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Sprints Getting Deja Vu from Cam Newton and Conference Realignment and Deja Vu from ... // 07.14.11


Here we go again (I) -- The Cam Newton Investigation

Earlier on TSK: NCAA Confirms Auburn Investigation

Gene Chizik: Not a people person
This site is not normally in the practice of giving advice to SEC head coaches -- they make enough money to get pointers from far more qualified people -- but let's make an exception in this case. Gene Chizik, you generally don't get on an investigative body's good side by berating its representative in a meeting.

He peppered Roe Lach with a flurry of questions about the N.C.A.A.’s investigation into Cam Newton and why the N.C.A.A. had not publicly announced that the investigation was over. Chizik complained that the inquiry’s open-ended nature had hurt Auburn’s recruiting and he followed up at least three times, leading to a testy exchange.

"You’ll know when we’re finished," Roe Lach told Chizik, according to several coaches who were at the meeting. "And we’re not finished."

All of the other SEC coaches in the room -- basically wanted to crawl under their chairs.

"I think the format of the meeting was set up to be generally about the lay of the land going forward," Kennedy continued. "When he got into specific questions regarding their situation, I think we were all sitting back saying, ‘I didn’t know that we were going here.’ "

It's hard to know what to consider first here. You've got Chizik asking questions of the NCAA in an inappropriate setting for doing so. You've got his obvious temper issues when the NCAA representative tried to defuse the situation. And you've got the unabashed cynicism -- the investigation should be wrapped up because it's hurting Auburn's recruiting. That's quite a lot packed into a relatively short anecdote.

There are, of course, ways to avoid all of this. One of them is not to get involved with shady players and handlers, and the other is to quickly and aggressively cooperate with the NCAA. Or you can just berate the investigators; that's really the same thing.

Here we go again (II) -- Conference Realignment

Earlier on TSK: Could the SEC Look at Texas A&M Again?

We still need to get Texas A&M ... if we can
The message boards I've looked at suggest that the Aggies-to-SEC idea didn't spring up from bored reporters. There's actually been some buzz in Texas A&M parts for a while now, at least in part because of discontent over the Big XII deal. Combine that with the SEC's known unhappiness with its new TV deal after seeing what the Pac-12 got, and you have a powerful incentive for both sides to reach a deal.

However. There is one sentence in the Scout piece that gives me a bit of pause about this.

He also told me that the SEC felt they could get a new deal by expansion of two teams to get the networks to the table and that a priority was Texas A&M. In fact, my source claims that the SEC has/had Clemson ready to go and they were simply waiting to see if Texas A&M could get their ducks in a row and leave the Big 12.

There are a few problems with this. First of all, Clemson is way down the list of schools that I would think the SEC would consider adding, unless they were being turned down by a raft of other programs. Clemson merely doubles the number of SEC schools in a relatively small state, adding no television markets and limited revenue. Any program that could move the SEC into Virginia or West Virginia -- or even another program in Florida like USF -- makes a lot more sense than Clemson. (And that's even presuming that South Carolina isn't going to object to Clemson joining the conference and wiping out its one major disadvantage in the recruiting wars -- playing in the ACC instead of the SEC.)

And where it all comes together
Scout's story also combines the two stories in a way that could be trouble if it's true. Caveats abound.

He told me that with all the media attention on the Cam Newton situation at Auburn along with the Will Lyles stuff and other things that "there are other allegations that will come out that will implicate 3-4 other SEC schools", the SEC has shifted its attention to managing the fallout he said will likely come when these allegations hit.

There's all kinds of interesting sentence construction going on there -- happens to the best of us when you're cranking out thousands of words a week -- but the "3-4 other SEC schools" is the phrase that really sticks out. Let's take Auburn out because of the "other." We'll be generous and assume that LSU is one of the other schools for the sake of argument. We know Tennessee is probably in trouble because of Hostessgate and Pearlgate. South Carolina will face some sanctions from Hotelgate, though that seems more likely to be in the "loss of five or fewer scholarships" category than major sanctions unless the NCAA has turned up something we don't know about.

Those three all seem like relatively small potatoes. I supposed Tennessee could get the hammer dropped on it just because of the breadth of the problems, but I'm still inclined to think that any postseason or TV penalties will be leveled against the basketball team. The LSU penalties would depend on their involvement with Lyles and what the allegations are.

Beyond that -- Georgia? The most recent allegations there are sketchy and still unlikely to result in anything more significant than a couple of players being declared ineligible. Mississippi State could be in hot water for the original Cam Newton conversations, I suppose. But beyond that, I've got nothing. There could always be another surprise out there.

SEC Media Days just got a lot more interesting.


For those who think I go easy on South Carolina
It's hard for me to disagree much with what Gamecock Man says about the Bryce Sherman situation. In short, this was an ugly thing for Steve Spurrier to do.

However, at the same time, Sherman was committed to this football program. After he earned his scholarship and worked hard to retain it, we owed him better than this. Now, after pouring his soul into the program, he'll have to pay out for his final year of college, simply because he wasn't going to get much playing time and because we signed more players than we had room for.

I don't know that I agree with Gamecock Man entirely about the solution -- I think football players should be held responsible for making progress on the field, just like everyone who has an academic scholarship is held responsible for making progress in the classroom. If Sherman's scholarship is being given to walk-ons who have done better -- something Spurrier said he was doing when he first started yanking scholarships at South Carolina -- that's one thing. But if it's a roster-management move, it's the worst part of college football.

Maybe after being a linebacker he knows how to pick up the ball when he fumbles it
Richard Samuel appears to be on the verge of moving back to running back for Georgia. Blutarsky, no hair-trigger Richt critic, is not thrilled at the prospect or the decision-making.

Is there a 'sorta-kinda' scholarship available to NCAA athletes
Derek Dooley says Janzen Jackson is not really back yet. Sort of.

So it's a little premature to say he's back. He's got a long way to go physically, he's still got a lot of things to do to stay a part of the team. Only time will tell if he's going to be our safety this year.

If not, a flamingo will be painted orange and man the position instead. Or bird the position. Whatever.

The latest update from Danny Wuerffel
It seems that the Florida quarterback is getting a lot straightened out -- and not just physically.

[God's] healing hand is at work in my entire body, battling both the antibodies that are attacking my nerves from Guillain-Barre as well as the idols entrenched in my heart.

The diagnosis on both fronts is bad. The prognosis, however, is great! God is good!

The prognoses are both welcome.

SEC is not the only conference looking to expand in Texas
And Texas-Arlington is terrible at keeping secrets.

A vote by the board of the regents for the University of Texas system is scheduled for Thursday. UTA already has announced plans for an afternoon news conference on campus featuring WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

Next week, the WAC will add El Centro College in Dallas.