Once again it is Fearless Friday, Memorial Day Edition. This is where you are free to sound off on any topic, even if it’s non football related.
On a programming note: We’re going to take a break for the holiday weekend and will rejoin you on Tuesday for the annual SEC Meetings in Destin. Given some of the stuff that has happened among the league’s football coaches since national signing day, that first coaches meeting should be a lot of fun.
Until then, here are five burning questions to ponder. Feel free to talk among yourselves:
Does President Obama even UNDERSTAND the BCS? The new president is a pretty smart man but Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany recently told USA Today: “He’s a scholar and a lawyer and a great politician. But I don’t think he understands the complexity of the issue.”
Oh, it gets better.
“It’s very hard to be disagreeable with a popular president, that’s my first thought. The reality is that he has a pulpit and people listen. I think his strength is probably basketball brackets.”
What does this mean? It’s simple. For the longest time the conference commissioners who make up the BCS have simply been on defense. They were convinced—and still are—that the law is on their side.
But we are in a totally different political climate now where having the law on your side may not be enough. So this is another example of the BCS starting to go on offense. Stay tuned.
Does the transfer rule need to be changed? Former Miami quarterback Robert Marve has announced that he will transfer to Purdue instead of Tennessee. Marve started 11 of 13 games last season for Miami but left the program. One of the factors that pushed Marve to Purdue was that if he attended Tennessee he would have to pay his own way for the 2009-2010 academic year. Why? It’s because Miami would not release him from his scholarship to play for any ACC or SEC team. And if a school doesn’t officially release a player, he cannot receive an athletic scholarship from another Division I-A school for a year.
That rule needs to be changed. I still believe that players transferring from one Division I-A school to another should have to sit out a year. But if the kid is willing to sit out a year, I don’t believe his old school should be able to restrict where he transfers. The scholarship contract is already one-sided enough in favor of the school.
What do you think?
Are coaches are going to have to take furloughs, too? Here’s a good piece of reporting by Glenn Guilbeau of the Gannett News Service about how universities, like a lot of businesses, are dealing with tough economic times by asking employees to take furloughs of one or two weeks. Arizona State, Clemson, Maryland and Utah are among the schools that have already implemented furloughs. Others will surely follow.
There may be some debate about what coaches will be required to do if their university implements furloughs. But if they are smart the coaches won’t say a word and will “donate” a week’s salary to the cause. Politically, you can’t have the academic side struggling to survive and have the athletic side not pitching in to do its part.
LSU’s Les Miles, for example, makes $3.751 million per season as the head football coach. But it is logical that he would have to donate only from this base pay of $300,000, which is the only part paid by the university. The rest comes from other sources.
Does Lane Kiffin deserve a break on the Twitter NCAA violation? Yes. Like all of the football coaches who now have Twitter accounts, Kiffin has somebody to do the actual Tweeting for him. An employee on his first day posted a reference to J.C. Copeland, a defensive end from LaGrange who had just verbally committed to sign with Tennessee next February. That’s a no-no by NCAA rules. You can’t mention recruits by name until they sign on the dotted line. Tennessee self-reported the minor violation, its fourth since Kiffin came on board as head coach.
Expect more of this kind of stuff until coaches become more comfortable with the technology and get the staff up to speed on the complex recruiting rules. I am not ruling out the possibility that the NCAA will eventually put a ban on coaches Tweeting just like they did with text messaging. Like most things that are done for recruiting, this one has the potential to get out of hand.
Will Kentucky will win the SEC—in men’s basketball? I know this a football blog but last week I was in Lexington, Ky., on business and I’ve got to tell you—that place is up for grabs. The excitement level was off the charts about the arrival of John Calipari as head basketball coach. Well, it looks like that $4 million a year is already paying off. Now Calipari has added the No. 1 point guard in America, John Wall of Raleigh, to what was already one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. That just shows you the biggest difference between football and basketball. A dynamic coach can sign one big-time recruiting class and totally transform the program. The downside to that is all of those guys could leave after one year.
Enjoy your holiday, folks. Please be careful. We’ll talk to you next Tuesday from Destin.