Sprints Didn't Get a Discount from the Whitney Hotel // 08.26.10

Seven Days Until College Football

SECRET AGENT MEN

You knew this was coming
Ah, yes, the Whitney Hotel has turned out to be nothing more than a needless distraction for the Gamecocks this offseason ...

I'm sorry -- Joe Person, you wanted to say something.

Multiple sources said some players had been living at the Whitney since the spring while paying a rate of $450 per month. But officials determined players should have been paying about $1,200 a month, and players were told by school officials to pay the difference to the hotel.

For at least two players who had not made any payments, the resolution meant they owed the hotel close to $5,000, according to one of the sources.

Oy.

First of all, this is a really well-done story by Person, who deserves to be complimented for doing a great job on this. (Even as some of your humble correspondent's fellow fans accused of him of doing a hatchet job on the team, which I suppose goes with the territory.)

Other important points:

  • The State has at least 10 players staying at the hotel during the summer;
  • But ... "Not all carried large balances," which means the roster damage is still going to be unclear;
  • Weslye Saunders is still living at the hotel, or was as of Wednesday afternoon.

When you're starting to make early-career Stephen Garcia look like a model of sound decision-making, you have problems. Yes, Weslye Saunders, I'm talking about you.

South Carolina won't fight sanctions
Steve Spurrier said the school will follow what the Association metes out.

Historically guys who maybe received some extra benefit, according to the NCAA, they have to miss some game or two somewhere along the way. So, if that happens, we'll accept it and move on.

Which is refreshing to some extent, I guess -- after all, the Gamecocks could appeal -- but also the only logical choice. An appeal probably wouldn't do much beyond delaying the inevitable -- this seems pretty much like an open-and-shut case -- and would only cause problems trying to decide who to play and who to bench.

Is Green out of the woods yet?
There's been a lot of stock put into A.J. Green's statement that he's never been to Miami -- and for good reason; Green has never given anyone any reason to believe that he lies about such things. But the News & Observer, reporting on the Saunders-Martin connection, perhaps unintentionally raises an interesting question.

An NCAA investigator asked South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders about his friendship with University of North Carolina senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin, his online interaction with Austin via the social media site Twitter and a trip to Washington, D.C.,  according to Saunders’ father. ...

Wilson was a reserve offensive lineman at UNC for three seasons from 2000 to 2002. In addition to Saunders, Wilson interviewed Georgia receiver A.J. Green earlier this summer, according to The Associated Press.

Just to clear things up -- the NCAA also makes it clear that investigator Marcus Wilson is not actually involved in the UNC portion of the investigation, though that really seems like a distinction without a difference at this point.

I highlight this not to drag Green's name through the mud -- the story does not even imply that Green is in trouble for the D.C. trip, and I should make it clear that there's no reason at this point to believe that he is in trouble with the Association. Just a reminder to not assume anything about an NCAA investigation in progress; they can change. (HT: Haney)

CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT

The Death of the West: We get the answer today. We think
The LDS leadership is supposed to meet today for the only time between now and Sept. 1, the deadline for leaving the Mountain West. It seems like this is finally going to be over.

The Death of the West: Sanity in our time
It appears that the great BYU / MWC standoff might finally be coming to an end in predictable fashion: BYU will drop the crazy self-immolation that would be bolting the league, and the Mountain West will likely allow BYU to look for a TV deal that makes more business sense than the "private college football" nonsense of a few days ago.

If any BYU football inventory moves over to BYU-TV, the next headache would be informing fans of opposing teams where to find the network. That might be a small inconvenience compared to completely losing the Salt Lake City market or BYU’s Top 25 finishes counting towards BCS automatic qualifying membership.

Yes, relevance is in almost everyone's best interest here. And the only way they get there is by remaining together.

Out of WAC: A conference signs its own death warrant
The Salt Lake Tribune got a copy of the WAC resolution that everyone's been talking about. Here's an interesting part.

The WAC and its members and BYU, agree that all current members of the WAC (except Louisiana Tech and Boise State, which has already given notice of its withdrawal) will not join any other conference or athletic conference from the date of adoption of this resolution through June 30, 2016, contingent upon BYU agreeing that it will not join any other conference or athletic conference from the date of entering a contract with the WAC through June 30, 2016. [Emphasis added.]

Two points:

  • Louisiana Tech is pretty much declaring it's ready to leave, aren't they? I mean, the Bulldogs have always been an odd duck in the WAC -- they are by far the easternmost of the league's teams -- and there are plenty of options in the vicinity, most likely either the Sun Belt or Conference USA. By giving them an out, the WAC has basically said they are free to leave -- and probably sealed its own fate now that Boise, Fresno and Nevada are headed to the MWC.
  • I'm not a lawyer; I just play one on the blog and occasionally in newsprint. But it would seem to me that making the deal "contingent upon" what BYU does would mean that Fresno and Nevada wouldn't have to pay the $5 million fine (which is supposed to be applied to a team "in the event it violates the terms of" the above paragraph) if they bolt. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would at least expect that to become part of the negotiations and / or court case if things get that far.

And you thought the Big XII was the worst-run conference in America.

OTHER NEWS

MASOLI HAS NOT BEEN CLEARED ALARM BELLS BREAKING NEWS
This will probably have no practical effect, but is worth noting just in case: Jeremiah Masoli has actually not been cleared to play for Ole Miss. Again, that's not anything be overly alarmed about -- well, at least not yet.

Masoli can practice as much as he wants in the interim. The worst-case scenario is Masoli would not be cleared, but he could remain with the team and redshirt. He could then play next season.

This is getting way, way, way ahead of things right now. But as we noted above, the NCAA is pretty busy right now.

Vanderbilt offense questionable for Northwestern game Sept. 4
Okay, so it's always questionable, but in this case we're referring to the injury status of Warren Norman.

Ladies and gentleman, Mike Pouncey
He will soon join Chris Rainey in a separate locker room that will feature armed guards to keep reporters out.

You always want to shut them up. I hate when guys come in and talk too much and don’t show nothing on the field. But with this great recruiting class all of them played good, it’s just time for them to shut up and play on Saturday.

TEAM UNITY!

Euphemism Watch: 'Tight end a position of opportunity' --KentuckySports.com
Position of opportunity (noun):

Five players have been battling during fall camp, and no one has stood out.

Expect to see 'Person' used less as a name on this site
Welll, also because Joe is moving on, but I digress. GoGamecocks.com is going to what they call a "membership model," which is a nice rhetorical way of saying, "We are going to charge you for what used to be free." So expect fewer links to the content from Team Speed Kills, or probably none at all.

I have no objections to newspapers starting to charge for online; as a reporter, I think it's probably how most news sites are going to make their money in the long run. But I do have a problem with newspapers continuing to look at measures like charging readers for content or laying off editorial workers before they begin to get rid of the massive fixed costs of the print version, which will be dead in 10 to 15 years anyway.

Finally, The State is not doing this to save the newspaper industry. If that were the case, they would have instituted the policy across the website instead of targeting readers who are used to paying for content in the first place. They're doing it because they can.

This is the problem with one-team contracts
I'm speechless. ND Head Coach Brian Kelly:

We’ve talked to NBC about the way we like to play the game versus maybe how it was played in the past. I’m very confident that we’re going to be able to do the things we want to do in terms of pushing the tempo without having to go to a commercial break.

If it does this because Notre Dame asked it to, NBC has to cease considering itself a credible sports-reporting organization. Because reporting organizations don't consciously try to change the outcome of games by helping one team or another.

Well said
Dr. Saturday defends the Michigan-Ohio State game as the season-ender, and as someone who's liked Michigan for a long time -- surprise you, Big Ten fans? -- I wholeheartedly agree.

The SEC model proves the point: No one needed to see Alabama-Auburn or Florida-Georgia outside of their traditional contexts for the sake of the championship game, and the game itself always maximizes its potential as a grand stage, even in odd years when Arkansas or Mississippi State is involved. The brand defines its participants, rather than the other way around. The ideal scenario for the Big Ten over the next 50 years is to create a similar event that holds its value whether its selling Ohio State-Penn State, Michigan-Illinois or Purdue-Northwestern. America's watching because The Big Ten Championship is A Big Deal, and the teams that win their way into it must be worth watching.

The whole thing is worth a read, though I doubt Jim Delany is interested in reading anything written by alumnus of a school from the Southeast (even if not from the SEC), given that we are all idiots down here, which is why he is following the business model of one of the region's conferences. (Two, if you count C-USA as a Southeastern league, which it pretty much is.)

Holly differs
She points to Alabama-Tennessee, but I think the difference is this: When the SEC Championship Game was set up, the league didn't go out of its way to create a matchup between two rivals for the conference championship, instead making divisions that worked from both a geographical and competitive standpoint.

The Third Fourth Saturday in October isn't devalued by the SEC Championship Game for that reason -- it might or might not be the championship game matchup (and never has been) -- but also for this one: It was always played in the midseason. Michigan-Ohio State always has been, and always should be.

Haney makes the case for considering Boise
I bring this up because we've been having the same conversation on this blog.

My point to them was/is, we just don't KNOW whether Boise belongs on the same field with Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Iowa, et al. We might have opinions whether that's the case or not, but we don't KNOW.

I would disagree that anything that happens to Boise is an argument for a playoff. Actually, I think either result in the national title game actually helps the BCS. Either Boise wins and the whole "mid-major can't win" nonsense is debunked, or Boise loses and the BCS gets to say "that's why it's hard for a mid-major to get into the national title game." A narrow loss might be different to some extent, but not by much.

Colorado now accepting guarantee games
If you needed a sign of how far the Buffaloes have fallen under Dan Hawkins, here it is: Ohio State will pay Colorado $1.4 million for what is essentially a guarantee game in 2011. Paint it any other way you want to, that's what is is. Speaking of, it seems Colorado will still be a Big XII member at that point.

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