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Sprints Hopes Its Fireworks are Legal // 07.03.09

A couple degrees of separation. Probably due at least in part to the impending holiday, there's not a ton of actual SEC news out there today. So let's take a look at some related items.

First up: Dr. Saturday sees an indication of leniency for the Trojans in the relatively weak penalties approved for FSU and Alabama.

If the Trojans are meant to be just an example, well, the Association had a chance to knock Alabama back into the Dubose era as a repeat repeat offender, and didn't take it. What incentive does it have to make those kinds of waves?

I would agree with the Doc that we should be cautious about drawing the conclusion that Southern Cal will become an example from what we have before us ... except there's a significant difference between what Florida State and Alabama did and at least some of the allegations against Southern Cal. After all, whatever you want to say about the Alabama and FSU, there were no allegations in their recent cases of money changing hands. Free textbooks and even academic fraud are one thing; allegedly paying for players or benefiting from players who are receiving payment is an order of magnitude worse.

The NCAA has come to be seen as a toothless tiger, and if they wanted to show themselves getting their sheriff on, the Southern Cal case would be a perfect example with a defensible reason for a worse punishment. "They did something much, much worse." But, like the Doc, I advise you to continue respirating as normal.

And it's here we go again with the ongoing battle about oversigning between Brian Cook and Alabama blogs. Even when Cook is taking on ... the South Florida Bulls?

The NCAA needs to step in here and make the letter of intent an actual commitment on the part of the school. Anyone you sign who does not end up on campus still counts as an occupied scholarship slot that year, and you can't sign a letter of intent until you are academically eligible.

I believe that Brian's heart is probably in the right place here, but if his concern is really for these borderline students, this is absolutely the wrong way to solve it. The result of a policy like that would at worst be that no top-tier program would recruit students on the verge of eligibility. Even at best, these players would end up being their last priority. If we're really concerned about these kids getting a chance to showcase their skills and (hopefully) get an education that they would otherwise miss along the way, there has to be another solution.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of open-minded and conciliatory dialogue, Capstone Report responds with "Brian Cook is lazy or a liar."

The very website Cook cites rates South Florida as "MORE SELECTIVE" with only 49.6% of applicants gaining admission. All Cook needed to do to discover this fact was to click one more link at US News & World Report. Or did he read that and just ignore it? For comparison, Tulane (ranked 51 by US News) accepts 44.4% of applicants and SMU (ranked 66) accepts 50.1% of applicants.

Of course, CR also says "[t]he Internet fails as a reliable forum for the exchange of information."

Which is a great thing to write -- in an item posted on the Internet. (HT for Cook vs. CR: Blutarsky)

If they don't get a quarterback, maybe they can just kick a lot
Lane Kiffin's latest RECRUITING coup: A commitment from a four-star kicker. 

The Quad puts Kentucky at No. 61
And is exceptionally kind to last year's offense if you ask me.

The big key for this year’s team will be getting an improved performance out of its offense, which was pedestrian in 2008. I expect a better performance, mainly because of the eight returning starters, but also because the team looks to have more depth at the skill positions. Hopefully, this will allow U.K. to run the spread offense it used over the previous two seasons. I am worried about the defense, an obvious result of losing the majority of last year’s starters.

Pedestrian? 106th in total offense is pedestrian? 

What does this mean for Petrino and Nutt?
Todd takes a look at the second year for coaches in the SEC, and finds that they do tend to make progress. But maybe not so much as Arkansas fans in particular might be looking for.

Since Georgia's out of the question ...
Two other SEC teams make The Rivalry, Esq.'s recommendations for Michigans 2010 opener: Arkansas and Mississippi State.

The Ballad of Tony Robinson
Rocky Top Talk carries a heart-breaking story of wasted potential, beautifully written by Pride of the Southland.

This does seem a bit odd
But it could be nothing.

Be nice
Rocky Top Talk is hosting a contest to build your own Tennessee uniforms.

Oops
Before you go making statements under oath, you probably want to make sure you're not suggesting that your athletics association lied to the IRS.

However, tax returns filed by the UK Athletics Association tell a different story, listing Gillispie as the organization's highest-paid employee. The 2007 return lists Gillispie's salary as more than $1.2 million, with contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation of $293,524. ...

Failure to give accurate information in such filings with the Internal Revenue Service could risk the organization's tax-exempt status. ...

In the federal court case, which alleges that the athletics association owes Gillispie $6 million for firing him two years into a seven-year agreement, UK President Lee Todd filed a statement saying, "There was no signed writing between Billy Gillispie and UKAA, and no oral offer or transaction to which UKAA was a party."

Except, you know, being Gillispie's employer.

George Drake leaves Vandy basketball team
Vanderbilt Sports Line:

This is pretty unusual for a 5th year senior, but to be honest, it may be best for George. With the addition of John Jenkins, there really aren't that many minutes left for him in our backcourt.

Drew Pomeranz Ks 17 Guatemalans
International sports create great headlines.

Yeah, but they kept crossing the offensive line way too easily
Team USA continues winning in the football Junior World Championship (you're surprised?), defeating Mexico 55-0 to move to the finals.