Archive for June, 2011

Problem in college athletics isn’t kids, it’s the guys in suits

How does West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck (left) escape criticism for promoting Dana Holgorsen, who recently was intoxicated and thrown out of a casino? (AP photo)

West Virginia AD Oliver Luck promoted Dana Holgorsen (rear), who recently was intoxicated and thrown out of a casino.

Given that there is a U.S. congressman tweeting women pornographic pictures of his junior senator — and to somebody out of his district, no less — maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

But the worst of infectious diseases currently destroying college athletics isn’t the recruit who’s trying to play one school off the other for a signing bonus. Or the star player who’s looking for a car deal or a condo. Or the hungry but cross-eyed coach who will lie and drop-kick his values for a BCS bowl game or NCAA tournament berth. Or the booster in the shadows who will do everything to help all aforementioned parties.

Grown, secure men who seemingly shouldn’t have anything to worry about are the biggest thing destroying college athletics.

Parents feel compelled to set an example for their children. So apparently do college administrators and coaches — they’re …

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Take cover: Harvey Updyke (we think) is on Twitter (UPDATED)

Harvey: Is this really you?

Harvey: Is this really you?

(UPDATE: Guess what? I received a Tweet from @bbupdyke, who claims to be Bear Updyke, son of Harvey. He says this account is legit, so I guess we can believe him, assuming he’s legit.)

Reaffirming once again that there are no minimal requirements — intellectual or otherwise — to enter the world of social networking, say hello to one of the newest individuals with a Twitter account: Harvey Updyke Jr.

It’s true. We think. Via this alert from Friends of the Program, you can now follow the pearls of the alleged poisoner of Auburn’s oak trees at @HAUpdykeJR.

We can’t verify it’s actually Updyke’s account — and, sorry, but I don’t have a phone number for the last car Updyke was sleeping in. But the fact the photo on the account (left) is not the same arrest photo all over the Internet, and the comments don’t seem satirical, give it a degree of believability over the fake accounts (see below).

First, let me try some test Tweets, all under 140 …

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Jones’ message: Heyward needs to learn to play with pain

Jason Heyward has sat out 17 games this season will miss several more with shoulder pain.

Jason Heyward has sat out 17 games and he's expected to miss several more. (Curtis Compton)

When a player of significance is injured, it can be a problem for his team. When the player of significance has a lingering injury that doesn’t show up on an X-ray or an MRI, it can be a problem for the player.

This is the gray area where Jason Heyward currently  sits (with an ice bag).

Chipper Jones did not necessarily call out his Braves teammate the other day when he said that Heyward “needs to realize [that] at 80 percent [he’s] a force,” and that, “There are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy.”

But that’s about as close as you can come to saying, “Rub some dirt on it.”

Jones is team’s elder statesman. He is one of the clubhouse leaders. He’s also playing with a meniscus tear in his knee. If he says something, there’s a pretty good chance he is not the only one thinking it.

Heyward says he has a sore shoulder. Nobody doubts …

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Georgia’s Crumley is possible AD candidate at Tennessee (UPDATED)

Michael Adams (left) turned to Frank Crumley after Damon Evans' resignation. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

Michael Adams turned to Frank Crumley after Damon Evans' resignation. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

(Updated at 12:30 with comments from Crumley)

Frank Crumley, who spent nearly two months trying to calm the seas at Georgia following the Damon Evans fiasco, may be on the list for a more permanent fix-it job in Tennessee.

While this hardly qualifies as official interest by Tennessee, the Knoxville News Sentinel has listed Crumley, Georgia’s executive associate athletic director, as a potential candidate for the Volunteers’ vacated A.D. job. Mike Hamilton not surprisingly resigned from the position on Tuesday, just days before Tennessee is scheduled to meet with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to face potential violations in football and basketball.

The newspaper listed seven candidates within the SEC while acknowledging that “the search will extend nationwide.” Crumley has been Georgia’s associated AD for finance and business since 2007. He was the interim replacement for Evans from …

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Falcons go through motions (but it’s better than no motion)

The Falcons run their faux-camp offense, while little leaguers watch through a fence.

The Falcons run their faux camp offense, while little leaguers watch through a fence.

BUFORD – Given the general absence of structure, discipline and an agitated man with white hair blowing a whistle, it could’ve been worse. It’s not like two dozen Falcons players showed up again on Tuesday to practice (sort of) at a public park and started complaining that somebody forgot to bring the blender and the pina colada mix.

But the fact is, the most emotion anybody showed probably came after rookie Julio Jones made a spectacular leaping catch on a pass from Chris Redman in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown, and at least three players on defense screamed, “We called time out!” and another yelled, “Out of bounds!”

Sorry guys, no officials.

Also no replay.

Also . . . really?

Welcome to make-shift practices, a byproduct of the NFL lockout.

This is what I don’t understand. NFL players complain all the time about the league mandating mini camps and offseason practices …

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Countdown: Tressel’s fans, Tebow’s eyes, Frenchy’s shorts

Look ma: No car deal.

Look ma: No car deal.

It never ceases to amaze The Count how some people will defend their morally bankrupt heroes to the end, even when it’s clear their morally bankrupt heroes are dirty, rotten cheaters. This happens all the time. Ohio State fans ignore evidence that Jim Tressel is a dirty, rotten cheater by saying he did wonderful charity work. I’m not sure, but didn’t Al Capone also do wonderful charity work? And to the first person who screams, “He compared Jim Tressel to Al Capone!” — you have no friends, and there’s a cleanup on aisle six. But about this Tressel thing: When are people going to let go? We count down . . .

10. Since when do fired coaches guarantee victories?

It's nice to know some folks are keeping things in perspective. (AP photo)

It's nice to know some folks are keeping things in perspective. (AP photo)

It just keeps getting worse. Ohio State released phone records that show, among other things, Tressel exchanged 77 phone calls and text messages with Terrelle Pryor’s hometown mentor, Ted Sarniak, on April 10 after a …

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If Uggla doesn’t turn things around, Braves are sunk

Sometimes it seems like Dan Uggla has been swinging half of a bat. (AP photo)

It seems like Dan Uggla has been swinging half of a bat all season. (AP photo)

When the Braves signed Dan Uggla to a five-year, $62 million extension in January, I didn’t have a big problem with it. True, it was a significant commitment from a team that has been struggling to create some payroll flexibility in recent years. But if Uggla’s next five seasons were similar to his previous five, the investment was worthy.

The problem: Uggla has face-planted. If he doesn’t turn it around, this contract will turn into one of the worst albatrosses in pro sports.

He is hitting .172 through 60 games. Perspective: He would have to add 66 points to his average just to be as good as Nate McLouth (.238). It’s even worse over the last 16 games: Uggla is 5-for-60 (.083) with an on-base percentage of .152.

But the Braves have no options here. The contract extension means Uggla can’t really be benched for an extended period, and he certainly can’t be traded. Sending him to Triple-A Gwinnett, …

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SEC didn’t go nearly far enough with ‘oversigning’

Mike Slive handed out $18.3 million checks to conference members Friday, but the numbers in oversigning issue still don't add up. (AP photo)

Mike Slive handed out $18.3 million checks to conference members Friday, but oversigning numbers don't add up. (AP photo)

Nick Saban, apparent guiding light for the nation’s oppressed and downtrodden — or at least those with a really good time in the 40 — is blaming the media for making too much of this “oversigning” issue.

“You all are creating a bad problem for everybody,” he said. “You’re going to mess up kids’ opportunities by doing what you’re doing.”

Yes, that is my purpose here on earth — to prevent potential student-athletes from fulfilling their dreams. And I’m certain if Nick Saban’s son were to be offered a football scholarship one year, only to be told months later after he had enrolled that there was no room after all, or to be pressured into leaving a season or two later when coaches suddenly determined that he wasn’t good enough, papa bear still would be perfectly fine with all this.

I don’t mean to put this all on Saban, although he and Houston Nutt …

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SI says Richt (UGA) has a better job than Saban (Alabama)

Does Mark Richt really have a better coaching job than Nick Saban? (Jason Getz/AJC)

Does Mark Richt really have the fifth-best coaching job (two spots ahead of Nick Saban)?

Somebody at Sports Illustrated just came up with their list of the 20 best college football coaching jobs in the nation. Not surprisingly, Georgia made the list. Given its history, stature, conference, recruiting base and overflowing cash drawer, I’ve always considered it a top 10 job.

But No. 5 overall? Ahead of Alabama? As well as Penn State, USC and Notre Dame?

That’s the opinion of Andy Staples, who tackled this subject because of the current state of affairs at Ohio State (which is No. 2 on the list). I’m not going to copy-paste the entire article here, but here’s what Staples had to write about Georgia, as well as excerpts on the other SEC and ACC teams on the top 20 list of “most desirable jobs.” His reasons for having the Dogs so high are worthy, and also reaffirms why there is focus on coach Mark Richt this season.

Staples on the Dogs:

Want to know why Mark Richt is on the hot …

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Spurrier’s pay petition meaningless but concept has merits

Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban are among SEC coaches who believe it's time to pay players.

Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban are among SEC coaches who believe it's time to pay players.

Steve Spurrier must have seemed like a seven-year-0ld on a sugar rush at the SEC meetings in Destin as he scrambled to get other coaches to sign up for his pay-the-players plan. But there’s a way to go about this, and a meaningless piece of paper isn’t it.

There are valid arguments on both sides of the pay-for-play issue. The “don’t pay:” Student athletes already receive a valuable scholarship. The “pay”: The dollars in college athletics and contradictory messages from the NCAA have grown out of proportion relative to the concept of amateur athletics. Therefore, it’s time for the athletes to share in the wealth.

My view is somewhere in the middle: I’m certainly not for handing football players $300 paychecks every game, as Spurrier is proposing. Finding a fair and workable salary system that fits into Title IX regulations would be nearly impossible. But I do think it’s time to look into …

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