April 14, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• The sincerest form of flattery. After years of ridicule and scorn, Oregon's commitment to pushing the fashion envelope has won the war, according to local columnist George Schroeder, who points to recent uniform changes at Arizona State and Washington State as proof that other programs are conceding the success of the "the Oregon Way" in an effort to emulate the Ducks' emergence as a national power. "Last month, I visited Stillwater, Okla., where they're abuzz about what the Cowboys are about to do," Schroeder writes. "No one's saying, not officially. But one highly placed official says: 'We're going to be the Oregon of the Midwest.' We'll have to wait awhile to know for sure, but I suspect Oklahoma State's football team won't be wearing the same outfit twice (in a row) again." [Eugene Register Guard]
• Mr. President, we must close the statue gap! Auburn, no doubt noticing the headlines this spring over statue unveilings at Florida and Alabama, has announced plans to unveil bronze statues of its three Heisman Trophy winners outside Jordan-Hare Stadium later this year, as well as a bust of one-time Auburn coach John Heisman. Actually, sculptor Ken Bjorge secretly began work on the graven images of 1971 winner Pat Sullivan and '85 winner Bo Jackson last spring, and added Cam Newton to the queue when he hoisted the trophy in December. The finished products will be 150 percent of each player's actual size and weigh 1,900 pounds apiece. [al.com, War Eagle Reader]
• We have ways of making you talk, such as: Conceding to your demands. In less uplifting Auburn news, former Tiger linemen Chaz Ramsey — reversing his previous stance — has agreed to meet with NCAA investigators next week over his on-camera claims that he accepted cash from Auburn boosters. Ramsey told HBO's Real Sports and later the Birmingham News that he received $200 to $300 in "cash handshakes" after at least three games in 2007, but initially balked at talking to the NCAA because Auburn wanted its attorneys to be present at the meeting; there won't be anyone from the university in the room next week, but that doesn't mean he's going to name names. [al.com]
• That sound you hear is Larry Scott licking his chops. The Big 12 and Fox Sports announced a 13-year deal Wednesday that will reportedly pay the league about $90 million a year for rights to television, online, mobile and wireless content. And that's largely for secondary TV rights: Along with its existing deal with ABC/ESPN, the conference is now due roughly $130 million in annual TV rights through 2015-16, and the doubling of the number of games on Fox's cable channels (FSN and FX) means every football game played in a Big 12 stadium this fall will be available on a screen near you. [Associated Press]
• Behind the curtain. Writing for Deadspin, a former BYU sociology professor estimates that a staggering 80 percent of Cougar athletes punished for violating the university's honor code since 1993 are minorities, several of whom tell him on the record that they felt deceived about the importance of the honor code as recruits and were later targeted for behavior they describe as common among white athletes who are rarely punished. One former football player, Ray Hudson, claimed he was repeatedly interrogated and spied on for having an out-of-wedlock child that the university knew about when it recruited him (his girlfriend was pregnant at the time); the father of a Jewish player, Ryan Kessman, said his son was questioned by coach Bronco Mendenhall and handful of players over a violation of the school's ban on caffeine (he was spotted drinking a cappuccino at Starbucks) and later transferred rather than appear before the honor code office.
BYU didn't comment on any specific cases, but its not hard to erect a defense: The professor who co-authored the article, Darron Smith, was dismissed from the university in 2005 after the publication of his book, Black and Mormon, and most of the players he quotes played under former head coach Gary Crowton, who was fired following a wave of violations in 2004, including two separate instances of group sex that resulted in rape accusations against football players, none of whom were convicted. [Deadspin]
Quickly… Keyshawn Johnson is running a 7-on-7 business, and not for the money. … Quarterback Nathan Stanley is transferring from Ole Miss after falling from starter to fourth-string. … Indiana lineman Aaron Price is giving up football due to a degenerative back condition. … On Cam Newton's progression in the three stages of quarterback development. … Auburn's Heisman-dropping gymnast says her mid-routine pose has nothing to do with Auburn's quarterback. … Notre Dame and Northwestern will renew their rivalry in 2014. … RIP Bob Shaw, a former Ohio State All-American and World War II vet who died Saturday at age 89. … Mack Brown meets the oldest living Longhorn. … An officer who shot and killed a football player from Division II Pace University is voted Officer of the Year by his peers. … And Braylon Edwards gives Brady Hoke his blessing to hand out the No. 1 jersey to whoever he wants.
Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.