June 03, 2010
Making the morning rounds.
• Hold on loosely. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe showed up to this week's conference meetings in Kansas City hoping to have a "frank conversation" about expansion efforts by other conferences that threaten to turn his league into "a fly-over zone." Still, Beebe swore off any efforts at reform of the Big 12's unequal revenue-sharing plan, the most contentious sticking point for flight risks Nebraska and (especially) Missouri – somewhat of a bold stance, considering the Big Ten can make it rain if the Huskers and/or Tigers are on its radar. [ESPN]
For their part, Big 12 athletic directors were falling all over themselves to affirm their commitment to the conference, including Nebraska's Tom Osborne, an alleged Big 12 hater, who insisted Wednesday, "We like the Big 12. We're not looking to leave. We're not mad at anybody or upset at anything." But the answers Osborne hopes to have by the end of the week about the league's future don't seem any less likely to include a doomsday scenario than they did on Monday. [Associated Press]
• On the bright side, it's still one gnarly scar. A Florida man pled guilty Wednesday to assaulting Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller in a bar last summer, leading to emergency brain surgery that cost Moeller the entire 2009 season. After the hearing, Ralph Decker was spotted hugging and apologizing to Moeller's mother, who told reporters she believed Decker was sorry for the attack. That's nice, but it won't save him from having to pay $11,000 in medical expenses, or from facing another judge later this year who could sentence Decker to up to five years in prison. [Associated Press]
• "Summer of Scandal." ESPN's Pat Forde argued persuasively Wednesday that, loopy fan biases and conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the NCAA doesn't play favorites when doling out sanctions to powerhouse programs; backing him up, the USA Today dubbed the pending investigations into major programs in football (USC, Michigan) and basketball (UConn, Kentucky, Oklahoma) the "Summer of Scandal." Still, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany (a former NCAA investigator) is unimpressed by the Association's recent decision to devote six members of its investigative staff solely to monitoring recruiting in men's basketball: Six out of 30 doesn't seem like enough. This is an area that has been underserved. Forty percent of the problems are in (Division I) men's basketball and 40 percent in (major college) football." Those well-bred lacrosse kids, though, we know we can trust them. [ESPN, USA Today]
• Keep off grass. Arizona, apparently responding to students piling onto the sideline in anticipation of a victory that never came in the fourth quarter and overtime of a dramatic loss to Oregon last November, will erect a five-foot wall in front of the student section (aka the "ZonaZoo") as "a safety issue." Funny, they didn't seem to care enough to do anything when the students actually rushed the field after upsetting No. 2 Oregon in 2007, and this guy bit it head-first off the goal posts:
Warning: NSFW language, shockingly.
If officials really wanted "the best atmosphere," they'd just let the students rush the field at random points in the game, or just move the student section onto the visitor's sideline and let the chips fall where they will. [Arizona Daily Star]
• I promise you, son, we've got the most lenient doctors in the country. Southern Cal linebacker Jarvis Jones, a top-100 overall prospect out of Georgia last year, has been granted a release to transfer from USC, most likely due to a neck injury he suffered last fall. Jones told Clemson's Rivals site, Tiger Illustrated, that he was cleared to play this spring by a specialist and "three of four" independent doctors, but couldn't get past USC's team docs. Clemson, as you may have guessed, looks like a prime destination. [Orange County Register, Tiger Illustrated]
Quickly ... USC adds its second quarterback commitment of 2011, Army All-American Cody Kessler. ... Ohio State is expected to land a much-needed commitment from local QB Braxton Miller later today. ... Mountain West students shell out more than $1,100 per student to subsidize athletic departments, more than students in any other Division I conference. ... Mississippi State's cowbells are still illegal during SEC games, and I promise MSU fans still don't care. ... And to no one's surprise, Illinois is casting its lot with Nathan Scheelhaase as starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman power!
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.