruntled Auburn players who said they received extra benefits at the school. I received an advance copy of the "Real Sports" Tuesday. Maybe it's the age we live in, but when Stanley McClover started talking about hundred-dollar handshakes, it hardly registered.

Isn't that what the SEC calls "game week"?

Now it's a national story, I guess, but until we have a) a paper trail and b) names, this is an athletic version of "Entertainment Tonight." SEC-schools-paying-players is the equivalent of Lindsay Lohan entering a courtroom. Sooner or later you get numb to it all. (Although Lindsay does dress better.)

There's also the issue of the NCAA's statute of limitations. The association sets a prosecution limit of four years from the time of the wrongdoing. Most of the payments mentioned came between 2001-07. An NCAA official told me Tuesday that the association is interested if the players want to talk, but the trail is so cold will there be any footprints leading investigators to the offending sugar daddies/coaches? 

The NCAA can re-open cases beyond the statute of limitations -- this one seems juicy enough -- but where does it find the time? Also Wednesday, ESPN reported that infamous seven-on-seven entrepreneur Will Lyles solicited upwards of $80,000 from Texas A&M to land cornerback Patrick Peterson


Let's not forget that Bruce Pearl is waiting to see if he can ever work again at a major college. USC is awaiting its appeal in the Reggie Bush case. Remember those carefree days of last June? I guess what I'm saying is, don't get antsy. The USC case took four years and is still going on, with at least one lawsuit sure to follow if an appeal isn't won. These Auburn players could have their own web-based cyber-shows by the time the NCAA gets to them -- "Who Wants to Be A Deadbeat?" 

OK, so the fact that these guys might not have been upstanding citizens shouldn't matter. Wrong is wrong. And we shouldn't diminish HBO's reporting. I didn't get those guys to talk. Neither did anyone else. When you hear $7,000 for a car, that's starting to get into some serious Maurice Clarett-type money. But admit it, we've got bigger, more tangible scandals to concentrate on. Jim Tressel tried to upstage the cable network Wednesday by "apologizing". Well, apologizing for things he can't discuss. I'll translate: Tressel is so sorry that he allowed five of his players to compete while ineligible than he's genuinely worried about his job. That kind of sorry. 

Oh, and pay attention to the man behind the curtain. That's Luke Fickell who was introduced as interim coach when Tressel starts working only six out of every seven days a week. The five-game suspension is so serious that Tressel will, get this, actually miss game day.

Anyway, back to Auburn. The players' allegations don't involve just the Tigers. McClover said he had sex while on a visit to Ohio State. LSU and Michigan State are mentioned too in the cavalcade of hundies. It's been a dreary offseason for the Tigers, one big hot mess. If it wasn't already, confidence in the system is eroding. But until the NCAA sends out that message, a corrupt system is going to keep operating. Alabama had four major violations in 14 years. It won the national championship (2009) in the same year as its last one. Newton's daddy solicited money at Mississippi State. The kid skated, remained eligible, because of a loophole in the NCAA rules.

Some obscure six-year-old language allowed the Buckeye Five to play in the Sugar Bowl. Talk about a competitive advantage. Disgusted? Yeah, well, at least we have the annual refreshing bowl experience to cheer us up. Oh wait...
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:55 am
Edited on: March 31, 2011 8:55 am
 

HBO fouls it off; college athletics just foul

There hasn't been much good news, at all, for Auburn since Wes Byrum hit that field goal at the gun to beat Oregon.

That was 80 days ago. Makes sense that it seems like the football program has been around the world.

If it wasn't someone poisoning their oak trees, it was their former Heisman winning quarterback under investigation by the NCAA. And now this: Failing to get any more dirt on Cam Newton, HBO settled for four former mostly-disgruntled Auburn players who said they received extra benefits at the school. I received an advance copy of the "Real Sports" Tuesday. Maybe it's the age we live in, but when Stanley McClover started talking about hundred-dollar handshakes, it hardly registered.

Isn't that what the SEC calls "game week"?

Now it's a national story, I guess, but until we have a) a paper trail and b) names, this is an athletic version of "Entertainment Tonight." SEC-schools-paying-players is the equivalent of Lindsay Lohan entering a courtroom. Sooner or later you get numb to it all. (Although Lindsay does dress better.)

There's also the issue of the NCAA's statute of limitations. The association sets a prosecution limit of four years from the time of the wrongdoing. Most of the payments mentioned came between 2001-07. An NCAA official told me Tuesday that the association is interested if the players want to talk, but the trail is so cold will there be any footprints leading investigators to the offending sugar daddies/coaches? 

The NCAA can re-open cases beyond the statute of limitations -- this one seems juicy enough -- but where does it find the time? Also Wednesday, ESPN reported that infamous seven-on-seven entrepreneur Will Lyles solicited upwards of $80,000 from Texas A&M to land cornerback Patrick Peterson


Let's not forget that Bruce Pearl is waiting to see if he can ever work again at a major college. USC is awaiting its appeal in the Reggie Bush case. Remember those carefree days of last June? I guess what I'm saying is, don't get antsy. The USC case took four years and is still going on, with at least one lawsuit sure to follow if an appeal isn't won. These Auburn players could have their own web-based cyber-shows by the time the NCAA gets to them -- "Who Wants to Be A Deadbeat?" 

OK, so the fact that these guys might not have been upstanding citizens shouldn't matter. Wrong is wrong. And we shouldn't diminish HBO's reporting. I didn't get those guys to talk. Neither did anyone else. When you hear $7,000 for a car, that's starting to get into some serious Maurice Clarett-type money. But admit it, we've got bigger, more tangible scandals to concentrate on. Jim Tressel tried to upstage the cable network Wednesday by "apologizing". Well, apologizing for things he can't discuss. I'll translate: Tressel is so sorry that he allowed five of his players to compete while ineligible than he's genuinely worried about his job. That kind of sorry. 

Oh, and pay attention to the man behind the curtain. That's Luke Fickell who was introduced as interim coach when Tressel starts working only six out of every seven days a week. The five-game suspension is so serious that Tressel will, get this, actually miss game day.

Anyway, back to Auburn. The players' allegations don't involve just the Tigers. McClover said he had sex while on a visit to Ohio State. LSU and Michigan State are mentioned too in the cavalcade of hundies. It's been a dreary offseason for the Tigers, one big hot mess. If it wasn't already, confidence in the system is eroding. But until the NCAA sends out that message, a corrupt system is going to keep operating. Alabama had four major violations in 14 years. It won the national championship (2009) in the same year as its last one. Newton's daddy solicited money at Mississippi State. The kid skated, remained eligible, because of a loophole in the NCAA rules.

Some obscure six-year-old language allowed the Buckeye Five to play in the Sugar Bowl. Talk about a competitive advantage. Disgusted? Yeah, well, at least we have the annual refreshing bowl experience to cheer us up. Oh wait...
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 28, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Haden plans to attend UT infractions hearing

LOS ANGELES -- USC AD Pat Haden says he wants to attend Tennessee's June infractions hearing as an "observer."

Haden told CBSSports.com he was in the process of making a request to the NCAA.

"I hope I'm able to attend as an observer," Haden said. "I have a request [in] ... I've been told by people I should be able to."

Obviously, Haden has an interest in the hearing beyond just the experience. Tennessee basketball and football have been accused by the NCAA of a combined 12 major violations. Current USC coach and former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin is charged by the NCAA with a "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" and "failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance" while in Knoxville.

Haden has been on the job eight months wants to learn more about the NCAA process, he told CBSSports.com

Tennessee's hearing is June 10-11 in Indianapolis. USC is still waiting the NCAA answer to its appeal on the June penalties for major violations. The school considers the penalties too harsh and is seeking elimination of this year's bowl ban and relief on scholarship reductions.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: NCAA, Tennessee, USC
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com