Sprints Tries to Untangle Bill Byrne's Role in Conference Realignment // 05.09.12

He was on-hand for the ceremonies and all, but did Bill Byrne agree with A&M's move to the SEC?

How involved was Bill Byrne in moving to the SEC? Yes
One thing is clear: As athletics director of Texas A&M University, Bill Byrne was involved on some level in the Aggies' move to the SEC. Byrne says not much.

"Those are decisions that are made above my pay grade," Byrne said. "My dad was a soldier, my mom was an Army nurse, and you're taught to salute and carry on. That's what we'll do."

TAMU President Bowen Loftin, on a supersecret mission that was supposedly to the university's Qatar campus -- bet you didn't know that the SEC had picked up the lucrative Doha television market in expansion -- painted things differently.

"Clearly, the decision ultimately was mine in terms of making a recommendation to our board (of regents) for our decision for going to the SEC," he said. "But again, Bill was heard, his opinion about how and why it should happen."

My guess is that the speculation that Byrne didn't want to go to the SEC to begin with is spot on, and Byrne and Loftin are just emphasizing different syllables. But that's just a guess.

Gary Blair gets a little bit outside of the realm of reason
We might have to start following women's basketball more closely around here if the Texas A&M coach regularly dispenses gems like this one about Byrne.

I think he should have been allowed to retire at his own pace, like a Nolan Ryan or like a great athlete because of what he's done or what he's accomplished.

Um, no. Nolan Ryan was one of the greatest pitchers of all time and actually had to go through physical exertion. Neither one of those even closely resembles what Byrne did at A&M.

This is how you handle a transfer
Will Muschamp saw a situation where he thought the player should be allowed to leave because of what was going on in the player's life -- not because Graham Stewart had fulfilled some commitment that existed only in Muschamp's head -- and let him go.

"I’m going to petition the NCAA for him to be eligible immediately," Muschamp said. "He’s a great kid. A family situation occurs like that and you’re so far from home, you deserve to have that opportunity and not have any penalty for it."

Derek Dooley and a few other coaches should take notes here.

Les Miles unplugged, part 502
He said it in his own distinctive fashion, but Les Miles has thrown down the gauntlet for Missouri and Texas A&M.

"I would say strap it up," Miles said. "They're going to really not enjoy their welcoming to this conference."

Sometimes it like he wants to tick people off. Which is fine by us; it gives the blogging crowd and the media something to write about. Then he went and endorsed Steve Spurrier's dumb idea about nondivision games and the standings.

"Eventually they will realize it doesn't benefit either team," he said. "If you would go back and look at the number of wins historically since 2000, I think you'll find LSU, Georgia, Florida and Alabama would be right in that mix. I think you should seed those people away from each other if you want an opportunity for the best teams to be the best teams without eliminating each other's opportunity of winning."

First of all, a conference game is either a conference game or it's not a conference game. If you want to form two separate conferences and then have their champions play each other, I would call that a stupid idea, but at least it would be an intellectually honest way of getting to this point.

Secondly, it's true that some teams have more difficult interdivision rivals than others. But Georgia's run of scheduling luck notwithstanding, it's going to be rare than any team from either division would repeatedly miss the better teams if we went to a nine-game schedule -- which we should -- even if we assume that Mike Slive were clairvoyant and could tell years in advance which teams were going to be the best.

And finally, the only team among the Big 3 in the SEC West to face either Georgia or South Carolina in the regular season last year was Arkansas. So for Miles to present LSU as a team harmed by the current system is a little bit ridiculous.

This is slightly suspicious
Now why in the world might a lawsuit against Jordan Jefferson and Josh Johns in the LSU bar brawl last summer be filed now, several months after the fact?

Lance Unglesby, who is one of Jefferson's attorneys, says the timing of the lawsuit, shortly after Jefferson received a pro tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, proves that the matter was always about money.

Well, yeah, that might be one reason why. Not to dismiss this out of hand -- it will get a court date at some point -- but it is interesting that they waited until there was, you know, some potential money to sue for.

Liberal rag with agenda once again besmirches the honor of charitable soul John Calipari
Continuing its campaign against Kentucky head basketball coach and noted humanitarian John Calipari, the New York Times has reported that the NCAA has begun to look into recruit Nerlens Noel.

It's hard to know just how newsworthy this item is, and not just because it wouldn't be a summer if we didn't hear of some questionable dealings around a player that Cal recruited BUT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT. It looks like the Association is currently just doing their due diligence and asking question -- for now.

Tweaked BlogPoll
In an effort to be responsive to the feedback here, I've tweaked the BlogPoll ballot. The new version

The major changes: I moved Florida State down a few spots because I've heard some criticism of the Seminoles' ranking and am getting squeamish about them; I edged Washington down to No. 12 and might drop them further the more I look at them; I dropped Stanford for Notre Dame (a suggested addition) but put the Fighting Irish at No. 22 instead of Stanford's place at No. 22.

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