Morning Five: 05.18.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 18th, 2011

  1. Coaches, administrators, and fans have been critical of unscrupulous agents for a long time, but were limited in their ability to get back at them. That group may now have a legal method to do so in the state of Texas as the state legislature has sent a bill to Governor Rick Perry proposing that agents and their runners could be charged with a felony and face up to 10 years in prison if their actions lead a college athlete to lose his or her eligibility. The details on how this law would work are not clear and we cannot even imagine how ridiculous these cases could get (many top agents are also lawyers) if they ever go to trial, but it’s certainly worth tracking in the coming months.
  2. It is always unusual to see a coach who once worked on a big stage take a step (or two) down to continue coaching at a lower level. In the case of Jim O’Brien the cause is a little more clear. As many of you may remember, O’Brien, who had previously coached at Ohio State and Boston College, was forced to leave the former after the school was accused of multiple NCAA violations and was hit with severe sanctions including having their 1999 Final Four run vacated. In addition, O’Brien also received a two-year show-cause penalty (he pocketed $2.4 million from OSU after a judge ruled that he had been wrongfully terminated, however). O’Brien will be returning to Boston to coach at Division III Emerson College. We doubt that O’Brien will ever get back to being a head coach at the Division I level, but he is one of the few coaches that that has been hit with a show-cause penalty that has received a head coaching job at the NCAA level with Morgan State’s Todd Bozeman still being the only one who got a Division I job. Bruce Pearl might want to keep that in mind going forward.
  3. On Thursday a segment on NBC’s Today Show will air (estimated at 7:45 AM ET) in which a (former?) Wake Forest student will speak about an alleged sexual assault involving members of the Wake Forest basketball team that occurred hours after the team was eliminated in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. We are not sure if she will name names on-air, but luckily their attorney already has: Mike Grace stated that former Demon Deacons Jeff Teague and Gary Clark were accused on that fateful night in Miami, but both players were completely exonerated by both the Miami-Dade County police and the Wake Forest code of conduct hearing council.  It’ll be interesting to see how this student spins the interview in light of this new information on Thursday morning.  Quick sidenote: leave it to Andy Katz (link above) to drop recruiting news into a story about sexual assault — another former Wake Forest player accused of assualt, Tony Woods, is reportedly close to transferring to Kentucky.
  4. The schedule for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which has grown in popularity in recent years, was released yesterday. Looking through the schedule we have to say that it’s underwhelming. Outside of the Duke-Ohio State and UNC-Wisconsin games few of the games look particularly interesting. We’re sure that ESPN will find a way to hype it up as being a series of great games, but don’t fall for it. There are three other games that might be worth watching (Miami-Purdue, Illinois-Maryland, and FSU-Michigan State), but other than that most of the games are close to unwatchable. This could be because the ACC is experiencing a bit of a dry spell, but the organizers need to find a way to keep this fresh (switching conference match-ups?) or these type of events will lose the public’s interest very quickly.
  5. Doug Gottlieb takes a look at some of next year’s impact transfers (ESPN Insider required) and we have to say it is a pretty impressive group. Maybe we are forgetting how good prior transfer classes were or overrating the current crop (most of these guys left their prior programs for a reason), but this seems like an exceptionally talented group. Keep this group in mind when you are trying to figure out what impact the newcomers will have on college basketball next season instead of just focusing on the freshmen.
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