Posted on: June 27, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:49 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
After a three month "free agency" that was kicked off with the release from his scholarship with N.C. State, Russell Wilson has made a decision about his immediate future with football and baseball. On Monday, Wilson confirmed what many people had speculated: that he would use his final year of football eligibility this fall playing for Wisconsin.
Wilson chose the Badgers over Auburn and the Colorado Rockies organization, where Wilson was drafted in the fourth round last summer. He started at second base for the Class A Asheville Tourists this spring, but began to reconsider his future in football back in April. The next months were a whirlwind of reports and discussion, as Wilson visited with the coaching staffs at Auburn and Wisconsin during days off from the Tourists. With fall camp approaching in a little more than a month, and with a growingly frustrated Rockies' front office -- Wilson decided it was time to make a decision.
"I never want to be told I have the starting job, I never believe in that," Wilson explained in an appearance on ESPN's College Football Live on Monday. "I believe that, being the competitor I am, you have to compete every day. Once I found out I would get the opportunity to compete and be the best I could be every single day, I was truly excited about that.
"I think that with [Wisconsin's] coaching staff and the players they have, the tradition they have there in terms of their fans and the players that have played there before -- I am truly excited about it, I think it's a great situation for me."
Head coach Bret Bielema offered his thoughts on the arrival of Wilson in the school's official release.
“Russell will come in and compete for the starting quarterback position,” Bielema said. “This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin. However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team.”
For Wisconsin, Wilson's addition answers one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2011 season. When the Badgers closed spring practice, there still was not an official starting quarterback for the fall. Now Wisconsin gets the addition of a three-year starter with an all-conference resume. With Ohio State now facing a season of uncertain expectations thanks to the offseason scandal, Wilson makes the Badgers the biggest on-field story in the new Leaders Division of the Big Ten.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:49 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
An investigation into the Columbus (Ga.) Parks and Recreation Department may have revealed potential violations regarding two University of Georgia athletes, according to a report in the Ledger-Enquirer.
Police records show that department director Tony Adams and top lieutenant Herman Porter used an unauthorized bank account to pay for flights for USC transfer Jarvis Jones. The investigation also reveals possible wrongdoing involving shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (read more on Caldwell-Pope and the hardwood Bulldogs at the Eye On College Basketball).
Both Jones and Caldwell-Pope played on the Georgia Blazers, a city-funded, Nike-sponsored AAU basketball team. A Parks and Recreation employee told police that Adams used the Georgia Blazers credit card to pay for four different flights between Atlanta and Los Angeles for Jones' mother in the Summer/Fall 2009. According to the report, the total cost of all four flights was $828.40.
Jones was a highly touted recruit when he signed with USC in 2009, but a neck injury kept him from being cleared medically and led to his transfer to Athens. After sitting out the 2010 season, he is projected as a starting linebacker for the Bulldogs in the fall. As of Sunday afternoon, Georgia's compliance office stated the school had not received any information from the NCAA about the investigation. Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren, however, said the NCAA was "aware of the investigation, allegations and actions of the individuals we had under investigation."
If the NCAA determines the purchase of the flights to be in violation on NCAA rules, Jones would likely be suspended for a portion of the Bulldogs' 2011 season. For enrolled student-athletes, any benefit of $500 or greater results in 30% withholding (from games) and repayment of the amount. If this punishment applies to Jones, he would be forced to sit out (likely) the first four games of the 2011 season.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the first four games of the season include two of the biggest matchups on the schedule. Georgia plays Boise State in a "neutral" Georgia Dome for the Chick Fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta on Sept. 3, then hosts the defending division champion South Carolina Gamecocks in Athens on Sep. 10. In another down year for what many consider a winnable SEC East, that early-season showdown could once again prove to be a pivotal outcome for the division race come August.
BRIEFLY: Georgia head coach Mark Richt announced on Sunday that redshirt freshman Brent Benedict is no longer a member of the football program. There was no official statement from Benedict, but the release stated the offensive lineman was leaving for "personal reasons."
Posted on: June 25, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:50 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When Louisville cornerback Darius Ashley was charged with his second DUI arrest in seven months, it was assumed that it may lead to the end of his football career with the Cardinals. But when head coach Charlie Strong announced on Friday that Ashley was suspended indefinitely, the second-year coach expressed concern for far more than Ashley's football career.
"He may not ever run down that field and make another tackle; he may not make another interception on this football field," Strong told the media on Friday. "But our major concern right now is to help him tackle what he infighting now, and that's the issue of alcoholism."
Strong went on to compliment Ashley's recent successes, from his on-field attitude to his 3.0 GPA. The university will help Ashley in seeking out a rehabilitation program, he will remain on scholarship for the time being. He will not be a part of the program, but on scholarship and with help from the school it is not impossible for Ashley to make his way back to the field. However, it is encouraging to see Strong's focus on the well-being of his player, rather than simply analyzing the football implications of the arrest.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 4:34 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Dennis Dodd unveiled his 2011 Hot Seat Ratings for college football, and for the most part the ACC coaching picture appears to be somewhat stable heading into the fall. Obviously any new developments in North Carolina's NCAA case would change the hot seat rating of Butch Davis.
The ACC has some fresh faces (Maryland's Randy Edsall, Miami's Al Golden, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Virginia's Mike London), and some deeply rooted coaches like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, and Wake Forest's Jim Grobe. But in between the newbies and the veterans are four coaches who could feel the seat heating up in the near future.
BUTCH DAVIS: North Carolina, hired before 2007 season - Well after the resignation of John Blake, Davis announced his regret for hiring his long-time friend and now-revealed runner. Many people believe that Davis' time at North Carolina should come to a close for allowing all of the well-documented wrongdoing to take place under his watch. But the fact is that the school has stood behind Davis, and as of right now the NCAA is not holding him personally responsible. However, should further information indict Davis things could be different. Additionally, if the Committee on Infractions hits the program with serious sanctions it will become more difficult for supporters to stand behind Davis. Coming off of his first bowl win since arriving in Chapel Hill, Davis needs to make sure the on-field successes are overshadowing the off-field chatter in order to keep some sort of job security.
TOM O'BRIEN: N.C. State, hired before 2007 season - After choosing to join the Colorado Rockies' organization instead of spending his spring with the N.C. State football team, Russell Wilson was told by head coach Tom O'Brien that the starting quarterback role was a 365 day/year type job. O'Brien believed that if Wilson was going to be the starting quarterback in the fall, he needed to participate in spring practice - something Wilson had missed every season due to Wolfpack baseball. So when Wilson returned to O'Brien, the former Marine stood by his word, declaring junior Mike Glennon as the starting quarterback for 2011. Wilson thanked his fans, was released from his scholarship, and is currently deciding if (and where) he wants to play football in the fall.
O'Brien's future at N.C. State from a hot seat perspective is not reliant entirely upon whether Glennon turns out to be a premier quarterback, but it is certainly a contributing factor. 2010 marked O'Brien's first winning season at N.C. State, and Wilson was a big part the Wolfpack's success. If Wilson succeeds in the national spotlight somewhere like Wisconsin, the fans in Raleigh will grow frustrated with O'Brien if Glennon is less than satisfactory. At Boston College it took O'Brien a few seasons to get things going in the right direction (six straight bowl victories), but that waiting period will expire soon for many N.C. State fans.
DABO SWINNEY: Clemson, promoted during 2008 season - Of all the coaches grouped into this category, Swinney has had the least amount of time as the head of the program. But, Swinney's midseason promotion to interim head coach in the 2008 season will always serve as a disadvantage in the eyes of the Clemson faithful. Don't get me wrong, the Tigers love them some Dabo. He carries a great reputation as a recruiter, and he has continued that trend delivering nationally ranked classes since being promoted. But especially after Clemson's 6-7 performance in 2010, there is beginning to be some doubt if Swinney is the right man for the job. He acted quickly after the season ended, shaking up the assistant coaches and bringing in Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris to improve a struggling unit. If the change to the other positions on the staff don't lead to an improvement in the "wins" column, fans will turn their attention to Swinney. With Tommy Bowden's resignation, the Tigers never got a chance to really hold a coaching search or pick "their guy." Swinney will be "Bowden's guy," unless he takes these top ranked recruiting classes and turns them into top ranked teams in the near future.
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Duke, hired before 2008 season - With 12 victories in his first three seasons, Cutcliffe has already doubled the amount of wins that prior head coach Ted Roof collected in more than four years. Bringing in the man known for mentoring some of the game's best quarterbacks was a big-time move with hopes to bring the Blue Devils at least to a point of mediocrity. In 2009, Cutcliffe got Duke within two games of bowl eligibility - which would basically be Duke's version of the Super Bowl.
Cutcliffe has brought some excitement back to football in Durham, but his seat could get much hotter in the coming seasons if Duke continues to fall short of breaking through. I realize that is a difficult expectation for a program that hasn't seen the postseason since 1995, but there is only so much losing a fan base can sit through these days without demanding a change.
Here is the full breakdown of ACC coaches from Dennis Dodd's Hot Seat Ratings:
KEY: Ratings go from 0-5, with 0 being "can't be touched" and 5 being "on the hot seat, time to win now"
Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:55 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
North Carolina's Notice of Allegations, delivered to the school earlier this week by the NCAA, is certainly stocked with all kinds of facts, figures, and redacted information to be discussed and debated between now and the Oct. 28 hearing with Committee on Infractions. The case will end up being a standard for NCAA enforcement in modern college football history. It may be buried well below the lede on Sportscenter, but trust me: we will remember this case.
One aspect of the case that is particularly notable is in alleged violation 9b.
In February through June 2010, the institution did not adequately and consistently monitor social networking activity that visibly illustrated potential amateurism violations within the football program, which delayed the institution's discovery and compounded the provision of impermissible benefits provided in Allegation Nos. 4-a, 4-c, 4-d and 4-e.This is where the entire investigation started. All 42 pages of letters and allegations can be summed up in a series of 140-character tweets from Greg Little and Marvin Austin. Well, technically, it was a combination of tweeting some Rick Ross lyrics, TwitPic'ing pool parties and expensive dinner bills, along with some other loose evidence of misconduct.
So the NCAA is wondering how North Carolina's compliance office did not see a red flag when their star student athletes were living a lavish lifestyle in big cities the summer before their senior season. Now, being charged with Failure To Monitor, this case becomes the NCAA's official acknowledgement of social networking in collegiate sports.
Unfortunately, they are probably entering the game a little too late. Acting reactively, as usual, the NCAA has essentially let compliance offices all over the country know that this is something they should be monitoring closely. Here's the thing: it's really not that hard.
Make Twitter lists, download Tweetdeck, organize the accounts however you choose -- there of plenty of options. If the "search" function is too difficult to figure out, then require athletes to include their Twitter handle at the same time you get the rest of their contact information. Most of these student-athletes (particularly the ones most at-risk of impermissible benefits) will want as many people as possible to have unprotected access to their Twitter accounts. Amateurism rules prevent an athlete from benefiting off their own likeness financially, but Twitter allows a pro prospect to begin marketing themselves while in school. Certain athletes enjoy building their brand, interacting with fans and getting a more hands-on approach to shaping people's perception.
All the compliance office has to do is watch, and ask questions.
Recently Maryland defensive lineman and Twitter extraodinaire A.J. Francis (@The_Franchyze) tweeted a lyrics from a song by Rick Ross (surprise!) and Kanye West -- "Live Fast, Die Young."
Seems like we getting' money for the wrong things,Now, someone with a common knowledge of the lyrics on Ross' 2010 release Teflon Don might recognize that quote. But none of those people are in Maryland's compliance office. To them, this seemed like a questionable Twitter-post that could possibly be dealing with impermissible benefits. No need to launch an investigation, but the office took action.
Now Francis was asked to remove the post, but I think once Compliance explained the situation he understood. There could be a discussion about free speech, but we have yet to see a Chad Ochocinco-type character challenge the authority of his school on those grounds. But the point of the matter is that if North Carolina's compliance office had been keeping an eye on the profiles of its star athletes, there could have been more immediate action to nip the wrongdoing in the bud.
So the message has been sent to compliance offices everywhere. It's time to wake up and follow your student-athletes on their social networking sites. The fans are, most of the media is, and for both of those groups to find out about a potential violations well before the compliance office is unacceptable.
Go ahead, just follow them. Trust me, most student-athletes will be happy to raise their follower/friend count.
(Image Credit: Twitter)
Posted on: June 22, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:56 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Earlier today, I hopped on the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast with Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst to talk a little UNC Notice of Allegations.
"Should Butch Davis be fired?" That's the question being asked by many people after scanning the collection of charges detailed in the 42-page report from the NCAA. In reality, there was very little in the notice that was not already known thanks to some aggressive reporting by both national and local media. But the report does bring together a year of investigations into potentially major violations in several different categories involving a fair share of the most notable names on the roster.
So yes, it does look bad. On the surface, it looks very bad.
But the picture that has been painted for the NCAA by North Carolina is one of an institution struggling to deal with "rogue" members. Since John Blake did not tell UNC about the money from Gary Wichard, and Jennifer Wiley continued to provide services after no longer being employed by the school; North Carolina (and more importantly Butch Davis) can say they are sorry and try to cooperate. In fact, it is their cooperation which the institution will argue demonstrates the feeling of responsibility among those in oversight of the program.
Many people would argue that Davis, who has known Blake for "at least 30 years," should have known his reputation around coaching circles. It will be argued for years to come, that no matter what the NCAA can or cannot prove: Davis knew what Blake and Wiley were doing.
But as of Tuesday, it does not appear that the NCAA is prepared to allege wrongdoing directly against Butch Davis. Enraged fans will scream that Davis is guilty, and demand what they consider "justice." But the NCAA, similar to our own justice system, does not act based on assumption or reputation. With no evidence, it cannot be proven that Davis knew of any wrongdoing during which he did not act on as a head coach.
As you'll hear in the podcast below, a decision was made when the NCAA set foot on campus. North Carolina either had to jump ship and get rid of Davis when the scandal broke, or ride out the storm with him at the helm. If Davis has made it this long, there will be no changes to his employment AT LEAST until this process is complete.
Okay, after all that serious talk I should probably warn you that we also discuss Mascots, Adam's plan for Wolvie the Wolverine, and my early crush on college cheerleaders.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:56 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
More Russell Wilson news, but at least now it looks like there may be an end to the indecision. Wilson is said to be torn between deciding whether he wants to play his final season of college football at Wisconsin, Auburn, or remain as a prospect with the Colorado Rockies. Wilson's trip to Auburn was a "job interview" of sorts, while Badger insiders referred to his trip to Madison as a "grand slam." Throughout the entire process, the Rockies have expected Wilson to finish out the regular season with the Asheville Tourists - which ends Sept. 5.
But Wilson has decided to wind down the decision process and plans to make his intentions known soon, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report. The report cites a source close to the situation that believes Wilson will likely announce his intentions before July 1 - possibly even this week. That is not too far off from the previous report which had him indicating July 4 as a deadline earlier this month. Either way, the "free agency" of Russell Wilson should be coming to a close in the next couple weeks.
Making the decision sooner will benefit all parties involved, particularly if he decides to play college football in the fall. Once he has made his decision, he can begin meeting his new teammates and learning a brand new offense - hopefully in time for fall camp to open in August. Wilson has always been credited for exhibiting high football IQ, but mastering a brand new offense in a few months will be one of his greatest challenges yet. If Wilson announces his intention to stick with the Rockies, both Auburn and Wisconsin can stop looking at hypotheticals and begin focusing on their quarterback situation for the fall.
Wisconsin probably has the most to gain from Wilson's arrival, and that is my guess for where he will end up should he choose one more season on the gridiron. Wilson was intrigued by the prospect of "big-time college football," and it is arguably hard to get much bigger than the newly expanded Big Ten. Particularly after Ohio State's tumultuous offseason, that Leaders Division should look awfully winnable to head coach Bret Bielema. All he needs is an answer for the quarterback position, and Badger fans are hoping Wilson will be that answer.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:57 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
In June 2010 the NCAA began to investigate the North Carolina football program in regards to possible violations regarding players receiving impermissible benefits. After a tumultuous season that saw 14 players miss at least one game (with seven missing the entire season), the first steps of closure can begin with this multi-pronged investigation into the North Carolina football program.
The official Notice of Allegations (you can see the full letter here on TarHeelBlue.com), includes nine different allegations.
Three (3) of the allegations are against former North Carolina assistant coach John Blake:
- Unethical conduct for providing false and misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution and for failure to cooperate with the investigation.
- Blake marketed athletic abilities of student-athletes to agent Gary Wichard
- Blake received outside income that he did not report to the institution
Two (2) of the allegations are against former North Carolina tutor Jennifer Wiley:
- Unethical conduct for refusing to provide information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution
- Wiley provided extra benefits to student-athletes in the form of ravel and parking expenses, and tutoring.
The rest of the allegations: - Allegations of fraud against student-athletes and the tutor
- Allegations that student-athletes received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits
- Allegations against a former student-athlete for unethical conduct
- Failure by the institution to adequately monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation; the social media activity of the football team for a period in 2010; and possible extra benefits triggered by agent legislation.
The notice of allegations tells the school the alleged NCAA violations the enforcement staff found during the investigation process. The school has 90 days to respond, though they may request more time. After the school issues their response, a hearing date is set with the Committee on Infractions. The Committee on Infractions meets about six times a year, usually lasting for two to three days over a weekend. Most recently the committee heard cases related to Boise State and Tennessee. Ohio State, the grandaddy of NCAA cases these days, is currently scheduled to go before the committee on Aug. 12.
The NCAA requested that the school limit public comments on the details of the investigation and the Notice of Allegations until the hearing before the Committee on Infractions, which has been set for Oct. 28. However, head coach Butch Davis did offer a statement in the official release.
“I feel terrible that these allegations occurred under my watch," Davis said. "I especially regret that the university has had to endure this scrutiny because of the football program. The responsibility for correcting any problems that put us in this position is mine, and I take that responsibility very seriously."
Chancellor Holden Thorp also took responsibility for the allegations, but also credited the football program's cooperation with the NCAA during this year-long process.
“I deeply regret that Carolina is in this position," Thorp said. "We made mistakes, and we have to face that. When the investigation started a year ago, we pledged to cooperate fully with the NCAA, to go where the facts took us, and to face the issues head on. Our level of cooperation is evident in the allegations, some of which arise from facts that we self-reported to the NCAA. We will emerge with a stronger athletics program, and we will restore confidence in Carolina football.”
It is not until after the hearing the Committee on Infractions will put together their final report, which will include the penalties for the violations. Different forms of NCAA sanctions include reduced scholarships, postseason bans, vacated wins, recruiting restrictions, and television bans. In recent cases Michigan. USC, Florida State, Texas Tech, and Alabama have received some form of NCAA sanctions.