Sprints Investigates North Carolina Tutors, South Carolina Hotels // 08.27.10

Six Days Until College Football

SECRET AGENT MEN

Chapel Hill investigation starts bringing fun by the bucketful
If you were thinking that South Carolina had taken the lead in the intra-Carolinas battle for NCAA attention -- think again! UNC makes a bold surge as we enter the final leg of the race with academic fraud, Davis family tutor, papers being written for players -- oh, and more on that Miami trip thrown in just 'cause.

The Tar Heels relegated at least nine players to the scout team on Wednesday due to the academic portion of the probe, the sources said. The group included players who were questioned as part of the NCAA's inquiry related to agents and trips to Miami. ...

Two sources who were interviewed by the NCAA said that Austin has said Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis helped fund some of his expenditures to South Florida. A source close to Davis says he is good friends with Austin, but hasn't interviewed with the NCAA. The same source says Davis says he didn't pay for Austin's trips. ...

Expect the NCAA to be particularly curious about how Butch Davis could not have known that his son's tutor was writing papers for his players. ALLEGEDLY, of course. Plausible deniability, or even implausible deniability, is often the best way for a program to avoid the most serious sanctions. But it's a bit of a stretch when the head coach is employing the person in question.

CBS says more steps are likely to be taken
Grant of salt.

In fact, we earlier reported that two cornerbacks, Charles Brown and Kendric Burney, had already been kicked off the team, and two sources close to the athletic department firmly believe they will not be a part of the team in the future.

A spokesman from North Carolina has since denied the report that Brown and Burney were kicked off the team and Burney has even tweeted that he's excited for practice tomorrow

Which begs the questions: How the heck is Marvin Austin still on this team if Brown and Burney have been / will be kicked off -- or, conversely, what the heck did they do to get kicked off the team if Marvin Austin is still on it?

In any case, there could be as few as four defensive starters left on the team, or at least likely to see action in the first week? They better hope the first game is on the line with one second left ...

Tar Heel fans are ... well, what did you expect them to be?
The best word seems to be "morose." Oh, and who's the first opponent they face this year? Louisiana-Lafayette? Oh, you said Louisia--Oh. My.

The wolves are going to be baying around this program for the near future, and it's almost certain that the defense is going to be significantly weaker for the LSU game. Expect the rumors to only intensify as word leaks out about who exactly is practicing where; other than that, we're all in the same boat we were last week, just with a bigger cloud of impending doom over our heads.

And there's nothing you would rather have headed into a high-profile interconference game than "a bigger cloud of impending doom over our heads." But, hey, there's always basketball season.

And you could have retained a bit of respect from the rest of the league
Rocky Top Talk wonders if the Volunteers maybe should have kept UNC on the schedule.

[T]he last thing Tennessee needs is for UNC to go 2-10 next year yet still be a better opponent, SoS-wise, than Buffalo.

One thing: This is the ACC we're talking about here; it is actually against conference bylaws for UNC to go 2-10 next season. They'll end up somewhere between 5-7 and 8-4 because, hey, that's what ACC football teams do.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel ...
Not that South Carolina is going to give up its lead without a fight.

The ties between South Carolina football players and the Whitney Hotel date to at least 2009, multiple sources close to the program said Thursday.

You'll never guess one of the players involved. Really? How'd you guess?

Yes, it's Weslye Saunders, everyone's favorite NCAA scofflaw. Saunders is apparently determined to set the NCAA record for violations in a single career. Real implications: Almost none that I can think of off the top of my head. Historical implications: You could knock a few wins off the 2009 season, but no one is going to be terribly unhappy about that unless the win against the Team from the Upstate is included.

Believe results when you see them
The meeting of coaches and NFL minds is apparently close to producing some sort of agreement. Privatized college football is not expected to be a part of the solution.

Meyer said the next step will likely be a face-to-face meeting involving the non-coaches and possibly something "put on paper." The latest call involved Meyer, Alabama's Nick Saban, Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Mack Brown of Texas, along with officials from the NFL Players Association and the NCAA. ...

Maybe something good can come out of this chaos after all.

Nick Saban goes Sgt. Schultz on us
In reference to Marcell Dareus:

I don't really have anything to report on this NCAA stuff. ... But I know nothing.

Only question: Who's Col. Klink?

AU-BURNED

There are not many national championships left in Los Angeles
With the BCS trophy looking increasingly likely to vacate the premises at Southern Cal, the Football Writers Association of America asked if the Trojans would kind return the Grantland Rice Trophy from 2004.

No, Auburn doesn't get the honor, which pretty much ends the possibility of one of the semi-official selectors recognizing the Tigers, with the AP declining to do so and the BCS likely to follow suit.

They were apparently just unable to decide
If you read between the lines of this interview with Association President Tim Griffith, you could almost deduce that they decided to leave it vacant because they couldn't decide to whom you would give the championship now.

Also Utah and Oklahoma got some talk as well, so it wasn't just Auburn, the decision. There was some serious thought that went in to perhaps giving it to more than one team, one team or then just none. And that's kind of where we got bogged down with none.

Auburn fans -- before you get outraged about this, just consider what your stance on retroactive national titles has been for years now. 

An unlikely ally
Well, who is going to take up Auburn's case -- I mean, of course, excepting Auburn fans? Believe it or not, the Mayor. (He hates Auburn.) Yes, drawing on inspirations as varied as Suzette Charles and Millard Fillmore, Kyle argues that the 2004 national title should go to Auburn. (He hates Auburn.)

You can’t just go around not having a college football national champion, any more than you can just go around not having a Miss America or a president of the United States. Granted, all three of those titles have been more symbolic than substantive for most of my lifetime, but, if you’re going to insist upon having one, you need to insist upon having one all the time.

It's a witty post that makes a serious point. I'm not sure that I agree with it -- after all, couldn't you also argue that the 2005 Orange Bowl should be forfeited, making Oklahoma the champion -- but it's certainly worth a read.

OTHER NEWS

It is Miami -- the other Miami -- so this might not be a big deal
But when you've lost the two top blind-side tackles off your depth chart for the first game, your quarterback is still probably going to take a few extra hits.

Mickey Marotti convinced Meyer to stay
An interesting bit from The Quad about why Urban Meyer detired: Mickey Marotti talked him out of it. And by "talked him out of it," I mean I think he made Urban Meyer fear for his life if he left.

"It’s different here," Marotti recalled telling Meyer. "We do things different here. We train them different, practice different, talk to them different and motivate them different. Look what you’ve done. That’s what you want to be a part of."

So, there, Urban Meyer haters: He stayed to save the secretaries. What do you have against the man?

Not just the SEC, but the entire South is on the rise
An interesting story about the concentration of football power in the Sun Belt-based teams. Oh, and as for all those stories about how the Big Ten Network is going to inevitably fuel the rise of conference budgets?

Maybe money is a factor in football's geographic divide. Maybe not. Led by the Buckeyes, the average football budget in the Big Ten was only marginally smaller than that in the SEC ($19.5 million to $20.3 million) in 2008-09, the latest year for which public school filings with the NCAA are available. That's excluding Penn State and Northwestern in the Big Ten, Vanderbilt in the SEC.

None of the schools are spending all the money they're making now. Why would that change, exactly?

Dan Hawkins will always surprise you. Always
It's best to let this one speak for itself.

In a meeting of head coaches in the Colorado athletic department earlier this summer, a senior staff member asked the Buffs` head football coach if there was one thing the department could do to help his program succeed this season, what would it be? Multiple sources in the room that day told the Camera Hawkins responded by saying the school could give him a contract extension. ...

Sources said Hawkins` remark surprised everyone who was present ...

I would think so.

Colorado fans: Say what?
Hey, you've got to remember: IT'S DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL, BROTHER! Coaches need cash.

Gordon Gee favors dividing Ohio State and Michigan
To the Big Ten fans who brag about the tradition of your conference: Please shut up.

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