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Sprints is Looking at Plenty of Rule Changes // 05.19.11

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A possible solution to the oversigning epidemic?
Count your humble correspondent among those who considers this huge. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive actually seems to be ready to address all or at least many of the roster management issues.

"In other words, it’s more than just the question of over-signing or grayshirting," Slive said. "It’s a question of over-signing, grayshirting, early admissions, summer school admission. We’ve put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues, that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion. So then it will be an important discussion item in Destin."

Now, how big this is obviously depends on what Slive is actually planning to unveil at Destin. But if it's a substantive proposal, this could finally rid the conference of what has become a problem for it, both in terms of PR and real impact.

But Houston Nutt wants to know if he gets 30 votes or not.

Throwing the book at him
The man accused of poisoning the trees at Toomer's Corner has been indicted, and it's obvious the prosecutors spent a long time combing over Alabama's law books to find every charge they could.

Harvey Updyke Jr., 62, faces two felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two felony counts of unlawful damage, felony vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility and two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerated object, according to court documents.

Apparently, unlawful damage, felony vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility is worse in the eyes of Alabama than run-of-the-mill unlawful damage, felony vandalism or theft of property. Who knew?

Preparing for the inevitable return of Stephen Garcia
With apologies to those of our readers who think this, I'm still amused by all of those who speculate that any projection of South Carolina should in any way consider the possibility that Stephen Garcia might not be the starting quarterback at South Carolina. As Travis Haney points out, it's a question of "when" at this point.

Tonight's phrasing by Spurrier in Aiken was the most intriguing yet: "Stephen Garcia will probably ..."

That even got my attention. Then Spurrier thought better of the rest of the sentence.

"Well," Spurrier said, "he's got a chance of coming back."

The only reason Garcia would get the boot over the latest kerfluffle -- the alleged run-in with the leader of a leadership class -- would be if it were the straw that broke the camel's back. But if that's the case, then you go ahead and dismiss Garcia instead of suspending him. So expect the quarterback that Spurrier loves to hate to be back under center sooner rather than later; and wouldn't the SEC East's newest contender be boring without him?

Is roster management still underway in Fayetteville?
It's hard to tell, since Seth Oxner appears to have made the decision to leave the team on his own. But there are subtle ways to indicate to a player that looking for a roster spot elsewhere would probably be in his best interests.

Some sanity being added to the paying athletes debate
What do you know -- the Up North Conference occasionally does have a good idea. Or half one.

The idea, which is backed by current NCAA president Mark Emmert and was favored by late NCAA president Myles Brand, is to bridge the gap between what athletic scholarships pay and other expenses like transportation and clothing. That difference has been estimated at between $2,000 to $5,000 per player.

Of course, this being the Big Ten, the proposal has to come with a bit of snobbery. The idea of trying to make the system work for smaller schools like the MAC is brushed aside because the Big Ten and other conferences like it are special and shouldn't have to play by the same rules. But some progress is better than none at all.

Most of the attention to Mark Emmert's letter to the Department of Justice is going to be devoted to his polite insistence to the feds that they should address letters about the BCS to, you know, the BCS -- and rightfully so. (To read the full letter, go to the PDF here.)

But while anyone who has read this site since Emmert became president of the NCAA knows I and the Association's leader have our differences, I think he comes very close to the proverbial meeting of hammer and head of nail in this part of his letter:

The NCAA conducts 89 championships in 23 sports annually, and each of those championships has been created at the request of the Association's membership. ... Instead, the FBS has elected to conduct its postseason competition outside the NCAA structure.

The playoff did not fall from the sky as the preferred method of choosing a champion in college sports, or any other sport for that matter. It might have begun as a conscious choice, given the way that the bowl structure evolved, but allowing the current system to continue over the last several decades is at least a de facto decision to not have a playoff.

Sure, that's the administrators of the sport and not the fans -- and I get that I'm in the minority of fans by believing that a playoff would be bad for college football. But in every sport, the NCAA's members have decided which way to select that sports' championship. Just because the FBS' members have decided to stay with the bowl system doesn't make that decision any more wrong (or right) than the other sports; it just makes it different.

Blutarsky sounds a similar note on a slightly different focal point of this saga when noting the seemingly hypocritical stance not of all playoff proponents, but of those playoff proponents who want to use antitrust law to create their preferred postseason format:

In other words, college football needs to replace the BCS cartel with a larger cartel run by the NCAA. Antitrust law, ftw!

To take the absurdity a step further, one could argue that the BCS is a cartel, but an NCAA-run playoff system would be a monopoly. Talk about turning the entire reason for the law on its head. But that's apparently worth it for those on the fringe of the generally rational pro-playoff movement.

Could the new metal bats actually prompt schools to push for wooden bats?
The Tuscaloosa News has a great piece on the impact of the new metal bats, even if it does seem to paint what's been a positive change for the game as the end of the world. And the overhaul of the NCAA's rules apparently has some people talking about -- gasp -- wooden bats.

"Here's the difference: On a wood bat you have a true sweet spot. If you hit it there it's going to go. With the BBCOR bat, it doesn't really have a true sweet spot on it," Gaspard said. "I would like the bats to be tuned up a little bit more to where if you catch a ball good -- much like a wood bat -- it will be a home run."

Or we could make the bats act like wooden bats by using wooden bats. I know, that's crazy talk.

The Todd Raleigh eulogies begin
For those who have followed SEC baseball over the last few years, it's no surprise that Todd Raleigh is likely headed out as head coach in Knoxville. And, judging by Raleigh's statements, he has followed SEC baseball over the last few years.

So would Columbia be 'a real special kind of situation'?
Philip Fulmer is not ruling out coaching again, but he sounds more and more like he could live without it.

"It would have to be a real special kind of situation," he said. "I've been out of it for a couple years now. I certainly think I have a whole lot to give to society or the game or business, or whatever I decide to do."

South Carolina -- you know this is the logical next candidate. (Please, it's a joke. DO NOT HIRE THIS MAN.)

WVU wants to sell alcohol at football games
West Virginia fans drinking at sporting events -- what could possibly go wrong?

Oh, yeah, that. (The video is kind of lame by couch-burning standards, but I was trying to find one that was free of words that draw an FCC fine. This is more difficult than you would think in perusing WVU couch-burning videos, or perhaps just as difficult as you might expect.)