Sprints Has 183 Secondary Violations to Report // 06.03.09

Second Degree. The proliferation of secondary violations, or perhaps just the increased scrutiny of them thanks to Boy Wonder's TMI Twitter page and Gene Chizik's Willy Wonka and the Football Factory antics, is drawing attention. Feldman highlights one anonymous source's complaint.

"That is one of the biggest problems I have with the NCAA. All of the prospects enjoyed it, and they leave the campus having a great time. Auburn will report a secondary violation, which is nothing. In the end they will probably get some of those players. They should put in a rule that if you have multiple reported violations with a prospect you are not allowed to recruit him."

I agree with Dr. Saturday that the solution there might be a bit too harsh for both program and player, who might have always dreamt of going to State U. but can't because of one too many smoke-machine demonstrations. Here's a better idea: A scale of scholarship losses. You commit five secondary violations, you lose a scholarship. As things get more flagrant, the penalties get more aggressive. Without some punishment, you run into the Doc's problem.

Why would any school, anywhere, care about a "secondary violation" when the potential benefit is so many times greater than the cost?

In fact, just a sampling of secondary violations reported today:

--This one, in the ongoing Memphis affair, is just stupid.

Memphis acknowledged culpability in an alleged secondary violation involving an improper call made to the mother of a prospective player, Abdul Gaddy. Memphis said that booster Dave Bronczek called Gaddy's mother, Oseye. But the school noted that the player's mother worked for Bronczek, and Memphis officials described the call as employer and employee.

"Unfortunately, the topic of the University of Memphis men's basketball program came up in the course of the conversation," the response says.

Because, you know, it's just awful for co-workers to talk about the future of their children.

--Georgia, in the meantime, is secondary violatin'.

One of the football violations involved four UGA players receiving complimentary tickets to an NFL game from a friend playing in the league. The resolution in that case, Baumgartner said, was for the players to repay the cost of the tickets. Georgia wouldn’t release the names of the players, citing a federal law regarding the privacy of student records.

The two other football violations involved NCAA rules limiting phone calls to recruits. In one case, a coaching staff member left a message for a recruit after another staff member spoke with the player the previous day. The penalty was a two-week ban on calling the recruit.

In another case, a UGA booster telephoned a recruit. The booster received "education" on the rules, Baumgartner said.

Again, all these things are too picayune to draw a penalty on their own, and maybe the scale should be higher than I suggest. (I.E., 15 secondaries = 1 scholly) But something should be done. And could it be possible that attaching some penalties to secondary violations would encourage the NCAA to bring sanity to its enforcement efforts and rulebook. I know, I know, that's all rainbows and unicorns. But one can hope.

Memphis: Cal's innocent. It's helpful to remember that, in the Derrick Rose case, Memphis and John Calipari are firmly on the same side. But the evidence continues to mount that Cal wasn't complicit in Rose's alleged SAT improprieties -- and that it isn't even clear that such improprieties exist.

University of Memphis officials say the school's athletic staff, including former basketball coach John Calipari, found no proof of academic fraud reportedly involving former star freshman Derrick Rose.

The school also described more than $2,000 in travel expenses improperly provided to an associate of Rose as "inadvertent" and an "administrative error."

Memphis drew those conclusions in a 63-page response to NCAA allegations of major rules violations in Calipari's program during the 2007-08 season. In addition to the official response, Memphis also made public 497 pages of supporting exhibits.

Say what you want, the guys that released 500 pages of documents are not generally the ones hiding something. However, the "inadvertent" and "administrative error" excuses don't smell right. Those are weasel words.

Former Arkansas basketball player Patrick Beverley is backing off his suggestion that other teammates in the Hogs' program were cheating at the same time he was -- sort of. But you can read a lot of things into "I don't know what happened with another player."

Jim Harris, though, suggests this is just more of the same for a beleaguered program.

As for now, Arkansas' basketball program has a black eye that only appears to be worsening. As Chris Bahn writes in this month's print issue, 15 players have left the program in various forms (exhausted eligibility, transferred, quit, ruled ineligible) since John Pelphrey arrived. ...

But it makes one understand better why the Arkansas head coaching search in 2007 finally found its way to Creighton's Dana Altman after a handful of bigger names said "no," and then why Altman was already out the door in 25 hours. He likely accepted the job from Frank Broyles, then started his due diligence and had dinner with former chancellor John White and realized he was walking into a potential cesspool.

(HT: Razorback Expats)

Play Ball! The schedules for the Super Regionals have been released. The series involving SEC teams:

Tallahassee: Arkansas at Florida State -- Friday, Noon ET (ESPN); Saturday, Noon ET (ESPN2); Sunday, Noon ET (ESPN)
Oxford: Virginia at Ole Miss -- Friday, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2); Saturday, Noon ET (ESPN2); Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Baton Rouge: Rice at LSU -- Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN); Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN); Sunday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Gainesville: Southern Mississippi at Florida -- Saturday, 3 p.m. (ESPNU); Sunday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2); Monday, 1 p.m. ET or 7 p.m. ET (ESPN or ESPN2)

Some of those are regional broacasts, in case you can't tell. (HT: And The Valley Shook)

Meanwhile, there are rumors floating around that Scott Bittle will return to action for Ole Miss. The Clarion-Ledger's David Brandt sees such talk as spurious, and not without good reason.

I just can't see him taking the mound after a month of basically no throwing and being effective in a Super Regional atmosphere.

This is why they have rehab starts in the majors: It's not just a matter of starting to pitch again once the injury is healed. We'll see soon enough.

Experience that will make your eyes bleed. The Joe Cribbs Car Wash takes a look at experience in the SEC according to Steele's metrics. I'm not sure that I'm sold on how Steele does his numbers -- he sometimes seems too determined to reduce everything that can be analyzed into a formula.

Even if you accept it, though, Steele's approach doesn't take into account bad experience. For example: Is South Carolina really worse off losing experience from a team that underperformed its draft stock? Will the Gamecocks miss Captain Munnerlyn, who covered well but also had a personal foul problem?

Also: Looking at some projected starting lineups tonight, it's not like anyone paying attention to South Carolina football hasn't heard of these players before. They've had playing time, just maybe not in a way that shows up in Steele's formula. (I pick South Carolina not just to quibble with Steele's assessment of my team, but because I'm most familiar with that situation.)

Scot Loeffler will draft Tim Tebow in the first round. The Golden Tebow's new QB coach said he's destined to call signals at the next level. "He's going to play quarterback in the NFL; there's no ifs, ands or buts about it." No word on whether he will then become the Greatest NFL Player of Our Era. (HT: Swamp Things)

But does that mean the spread will only be 204? Other than a tingling sensation, Janoris Jenkins should be fine.

Alachua County courts often accept a pre-trial intervention -- a program with a series of stipulations -- for first-time offenders to walk away with charges dropped. Jenkins is a first-time offender. ...

As far as football, I'm guessing Jenkins will be suspended for the Charleston Southern game. He'll be back in time to cover Tennessee's best receiver.

That would be convenient. And totally based on the circumstances of the case, I'm sure.

Fuzzy math. It's not clear whether the apparent increase in Mississippi State ticket sales actually translates to increased enthusiasm for the team, Veazey says.

Are many more people buying Mississippi State tickets? Or are the same people who bought them last year just buying them earlier? Mississippi State athletic director Greg Byrne told me recently that the school's ticket office has some 600 new accounts, meaning there are 600 or so first-time buyers. ... But if each of those accounts bought two tickets — heck, if they all bought four, or six, or eight — then that's still not a huge enough number to account for all of the improvement of 14,000-plus that has been noted.

In fairness, the fact that the same fans are looking forward to football season instead of dreading it is sitll a sign of improvement.

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