Once again it’s Fearless Friday where no subject is off limits. Here’s what is catching my eye today. What about you?
Should Urban Meyer apologize to Auburn? Florida coach Urban Meyer caused quite a stir this week when he was asked about Auburn’s recruiting limo.
In case you missed it, Auburn’s coaching staff used a white stretch limo with school flags and stickers to visit high schools around the state. No recruits, we have been told, rode in the limo.
Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley asked Meyer whether or not the NCAA should look into the practice. Dooley told me last night that he had read my note last Friday on the limo and mistakenly thought that recruits were getting rides. It was in that context that Dooley asked the question.
When asked about the NCAA stepping in, Meyer said: “I think it should. We’re trying to sell graduation rates and academics…..The Florida coaching staff will not be riding around in limos and ripping off our shirts.”
Boy, Meyer got a twofer on that answer. He not only addressed Auburn’s limo, but he got in a shot at the Tennessee staff of Lane Kiffin, which has been known to rip off its shirts to get the attention of recruits.
At least one columnist, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, has called on Meyer to apologize to Auburn because of his comments the way Kiffin was forced to apologize for publicly accusing Meyer of cheating during recruiting. Both claims, Bianchi said, were based on bad information and “What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gator.”
I don’t see it an apology in Meyer’s future.
No. 1, Meyer was responding to a question from a reporter and simply said that the NCAA should look into the issue. He did not directly charge Auburn with cheating, which is the SEC rule that Kiffin broke. Kiffin was talking to a booster club when he threw the out the cheating claim as red meat to his audience. It won’t surprise me if the NCAA, which has been trying to put some sanity back into the recruiting process, looks into the limo issue and bans the practice the way it banned other excesses.
No. 2, the question gave Meyer a free shot at Tennessee and he took it. Again, he didn’t accuse Tennessee of cheating, which is the rule in question. Yeah, his comment may have come across as a little smug but it just makes the Sept. 19 game in Gainesville with the Vols that much more compelling.
A political stunt from the Utah AG: Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff said this week that he is going to sue the BCS, even if Congress does nothing. Congress held hearings with BCS officials last Friday and did some chest-thumping. But it is not clear if any legislation will be forthcoming.
Shurtleff, who (Surprise! Surprise!) plans a run for the Senate next year or for Governor in 2012, held a fundraiser with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on April 28 where he charged $300 a head. So Shurtleff is using the BCS issue to build his political war chest and, if necessary, is prepared to spend millions of taxpayer dollars from the citizens of Utah to file a lawsuit about college football. They must have plenty of money in Utah.
Kiffin taking a calculated risk with Hood: I am not here to criticize Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin for signing Daniel Hood who, at the age of 13, participated in the kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old cousin. It appears that Kiffin has done his due diligence and that the kid is truly remorseful. It also appears that the victim has forgiven Hood and has written a letter supporting his intention to enroll at Tennessee.
But I will say two things:
1) I wouldn’t have signed the kid. I would have helped him find a place to play and go to school where the spotlight is not so glaring. I would wish him well and help him any way that I could if I was convinced he was truly remorseful. But if I’m the coach at a high-profile program like Tennessee, I don’t sign him.
2) From this point forward, Daniel Hood must be as pure as the driven snow. If he misses curfew or gets suspended for any reason, the press reaction will be brutal.
It sounds like the young man has turned his life around. For his sake and for the sake of the University of Tennessee, I hope it all works out.
Parts of the movie have already been shot on the Georgia Tech campus. When I saw Tuberville he was on his way to Atlanta to shoot some scenes.
“It’s something a little different,” said Tuberville, who is sitting out this season after being let go at Auburn last year. “I’m kind of anxious to see what the other coaches do.”
FYI. Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw play Oher’s adoptive parents, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. The movie will be released in November.
Don’t forget to call your momma: A million years ago when I was in college, my roommates and I used to watch all of the coaches Sunday football shows which were shown, I believe, during the early days of Ted Turner’s first Atlanta station. The one I always enjoyed most was Alabama’s Bear Bryant and his co-host, Charley Thornton, the long-time Alabama publicist.
Coach Bryant would drink his Coca-Cola and eat his Golden Flake potato chips and talk about the game all the mommas and daddies he had seen the day before.
He would often end the show this way:
“And don’t forget to call your momma. I wish I could call mine.”
I’m happy to report that my momma is still going strong and that we’re going to have lunch on Sunday in Madison. If it wasn’t for her teaching me to love reading and writing I don’t know where I’d be today. I sure wouldn’t have the best job in the world, which is writing and talking about college football.
So if your momma is still with us, make sure you remind her on Sunday how important she is. Trust me. She never gets tired of hearing it.