- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Even the longest journeys begin with a single step.
For Bobby Petrino, many of the most significant steps he has made in the process of rebuilding his marriage, family life and reputation have come on the golf course, pushing his daughter's cart ahead of him.
For the third straight summer, Petrino has caddied for his daughter, Katie – a part-time gig he is quite proud of. In the past couple of months, the Louisville football coach was on the bag at a tournament in Pennsylvania; the Kentucky Women's Open in Lexington, Ky., and the U.S. Amateur qualifier in Dayton, Ohio.
"I'm not a real good caddy," a smiling Petrino said here Monday at Atlantic Coast Conference media days. "I push the bag and try to listen and only speak if I'm asked a question. There are three things a caddy is supposed to do: show up, keep up, shut up."
Last summer, he caddied even more events. And in the tumultuous year before that, when he was out of coaching for the first time since 1982, Bobby and his wife, Becky, spent a therapeutic summer traveling to every tourney Katie played in.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Anyone who expected a more introverted, introspective, interview-averse Jameis Winston this football season had that notion dismissed within seconds Sunday at Atlantic Coast Conference media days.
Immediately upon entering a claustrophobic circle of reporters clustered around his table – at least 50, probably more – Winston started talking. He hadn't even taken a seat before his mouth began moving.
"Before I say anything, how does it feel to have an ACC team come in here with a national championship?" the Florida State quarterback asked the media. "Can we get a round of applause? We finally took it away from the SEC, y'all."
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
HOOVER, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference lost a staggering amount of star power, ranging from the No. 1 pick in the draft (Jadeveon Clowney) to a Heisman Trophy winner (Johnny Manziel) to a quarterback with multiple championship rings (AJ McCarron, who takes show-stopping wife Katherine Webb with him).
So the hunt has been on here at SEC Media Days to identify the new leading men of the league. But there is a good chance the Next Big Thing isn't here, and hasn't yet even suited up for a college game.
His name is Leonard Fournette, and listening to the LSU contingent here talk about the freshman running back is to hear a legend grow in real time.
"Leonard Fournette? Man," said senior teammate Terrence Magee, who is actually competing with Fournette for carries. "I know you've already heard about him. Who hasn't? I think he's going to have a great year. I'm excited to watch him play."
Magee estimated that it took him "about seven seconds" to figure out Fournette was the real deal. He saw the New Orleans product break one long run on film and was sold.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
HOOVER, Ala. – Texas A&M has successfully zigged when everyone thought it should zag so many times now, it's hard to keep track.
A lot of people believed the move to the Southeastern Conference would be a competitive mistake in football, resulting in a bruising succession of losing seasons. The record after two years: 20-6 overall, 10-6 in SEC play.
Some believed Mike Sherman deserved a fifth year when the school fired him in 2011. Nobody's saying that anymore after the upgrade under Kevin Sumlin, who is now making $5 million a year after being wooed for several other jobs.
Nobody outside of College Station expected much when the Aggies named redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel their starting quarterback in 2012. After winning the Heisman Trophy and becoming a first-round draft pick, Manziel goes down as arguably the greatest player in A&M history and inarguably the most-discussed player in A&M history.
It's been a good run. And the counterintuitive moves keep coming.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports16 days ago
Jay Smith has had enough of the vilification of Rashad McCants.
Smith, a North Carolina history professor who is co-authoring a book titled "Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports," emailed me Saturday. He was angry about comments he read in my Thursday column from Dean Smith-era Tar Heels who were critical of McCants in the wake of his allegations of academic fraud during his 2002-05 tenure as a basketball player at the school.
McCants produced a transcript for ESPN's "Outside the Lines" showing he had a 4.0 grade-point average during the semester when the Heels were winning the 2005 national title, allegedly despite doing no work. Players from the 1960s and '70s – Richard Vinroot, Bill Chamberlain and David Chadwick – all questioned the credibility of McCants to me.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports17 days ago
Dean Smith is alive but absent, his remarkable mind ravaged by the effects of dementia. While that has caused deep mourning among those who know and love the legendary former North Carolina basketball coach, there is one small sliver of relief regarding his current condition.
He is unaware of the ongoing integrity crisis that has engulfed the program he built into a national model.
"I'm tired of it," said former Smith-era player Richard Vinroot. "I want it fixed. I want it to end."
The NCAA recently announced it has re-opened its investigation of an academic scandal at Carolina. That figures to follow the tracks of the school's ongoing (and latest) investigation of itself. Those investigations follow the drip-drip-drip of allegations of classroom shortcuts – and other embarrassing headlines – at a school that once proudly considered itself the ultimate intersection of competitive excellence and off-court class.
"It pains me greatly," Vinroot said. "I have such high regard for Coach Smith. I revere him."
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports27 days ago
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Atlantic Coast Conference staffers have been here for several days now, preparing for the college sports version of a New Year's Day celebration.
July 1 is when the calendar turns over in college athletics, and Louisville officially becomes the 15th member of the ACC Tuesday. There will be a downtown celebration – with a public viewing party for the U.S. World Cup soccer match against Belgium serving as the warmup act – and a lot of pleasantries exchanged between ACC Commissioner John Swofford and the Louisville administrative leadership.
The ceremony marks a new beginning for the league and its latest member, but it also serves as the culmination of a 10-year power play by a conference once considered both genteel and non-threatening to the national pecking order.
Neither of those things is true today. Swofford has Big East blood on his hands and a burgeoning powerhouse league at his disposal.
- Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports1 mth ago
As the O'Bannon v. NCAA trial continues to seemingly tilt in favor of the plaintiffs, I got a text Tuesday night from a longtime college athletics insider.
It read: "The notion that not ONE student-athlete is going to go on the stand for the NCAA really says it all. Because there are plenty of them that would, they [NCAA higher-ups] just have little to no relationship with them."
That resonated. In a trial that boils down to what can legally be defined as fair treatment of athletes, the NCAA is producing zero athletes to help argue its side. The NCAA has called 12 witnesses to the stand so far, with a total of 20 listed. None is a Division I football or basketball player.
Turns out there is a good reason for that, according to the NCAA: the association was legally restricted from having current student-athletes testify. As a potential alternative, the NCAA says it proposed having members of its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee brought in to testify, but plaintiffs' lawyers filed to have them excluded.
Camp Bowman: Michael Phelps and world's elite swimmers sign up for unique blend of grueling training and pain with eyes on RioPat Forde at Yahoo Sports1 mth ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Yannick Agnel is annoyed, and Michael Phelps finds it highly amusing.
The towering Frenchman has just finished a grueling set of 100-meter freestyle sprints with coach Bob Bowman's lavishly talented group of swimmers at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Agnel, the 6-foot-8 specimen who won three Olympic medals in London two years ago, is complaining that training partner Conor Dwyer (himself an Olympic medalist) was drafting off him during the set of 100s. He believes Dwyer was hugging the lane line that separated them, riding Agnel's wake instead of doing his own work.
"Let it go," Bowman counsels. "It's all right."
Two lanes over, Phelps is chuckling at the guy he calls "Frenchy."
"We did it to you in '08," the greatest swimmer ever yells to Agnel. "You did it to us in '12."