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Tag:NCAA
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 3:59 pm
 

Stiff NCAA penalties on the way with new model



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Scandals, scholarships and rules changes were among the topics of frequent conversation at last week's NCAA Convention and while not everything president Mark Emmert wanted - the $2,000 cost of attendance stipend for example - was passed by the Legislative Council and Board of Directors, it's safe to say what happened in Indianapolis laid the ground work for significant changes that will impact schools for decades to come.

While details on most proposals from Presidential Working Groups finally emerged in some areas, the one place where there was plenty of talk but little substance was the new enforcement model that some in the organization have been tasked with reforming. After a year that included news about major infractions at Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State, North Carolina and others, it's no surprise that this would be one area of emphasis.

"We were damn mad and not going to take it anymore," Ed Ray, Oregon State president and chair of the Enforcement Working Group, said.

The Enforcement Working Group that came out of August's presidential retreat was tasked with creating a tiered violation structure, new penalty procedures, a reformed process for adjudication and a reformed process that is fair while supporting the collegiate model the organization is looking to uphold.

"In terms of what is our charge, we heard President Emmert talk about this risk-reward analysis and the fact that there seems to be a general loss of integrity and upholding the rules," Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach said. "This isn't purely a reactive move, we're not just doing this because of the scandals or if there is a crisis. We're doing this because it's the right thing to do. This is a time to redefine what are our principles and what do we stand for."

In addition to following the principles of fairness, accountability and process integrity, flexibility is one of the key things the new model is designed to address as there are currently only two categories of violations: major and secondary. The new model would have four levels (most egregious, serious, secondary, minor) with the Committee on Infractions taking into account various mitigating or aggravating factors that would then help determine penalties. While many believe the enforcement side just makes it up as they go along (and they can because they don't follow past precedent), the model should help move cases along in the system quicker and result in more consistency among penalties given out to schools.

"The working group recognizes the wide-spread perception that the current penalty model leads to inconsistent and insufficient penalties and does not adequately deter other institutions and individuals from engaging in conduct contrary to the rules," the working group's report stated. "The working group believes that the severity of the penalty imposed must correspond with the significance of the rule violation(s)."

If it all seems a bit dense and hard to understand, it is. That's why the NCAA created this proposed penalty matrix that gives you a better visual idea of what future programs will have to get used to if they break rules. For example, if you commit a serious Level I offense and there were no mitigating factors, you can expect a 2-3 year postseason ban.

"We haven't had a lot of pushback on this," Roe Lach said of the new multi-level structure. "If there's anything in the package that is a no-brainer, it seems like this may be it.

"An issue we've heard is we need to be more consistent and allow for more predictability. I think if we are more consistent, it would afford more predictability. The idea is to move toward a penalty guidelines model."

So how does it really work? Well, take the infamous USC case involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo among others: violations of NCAA bylaws governing amateurism; failure to report knowledge of violations; unethical conduct; violations of coaching staff limitations; impermissible recruiting contacts by a representative of the institution's athletics interests; impermissible inducements and extra benefits; and lack of institutional control.  

According to the new model, this would be classified as multiple Level I violations with four significant aggravating factors. Here's a comparison of penalties with what the Trojans got and what they would have received under the new model:



So yes, USC would have been punished even worse under the new proposed enforcement model coming from the NCAA. That's interesting because athletic director Pat Haden is on the enforcement working group and has made it a point to say that the Trojans were unfairly punished. In other examples provided by the NCAA, Baylor's basketball program would have seen the number of scholarships available slashed in half following the school's 2005 infractions case. Instead of fewer practice hours for Rich Rodriguez and Michigan in their case, the Wolverines could have lost up to four scholarships per year. Florida State's 2009 case could have seen football scholarship losses of 10-21 per year for three years instead of the six they received.

Given the new model, expect the hammer from Indianapolis to come down harder on cheaters in the future.

Posted on: January 16, 2012 2:06 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Sumlin hire a sign of King's quest for equality


Posted by Bryan Fischer

When milestones are being broken and they lack notoriety, does that make them less of a milestone?

It's an intriguing question to ask on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with regards to the hiring of African-American head coaches in college football.

In the case of new Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, perhaps it is best to see the arrival of yet another black coach - to the SEC no less - not as a milestone in itself but rather as a significant sign of progress with how far the sport has come. King's famous "I have a dream" speech 49 years ago called for racial equality along with an end to discrimination and, when looking at this hire, that seems to be truer now than it was just three or four years ago.

"I think it's significant progress," Sumlin said last week at the AFCA Coaches Convention about the lack of race being brought up with regards to his hire. "I can remember four or five years ago when I was hired at Houston, 'The first... the first... the first...' I said at the press conference that my hope five, six, seven years from now that it wouldn't even be a topic of discussion."

As Birmingham News columnist Jon Solomon notes, The Associated Press didn't mention Sumlin becoming the first black head football coach at Texas A&M until the 11th paragraph. While it's certainly possible Sumlin's hire might have brought up the discussion behind closed doors in College Station, there was no dwelling on his skin color when making the hire in public. Race was mentioned in passing because it wasn't a positive or negative in filling the job because Sumlin was judged on his merits as a head coach.

"They only talk about coaches two ways, moving on and getting hired or moving out and getting fired," he said with a chuckle. "When it gets to those deals now, race isn't part of the discussion."

Kentucky head coach Joke Phillips (above) played Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin in 2011 in the first ever meeting of two black coaches in the SEC. (US Presswire)
Sumlin will be the SEC's third black head coach when A&M moves to the league officially, joining Kentucky's Joker Phillips and Vanderbilt's James Franklin. Last season he was one of 19 Division I (excluding historically black institutions) minority coaches, up from just 11 in 1996. Beyond just numbers increasing, more and more assistant coaches are getting looks at top jobs around the country and it's not limited to smaller schools. Stanford's David Shaw took over for Jim Harbaugh and led the Cardinal to a BCS bowl while Franklin improbably took the Commodores to a bowl game in his first year with essentially the same squad that went 2-10 prior to his arrival.

That Sumlin moves from Conference USA to the nation's best league without much fanfare is much different from when Mississippi State hired Sylvester Croom and a positive sign that perceptions have changed just as reality has. Former Arkansas coordinator Garrick McGee took the head job at UAB to become the first black head coach at a major school in the state of Alabama, just as Sumlin became in the state of Texas. The moves are notable in their significance but also significant because they have not been noted with the attention they would have had not too long ago.

Unlike the NFL, where the Rooney Rule (instituted in 2003) has mandated teams interview minorities for openings, college hires have been left up to athletic directors and presidents' discretion. Though they are not forced to, many are giving some of the 479 black assistants in college football (as of the 2010-11 season) an interview without so much as a second thought about their race because of what they've accomplished on the field.

"I think any success I've had or can have helps the process," said Sumlin, proudly pointing out the SEC logo on his Texas A&M polo. "I think it's important that it is something that isn't being talked about. That is real progress."

Though the stark contrast between the number of black players in Division I (46%) and head coaches (less than 20%) remains a wide gulf, it is becoming less noticeable with each passing offseason. According to the NCAA, not only has there been increases in opportunities for coaches, but there has also been a broader distribution of those opportunities in other areas such as athletic administration and at the coordinator level.

In the case of Sumlin and others over the past few years, the best stat about them is that they are not talked about as one. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, that is certainly something to note as a sign of progress and a true milestone in the sport.
 

Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:10 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:10 pm
 

Gopher KR/CB Stoudermire granted extra year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's only January. But Year 2 of Jerry Kill's reclamation project at Minnesota has already gotten a big boost.

Gopher star kick returner and starting cornerback Troy Stoudermire was granted an extra year of eligibility by the Big Ten and will return for a second chance at his senior season, Minnesota announced in a statement Friday. A serious arm injury limited Stoudermire to only the first four games of the 2011 season.

Stoudermire's return will give him a serious shot at becoming the NCAA's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage. He already holds the Big Ten mark with 3,102 career yards, putting him a little more than 400 yards behind Houston's Tyron Carrier, who established the new record this past season with 3,517. Stoudermire should also re-establish himself as a key member of the Gopher secondary, having totaled 24 tackles, three pass break-ups, and two interceptions in those four 2011 performances alone.

“This is great news for Troy and for our program,” Kill said in the statement. “I’m really excited for Troy and glad to have him back with us next season.”

“I’m just excited and happy,” Stoudermire said. “I’ve been waiting on this thing for a long time. Now, I’m just looking forward to getting back there for my first workout and getting back with the team.”

A highly-regarded "athlete" prospect out of Dallas, Stoudermire struggled to become a regular down-to-down player under former coach Tim Brewster, eventually shifting from wide receiver to corner midway through the 2010 season. But even as a freshman, Stoudermire confirmed himself as a profilic return man, averaging 25.8 yards per attempt (27th nationally) and finishing in sixth in total kickoff return yardage.

It will take far more than just this one piece of good news to return the Gophers from the depths of back-to-back 3-9 seasons. And even Stoudermire will have to fight to earn the right to serve as the Gophers' primary kick returner; freshman receiver Marcus Jones averaged better than 28 yards on his 13 returns and found the end zone once as well--s00eomthing Stoudermire has, surprisingly, never accomplished. 

But for a special teams unit that could always use such a battle-tested return presence and a secondary that ranked 78th in the FBS in yards allowed per passing attempt, there's no doubt that Stoudermire's return is nonetheless a massive step in the right direction.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:19 pm
 

BCS headed toward plus-one, but still roadblocks

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The move toward a BCS plus-one has been gaining support following a commissioners meeting in New Orleans this week and was given a further shot in the arm with the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert on Thursday.

Still, roadblocks remain among the presidents controlling and ultimately the discussion about college football's postseason.

"I think that our position is we like the way the current system works," Oregon State president Ed Ray said. "The Rose Bowl is pretty damn special so we're pretty protective of that. I'm sure Larry (Scott) hasn't gone into considerations that there is an imperative to change. I understand the public feels that way but I don't. I think the most realistic change, if any, is the plus-one because the structure exists."

Representatives from the 11 BCS conferences met in New Orleans following the national title game to begin the process of re-working the system ahead of negotiations for a new contract that will start with the 2014 season. Although the general consensus amongst presidents and athletic directors at the annual NCAA convention is that there is likely a move to a plus-one with the new deal, there are plenty of skeptics of changing a system that, in their eyes, is working fine.

"I'm still not enamored with expanding the number of BCS games," said Nebraska channcellor Harvey Perlman. "I'm not in favor of a playoff, I have yet to hear a good reason why we would want one. I've spent a lot of time over the last several years as to why a playoff is bad. I'd like to hear one why it would be good and what it would accomplish. The only one I ever hear is that it would give us an undisputed national champion."

Arizona State president Michael Crow told CBSSports.com on Wednesday that he is supportive of an 8-team playoff run by the NCAA. While the position has not been formally proposed, it does appear to be on one extreme of the Spectrum where no two people are on the same page.

"I think (a playoff) would undermine the regular season or add games or undermine the bowls," Perlman said. "We don't need it. We have a regular season that is as much of a playoff as anything that could be constructed artificially. Why would you want it? Football isn't basketball."

"if there is a change, I think it will occur incrementally," Ray added. "The next incremental change would then be to make the plus-one structure to where you have two semifinals and a final. Beyond that I don't know but sometimes you get surprised."

There has been talk that the Cotton Bowl, thanks to Jerry Jones' money and the largess of Cowboys Stadium, would be in play as a fifth BCS bowl come 2014. Perlman doesn't believe that will be the case, with a more likely scenario of the BCS evolving into a #1 vs. #2 matchup and the rest of the bowls reverting back to conference tie-ins. That scenario is one that many think Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany would be supportive of.

"I don't think (Delany) is convinced yet," Perlman said of a plus-one. "We're all in conversations and I think we're going to have a teleconference soon. We'll have to see how it goes."

From the sounds of it, there could be a bumpy road to BCS change.

Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:51 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:17 pm
 

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- As part of sweeping changes stemming from a Presidential retreat in August, an NCAA working group will recommend to the organization's Board of Directors that FBS-level football scholarships be cut from 85 to 80 starting in 2014.

The proposal was among the most controversal to be discussed at a Division I session Friday morning at the annual NCAA convention, with several school leaders quite outspoken about the issue.

"What you see with these proposals is an effort to restrain spending at the expense of student-athletes," Harvey Perlman, chancellor of Nebraska, said. "The working group says if you reduce scholarships and other expenses you can reallocate it to other things for student-athletes. But the problem is, I don't know of an athletic department that won't spend every penny it has.

"I just think this is bad publicity and I think it's bad policy."

Georgia president Dr. Michael Adams chaired the group responsible and was put in the precarious position of leading the charge of several unpopular measures.

"Of all the things I've done the last 30 years at the NCAA, this is the most unpopular. I have the scars to show for it," Adams said. "There's a notion that we are a runaway train in Division I with less regard for student-athletes than the people who are making the exorbitant salaries. We need to put a stake down somewhere."

A good portion of the administrators speaking at a Q&A session about the new proposals - at large schools and small - sided with Perlman and cited issues with taking away opportunities not only to play football but earn a degree.

"It's pretty hard to see it any other way," said Perlman. "There's public concern about universities generating all these resources and not giving it to student-athletes. So the response is we're going to cut scholarships and other kinds of things? It doesn't make sense to me."

Adams is an interesting choice to lead the charge to cut spending at schools across the country. The Bulldogs have one of the healthiest athletics departments in the country and the football team was the second-most profitable in the country behind Texas last year. He understands that while others disagree with some of the details, there is a reason why the working group has been tasked to do what it has been working on.

"I think we've been running headlong into a cliff and now is a time to start pushing things back a little," he said. "I'm first of all an academic. I'm a big sports fan but I want the academic process to drive things and not the athletic process."

Coaches have been outspoken about the cuts as well. It was discussed at the AFCA Coaches Convention prior to the NCAA meetings and it's opposed in greater numbers among their ranks than those that headed to Indianapolis.

"The divide between presidents and AD's on one side and coaches is a pretty wide gulf," Adams said. "I don't want to fight with anybody. But on some of these issues I think there needs to be reasonable compromise to protect the academic process and, secondly, deal with the economic realities of the world we're now living in. My faculty hasn't had a raise in three years and a lot of them think what they see in athletics has a lot of excess in it."

The scholarship proposal also calls for a cut in the number of FCS scholarships by three - from 63 to 60 - and will be sent to the Board of Directors on Saturday to be voted on.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:07 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

ASU president on Todd Graham: "It was not normal"

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- To say the departure of head coach Todd Graham from Pittsburgh was messy might be understating things a little. Not only was it a surprising hire by Arizona State, but the reaction from Panthers players elevated to the point of vitriol.

Nearly a month after Graham was formally introduced in Tempe, Arizona State president Michael Crow, speaking on a panel at the NCAA convention, said that the reason there was such a fuss about him leaving was due in large part because of the Pitt administration.

"We made one offer and had one answer. It was a simple process," Crow said. "He caught a lot of flak because he was unable to talk to his team. We requested permission to speak to him and (Pitt) said no. For him to speak to us, he had to resign and then he could no longer speak to his players. We don't set those rules, we asked for an opportunity and didn't get it."

Graham is one of several new hires in the Pac-12 known primarily for fast-paced offense, which is interesting when you consider he was defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Tulsa. Still, outside of last season at Pitt, where the Panthers ranked 88th in the country in total offense and struggled with turnovers, Graham had the background that fit with exactly what Arizona State was looking for.

"What we set out to do was hire a head coach who had experience in playing football the way we wanted to - no huddle offense," Crow said. "We wanted the environment of a teach as opposed to the model of a professional coach. It's just a different model. We happen to think that in our environment, that's the model that we need. When we looked around the country, there were a few individuals on the list and Coach Graham was one of them."

The school was aware that Graham's father-in-law lives in Arizona and that he and his wife were already looking at houses in the Phoenix area before the ASU job even opened up. Because of a long interview process, Crow was one of several administrators who didn't seem to have a problem with the fact that their new head coach would have two "one-and-done" coaching stops on his resume and was firmly committed to building the program into a conference title contender.

"When you sit and spend hours with someone and talk to references about them, you get a better sense of the character of the person," he said. "You go from Tulsa to Rice and then back to Tulsa in one year, what's the reason? You talk to the people at Rice and you find out yes, there was a reason. You go to Pittsburgh and ask why you go to Pittsburgh, why don't you like Pittsburgh, what's going on? There's an explanation, coaches can have explanations like 'My family doesn't like it here, we'd really like to be somewhere else.'

"I'm not worried about that as an element of his character. His body of work as an assistant coach, as a high school coach, at Rice, why he moved from Rice back to Tulsa where he'd been an assistant (is good). The Pittsburgh thing I saw as an aberration. It was not his normal behavior."

We're guessing a few people in the Northeast disagree however.


Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:08 pm
 

NCAA Legislative Council debates new proposals

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cecil Newton wasn't the only thing on the docket for the NCAA Division I Legislative Council on Wednesday.

As the NCAA kicked the organization's annual convention into high gear, the council considered several proposals from member schools and other groups covering everything from the definition of an agent to recruiting contacts to multi-year scholarships.

"We're accustomed as the Legislative Council to be the primary ones looking at this legislation and really charged with making sure all the rules work right," chairwoman Carolyn Campbell-McGovern said. "It's a pretty big responsiblity."

The most noteworthy issue the council tackled was reworking the definition of an agent to close the loophole brought up in the Cam Newton investigation. The group also struck down a proposal submitted by the Colonial Athletic Association that would have given football players an extra year to play.

"We defeated the proposal in football that would have allowed students to have five seasons of eligibility in five calendar years," Campbell-McGovern said. "It was voted on separately by the FCS and FBS divisions. There was very little support."

The talk of the convention has centered on two ideas out of August's Presidential Retreat that would allow for up $2,000 in the form of a stipend to cover the cost of attendance and extend scholarships to cover multiple years. The two proposals reached the number of override votes from the membership and have been tabled for the time being until they have been sufficiently discussed and reworked.

"We had some discussion of that in order to provide some feedback to the board," the chairwoman said. "The fact that there was an override speaks to the fact that there are different positions and the membership is pretty well split. There was some discussion over what the concerns were, which have been pretty well documented.

"I think they all build on each other. The fact that it went into effect immediately and people didn't have time to plan was problematic.

"To some extent, the fact that some institutions will be able to engage in (giving out the scholarships or stipends) more than others is a concern, I didn't feel like that was one of the most prompt."

The council will provide feedback to the NCAA Board of Directors on Saturday on the proposals. Another proposal struck down dealt with the academic readiness of two-year college transfers.

"We struggled with this," Campbell-McGovern said. "We know a lot of people worked hard on this and that the two-year college community, in particular, was enthusiastic about it. We just felt like this really wasn't the time for it. We think it needs more work and we need to think more about how we can support the two-year college students better."

The board cited a need for more flexibility and support when students get to a four-year school and not have to rely on two-year colleges. The proposal is not dead - "it has merit" - but is being sent back to be reworked.
The council will resume debating Thursday morning and once the council wraps things up, the rules are considered adopted subject to final approval by the board.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:40 am
 

DeAnthony Arnett to transfer to Michigan State

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

DeAnthony Arnett's search to find a new football-playing home is going to have a happy ending.

The true freshman Tennessee receiver and Saginaw (Mich.) native was initially being denied an unconditional release by Derek Dooley last week, one that would prevent him from playing on scholarship for either of his preferred programs -- Michigan or Michigan State -- despite his father's ill health. But Tuesday Dooley relented, and Wednesday evening multiple reports made it official: Arnett will transfer to play for Mark Dantonio's Spartans, and per his brother (and the Knoxville News-Sentinel) will be enrolled in classes in East Lansing next week.

Because of his father's health complications, Arnett could receive an NCAA hardship waiver that would allow him to play for Michigan State in 2012 without sitting out the standard transfer penalty season. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Dana Gauruder, the loss of the Spartans' top three receivers from their 2011 squad -- not to mention the talent that made Arnett a highly sought-after four-star prospect -- could make Arnett an immediate starter for MSU should he be granted the waiver.

After publicly expressing his frustration with Dooley's initial decision, Arnett also made sure to express his gratitude for Dooley's change of heart after the pair's one-on-one meeting:
"I am sure that my request to leave UT was not the best or most expected news to Coach Dooley," Arnett wrote. "However, he took the time to hear me and understand that I must keep family first at all times. For this reason his decision to release me unconditionally comes as a sign of a compassionate and empathetic coach. I will never be able to express fully my appreciations and gratitude for his decision.
"I want to ensure that all recruits, current players and fans know that the University of Tennessee is headed in the right direction. All good things take time and work. UT has always surpassed the rest and I believe in due time they will be back to the number one program in the SEC."
The cynic in us wonders if publicly declaring to "all recruits" that the wobbly-looking Vols are "headed in the right direction" was a condition for Arnett's release to MSU, but in the end, it doesn't matter. Arnett will be able to attend his school of choice while being closer to his father. Dooley has done the right thing and has earned his commendations. However the pair arrived at this conclusion, everybody involved -- the Spartans most definitely included -- has come out a winner.

HT: GTP. 

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