We begin LSU week in SEC 2010, having finished up Auburn and provided a place for you to leave your thoughts on Ole Miss, South Carolina and Auburn in handy vote form. Next week will be SEC Media Days, which should be so much fun, as the Times Free Press points out. We are scheduled to be on the ground to once again provide you coverage of the event. Speaking of Media Days, Andrea Adelson looks at some storylines related to "football." Oh, that's right; that's what we're supposed to be there for in the first place. Now, onto the many, many main events from the weekend that was.
You have to hand it to Tennessee; in a month filled with every manner of criminal activity you can think of, the Vols have the single most impressive entry on the ledger: A bar brawl that ended with one player dismissed, two more suspended, another likely to face "internal" punishment and who knows how many other players involved.
First, the fallen: Darren Myles is out; Marlon Walls and Greg King are suspended. Derek Dooley, what say you?
"Although we are still gathering all the facts and some legal proceedings will follow, we have taken some initial levels of discipline resulting from my conversations with the student-athletes who were present." ...
The roles of King and Walls in the incident aren't entirely clear at this point, but Myles was charged with resisting arrest, evading arrest and disorderly conduct by UTPD -- the second time he's been picked up by police since the end of spring practice.
None of which helps the Vols' depth, as Dooley conceded in refreshingly honest fashion. Of course, the fallout also isn't entirely known -- yet.
There’s a chance more players could be charged in the matter, according to Knoxville Police Department officials. And there’s also a chance players not charged by the law could face sanctions from Dooley.
"It hurts our team," the coach said Friday night. "A lot of people get hurt when you do things that aren’t right, and it’s not just Darren who hurts. ... We’re going to be hurt by this on the field, competitively." ...
And when all that information is gathered, the Vols’ depth chart could look drastically different. As one person close to the program admitted Friday with a sigh, "some of our most important guys" were at least witnesses to the incident.
As for Da'Rick Rogers, one of the most prominently mentioned in the immediate aftermath of the brawl:
(Hopefully) last update of the night. Spoke with someone close to Da'Rick. I think most of his punishment will be an internal team issue.
(HT: Rocky Top Talk)
The Bar and the VIPs
In all of the mystery that still surrounds the brawl, this is one of the more intriguing ones: Is the bar's listing of several players as "VIPs" a violation of NCAA rules? The bar owner, not surprisingly, doesn't think so.
"It's really irritating because they're making us out to be the bad guys," Morton said. "We've got somewhere between 200 and 300 people that we consider VIPs that aren't athletes. All ladies are considered VIPs, which only means they don't have to pay a cover charge.
"The VIP is nothing that has anything to do with UT athletics." ...
If the Vols were given a financial break others don't get -- which Morton strongly denied -- then UT would need to figure out how often it was used, how much it was worth and which players were taking advantage of it. From there, the players may have to pay some sort of restitution and UT may also need to self-report a secondary violation of NCAA rules for extra benefits. ...
Assuming Bar Knoxville wasn't affording the general student population the same deal, Vols taking any VIP treatment will likely have been found to break that rule.
Now, that's a lengthy quote from the Knoxville News-Sentinel -- and you should read the whole piece -- but I clipped that much because I'm not sure what Morton told them squares with what Morton told the Times Free Press.
"They're on a first-name basis with my husband (and co-owner), and they get VIP status, which means they pay no cover at the door," Morton said. "We're a UT nightclub, business and restaurant. We've always treated the football players and basketball players alike. We've always treated them highly, because we're a UT gameday headquarters. Basketball and football players have always been VIPs."
A few things: If the bar is "a UT nightclub," then the cover charge is meaningless if everyone who comes from the university gets VIP treatment. If the VIP treatment is extended to football and basketball players based on their being football and basketball players, that would seem to be a slam-dunk case for a violation. And finally, how can the VIP label have "nothing ... to do with UT athletics" if one of the ways to land on the VIP list is to be a football or basketball player for Tennessee?
Police officer still hospitalized
Robert Capouellez was off-duty and apparently tried to break up the fight, with disastrous results for his head and the Tennessee program. Bar brawls are one thing. Bar brawls with injured police officers are another.
What the hell is going on at Georgia?
Or should we call it the University of Oregon-Athens? Two players are arrested, one of them for DUI. DUI? Really?!? Did you just miss that whole "our-athletics-director-is-gone-because-he-drank-and-drive" thing? Not that Dontavius Jackson stopped there; no, he rang up six misdemeanors before the arrest was done, also including leaving the scene of an accident, underage possession of alcohol, violating conditions of a learner's permit, following too closely and violating the move-over law. Violating the freaking move-over law -- which, by the way, is the only reason he got pulled over and arrested for the leaving the scene of an accident.
But Jackson was not alone. No, there were several passengers in the car -- including Tavarres King. The underage drinking was easy at that point.
At least they gave their middle names to the officers.
Jackson is gone for at least six games and King will miss at least one. Emphasis on at least, according to UGA officials.
Information is still being gathered that could lead to additional penalties, according to Richt, who has spoken to both players since their arrests, associate athletic director Claude Felton said.
The arrests of Jackson and King bring the number of Georgia players arrested this offseason to seven -- all since the start of spring practices in March.
This is really reaching Fulmer or Holtz levels of criminality here. Really, the question at this point seems to be less one of whether they'll win the Fulmer Cup -- though that could change depending on whether Tennessee players really live up to their potential by driving a tank through downtown Knoxville, with players riding on the vehicle firing celebratory gunfire into the air -- and a more an issue of whether they'll lap the field.
Pity reporters, who don't write their own headlines. So Marc Weiszer will have his name associated in the public mind with this deep thought:
Evans might need time to rehabilitate image before taking next step
Well, yes. That would be a safe bet.
when's the last time UGA had a worse offseason than this?
Tennessee and Georgia will pry the arrest record from Urban Meyer's cold, dead hands
Frankie Hammond will reportedly plead guilty to his own imbibin' then drivin' charge.
Chris Garrett leaving LSU
He will not be allowed to transfer to another SEC team, per the university. The day of Jarrett Lee reclaiming his throne draws ever nearer.
That seems to be the biggest question raised by A Sea Of Blue's examination of the Birmingham News' Eric Bledsoe article. I've often publicly disagreed with Tru on some of the accusations thrown at Kentucky players and coaches, so it's only fair to point out when he does a far better job than I do at taking a critical look at a story that would generally be considered good news for UK. Good stuff.
RIP, Melvin Turpin
Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends; the death of the former Kentucky basketball star was ruled a suicide.
The family is suspicious of the suicide ruling
Which is not unusual of a suicide, in part because the tragedy is usually so hard to comprehend and understand for those left behind.
Doesn't this kind of destroy your entire premise?
The Press-Register reports on the fact that Alabama and Florida -- pay attention, this is important -- usually win when they score first. I know. I, too, was shocked by that revelation. And by this one, which would seem to put an exclamation point on the idea that this is really not a revelation about either team.
Vanderbilt scored before its opponents in only two games last year. The Commodores won both of them, and they were Vandy's only victories of the season.
Yes, Alabama and Florida have both won a lot of games over the last two years or so when they score first. But that might be because (a) teams tend to do well when they score first and (b) Alabama and Florida have both won a lot of games over the last two years or so. Period.
I don't care for whom you really voted
This is great.