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Sprints Wasn't Filmed Meeting with a Recruit // 06.08.09

Boy Wonder strikes again. At some point, this just gets ridiculous.

For those who were unaware, ESPN did a segment on the Sunday morning Outside the Lines about Tennessee and Boy Wonder's start there.

During the segment first televised Sunday, Kiffin is shown meeting and talking with a recruit. At the end of the segment, ESPN's Bob Ley, host of the show, brought the possible violation to light.

"Well, in the infamously thick NCAA rulebook, Rule 13.0.1, (it states) media members cannot observe recruiting contact by coaches. Tennessee tells Outside the Lines it is reviewing this matter. The NCAA is reserving comment until the story airs, so we look forward to hearing from them today (Sunday)."

That's secondary violation No. 6, for those of you who are keeping score at home, though And The Valley Shook makes the case that the label "secondary violation" should be dropped.

Three violations, all directed at improperly publicizing the program's recruitment of various athletes, means that we are no longer talking about a violation "that is isolated . . . in nature." It's highly debatable that we're talking about a violation that is "inadvertent".

Blutarsky, meanwhile, sees this as evidence that Boy Wonder has no "grand plan."

I can only conclude that anyone still using the "Lane Kiffin, crazy like a fox" line means to insult the intelligence of foxes.

If you’re a Vol fan, you have to hope that nobody is this stupid on purpose ...

Tennessee fans -- aren't they even getting sick of talking about this -- continued a pretty spirited defense of Kiffin. At Gate 21, Home Sweet Home calls the ESPN report "poor journalism."

It just seems to me that the point of the piece was to show Tennessee football under Lane Kiffin in a more in-depth way. It was effort to see what Lane’s behavior -- the comments, the violations, etc -- really is a reflection of: his arrogance, his brilliance, or his inexperience. Why do you feel the need to throw in the bit about the violation? It just seems they felt the need to add the scene with Kiffin and the recruit for no other reason than to create another story.

ESPN could have taken a clip or used another one. ...

I’m not saying this means ESPN is going to lose all of its credibility and viewers because they push and may have crossed the boundary of journalism ethics. I just think if you’re looking for examples of how not to be respected, professional institution focused on presenting information as clearly as possible, then this would qualify.

Here's the thing: Once Kiffin allowed ESPN to film that clip, it was a violation. Which is a bigger blow to ESPN's journalistic reputation -- showing a perhaps extraneous piece of footage, or witnessing first-handed a violation (in the course of filming a story at least partially about Boy Wonder's prodigious record of violations) and letting it go unreported? The latter is not good journalism; it's a cover-up.

At least Lane and the Raiders seem to have ironed out their differences.

"Lane Kiffin is a flat-out liar," the statement read. "He lied to the team, he lied to the fans, and he lied to the media. He will try to destroy that university like he tried to destroy the Raiders, and will eventually clash with (Pat) Summitt and (Bruce) Pearl. Other than that, the Raiders can say nothing further."

Do you really need to?

This gets us back to the question that has dominated the preseason conversation about Tennessee: Are Boy Wonder's antics good or bad for the Vols. On that count, CornfromaJar at Rocky Top Talk has one of the more thoughtful pieces about Boy Wonder I've read.

At this point I believe the most that can be said is Kiffin shows extreme lack of judgement at worst and gross audacity at best, and we'll have to see how it all works out in a few years. ...

Here's the thing: I have no idea if Kiffin will succeed or fail, and that's what makes it fun. Tennessee football hasn't been particularly fun in the past several years. I don't mean the actual games, those are always fun, but the general aura around Vol football had been kind of a downer of late: the forecast for what turned out to be the final Fulmer years was mostly cloudy with a chance of Atlanta.

Blutarsky questions whether Lane is acting in Tennessee's best interest -- or in his.

Tony Fraklin torches any bridges left standing in Opelika. The most fascinating piece of the weekend belongs to the Montgomery Advertiser, which pries a mini-tell-all from former Auburn OC Tony Franklin about his brief reign on the Plains.

On the state of the program:

"No one liked anybody else. There was this deep distrust of everybody. The coaches didn't trust the administration, the administration didn't trust each other or the coaches. It was very strange and very unnerving. You would walk down the halls and there would be tension you could just feel.

"No one would speak to you or even look at you. The coaches were all paranoid and didn't trust anyone in the administration. They all felt like the administration was out to get them and they stressed out over everything that happened. " ...

Of course, the administration was out to get them, but I digress.

On his much-examined relations with the rest of the coaching staff, particularly his own assistants:

"When I was brought in, they did what they thought they should be doing to help me. When things weren't working, they started doing things like they'd always done them, because that's what they knew." ...

The assistants on the staff had given up on Franklin's spread and were pushing for a return to the physical, smash-mouth style they knew. Fans were in an uproar. And boosters were clamoring. ...

"I still don't know who actually fired me -- whether it was someone in the administration or a booster or that group of (assistant) coaches," Franklin said. "I'll probably go to my grave never truly knowing the answer to that. But I do know that the decision wasn't based on what happened on the field alone." ...

There's not much new here, but it gives us roundabout confirmation of what most of us suspected about Auburn. One can only imagine how Gene Chizik felt reading it. (HT: Get the Picture)

Chizik is taking his own risks. Apart from possible secondary violations, Big Cat Weekend seems to be blowing up in Auburn's face.

I talked to a four-star recruit's father yesterday who's looking for answers as to why his son was not invited. The kid has offers from virtually every big school in the country including Auburn. Phone calls to assistants Tracy Rocker and Jay Boulware have gone unanswered. Meanwhile, Alabama has pounced on the opportunity and the kid now appears to be leaning toward Bama and LSU. ...

By limiting the invitee list, Auburn has shown its hand and told everyone who they covet the most. If you were left off the invitee list how do you feel now?

The imagination wanders to the possibility of Gene Chizik and Boy Wonder on the same coaching staff. Not likely to happen, sure. But if it could ...

Play Ball! Florida and Ole Miss both lose decisive Super Regional games Sunday, producing a sinkingly familiar feeling in Oxford. Red Cup Rebellion holds nothing back: "Mike Bianco's coaching decisions in today's game rival that of Ed Orgeron." That's about as harsh as it gets. Alligator Army sums up what happened to the Gators in the title of its wrap-up: "You Can't Win If You Can't Pitch."

The losses leave LSU and Arkansas as the only league teams in the College World Series. LSU will play Virginia in the first round in Omaha, while the Hogs will face Cal State-Fullerton.

Wind Sprints. After the NCAA's meeting with Memphis, Cal still appears to be in the clear ... Jeremy Jarmon prepares for the NFL supplemental draft. C&F is willing to slightly restate what he said about Jarmon: It's unfortunate that Jarmon had to have his eligibility revoked. But, the way sports are today, the NCAA really had no choice ... Shakespeare + Bear Bryant = Head Asplode ...