A tale of two NCAA Violations.

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Both the Michigan and the USC football programs have been sited by the NCAA and are under investigation. However, that is where the similarity stops.

Michigan

The second most impressive fact about the Michigan football program is that it has the most wins in NCAA history. The most impressive fact is that the Michigan program has never before been sited for a violation. This time they were investigated for having practices during and before the regular season that exceeded the permitted length.

Coach Rich Rodriguez was ratted out by a couple of his former players. They didn’t like the practices but more than that they didn’t like the system that Rodriguez bought from West Virginia. The biggest problem for the program is not the NCAA but the fact that the Michigan faithful don’t like Rodriguez or his system much either.

Rodriguez changed the system from the Big 10 traditional run first and pocket passing to the unique quarterback-centric run and shoot style. That has cost him top recruits by the former staff including now Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett who will compete for the top QB in the 2011 NFL Draft. Michigan fans that had seen their team lose year after year to “that team down south” (Ohio State) were thrilled when Mallett signed to play for the Blue. The fans demanded that Coach Carr be fired after the Blue lost to Appalachian State 34-32 on Sept. 1 2007. Those same fans were furious when Mallett left and sat out in 2008 to be able to play for another BCS school. He knew he would never shine in the Rodriguez scheme.

Rodriguez didn’t have a Michigan pedigree never having coached or played for the team. Strike 1.

No change in the basic system in football has an immediate improvement in the bottom line–the win and loss record. In his first 2 seasons, Rodriguez was 8-16. That was strike 2.

And now despite the insignificant nature of the NCAA violation, it may well become the 3rd and final strike. As trivial as this violation is, it might be the excuse to fire Rodriguez.

USC

In total contrast to Michigan, USC is the champion of the R E A L L Y B I G NCAA violation. If you need any evidence about how serious the list of infractions at USC are, just consider that Coach Pete Carroll beat feet out of town. He left a 4M salary despite 2 national championships, a 34 game winning streak, 3 Heisman Trophy winners, 6 BcS bowl wins, 33 straight weeks as #1 in the AP, and a total record of 97-19. USC hired Tennessee HC Lane Kiffin who was a walking talking violation himself.

USC has now had 6 “substantial” violations since 1953 when the NCAA began tracking school’s records. That also makes them #1 but this list is not so prestigious.

The “latest” problem, if you can call something that started in 2006 recent, is the parents of Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush getting the rent of a house and other gifts totally a reported 280K. A federal investigation of extortion claims by Bush against a “want to be” sports agent resulted in the discovery tapes of conversations about the payments and gifts. There are also allegations that 2009 star RB Joe McKnight received illegal payments and gifts. The NCAA has yet to decide the guilt or penalty if any for the case.

The violation bug must be contagious because the basketball team caught it. Prize recruit O.J. Mayo was in trouble more than he was not. The NCAA investigated a claim by Yahoo Sports that Mayo received money and gifts in the amount of 200K from a sports agent. USC notified the NCAA that it was imposing sanctions on itself and nothing else resulted.

What were the sanctions? The loss of 1 scholarship for 2 years, the vacating of the wins in 2007-08 (when Mayo played) and a reduction in recruiting days and number of coaches that can recruit for 2 seasons. That is a very light penalty.

There is no question that the violations of USC far outstrip the single violation of Michigan. In addition USC has had a history of academic issues, money to recruits and other problems including arrests of players. And yet the NCAA seems to give USC a pass for their problems and I can not explain why.

When in doubt, follow the money. The problem with the NCAA is they are too interested in money and not interested enough in the welfare of their players and basic fairness of the game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA,NCAA Football,USC,Bush,Mayo,Michigan,Rodriguez,Mallett,Carr,violations,McKnight,Yahoo Sports,NCAA Investigations

A-Rod and the Battle of the Books

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By Bill Smith

In his play Julius Caesar, Shakespeare wrote:

“The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;”

So let it be with A-Rod’s reputation. If it is not dead yet, a couple of new books are trying hard to bury it alive.

Two competing books reportedly describe the many flaws of Alex Rodriguez, the all star infielder of the New York Yankees. The books allege a variety of sins including drug use and tipping pitches to the opposition in blowout games. There is little doubt about the motives of the authors—money. And any time personal profit is involved, the reader needs to take that into consideration in evaluating the potential validity of the text.

The first book that included descriptions of steroid use by MLB players was written by former major league player and admitted steroid user Jose Canseco in his book Juiced in 2005. When the book came out, there was a flood of reviews that dismissed Canseco’s allegations as exaggerations, badly researched fiction, and unnecessarily exploitive sensationalism.

The Congress investigated MLB and steroids. So far, all that has accomplished is one admission of lying to Congress by a player that would not throw his fellow players into the gears of justice. It should be noted that it also took the attention of the legislature away from raising our taxes. For that we can be grateful. We are still awaiting the trial of former Giant slugger and current home run record holder Barry Bonds. The latest news indicates that trial may never happen.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the truth—several of Canseco’s claims proved to be true! In fact, it is hard to argue that up to now, he has been proven to be more accurate on his claims in the book than anyone wanted to believe. He has been more accurate than most of the critics that tried to refute his claims point by point.

Canseco’s new book Vindicated is due out this this fall. In a pre-release interview with WEEI-Radio in Boston, Canseco had some interesting comments about its contents relating to Rodriguez. When asked directly if he has documented A-Rod’s use of steroids in the book, Canseco said “wait and see.”

The other new book on Rodriguez is authored by Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts. This work hit the book shelves yesterday. According to interviews of the author, the book suggests that Rodriguez began using performance enhancing substances as early as high school. It says that he used them to gain 25 lbs. between his sophomore and junior year. That is not unusual. Many young men come of age and experience growth spurts in those years. She quotes her subject saying that he went from being able to bench press 110 lbs. to 310 lbs. Again, this is supposed to convince the reader of the validity of her claims. She also uses the already disclosed flunked test in 2003 as further proof of her accuracy.

It must be remembered that Ms. Robers was one of the early writers to convict the Duke Lacrosse players accused of rape. She certainly was not alone. The professors of that Univeristy, civil rights leaders, and many of the antique media were also willing to convict and sentence those young men before any evidence was gathered let alone studied and proven.

Sports Illustrated was also one of the first to release the rumors of failed drug tests by NFL draft prospects at the 2009 combine. Not only did most of that information prove to be wrong, it missed the names of those that did in fact fail those tests.

The problem with all of these books about stars is that they depend too much on unnamed sources and conclusions that are not warranted by the facts presented. Opinion is one thing and if it is labeled as such is fine. However, those that are falsely accused have no where to go to get their good names and reputations back. The families of the Duke players spent thousands of dollars defending their sons from lies of the accuser and prosecutorial misconduct.

Personally, I have no interest in any of these books. I suspect that most of my readers will view these books for what they are—a money making project that may or may not be accurate. So both Canseco and Roberts will have to live without my money.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Canseco,A-Rod,Rodriguez,Roberts. Sports Illistrated,Juiced,Vindicated,steroids,taxes,Congress

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/07/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/07/09

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By Bill Smith

Best comment of the week from Jack Lochrie [Long-suffering Lions fan]

on Beware of the Combine Warrior‏

I have some unsolicited advice for the Lions: Ignore all of the underclassmen in the April college draft, regardless of their assumed future potential and press clippings. The seniors have an extra year or two of maturity growth that will serve them well in the teeny, tiny, remote possibility they will need to cope with some setbacks in their early years with the Lions. The Lions’s management needs to be focusing on building a winning team, without the distraction of providing day care for fragile egos.

Note: Martin Mayhew has not yet called me for my objective opinions on the draft. ;~)

Updates on previous articles:

On KC’s trade for QB Cassel resulted in some unforeseen repercussions.

Adam Schefter, of the NFL Network, reports Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said the team will not trade QB Jay Cutler. “Let me be as clear as I can about this. We are not trading Jay Cutler – period,” McDaniels said. McDaniels will meet with QB Jay Cutler next week.

My Analysis: Josh, you might want to put your foot back in your mouth. Your comment would have a lot more credibility if you had not participated in the home version of “Let’s make a deal.” The Broncos had a huge locker room problem with the firing of Mike Shanahan. Josh if you can’t put out the fire, at least stop throwing gas on it.

On Major League Baseball gets “BALCOed” right between the eyes

Alex Rodriguez now has a torn labrum, is considering surgery that would cause him to miss some time. The furor over the admission that he used steroids had just begun to subside and then this news hit the wire. He may decide to try to play through the injury but that will likely reduce his productivity.

My Analysis: The official Yankee position is that A-Rod would miss 10 weeks if he had the surgery. Fantasy fans that drafted him already should be prepared to see him out until the All Star game. Hopefully he will not use steroids to get back sooner.

Barry “Balco” Bonds who will be 45 this year wants to make a comeback. His agent is trying to find a team that will sign him. The only reason he is available is that his purgery trial has been postponed so he won’t be wearing prison stripes this season.

My Analysis: Barry, don’t make things worse. Stay out of the game. Haven’t you done enough to hurt the game that did so much for you?

On My impressions of the first 2 days of the NFL Combine.

WR Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech has decided to have surgery on his foot now. This is a good move and the lack of an official 40 time should not hurt his draft stock too much.

On Will Vince Young ever be an NFL quality QB?

Major Adams, agent for Young, says that Vince wants to regain the starting position for the Titans again. “He is preparing like he is going to start.”

My Analysis: Well DAH! Vince, you can prepare all you want but until you learn to read coverages and the playbook, you will be a VERY expensive backup.

Beckham is coming back—Yeah?

David Beckham is reportedly coming back to the LA Galaxy after the AC Milan season is over. He has missed over half the season and has violated the “lending” agreement between the two teams in which he was supposed to be back to LA on Monday.

My Advice: DON’T BOTHER. Nobody cares, David. Stay in Europe and keep your over hyped wife there too.

Florida State will be penalized by the NCAA

FSU will be penalized for student athletes cheating on an on-line test. The penalty will affect all FSU sports and will cost the football team scholarships, a 4 year probation, and some wins off their record. According to a release by the NCAA Bobby Bowden who was not personally implicated in the scandal could lose as many as 14 wins in his race the Joe Paterno for the all time record for college wins. 67 players in 10 sports were involved. Virtually all the FSU sports are involved including the womens programs. According to the NCAA, the violations go back to 2006. FSU says it will oppose any loss of wins or championships.

Why the Cardinals REALLY needed to get Warner resigned:

Bill Kipouras, of The Salem News reported on a conversation with QB Brian St. Pierre about his position with the team. “I got a raise and (Whisenhunt) said he’d let me compete with Matt Leinart for the No. 2 job,” St. Pierre said. “I trust the coach. I’ve enjoyed him, and my wife Joceyln and I both love Arizona. It’s he best decision we could have made.”

My Advice: If Coach Whisenhunt thinks St. Pierre is competitive with Leinart, the team needs to start looking soon for a QB of the future. St. Pierre has no future in the league what so ever. If Leinart is in the same class, he doesn’t either.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Lions,Chiefs,Cassel,McDaniels,Cutler,Broncos,Rodriguez,torn labrum,Fantasy Baseball,Yankees,BALCO,Bonds,perjury,jail,NFL Combine,NFL,NFL Draft,Young,Beckham,College football,Florida State,Bowden. Paterno,ncaa,Cardinals,Warner,Leinart,St. Peirre Whisenhunt,NFL Network

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