February 24, 2009
• I'm humbled to be so filthy, filthy rich. And jacked. Humbled and jacked. Among a staggering list of fellows, statesmen, Nobel prize winners and other dignitaries, one man stands alone: Pete Carroll, the highest-paid private university employee in America. Carroll's $4.4 million total pay in 2006-07 was four times that of USC's president, according to data compiled from tax returns by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and just ahead of that of Columbia dermatologist Steven M. Silvers, who earned $4.3 million -- and it was actually Silvers' salary, not Carroll's, that a Chronicle source called "way out of range" despite the former's expertise in treating skin cancer and the latter's in, essentially, a child's game. So who says academics are out of touch?
Carroll's reaction: "I'm humbled." He then signaled the chauffeur to bring the Ascari around to take the reporter to a light lunch at Bastide.
Back on the public side of things, a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology writes that college sports should be privatized, goes into hiding and begins sending frantic, incomprehensible text messages about men in dark glasses and "NCAA" badges at his door.
• Strongarms, weak hands. More is emerging about the unexpected transfer of Nebraska quarterback Patrick Witt, who was a very slight favorite to emerge over Patrick Lee and incoming Cody Green as the Huskers' starter in the spring. Some sources told the Lincoln Journal-Star that Witt believed he wouldn't get a fair shake in the competition against Lee, but others indicated Witt had his own agenda:
According to a source close to the Nebraska program, Witt and his father sought assurance from Husker coaches that the coaches would name the starting quarterback at the end of spring practice. That way, if Witt wasn’t named starter, he presumably could arrange to transfer, or at least evaluate his situation.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini declined to address the matter Monday. But the source said Pelini informed the Witts that it was highly unlikely (read: forget it, guys) that he would release Patrick from his scholarship if Patrick made such a request at the end of spring drills. Pelini apparently loathed the idea of Witt going through spring practice while considering a transfer. So, Pelini forced Witt’s hand before spring drills began.
That doesn't show much confidence on Witt's part, but then, he's used to the transfer process: He switched schools three times in high school. You'll have to come harder than that to bluff Bo Pelini, son.
• Rumors of the OBC's demise were greatly exaggerated, for the moment. Steve Spurrier has been quietly inching toward the exit as the rebuilding job at South Carolina stagnates at 7-5 (four times in four years ...) -- Spurrier has said in TV interviews he won't be around Columbia in five years, and his ex-assistants have used it against him in recruiting. Maybe he's feeling rejuvenated, then, or maybe he's just desperate enough for a decent quarterback commitment, but for whatever reason, the Old Ball Coach told 2010 quarterback Connor Shaw he's "nowhere near retirement" and still has big plans for the Gamecocks before shuffling off to the back nine. Like ... eight wins?
Shaw hinted at another potential change in South Carolina's fairly generic offense after a long chat in Spurrier's office: More shotgun and zone read looks -- for which Shaw, of course, would be "perfect."
Quickly ... Carl Johnson, the Florida lineman accused of multiple instances of date rape last week, is in court today. ... The other highly sought, uncommitted running back of the class of 2009, Oklahoman David Oku, has transferred to a Lincoln, Neb. high school to, uh, be closer to a girlfriend he met on a recruiting trip to Nebraska -- and the Huskers aren't even in the mix for Oku's services. ... South Florida is still interviewing for both opening coordinator jobs. ... Mike Leach wants to finish his career at Texas Tech. ... Texas has another "junior day" on campus this weekend, so Mack Brown can just finish up this recruiting business and go play golf until spring practice. ... Debating Washington as a "destination job". ... Colorado rediscovers the huddle. ... Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael was suspended indefinitely following a Sunday arrest for, and I quote, "being a minor showing signs of having consumed alcohol." Did it he consume it, or just appear to consume it? How much? ... Ole Miss is still searching for a twelfth game. ... Tim Tebow got $5,500 for four tickets to next year's Cocktail Party with a flex, a smile and a guarantee. ... Kenny Britt wonders if you can reject the premise of a question at the NFL Combine (OK, fine, I wonder that). ... I guess Hawaii just wasn't that into the 2008 bowl team.