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Posts Tagged ‘N.C.A.A. violations’

The N.C.A.A. Can’t Win for Losing

It was part Roberto Duran, part deck of the Missouri: the N.C.A.A. didn’t quite admit defeat in announcing it was concluding its investigation of Cam Newton and Auburn, but the general message — “we surrender” — closes the book on this ugly, year-long affair. For now, at least. Perhaps the alleged bag man really exists; in that case, says the N.C.A.A., future developments would lead to “further investigation.” That statement underlines the fact that the N.C.A.A. isn’t so much clearing Newton and Auburn as much as admitting that based on 80 interviews and months of due diligence, the N.C.A.A. could not find nothing improper about Newton’s recruitment. Nor could the N.C.A.A. unearth any improprieties regarding four former players who accused the school of providing impermissible benefits. Case closed, more than likely. Unless there really is a bag man? Nah, forget it.

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    Sifting Through Rubble in Coral Gables

    One problem with numerical rankings is that they don’t provide for varying degrees: we know who’s 1 and who’s 2, but we don’t know the distance between 1 and 2, let alone 1 and 4, for example. Basically, we don’t know what’s going on between 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 or 3 and 4 and so on. That’s the problem with any list of programs coming under the N.C.A.A.’s watchful eye over the last 16 months; a list may go like this —

    1 Miami (Fla.)
    2 Ohio State
    3 U.N.C.
    4 U.S.C.

    — but that doesn’t do us much good, does it? You’ve got Miami there with a bullet, heads and shoulders above the rest, while the gap between 2 and 4 really depends on the eye of the beholder; my list was pretty arbitrary. All you can really say based off such a list is that Miami’s transgressions have been worse than the rest, and while that’s the right sentiment this list fails to illustrate just how much the program’s misdeeds blow everyone — not just over the last 16 months, but the last 16-plus years — out of the water.

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      Is Tressel an Aristotelian Tragic Hero?

      I thought Michigan’s Brady Hoke had the best quote from today’s Big Ten festivities, when he responded with incredulity to a question about whether Michigan was rebuilding: “I don’t think we’re rebuilding. Period. I mean, we’re Michigan.” That’s the sort of confidence the Wolverines need after three disastrous seasons under Rich Rodriguez. But the quote of the day came from Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, who uttered the following when asked about one of his mentors, Jim Tressel:

      “Every person he’s come in contact with as a player and a coach, he’s made a positive impact on their lives. To me, it’s tragic. He becomes a tragic hero in my respect, in my view. Usually tragic heroes have the ability to rise above it all in the end and that’s what I’ll look for in the end.”

      Jim Tressel, tragic hero?

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        No. 43: Georgia Tech

        Only Ponzi schemes and the N.C.A.A. can turn $312 into a $100,000 loss. That sentence does come with an asterisk, however: Georgia Tech saw $312 worth of clothing and a secondary violation turn into a $100,000 fine, a vacated A.C.C. title and four years of probation, but the N.C.A.A. took greater umbrage with how the program flouted one of the governing body’s cardinal rules – it failed to “protect the integrity” of the N.C.A.A. investigation. How did Georgia Tech do that? According to the N.C.A.A., the university “prepped” a student-athlete on the nuts-and-bolts of the ongoing investigation. Yawn. Is that what draws probation and vacated wins these days? If so, I shudder as to the N.C.A.A. penalties should it be unearthed that a university was, say, paying players to sign on the dotted line. If a $312 misstep nets a $100,000 fine and probation, would a $180,000 transgression lead to a $57,692,308 fine and the end of college football as we know it?

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          Tressel’s Self-Inflicted Legacy

          Jim Tressel famously introduced himself to Ohio State at a men’s basketball game in early 2001, telling the assembled audience that fans would “be proud of our young people, in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field.” It was a banner quote for a first-year coach, one that underlined typical coach-speak about staying on the straight and narrow off the field while promising success where his predecessor, John Cooper, had failed: against the hated Wolverines. At least Tressel followed through on one of his promises; it was the most important promise to a single-minded fan base obsessed with winning at all costs, but it wasn’t enough.

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            Just What Exactly is a Blueshirt?

            Hidden inside the New Mexico State team preview was an innocuous question, one raised because of my unfamiliarity with the term: what’s a blueshirt, anyway? As noted in the preview, we’re all familiar with a redshirt, when a player sits out a season yet retains his eligibility; we’re familiar with a greyshirt, when a player delays his enrollment until the year after he signs his Letter of Intent, pushing his scholarship into the following recruiting cycle. As far as I know, the term “blueshirt” is invented by and used only by New Mexico State, which uses it to describe a rather ingenious recruiting practice.

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              Following, But Not That “Blindly”

              The talented individuals at Eleven Warriors do admit that polls like the one along this post are flawed, as readers can vote as many times as they want; readers can opt to abstain from voting altogether; and those with an ulterior motive — say, a Michigan fan — might come in and skew the results. But the voting on this poll, held on the Eleven Warriors Web site, does suggest, albeit with a small sample size, that Ohio State fans don’t “blindly” support Jim Tressel, as Kirk Herbstreit has suggested.

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                The N.C.A.A. Moves Fast on O.S.U.

                There’s nothing more heartwarming than good, old-fashioned newspaper reporting, particularly when it involves public-record requests. We saw this coming in March, when news first broke of Jim Tressel’s failure to inform his superiors at Ohio State that he was aware of several instances of misconduct involving members of the football team. Reporters at The Columbus Dispatch have nailed shut the case that Tressel violated the terms of his contract in doing so, however, thanks to documentation unearthed in an article released earlier today.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.