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Sprints is Taking on the Feds // 05.25.09

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PED: Performance-enhancing diet. So, C&F thought he had his lead item for Sprints in mind. Traveling for much of Sunday, he wasn't able to get to toast the LSU Bayou Bengals when they won the SEC Championship. They would make the perfect top item.

Then, he opened his RSS reader: Jeremey Jarmon. The mind creaked, snapping back into football season mode. Right, Kentucky.

NCAA ruling. Well, that can't be good. Either he screwed up, or the association is up to its usual idiocy strict enforcement of the code.

"Today I am not here to discuss the name of the substance that I took nor the place that I got it from." Wait a minute, that sounds like baseball. Specifically, it sounds like ...

And it is. An illegal supplement. And here we go.

If you haven't read Jarmon's statement, you should. It is how this type of thing should and must be handled. Sure, Jarmon talks about a reasonable enough excuse for taking it (dieting) and not knowing that the supplement was banned. But there are also stark expressions of guilt and culpability.

I made the decision to purchase this supplement. I made the decision to use this supplement. ...

I always had full intentions of telling the staff exactly what I was taking at an earlier date, but I was occupied with rehabbing and when I finally decided to inform the staff of my decision to take this supplement it was too late. ...

However, it was my responsibility to research this before I bought it or have it looked at by someone in our athletic facilities. All athletes at the University of Kentucky are well informed about the consequences of purchasing a supplement like I did. Every year we go through programs that outline and explain the rules. Clearly, I did not follow those rules on this one occasion.

Maybe C&F is being a bit gullible, but he finds this far more plausible than A-Rod's teary confession to Peter Gammons. ("Really, Alex. Have another cookie. There, doesn't that feel better?")

Tru at A Sea of Blue doesn't think this is fair, especially because Jarmon's name was withheld from the panel that judged him, which had to make a decision after essentially reading about his case.

Many will think that getting banned from NCAA participation for a year is unduly harsh punishment, and I agree.  In an effort to remove the subjectivity from the process, the NCAA has essentially decided that college sports has no room for the fallibility of human memory when it comes to amateur athletics, and will brook no excuses or mitigating circumstances. ...

The question is why, in an area of reality where the imperfection of youthful decisions are acknowledged and often the basis for leniency, have we removed instances like this to an impersonal, anonymous process?

Unfortunately, we have to. As Tru himself alludes to, baseball tried to separate out the "really bad users" and the "not-so-bad users" in the beginning days of its drug-testing program. The result was a policy that lead to more suspicions, more Congressional hearings and more damage to the sport. We have a home run king tainted by talk of steroids. We have a potential successor, tained by a positive test. And the successor's teammate, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, fighting a legal battle about his alleged PED use.

John Clay also brings some perspective to the issue.

We're not talking steroids. We're talking an over-the-counter dietary supplement. ...

Does the punishment fit the crime? Taken as an individual case, no. But if the NCAA is serious about cleaning up the game, then its rules have to be strict, its penalties have to carry significant weight. The players are warned.

But he also, almost as an aside, poses an interesting question.

Dietary supplements exist in a shadowy, complicated drug world, one unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Why the **** not? Jarmon made the same mistake that thousands of college athletes could make, not to mention tens of thousands of high schoolers not equipped with trainers and S&C coaches might make. You get "nutritional" stores and supplement makers touting "More muscle mass! Less fat?" And the FDA is more concerned with -- what, exactly? Face paints that cause rashes?

Well, it's not entirely fair to say the supplements are "unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration." They'll step in once somebody dies.

Just in the nick of time.

Now for that congratulations. Enough with the righteous indignation. The LSU Tigers are your SEC Champions after breezing by Vanderbilt 6-2. The Bengals recover from an early loss to the Dores to take the win and carry momentum into the NCAA tournament. Mikie Mahtook takes the MVP award, and deservedly so after batting .455 in the SEC tourney.

The upshot for regionals: Hosting honors go to LSU, Ole Miss and Florida. C&F plans to liveblog the unveiling of the full bracket at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the SEC wrestles with how to fix the late ending time of games in fairness to the fans. Somehow, I'd rather have 2 a.m. baseball than 9 a.m. baseball.

Two things I never expected to write on this Web site -- The Riverdance and H/T: Huffington Post. But we have a dance-off between the USF and UConn baseball teams. One sincerely hopes this is not how they decide the Big East baseball title. The Macarena begins around 1:55, the Riverdance around 6:22. Don't say I didn't warn you.

(HT: Huffington Post)

'Bear Bryant: spread offense innovator?' Well, of course. All the good coaches are now experimenting with the spr -- Bear Bryant's dead? Really? That's what I get for listening to Alabama fans. (And I hereby officially retire the Bear Bryant is dead joke for the next six months on Team Speed Kills. I won't use it unless it's really, really funny.)

The Blotter. At first, South Carolina signee Ben Axon looks like yet another arrest for marijuana possession. Nothing new to see here, folks. Then you get to this sentence.

The officer smelled marijuana, and Axon showed him 23 baggies of marijuana that he said belonged to him.

Twenty-three baggies? Granted, that doesn't make the kid the Cali Cartel or anything, but what's the street value of 23 baggies of weed? (I am actually surprisingly ignorant of these things. But even if you go conservative and say it's a thousand or so, figure that if true this either isn't the first time Axon allegedly did this and/or wasn't the last time he allegedly planned on doing this -- well, then you're talking real money.)

It's all Greek to me. Florida's Nick Calathes will leave Gainesville to play for Panathinaikos, a Greek basketball team with a long name. Gator Clause sees this as an indication that Billy Donovan's program might be "in turmoil." Orange and Blue Hue sees "an incomplete legacy."

Look for South Carolina in the Top 10 -- again. Phil Steele is rolling out his Top 40 teams leading up the June 9 national holiday release of his preview magazine. (C&F was originally turned off by the design -- but a college football fan has to buy Steele. It's one of the most incredible things you'll ever see. It might also be one of the last things you'll ever see due to the eye strain caused by trying to read 3-point type, but it's worth it.) So far: Arkansas at 33, Tennessee at 39. We'll see if Phil has come to grips with the fact that South Carolina just has the dumb luck of losing a lot of close games, will always lose a lot of close games and should never come anywhere near his "Most Improved Teams" list.

Les Miles will work for peanuts. Or taffy, really. The article itself is interesting enough, but then you hit another one of those "slam on the breaks and back up the truck" sentences.

"I certainly understand the nature of the extraordinary times that we're in right now," said Miles, who holds a degree in economics from Michigan. "And I certainly am a part of this community. I hope it certainly doesn't get to that." [EMPHASIS C&F's]

So the fate of our nation's economy rests in the hands of people who took the same college courses as Les Miles? That explains so, so much ...

Successful coaches beware. That's the word from John Adams, who rallies to Mark Richt's defense with this gem:

Never mind that Georgia beat Alabama and Florida in 2007. SEC fans have short memories.

Now, C&F is on the record as saying the only reason he believes Georgia should dismiss Mark Richt is to help the Gamecocks. But please. Georgia beat Alabama in 2007?!? Louisiana-Monroe beat Alabama in 2007. So Richt proved Georgia was as good as ULM? That's the best defense you can come up with for one of the most successful coaches in the country over the last decade?

Wind Sprints. ASOB sums up a Scout article on Kenfucky's slate thusly, with emphasis added by C&F: "Kentucky's SEC schedule is daunting, but the OOC schedule isn't." Is it ever? ... Oh, to be a fly on the wall ... Rocky Top Talk is skeptical that Meyer will change his offense for Jesse Scroggins. Either him or John Brantley ... Houston Nutt & Co. commit a fairly bland secondary violation. I expect more style ...