Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FSU Cheating Scandal

WOW. That blogation was a lot longer than expected thanks to the end of the semester crunch, and will likely continue as I enter the computer Dark Ages at my father's house for Christmas. The story at FSU does, however, require comment before I make the drive.

The national press, the blogosphere, and the message boards have been buzzing about the cheating scandal at FSU, but there is little solid detail about what actually went on, and the steps which have been taken. Two stories, both out of local press is Florida do, however, have some crucial details:

From Brian Landman at the St. Petersburg Times:

For those involved in this scandal, at least the ones with remaining eligibility, the bowl game likely won't be the only game they miss.

Academic fraud carries the loss of one-year of eligibility, but apparently FSU officials and the NCAA have come up with a penalty that an admitted violator will only have to sit out for 30-percent of his or her season.

For a 12-game football season, that's four games.

That's incidentally how many games senior receiver Joslin Shaw of Plant City sat out before he was reinstated earlier this season. Another player, sophomore defensive end Kevin McNeil, hasn't played at all this season and his status remains unclear. His mother, Patricia, told the Times that her son recently had shoulder surgery and "will be coming back to play" next season.

For months, those were the only two football players identified as being among a group of 23 student-athletes in nine sports who had been involved in the academic misconduct investigation.

School president T.K. Wetherell, on vacation in Montana, declined to comment Tuesday. But previously he told the Times that at the suggestion of the NCAA, FSU expanded the scope of its inquiry, looking at three semesters beginning with the spring 2007 and going backward.

As student athletes were interviewed and reinterviewed, some accompanied by lawyers, a key issue was how fast they completed tests and how well they did on them.

Some apparently breezed through the tests in a matter of minutes with flying colors, which could be verified by when they logged onto the system. That has raised red flags.

The class, believed to be a music class with hundreds of students each semester, also was flawed in that the professor hadn't changed the test for years.

Wetherell said recently that the school has decided that the class will be vacated for the student-athletes, forcing them to re-take the course; the new grade will be substituted for the original one.

It will be interesting to see whether there are any knock on effects on eligibility as a consequence! More details from Scott Carter at the Tampa Tribune:

To help protect against another scandal of this nature, FSU has moved all tests for online classes to a testing center that requires a pass code for students to enter, said FSU Provost Larry Abele, chairman of the university's four-person investigative committee.

Since FSU first launched its probe, several behind-the-scenes athletics department officials have resigned, including Brenda Monk, the academic adviser who allegedly provided test results to student-athletes, along with the two tutors. Monk has turned down multiple interview requests since resigning in July.

Besides Monk leaving her post, three members of outgoing FSU Athletics Director Dave Hart's staff have resigned amid the probe. They are: Senior Associate Athletics Directors Charlie Carr and Pam Overton, and most recently, Kim Record, a senior associate athletics director for women's sports who resigned Monday.

Wetherell is on vacation in Montana and was unavailable for comment on Tuesday. However, at a recent news conference to name Bill Proctor the school's interim athletics director, Wetherell acknowledged the cheating scandal was more widespread than originally thought.

"Clearly, we have some challenges before us with the NCAA," Wetherell said. "We have some issues that we have to explain. And quite frankly, we probably have to apologize to some of our fans and supporters."

The sad truth is that many of them do not care. They do, care, however, about the lackluster performance of the football team in recent years. Wetherell has been slowly cleaning house in the Athletics department, and this will provide him the opportunity to speed that process. Given the scope of the resignations it remains a possibility that FSU will face the hangover of significant sanctions when it is time for the NCAA to come knocking.

1. FSU Cheating Scandal
2. Florida State Scandal: Kudos to President Wetherell
3. STUDENT-Athlete Garrett Johnson Fires Both Barrels
4. No Sunshine in Florida?
5. FSU Scandal: Brenda Monk Breaks Her Silence

Monday, November 19, 2007


I will be heading out for Southern Illinois Barbecue I mean Thanksgiving Vacation this afternoon, so Profane will be on a Blogation until Saturday or Sunday. Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grats to the Lady Tar Heels/Graduation Data

Many congratulations to the Lady Tar Heels on finishing a perfect 24-0 season with a 3-0 victory over Penn State in the finals of the DI Field Hockey championship. This is the fifth title for the program and coach Karen Shelton, who is second in all time DI NCAA field hockey championships. Freshman Katelyn Falgowski led off the scoring, with senior captain Rachel Dawson and sophomore Danielle Forword adding insurance goals. Each of these players, along with sophomore Illse Davids were named to the all-tournament team.

North Carolina also posts an 88% graduation rate in women's sports 'Other' than Basketball and Cross-Country/Track, and beaten finalist Penn State comes in at 93%. Beaten semi-finalists Connecticut and Wake Forest round out the top four at 76% and 82% respectively. Whats going on here? Why can't the schools with lower standards take down the eggheads?

Grats to the Lady Grizzlies/Graduation Data

Many congratulations to the Lady Grizzlies of Adams State on their fifth straight victory in the DII Cross-Country Championship, the thirteenth in the program's history. Senior Tanya Gaurmer led the way with a 3rd place finish, and all other scoring runners finished in the top 24, leading to an astronomical 63-178 victory over runner-up Seattle Pacific, whose Jessica Pixler took home individual honors.

Kudos must, as well go these STUDENT-athletes for their performance in the classroom. The Women's Cross-Country/Track program at Adams State posts an 82% graduation rate, with Seattle Pacific coming in 71%. Yet two more programs hobbled by high academic standards.

Grats to the Wildcats/Graduation Data

Many congratulations to the Wildcats of Abilene Christian on their second consecutive victory in the DII Cross-Country championship. The Wildcats placed three runners in the top six, led by Nicodemus Naimadu, who takes his record fourth individual title. Overall, the Wildcats with 59 points, edging Western State and Adams State who finished in a tie at 66 points.

Abilene Christian does, however, post a shameful 44% graduation rate in its men's Cross-Country/Track program. Western State at 46% falls into the shameful category as well, and Adams State at 56% has nothing to brag about. Cross-Country athletes must have an intense personal will to succeed. Where is it in the classroom folks?

Grats to the Lady Jeffs/Graduation Data

Many congratulations to the Lady Jeffs of Amherst on their victory in the DIII Cross-Country Championship, their first in the program's history. Each of their five scoring runners finished in the top 43, led by senior captain Heather Wilson, ultimately yielding them a comfortable 120-159 margin over runner-up SUNY Plattsburgh. Sarah Zernan of Willamette took the individual title.

Amherst is a non-scholarship DIII school which does not report graduation data for individual sports, although the student body as a whole posts a 96% graduation rate, as opposed to 54% for SUNY Plattsburgh. Yet another example of the Achilles heel brought about by high academic standards.

Grats to the Violets/Graduation Data

Many congratulations to the Violets of New York University on their victory in the DIII Cross-Country championships. As always in cross country, it was a team effort where the top five runners finished in the top 53, led by senior captain Hany Abdallah, who finished ninth. This resulted in a comfortable 128-150 victory over second place Haverford. The individual title went to Tyler Sigl of Wisconsin-Platteville.

New York University is a non-scholarship DIII school, so graduation rates in individual sports are not reported, but the overall student body posts an 82% graduation rate, with runner-up Haverford coming in at 91%. Strange that all of these schools crippled by high academic standards manage to do so well when it comes to athletics success!

Grats to the Lady Bears/Graduation Data

Many congratulations to the Lady Bears of Washington University (Missouri) on their 3-2 win (30-25, 23-30, 30-22, 28-30, 15-13) over Wisconsin-Whitewater in the DIII Volleyball Championship. This is their ninth championship, leading all DIII programs, and the second for head coach Rich Luenemann. Junior outside hitter Alli Alberts was named the tournament MVP, and senior outside hitter Haleigh Spencer and junior setter Audra Janak were named to the all-tournament team.

Washington, a non-scholarship DIII school, does not post graduation data for its athletes, but the school posts an overall 91% graduation rate, as compared to 53% for beaten finalist Wisconsin-Whitewater. Beaten semi-finalists Juniata and Wittenberg post graduation rates of 76% and 67% respectively. But high academic standards are incompatible with on-field success. Right?

Grats to the Lady Polar Bears/Graduation Data

It pains me to say this as a Batesie, but many congratulations to the Lady Polar Bears of Bowdoin on their 4-3 victory over Middlebury in the DIII Field Hockey Championship, which caps a perfect 20-0 season. Junior Lindsay McNamara, the NESCAC player of the year, scored a hat trick, including the game winner, in the victory. This is the first national championship for Bowdoin in any sport.

Bowdoin is a non-scholarship DIII school, and therefore does not report graduation rates for its athletes, but the overall graduation rate for Bowdoin Students stands at 91%. Beaten finalist Middlebury comes in at 92%, while beaten semifinalists Lebanon Valley and Salisbury check in at 70% and 68%. But high academic standards are incompatible with on-field success. Right?

FCS Bracket Announced

Click here for a printable bracket.

New Hampshire (7-4)
#1 Northern Iowa (11-0)

Delaware State (10-1)
Delaware (8-3)

Eastern Illinois (8-3)
#4 Southern Illinois (10-1)

Fordham (8-3)
Massachusetts (9-2)

Eastern Washington (8-3)
#2 McNeese State (11-0)

James Madison (8-3)
Appalachian State (9-2)

Wofford (8-3)
#3 Montana

Eastern Kentucky (9-2)
Richmond (9-2)

Kudos to the committee on their excellent work. There is nothing here that I take issue with. Overall I went 16/16 on teams, 8/8 on host schools, 4/4 on seeds, but only 4/8 on first round pairings. It appears that what the committee did was start with all of the close geographical pairings (App. St./James Madison, Del/Del St., Mass./Fordham, S. Ill/E. Ill) and then filled in teams from there, whereas strict adherence to the selection rules would have sent Eastern Illinois to Northern Iowa, with all other decisions following that.

Best of luck to every team in the championship. Unless you are playing Southern Illinois. GOOOOOO SALOOOOOOKIS!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

FCS Playoffs: Bracket Projection

The official bracket will be announced tomorrow.

Eastern Illinois (8-3, At-Large)
#1 Northern Iowa (11-0, Gateway Auto-Bid)

Delaware St. (10-1, MEAC Auto-Bid)
Delaware (8-3, At-Large)

Eastern Kentucky (9-2, OVC Auto-Bid)
#4 Southern Illinois (10-1, At-Large)

Wofford (8-3, SOCON Auto-Bid)
Richmond (9-2, At-Large)

Eastern Washington (8-3, At-Large)
#2 McNeese State (11-0, Southland Auto-Bid)

James Madison (8-3, At-Large)
Appalachian State (9-2, At-Large)

New Hampshire (7-4, At-Large)
#3 Montana (11-0, Big Sky Auto-Bid)

Fordham (8-3, Patriot Auto-Bid)
Massachusetts (9-2, CAA Auto-Bid)

Bids by conference
CAA: 5
Big Sky: 2
Gateway: 2
OVC: 2
Patriot: 1
Southland: 1

For my seeding rationale see the previous post.

At-Large Rationale:
Six of the at-large teams, Southern Illinois, Appalachian State, Richmond, James Madison, Delaware, and Eastern Washington essentially chose themselves. The seventh and eight spots were difficult to fill. Here are the two I chose:

Eastern Illinois 8-3
Eastern Illinois played entirely Division I opposition, including an FBS team and still posted an eight win season, one above the threshold of seven which is generally necessary to receive serious at-large consideration. Were it not for the losses by Hofstra and Georgia Southern today, Eastern Illinois might not have been in the picture, but, based on the selection criteria, they are the seventh best team available for selection.

New Hampshire 7-4
Only one other team, Montana State last year, has received an FCS at-large bid with a 7-4 record. This year, the final spot comes down to three CAA teams each with 7-4 records, Hofstra, New Hampshire, and Villanova. Hofstra lost to both New Hampshire and Villanova, so this leaves us with a comparison of those two teams. The two teams did not play head to head, but each posted an identical 3-3 record versus common opponents. New Hampshire, however, posted a win against FBS Marshall, giving them one more quality win than Villanova, so they get the nod.

Teams also considered:

Youngstown State 7-4
Only 6 DI wins.

Georgia Southern 7-4
Only 6 DI wins.

Elon 7-4
Only 6 DI wins.

Grambling 8-2
The Bayou Classic comes calling.

The Citadel 7-4
Only 6 DI wins.

Sam Houston State 7-4
Only 6 DI wins.

Liberty 8-3
Only 5 DI wins.

Holy Cross 7-4
Seven DI wins, weak strength of schedule.

Dayton 10-1
If you come from a weak conference, and schedule patsies out of conference, you had better be perfect. Dayton was not.

Colgate 7-4
Seven DI wins, weak strength of schedule.

Albany 8-3
The NEC is still weak enough that it will probably have to wait for an auto-bid to send its champion to the playoffs.

Alabama A&M 8-3
The loss today to Prairie View A&M probably ended the possibility of SWAC participation in the playoffs.

FCS Afternoon/Evening: Countdown to the Playoffs

Consequential FCS results as they come in:

Maine 14 New Hampshire 39

With the win, New Hampshire moves to a 7-4 record with all seven of those wins coming against DI opponents. Should enough bubble teams slip up this afternoon they could sneak in to an at-large berth in the playoffs.

Massachusetts 27 Hofstra 5

With the win, Massachusetts finishes with a 9-2 record, and will likely face an ADs vote against Richmond to determine the CAA auto-bid. After starting 6-0, Hofstra finishes 7-4, but with seven DI wins they still have a chance at an at-large berth.

William & Mary 20 Richmond 31

With the win, Richmond finishes with a 9-2 record, and the CAA ADs (with the exception of those from Massachusetts and Richmond) will vote to determine who gets the CAA auto-bid.

Southern Illinois 45 Hampton 27

Hampton made it interesting early in the fourth quarter, but Southern Illinois were too much for them, and improve to 10-1 on the season and the possibility of a seed. GOOO SALOOOKIS!

Towson 13 James Madison 23

With the win, James Madison improves to 8-3 and in all likelihood has clinched an at-large berth in the playoffs.

Georgia Southern 34 Colorado State 42

Despite a valiant second half comeback, Georgia Southern has fallen to FBS Colorado State, and watched its playoff hopes slip away. At 7-4, with only 6 DI victories, Georgia Southern joins Youngstown State among top teams who will likely be left out in the cold.

Montana 41 Montana State 20

Montana pulled away in the second half, and, with the win in the rivalry game, improve to a perfect 11-0 for the regular season. They should have a seed awaiting them in the playoffs.

*Massachusetts takes the CAA auto-bid on a coin flip.*
The directors also noted that regardless of their decision, both Massachusetts and Richmond will be recognized identically as CAA co-champions; both teams are nationally ranked virtually assuring selection for the NCAA Championship and are likely first round host teams. In light of these factors, the directors concluded that the designation of the conference’s automatic qualifier merely will designate either team as the automatic qualifier or at-large team, but will not impact the evaluation of either champion by the NCAA Football Committee. Under these circumstances, the athletic directors concluded that the teams were indistinguishable and therefore the conference automatic qualifier should be determined by a coin-flip conducted by the Commissioner.

The coin-flip was conducted by CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager following the conclusion of both games. Massachusetts won the coin toss and will be the CAA’s automatic qualifier to the 2007 NCAA Football Championship.
With the final auto-bid decided, there are only a handful of games remaining left which have impact on the field.

Samford 17 Eastern Illinois 33

With the win, Eastern Illinois improve to 8-3, with all eight wins coming against DI opposition. Would the committee choose Eastern, from the OVC, over 7-4 teams like Hofstra and New Hampshire from the CAA? The latter two are objectively stronger teams, but the committee has been known to 'share the wealth' in the past.

Delaware 10 Villanova 16

Villanova came back to score 13 points in the fourth quarter to pull off a stunning upset of Delaware. Delaware is a safe bet for an at-large bid at 8-3, but their slim chances for a seed just evaporated. Villanova, at 7-4 with seven DI wins, must now enter the at-large conversation as well.

Chattanooga 17 Appalachian State 37

With this win Appalachian State improves to 9-2, and keeps its chances for a seed alive.

*Seeding Thoughts*

1. Northern Iowa leads Southern Utah 27-3 at the half, so they will be the #1 seed barring a miracle on the field or skulduggery during selection.

2. McNeese State have yet to kick off, but they should be the #2 seed with a win. I make them the #3 seed should they lose.

3. Montana has finished its season at 11-0, but played, by far, a weaker schedule than Northern Iowa and McNeese State. I make them the #3 seed with a McNeese State win, and a #2 seed with a McNeese State loss.

4. Only one of the five potential contenders for the final seed, Delaware, lost today. This leaves us to choose from Appalachian State (9-2), Massachusetts (9-2), Richmond (9-2), and Southern Illinois (10-1). Appalachian State and Southern Illinois both have wins against FBS opposition, while Massachusetts and Richmond played in a stronger conference, the CAA. One could argue endlessly, and fruitlessly, over who had the toughest schedule and the best body of wins. How to choose then? In a season where the seasons of most seeds will likely be defined by perfection, who amongst these other teams came closest to perfection? Or, put another way, which losses put the greatest blemish on the records of these four teams?

[Rankings of FCS teams reflect the latest edition of the GPI]
Appalachian State lost to #12 Wofford and #14 Georgia Southern.
Massachusetts lost to FBS Boston College, and #52 Rhode Island.
Richmond lost to FBS Vanderbilt and #51 Towson.
Southern Illinois lost to #1 Northern Iowa, and are, therefore, my #4 seed.

Weber State 16 Eastern Washington 38

With the win, Eastern Washington improves to 8-3 and probably locks up an at-large bid to the playoffs.

Southern Utah 10 Northern Iowa 48

Northern Iowa wraps up a 11-o regular season and, in all likelihood, the #1 overall seed with this win over 0-11 Southern Utah.

With McNeese State ahead 27-7 in the third quarter, it is time to wrap up this thread and announce my bracket projection.

Drug Testing Inconsistencies

There is a very interesting article in today's Salt Lake Tribune on testing for performance enhancing drugs at top NCAA schools. It is worth reading at length. Here are a few excerpts:

When an athlete at the University of Idaho failed a drug test nearly three years ago and became one of the few collegians caught cheating with performance-enhancing drugs, something remarkable happened:
Almost nothing.
He was not publicly identified or ruled ineligible. He was not banned from competition. He was not even suspended.
Instead, he faced only continued periodic testing over the next year, according to school records, and was required to enroll in a university counseling program. The school "encouraged" him to notify his parents.
Try, unsurprising. . . .

The number of athletes subjected to drug tests, the banned substances for which they are tested, the quality of the testing and the consequences of failed tests vary significantly depending on the sports athletes play, as well as the schools, conferences and states in which they play them, the investigation revealed. . . .

Meanwhile, some of the nation's largest and most prominent programs, such as Cal, Kentucky and West Virginia, do not systematically test for performance enhancers, relying on the random tests administered by the NCAA itself. But only about 4 percent of athletes can ever expect such a test.
It's possible - perhaps even likely - that most college athletes will go their entire careers without being tested for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. . . .

Few major colleges and universities systematically test their athletes for performance-enhancing steroids, for example, generally leaving that to the NCAA's drug-testing program, and only 16 of the 62 schools that provided their drug-testing policies require an athlete to be suspended from competition the first time he or she tests positive for one of the dozens of substances banned by the NCAA. The rest usually require some combination of counseling and continued testing, including the possibility of suspension or expulsion for subsequent failed tests. Some schools, such as South Florida and Tennessee, automatically suspend athletes who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but allow more lenient punishments for those who test positive for street drugs. . . .

Two schools even "trade out" university products in exchange for testing services. Documents show Oklahoma and UNLV traded thousands of dollars worth of season tickets to football and basketball games for drug-testing services.
Such practices are dangerously vulnerable to conflicts of interest, anti-doping experts agree.
"The three words I use all the time . . . are independence, transparency and accountability," said Wadler, the New York expert. "For a system to work, you can't have inherent conflicts of interest." . . .

To create the plausible threat of getting caught, the programs at Iowa and Kansas mix in steroid tests among the athletes they randomly select to test for street drugs. Athletes at Iowa who test positive for steroids are suspended from competition until they can supply a negative test, a punishment levied by several other schools as well. "At any point, an athlete isn't going to know whether we're testing for steroids or not," said Laura Reed, who administers the drug-testing program at Iowa. "They know it's a possibility."
That kind of uncertainty - especially in regard to the timing of drug tests - is viewed by experts as crucial in creating an effective drug-testing program. . . .

Friday, November 16, 2007

More on the State Penn Mayhem

The criminal complaint in the case has been released, and lawyers for the accused are whining:
STATE COLLEGE — The defense attorneys representing Penn State football players Chris Baker and Navorro Bowman took issue Thursday not only with the allegations laid out against their clients in criminal complaints but with the documents themselves. . . .

“In my 17 years as an attorney, I have never seen an affidavit of probable cause this lengthy,” said attorney Karen Muir, who represents Baker and backup defensive back Knowledge Timmons. Timmons is charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass stemming from his actions in the aftermath of the HUB incident.

The strangeness doesn’t end there, according to the attorneys.

Sophomore defensive tackle Phillip Taylor is listed by police as among the “participants” in the incident at 1:46 a.m. Oct. 7. But Taylor, despite being implicated by the statements of a number of players as detailed in the criminal complaint, has not been charged.

Sloane said that is because the witnesses against Taylor are among those charged, so they likely would assert their rights under the Fifth Amendment. . . .

“I’m very surprised there were only three people charged,” Muir said.

Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, who represents Bowman, said the complaint was meant to divide the football players and get them to turn on one another to police.

[Assistant District Attorney] Sloane said naming those players will show authorities are serious about holding everyone involved accountable. By making this much detail public, “the investigation may be accelerated,” he said.

Muir and Parks Miller condemned the tactic.

“The odd narrative in the document, which is at least five times longer than any homicide complaint I have ever seen in all the years prosecuting and doing defense work, was clearly written to pit the team members against each other and to influence the general public and potential jurors,” Parks Miller said. “Worse yet, the complaint was written to cast a shadow on people who exercised their Fifth Amendment rights by mentioning each person who did so. Considering that people who did cooperate still ended up charged, it is no wonder people were not lining up to sit down with the police.”

Thanks. I will remember that I can always find a defense attorney who will argue that cooperation should result in no charges in the case of future lawbreaking. Methinks that the reason that the attorneys are so worked up is that parts of the complaint are so damning. Here are a few excerpts:

[An unredacted version of the complaint available earlier in the day has been removed from press websites. In the following, the alleged victim, and the witnesses will not be named.]

Victim stated he was kicked and punched by numerous people. Affiant notice his green shirt was covered in blood and that he had to continually use it to contain his bleeding. Victim had swelling to his entire face, lips, and nose. Blood was coming from his nose, which he continually wiped with his shirt. Victim’s nose appeared that it had been fractured due to the blood and the distorted angle which it was in. Affiant also observed that Victim’s lip was split and blood was oozing from it. Affiant requested an ambulance to the location for an evaluation. . . .

Victim recalled that he was approached and attack by this group of approximately 15 people, although there were four primary aggressors, all beating, punching, stomping, and kicking him. The video surveillance cameras picked up the procession of approximately 15 large black males marching right over to where Victim went to sit by himself when he felt trouble may start. . .

Not only is there video evidence, but also damning testimony from several witnesses:

Witness later supplied Affiant with a written statement he recorded onto his text phone immediately after the event so he would remember everything for the police. In this text message he desribes the incident in vivid detail. . .

“On Saturday October 6pm I was at my alma mater, Penn State attending a social function. At approximately 145 am I was standing inside the room where this gathering was located. As the event was ending the majority of the people were walking towards the stage. As I started to walk towards the stage, I notice out of the left hand side of my vision what appeared to be a young man who was talking and walking with another gentleman. From the tone of the conversation it appeared that they were angry about something. As everyone was walking in the opposite direction I decided to walk behind them as the oldest person in the room I thought I would try and prevent a situation if it was to be one. As they walked down the hallway they made a turn and I heard the first one say there he is right there. As I looked up I saw Victim sitting all alone my heart dropped as I heard the other person say that’s the nigga from last time and as I heard those words there was an all out stampede. The only thing I can think to describe it was me placing a steak in the middle of the floor and 15to20 roetweilers going after that one piece of steak. Victim was being kicked, stomped, punched in the face repeatedly and as I was taking physical punishment to get to his rescue there were just two many guys abusing him. By the time I was able to get to him he was bleeding and still absorbing abuse and all I could do was shield him with my body and as I absorbed all the abuse all I could think of was saving my friend. It was as if my parenting skills kicked in and someone was physically assaulting my child. This appeared to go on for about 4 to 5 minutes when I heard someone say here they come and you better get out of here. Then I was attempting to get Victim to safety when out of no where came a fist to his jaw and he was stretched out for about 30 seconds. At this point I helped him up and others had arrived from one side and the police was there from my other side. It all seemed to happen fast and furiously and it was an all out assault. I then begin explaining to the others that had arrived and the police what I had witnessed. It took everything for me to fight back the tears as I explained the EXTREME physical assault that I had witnessed from all these individuals verses one person.”
Another witness reported some professional wrestling style assaults:

Witness reported that he observed approximately four (4) black males punching, striking and kicking another black male. Witness stated that the victim crawled underneath of a table to help protect him from the blows, but two of the males picked up the table and threw it through the air. Witness stated that this sound caused person to being running away from the fight.Witness stated that after they threw the table, the actors continued striking and kicking the victim male. Witness stated that at one point one of the actors, climb onto a chair, jumped off and drove his elbow into the face of the victim. He then witnessed one of the actors pick up a table and throw it forcefully onto the victim as he lay on the ground.

When are you going to clean house Joe Pa?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Random Misbehaviour (and Worse), 11-15

I. Dawg Bites

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Junior guard Billy Humphrey has been indefinitely suspended from the Georgia basketball team following his arrest for possession of a weapon on school property. . . .

The Bulldogs previously dismissed senior forward Takais Brown for violation of team policies. Guard Mike Mercer and forward Albert Jackson, both sophomores, are serving suspensions for violation of academic policies. . . .

At this rate Georgia will be suiting up its cheerleading squad in March.

II. Say it, don't spray it
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia quarterback Pat White accused Louisville linebacker Preston Smith of spitting in his face, even after the coaches for both teams downplayed the incident. . . .

West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe had phoned him about the matter.

"Steve talked to the player in question and the player assured him that they were jawing at each other but he didn't intentionally spit on him. I appreciate him calling me and talking about it," Rodriguez said on the weekly Big East coaches' conference call Monday. . . .

White didn't back down from his contention.

"He spit on me," White said Tuesday night. "I'm sure he doesn't want to admit that. It's a dirty thing to do. It's disrespectful."

III. Reggie Bush: Taking no Prisoners
Halfway through his second season in the NFL, Reggie Bush already ranks among the most recognizable and profitable faces in the league.

For that he owes thanks to Mike Ornstein, the sports marketing agent who guided him to millions of dollars in endorsement contracts for products ranging from sneakers to submarine sandwiches.

Ornstein is also the man Bush fired last week.

"Most athletes hope for a shoe deal and a little something beyond that, but Bush has got it all," one advertising executive said. "I don't know why he would get rid of his agent."

The split suggests something more than a business difference, with numerous sources pointing to a disagreement among Bush's advisors over how to handle allegations that he and his family took cash and gifts while he was still playing at USC.

The principles are not doing much talking but, based on interviews and information gathered over several months, it seems clear that Bush's advisors were split over whether to settle out of court with two would-be San Diego sports marketers who made the allegations. . . .

Sources say that Ornstein, worried about public relations fallout, argued for bringing the matter to a quiet end.

IV. Austin Scott Pleads Not Guilty
Suspended Penn State running back Austin Scott has waived today's scheduled arraignment and pleaded not guilty to felony charges of rape and sexual assault and a simple-assault charge and two counts of indecent assault, all misdemeanors.

A redshirt senior from Allentown, Scott's next court appearance is a pre-trial conference set for Jan. 17. Jury selection is scheduled for Feb. 4 before a formal trial begins.

Scott's waiver, which included his plea, was faxed yesterday to the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.

"We expected a waiver since 90 percent normally waive the arraignment," Centre County assistant court administrator Barb Gallo said.

Scott, 22, was charged Oct. 12 in connection with the Oct. 5 encounter he had with a female student at his campus apartment. At an Oct. 17 preliminary hearing, Scott was bound over for trial.

The court issued a gag order to both sides Oct. 22 at the request of Centre County Assistant District Attorney Lance Marshall, who had accused lead defense counsel John Karoly of leaking information about the accuser's past to the media.

V. And more from State Penn. . .

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State defensive tackle Chris Baker and backup linebacker Navorro Bowman were charged with assault Thursday over a campus fight in which authorities said a man was bloodied after being kicked and punched.

Baker, 20, of Windsor, Conn., and Bowman, 19, of District Heights, Md., were arraigned Thursday on charges including felony aggravated assault and two misdemeanors, simple assault and disorderly conduct. Each was also charged with summary harassment and stalking. . . .

In early October, several players had been demoted and/or lost playing time based upon our initial understanding of the facts regarding the incident," according to a statement Thursday from the football team. "Based upon today's information, Chris Baker, Navorro Bowman and Knowledge Timmons will not travel with the team to East Lansing." . . .

Police said they were called to the Hetzel Union Building early Oct. 7 to break up a fight during a dance party attended by at least a dozen players.

The lengthy 15-page complaint paints a chaotic scene, in which authorities said the victim, Varney Capehart, suffered a bloody nose and lip and other injuries to his face after being kicked, stomped and punched "by numerous people," authorities said. Capehart was treated at the scene by paramedics. . . .

A third player, cornerback Knowledge Timmons, will be issued a summons by mail for charges of disorderly conduct and defiant trespass, Centre County Assistant District Attorney Steve Sloane said. Timmons' charges were connected to an incident at the HUB after the fight, Sloane said. . . .

Baker, a sophomore, has played in every game this season, starting in seven of them and compiling 37 tackles and 41/2 sacks. He has emerged as solid contributor on Penn State's young defensive line.

He is also awaiting trial on charges for a separate fight at an off-campus apartment in April.
Mike at Black Shoes Diaries, a Penn State fanblog comments:

I hate this team. I still love Penn State football, but I hate this group of players. They are nothing more than a bunch of street thugs. There is nothing inspiring about them on the field, and nothing to like about them off the field.

I don't ever want to see Chris Baker in Blue and White again. He's a troublemaker. We have five other defensive tackles with NFL caliber talent. We don't need him. He needs Penn State, but he can't seem to keep that in mind.

Knowledge Timmons needs to go as well. He was rumored to be a major player in the April apartment fight with Baker but he never faced charges. He wasn't so fortunate this time, and now the rumors from April carry a little more weight. Kick them both off the team. Now.

AMEN. Get to it Joe Pa!

VI. Montana football gets in on the act

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Three University of Montana football players appeared in District Court Monday on felony charges stemming from a drug-related home invasion that occurred last week near campus.

Running back Greg Coleman, 22, defensive end Mike Shelton, 21, and running back Jeramy Pate, 19, appeared before District Judge John Larson over a video feed from jail. The hearing was unusual because Monday was Veteran's Day, a government holiday, and the courthouse was closed except for the single hearing.

Court records said six men broke into a house early on Nov. 5 with the intent of stealing marijuana, pistol-whipped a man and used a stun gun on him and tied up a woman with duct tape.

The three Grizzly players have been suspended from the team. They and two others have been arrested on felony charges of robbery, burglary and aggravated kidnapping. . . .

Their details have also disappeared from

Police arrested the men Sunday, intercepting Coleman and Shelton at the Adams Center as the football team arrived home following Saturday's game at Idaho State. . . .

The arrests are the latest trouble for members of the UM football team.

In June, cornerback Jimmy Wilson surrendered to California authorities investigating the death of his aunt's 29-year-old boyfriend. Wilson has pleaded not guilty to murder in the case.

Later that same month, teammate Qwenton Freeman, who California authorities suspect witnessed the shooting, was arrested over allegations that he threw a beer bottle at a man outside a bar. He has been acquitted on the charge, but still has two cases pending -- one for slapping a 24-year-old woman outside a bar and another for choking his girlfriend and hitting her in the head. He has denied the allegations.

In September, cornerback Timothy L. Parks was arrested on charges that he pointed a gun at a woman's head and slapped her while trying to collect a debt.

Certainly not what head coach Bobby Hauck was looking for heading into the rivalry game with Montana State on Saturday, and a likely seed in the FCS playoffs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The FCS Playoff Picture

Here is a breakdown of the contenders for seeds and spots in the FCS playoffs. I will post a projected field with pairings at the culmination of the McNeese State-Central Arkansas game on Saturday night. The selection show will air live on Sunday on ESPN

Contending for Seeds

Northern Iowa 10-0 Gateway Auto-Bid

Northern Iowa has already clinched the Gateway auto-bid, with squeakers of victories over Southern Illinois and Youngstown State being the key. They could post a perfect regular season should they dispatch Southern Utah who, at 0-10, have been everyone's whipping boy this year. Given the victory over FBS Iowa State in OOC play, and the near unanimous #1 ranking in both polls and computer rankings, Northern Iowa should take the #1 overall seed with a win on Saturday.

McNeese State 10-0

Although they have posted a perfect season to date, McNeese State must take care of business against Central Arkansas to wrap up the Southland conference auto-bid. Given the win over FBS Louisiana-Lafayette, and solid poll and computer rankings, McNeese State should take the #2 overall seed with a win on Saturday.

Montana 10-0 Big Sky Auto-Bid

Montana has clinched the Big Sky auto-bid, and will perhaps take one of the seeds should they complete a perfect regular season against Montana State on Saturday. Perhaps is the operative word however, considering that its three OOC opponents did not include FBS opposition, but did include DII Fort Lewis, which has posted a 1-9 record, and FCS whipping boy Southern Utah at 0-10. The question is whether Montana's gaudy record and long and proud tradition will overcome a very weak schedule.

Other Contenders for Seeds

There are five teams beyond these who can make a case for a seed. The question is whether the committee will go for whoever emerges with the CAA auto-bid (for which there are still four teams contending), probably with a 9-2 record, or for one of two very strong teams who stumbled in-conference, Southern Illinois (currently 9-1) and Appalachian State (currently 8-2). I will deal with the latter two first.

Appalachian State 8-2

Appalachian State made waves earlier in the season with its stunning upset of Michigan in the Big House. Its conference season did not go entirely smoothly, with 'quality losses' to SOCON champion Wofford and at-large contender Georgia Southern. Appalachian State is a lock for an at-large bid, but will probably be on the outside looking in when the seeds are handed out.

Southern Illinois 9-1

[Readers should note that the author is a Salukis fan, but he will attempt to maintain sober analysis!]

The only thing which separates Southern Illinois from a perfect season to date is a seven yard line tackle on a rugby play with zero seconds on the clock which did not, quite, result in an unlikely victory over Northern Iowa. Given that, and the win over FBS Northern Illinois, the committee may be tempted to give Southern Illinois a seed over a 9-2 CAA champion should they complete their season with a victory at Hampton on Saturday. Whatever happens, an at-large berth looks like a formality.

Richmond 8-2

Richmond needs a win against William and Mary and a Massachusetts loss, or a win and an ADs vote (no joke!) to take the CAA auto-bid. Its only losses came against FBS Vanderbilt, and, bafflingly, to 3-7 Towson. App State and Southern Illinois are objectively stronger, but would that be enough to overcome the kudos of winning the auto-bid from the toughest FCS conference? In any scenario, however, a lock for an at-large bid.

Massachusetts 8-2

Massachusetts needs a win against a tough Hofstra team and a Richmond loss, or a win and an ADs vote (no joke!) to take the CAA auto-bid. Like Richmond, it has a loss against an FBS school, ranked Boston College, and a baffling loss, in this case to 2-8 Rhode Island. As with Richmond, Massachusetts is not, objectively, as strong as Southern Illinois and App State, and is a lock for an at-large bid.

Delaware 8-2

Delaware needs a win against Villanova, and losses by Richmond, Massachusetts, and James Madison to take the CAA auto-bid. Should this scenario occur, I would predict Delaware as a seed over Southern Illinois and App State, considering that it, as well, has an FBS scalp, Navy, and its two losses came by 5 points at tough New Hampshire, and in overtime on Saturday versus Richmond. Should that not play out, Delaware is a lock for an at-large bid

Other Auto-Bids

Wofford 8-3 SOCON Auto-Bid

Wofford's crucial game came on September 22, when they upset Appalachian State. Despite two later conference losses, most recently against Georgia Southern, this means that they take the tiebreaker even should App State share the conference title with a win over Chattanooga on Saturday.

Eastern Kentucky 8-2 OVC Auto-Bid

Given their victory over Eastern Illinois on October 6, Eastern Kentucky will take the OVC auto-bid even should they fall to Tennessee Tech on Saturday. SOS is not sufficient to be in the running for a seed.

Delaware State 9-1 MEAC Auto-Bid

Delaware State clinched the MEAC on Saturday with their win over Norfolk State. SOS is not sufficient to be in the running for a seed.

Fordham 8-2 Patriot Auto-Bid

Fordham clinched the Patriot League on Saturday with their win over Holy Cross, ending years of football futility. SOS is not sufficient to be in the running for a seed.

Still in the Running for an Auto-Bid

Central Arkansas 6-4

Although out of the running for an at-large bid, Central Arkansas could steal an auto-bid with a win against McNeese State on Saturday. This would put McNeese into the at-large pool, with implications for 'bubble' teams.

*CORRECTION* Thursday 9:48 AM
Central Arkansas is in their first season in the Southland Conference, and are not eligible for postseason play this year, so McNeese State takes the auto-bid even with a loss on Saturday.

On the Bubble

There are five schools here for only three or four slots, but each can make an excellent case for inclusion with a win in the final week.

James Madison 7-3

James Madison could still take the CAA auto-bid with a win against Towson on Saturday, and losses by Richmond and Massachusetts. A far more likely scenario is that they will take an at-large bid after defeating a 3-7 team and finishing 8-3. A loss will leave them sweating.

Georgia Southern 7-3

A win against FBS Colorado State on Saturday would certainly garner Georgia Southern an at-large bid. A loss will leave them sweating.

Hofstra 7-3

A win against Massachusetts on Saturday, along with a win by James Madison, could mean 5 CAA teams in the playoffs.

Eastern Washington 7-3

A win against Weber State on Saturday will probably mean that Eastern Washington joins Montana as the second Big Sky team in the playoffs.

Grambling 8-2

Both of SWAC champion Grambling's losses came against FBS opponents, so a win against a tough Southern University team should propel them into the playoffs.

On the Outside Looking In

Youngstown State 7-4

Youngstown State is the best four loss team in the FCS, but they need losses by at least three of the six following teams on Saturday if they are to have a chance at a bid: Central Arkansas, James Madison, Georgia Southern, Hofstra, Eastern Washington, Grambling.

Liberty 7-3

The Big South sent a 9-2 Coastal Carolina team to the playoffs last year, but even with a win against Gardner-Webb on Saturday, their resume will not be enough.

Dayton 10-1

The selection committee left a 10-0 San Diego team with better computer numbers out of the playoffs last year, so do not expect any favors to be given to the Pioneer League this year.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oklahoma State boots Chris Collins from Football Team (Finally)

Today Oklahoma State finally came to the conclusion, six days after they should have, that players convicted of aggravated sexual assault have no place on their football team:
Linebacker Chris Collins was permanently dismissed from Oklahoma State's football team Monday, six days after he pleaded guilty to the felony aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Texas.

Coach Mike Gundy met with Collins to inform him of the dismissal, according to a statement released Monday evening by Marlene Strathe, the university's interim president.

"Chris has been a model student-athlete since he arrived at OSU last year and coach Gundy felt that he had earned the privilege of hearing the decision face-to-face from his head coach," Strathe said in the statement. "During the meeting coach Gundy informed Chris that he would no longer be a member of the football team and the university supports coach Gundy's decision." . . .

"Because of the way Chris has conducted himself since coming to OSU, we will honor his athletic scholarship so that he can continue his education at OSU, if he is so inclined," Strathe said. "If he decides to transfer to another school, we will assist him in doing so. We feel deeply sad for everyone involved."

Head coach Mike 'the press is the problem' Gundy has adopted the same approach in this case:

Gundy bristled when he was asked a fourth straight question about Collins, on what information the university was lacking before it could make its decision.

"I'm not going to talk about Chris Collins all day, OK? You with me?" Gundy said. "I'll talk about Baylor but there's just not anything to talk about. As soon as we get everything, we'll try to do the best we can to give all the information and come to a conclusion."

Get a clue Mike. There is no one to blame for the bad press in this case but you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grats to the Lady Huskies/Graduation Data

Congratulations to the Lady Huskies of Bloomsburg on defending their Division II field hockey title, their fifth in the last six years, by defeating UMass-Lowell 5-2 this afternoon. Junior Jamie Vanartsdalen scored two goals to cap a DII record-setting year in which she scored 35 goals, added 19 assists, and was named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference field hockey athlete of the year. This also marks the fourteenth national title in field hockey for head coach Jan Hutchinson.

Bloomsburg also posts a 73% graduation rate in women's sports other than basketball, cross country, and track. Their final four rivals post similar numbers. Defeated finalist UMass-Lowell posts a 79% graduation rate, with semi-finalists Indiana (PA) and Bentley coming it at 63% and 93% respectively. Once again, there is clear evidence that academic and on-field success are not mutally exclusive. Many congratulations to all of the fine STUDENT-athletes who participated.

Serfs of the Turf?

Thats how NYT op-ed columnist Michael Lewis describes FBS football players, in yet another column advocating paying them. He makes some excellent points along the way:

College football’s best trick play is its pretense that it has nothing to do with money, that it’s simply an extension of the university’s mission to educate its students. Were the public to view college football as mainly a business, it might start asking questions. For instance: why are these enterprises that have nothing to do with education and everything to do with profits exempt from paying taxes? Or why don’t they pay their employees?. . .

But between buyer and seller sits the National Collegiate Athletic Association, to ensure that the universities it polices keep all the money for themselves — to make sure that the rich white folk do not slip so much as a free chicken sandwich under the table to the poor black kids. The poor black kids put up with it because they find it all but impossible to pursue N.F.L. careers unless they play at least three years in college. Less than one percent actually sign professional football contracts and, of those, an infinitesimal fraction ever make serious money. But their hope is eternal, and their ignorance exploitable. . . .

The lie at the bottom of the fantasy goes something like this: serious college football players go to college for some reason other than to play football. These marvelous athletes who take the field on Saturdays and generate millions for their colleges are students first, and football players second. They are like Franciscan monks set down in the gold mine. Yes, they play football, but they have no interest in the money. What they’re really living for is that degree in criminology. . . .

Of course, no honest person who has glimpsed the inside of a big-time college football program could actually believe this. Even from the outside the college end of things seems suspiciously secondary. If serious college football players are students first, why — even after a huge N.C.A.A. push to raise their graduation rates — do they so alarmingly fail to graduate? Why must the N.C.A.A. create incentives for football coaches to encourage their players even to attend classes? Why do we never hear of a great high school football player choosing a college for the quality of its professors? Why, when college football coaches sell their programs to high school studs, do they stress the smoothness of the path they offer to the N.F.L.? . . .

Lewis' ultimate argument falters because he fails to address two fundamental points. First, a minority of FBS schools have profitable football programs. The immense profits at programs such as Notre Dame, Texas, and Ohio state represent the exceptions that prove the rule. Paying players would thus create an ever greater gap between the haves, who could afford it, and the have nots who are in some cases struggling with mountains of debt. The end result would be an escalation in the college football arms race. Second, if paying players were allowed, the NCAA, and Division I athletic programs would no longer be able to maintain their not for profit status, and the well of money which has enabled the the current profanity in intercollegiate athletics would dry up.

Sports Gambling: Knowing the Enemy

Check out this fascinating AP article on Michael Franzese, an ex-mobster who is in high demand for advising both pro and college sports teams and players on the game of fixing games:
And it's clear, from the wide eyes and dropped jaws in a George Mason University auditorium on a recent evening, that these kids in their gray hooded sweat shirts are listening intently, drawn in by Franzese's message and mien.

They're hearing Franzese deliver the same, simple points he makes to college athletes and coaches, to NBA rookies and Major League Baseball players and umpires, to professional tennis players and NFL veterans.

Know the dangers of gambling, because, he says, "If you don't have a gambling problem, you know somebody that does. Guaranteed."

Be careful not to get mixed in with the wrong crowd.

Don't wind up being forced into the sorts of situations he put athletes in, where they felt compelled to affect the outcome of a game.

In sum: Do as I say, not as I did. . . .

"I was surprised they would have a guy like that come speak to us," said Folarin Campbell, a guard on George Mason's basketball team. "But what he said makes you think twice about even thinking about gambling."

Why has Major League Baseball hired Franzese to do tours during spring training?

Why did the men's professional tennis tour have him meet with hundreds of players at a tournament this spring?

Why was he invited to speak to the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins?

"You have to know your enemy," said Kevin Hallinan, who recently retired as security chief for Major League Baseball. . . .

Asked whether he fixed games, Franzese replied, "Yes. Did it with a number of sports."

He continued: "This stuff with me is '70s and '80s, and I don't see any reason to bring it up. Everyone wants to hear it, but it can't do me any good. I've got a lot of credibility with the leagues at this point, and I enjoy what I'm doing, and the leagues shouldn't be besmirched because you had a couple of bad apples way back when."

During his speeches, Franzese describes one way it might have happened.

Maybe a cohort mentioned that his daughter was dating a basketball player from Such-and-Such University. Or maybe they ran into a college player they recognized at a club and would get to know him.

Then would come the soft sell.

"Hey, you're a great player. But you're 6-foot-2. You're not going to the pros," is how a pitch might start, Franzese said. "You've got a 2.1 GPA. Where you going when you get out of here?"

Then Franzese lowered his voice as he portrayed what would come next: "Look, shave some points. You're favored to win by 10? Win by six. Be smart. Here's some money. Put it in your pocket. You do this for me a couple of times, you've got $50,000 before you leave school."

Franzese's coda to his re-enactment: "That's real hard for these kids to pass up."

And if someone tried to get out of it?

"You know what my response is?" Franzese said. "'Hey, we made a deal. You're not taking money out of my pocket. We're going the distance. What are you gonna do? Go to your coach?"' . . .

"I've seen guys get their arms and legs broken because they're in debt with a bookmaker, go into the hospital, come out, go across town and gamble with another bookmaker the same ... day they come out of the hospital," he said. "So if that's not an addiction, I don't know what is. ... It crosses all gender lines, all race lines. Nobody is immune to a gambling problem." . . .

"I hope when I'm finished, next time they jump on the Internet, next time they think about placing a bet, my ugly face is going to come up there, and they're going to associate organized crime with the Internet, organized crime with poker," Franzese said. "They're going to remember this night that this mob guy came in and gave them this whole thing, and they're going to associate those two items and maybe they're going to say, 'I shouldn't do this."' . . .

Words of wisdom indeed. . .

Friday, November 9, 2007

Chris Collins and Oklahoma State: Telling Commentary

From Joel Klein of Tulsa World:
There's no place for felons in college football. And, the way things are starting to play out in the NFL, there's no room in the pros, either.

Yet, here was Collins causing Gundy another headache he doesn't need. What was needed was immediate action, not a wait-and-see attitude. The legal system has run its course. Collins is a felon. Time for him to hit the road.

On Thursday, about 24 hours later than it should have happened, Collins was pushed off the OSU football team.

We believe in second chances in life. Just not in college football. When Collins walked in and plead guilty, he forfeited the privilege to play college football in the Big 12.

There may be a place for him somewhere else, but OSU can't take the hit of having a felon in the lineup.

There are plenty of non-felons who would probably love to play linebacker in the Big 12 and get a good education for free.

The NCAA has tons of rules. Here's one to add. If you are a felon, you forfeit the chance to play NCAA football. . . .

OSU made a mistake by not immediately kicking Collins off the team. Gundy didn't hesitate to boot players three years ago for various legal and academic reasons. He kicked off nine players in his first eight months.

Among those were potential impact players like Prentiss Elliott and Brad Girtman.

Those two were among the first to be pushed out the door during spring practice just two months after Gundy got the job.

Deservedly, Gundy was praised for cleaning up the program as he took over from Les Miles. This latest incident should have been a no-brainer. . . .
It is Barry Tramel of the Oklahoman which really gets to the heart of the matter:
As we demand to know what Gundy was thinking when he brought in Collins on scholarship, trying to be Father Flanagan or Dennis Erickson, and we wonder what kind of research was conducted that made anyone think this was a good idea, maybe this is the detail that slipped from scrutiny. . . .

She was 12 years old. Twelve years old and snuck out and hopped into a car with some older guys, and they drove her to the Comfort Suites and gave her vodka and orange juice, and she wandered in and out of consciousness, and they had sex with her.

As OSU suspends Collins for the rest of this season and tries to determine where to go from here, and the university wonders how its coach went from being the tough sheriff who ran off the bad seeds to the man who signed off on a sex offender, and some try to rationalize what happened that night in Texarkana, remember this.

She was 12 years old. Twelve years old and snuck out and hopped into a car with some older guys, and they drove her to the Comfort Suites and gave her vodka and orange juice, and she wandered in and out of consciousness, and they had sex with her, and her life forever was changed. . . .

The fall championship season kicks off this afternoon with the semifinals of the Division II Field Hockey Championship. Thank god for the opportunity to be Prof-Fan rather than slogging through Profanity!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Random Misbehaviour (and Worse), 11-08

I. Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has suspended linebacker Marcus Ball for one game for violation of team rules:
Bobby Bowden announced after practice Wednesday night that FSU sophomore LB Marcus Ball is suspended for the game Saturday at Virginia Tech.

Ball, who backs up Dekoda Watson at SLB, was suspended for a "violation of team rules" and he will not travel with the team this weekend. The suspension puts a damper on the good vibes that have surrounded the Seminoles since they beat No. 2 Boston College last Saturday.

Bowden, who spoke tersely and quietly about Ball's suspension, was obviously frustrated by it.
Leaving us with an enigmatic:
"That's today's nature."

II. Two Maryland players, forwards James Gist and Landon Milbourne, have been suspended for their opening game as a result of a violation of NCAA rules:

Maryland senior James Gist and sophomore Landon Milbourne will be suspended for the Terrapins' men's basketball season opener against North Florida on Sunday because they violated an NCAA rule by playing in an organized offseason game in Ocean City, Maryland Coach Gary Williams said yesterday.

"The players are very aware of the rules," Williams said in a telephone interview. "They know they can't play in any outside competition unless it is a sanctioned summer league. This was just a game organized by someone in Ocean City."

The players participated in one day of the Maryland State 5-on-5 Tournament in April, which violated an NCAA rule that prohibits athletes from competing in unsanctioned competitions outside the university. Williams said Maryland immediately reported the incident to the NCAA, which reviewed it and imposed a one-game suspension because the two players had competed in one unsanctioned game.

"They made a mistake," Williams said. "Obviously they were swayed by some people. We have to be tougher. When you are 19 or 20, you make mistakes. It has nothing to do with their character."

Of course not Gary, of course not. BTW, hows your graduation rate been lately?

III. UW-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter has tossed his leader scorer, guard Avery Smith off the team for the dreaded 'unspecified violation of team rules'. Kudos to Jeter for taking firm action:

MILWAUKEE -- Scoring leader Avery Smith was tossed off Wisconsin-Milwaukee's basketball team Wednesday, a day after his suspension.

Panthers coach Rob Jeter suspended Smith for an unspecified violation of team rules a half hour before Milwaukee opened its season by beating Wisconsin-Parkside in an exhibition game Thursday night. The school said Smith would remain on scholarship.

"It has become clear we need to move forward as a team and a program without Avery," Jeter said in a statement. "I've focused a lot on team chemistry and togetherness and now it is time to move into the season with a group that is committed to those ideas."

IV. Oklahoma State linebacker Chris Collins has been sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 12 year old. He may, however, merely receive probation:
The Oklahoma State sophomore linebacker Chris Collins received a five-year prison sentence yesterday for aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl three years ago. But the jury, in New Boston, Tex., recommended that his punishment be served through probation.

Collins’s sentence was announced after the jury of seven men and five women deliberated for 55 minutes, said Lisa McDermott, a public information officer for the Bowie County district attorney’s office. He had faced a prison sentence ranging from five years to life, but he was eligible for probation as a first-time offender.

Collins was ordered to undergo a psychological examination as part of a presentence investigation. His probation could be for as long as 10 years and will be decided by a judge on Dec. 10, said Kristian Young, a Bowie County assistant district attorney.

At that time, the judge will also decide if Collins must register as a sex offender, Young said, adding that if he violated his probation, the maximum sentence he would serve would be five years. . . .

Gary Shutt, Oklahoma State’s director of communications, said the university was still gathering information about Collins’s sentence and would soon make a decision on whether he would continue to play for the Cowboys (5-4, 3-2 Big 12). . . .

“We can say this: Chris Collins has been a model student and athlete since arriving at Oklahoma State University,” Shutt wrote in an e-mail message. . . .

Given that Oklahoma State and coach Mike Gundy went into this with its eyes wide open, it is difficult to find sympathy for the bad publicity which they are now receiving:

Collins did not play his senior year at Texas High School in Texarkana because of the charge against him. A scholarship offer to Texas was rescinded and he sat out in 2005 before accepting a scholarship to Oklahoma State last season. As a freshman, Collins was Oklahoma State’s second-leading tackler before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in its sixth game. . . .

At the conference’s news media days in July, Gundy defended offering Collins a scholarship and said he investigated Collins’s situation over the telephone.

Gundy said then that he expected Collins to play all of this season and praised him.

“He’s been great,” Gundy said. “We can hardly get him to talk. He never says much at all.”

He added, “I want him to be able to finish his career at Oklahoma State and graduate.”

Before the season, Cowboys defensive end Marque Fountain said Collins had no concerns about the indictment against him.

“He knows what happened,” Fountain said. “He’s not worried about it. The only thing he’s worried about is going to school and playing football.”

Please excuse me while I take a long shower.


Chris Collins has been suspended from the Oklahoma State football team. Interim President Marlene Strathe issued a statement:
Chris Collins will not play in the remaining games on the 2007 Oklahoma State University schedule. We will not make a final decision on his long-term status on the OSU football team until we have fully reviewed and considered this matter in the wake of what has happened this week, and had a chance to talk to Chris in detail.
What took you so long Dr. Strathe? And what are your thoughts Coach Gundy?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NCAA Investigators meet source on Reggie Bush Affair. . .

. . .according to a report by Charles Robinson and Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports that is. Background here.

The co-founder of a failed sports marketing agency met with NCAA investigators for nearly six hours Tuesday afternoon, apparently following through on last week's vow to turn over materials tying former USC running back Reggie Bush and his family to a string of improper benefits taken while Bush played for the Trojans.

A source confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that Lloyd Lake, one of the financiers of now defunct New Era Sports & Entertainment, spent much of Tuesday afternoon with NCAA investigators in the Pasadena, Calif., office of Lake's attorney, Paul Wong. When reached Tuesday night, Wong declined comment.

"I can neither confirm nor deny that a meeting took place," Wong said. . . .

Lake's attorneys said last week that they were preparing to meet with NCAA investigators, a summit that was expected to include Lake submitting to a wide range of questions, as well as agreeing to turn over documents and possibly even recorded conversations between himself, Bush and Bush's stepfather LaMar Griffin. Four sources have confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that such taped conversations implicate Bush and his stepfather in a financial relationship with Lake.

At some point, Charles and Jason, we need to know who those anonymous, entirely unidentified sources are. Are they NCAA investigators? Members of Lake's legal team? USC administrators? Otherwise we are obliged to take your stories with a grain of salt. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times, which reported a non-denial denial from another of Lakes attorney's, notes that USC was excluded from the meeting:

Meanwhile, USC was not invited to attend the meeting Tuesday, a top administrator said.

"We have repeatedly requested to be included in all interviews and all aspects of the investigation," said Todd Dickey, USC senior vice president and general counsel. "We were not given the opportunity to participate."

The NCAA had previously declined to comment on the investigation.

It is the NCAA's comment which will, of course, ultimately matter.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

News Briefs; Blogation

I. LSU Brawl Fallout

Kudos to LSU football coach Les Miles for dismissing two players, linebackers Jeremy Benton and Derrick Odom from the team as a result of their participation in some intramural bar brawling on Saturday night. Backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux has been suspended for Saturday's game against Alabama. See EDSBS for the whole sorry story.

II. Alabama Textbook Scandal

Speaking of Alabama, University of Alabama AD Mal Moore flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday along with Compliance Director Chris King to update the NCAA on their investigation into the textbook scandal. This did not, however, result in any change of status for the five football players currently practicing, but suspended from participating in any games.

III. Reggie Bush and USC

The meeting between the NCAA and would be Reggie Bush agent Lloyd Lake, who has threatened to dish the dirt on alleged improper benefits has been pushed back until Tuesday. The longer this meeting is delayed, the more it looks like leverage for a potential settlement of the lawsuit Lake has filed against Bush and his family.

IV. Kelvin Sampson, Liar?

At a news conference today, Kelvin Sampson responded to evidence in Indiana's self report to the NCAA that suggests that he is not merely a cheater, but a liar as well:
Two recruits and their parents said in the Ice Miller report sent to the NCAA that Sampson and former IU assistant Rob Senderoff both spoke throughout three-way conversations. Sampson and Senderoff told investigators that Sampson was unaware Senderoff was on the phone.

Sampson was involved in as many as 18 three-way calls that were in direct violation of his recruiting sanctions which were in effect from May 25, 2006 through May 24, 2007.

“I know what I know, and that’s all I need to say on that,” Sampson said today during his weekly news conference with the media. “The way I answered the question was the right answer."
The right answer to CYA? Or the truth?

I am off to Washington DC for the weekend to attend a conference, so Profane will be taking a brief blogation until Sunday night or Monday. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

USC & Reggie Bush: New Developments

One of the longest running, but potentially spectacular cases of skullduggery in NCAA sports took another step towards a conclusion yesterday:

Former USC and Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush and his family are being sued by the co-founder of a failed sports marketing agency, according to a filing Tuesday in San Diego County Court.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys for New Era Sports & Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Lake, alleges Bush and his family failed to repay a wide array of benefits they received from New Era while Bush played for the Trojans. One of Lake's attorney's, Paul Wong, said that in addition to filing the suit, Lake has agreed to meet with NCAA investigators this week to discuss Bush's involvement with New Era Sports. . . .

Tuesday's filing purports that from November 2004 through January 2006, Bush and his family received cash, a vehicle and shelter as well as labor, material and services tied to New Era Sports – the agency that expected to represent the USC star when he declared for the NFL draft. The suit places the total value of the benefits extended to Bush, now in his second season with the New Orleans Saints, and his family at just over $291,000.

The suit also claims to have written communication from Bush that promises to repay some of the benefits, stating "On January 14, 2006, Defendant Reginald Bush – reaffirmed his commitment to repay (Lake) in a written communication."

If it is determined by the NCAA and Pac-10 Conference that Bush or his family received extra benefits, he would be in violation of NCAA rules. In accordance to NCAA bylaws, Bush's amateur status could be retroactively voided, prompting USC to forfeit games from the 2004 and 2005 seasons, including its latest national championship. Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy could also be in jeopardy. Per the language on the Heisman ballot, any winner of the award "must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student-athlete." . . .

In Friday's scheduled meeting with the NCAA, Lake could reveal a variety of information, from receipts, bank and phone records, as well as taped conversations between himself, Bush and Bush's stepfather LaMar. Sources say the recordings were made as Bush's agreement to sign with New Era Sports began to fall apart in December 2005. . . .

Sources close to the failed New Era Sports & Entertainment venture said Bush and his family demanded payments be made in cash, to keep the transactions hidden from NCAA scrutiny. Payments were said to have been made in person to Bush's parents in San Diego, while Lake would personally drive to Los Angeles to deliver monthly payments to Bush at his apartment near the USC campus.
The question, of course, is whether ANY information will be handed over the the NCAA, or whether the threat of a meeting is merely leverage in an attempt to get Bush to settle the lawsuit. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports comments:

Tuesday afternoon, Lloyd Lake, ex-con, former aspiring sports marketer and worst nightmare for the University of Southern California football program, dropped a lawsuit in a San Diego County courthouse and a bomb on the Trojans.

While few of the allegations are new, the lawsuit, and Lake's scheduled meeting with NCAA investigators, changes the entire dynamic of the Reggie Bush case. It is the single worst development that could have happened to USC.

About the only thing, if anything, that can save the Trojans is Bush settling the nearly $300,000 suit between now and Lake's Friday meeting with the NCAA.

NCAA investigators had cited a lack of cooperation with key witnesses in determining whether Bush received extra benefits during his final two seasons at USC and whether the Trojans should have known about it.

That includes Bush, his current marketing agent Mike Ornstein and the two partners in a would-be marketing company called New Era Sports & Entertainment, Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels, who tried to sign Bush. . . .

Bush and Ornstein are saying nothing to the NCAA. Neither is Michaels after Bush settled out of court with him earlier this year for what sources say was between $200,000 and $300,000. Part of that deal, sources said, is a clause that prohibits Michaels speaking with the NCAA.

While the NCAA has other evidence and witnesses, the most dangerous party for USC was Lake. He was the last major witness who could blow this thing up. . . .

The case against USC, like all similar cases involving players and agents, will revolve around two basic lines of questioning, according to three athletic directors and one former NCAA investigator with whom Yahoo! Sports discussed the generalities.

1. Did Bush receive extra benefits that would make him ineligible for competition? And if so, when did they begin?

2. Did or should have USC officials and coaches known about the extra benefits. . . .

Yahoo! Sports previously reported Lake and Michaels didn't just attend USC games, but after two games even went into the Trojan locker room. That's a place most schools severely limit access to and would investigate the background of any non-relative who gains such access.

"Two guys don't just walk into your postgame locker room," said one athletic director. "You confront them immediately and find out. That's basic stuff."

Yahoo! Sports also previously reported that sources claim USC assistant Todd McNair knew of Bush's relationship with both Michaels and Lake. Moreover he spent a night out in San Diego with Bush, Michaels and Lake and knew Bush was staying the night in a $500-a-night suite at the city's Manchester Hyatt.

Yahoo! Sports obtained a receipt for the stay that was paid for by Michaels' credit card. USC refused to allow Yahoo! Sports to interview McNair.

Those bits alone, especially if Lake provides details, could prove to be damning blows for the Trojan program. . . .

But for USC, Tuesday's lawsuit was a terrible development, the kind that can blow open the doors on Heritage Hall, imperil both the past and future and send Carroll scurrying back to the NFL.

Three days and counting until Lake meets with the NCAA. Only another last-second bit of Reggie Bush heroics – this time in the form of a big check to Lloyd Lake – can probably help his Trojans now.

At this point, however, Bush's lawyer says that the lawsuit will be 'vigorously' fought. Stay tuned.