Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ohio State's Jim Tressel Gone: Who's Next to Fall for Buckeyes?

It’s seems there is plenty of blame to go around Columbus, Ohio these days. After Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel resigned on Monday, you wonder if there are other dominoes ready to fall.

Reports are now out about an independent investigation regarding Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. It seems Pryor has allegedly had several relationships with car dealers in the past and has allegedly driven various cars. Pryor, a senior this fall, is in definite hot water and you wonder if he will compete at all this fall. He is already suspended for the first five games due to the famous tattoo incident that raised its ugly head late 2010.

Some are calling for the heads of Ohio State President Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith. Both men seemed in full support of Tressel until his announcement yesterday. Many thought the two Ohio State leaders should have fired Tressel long ago.

My gut feeling is Gee will keep his job. He is well respected in the academic community and is credited with taking The Ohio State University to greater heights. Gee created controversy during last football season however, when he accused the TCU football program of playing little sisters of the poor. He later apologized. Maybe the guy should stick solely to academics and fundraising.

Smith might not survive this mess. I suspect the media will continue to pound on Smith for his direction during this unprecedented time in Ohio State athletics. He is the boss and the boss is looking bad.

Of course, we haven’t heard the final report from the NCAA. If that thing is really ugly, the Buckeyes may want to clean house.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ohio State's Jim Tressel Does the Right Thing

The famous sweater vest is leaving Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel announced today (Memorial Day) that he is quitting his job.

Tressel, who modeled a sweater vest often on the sidelines, made a good call resigning. From tattoos to lying, Tressel’s tenure the last year has been one big controversy. I’m surprised he didn’t hang it up long before now.

Tressel has been dodging so many bullets you thought he was in a gangster movie. The problem was this was no fake movie, but real life. Tressel has made some serious mistakes and he has paid for them and will probably continue to pay for them. Lying about his lack of knowledge about player activities was his biggest sin. The CEO at one of the biggest college football factories in the country should have known covering up would get him thrown out of the game.

But people do make mistakes and sometimes serious ones. Tressel will move on and somebody will hire him again. He has been too successful in the college ranks to retire the sweater vest forever.

This does beg one question, however. The NCAA will penalize Ohio State for the football infractions. Did the Buckeyes part ways with Tressel to lessen the potential penalties? From my corner, it obviously smells like it.

MY PERSONAL THANK-YOU. On this Memorial Day, I give a large shout out to the men and women of our military. Their sacrifices help keep America free. Thank you for all you do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Think About It

Media and fans are questioning basketball coach Ed DeChellis’ decision to leave Penn State and accept the Navy job. They wonder why he would leave a Big Ten school for a lesser school and conference.

But if you really analyze the move, it isn’t that hard to figure out. DeChellis knew the marriage was on shaky ground so why not make a departure before Penn State decided it had enough.

You cannot tell me DeChellis didn’t update his resume and have it ready. He probably saved his job last year when he guided the Lions to the NCAA tournament. Penn State was one of the final teams to make the field too.

Without that NCAA run, DeChellis had little to stand on. His teams weren’t that competitive in the conference overall and usually finished annually near the bottom. But I think the guy was doing the best job he could.

Let’s face it: the basketball job at Penn State is extremely difficult. Does the words football, football and football, mean anything. How about Joe Paterno? Football has always been king and will continue to be king. The basketball program is like a distant stepchild. Fans aren’t exactly waiting in eager anticipation for anything basketball related including attending games.

Penn State will continue to express nice things about its basketball program, but until it pumps in some money and marketing interest, the next coach will become the usual basketball babysitter.

Monday, May 23, 2011

College Sports is Big Business

If you need any further confirmation college sports is big business, just consider Charlie Weiss.

The Chicago Tribune reported recently that Notre Dame gave the fired coach more than $6.6 million at departure time a couple years ago. Plus, the Irish will continue to pay him into the year 2015.

The term “Sorry Charlie” doesn’t fit in this case.

I guess universities believe they need to pay these kinds of severance packages to stay competitive. As I said before, paying a coach big-time money to actually coach a team is one thing, but to pay him big-time money not to coach is another. There is one word that comes to my mind: stupidity.

The scary thing is most universities don’t blink an eye in this situation. They apparently just do a little more fundraising and the debt is history.

Maybe those same universities should start raising money to lessen another debt—the national debit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Slow Time

We are presently in the slow time for college sports. I know softball, track and field and baseball are still going on, but with basketball and football not in season, the news is rather slow.

Some of you have noticed I have been blogging only about five times a week the last 14-21 days. I will slice that amount to 2-3 times per week or as news warrants. I’m not going away; it’s the difficulty of creating copy at this time of year. So, I encourage you to check back occasionally for my least frequent posts.

We’ll try to get back to ‘normal” toward the end of the summer as college football heats up. Thanks for reading and I always welcome your feedback.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Texas A&M Flirts with Ben Jacobson

University of Northern Iowa fans can now finally exhale.

Their coach, Ben Jacobson, was dating Texas A&M over the weekend, but the Aggies finally chose Murray State’s Bill Kennedy as the new coach.

It’s difficult to know what happened with the possible Jacobson marriage. Did Jacobson’s lack of Texas ties hurt him? Were the Aggies sweet on Kennedy all the way along? Did Jacobson withdraw because he knew that? Was Jacobson listening to the Aggies’ sale pitch out of common courtesy?

Jacobson has told people in Iowa that he wants to stay put. But ever since his team beat Kansas in the NCAA tournament two seasons ago, Jacobson is a hot choice for various jobs around the country.

So Jacobson will remain in the low profile job and away from the bright lights of Texas and the Big 12 Conference. But it will only become a matter of time before another big school will want to flirt with the successful coach. That’s just the way the system works.

University of Northern Iowa fans understand the process even as they incur an upset stomach each time their coach is mentioned for a new opportunity.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Typical Reaction

Some Texas lawmakers are upset that Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes is getting a $200,000 raise. They cite the poor Texas economy for the displeasure.

Well, the rift about a college coach getting a big raise in times where other people and other academic departments are hardly hanging on is nothing new.

Life is sometime unfair.

Barnes is receiving no public money, its private funds. Basically, then people can do want they want to with their own money. And even in uncertain economic conditions, rich people will have money. And these people will no doubt give some of it to their favorite college athletic teams.

Could this money be used in a better way: possibly? Still I can assure that they are more people giving funds to the Texas athletic department than the biology department. People do care more about athletics at Texas than science.

People like lawmakers and college facility should save their breath. It isn’t going to change anything. Maybe they should be thankful that at least department on campus is doing well. And maybe they should hope for a trickle down movement to spark other departments.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tough on Cheaters?

NCAA President Mark Emmert said that he wants his organization to become tougher on cheaters. I agree. The president can start his mission with a school not far from his office—Ohio State.

Did you see in the news last week that Ohio State is closely monitoring the purchase of 50 cars by athletes and relatives? The news out of Columbus lately seems always negative.

If I was the NCAA, I would have a huger surveillance camera put in the Ohio State athlete offices. They probably already have placed one there.

Ohio State knows it’s on thin ice. The NCAA has taken much criticism regarding its handling of the Buckeyes. Therefore, Ohio State is pleading for mercy and/or checking out car purchases.

It will be extremely interesting to learn what penalties the NCAA gives Ohio State. The college football world is watching. If the NCAA really wants to come down on cheaters, they certainly have an opportunity to make the Buckeyes poster boys.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mark Turgeon and Maryland

Maryland found its new coach to lead the program and it didn’t take long. Former Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon will be introduced today at a press conference.

Turgeon appears a solid hire. He led the Aggies to four straight NCAA tournament appearances and compiled a 97-40 record in Texas. In three coach stops, Turgeon is 249-158 overall.

He was rumored for several jobs this off season but he goes to a place that definitely breaths basketball and has membership in a historic conference—the ACC.

One could tell that Turgeon was not that happy at Texas A&M. He often talked about the lack of Aggie fan support. Turgeon probably thought basketball played second fiddle at the school. Football like most places in Texas is king.

But Turgeon won’t deal with the basketball lack of respect at Maryland. Its football program is struggling and with a national championship in hoops, Turgeon will have plenty of fan support.

Turgeon will face challenges. Any coach that battles Duke and North Carolina on a regular basis knows what challenging competition is. But I imagine that is one aspect that appealed to Turgeon in this job. He is a basketball guy and he will need to prove it now against some of the nation’s best.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gary Williams Has Strong Run

Maryland basketball Coach Gary Williams retired late last week to the surprise of some.

But the guy earned the right to quit on his own terms. Williams served as a head coach for 33 years including the last 22 at alma mater Maryland.

He left his mark with the Terps. He led them to a 460-248 over record including the 2002 National Championship. Williams’ teams were a consistent visitor to the NCAA tournament and would occasionally defeat Duke and North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Williams’ fire on the sidelines will be missed. The guy worked extremely hard on game day. He was consistently “chewing” out his players and frequently the guys in the stripe shirts. A Gary Williams team was never dull.

Williams could also be controversial. The latest incident was when former Maryland Athletic Director Deb Yow charged that he sabotage Yow’s present school’s (NC State)
basketball job search. It’s safe to assume that the two didn’t get along too well when they worked together at College Park.

Williams won’t go too far as he will now assist the athletic department. The new guy in the Maryland basketball chair will face challenges. He will replace a legend and the Williams will have a nearby seat to chart the progress of the national caliber-team he built.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Say It Ain't So, Gus

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Gus Johnson and CBS have parted ways.

If the news is correct, Johnson will no longer call NCAA basketball games for the “eye” network. According to the report, many young viewers enjoy Johnson.

I’m not young, but I appreciate his work. Gus is plenty excitable and it rubs off. He has his own signature words and I love the one “pure.” Johnson shouts that out when a player hits a clean jump shot.

Johnson has done college CBS games for 16 (I think) years. He will be missed. Jim Nance is serviceable, but Johnson is the better announcer. Johnson probably knew that Nance would not release his No. 1 announcer position soon.

But Johnson shouldn’t be totally gone. Hopefully, the Big Ten Network will continue its association with Gus. That way, I can still receive my fix of “pure” calls. I have to have some reason to watch the Big Ten Network.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sorry Commissioner

I don’t know why Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney thinks he needs to promote the newest member of the conference—Nebraska—but I guess he does.

Delaney called the Huskers yesterday the “Green Bay Packers of the Big Ten.” If you’re ready to laugh now, go ahead. If you are thinking about throwing stones, please don’t.

I guess Delaney thought the Packer reference was a good comparison. But sorry, Jim, Green Bay is in a class of itself.

If I was Michigan, Ohio State or some other so called Big Ten heavyweight, I would feel offended. Nebraska’s only Big Ten claim to fame is being the conference’s 12th member. No touchdown passes have been thrown, no games won and no titles seized.

Delaney is obviously thrilled that Nebraska joined the conference. But the Huskers can stand on their own feet. They have the tradition (in football), the conference championships and the national titles. The Huskers will do fine in the Big Ten. The operative word is “will.” not have.

As far as being like the Packers, I’m sorry, Jim. Smaller market, only game in town, I get that. But programs are measured in championships and the Huskers haven’t won one lately.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More Russell Wilson

Yesterday I wrote about the divorce between quarterback Russell Wilson and North Carolina State. The Pack has officially released Wilson from his scholarship.

But this isn’t the end of the story.

Wilson wants to play more football and other schools are obviously interested. He can perform at a school right away because he has graduated from NC State. He can attend graduation school and play for one more season.

Wilson’s release does prohibit him from playing for another ACC school or teams on the 2011 NC State schedule.

Media reports state that SEC schools are interested. Apparently, Auburn and South Carolina are looking for quarterbacks. Can you imagine Wilson is this top-notch conference?

Wilson is the real deal. The guy can simply make plays. With Wilson at the controls, a team always has a chance. Not only is he an outstanding football player, but Wilson will represent a university well off the field too.

It will look really strange next season when he probably wears No. 16 at another school and not lead the Pack anymore.

Change is constant in life, but this one shouldn’t happen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Messy Divorce

Divorce can become messy and the situation at North Carolina State definitely falls into that category.

The Pack announced last week that it was releasing quarterback Russell Wilson from his scholarship. Wilson’s reaction revealed major disappointment in the decision. He said he simply wanted to compete for the starting job again this upcoming season.

Wilson started for three years in Raleigh. He was selected to the ACC first team last season. I have written often about being a big Russell Wilson fan. The guy is electric. The player is never over with the ball in his hands. He can beat you with his feet; he can beat you with his arm. The guy can flat out play.

But North Carolina State coach Tom O’Brien didn’t appreciate Wilson dabbling with baseball when he should have been on football practice field. Wilson has played in the Colorado Rockies system the last two years which kept him from spring football practice.

It doesn’t appear that Wilson’s future is in baseball. He is probably a marginal prospect at best hitting around .230. So Wilson is probably best served putting more energy into football.

O’Brien simply got tired of working on Wilson’s schedule. He recruited a top-notch quarterback in Mike Glennon a while back and he wants to see what the redshirt junior brings.

O’Brien is taking a huge risk. He’s willing to count on an untested player over a solid veteran. Sure, he hopes to get two years instead of one (with Wilson) at the quarterback position, but don’t you take the sure thing?

O’Brien may be trying to prove that he is in charge of the program and not Wilson. If that’s the case, it’s too bad. There really is no need for this divorce.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebration Time: No More Bin Laden

I take a break today from the college sports scene to celebrate the wonderful news that bin Laden is dead.

This is a historic day in our country and the world. Let democracy and freedom ring.

This bad boy has been a real pain in freedom's side for a long time. Now he is finally history. Wow. Talk about good news. No. Talk about great news.