Archive for July, 2011

Damage for Georgia Tech’s future should be limited

NCAA sanctions can't change this picture for Paul Johnson (or reality).

NCAA sanctions can't change this picture (or reality).

A few random thoughts while Georgia Tech fans try to wrap themselves around the fact the Yellow Jackets officially never won the 2009 ACC championship. (Yeah, whatever.)

1. Damage for the future should be limited.

It’s going to be painful when Tech returns the ACC championship trophy to the conference. But really, what does it mean? The problem with the NCAA forcing a team to vacate victories as a penalty is it’s just a symbolic gesture. The games have been played. The revenue has been generated (and spent). Tech beat Clemson 39-34 for the title and moved on to the Orange Bowl. Done. The NCAA put Tech on four years probation but is not stripping the football program of any scholarships, limiting recruiting or banning bowl appearances. Coach Paul Johnson can’t advertise his conference championship but it doesn’t lessen him as a coach to recruits.

2. More fallout isn’t likely

A few readers have asked  if I believe athletic …

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Punishment severe, but Georgia Tech made its own mess

Georgia Tech's athletic director Dan Radakovich (right) and president G.P."Bud" Peterson were upset with NCAA's findings but realized they erred. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Georgia Tech's athletic director Dan Radakovich (right) and president G.P."Bud" Peterson were upset with NCAA's findings and language, but admitted errors. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

There are a number of disturbing words that can be found in an NCAA news release. Booster. Agent.  Academic fraud. The dreaded string: Lack of institutional control.

But this one ranks as one of the most troublesome: Manipulate.

If you believe the NCAA, Georgia Tech officials not only failed to cooperate with an investigation into possible impermissible benefits, they impeded, obstructed and tossed up road blocks.

The public infractions report reads like it was crafted by a performance-enhanced novelist. Claims that Tech attempted to “manipulate the information surrounding potential violations.” Claims that the school “hindered efforts to get to the truth.” Claims that former general counsel Randy Nordin, “adopted an obstructionist approach” to the investigation and referred to an NCAA staff member as …

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Chipper Jones doesn’t want to let October pass without him

Chipper Jones, here after homering against Coloirado on July 6, has shown he still can deliver in the clutch. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Chipper Jones, who homered last week, still can deliver in the clutch. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Strange words tumble out of an athlete’s mouth after 17 seasons and two major knee surgeries. They say things at 39 that they never imagined themselves saying at 25.

“It’s amazing how your standards go down as you get older,” Chipper Jones said. “It used to be if I didn’t come away from the ballpark with two hits, I was ticked. If I didn’t produce a run, I was ticked. Now I’m hitting .250, .260. That disappoints me. But when the team has absolutely needed me to get a big hit, I’ve done it. I’ve been solid. Not great, but solid. That’s all I came into this season wanting.”

Welcome to Chipper Jones’ new reality. It’s really not all that bad. Fact is, it still has a chance to be pretty special.

When the Braves resume the season Friday night, Jones will be rehabbing from minor knee surgery – if there is such a thing as minor surgery at 39 – to repair torn cartilage. The injury forced him to …

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Is it good news that Tereshinski prompts Dogs’ player to quit?

Joe Tereshinski

Joe Tereshinski

Having already fired several position coaches in recent years, Georgia coach Mark Richt opted to change his program’s strength and conditioning staff after last season, promoting Joe Tereshinski and demoting Dave Van Hallanger.

It figured Tereshinski’s decision to go in a different direction might upset some players. The methods apparently irritated freshman tackle Brent Benedict so much that he quit the team and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech.

How do you view news that UGA player didn’t like Joe Tereshinski?

  • Good news.
  • Bad news.
  • I have no idea.

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The question: Is this good news or bad news?

The question has little to do with Benedict. We have no idea what kind of player he will to turn out to be (although the fact several major programs recruited him says something). This is more about Tereshinski and whether it should be considered a good sign that the new strength coach is getting under the skin of …

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Braves’ biggest keys in second half: Health, Dan Uggla

You wouldn't know it from this picture but Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward haven't done a lot of celebrating.

The Braves would be in better shape if Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward had more to celebrate.

Last season they tried to keep advancing, despite enduring exploding parts. There goes an arm. No problem. There goes a leg. Just a limp. There go a couple of organs. Just a flesh wound.

Somebody tore his oblique. Can’t be that serious. Wasn’t it just like a week ago when nobody had ever heard of the oblique?

But eventually, they fizzled. Seven games ahead of Philadelphia a week after the All-Star break, 23 games over .500 and still clinging to a three-game lead on Aug. 1, the Braves’ body finally gave out. Their final spasm got them into the postseason as a wild card. But teams running on fumes don’t win the World Series. The starting lineup in their final loss to San Francisco looked like an old car undergoing some work – some original dinged parts, along with an orange door and two mismatched fenders picked up in a junkyard to make the exterior seem whole.

The Braves open baseball’s …

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Countdown: Bulls vs. idiots; Braves’ fans mocked in Philly

The Count was always lovable ...

The Count was always lovable …

Let’s state the obvious. The Count likes blood. There’s no denying this. There are no vampires in 12-step programs for plasma addictions. The crazy thing would be if a vampire was NOT addicted to plasma. It would be like if vultures were circling over a fallen cow and suddenly one of them turned to the others and said, “You know. I think I just want a nice piece of fish.”

But there is one thing that always has turned The Count’s stomach: “The Running of the Bulls.” What is it with these guys? What’s the Spanish word for knuckleheads, because they’re back again. And one of them doesn’t have any clothes on! We count down . . .

10. It’s that time again: The Running of the Idiots

The annual San Fermin Festival in Pamplona has begun. It includes 342 music shows, 137 family activities and 33 events involving bulls, also known as panic and gore. The running of the bulls started about 400 years ago. Ernest Hemingway thought it was really cool, but …

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Atlanta meetings could host official end to NFL lockout

Maybe if Jerry Jones (right) and NFL owners get out buffet line, they can finish agreement.

Maybe if Jerry Jones (right) and NFL owners get out buffet line, they can finish agreement.

Atlanta is host to one of the most dysfunctional and combative ownership group in pro sports history (Atlanta Spirit). But it appears we may get a closeup view of what NFL peace looks like.

I predicted the other day that the NFL and the Players Association likely would have the structure of a new collective bargaining deal in place in the next seven to 10 days. The thinking was, if it goes longer than that, a significant loss of revenue will follow.  Now AJC alum and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter are reporting that there is a “growing belief” an agreement will be in place in time to be ratified at the July 21 league meetings in Atlanta.

ESPN quoted one owner as saying, there’s “no reason to believe it won’t get done” and reported that others familiar with the talks “now think an agreement in principle will be put in place in the next seven to 10 days.”

So it’s probably safe …

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NFL lockout will end soon because money trumps stupidity

It's no surprise that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are closely guarding their pockets. (AP photo)

It's no surprise that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are closely guarding their pockets.

Not much has changed in 8,000 years.

Long before collective bargaining Armageddon, back when the tribes of Mesopotamia were looking for a good deal in about 6000 B.C., humans didn’t have shekels to spend. So they bartered. Among the things available for trade: cattle, services, sometimes even skulls. In 2011, as NFL owners and players fight over how to divide $9.3 billion a year – a problem we certainly all can relate to – it’s pretty much the same things that are on the table: cattle, services, sometimes even skulls.

This really is just a glorified swap of goods and services. Players offer their talents. Owners offer salaries, uniforms and a stage for players to try to impress sponsors and woo beauty queens into marrying them. (Unfortunately, this is where things fell apart for Dallas wide receiver Roy Williams. He mailed former Miss Texas a $76,000 engagement ring, expecting to wow …

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Caleb King’s loss no big deal for Dogs — it’s Crowell’s show

Washaun Ealey (left) and Caleb King blew their opportunities at Georgia. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Washaun Ealey (left) and Caleb King blew their opportunities at Georgia. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

(Last update: 4:50 p.m.)

We saw what Washaun Ealey brought to the table for Georgia. It wasn’t good enough.

We saw what Caleb King brought to the table for Georgia. It wasn’t good enough.

So sorry if I’m not all bent out of shape about the sudden news that King has been declared academically ineligible for the Bulldogs in the fall. Nothing against the young man personally, but in terms of how this impacts the fortunes of the football team, it’s close enough to zero. Fact is, the Dogs were going to rise or fall next season on the strength of freshman Isaiah Crowell, any way.

Coach Mark Richt has certainly let it be known on occasion that Crowell was the only running back he really cared about. How often does a college coach say on national letter of intent day something remotely close to this on a recruit: “ I wouldn’t be shocked to see him running that rock in the Dome against …

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Ohio State strips itself of wins, but officials need to take hit

Jim Tressel lost his job at Ohio State, but he should be followed out the door by the school's president and athletic director.

Jim Tressel lost his job but he should be followed out the door by Ohio State's president and athletic director.

After ignoring, scoffing, stalling, tap-dancing, denying and eventually begrudgingly admitting that, OK, yes, rules were broken and since-resigned football coach Jim Tressel may have fibbed, Ohio State finally fell on the sword today.

But the Buckeyes are going to need a bigger sword.

Hoping to limit the damage, Ohio State has informed the NCAA that it is “embarrassed” by Tressel’s actions, put its football program on two years probation and vacated all wins from last year’s 12-1 season, including the Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas.

The university’s actions merely beats the NCAA to the punch. This is common in college athletics because it enables school officials to appear responsible, concerned and law-abiding, when in fact they’re only instituting penalties that the NCAA is expected to slap them with any way. But the fallout shouldn’t end there.

Ohio State …

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