Pat Forde

  • Why Jim Harbaugh's not-so-civil incursion on SEC soil is wrong

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 22 hrs ago

    Jim Harbaugh’s ongoing attempt to be the William Tecumseh Sherman of college football, slashing and burning his way through the South, is really starting to get good. This could be Ken Burns’ next miniseries.

    After holding satellite camps below the Mason-Dixon Line last summer, Harbaugh has finalized invasion plans for the next strategic objective: Bradenton, Fla., home of IMG Academy and many fine young football players Harbaugh undoubtedly would like to see one day wearing Michigan maize and blue. That’s where the Wolverines will hold a week of their spring football practices during the school’s spring break, an audacious burst of Northern aggression that created a ripple of unease in the Southeastern Conference office.

    In the role of Confederate general Joseph Johnston, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is attempting to halt Harbaugh’s flanking maneuvers. Sankey voiced his concern to Dennis Dodd of earlier this week: “Let’s draw a line and say, ‘That’s not appropriate.’ “ He said he will ask the NCAA Football Oversight Committee to prohibit spring practice during spring break.

    Back to you, Greg.

    Popular college football video on Yahoo Sports:

  • Forde Minutes: Will these five 'contenders' deliver in March?

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (tickets to the SMU-Louisville Asterisk Invitational sold separately):


    The major conference tournaments tip off in a month, so it’s time for armchair bracketologists to start eyeballing potential March breakthrough teams and busts. As it stands right now, a lot of teams that figure to be highly seeded will be trying to overcome sketchy March track records. The Minutes applies the Trust Meter to five of them:

    Villanova (1). On Monday the Wildcats moved up to No. 1 in the AP and USA Today polls for the first time in school history. They’re also No. 1 in the RPI, Ken Pomeroy’s ratings and with Jeff Sagarin, too. That’s quite a consensus around another excellent ensemble cast orchestrated by Jay Wright.

    Current Yahoo Big Board seeding: No. 1.

    Coach’s Final Four experience: One, in 2009.

    Trust Meter reading, on a scale of 1 to Politician: Baghdad Bob.

    Coach’s Final Four experience: none.

    Trust Meter reading, on a scale of 1 to Politician: Oil change technician who always says you need a new air filter.

    Yahoo Big Board seeding: No. 1.

    Coach’s Final Four experience: none.

    Yahoo Big Board seeding: No. 2.

  • Rick Pitino rails against Louisville's self-imposed postseason ban

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – “The system is broken,” Rick Pitino said, and he was off.

    A day after being told by his University of Louisville bosses that his very good basketball team will have no postseason, Pitino was by no means shying away from that painful topic. The Friday press conference to announce the school’s shocking, self-imposed ban featured a whole lot of no-comment from hired investigative adviser Chuck Smrt, and a whole lot of comment from Pitino.

    And he still wasn’t done. There was more to say Saturday.

    For a guy who isn’t supposed to talk about the NCAA investigation swirling around his team, which moved to 19-4 Saturday by burying Boston College 79-47, he talked extensively. He might be uncontrollable for the school administration right now when it comes to keeping his mouth shut, but that doesn’t mean he’s nonsensical. There was a lot from his postgame press conference to consider.

    Pitino offered an alternative to the NCAA’s tortured crime-and-punishment system, which almost always penalizes players who had nothing to do with the violations. His suggestion: fine the bejesus out of the school and take 50 percent of the head coach’s salary.

  • Fallout of Louisville stripper scandal claims two innocent victims

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the messy world of NCAA justice, here is where the scales tilt out of balance: in a Louisville locker room at their practice facility on a Friday afternoon, when two players are told their dream is dead.

    In an abruptly scheduled team meeting at 12:30 p.m., Rick Pitino had the dreadful duty of telling his Cardinals that there will be no NCAA tournament for them in 2016. No Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. The university had pulled the plug on the postseason, a self-imposed sanction for violations Louisville now acknowledges were committed related to an infamous stripper scandal that came to light last October.

    Until Friday. Until that team meeting. Until their coach yanked the rug out, after he had it yanked from beneath him by Louisville president James Ramsey.

    In the routine rush to bash the NCAA, a lot of people lose sight of that truth.


  • Louisville to self-impose postseason ban for alleged violations related to prostitution scandal

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In a stunning development, the University of Louisville will announce Friday that it is self-imposing a postseason ban for the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament as a result of alleged rules violations committed by a former staffer and players.

    The university reached that conclusion this week amid an ongoing NCAA investigation. That investigation began in October after Louisville madam Katina Powell wrote a tell-all book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” alleging that former U of L staffer Andre McGee paid for strippers to dance for and have sex with Louisville recruits and players over a period of four years. Some of the alleged transactions and interactions took place in the players’ dormitory.

    The announcement of self-imposed sanctions came with little warning or indication that the university was considering taking action this year. A formal Notice of Allegations from the NCAA was not expected before the end of the 2015-16 season. If Louisville had wanted to get through this season and take its chances with the NCAA in 2016-17, it could have.

    Instead, the school opted to act quickly and forcefully.


  • Georgia's Kirby Smart holds his own against Alabama with first recruiting class

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    ATHENS, Ga. – The invasion was pretty much over by noon.

    It was almost back to business as usual by then at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, the sparkling building that houses the offices for both Georgia’s football staff and its athletic administration. Hundreds of fans had taken the day off work and descended here, anxiously anticipating signing announcements for the Bulldogs’ 2016 class. They may not have had Ric Flair and Tom Brady at Georgia, but that was OK – the only star power these people cared about was the rankings of Kirby Smart’s first recruiting haul.

    And by that measurement, this was a very good day in the remodeling of Georgia football.

    By nightfall, ranked Smart’s 20-man class 10th, and fifth in the absurdly competitive Southeastern Conference. When looking at quality over quantity, Georgia fared better – only three schools had a higher per-player average than the Dogs’ 3.75.

    But one of those, of course, was Alabama – Smart’s former employer. For the seventh time in the past nine seasons, the Crimson Tide has the No. 1-ranked class according to Rivals.

    Eason acknowledged that there will be high expectations.

  • Georgia commit Mecole Hardman dupes home crowd with signing day circus

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    ELBERTON, Ga. – The man directing me into the parking lot at Elbert County High School at 7:56 a.m. ET was polite but firm: “You have four minutes.”

    They were closing the doors to the gym at 8:00 sharp for maybe the biggest spectacle to ever hit this town of about 4,500 near the Georgia-South Carolina border: three members of the Blue Devils football team were signing National Letters of Intent, highlighted by Rivals five-star prospect Mecole 'Meco' Hardman at 8:30. The school choice of the player rates the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect and No. 2 athlete would be broadcast live on Atlanta television and across the Internet to (overly) interested college football fans everywhere.

    By the 8 o’clock shut-the-doors deadline, the quaint old gym was pretty well packed with a mixture of students and adults from the community. Administrators in suits and bowties ran the show. State troopers and Elbert County sheriffs stood in the back of the gym. About 15 of Hardman’s relatives wore “Team Meco” shirts. So did the pastor of Love & Action Christian Center, where the Hardmans go to church.

  • Forde Minutes: Why the NCAA tournament could look wide open

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (“Make UNLV Great Again” hats sold separately):


    It’s 40 days until Selection Sunday, and the outlook is messier than the Republican nomination battle.

    It’s impossible to unconditionally love any team, not with so many flaws in so many places. It’s highly unwise to plant a prognostication flag and declare with any confidence that the national champion has revealed itself. It’s nuts out there.

    If there was any team to back heading into Monday night, it was North Carolina (1). The talented Tar Heels were 19-2, on a 12-game winning streak, undefeated and up two games on anyone in the Atlantic Coast Conference, hitting their stride after early season injuries. Then they visited Louisville (2), which was last seen being routed at home by Virginia, 63-47, just two days earlier.

    Naturally, the Cardinals beat the Heels, 71-65.

    This is how it goes in 2015-16. Just when you like someone, they grow a wart on their forehead. Basketball beauty is fleeting.






  • Kansas proves more adaptable in blue-blood battle with Kentucky

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    LAWRENCE, Kan. – Bill Self didn’t like playing this game. Not now, in the belly of conference play. So there was no way he was going to declare that his Kansas team beating Kentucky in overtime Saturday night was something grand and glorious.

    “It’s a good game,” he said after the 90-84 thriller was over. “But the timing doesn’t give it the same juice.”

    Self can hold firm to that line, but the deafening atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse told a different story. To the fans, there was an entire orange grove of juice attached to this game.

    These are the two winningest programs in the history of the sport (the Wildcats are on top, with 2,194 victories to the Jayhawks’ 2,170). In a direct correlation, these also might be the two proudest, staunchest and most arrogant fan bases in the game. And in this era, where neutral-court, non-conference games are commonplace and where power programs rarely visit each other’s respective cathedrals, this was the chance for one fan base to declare its particular religious fervor superior.

    “Wildest atmosphere I’ve ever been in,” said Kentucky senior Alex Poythress.

  • Sources: NCAA formally charges Mississippi with rules violations

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    The NCAA has formally charged the University of Mississippi with dozens of rules violations in three sports, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The school has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA enforcement staff alleging roughly 30 violations in football, women’s basketball and track and field, sources told Yahoo. It is unclear at present what the breakdown is in terms of violations by sport. The NCAA does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.

    Calls to officials at Mississippi were not immediately returned Friday. Southeastern Conference spokesman Herb Vincent declined comment to Yahoo Sports.

    This is the latest step in a long, laborious NCAA investigation, part of which predates football coach Hugh Freeze’s arrival at Ole Miss in 2012. Yahoo Sports first reported about the investigation in October 2014.

    Ole Miss’ current recruiting class is ranked No. 4 nationally by National Signing Day is Wednesday.