So, slow news day, or what? Here, for those who are interested, is the quick run-down of intriguing developments in the world of intercollegiate athletics, with specific emphasis on our particular corner of it:
- A good day for journalism it was not. Reporters managed to miss entirely for almost 20 months an ongoing investigation of Georgia Tech athletics until literally the day major sanctions were announced, reporters managed to miss (or sat on) a heated exchange involving Gene Chizik in which it was confirmed that the NCAA still is investigating Auburn, and Bruce Feldman was suspended indefinitely by ESPN for something the Worldwide Leader reportedly authorized him to do. That’s not a slam on the Fourth Estate as a whole, which still boasts many quality journalists, upon whose efforts we bloggers rely, but, man, the ball got dropped a lot lately by the mainstream media.
- That said, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were placed on probation for four years over what looked like some pretty ticky-tacky stuff because the folks at the Flats failed to cooperate with the NCAA. It’s pretty clear that the guys in Indianapolis have decided in the wake of the Reggie Bush scandal that they’re in the message-sending business; they did it by benching A.J. Green for a quarter of a season over a lone indiscretion about which he and everyone else in Athens were entirely forthcoming, and they did it by pointedly dinging the Engineers for failing to shoot straight.
In his 1953 play The Crucible, Arthur Miller used the Salem witch trials of 1692 as an allegory for McCarthyism, but there was one major problem with that analogy: Joseph McCarthy was wildly irresponsible in his accusations, and he indefensibly leveled charges against innocent individuals, but there actually were communist agents working to bring down the American way of life. In that sense, the NCAA is not, strictly speaking, on a witch hunt, because there is actual wrongdoing occurring, and probably lots of it, but they sure seem to be targeting all the wrong stuff. Between this latest embarrassment and the previous probation in the middle of the previous decade, the Institute clearly needs to get its house in order, but, at the end of the day, this boils down to the fellows in Atlanta not taking some pretty penny-ante stuff seriously enough. The NCAA’s limited resources would be better spent elsewhere, although I did enjoy the Jacketfreude, if only because it should shut up any sanctimoniousness out of the City Too Busy to Hate (though it probably won’t).
- Meanwhile, its not hard to figure out which schools just took a shot across the bow from the NCAA, but at least the Ohio St. Buckeyes and the Oregon Ducks have sense enough to lay at least a little bit low. Not so the Auburn Tigers’ Gene Chizik, who publicly peppered the NCAA vice president for enforcement with several testy questions in a recent exchange that ended with these words from the head headhunter regarding the investigation into the dirtiest program in the SEC: "You’ll know when we’re finished. And we’re not finished." I think that pretty much means Auburn is. Enjoy that national championship while you can, boys.
- Recruiting? Mark Richt is doing it. Mark Fox is doing it, too. Preseason All-SEC teams? Bulldogs are on them. I would go into greater detail, but, at this point, covering such subjects seems to me tantamount to a couple telling their family and friends that they’re "trying." Don’t tell me when you’re trying; tell me when you’re expecting. I’ll write about the news when there’s news, but this is just news that, at some point in the future, there will be news. This may not be unrelated to the major media misses mentioned above.
- For a guy I’ve basically been arguing with all week, CCRider had some nice things to say. Much obliged . . . and sorry about the Thomas Jefferson crack. The Constitution is kind of one of my things.
- Christian Robinson, you’re a damn good ‘Dawg.
- Last, but by no means least, is the recent announcement that Richard Samuel has been moved back to tailback. While I’ve never been shy about defending Coach Richt, I don’t like this decision, and I don’t like the pattern of which this decision is a part. I didn’t like moving Samuel in the first place---I was in Stillwater in 2009, where I saw Samuel rush for 87 yards on 20 carries, including 40 yards on seven scampers in the first quarter alone, and I still don’t understand why we went away from what was working over the ensuing 45 minutes---but, since being moved to defense, he’s bulked up to 243 pounds in anticipation of playing linebacker. There is a reason why this move was not among MaconDawg’s suggested bold maneuvers, and it’s making me want to reach for something stronger than a Nestea.
Rather than run the risk of having Samuel become a jack of all trades and master of none, I’d rather the staff leave him where he is and notify the remaining tailbacks on the roster that this is their opportunity. By the way, the depth chart still features Brandon Harton, Ken Malcome, Alex Parsons, Carlton Thomas, and Wes Van Dyk, not to mention heralded incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell, so there’s not exactly a lack of warm bodies there, despite the losses of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King. Personally, I’d rather give the guys who are there now their chance . . . and make sure every screen Crowell sees between now and September 3 is showing Herschel Walker’s 1980 highlight reel on a continuous loop, with the sound of Larry Munson saying over and over and over again: "My God, a freshman!"
That should keep you covered until, oh, I don’t know, tomorrow morning, maybe?