So the Defense Is Fixed Now, Right? Auburn 17, Mississippi State 14
Our recap of the Thursday night game.
SECRET AGENT MEN
Chris Hawkins, a former North Carolina defensive back, befriended Green through the receiver's Facebook page. According to the source, Hawkins identified himself as a financial adviser and memorabilia collector in Facebook messages to Green, who eventually agreed to sell his jersey to Hawkins for $1,000.
If there is some sort of documentation through Facebook that Hawkins misrepresented himself to Green, that is different. That is proof that Green didn't know what he was doing -- beyond, of course, the original issue of selling the jersey in the first place. If there were ever an extenuating circumstance, you would think that would meet the definition. In that case, the NCAA should consider reducing Green's suspension to the two games he will miss. (It's impossible to stop him from missing those games now.)
Hawkins, for his part, is drawing quite a bit of interest from the Association. Meanwhile, the news just keeps getting better for North Carolina.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, Hawkins contacted several sports agents about their interest in representing North Carolina players in the NFL draft. ...
A source familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com that the NCAA sent letters to at least 20 agents two weeks ago, asking if they would be interviewed about their recruitment of current North Carolina players.
At this point, I don't see how North Carolina avoids a ruling of a lack of institutional control. You have an assistant coach ALLEGEDLY tied to agents, a former player "vetting" agents for players and the South Beach Party. That's a brew that doesn't seem to be present at any of the other schools.
And if that's not enough, there's this
The academic issues at UNC also appear to be taking on a life of their own.
Asked whether the cheating could have happened in prior years, Baddour said, "The short answer is yes. We will go where the information leads us. If that isn't the immediate year ... we will go where the information takes us."
What is the long answer?
South Carolina gets letter of inquiry from NCAA
School officials seem to think that this is not a big deal, or at least a bigger deal than being under investigation to begin with.
"It's the next step in the process," said Luanne Lawrence, South Carolina's vice president for communications.
The only thing football coach Steve Spurrier said specifically was that it is not related to anything his coaching staff did.
Which is in line with what we understood the original investigation to be: Players staying at the Whitney, Weslye Saunders' trip to Miami.
Remember, Georgia got a letter of inquiry near the beginning of the A.J. Green investigation, so this doesn't necessarily mean the Association has found anything new or that its investigation has substantially changed. Still, it's not the kind of news you want to hear before the program's biggest game in years.
So what does it mean?
This is how Travis Haney frames it:
In other words, the players were/are being looked into. Now the school is being looked into, if it will be punished for any of the prior player investigations (Weslye Saunders, The Whitney, Chris Culliver's insurance policy, etc.).
Which is just a natural thing to do in a case like this. You make sure that the isolated incidents don't add up to a lack of institutional control or anything like that, and you issue sanctions if they do.
One South Carolina player will be back
Chris Culliver will play against Georgia after getting his clearance from the NCAA, which suggests that the investigation into his insurance policy is over.
Tennessee investigation now focusing on basketball program
This also seems like it's looking at the possibility of a lack of institutional control, based on several potentially minor incidents combining to become a major issue.
According to the source, who spoke to the News Sentinel on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, the NCAA has interviewed coach Bruce Pearl and associate head coach Tony Jones over the matter of potential violations.
The NCAA investigation involves phone calls and contacts made with recruits outside the parameters of NCAA rules, according to the source.
Combine that with what happened in the football program during the Lane Kiffin Quasi-Era, and you have a nice case for the NCAA if they want to make it. But that doesn't mean that it will happen, any more than the letter at South Carolina means the Gamecocks are inevitably headed for trouble. We will find out soon, if not soon enough for most fans.
Starting guard out of Oxford
It's Rishaw Johnson, dismissed because of the dreaded "violation of team rules." He has started four games for Ole Miss. Of course, one of those games was Jacksonville State, so take this as seriously as you want to.