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September 29, 2017

In light of the burgeoning scandal in college basketball, the response from some corners is that if players were compensated — paying players, permitting them to cash in on their likeness (autographs, cut of jersey sales, etc.), and even allowing them to cut deals directly with shoe companies — it would end this sort of shenanigans. So would eliminating the NBA’s restriction on high school players that creates the one-and-done rule.

It’s an appealing notion. And it would reduce it a bit. Everyone would have to get comfortable with shoe companies dictating which schools would get the players. Nike deciding which blue bloods get certain players in their stable. That certainly would be what happens. Shoe company paying six-figures for a 5-star, elite player. They are going to tell him where he’s playing. They are going to recoup that money in apparel sales.

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September 28, 2017

As expected, Rick Pitino is out at Louisville. Technically, he is on administrative leave. That, though, is for contract/money reasons. He has to be put on leave for 10 days before he can be fired for Louisville to avoid paying a tremendous buyout. Again, this is more the cumulative effect. Not just for this scandal.

This will end up with lawsuits and an eventual settlement — unless the FBI is given/releases some direct evidence of Pitino’s knowledge before it gets to trial.

The somewhat surprising thing is that Louisville’s AD Tom Jurich is also out. Some reports have said he was told to place Pitino on leave/fire him, but he refused. Others deny it. Regardless, this is a big hit for Louisville as Jurich is widely credited with building the Cards into the athletic program it is today — and how they were able to get into the ACC.

Jurich’s firing also has the effect of triggering a reduction in the buyout their rather nomadic football coach would have to pay if he were to take another job. Bobby Petrino’s buyout to leave goes down from $8+ million to $4.25 million. Why, hello there, Nebraska. What’s new with you? Ole Miss, what’s happening?

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September 26, 2017

“Always be a pessimist, you will never be disappointed.”

Variations on a theme.

I don’t think of myself as a pessimist. More that I am a cynic.

Whether it is as a wounded idealist, someone who wears it as an armor rather then choosing to believe or strive for something, or a realist with a sense of humor.  Perhaps all of them and more.

Which means a day like this creates something interesting.

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May 3, 2017

Taleni Gone And Draft Thoughts

Filed under: Draft,Football,NFL,Scandal — Chas @ 7:37 am

Sorry, about the absence. Some family stuff came up last week that had me in-and-out-of-town through the past week plus. Nothing major, but time was at a premium.

Glad to be done with April. Fridays in April have been a month of bad news dropping. Most of it was related to basketball, but football decided to get in on the action with the dismissal of Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.

To say this was surprising is being polite. Taleni was going to be a senior and expected to start at Defensive Tackle. He was receiving high praise from the coaches all spring for his leadership off-the-field and and his performance in practices.

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September 7, 2016

Penn State Can Never Move On

Filed under: Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 7:06 am

Last week, as the new college football season was getting close to truly starting, the usual stories of renewal and looking forward to the coming season were coming being published. This AP story on Penn State trying to go forward, for instance.

“I think that is the ultimate challenge here,” Penn State coach James Franklin told The Associated Press. “How do you balance the history, the traditions, all the wonderful things that are deep rooted here and have been here forever, (while) also making moves that you need to be progressive and to be moving towards a healthy present and a healthy future.”

Oh, how Franklin wants to move on. So many do at Penn State.

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May 22, 2016

I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up on a rainy Sunday afternoon (at least rainy here in MD) and saw a great Sports Illustrated article written in Oct 1962 by a previous Pitt Chancellor, Dr. Edward Litchfield, about the national debate if Grant-In Aids (athletic scholarships) were a good thing to have on college campuses.

This intro below is a personal bit about why this article strikes my fancy.  The article itself is the other audio bar.

Here is the body of the article – excuse the small mistakes if you will, I’m not a professional at this.  I especially like the contrasts between Litchfield’s descriptions of Pitt athletics then and today’s state of college football.  There are some great points made here – especially some timeless ones that hold true today.

Hope you enjoy it!

“Camel Driver” – try putting that on a kid today!  I also love that we stole almost a whole opposing team –

Far back in 1903, for example, out-university felt mortified to have been defeated two straight years by the football team of little Geneva College. Football in those days seldom made much money at the box office but many colleges recruited passionately, simply because they found defeat unbearable. In the wake of our losses to Geneva, corrective action was deemed imperative and there seemed only one surefire way of seeing to it that we beat Geneva the next year. We took it.

We lured to our campus most of the Geneva players and the following season, 1904, defeated Geneva 30-0. During the balance of the decade Pitt football teams lost only 13 of 71 games. Now what sort of boys were they, do you suppose, that could be proselyted so frivolously? Because many of them have passed on, we were able to trace only 17. Of that number, four were physicians, five dentists, two attorneys and one a Ph.D.

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May 6, 2016

Sorry to have to do this on a Friday morning when you are looking forward to the weekend but it never ends with these guys, does it?

Like the non-believers in the OJ Simpson case and Holocaust deniers,  the only people who believe in Paterno’s innocence is a constricting circle whose members may be less in number every year but become more crazy at every issuance of more damning evidence. Sadly today that might not be the most troubling news out of Happy Valley.

The Penn Live newspaper’s website has a ‘bombshell’ (!!) story on the fact that newly released court papers show that Joe Paterno was told, by a young boy in a face to face conversation, that the boy had been abused by Jerry Sandusky…  back in 1976.  This came to light of day because of an ongoing court battle between the insurance company that covered PSU’s liability issues (We ain’t paying you jack shit!”) and PSU.

“The civil case is, initially filed in November 2013, is still grinding toward trial in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas.

And in preliminary work on that case, Judge Gary Glazer this week filed a ruling that attempted to clear the decks of some of the issues that could be resolved based on the pleadings to date.

What was unexpected Thursday, was Glazer’s reference to four cases between 1976 and 1988 in which PMA Insurance attorneys have presented allegations that “PSU agents allegedly learned of Sandusky’s abusive acts.”

One of the PMA allegations was that “in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Football Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.”

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August 3, 2015

Or, well, at least about what I expected.

The suspensions were handed out for Wide Receiver Tyler Boyd and Defensive End Rori Blair. Both were dealing with DUI charges from the spring and summer.

In a press release sent out after 5 pm today (can’t really wait until Friday with training camp about to start), Pitt announced the consequences beyond whatever internal discipline they faced.

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July 18, 2015

Yesterday we had a discussion on The Blather regarding WR Tyler Boyd being dropped off the Biletnikoff Award watch list because of his arrest and it’s circumstances.  The fact that he hasn’t been convicted or anything yet was raised as a counter to that decision. However, the Award committee has separate criteria/standards/rules that they are applying here, just like a university or any other formal institution.  As such they don’t have to wait or even care about a conviction.

Being legally convicted of some transgression are a civil and/or criminal judiciary matter, not a non-legal institutional one.  The difference is that universities and their football programs apply discipline and sanctions as they see fit.  Hence we have suspensions and even dismissals which are based on internal and NCAA rules and not the local criminal laws.

There is a solid basis in the award committee making this decision, as the criteria is pretty straight forward:

5. The candidate must display leadership and self discipline; and he must have a significant, positive impact on his team’s success.

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June 15, 2015

Tyler Boyd Screws Up

Filed under: Football,Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 6:20 am

Internet free weekend, and I come back to this.

Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd is suspected of driving under the influence after being pulled over early Friday morning, but no charges have been filed.

Boyd, 20, was stopped for a traffic violation around 2:35 a.m. Friday on Route 885 in Jefferson Hills, according to Jefferson Hills police Sgt. Kevin King.

“There is suspicion of alcohol, but there are no results of any test at this point,” King said today. “At this point no charges have been filed and no results of any toxicology tests at this time.”

Legally, this could turn out to be very minor. Perception wise… welp, a bit more problematic.

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May 2, 2015

Now that we are starting the “long desert march”, that dry spell we go through every summer until we get to the Fall Camp in the beginning of August, there are a few things on my desk I want to share with you all.

First addressing the question of QB Nathan Peterman’s role in transferring from Tennessee to PITT and why he’s doing it.  Everyone assumes it is just to provide a back up to Chad Voytik because somehow Voytik has a ‘lock’ on the starter’s job.

That isn’t true. There is no doubt that Narduzzi and OC Jim Chaney are bringing Peterman in to compete for the starting job right off the bat.  Chris Peak has written a very good piece with strong quotes about this subject in his April 23rd article.  That article is behind Rivals’ pay wall but here is a taste of what Narduzzi said…

“He’s going to come in here to compete,” Narduzzi said Wednesday. “Chad knows that. Chad’s embraced that, and Chad’s got to look at it as, ‘Hey, this guy is going to make me better.’ I think it’s always good when you can look in that rearview mirror and see that someone’s there on you. I don’t know that Chad had that throughout the spring, to be honest with you.

“So he’ll have that in fall camp, and they’ll learn together, and it will make us a better football team.”

Reading between the lines I think Narduzzi may well have meant that Voytik didn’t have that competition last season either and he wants to make that happen. I get the feeling,  just a feeling only, that Narduzzi isn’t 100% sold on Voytik’s skills at QB.

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November 15, 2014

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Durand Johnson’s season long suspension.

“Durand will remain in our program and practice,” [Head Coach Jamie] Dixon said. “However, he will not compete in any games this season. While it is disappointing, we will encourage Durand to make the most of this year personally, academically and athletically.”

There was no nebulous “team rules” citation. This appeared very suddenly, as a week ago Johnson was playing big minutes in the final exhibition game. My instinct in a suspension like this, is that it is academically related. That appears to be the likely reason.

It sucks for Durand Johnson. Everyone raves about him as a person and a teammate. He accepted his role as an energy guy coming off the bench. He worked on his defense. There was a strong expectation that he could make a leap coming back from his ACL injury and with more playing time coming his way.

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August 2, 2014

That’s the nice way of putting it. It started leaking a couple hours earlier than the typical “bad news on a Friday” release (those are resereved for roughly around 5pm). Titus Howard got the season long suspension.

Pitt lost another key member of its defense Friday when coach Paul Chryst suspended sophomore cornerback Titus Howard for the season. Howard was listed No. 1 on a depth chart Chryst issued last month.

Chryst did not comment on the reason for Howard’s suspension.

Howard, who played on Clairton’s four PIAA and WPIAL Class A championship teams, was an important reserve last season. He played in 11 games and started against Old Dominion on Oct. 19 and Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26. Overall, he recorded 21 tackles and two pass breakups.

Don’t even care to speculate. He’s a kid who screwed up. He’s not off the team for good. Howard will be fully reinstated to the team for next year, assuming he does what he should. He will train and practice with the team. He just will not be allowed to play.

There is no pretending that this isn’t a rough loss for the team this year. Especially when facing teams that like to run spread formations.  Howard had pulled ahead of Coles in spring practices. The cornerback position has some talent, but is paper thin and very inexperienced. Pitt may be forced to play true freshmen once again this season — Avonte Maddox and Phillipie Motley. The other possibility is seeing who can be pulled from the rather deep wide receiving corps.

April 30, 2014

Even though Derrick Randall didn’t contribute an overwhelming amount during the conference portion of the season, I did expect that Randall would be a nice cog for 2014-15. If, for no other reason, the lack of experienced depth in the frontcourt. Especially as far as true centers go. The Rutgers transfer had noticeably slimmed down and gotten into very good shape by the end of the year.

That was before he got arrested.

Derrick Randall, one of the former Rutgers basketball players suing the school and former coach Mike Rice, was arrested and charged after a motor vehicle stop early Tuesday morning at Rutgers with driving while intoxicated, use of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Rutgers University Police said.

According to university police, the incident happened at 2:45 a.m. on Avenue E on the Livingston campus — not far from the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Randall recently completed his junior season at the University of Pittsburgh, where he transferred following Rice’s firing after videos surfaced showing the coach mistreating players.

Randall didn’t waste any time after the semester at Pitt ended to go home and visit some old haunts. That didn’t work out so well. There is no information on what the “controlled dangerous substance” was. I assume marijuana, but then I always assume marijuana.

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December 31, 2013

Let the Countdown Begin

Filed under: Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 6:00 pm

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time for the Pitt tradition unlike any other in college athletics. The annual New Years Eve monitoring of media outlets out of fear of learning that a coach has been arrested.

It’s a rich tradition that dates back to 2010.

I know I have been vigilant ever since that fateful evening.

Happy New Years, everyone.

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