December 16, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• So we meet again. The Division III national championship is on the line in Salem, Va., which means the same thing it always means: Mount Union is playing Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Purple Raiders and Warhawks are on opposite sides of the Stagg Bowl for the seventh consecutive season, each having taken three titles apiece since 2005 — with a combined score of 171-170 over all six games. The last two crowns have both gone to Whitewater, which comes into tonight's rubber match riding a 44-game winning streak since dropping the final game to Mount Union (based in Alliance, Ohio) in 2008. Whitewater's wins the last two years are the only losses the Purple Raiders have suffered since 2007.
"Whitewater is the team that Mount Union fans talk about and have seen," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, who's brought home 10 national championships in a ridiculous 14 Stagg Bowl appearances since 1993. "The Mount Union fans, the best team that they've seen is Whitewater. So Whitewater has moved into the position of being the team that is the standard-bearer for, 'What's the best team like?' Well, it's like Whitewater's team." [Associated Press, Roanoke Times]
• We hardly knew ye? Stanford guard David DeCastro is tossing his hat into the NFL Draft a year early, according to CBS drafting Rob Rang, who reports DeCastro has made his decision to leave along with quarterback Andrew Luck after the Cardinal's date with Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. (No announcement will be made prior to the game, and agents remain off-limits for eligibility reasons.) Assuming he doesn't change his mind, then, DeCastro goes out as a two-time all-conference pick and a unanimous All-American this season, and as one of two Stanford linemen — along with left tackle Jonathan Martin — almost certainly bound for the first round in April. [CBS Sports]
• Not so fast, my friend. So, about that $2,000 scholarship bump the NCAA fast-tracked over the summer to better meet the actual cost of attendance for athletes? Looks like it's going to take awhile: The Association announced Thursday it's suspending the proposed legislation to boost scholarship values based on complaints from 125 schools over (and I quote) a) "How quickly it was implemented," b) "Perceived impact on competitive equity," c) "Application of the allowance for student-athletes in equivalency sports," and d) "Implications for Title IX." Surprised? You are not surprised.
"Based on conversations I have had, I am confident that there remains a very high level of support for this permissive legislation to provide better support for our student athletes," said NCAA President Mark Emmert in a statement. "I am also confident that we can develop implementation changes that will address most of the concerns raised by many of our campus leaders. It is absolutely critical that we implement this legislation, for example, in a way that supports Title IX and women's athletic programs." [NCAA.org]
• Hit the ground recruiting. Save a single season as a lowly graduate assistant at Washington almost 30 years ago, Jim L. Mora hasn't recruited a player or coached a down of college football in his life. But there's going to be plenty of experience on Mora's new staff at UCLA, beginning with veteran offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who was introduced Thursday along with three other assistants (offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, defensive backs coach Demetrice Martice and wide receivers coach Steve Broussard) with recruiting ties to the greater Los Angeles area. Like Ohio State, UCLA has already been granted a waiver from the NCAA that allows it to effectively employ two coaching staffs over the next month — one for bowl preparation under interim head coach Mike Johnson and one for recruiting under Mora, allowing the new arrivals to hit the trail right away without having to be bothered with the nuisance that is the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. [Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News]
Quickly… Penn State asks for a little more time to respond to the NCAA. … Urban Meyer hires a strength and conditioning coach. … Blaine Irby won't pursue another season at Texas. … An Atlanta columnist weighs which Los Angeles-based coach he hates more. … Maybe Todd Graham isn't so bad. … And it's been one ridiculous year in the Big East.