Posts Tagged ‘Sports Media’

Urban Meyer gets “Slived”

Some of Slive's Henchmen at Work

Well, it looks like there are a few teeth to Mike Slive’s new edict that coaches refrain from criticizing the SEC’s finest.  What’s more, and somewhat to my surprise, it appears that the new policy even applies to Urban Meyer.  The basis for these conclusions?  Mike Slive’s decision to fine Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer $30,000 for criticizing the officiating during the Gators’ game against the Georgia Bulldogs, which was announced via an official release earlier today.

I am sure that Jeremy Foley will be lodging a strongly worded protest shortly, demanding that Lane Kiffin apologize for not being fined before Meyer…

So this raises a question: can you get fined for criticizing the fine you got tacked with for criticizing the officials?  I wonder if we will find out?  That could be highly entertaining.

At any rate, I guess we now know that Mike Slive actually meant what he said when he declared himself the High Inquisitor of the SEC.  Of course, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition…

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HLL: Lane Kiffin, Coach of the Year?

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Unlike Stewart Mandel at, apparently some of the national media agrees with Tennessee fans (and Lil’ Wayne) that Lane Kiffin is doing a pretty good job of righting the ship.

Ten deserving candidates for coach of the year

Every conference needs an Eddie Haskell, right?

HT HT / via: Fox Sports

Nice to see a little cred for the Blackjack General

Clay Travis’ “On Rocky Top”: Beautiful Agony

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

On Rocky Top After living through the unmitigated disaster that was the 2008 football season for the Tennessee Volunteers, I was not so sure I was prepared to take a stroll with Clay Travis down memory lane via his new book “On Rocky Top.”  The 2008 season was the most gut-wrenching experience of my sports-watching life, one which Travis himself likened to having your arm amputated without laudanum.  It was truly painful and not merely because the Vols lost seven games.  Losing comes with competition, I can handle losing.  Watching an entire program, an entire fanbase, an entire state devolve into a constant state of turmoil, however, was the part that made it an experience that I was more than ready to forget.  Even  after nine months of good vibrations—buoyed up by the hopes and energy of new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin and his band of invincibles—assuming that I was prepared to join Travis’ on his retrospective journey through the 2008 season, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to make that trip into the past.

I suppose, I was just ready to move on.

When first I saw that Clay Travis had written a book on the Vols 2008 football campaign, my reaction was that he picked one hell of a bad year to write about Tennessee.  I knew Clay was a fine writer, having read his work for CBS, Fanhouse, and his book Dixieland Delight.  Still, I remember thinking to myself “Man, that really stinks for Clay—all that work to write a book about a 5-7 season.” After all, who wants to read about a team that loses, and loses a lot?

You do.

Clay Travis’ new book “On Rocky Top” is one of the best sports books I have read in a long time.

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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 § (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 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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Flashback: CBS Sports and the NCAA Tournament

Flashback | Gate 21

Yes, friends and neighbors the NCAA Tournament is upon us.  Thus, we all get ready for the mayhem that accompanies that grand old tradition.  For what seems like forever, that has included watching endless hours of basketball courtesy of CBS Sports.  Now, generally, I am a huge fan of CBS Sports, and I favor their web presence when it comes to sports content on the internet. **

All that said, last year’s NCAA tournament almost drove me mad.  Actually it wasn’t the tournament, but the way that CBS covered the tournament on television.  That led me to fire off at the mouth a bit.  Since it is that time again, I figured it would only be appropriate to take a stroll down memory lane and look back on what I had to say about CBS’s coverage.  I do this for two reasons.

First, this seems relevant as we all get ready to become couch potatoes for a month.  This may be minimized a little bit due to the fact that CBS will be broadcasting all games online free of charge once again, but the fact remains a big flat screen is infinitely better than even the best computer monitor.

Second, I have been so busy that I haven’t yet gotten a chance to finish up my thoughts on the Oklahoma State Cowboys…

Thus, without further adieu, we go back in time to my post entitled simply:

CBS = Complete Bull Sh*t


I intentionally waited a few days before airing this complaint, mainly because I didn’t want my vitriol to be mistaken as nothing more than “sour grapes” over the BasketVols loss to the Louisville Cardinals.

Trust me, this has nothing to do with Tennessee, Louisville, or any other specific team…

CBSFor the past … well, it seems like quite a long time, now … CBS has been the exclusive home of the NCAA Tournament. I vaguely remember ESPN covering first and second-round games during the 1990s, but CBS is all we have had for a while. Either way, CBS has held a stranglehold on the Final Four since Billy Packer conned James Naismith himself into signing over the rights some time during the 1920s — back when Billy Packer was in his 50s.

First of all, I do want to applaud CBS Sportsline — CBS Sports’ internet division — for their ambitious decision to broadcast every tournament game for free on the web. Similarly, the CBS “Game Center” on the internet for each game — displaying myriad stats and information in real time — is amazing. It is as artful as it is impressive. Any fan can get up-to-the-second information on every facet of the game — including points, fouls, assists, shooting trends, whether a player is taking bribes to throw the game, which boosters the cute little cheerleader next to the basket is sleeping with, and so much more — via one of the best interfaces I’ve ever seen for statistical information of that kind.

Despite the minor fact that the bandwidth draw for the “March Madness on Demand” service has been so obscenely high that it has — at times — nearly crashed massive trunk lines on the web, I salute these efforts of CBS’s internet division. For reasons which will become clear in a second, in the future I may choose this as the only way I’ll watch the tournament — even if it is in a 5″ x 5″ low resolution streaming window.

Continue Reading >>

**Disclosure: While lawvol is a voting member of the CBS Sports Football Blog Poll and the CBS Sports BasketBlog Poll, neither this site, its editor, nor publisher receives any payment or other compensation of any type or kind in return for participation. Furthermore, neither Gate 21 nor lawvol received any benefit of any kind for this article, which was neither requested nor solicited by CBS Sports. This article represents the actual opinion of the author (for what that is worth) and was in no way influenced by any other person(s).

Theories about Lane Kiffin’s jab at Urban Meyer…

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Rusty over at RTT has offered up 5 theories for Lane Kiffin‘s (a/k/a the Blackjack General) barb to Urban Meyer yesterday.  They are worth a read.  Rusty’s theories started a rather interesting discussion on the subject.

Anyway, here are my two cents worth, which I originally posted over on RTT as a comment (with the addition of the video and image):

The comment on Meyer is simply a comment made to a closed group being taken out of context.  That is, Kiffin said “cheating” in the sense of “man, that’s some slimy stuff” but is was taken as “violation of codified NCAA and SEC rules and regulations.” In other words, he was speaking like a normal person and not like some degenerate lawyer (I can say that, I are one).

In the big picture, I think that there is a method to Kiff’s madness.  I think he realizes that the Tennessee fans need something to help rally them to “the flag,” which a little controversy will accomplish.

Furthermore, I think — rightly or wrongly — he perceives a belief among the fans that Tennessee has been the “nice guy fuddy-duddy” type for a long time and have never really stood its ground the way it could (See Charlie Brown).  I think that there is a definite feeling of this sort among many in the Big Orange fanbase.

I also think he believes that the opposite it true — that other coaches (especially Urban Meyer) have gotten used to walking on Tennessee and now feel an entitlement of sorts.  I think this is also true.  I think Kiff realizes that he has to stop that, and that the fans will gladly support him in this.

I also think — given who he has attacked and who he hasn’t (See Mark Richt, Houston Nutt, Rich Brooks, Les Miles, etc.) — that it is a calculated move to agitate those who simply cannot stand being agitated and love to agitate constantly.  Steve Spurrier was the master of this in the 1990s — and it was very effective.  Kiffin wants to try and begin to get in the heads of others who believe themselves to be mighty, but has notably spared the friendly sorts. (Oh, and for the record, Spurrier can take being agitated. In fact it often seems to make him respect others more. Plus, he was pretty affable in response to the whole recruiting test discourse.)

I think Kiff probably understands that the team might not fare well at first, but he is showing that he’s not willing to be pushed around now.  It’s the proverbial “knock me down, and I’ll get back up and say it again, so you can knock me down, so I can get up and say it again, till I get strong enough that you can no longer knock me down” approach (man what a run-on).

I also think that Kiffin is simply not the kind of guy who shirks from a challenge, and the staff he has assembled bears that out. (Compare Mr. Edward Orgeron and … the World)  Call me crazy, but he almost has me believing that he can pull it off as well.

To be able to win, you have to first believe that you can win.  To take on the invincible, you have to believe you are invincible. (See This is Sparta)

Video:  300 – “This is Sparta

Of course, I also believe that Elvis Presley is living in Vonore, Tennessee under the assumed name “Leyland T. Vegas” and that Plate Tectonics is all part of some nefarious Communist conspiracy

Viva, Baby... Viva!

Viva, Baby... Viva!

At its basic level, however, Kiffin is accomplishing something — getting the fans and team ready for a fight and getting the media interested enough to show up and document it all.

•  HT to / via:  Five theories about Lane Kiffin’s jab at Urban Meyer | Rocky Top Talk

I suppose it all comes down to Jules Winnfield / Samuel L. Jackson’s statement: “Oh, well allow me to retort…

At any rate, the conversation has been interesting over there, and is worth a look (and perhaps a comment).

Image Courtesy ofElvis Impersonators Blog

The Cost of Sports — Part 2: Jerry Maguire and Professional Sports

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

As I discussed in Part 1 of this series on the cost of sports, at Tennessee, the price can be high when it comes to paying your way into Neyland Stadium — a truth of which Nashville’s Thomas Luck is all too aware.  I discussed the issue purely in terms of the experience at Tennessee mainly because it is what I am familiar with.  Tennessee was but a lens — the reality is largely the same at all schools with a major athletics presence.

The world of professional sports, however, makes the college ranks look like small potatoes in the way it is wed to the almighty dollar.  Given the current uncertain economic times, however, I question whether professional sports in particular can continue in the way it has for so long.

I suppose that sports fans should not be surprised at the notion that professional teams would necessarily focus on money, after all that is what professional athletics are all about: getting paid to play.  I suppose Rod Tidwell (from the movie “Jerry Maguire) summed it up best with the oft quoted line “Show me the money!“  What I think is a bit surprising is how willingly and uncomplainingly professional sports fans have accepted the “money first” approach of all the teams in all the major leagues.  The increases in costs passed along to professional sports fans over the last generation is really quite staggering.

Video: Show me the Money!!

But don’t take my word for it…

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