Morning Five: 07.26.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 26th, 2010

  1. We’re starting to become concerned about the fall that Bob Huggins endured on Friday that sent him to the hospital with four broken ribs.  Initially it was believed that he would released on Saturday, but as of late Sunday night, Huggins was still being held in a Las Vegas hospital for observation purposes.  Doctors were apparently concerned about bone fragments that could cause other problems, and anyone who has had such an injury says that there is a great deal of pain while breathing.  Regardless, we hope that Huggins can get out of the hospital soon and resume his normal activities of recruiting, coaching and scowling at people.
  2. This article at Fanhouse argues that USC basketball got off fairly easy in light of the OJ Mayo scandal and the subsequent penalties (or lack thereof) handed down by the NCAA.  Um, we guess?  What seems to be missing in this analysis is that the athletic department unsuccessfully threw Trojan basketball to the wolves in an effort to save the football program from harsher sanctions.  But at least they were proactive in getting in front of the problems and making the organization think that they were serious about self-policing in at least one sport.  If USC had been as cooperative with punishing themselves over Reggie Bush’s indiscretions as they were with OJ Mayo, the gridiron Trojans may not be facing a two-year ban from the postseason.
  3. The Pac-10 coaches are discussing how the league plans to handle dividing up the new twelve team conference and everyone seemingly agrees on one thing — they don’t want to lose out on the fertile recruiting grounds of Southern California.  And with good reason, as the ten teams last year had 33 players from SoCal on their rosters, nearly 25% of the entire league’s cache.
  4. This article on Dan Beebe, the “Savior of the Big 12,” paints a much different picture than the one that was being bandied about when it appeared the implosion of that league was imminent.  A good lesson learned here.
  5. Former Oklahoma all-american and jazz musician Wayman Tisdale, who passed away from cancer in 2009, will be honored in perpetuity as the namesake for an award handed out by the USBWA to the top freshman player in America.  Given that nowadays the top rookie is often the best collegiate player in America as well (John Wall, Kevin Durant), this is a great way to remember the gentle giant from Tulsa.
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Morning Five: 07.21.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 21st, 2010

  1. The biggest news in the world of college athletics came out of South Central today as USC announced that its longtime athletic director Mike Garrett will step down in the wake of probation for both the football and men’s basketball programs on his watch.  Pat Haden, another former USC quarterback, will take over for Garrett in that capacity.  New USC president Max Nikias, still weeks away from formally taking over, also decreed that the school will remove all athletic references (photos, murals and the like) to Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo prior to the arrival of incoming students next month.  They’re even sending Bush’s Heisman Trophy back!  Former head coach Tim Floyd, currently whiling his time away in El Paso, had little to say about the matter.
  2. Notre Dame’s Mike Brey to his irresponsible players Tim Abromaitis and Eric Atkins:  “A lot of sweating will be involved.”  Here’s hoping that they have to run a mile for every beer imbibed.  Y’know, because of the extra calories.
  3. Some coaching news from yesterday.  UIC’s Jimmy Collins announced his retirement effective at the end of August after fourteen seasons at the school — including three NCAA Tournament appearances and six other winning campaigns.  As Goodman reports, the timing of this is odd given that it’s currently the height of recruiting season, but Collins has had medical issues in the past.  We hope he’s ok.
  4. One piece of player news that slipped past us over the weekend — Gonzaga (ok, RTC) fan favorite Bol Kong is leaving Spokane for personal reasons.  Kong averaged 4.5 PPG in his only season for the Zags, but showed promise with a solid three-point stroke (43%) and a nose for the ball.  We hope to see him re-surface somewhere soon.
  5. Jeff Goodman and Matt Norlander did a cool thing to get ready for this weekend’s recruiting extravaganza in Vegas.  They polled the top recruits to see whom they would choose as the best in several categories, and the results were interesting.  Austin Rivers was named the top player, Michael Gilchrist the best defender and hardest worker, Brad Beal the best shooter, Marquis Teague the best shooter, and Anthony Davis the best rebounder.  Oh, and best trash-talker: Quincy Miller (no surprise if you read his tweets).  It should be a fun weekend sorting through all of these players out in the desert.
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Morning Five: 06.04.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 4th, 2010

Without question, the condition of John Wooden is the most important concern in the world of college basketball right now, and certainly beyond it, and we will be updating the site as needed on that issue.  Because that is obviously a subject that demands much greater reflection, today’s Morning Five links five other stories relevant to our sport.

  1. This has been a very busy week for college hoops news despite the calendar showing June.  We know that it won’t be today as we had all originally heard, but at some point in the near future USC will learn its NCAA-meted fate as a result of the Reggie Bush/OJ Mayo/Tim Floyd eras.  Should the Trojan faithful be worried?  Mike DeCourcy believes that the hoops program will come out relatively unscathed, but Floyd and the footballers?  Not so sure.
  2. Is the Big 12 seemingly disintegrating right before our very eyes?  It would certainly appear to be the case after yesterday’s report that the Pac-10 is looking to raid the southern half of the conference and a stalwart such as Missouri failing to calm the whispers about its imminent move to the Big Ten.
  3. Great story today by ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil about Bill Courtney, the new head honcho at Cornell, and his boundless optimism.  He definitely seems like the kind of guy for whom it would not just be fun to play, but maybe play hoops with, as O’Neil references in the article.  It’s tough taking over a program that just had one of its best seasons and just lost its key players, but it sounds like Courtney will enjoy and smile right through any weighty expectations.
  4. We know about DePaul not releasing Walter Pitchford from his LOI, and here we go again.  Joseph Young, son of former Houston star and Phi Slamma Jamma member Michael Young (who also happens to be Director of Basketball Operations at UH), had signed on to attend Providence, but wants out so he can be nearer to home and a sick aunt with whom he’s very close.  Providence is saying no dice, and the Youngs aren’t happy.
  5. This was posted a couple of days ago, but if you haven’t read Seth Davis’ article about Steve Lavin immersing himself in his new position as the caretaker at St. John’s, here’s another chance.  Evidently the guy’s been so busy with vital aspects of the job like, er, recruiting, fundraising, and finding some assistants, that the he hasn’t even found a permanent residence in NYC yet.
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NCAA To Announce USC Decision On Friday

Posted by nvr1983 on May 31st, 2010

Over the past two weeks three of the premier college basketball programs in the country had been hit by scandals (Kentucky with the ongoing Eric Bledsoe saga, Kansas with a ticket scam, and Connecticut with…we don’t even know where to begin). The latest college powerhouse — USC — may not be in the same realm of those schools  in terms of basketball heritage, but it may send bigger shock waves through the NCAA landscape than any decision by the NCAA in years  when the NCAA announces its decision on punishing the school on Friday. While the headlines of this proceeding will center around alleged improprieties involving Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush, the case of O.J. Mayo and the infamous Rodney Guillory could also be be brought up. The Trojans have already self-imposed sanctions on themselves stemming from the Mayo case, but are continuing to contest the allegations against Bush and his family. Although any punishments levied would be against the football program as “repeat offenders” since they were sanctioned in 2001 and the Bush era (2003-2005) falls within the 5-year window the sanctions might have significant ramification for all Trojan programs. Beyond the obvious direct impact of taking back the 2004 BCS title, Bush’s 2005 Heisman trophy, and essentially erasing the highly-controversial USC dynasty from the record books, a harsh verdict would be a blow to all USC athletic programs and provide strong ammunition for every team recruiting against the Trojans in the coming years. While many readers are undoubtedly convinced that the NCAA will only impose superficial sanctions on the Trojans there is a chance that they may come down harder than expected particularly now that both USC programs have fallen on (relatively) hard times and the NCAA would not be losing as much of a cash cow as it would have had they sanctioned the Trojans two years ago.

They may not even have that one soon.

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John Legend Digs The Buckeyes (Plus Many Others)

Posted by jstevrtc on March 23rd, 2010

How far-reaching is the NCAA Tournament?  Check out these tweets from famous people in other walks of life — actors, musicians, mostly athletes — who have nothing to do with this year’s tournament but are just fans of a particular school, a player, or college hoops in general.  We like that John Legend is diggin’ Ohio State.  Not surprising, since he attended Penn but was born in Ohio.  But given Evan Turner’s versatility, we wonder if a duet with Legend could be in the works.  Anyway, other than one spot where we xxx’d out an innocent person’s Twitter ID, every tweet here is presented exactly as it was found on each user’s account, and none of them are re-tweets. We think it’s pretty cool — you never know who’s watching.

Dara Torres (American Olympic swimmer, gold medalist x 4) — U guys watchn college hoops?? Kinda dig when there’s upsets…except not when it happens to the Gators!! Hehe!

Joel McHale (ex-Washington, and star of NBC’s Community and E!’s The Soup) — Holy crap.  Way to go Northern Iowa.

Pete Yorn (musician) — Wow! Kansas. [Ed. note -- posted moments after KU's loss to UNI]

Conan O’Brien — Hey sports fans, here’s my NCAA pick: bet it all on the Savannah College of Art & Design. Go Fighting Acrylics!

Unless you WANT to be told on, Ms. Banks...

John Legend (musician) — Great day today. Ohio St going to the Sweet 16. I had a great show in Miami Gardens. And the health care bill passed. Happy Sunday

Elizabeth Banks — No, dummies. I didn’t go to Cornell. I went to Penn (*cough* better school). But def pulling for the Ivy League team. Big Cornell win!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Checking in on… the Pac-10

Posted by rtmsf on February 24th, 2010

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Mountain West and Pac-10 conferences.

Standings

  1. California    10-5       18-9
  2. Arizona State     9-5          19-8
  3. USC     8-6          16-10
  4. Washington     8-7          18-9
  5. Arizona      7-7          13-13
  6. UCLA      7-7          12-14
  7. Stanford      7-8          13-14
  8. Oregon State      6-8          12-14
  9. Washington State     6-9          16-11
  10. Oregon       4-10       12-14

We haven’t had a Pac-10 update ‘round these parts since the conference season began, but it is no secret that the one-word summation of the Pac-10 season to this point is “ugly.”  The only team with anything at all to say about potentially receiving an at-large bid is California, and it is increasingly likely that if Cal fails to win the Pac-10 tournament, they’ll be looking at an NIT bid. For the first time in as far back as I care to research, the only Pac-10 team that will be heading to the NCAA tournament is the team that wins the automatic bid as the Pac-10 tournament champion.

A quick rundown of the teams:

California – The Bears currently top the conference, and of all Pac-10 teams have the best chance at an at-large bid given their RPI in the low 20s and the fourth toughest schedule in the country, but every time it looks like this team is going to  reel off a string of victories, they drop a game like they did Thursday when eighth place Oregon State handled them easily in Corvalis, 80-64. The numbers look good for the senior quartet of Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin (60.2 ppg between the four, with all averaging double-figures on the season), but each has been inconsistent this season, such as when Randle went just 2-9 from the field, 0-5 from behind the arc and had four turnovers in the OSU game.

Arizona StateHerb Sendek’s squad sits just a half-game back of the Bears in the conference standings, a bit of business that will get sorted out on Saturday when they head to Haas Pavilion, but although they have a top-50 win (something Cal cannot boast) over San Diego State, there just isn’t enough there on the ASU resume to really warrant serious at-large consideration. The Sun Devils have gotten as far as they have on the strength of their guard play; senior point Derek Glasser leads the conference in assists, and he and junior point Jamelle McMillan are one-two in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio.

USC – The Trojans are a team that would be a very tough out in the Pac-10 tournament – that is if the Trojans were going to play in the Pac-10 tournament. In an attempt to throw the NCAA hounds off the trail a bit and to make some sort of restitution for the O.J. Mayo, Reggie Bush and how many other incidents, the USC athletic department decided to self-punish the basketball program, stripping them of their chance to play in the postseason this year. Head coach Kevin O’Neill has done a pretty strong job of keeping his kids together and when the Trojans have come out focused they have been very strong this year (they’ve split with Cal, taken their one matchup with ASU, and swept Washington and UCLA), but playing out the string has got to be hard for these kids and as a result, they’ve lost games to Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State, that they might not have lost had a possible NCAA tourney bid been waiting at the end.

Washington – In a season of conference-wide disappointment, the Huskies have got to take home the title of most disappointing Pac-10 team. At the start of the year, Washington was considered something of a co-favorite to win the conference, and seemed to be a team that could make some noise in March. But between then and now, the Huskies have struggled to gain any consistency. They did pull together a four-game win streak in late January/early February, then laid an egg in their big matchup at Cal. Senior forward Quincy Pondexter has likely been the player-of-the-year in the conference (20.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg), but highly-anticipated freshman guard Abdul Gaddy has yet to catch on, and the team has struggled mightily on the road, notching just a 1-6 record so far.

Arizona – At some point in April, right after Sean Miller had accepted the Arizona job, his roster consisted of little more than senior point Nic Wise, junior wing Jamelle Horne, a couple other returning pieces and a boatload of question marks. Miller took advantage of the meltdown at USC and grabbed some of their fleeing castoffs and wound up patching together a pretty strong recruiting class, and actually had this Wildcat team tied for the conference lead not too long ago. Freshman forward Derrick Williams has been the best of the new Cats (15.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and while there are growing pains in the future, especially with Wise getting fitted for cap and gown, folks around Tucson are pretty confident that Miller will be able to get this program back to the heights they are used to.

UCLA – The incongruous facts that the Bruins are 7-7 in conference and two games under .500 on the season and that Ben Howland has done a pretty strong job getting his team that far is a good indication of how bad this Bruin team is. As sophomore Jerime Anderson’s inability to handle the point guard position became apparent, Howland slid another sophomore, Malcolm Lee, over from the two to play out of position. While Lee is still not particularly well suited to the one, he is a definite improvement there. Likewise, as this group as a whole showed that they were incapable of playing the type of man defense that Howland demands, he switched over to run some zone. Still not a great defensive team, but an improvement. Those types of things sum up this season for UCLA. While you still can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear, Howland has at least managed to scrape this Bruin squad together to the point where they aren’t consistently getting embarrassed.

Stanford – Senior swingman Landry Fields and sophomore guard Jeremy Green have turned into quite a duo up on the farm. They are the highest scoring duo in the Pac-10 (nearly 40 points a game), and Fields is a serious conference Player of the Year candidate. Sophomore Jarrett Mann has also turned into a nice point guard, and between he and Green, head coach Johnny Dawkins doesn’t have a whole lot of question marks in the backcourt for next season. The problem for the Cardinal has been the interior game. They are one of the worst rebounding teams (and that despite Fields’ second-best in the Pac-10 8.7 rpg) and are the worst shotblocking team in the Pac-10, with only 45 blocks on the season. Dawkins does have some help coming, however, with four forwards already signed in next year’s recruiting class.

Oregon State – In Craig Robinson’s first season, the Beavers took a major step forward. Certainly another seven-win improvement this season would have been more than anyone could have hoped for, but given the return of much of their roster and the decrease in the overall talent level in the Pac-10, expectations had to be higher than a mere repeat of last season for the Beavers. And yet, that’s where they’re at now. At this point in 2008-09, the Beavers were 12-13 and 6-8 in the conference. The only difference this year is one additional non-conference loss. Junior guard Calvin Haynes is the OSU leading scorer with 13.2 ppg this year; last year he averaged 13.0. Senior center Roeland Schaftenaar’s point totals have dropped slightly, while senior swingman Seth Tarver’s are up slightly. In all, it is looking like a huge uptick from Robinson season one to season two followed by a season worth of reruns.

Washington State – Not a lot of fun being a Washington-state sports fan these days. The Sonics are something called a Thunder these days and they play in tornado country somewhere, the Seahawks are at the bottom of the barrel, college football is just about non-existent and their college basketball programs, which were at one point a combined 20-3 this season, have now combined to go 14-17 since then. For the Cougs, sophomore wing Klay Thompson’s production has taken a bit of a dive in conference play (he just scored 10 combined points in a homestand against the Southern California schools), although he is still averaging almost 21 ppg this season. But with freshman point Reggie Moore and sophomore bruiser DeAngelo Casto to pair up with Thompson, head coach Ken Bone has a young nucleus around which to build.

Oregon – There are two more Pac-10 conference games that will be played at McArthur Court. While some of Oregon’s early-season non-conference games will be played there next season, the Ducks homestand against the Washington schools the final week of the Pac-10 season will close the books on the meaningful games played in that phenomenal building. Some sparkling, brand new beauty of an abomination will “replace” it, but the best atmosphere in the Pac-10 is going away. That’s what I’ll remember from this Duck season. Beyond that, head coach Ernie Kent totters toward a termination, the roster is full of guys with talent who aren’t able to string it together for more than a weekend or two, and Tajuan Porter just missed another wild three. But none of it matters. They’re closing Mac Court.

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Memphis Learns Its Fate, Can’t/Won’t Tell Anyone the Results…

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2009

Sometimes the NCAA’s policies, procedures and processes are so difficult, convoluted and nonsensical that it’s difficult to even begin to explain why they don’t make much sense.  It took a little while, but we think we have a grasp on the latest chapter in NCAA idiocy covered.  It all comes down to transparency (or the NCAA’s lack thereof).  Quite possibly the biggest complaint that fans of schools investigated (or not investigated) by the NCAA is that the whole process — from how schools are targeted and chosen for investigation, reviewed, and ultimately adjudicated, is shrouded in a veil of secrecy.  Sometimes college sports fans must feel like the NCAA is actually a poorly-functioning arm of the NSA given the way they operate.  Some of the more notorious examples of what we’re talking about from the last few years are no surprise to anyone.  For example:

  • How does Corey Maggette not get Duke into hot water after the fact, but Derrick Rose does for Memphis?
  • John Wall and Ryan Kelly, anyone?
  • Eddie Sutton took down Kentucky over payoffs but Kelvin Sampson is banned for five years over phone calls?
  • Why are some legal doctrines (strict liability) selectively used in some situations but not in others?
  • Can anyone, anyone at all, explain Reggie Bush/USC?

secrecy cartoon

There are many others, but those are a few off the top of the dome.  Why do things seem so inconsistent?  How does the NCAA decide to investigate, and when they do so, what are the criteria they use to make their findings?  Do they use generally agreed upon principles of auditing, quasi-legal doctrine, administrative law, or something else they make up as they go along?  How are penalties assessed and what are the mitigating factors that they consider in making those decisions?  Is every single case a uniquely-judged “case-by-case” situation, making it all but impossible to draw generalizations about how the NCAA rules enforcement folks will act in a given situation?  Or is that ultimately the point — to make it so confusing and inconsistent that any school can get in serious trouble for nearly anything (or the perception that you can)?  Now that we think about it, we already go through this seemingly every year in terms of what the NCAA Selection Committee wants to see on NCAA Tournament bubble teams’ resumes — it shouldn’t surprise us that things out of this shop often seem wildly arbitrary and inconsistent.

So here’s the point of this post.  Memphis announced today that it had learned what the NCAA’s response to its appeal in the Derrick Rose SAT scandal was, but according to some bylaw borrowed straight from the Soviet playbook, the school is not allowed to make the response public nor can it/will it (?) discuss these findings.  Memphis is undoubtedly doing some grandstanding here, but it doesn’t change the absurdity of the NCAA’s rule keeping their logic and reasoning secret.  So we now sit in Act III of theater of the absurd while we wait for someone at Memphis to leak the information contained within the document (which can only be viewed on a secret, read-only website administered by the NCAA — sadly, this is not a joke), or for an enterprising news organization to force the NCAA to release the document under open records laws in Tennessee (as recently occurred in a Florida State cheating scandal).

Does the NCAA not understand that operating in this manner in no way engenders public trust and faith in the fairness and equitable nature of the system?  Do they not see that, regardless of the strength of their argument on the merits, John Q. Fan reads this and can only conclude that the NCAA is hiding the ball so as to get its way in the end?  Are they too dense to realize that a simple and consistent application of rules and policies are the first step toward removing much of the thinly-veiled cynicism that those still following big-time college sports have for it?

RTC Applauds RC Johnson's Audacity

RTC Applauds RC Johnson's Audacity

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic.  Kudos go to Memphis Athletic Director RC Johnson for telling the world that the NCAA has responded to his appeal, but sorry, we’re not allowed to tell you what they said or the logic they use for agreeing/disagreeing with it.  That’s incredibly rich, and it gets exactly the right message across.  Memphis is going to pay for this anyway — the NCAA has already cornered itself on the strict liability argument — but at least they’ll go down lobbing shots across the bow at the absurdity of it all.

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O.J. Mayo: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Posted by nvr1983 on May 12th, 2009

After last year’s “Outside the Line” report, we figured that we wouldn’t hear much more about O.J. Mayo‘s time at USC (Reggie Bush‘s parents lived in a million dollar house and the NCAA didn’t seem to care). We expected that the biggest impact we would see was the reemergence of Taj Gibson and other Trojans who mysteriously disappeared during Mayo’s time in LA.

oj-mayo-slam1

It turns out that Mayo might be leaving a more lasting impact on USC basketball than we expected as new reports indicate that Tim Floyd gave at least $1,000 to Rodney Guillory, one of Mayo’s handlers. [Ed. Note: Is Yahoo! Sports run by UCLA's journalism school? First Bush and now Mayo?] Given the fact that the NCAA is already “investigating” the Trojans’ basketball and football programs this could be a major blow to the USC athletic department. The question is whether the NCAA will bring out the whip against one of its glamour programs.

The new allegations (ok, we sort of figured this was going on) raise several others questions:

  • Was Renardo Sidney (or his handlers) aware of this when he (they) made the decision to go to Mississippi State?
  • How much does Tim Floyd regret turning down that Arizona payday?
  • Do USC’s two 4-star recruits (Noel Johnson and Lamont Jones) have Memphis-style opt-out clauses in their LOIs? It probably wouldn’t work here, but I’m betting they are wishing they had waited this out.

Our guess is that this investigation will take at least a few years before the NCAA finally decides that they don’t have enough as information as the suits in Indianapolis are more concerned with hunting down college students using Facebook or other crimes against humanity. Actions that impact the integrity of the game? Not so important in Indianapolis. . .

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Nick Calathes Channelling Teddy Dupay…

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2008

Ahh… Florida.  The sunshine, the beautiful womenSouth Beach, the Redneck Riviera, Katherine Harris’ rack, hanging chads and Tony Montana, not to mention the gargantuan cockroaches palmetto bugs running around everywhere.  You gotta love this state.  It also appears to be a burgeoning mecca for collegiate ballplayers who like to taste the sweet sensations that only a matched A/K on the river can provide.  Yes, Gainesville is the new Monte Carlo.  Don’t believe us?  Just ask Florida guard Nick Calathes.  From Yahoo:

Florida guard Nick Calathes ran up about $600 in debt playing poker online but did not bet on sporting events, which would have violated NCAA rules, according to a person close to the program.  The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of student confidentiality concerns, said the athletic department questioned Calathes and other Florida basketball players but found no evidence of wrongdoing.  “We became aware of certain allegations over the weekend and immediately looked into it,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. “We reviewed everything very thoroughly and are satisfied with our results. We have no eligibility issues and are very comfortable that this issue is resolved based on our review.”

online-poker

Calathes Talking to His Girlfriend?

Hmmmmmmmmm………………….

Just a few questions, your honor.  1) how did Calathes run up the $600 debt – was it on his personal credit card?  his parents?  a roommate?  2)  irrespective of that, how did these allegations come to light?  who dropped dime on his activities and why?  3) and how can we be certain that Calathes never bet on sports of any kind?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

Of course, like Reggie Bush, OJ Mayo and countless other real scandals, we wouldn’t expect the NCAA to so much as ask any questions about this matter, much less investigate it.  Florida is one of the biggest cash cows in Myles Brand’s stable, after all. 

We do have one final question, though.  Has this guy been spotted running around Gainesville lately?  And since when did he grow from 5’9 to 6’3???

teddy-dupay-mugshot

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More Mayo 1-and-Done Nonsense…

Posted by rtmsf on May 14th, 2008

We keep reading all of these arguments in light of the OJ Mayo controversy about how the 1-and-done rule is a joke, about how it punishes the athletes, about how it makes unwitting (or is it witting?) accomplices of the schools in the whole charade, about how peace and prosperity and all things good and holy are tied into the elimination of this silly rule… and we stop and wonder.  Why the uproar?  Actually, what we meant to say is, why the uproar now?

If all of these pundits maligning the 1-and-done rule haven’t noticed, OJ Mayo isn’t the first kid who was being handled by an agent throughout his college career, and guess what, he won’t be the last.  We already know that Rodney Guillory was handling Jeff Trepagnier and Tito Maddox in the early 2000s, well before the 1-and-done rule was implemented.  We know that Reggie Bush played at USC for three collegiate years and the agents still got their hooks into him.  If writers such as this guy, or this guy, or this guy, really believe that by letting the Lebrons and KGs and Odens go pro straight out of HS eliminates the problem with agents and runners contacting and influencing college players, then LOLOLOLOL on them. 

Their complaints aren’t flat wrong, but they’re misattributed.  Why?  Because there are players right now on nearly every major D1 school across the country who have been contacted by and have talked to agents.  Guaranteed.  Some of them have probably taken a few gifts here and there.  Does eliminating the handful of 1-and-dones from college campuses each year solve that problem?  Not at all.  The agents will then just focus on the next tier of college players – the Chris Douglas-Robertses, the Deron Wiliamses, the Jordan Farmars.  The problem isn’t solved, it’s merely shifted.   

 

The Commish Loves the Free Marketing the NCAA Provides

Look, here’s our point.  The 1-and-done rule is stupid for certain, but it’s not stupid because of the OJ Mayo problem.  It’s stupid because it places all of the risk on the players and colleges for the benefit of the NBA evaluation process.  Nevertheless, it’s not going anywhere until 2011, and early indications are that Comandante Stern wants to tack another year onto the age minimum and the NBAPA is unlikely to battle that point.  So then we’ll have 2-and-dones, which isn’t all that dissimilar from the NFL rule currently in existence (3 yrs).  But whether there’s a 1-year rule, 2-year rule, 3-year rule or 4-year rule, the problem begins with the corrupt and criminal AAU basketball system in this country and the agents that feed off of it.  These folks will not remove their grimy hands from the pockets of college basketball until there are no longer players on which they think they can ride to fortune.  In other words, never.  While there have been dozens of players drafted in the first round in the preps-to-pros era (the current 1-and-dones), there were far more early-entry sophomores and juniors over that same period.  It won’t go away, no matter what these people are saying (well, at least one commentator gets it). 

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No more OJs at USC?

Posted by nvr1983 on May 12th, 2008

I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. Here at RTC, we have discussed OJ Mayo several times most recently in what rtmsf myopically thought would be a final retrospective on the latest OJ to grace the USC campus. As pretty much everyone knows by now Mayo has been implicated in a rather large scandal involving Bill Duffy Agency (BDA) and Rodney Guillory, who appears to have been essentially hired by BDA to bring Mayo to them.

Most of my knowledge on the topic comes from Kelly Naqi’s Outside the Lines report I saw on Sunday morning while I was staying at a beach resort so this isn’t going to be some deep NY Times investigative piece that some of you may be expecting from RTC–we’ll work on that over the summer. Instead, I think it’s more interesting to consider the impact this will have on USC and recruiting/college basketball in general given the hype that Mayo brought with him to USC and the manner in which he handled his recruitment of USC–yes, the way he recruited USC.

Will OJ still be welcome at the USC campus?

According to the OTL report, Guillory gave Mayo cash,  a flat-screen television, cell phones, hotel rooms, clothes, meals, and airline tickets. Given Mayo’s celebrity status, it’s pretty hard to believe that Tim Floyd and others at USC didn’t notice this was going on. Some prescient writers like Gregg Doyel even warned USC about the specific threat as early as 2006, but USC never did anything about it. Floyd and USC just looked the other way and hoped nobody else would notice or at least that nobody would give them up while they raked in the money from the increased attendance and sales of Mayo’s jerseys. The transgressions are not at the same level as those involving Reggie Bush’s family at USC, but these directly involved a player (Mayo) while the majority of the financial benefit in the Bush situation appears to have been reaped by Bush’s parents who stayed at a million dollar house essentially for free.

The big question now is what the NCAA will do about it. There have been several reports over the past year that the NCAA has investigated Mayo thoroughly, but did not find anything. Given the amount of evidence presented in the OTL piece, it’s hard to imagine that the NCAA spent much time digging into Mayo if they never came across any of this stuff. Ever since Yahoo! Sports broke the Reggie Bush allegations, Internet message boards have been abuzz first with what sanctions would be levied against the Trojans and when none came with conspiracy theories about how the NCAA was protecting the Trojans while being much more harsh on other teams such as a dominant football power on the East Coast (Miami). Compounding the fans fury was the seeming indifference of the sports media outside of Yahoo! Sports (read: ESPN) to really go after USC. Fans claimed that ESPN was trying to protect its sacred cow as ESPN had hyped up the Trojans to the point where they ran a week-long segment on where the Trojans ranked historically even before their Rose Bowl game against Texas, which they lost thanks to a super-human performance by Vince Young (I Heart VY). Now that ESPN has decided to join the attack against USC, it will be interesting to see if the mainstream sports media will turn up the heat on the NCAA (still waiting for the SI cover asking USC to cancel its athletic program). For those of you who think I may be going too far, the list of transgressions by USC athletes goes far beyond Bush and Mayo and includes recent charges against athletes ranging from dealing drugs to weapons possession to sexual assault.

While I’m not on board with Pat Forde’s reactionary death penalty column, I think the NCAA should come down pretty hard on USC. I am not sure what the precedent is for multi-sport probation, but given the multiple transgressions by the USC football team and the Mayo fiasco that anybody could have seen coming, its pretty clear that the Athletic Director Mike Garrett has no control over his programs or doesn’t care as long as they win. I would think that a 1- or 2-year probation with a ban on postseason play would send a pretty clear message that the NCAA won’t tolerate this kind of behavior. However, I doubt the powers that be will punish USC that severely, but USC should at least have some scholarships taken away from them in addition to the ones they lost with their poor APR performance. If the NCAA fails to do that, the Internet and the parents’ basements that bloggers inhabit will be all over them and this time the mainstream sports media with ESPN’s support will be behind them.

The story about Mayo’s recruitment is well-known as an associate of his (Guillory) entered Tim Floyd’s office and offered Mayo and his “services” to USC. When Floyd asked for Mayo’s number to speak with him, he was told that Mayo would call him. Perhaps Guillory wanted to make sure Mayo stayed within the minute limits on the plans that Guillory was paying for. Hopefully, this fiasco will convince more coaches not to get involved in these situations as it was obvious from the beginning of this relationship who was in control. At least Floyd seemed in control over the team, but it won’t be too long before some 5-star comes in with his personal coach and pushes for certain personnel moves and demands that the offense runs through him so he can get his numbers to boost his draft status.

The final issue, and potentially the most important in terms of its overall effect on college basketball, is how this will affect the NCAA’s decision on the 1-and-done rule. It’s pretty obvious that Mayo and several other stars like Michael Beasley were never going to spend a minute more than required in college before jumping to the NBA. If it’s going to be like that for the next generation of college stars, I wonder if the trade-off is worth it. As much as opposing fans like to knock Tyler Hansbrough and J.J. Redick, they embody what we used to love about the college game with guys staying 4 years and developing their games and fans identifying teams with players and not just the coaches manning the sidelines. Unfortunately, Tyler and J.J. are not the caliber of player that we saw do that in the 1980s. College hoops fans need to face the reality that we will never see a Lebron James (would have finished his senior year last year) or Dwight Howard (would have finished his senior year this year) having those kind of historic college careers. The question is how much is it worth to bring in guys of that caliber (or Mayo who is clearly several steps below James or Howard) in for 1 year with the risk of it blowing up an athletic program like it threatens to do at USC now. Mayo’s career and eventual legacy at USC may go a long way in determining the future of this rule.

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