Sprints Has Nothing Better to Write About Than Secondary Violations // 06.09.09

Nature abhors a vacuum, so a vacant head will do. With nothing actually related to football happening and the baseball teams still in contention dramatically pared back, the SEC Interwebs have gone full force on Kiffinmania. Or, at least, one of its upshots: The secondary violation.

The question that is beginning to bubble up is one of those nuanced, angels dancing on the head of a pin question that only the tortured standards of the NCAA could produce: When is a secondary violation not a secondary violation? After all, secondary violations are supposed to be mistakes or screw-ups -- not an overt part of one's RECRUITING strategy.

Blutarsky also makes a fairly solid ethical case against repeated secondary violations -- and a tougher punishment -- regardless of the technical question.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept that deliberate rule breaking -- in some cases, on a repeated basis -- is somehow something positive for a football program to project.

If that’s really the current state of affairs, I don’t see how the NCAA can’t step in and put some teeth into enforcement.

Even some Vol fans are beginning to realize that maybe Boy Wonder ought to ease up, even if for no other reason than self-preservation.

Either way, rules are rules, and the problem with such a strategy is that at some point, it's entirely possible that we are going to reach a point of backlash, and forecasting when that time will arrive is difficult and may only be recognized in hindsight. Boomerangs often attack from the side.

Besides, these secondary violations are expensive. The Vols have spent almost $1.1 million RECRUITING this class between Kiffin and Fulmer, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, or about $183,252.19 a secondary violation.

One way or the other, this is likely to be old news soon after the season begins. The headlines will then read one of two ways: "Kiffin's bark is worse than his bite" if the Vols do poorly; "Tennesse backs up Kiffin's talk" if they do well. The Mayor assures us that we need not consider the latter possibility.

Of course, the Mayor says it as only he can.

If Lane Kiffin wants to be an entertainer, he should consider becoming a lounge singer. (Admit it; you have absolutely no difficulty conjuring up that image, do you? Shouldn’t that tell you something?) In his present line of work, his job is to win football games. I don’t care how much buzz he generates around the Volunteer program by acting like a ninny with a company credit card and no conception of consequences; once he gets done dancing around the living room in his underwear, he’s going to have to answer to a responsible adult for the preponderance of bass apparent on the stereo.

Dr. Saturday is slightly more optimistic than the Mayor, if a Vols fan can call a likely 7-5 record optimistic.

Tennessee's talent alone should guarantee it seven wins, minimum, in the absolute worst of seasons; two losing seasons in a row is absolutely unheard of. Compared to last year, affairs can't get worse, but the way the schedule shapes up -- with five presumptive wins among Kentucky, Vandy and the non-conference patsies and three or four toss-ups -- I think 7-5 is a reasonable step forward.

Without giving away too much -- we'll do our own Tennessee preview soon enough -- the Doctor is probably right. But has Boy Wonder, with all his talk, raised the expectations too high for this to be good enough. Is it possible that his yapping has Tennessee fans so excited that 7-5 will get him nothing more than a trip to the hot seat? We'll know soon enough -- or not soon enough, it seems.

Besides, if this is the best Tennessee columnists can do until then, bring us football. Now, please.

Play Ball! The schedule has been set for the first round of the College World Series. Arkansas kicks off the event with a game against Cal State-Fullerton, 2 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN. LSU and Virginia take over at 7 p.m. ET.

Also on the slate for this week: Today's MLB Draft, which could alter the 2010 season for several teams. Baseball is weirder than football or basketball in that, first of all, a player can get drafted and then go back to school. But baseball teams also have to worry about their high-school prospects, who can also go to the majors.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss' collapses in Hoover and Oxford have led to the rare intra-blog fight at Red Cup Rebellion, as The Ghost of Jay Cutler calls out Brian Walker's Elbow over Mike Bianco's coaching ability.

Look up and down our roster. This Rebel squad is nowhere close to the best one Bianco has fielded. However, it posted the best conference record of any team he has coached and made a respectable postseason run.

Yet, somehow Bianco's (ab)use of pitchers, small-ball, and micro-managing isn't working? C'mon Rebel fans, there's a bit of a disconnect there. ...

And, Brian Walker's Elbow, you need to relax. For the last two seasons, you've been the Gonzohog of Ole Miss baseball. You are so blinded by your anti-Bianco sentiments that you go so far as to refuse to acknowledge his successes. I can remember being in the stands of Oxford-University Stadium when we took the second game against the then-number one ranked Georgia Bulldogs, all while you insisted upon the idea that Mike Bianco is overrated. You're a buzzkill. And you're not funny.

There is no more serious insult at RCR than "you're not funny."

You could also say someone has a messianic complex. Jerry at The Joe Cribbs Car Wash rips Tony Franklin for his religion swipe at Auburn, noting that Franklin seems intent on putting himself in some lofty company.

Publicly accusing them of a crime as deeply personal as false piety? Attention Tony: Jesus had the right to call out the Pharisees for this stuff by virtue of being, you know, the Son of God and all. I don't think you've quite earned the right.

The rare argument to which nothing can be added.

Aw, and we thought you didn't care. Take a very careful look at the second-priciest ticket for Georgia home games, according to Blutarsky, who surveyed online re-sell prices.

1. LSU
2. South Carolina
3. Auburn
4. Arizona State
5. Kentucky
6. Tennessee Tech

Of course, Georgia fans will tell you that a win against the Gamecocks adds no joy to their season and a loss doesn't hurt all that bad.

A good TV deal, meanwhile, means that no one will have trouble seeing this game or any other significant game if they can't get a ticket. Seriously -- find an important game for your team that won't be on television, because it isn't there.

Because it's Kentucky Week here, we'll highlight it. A soft piece about Rich Brooks, though the story kind of oversells its headline -- "How Rich Brooks made football relevant for Kentucky Wildcats fans."

Quotable folks. Houston Nutt talks about Mack Brown's incredible phone. And A Sea of Blue has another update from Dicky Lyons Jr., who likes Pancake Puffs. And might end up playing for the Falcons, which is a decidedly mixed blessing.

Wind Sprints. Hey Jenny Slater crunches the consensus preseason Top 25, which foretells a good SEC West battle ... Tasmin Mitchell will return to LSU ... Insert captain going down with the ship joke here ...

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