Archive for July, 2010

Memo to Masoli: Just say that you’re sorry

 It’s Friday and, as always, the floor is open to you to discuss any topic. Here are five just to get the party started:

1. Memo to Masoli:  Don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to explain. Just say you’re sorry. I confirmed this morning that troubled quarterback  Jeremiah Masoli will visit the Ole Miss campus this weekend. Various media reports say he has already been accepted. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But based on the conversations I’ve had,  I feel confident in saying that Masoli will be offered a chance to walk-on without a scholarship. 

If you want a different perspective on Jeremiah Masoli, I would recommend this well-reported and well-written story  by Michael McKnight of

In the story Masoli makes the case that people need to look beyond what the police record says about him and to the human elements and the extenuating circumstances of his story. An AP story says that …

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Should the Football Writers, BCS make Auburn their 2004 champions?

Tommy Tuberville has been known to get into trouble because he has this nasty habit of speaking his mind.

Earlier this summer you’ll  recall that the Big 12 was about to go out of business. Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10) had already left  the conference. Then Texas threatened to also go to the Pac-10 and take four more teams (Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State) with them. It was a mess.

 The remaining 10 members of the Big 12 eventually stayed together because Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M used their leverage to get sweetheart financial deals to stay that the other seven teams in the league did not get.

Tuberville, who coached 14 years in the SEC (10 at Auburn, four at Ole Miss) before becoming the head coach at Texas Tech last January, publicly questioned how long the new Big 12 could stay to together with that kind of financial inequity (not to mention animosity) among the members. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe didn’t appreciate the comments …

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Should Ole Miss take Jeremiah Masoli?

College football is more popular than it has ever been. The crowds are bigger. The TV ratings are higher. Coaches are paid millions and assistant coaches now make more money that the previous generation ever dreamed out.

That’s the upside. The downside is that we’ve created a monster of expectations that encourages–almost demands–some risky behavior.

The case of former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is a prime example. Masoli is talented. No doubt about that. Oregon will probably be the best team in the Pac-10 this season even though Masoli is not there. If he was still there, we’d be talking about the Ducks in the national championship mix.

The reason Masoli is not there is that in June coach Chip Kelly kicked him off the team after his second legal incident in six months.  In January Masoli and a teammate were charged with second-degree burglary for stealing laptop computers from a fraternity house. He was charged with a felony which was knocked down to a …

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Why you should pull for Mark Herzlich


Greensboro, N.C.—Preseason meetings are supposed to be about games. It’s supposed to be about whose team is going to be best, who’s going to start at quarterback, and all of those fun things that we like to talk about as we kick off the official start of college football.

But every now and then we have to be reminded that behind the uniform and the statistics and the TV coverage and the billions of dollars that are generated from college football, there are human beings playing this sport.

You meet a kid like Mark Herzlich of Boston College. You get a chance to sit with him in a golf cart for four hours and between shots, you get to hear his story.

And it’s a helluva story.

A certain clarity comes to life when you only have one goal. And this time last year Mark Herzlich was thinking about one thing and one thing only.

“I wanted to live,” he said.

You see, Mark Herzlich had his life all mapped out. He was the 2008 ACC defensive player of the year. In that season …

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Five hot story lines from the ACC Kickoff

Greensboro,  N.C.—Welcome to the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff. This event is always smaller (there are 300 media members here) than the SEC meetings in Birmingham, where over 1,000 people received credentials to cover last week’s event.

It is also a little less intense, more relaxed.  Classical music plays in the lobby of the Grandover resort hotel as you walk in. There aren’t hundreds of fans standing behind roped off areas waiting to get pictures and autographs. The coaches don’t have security to get them from place to place. You’ll actually see coaches hanging out with writers on the golf course (gasp!)

I’m not saying that one event is better than the other. The SEC is certainly bigger but both media kickoffs have their charm. And while the ACC is smaller by design, there are no storage of important story lines as it gets ready for preseason practice. We met with the players here yesterday and today will meet with the coaches. Here are just five of the better story …

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Does Spurrier have one more big run left in him?

Hoover,  Ala.— I don’t really believe the next sentence even though I know it to be entirely accurate: Just a few months ago Steve Spurrier turned 65 years old.

How is that even possible?

He doesn’t look 65. Thanks to a pretty rugged exercise regimen, he’s fitter than most men half his age.  He doesn’t sound 65. Shoot, when Spurrier is 95 he won’t SOUND 65.

Example: Somebody asked Spurrier if players got into trouble a lot more than they used to or was the media just reporting on it more?

“I think (player arrests) are common now because players are getting arrested for everything that in the old days they did not get arrested for. I can sort of remember back in our day, if you were out and something happened they would say: Can you get home? We’ll drive you home. They did not go into the tank that night. But nowadays, as we all know, you go straight to jail if you’ve broke the law. There’s no room for error. Times are a little different than they were 25, …

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We need a whole new way of thinking on the agent issue

Hoover, Ala.—Here is how fast the sport of college football now moves. A few days ago Mike Slive was working on a first draft of his annual opening remarks for SEC Football Media Days.  Slive uses the opportunity to talk about the accomplishments of the conference in the past academic year and to lay out the challenges that are still before it.

There wasn’t a word about agents included in that draft.

By the time he actually delivered that message on Wednesday at the Wynfrey Hotel, the SEC commissioner had a lot to say about the current relationship between elite athletes and agents who do not play by the rules.

When Slive spoke at about 1:30 p.m. the SEC schools who were being questioned by the NCAA had grown to three: Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. Before dinner time Georgia revealed that it had heard from the NCAA which wants to come on campus and ask questions. Three of the four schools face the possibility that key players could miss games this season. A fourth, …

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Bad agents have messed up now: They’ve made Nick Saban mad


Hoover, Ala.—Now they’ve done it.

I’m talking about the sleazy agents. Yeah. You know who you are.

You gave us Reggie Bush and the fall of the men from Troy.

You have us in an NCAA investigation that started in North Carolina and seems to be growing by the day. You don’t care that you violate NCAA rules and put the eligibility of these kids in jeopardy and hurt scores of other kids who will never play in the NFL. You don’t care. Not your job. I get that.

Well, know this bubba. You’ve messed up now.

You have made Nick Saban mad and you’ve screwed up the first day of SEC Media Days, which is nothing short of a Southern holiday in this part of the world. It is not to be messed with and you, my friend,  have just messed with it.

Word got out yesterday that Alabama is looking into defensive end Marcel Dareus and whether he broke NCAA rules by attending an agents’ party in South Florida. If somebody affiliated with the agent paid Dareus’s expenses, then the …

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How more NCAA investigations are coming?

Five more buring questions before Alabama and Mississippi State step to the podium to begin SEC Media Days on Wednesday:

1. How many more NCAA investigations are coming? We told you yesterday morning that it appeared that the NCAA had gotten fed up with the level of improper contact between players and agents and had decided to crack down. Investigators have been to North Carolina asking about DT Marvin Austin and RB/WR Greg Little. They have also been to South Carolina to ask questions of reserve tight end Weslye Saunders.

Now add the University of Florida to that growing list. Florida became aware of allegations that junior center Maurkice Pouncey accepted a cash payment from an agent between the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati in January. Pouncey has already left school and was a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If the charge is proven then Pouncey was ineligible for the Sugar Bowl and Florida would likely have to vacate the …

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Five burning questions as we near SEC Media Days

SEC Media Days start Wednesday in Birmingham so we’re going spend our next three visits looking at some of the questions that are bound to come up during three days at the Wynfrey Hotel. We’ll do five questions today, Tuesday and Wednesday. Feel free to chime in with your own. If you could ask any question to any player or coach at SEC Media Days, what would it be?

Here are my five today:

1. Is South Carolina’s Weslye Saunders in trouble? Word broke last Thursday night that the NCAA is looking into whether or not North Carolina football players Marvin Austin and Greg Little had had improper contact with agents. On Sunday we learned that NCAA investigators had also visited Columbia, S.C. Joe Person of The State newspaper reported that NCAA investigators had interviewed tight end Weslye Saunders last week. Saunders is from Durham, N.C. and Person reports that he has several friends on the North Carolina team, including Austin. Coach Steve Spurrier made it clear to Joe that he …

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