Posts Tagged ‘NCAA Football’

HLL: NY Times Reports NCAA Investigating “Vol Hostesses”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Tennessee FootballOkay, this pretty much sucks…

As the Vol Ambassador pointed out earlier today here on the Gate, according to the New York Times (which, as a general rule, avoids simply making stuff up), the NCAA is currently engaged in a wide-reaching investigation of recruiting at Tennessee under Lane Kiffin, with an emphasis on the use of the so-called “Vol Hostesses,” (with particular attention being paid to Hostess Lacey Earps), who routinely accompany recruits on visits to campus.  This investigation was confirmed by Mike Hamilton, though he declined to comment on the substance , and the UTAD has since issued an official statement.

The real interest appears to be trips taken by some of the Vol Hostesses to watch potential recruits play as high schoolers.  These visits, especially if they result in direct communications related to the recruiting of the athlete are potentially barred under NCAA regulations.  Times reporters Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans noted instances where Vol Hostesses had traveled as distance up to 200 or more miles to see recruits play, and had occasionally exchanged text messages with potential recruits.

As official representatives of the UT Athletic Department, contact by these Hostesses could lead to secondary violations, even if the contact was not sanctioned by athletic department officials.

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Alabama gets caught cheating, Kiffin plays with chalk

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Somewhere, in front of a chalkboard—his hands coated with chalk dust—Lane Kiffin is smiling…

For the past several months Tennessee fans and the general sports-watching public have heard a near endless discussion about the various secondary infractions which have occurred since Lane Kiffin (a/k/a “the Blackjack General”) took the reins as the head football coach for the Tennessee Volunteers.  Needless to say, some have taken every available opportunity to criticize the University of Tennessee, The UT Athletic Department, Smiling Mike Hamilton, and the Blackjack General himself.  Some of it has amounted to little more than sniping and smack-talk, while others have been decidedly more direct.

Rightly or wrongly, Tennessee has self-reported (or is in the process of investigating with with an eye toward reporting) six secondary violations of NCAA Rules, the most recent coming—as HSH reported just the other day—as a result of the Blackjack General’s recent appearance on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” where he discussed, imagine that, secondary infractions with ESPN’s Bob Ley.

A “secondary violation” is defined in the NCAA Manual as follows:

A secondary violation is a violation that is isolated or inadvertent in nature, provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage and does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit.  Multiple secondary violations by a member institution may collectively be considered as a major violation.

•  2008-09 NCAA Division 1 ManualPDF Document § 19.02.2.1 (emphasis added)

To put this in layman’s terms, secondary violations are the functional equivalent of talking in the NCAA’s rather large and particularly boring class.  Or, perhaps, in Lane Kiffin’s case, they amount to showing-off for all the girls (or in this case, recruits) in the back of class to impress them and passing notes reading:

I like you.  A Lot.

Do you like me?

Check One:  ___Yes  ___No  ___Maybe

— Lane

While this sort of thing—in both Mrs. Elliott’s 6th Period English Class and in the world of NCAA compliance—are annoying, they are largely harmless.  While it is true (again, with both Mrs. Elliott and the NCAA) that enough of these sorts of minor errors along the way can land you in the proverbial Principal’s office, as long as you say you are sorry after each instance (and UT has self-reported all such violations) and space the occurrences out by a day or two, usually there is little punishment to be meted out, aside from being made a spectacle in front of your peers…

… or by having to stay after class and write on the blackboard.

Kiffin-Chalkboard

Kiffin at the Chalkboard

Hence, while Lane Kiffin and the UT Athletic Department are probably getting a little tired of having to deal with the issue of secondary violations, they have been merely a bump in the road thus far.

The Alabama Crimson Tide, on the other hand, is now facing a decidedly more serious situation…

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The US Congress and College Football: An epidemic in the making

In case you hadn’t heard, the United States Congress has been hard at work lately—tackling the hard-hitting issues that our country is facing.  Our representatives in the House have been addressing monumental concerns impacting the daily lives of all Americans far and wide.  What, you might ask, is the single most important question in the minds of Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Mike Simpson (R-ID)?

Whether the BCS / Bowl system for determining NCAA football championships needs to be replaced by a playoff system.

As a result, these congressmen introduced a House Resolution in April seeking to have the United States Congress and the United States Department of Justice investigate the Bowl Championship Series.  In particular, this obscenely overstated meaningful legislation resolves that the House of Representatives:

(1) rejects the BCS system as an illegal restraint of trade that violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act;

(2) demands the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigate and bring appropriate action to have the BCS system declared illegal and require a playoff to determine a national champion; and

(3) supports the establishment of an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Championship playoff system in the interest of fairness and to bring parity to all NCAA teams.

• 111th Congress, House Resolution 68

Heavy stuff, that…

As a result of the tireless grandstanding efforts of these shameless self-promoters champions of the common man, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held hearings this past week to look into the actions of the BCS in hopes of determining whether something nefarious is afoot.  This included taking testimony from: John Swofford PDF Document (Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series), Craig Thompson PDF Document (Commissioner of the Mountain West Conference), Derrick Fox PDF Document (President and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl), and Gene Bleymaier PDF Document (Athletic Director of Boise State University).

For those of you out there that hate yourselves, you can view a streaming video of the entire hearing through the committee websiteNote: Apparently the Congressional muckety-mucks are too busy to hire someone schooled in the basic art of video editing.  Thus, you will want to fast forward to approximately 19:45 to view the hearing (that is, unless you just enjoy watching a blank screen for almost 20 minutes).

During the hearing, the Committee specifically looked into whether the BCS amounted to a monopoly, running afoul of federal anti-trust provisions.  With the great all-encompassing seriousness that can only come from the stuffed shirts of Congress and with the aire of the Watergate hearings, the committee set about digging deep into the bowels of college football’s deep dark secret.  Having watched some of the video of the hearing, it was obvious, in the minds of some of the assembled officials, that they felt the very sanctity of our American Republic hung precariously in the balance.

Right…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the idea of a college football playoff, in fact I would gladly support such a system—so long as it is fair.  The disdain that is oozing from this article comes not from my opposition to the notion that college football needs a playoff, but rather from the nauseating belief by those in Congress that they are the answer to this problem.  Oh yeah, there is also the minor fact that the entire nation is passed out from the H1N1 flu in the economic toilet of the world with chunks of last night’s General Motors and Wall Street flavored hot dog still clinging to its mouth while these clueless egomaniacs are wasting their time trying to determine how we end our football seasons.

I’d love to sit around in a fancy conference room with hospitality service and get paid to talk football all day as much as the next guy, there’s no denying that.  The thought that our Congressional leaders have nothing better to do than just that, is more than a little bothersome.  The fact that they can do it with a straight face while purporting to represent the best interests of their constituents, makes me think of three words: “explosive projectile vomiting.”  I suppose that this sentiment is precisely what led CBS Sports.com’s Dennis Dodd to note that “Retching is common for these kinds of mundane Capitol Hill gatherings.”

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Headlines, Links & Lies: Post-UCLA Rundown

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Here’s what the world is saying about the Vols’ disappointing loss to UCLA last night in the Rose Bowl.

Trust me, it isn’t pretty…

Final Statistics: Tennessee vs. UCLA — 01 September 2008

Holding Hands is Not Going to Help

Holding Hands is Not Going to Help…

From the Good Guys (Vol Bloggers):

From the Mercenaries (Mainstream Media):

More to come later in the day …

– Go Figure …Email lawvol Sam & Andy's Forever


Lead Image Courtesy of: ESPN.com / AP / Jeff Lewis

Tennessee vs. UCLA — Quick Postgame Thoughts

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Well, that is why they play them…

A heavily favored Tennessee squad walked into the Rose Bowl, and will be limping home trying to figure out what went wrong — and make no mistake, something went terribly wrong.

On the whole, it was a tale of two halves — the Vols owned the first-half, the Bruins the second.  Well, at least the Vols should have owned the first-half.  After grabbing 4 first-half interceptions, the Vols had a paltry 14 points at the end of the first half.

In the end, however, UCLA rallied the troops and fought down the stretch and managed to take the lead with only seconds left in the game.  The anemic Tennessee offense seemed down for the count, but Jonathan Crompton managed the team as well as he had all night, leading the Orange down the field for a Daniel Lincoln field goal to tie the game at 24 with 5 seconds on the clock.

Many in Big Orange Country felt they had just dodged a bullet — given Tennessee’s record in overtime games.  They were even more buoyed up with hope after the Tennessee defense — which had flailed about unsuccessfully in the fourth-quarter — allowed no yards in overtime.

But that is why they play them…

After gaining a net of 8 yards, Daniel Lincoln came on to attempt a 34-yard field goal attempt to send the game into a second overtime.  The kick sailed wide left, and with it went the Vols hopes of coming out strong to start the season.

Final Score:  UCLA 27  Tennessee 24

Obviously, once I’ve had a little time to think about the game, I am sure I’ll have more thoughts for everyone out there to ignore.  That said, here are my initial thoughts.

Defense

Until the fourth-quarter, I would have given the defense excellent marks.  They played with more aggressive tenacity than I have seen any Tennessee team play with in the first game of the season in at least a decade.  They looked well prepared and well coached — until late in the game I’d have given them an “A” for the game.

Four interceptions is always a nice statistic, but so was the 2 first downs that UCLA managed in the first-half.  The Vols were hard-hitting and focused.

Once UCLA managed to find its legs in the fourth-quarter, however, they started running roughshod over the Tennessee defense, with a workmanlike drive using short screen passes and a quick tempo.  At many times, the Vol defense seemed poorly schemed late in the game, rushing 4 and 5 on each play rather than trying to stop the screens.  That said, the biggest problem it appeared they were dealing with was fatigue due to the fact they had been on the field far longer than they should have been in the fourth.

Thus, I am not going to mark the squad down too much (since it was the first game and due to the offensive woes) — the fact is that they gave a great effort.  The defense showed that they have what it takes to be a really excellent squad this year — potentially one of the best in the SEC — once they get a chance to gel and play together a little more.

In the end, I’m giving them a C+ / B-.

Offense

I’m not even going to try to breakdown all of the problems that the Vols had on offense…

I realize that Tennessee has a new quarterback and a new offensive scheme.  I expected there to be some growing pains.  I did not expect the Vols to rely upon their defense to win games — by scoring all the points.

It was bad, it was very bad…

I am not ready to decide where I think the problem lies, but the Vols showed a real lack of ability to move the ball consistently.  Crompton had a horrible time throwing the ball when under pressure — to the point of being completely ineffective.  Both Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty showed flashes of brilliance at times in the running game, but at other times were unable to make real gains.

At this early point after the game, all I can say is that there is much work to be done on offense.

At this point, I’m giving the offense a D.

Special Teams

Daniel Lincoln missed three field goal attempts, but only one of which he really should have hit — unfortunately, that one was the one which really mattered.  The punt unit also gave up a block, which led to an immediate touchdown.  The kick return unit, however, showed some real fire and the potential for some big plays down the stretch.

This unit needs to work on some things, but they appear to, at least, be on the right track.

For now, I’m giving them a C-.

Final Thoughts

There is so much more to discuss and think about after this game — which is always the case with a loss.  I am not going to try to do it tonight.

I will however, say one thing:

This is only the first game of the season — don’t give up on the Vols yet.  Despite the problems they had tonight, they never gave up.  They have earned the chance to redeem themselves…

I, along with Home Sweet Home, will have more on this game in the coming days, but in the meantime — though I am disappointed — all I can say is Go Vols!

More tomorrow…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


Brandon Warren Cleared to Play by the NCAA

Just a little sound bite of good news today courtesy of Curveballs for Jesus and the Snooze-SlantinelBrandon Warren has been cleared by the NCAA to play this fall for the Big Orange!

Now let’s hope there aren’t any other landmines in the road leading up to Warren suiting up for the Vols.

– Go Figure …


I’d Like to Thank the Academy, and Bruce Almighty…

Wow!

Once again, back when I started this little experiment back in November, I had no idea where it would go (learning WordPress, learning HTML, learning CSS, buying a hosting account, wasting countless hours designing graphics and colorful art to cover up the lack of substance on my blog, learning the rules of football …). Now, Gate 21 has been graced with not just one, but two nominations for the 2007 College Football Blogger Awards. All I can say to those who voted for Gate 21 is a sincere “Thank You!” To be nominated for both Best New Blog and the Trev Alberts Award (Prettiest Blog) is so much more than I ever expected.

On a much less sincere note, I’d like to thank the Academy for understanding that, when you graduated from Tennessee, there are limits on your ability to use large words, to assemble clever phrases, and to write in complete sentences. I am so appreciative that they considered the fact that I am only the second generation of my family to walk upright, and chose not to hold that against me. I’d also like to encourage everyone to vote over at EDSBS for their pick in the final balloting to determine the actual winners.

I’m all choked up…

I’d also like to thank the guy who made it all possible — who pulls the strings that keeps the Basketball universe in order, and the guy who is going to pull some strings against the Florida Gators tonight …

brucealmighty-poster.jpg

In Bruce we Trust, now get after those Gators!

– Go Figure …


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