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June 12, 2013

Distracted Mind, Open Tabs: 6/12

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 6:20 am

Got a bunch of them and more seem to be piling up every day.

If you can’t find good beer these days, you aren’t trying.

North Carolina keeps telling everyone it wasn’t an athletic scandal, but an academic scandal that just happened to involve some athletics. Yet, they can’t seem to put it behind them. Perhaps because every drip, drip, drip of information they finally, tortuously release when forced to suggests something else.

Julius Nyang’oro, the former UNC African studies chairman at the heart of an academic fraud scandal, had a cozy relationship with the program that tutored athletes, according to newly released emails.

Members of the academic support staff offered Nyang’oro football tickets and the chance to watch a game from the sidelines. One counselor offered to discuss athletes’ coursework over drinks, and another negotiated with Nyang’oro to schedule a no-show class.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp and other officials have said the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes did not collaborate with Nyang’oro or his department manager, Debbie Crowder, to create the classes to help keep athletes eligible to play sports.

The university, in its own investigation and in a probe helmed by former Gov. Jim Martin, had concluded the fraud was not intended to benefit athletes because nonathletes were also enrolled and received the same high grades. They have pinned the blame solely on Nyang’oro and Crowder.

The emails were released to The News & Observer this month as part of a public records request filed nearly a year earlier. None of the details within the correspondence had shown up in the numerous investigations conducted since the university confirmed the existence of the fraudulent courses in May 2012.

Is it a pure smoking gun? Not really, but once again it shows that this is not simply an “academic scandal.” It’s yet another piece that gets added to the pile of evidence. And once again it raises some more questions about the investigations if these e-mails never made it into any of the reports.

It’s one of those things. UNC has a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude about their academic component and their athletics. This has been a major blow, yet they keep claiming it was a limited academic scandal. Everyone else looks at it and sees that it is obviously an athletic scandal with academics.

I have trouble believing that UNC is actually trying to cover it up, per se. It seems more like a collective sense of denial. That this really didn’t happen. That it was all just a couple of rouge people that made this mess. So they keep ignoring/rationalizing away the big chunks of evidence that say something else.

/Penn State fans just shake their heads at such a willful inability to see the truth.

You know what happens when an athletic department is more awash in money than ever? You start spending it on things about which you really  don’t care. For example, Nebraska basketball. A program that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998. A program with six total appearances, and zero NCAA Tourney wins.

That Nebraska poached an assistant from Georgetown.

But the Hunter-to-Nebraska development is wild, mostly because it means Nebraska just poached an assistant from Georgetown. And while it would be easy to question how Georgetown could let that happen, I think a better use of this space would be to highlight exactly what’s going on in Lincoln.

Simply put, this is not your grandfather’s Nebraska.

Or your father’s Nebraska.

Or even your older brother’s Nebraska.

The Big Ten school opened a new $20 million basketball practice facility in October 2011, will open a new $179 million basketball arena this season, and is paying second-year coach Tim Miles a salary that’ll eventually exceed $2 million annually, which brings me to Hunter and his salary. A source told CBSSports.com that it’ll be $230,000 a year, and that all three Huskers assistants now make at least $200,000 a year. So while Nebraska is still quite obviously a “football” school, the administration has made it clear it thinks there’s no reason basketball can’t operate at a high level, too.

The splintered Big East is going to find out that the arms race in basketball is going to get even more cutthroat. There’s a lot of money coming into the five major conferences, and there’s only so much more they can plow into football.

Programs are willing to put money into places where they have never done so before. Rail on Jamie Dixon’s latest extension, but if Tim Miles is getting a deal that will soon cross $2 million. At Nebraska. Then it is harder to say Dixon is overpaid. Now, just pay some closer attention to the assistant coaches salaries, Pitt.

Speaking of coaching and assistants…

It’s a long, but phenomenal piece on one assistant trying to climb the assistant coach ladder. This dude is not getting $230K to be an assistant. His story isn’t even atypical. There are so many assistants grinding and trying to get up the ladder. Making progress and then falling back.

Over the past two years, he has applied for dozens of coaching jobs at all sorts of levels — from Texas Tech University to Jacksonville State University to Odessa Community College.

He’s gotten close a handful of times. At the 2012 Final Four, in New Orleans, he was one of two finalists for an opening at Youngstown State University. More than 150 people had applied for that job, says Jerry Slocum, the head coach. Mr. Slocum eventually settled on someone with more experience recruiting in the Rust Belt.

Last summer, with few prospects, Mr. McRoy put in a call to Michael Grant, a former colleague who had an opening on his staff at Stillman College.

The catch: Stillman could pay just $3,000 for the season, plus room and board. Mr. McRoy knew that wasn’t enough to live on, but he was willing to take anything to stay in the game.

YSU is at best a middling Horizon League program. They are a low mid-major. And over 150 people applied for one assistant coaching position.

This is also the ten year mark of one of the worst college basketball scandals. The murder of Patrick Dennehy, a Baylor basketball player. Dennehy was technically a walk-on but it turned out that the Baylor head coach, Dave Bliss was secretly paying his way. After Dennehy was murdered and the investigation began, Bliss was only worried about covering his ass — specifically how to explain how Dennehy could afford the tuition at Baylor. His master plan was to mislead investigators by suggesting that Dennehy got his money — and may have met his death — because he dealt drugs.

One young assistant and former Baylor player, Abar Rouse did not approve of the plan as Bliss laid it out to them. He objected. His job and career was threatened. So, he took to recording the discussions to protect himself and to expose what Bliss was doing. He gave them to an attorney to get them to the NCAA. The attorney also leaked them to the media and eventually revealed his name — without Rouse’s consent.

Rouse was blackballed. If you don’t know or don’t remember this story, watch the video. I remember it, because — and the video shows a clip — there were some sanctimonious college coaches almost blaming Rouse. That he was the real villain for “betraying” his boss. That he wasn’t trustworthy or someone who could be hired. It pissed me off back then, and it still gets me angry.

Reminder, the National Letter of Intent is still the worst contract to sign.

Here is what the NLI guarantees the school:

• The player cannot be recruited by any other school.

• The player must enroll at the school for at least a year, or he/she must give up 25 percent of college athletic eligibility.

• Once said player is enrolled at the school, he/she is bound by NCAA transfer rules, which allow the school’s coach to decide if the player can transfer and receive an athletic scholarship anywhere else. (Also, the athlete still must sit out a year after transferring regardless of whether the program released him or her to receive a scholarship.)

• All these penalties stay in effect even if the school fires the head coach or the head coach leaves (usually basketball) or the assistant coach who recruited the player takes a new job within a week of National Signing Day (usually football).

Here is what the NLI guarantees a player:

• Other schools aren’t allowed to recruit him.

That’s it.

Sure, the NLI contains some language about guaranteeing an athletic scholarship, but that depends on two factors. First, the student must be admitted to the school. This seems logical enough, but if a school is asking the player to sign away all his leverage, the least the school can do is guarantee a seat in the freshman class. Second, the school must have enough available scholarships under NCAA rules.

And of course the scholarship is only valid for a year, with the school-only option to renew.

Beers Above Replacement? Beers Above Replacement.





A slight adjustment suggested on what the athlete MAY BE (but probably will not be)guaranteed–

Apparently it has recently come to light that the NCAA allows schools to offer 4-year guaranteed ships that are binding on the school instead of the one-year renewable ones. However, these are very rarely offered and coaches prefer no one know they even exist since they don’t want to offer them to anyone.

Comment by pitt1972 06.12.13 @ 6:49 am

Chas, had a couple of friends in from back home (Western PA) last weekend and they really enjoyed the Pale Ale at Willoughby Brewing.

So, YSU got 150 applicants for an assistant and Pitt is unable to find a defensive coordinator … there’s something rotten in Oakland!

Coleges now have the option to extend 4 year scholarship contracts, as opposed to the traditional 1 year with an option to be renewed solely by the school. If they don’t, they have no right to block a transfer unless they have definite evdience of tampering.

Comment by wbb 06.12.13 @ 7:14 am

The NCAA is taking advantage of these kids and they know it.

Here is a great article on the history of the NCAA and why it is what it is. It is lengthy but well worth the read.

link to theatlantic.com

Comment by Pitt Fan in Atlanta 06.12.13 @ 7:33 am

wbb,
Pitt had lots of applicants for DC. The issue is/was Chryst. He will only hire assistants that he personally knows or comes recommended from someone he worked for or his brother.
It has nothing to do with money either (to a degree). Chryst has the same budget for assistants that Graham had, $2million.
They waited until after LOI day to announce because they didn’t want to lose any commits.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 06.12.13 @ 8:33 am

Pitt.Dan83, I don’t understand why they waited to announce until after LOI day when the status quo was maintained.

Comment by steve1 06.12.13 @ 9:36 am

Talent wise, Pitt’s defense is loaded this year in comparison to the past couple of years.

However, the BIG QUESTION is what kind of DC is House going to be?

What is his game planning and half-time adjustments going to look like? Will players respect him and play hard for him realizing his limited experience as a coach and ZERO experience of a D-1 player?

Would have preferred Chryst to hire someone outside with more of both.

The hiring of John Palermo may help fill in the gap, but not the same as having an experienced tested guy in-charge making the calls.

Felt a lot better a year ago with Huxtable who was both experienced and proven and whose absence was obviously felt in the embarrassing loss in the Compass Bowl to SMU and an average-at-best quarterback.

Comment by PittofDreams 06.12.13 @ 9:38 am

North Carolina should be banned strictly on their new uniforms for this year alone!!!!!!

Guess I’m gettin’ old. Late 40’s. Allthough I was a traditionalist even in my teens.

Powder blue and white screamed North Carolina!!

Comment by Dan 06.12.13 @ 9:45 am

Pittofdreams, I agree … with 9 starters returning, the defense better be pretty decent this year.

Comment by wbb 06.12.13 @ 9:46 am

correction – 8 starters (E William is gone)

Comment by wbb 06.12.13 @ 9:47 am

With 8/9 starters returning on D, which was ranked 15th in total defense last season, I think House is set up so succeed.

He’s not rebuilding a D and is familiar with the scheme and players. It’s a perfect situation for a shiny, new coordinator to have proven returning talent so I think the jury will be out on him until a couple of years from now when he’s had to develop and replace starters.

BUT….that will require solid recruiting as well. LOI day will hold the key.

Comment by pghFred 06.12.13 @ 10:15 am

“It seems more like a collective sense of denial. That this really didn’t happen. That it was all just a couple of rouge people that made this mess.”

I think they were more noir than rouge, Chas. :)

Comment by Jeff 06.12.13 @ 10:22 am

You can have all the individual talent in the world and still not have a cohesive and successful defense (or offense).

All you have to do is look at DW’s 2005-2008 teams. Some of those seasons we definitely underachieved as a team.

While I don’t believe the talent level has been that great over the last three years I do believe that if we hadn’t had the coaching changes and player turmoil we’d have had better W-L records.

I think that still holds true somewhat going into the 2013 season. We haven’t seen the last of departures whether they be a player’s decision to leave or not. Our program is still trying to heal itself after a truly horrendous three years.

If we get to 7 or 8 wins this season I’ll consider that a great job of coaching by this staff.

Comment by Reed 06.15.13 @ 8:36 am

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