Friday, June 29, 2007

Reporters' Notebooks

Mick McGrane, San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego State sophomore quarterback Kevin Craft might play for his dad at Mount San Antonio Community College, which comes as news to Aztec coach Chuck Long. Kraft's dad, Tom, is the former coach at San Diego State.

Paul Strelow, Columbia State: Clemson and Auburn have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2010 and 2011. Clemson had to back out of an agreement to play Pittsburgh.

Tom Witosky, Des Moines Register: Iowa State's athletic department will be permitted to have a religious adviser, university president Gregory Geoffroy said.

Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News: When "war" really isn't a war.

Carl DuBois, Baton Rouge Advocate: Louisiana State coach Les Miles said sophomores Ryan Perrilloux and Ricky Jean-Francois are enrolled in summer school, but he declined to talk in detail about a timetable for their full reinstatement with the Tigers.

Christopher Walsh, Tuscaloosa News: Former Alabama quarterback Jimmy Barnes has transferred to Weber State, which opens at Boise State.

Seth Emerson, Columbia State: Did the person who stabbed South Carolina recruit Quintin Richardson act in self-defense?

Palm Beach Post: Former Miami coach Larry Coker has a new job. He will work as an analyst on select games for ESPNU this fall.

Baltimore Sun: Maryland junior offensive tackle Jared Gaither, who was declared ineligible for the upcoming season, is leaving school and will apply for entry into the NFL supplemental draft.

And here is today's mystery link.

Kid Poker Joins Us Friday Night

We are a week from the start of the main event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and our guest on the radio show Friday night/Saturday morning needs no introduction. Daniel Negreanu will again be among the favorites to win poker's richest event and he will help size up this year's field.

Daniel is scheduled to join us Friday night at 11:40 Pacific. Join the conversation by calling 800-878-7529.

You can hear "Sports Overnight America" over the Internet at SportsByline.com, on the American Forces Network, available in 177 countries and U.S. territories and Navy ships at sea, through the Cable Radio Network or one of the Sports Byline affiliates.

Former Iowa Receiver Cleared in Shooting


Former Iowa receiver Ivory Webb, a two-time letterman for the Hawkeyes who started in the 1982 Rose Bowl, was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of an Air Force police officer last year.

Webb was a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy on Jan. 29, 2006, when at the end of a high-speed chase he shot Elio Carrion after Carrion appeared to be following Webb's order to get up from a sprawled position on the pavement. The shooting was videotaped and the footage, which drew comparisons to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, dominated the four-week trial. The jury, composed of eight whites, three blacks and one Latino spent less than half a day in deliberation.

Webb's teammates at Iowa included Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, Arizona coach Mike Stoops and former NFL Pro Bowler Andre Tippett.

Webb, 46, broke down when the verdict was announced (video link on this page) and hugged his attorneys. Carrion, 23, who has returned to duty at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, has yet to make a public comment.

Webb, who left the Sheriff's Department a few months after the incident, still must contend with a federal lawsuit Carrion filed against Webb and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

An Update on the Second-Tier Network

They keep piling on the Big Ten Network, a week after conference commissioner Jim Delany asked David Cohen to apologize for remarks the Comcast executive made about the fledgling network. Cohen properly stood his ground and the person looking like the fool is Delany, who is losing credibility by the second.

But Delany is stubborn and in this battle of egos, he is not about to acknowledge he goofed, even though everybody else realizes he did. Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has a biting piece in which he writes:

"This isn't exactly the Boston Tea Party. The disgruntled will not toss their television remotes into Lake Michigan, but Delany's demand that Comcast include the Big Ten Network in its basic cable package reeks of imperialism.

"He wants all of Comcast's nearly six-million cable subscribers within the eight-state Big Ten region footing the bill for a network with only marginal interest in its own backyard. And Delany is using the conference football games that ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 have no use for as leverage in pressuring Comcast to acquiesce to its demands."

And as for Delany's attempt to get his network carried nationwide, it appears he hasn't done his homework. Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret Morning News writes: "The commissioner of the Big Ten is remarkably naive. Well, either that or the Mountain West Conference's channel, The mtn., is completely off his radar."

He points to this quote from Delany about his battle with Comcast: "Now, perhaps if they owned the network, we would be getting a different treatment."

It turns out that Comcast is half-owner and operator The mtn. Although the network is available on lower tiers of Comcast cable systems in Mountain West TV markets, it isn't available at all on most Comcast systems.

"It is telling, however, that Comcast considers the Big Ten Network a niche channel. That pretty much explains why the cable company won't distribute The mtn. in non-MWC markets," writes Pierce.

At this point, maybe the only hope for Delany is to have his network show "a good old time rope climb to lighten the spirits."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Brand's Salary: $895,000

Myles Brand is laughing all the way to the bank. The head of the NCAA pulled down $895,000 in 2005-06, according to tax records obtained by the Indianapolis Star.

That is almost a 3% increase from the previous year. The NCAA declined a request to reveal his salary for this year.

There is only one public university president and eight private university presidents who make more than Brand, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Brand took over the NCAA in 2003 after serving as president of Indiana University. He was making $392,000 when he left Indiana.

The NCAA reported revenue of $549 million on the tax form, the vast majority of which comes from the Division I men's basketball tournament. The NCAA reported that more than 90% of its money was returned to schools in direct payments or services such as conducting national championships.

Once again we ask, who is taking advantage of the system? It's certainly not our student-athletes, who are having to go to court in January to get money for incidental expenses, which the NCAA eliminated in 1973 to cut costs.

It should come as no surprise that they continue to ask questions in Washington about the tax-exempt status of college sports.

Florida State Recruits Banned From Disney

Five Florida State recruits, including Moses McCray, left, are considering legal action against the Walt Disney Company after an incident Friday night at Downtown Disney in Orlando.

The players were ejected and banned for life from the theme park under Downtown Disney's new beefed up anti-gang policy.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Orange County sheriff department records show that deputies have issued 48 trespass warnings at Downtown Disney in the past two weekends. Of those, 46 were bans for life and 45 of those people were black or Hispanic.

All five of the Florida State recruits are black. The father of one recruit, Nick Moody, is Philadelphia civil rights lawyer Adrian Moody. "I can tell you this, based on what I know now, it sounds like [racial] profiling to me. These are good kids. It's sad for them to have to go through something like this," he said.

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak defended the theme park's action: "This particular group of guests was seen loitering for a particularly long time at the Downtown Disney complex," she said. Polak added that when the players were asked to leave, they refused.

Bowl Games

Nice find by our friend Yost over at M Zone. A Louisiana State fan has posted a YouTube video of his bathroom, which has been converted into a shrine for the Tigers. It appears LSU fans, still sore over USC claiming a share of the 2003 national championship, would prefer to flush away that memory.

This follows the lead of Billy Sims, who won the Heisman in 1978 for Oklahoma. Sims, now running Billy Sims Barbecue restaurants in Oklahoma, features an upside-down Longhorn logo in the bowl of the men's restroom in his Tulsa establishment.

Reporters' Notebooks

Bridget Wentwork, Newark Star-Ledger: Let the Heisman hype begin. Rutgers junior running back Ray Rice's site, See Ray Run, is up and running.

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette: The Big Ten has badly overreached in an attempt to get its network on cable outlets in Big Ten states. With little more than two months until the season starts, the conference better master the art of compromise. Story is in comments.

Neill Ostrout, Connecticut Post: Notre Dame quarterback Zach Frazer, who expressed a desire to transfer, reportedly has narrowed his choices to Cincinnati and Connecticut. Thanks to Ben Maller.

Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops got a $150,000 boost in pay. His boss, athletic director Joe Castiglione, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement for outgoing Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg, was given a $30,000 raise.

Ryan Suchomel, Iowa City Press-Citizen: An Iowa fan, who had a football signed by arguably the finest coaching staff in the history of college football, finally got the one signature he was misssing.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia coach Mark Richt is gushing about his mission to Honduras and says he plans to return.

And here is today's mystery link. Thanks to Joe!

Post Pattern

Frankly, we are sick and tired of this braindead story. Thankfully, somebody at the New York Post shares our feelings.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Meet USC's New Quarterbacks Coach

As if USC needed any help to prepare for a national championship run, who shows up on campus Tuesday? None other than Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning (he's the guy behind Tommy Lee).

Manning threw passes to receivers for about 90 minutes and gave pointers on footwork and throwing to quarterback John David Booty. "You dream about stuff like this," Booty said.

Manning was in L.A. to film a commercial at the L.A. Coliseum, then contacted Tim Floyd, a longtime friend of Manning's father, Archie, about working out with some of the Trojan footballers.

According to Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News, Manning threw to receivers Patrick Turner, David Ausberry and Brandon Carswell, along with tight ends Fred Davis and Anthony McCoy and tailback Joe McKnight, the hotshot recruit from Louisiana.

"I didn't think I'd get to do that," McKnight said. "I found out about 30 minutes before."

And people wonder why players want to come to USC. ...

Reporters' Notebooks

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald: Miami's expected move of home games to Dolphin Stadium appears to be losing momentum, putting the Orange Bowl back in contention.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: It appears the 40-year marriage between Notre Dame football and the Westwood One Radio Network will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2007 season.

Jim Carty, Ann Arbor News: Is former Michigan quarterback and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who ripped his former school for soft admissions standards for recruits, sore over not getting hired as Wolverine quarterbacks coach in 2002?

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: South Florida has extended its lease with the Tampa Sports Authority, meaning the Bulls will play home games in Raymond James Stadium for at least another five seasons. Plus why the deal makes sense.

Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News: Is this a make-or-break season for Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione?

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Washington has sold 42,154 season tickets for the 2007 season. That's 444 shy of what the Huskies sold for the 2006 season.

Seth Emerson, Columbia State: South Carolina recruit Quintin Richardson was released from a hospital, two days after being stabbed at a friend's apartment.

Jim Kleinpeter, Times-Picayune: Speedy Louisiana State receiver Trindon Holliday will skip the IAAF World Track Championships in Japan to prepare for the upcoming football season.

Milo Bryant, Colorado Springs Gazette: Big, bad Colorado will play Eastern Washington in 2008, but doesn't have the vigor to play little, old Air Force.

Idaho Statesman: ESPN is still working out the kinks in its ESPY ballot. Boise State was incorrectly listed as an nominee for Best Finish. ESPN called the error "regrettable."

Ted Miller, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Basically, the Pacific 10 Conference smoked a championship cigar and then stubbed it out on the forehead of the rest of the college sports community.

And here is today's mystery link.

To bypass registration, go to Bug Me Not.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Reporters' Notebooks

Chuck Bausman, Philadelphia Daily News: If Joe Paterno were serious about discipline, he would sit his "expelled" players not only for the Sept. 1 opener against Florida International, but for the Sept. 8 game against Notre Dame.

Joe Vardon, Toledo Blade: Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, the Toledo running back who is suspended from the team because of his alleged connection to a point-shaving scandal, has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2007 season.

Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Now a politician is involved. A congressman sent a letter to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany to express his concern over the fight between the conference's fledgling TV network and cable giant Comcast. The congressman has a history of such grandstanding.

Tania Ganguli, Orlando Sentinel: Georgia's policy of fining athletes for missing class might eventually become policy in the Southeastern Conference.

Tom Witosky, Des Moines Register: Iowa State should be allowed to have a volunteer religious adviser on its football staff so long as that individual does not lead religious activities at mandatory team functions, an Iowa State faculty athletic panel recommended.

Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: A state review of the Hawaii athletics budget, which remains $4.2 million in the red, has been requested.

Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star: Ticket sales are brisk for the Nov. 24 Missouri-Kansas game at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium, the first Tiger-Jayhawk game in K.C. since 1945.

Seth Emerson, Columbia State: The prognosis is good for South Carolina recruit Quintin Richardson, who remained hospitalized after a stabbing.

Jake Schaller, Colorado Springs Gazette: Think you are busy this summer? Take a look at what some football-playing Air Force cadets go through.

Casper Star Tribune: Wyoming will play Boise State, Missouri and Oregon in three home-and-home series in coming years.

Chip Brown, Dallas Morning News: Earl Campbell, the 1977 Heisman winner from Texas, was taken to a hospital with back pain after being forced off the road by an 18-wheeler making a sudden lane change near Tyler.

And here is today's mystery link.

Reinstituting the Draft

In case you missed it, we had Paul Netter of the Los Angeles Times as a guest on the radio show Friday night/Saturday morning. Paul gave us the scoop on Thursday's NBA draft, possible trades and what teams like the Lakers might do. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Insanity That Is Project 119


Project 119 — the crazed attempt to visit all 119 Division I-A stadiums — has posted three new videos of the latest trip — "The Great Nor'Easter" — that covered nine stadiums. We've featured one of the videos above, the other two can be viewed at Project 119.

We were impressed with Project 119's visit to Army's Michie Stadium, where two cadets, including linebacker John Plumstead, greeted the team (that video is on Project 119's site). Seeing what quality kids they have at West Point, you can't help but pull for the Black Knights when they take the field.

Other postings from stadiums visited on the latest journey: Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College, Syracuse and Buffalo. Three other reviews are in the works.

At last count, 43 stadiums have been visited, with rumors of a swing through Atlantic Coast Conference territory and perhaps, Southeastern Conference country coming this fall.

One of the low points of the trip continues to be the journey to Iowa's Kinnick Stadium. Project 119 ringleader Dave Farris wrote: "I wish that the University of Iowa didn't employ total jackasses to lord over Kinnick Stadium. Apparently, Iowa is convinced that they are too good to allow people to take pictures in their newly renovated stadium."

That brought a call earlier this month from Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Mike Hlas, and we've included his column in the comments section below this post.

Joe Paterno: The Master at Work

According to this, "the last thing Joe Paterno wishes to discuss is his legacy." So we are here today to discuss it for him.

He's a master.

In April, after several members of his team busted into an apartment and attacked party-goers, Paterno was facing what appeared to be a disaster off and on the field. Six players were paraded in front of cameras as they entered court and branded as hooligans, but most important, Paterno faced losing safety Anthony Scirrotto, who called the posse to the apartment after a couple of non-footballers apparently laughed at his girlfriend.

But Paterno's preemptive strike of announcing that the entire team will be required to clean out Beaver Stadium after home games this fall worked. All but two of the players have been cleared and Scirrotto will be available when fall practice begins. If he gets suspended by Paterno it likely will be for one game, the Sept. 1 opener against dreaded Florida International. The next week, of course, something called Notre Dame comes to town.

Any way you look at it, you have to admire Paterno for pulling this one off.

Reporters' Notebooks

Jim Carty, Ann Arbor News: Somebody needs to pull Jim Delany aside and tell the Big Ten commissioner he sounded like a kook last week.

Scott Cacciola, Memphis Commercial Appeal: Imagine 400 screaming women paying $125 each to hear Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron, well, scream.

Wally Hall, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: The new voice of Arkansas football, who once compared anti-Houston Nutt supporters to terrorists, could further split Razorback fans.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a group of professors from 55 major college schools, want players to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average to stay eligible. Here is a link to the group's site.

Evan Woodbery, Mobile Press-Register: Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville fields questions about facilities and recruiting.

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: A messy situation at Hoover High, the dominant high school program in Alabama, where there are concerns that some athletes — get this — were getting special academic treatment.

Jeff Wilkinson and Seth Emerson, Columbia State: Quintin Richardson, a South Carolina recruit, was stabbed at a Columbia apartment complex early Sunday morning.

Bart Wright, Greenville News: For the first time in several years, the Sept. 3 Bowden Bowl between Florida State and Clemson has a lot riding on the outcome.

And here is today's mystery link.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Reporters' Notebooks

Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star: Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern, Tim Brewster of Minnesota and Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints were among coaches in attendance at an emotional memorial service to honor Terry Hoeppner, the Indiana coach who died Tuesday. "I promise we're going to go to a bowl game. Not just for our seniors, but for coach Hep," receiver James Hardy said.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: For the next commissioner of the Big 12, changing the current revenue sharing model should be a non-issue.

Robert DeWitt, Tuscaloosa News: Authorities suspect someone intentionally killed a row of live oak trees that stood between Bryant-Denny Stadium and a new, pricey luxury condominium development aimed at attracting Alabama fans as buyers. Thanks to Losers With Socks.

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: The obsession with maintaining the "purity" of Michigan Stadium as its father, Fielding H. Yost, saw it 80 years ago never made any sense.

Joe Vardon, Toledo Blade: The father of Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, Jr., says his son will not be indicted by federal prosecutors in an alleged point-shaving case. And Toledo player's grandmother wants the running back to be reinstated to the team.

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: Breaking down the schedules of Big 12 teams, with a look at the six best conference and the six best nonconference games.

Berry Tramel, Oklahoman: Bob Stoops says Oklahoma's quarterback situation really isn't an issue at all.

Ron Morris, Columbia State: Former South Carolina quarterback and current play-by-play announcer Todd Ellis has made in excess of $200,000 in a three-year period for his involvement in BurnLounge, an online music retailer that is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission.

Seth Emerson, Columbia State: South Carolina has reported eight secondary violations to the NCAA, including three involving the football team.

Ed McGranahan, Greenville News: Clemson will unveil a "seat equity" plan to begin with the 2008 season, but any details are guarded at the moment to protect against pre-emptive outrage.

Associated Press: Former Oklahoma State quarterback Al Pena has received a waiver from the NCAA that will allow him to play this fall at Houston.

And here is today's mystery link. Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State for this link. To clarify, a mystery link likely has nothing to do with college football. It merely has to be entertaining. Send mystery link submissions to dawizofodds (at) aol.com.

To bypass registration, go to Bug Me Not. Thanks to Hester Graphics.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weiberg's Curious Decision to Leave

Why did Kevin Weiberg, voted the fourth-most influential person in college athletics only 2.5 years ago by Sports Business Journal, leave his job as Big 12 commissioner to become vice president of planning and development for the Big Ten Network?

Although Weiberg did a lot of good for the conference, cracks were beginning to develop among the have-nots in the conference, who are not given an equal share of the league's TV revenues.

Big 12 teams share all conference-generated revenue with the exception of TV money. That discrepancy has helped create budget discrepancies between the conference’s elite teams like Nebraska, Texas and Texas A&M and bottom feeders like Kansas State and Iowa State.

According to Big 12’s Internal Revenue Service filings obtained by the Omaha World-Herald, Texas was allocated the most money at $9.68 million in the 2006 season. Kansas State received the least at $6.47 million.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard has been the loudest critic of the way the Big 12 splits the TV pie. Pollard, who came to Ames from Wisconsin, started a campaign to split revenues equally, which is the way they do business in the Big Ten.

"That is a reason they have grown their brand as strong as they have," Pollard said.

Weiberg appeared to acknowledge that it was time for the Big 12 to change its ways during his exit press conference.

"I'm a proponent of more equal revenue sharing on the television front," he said. "I’m certain that issue will have to be aired out fully, and maybe the new person will have a good opportunity to do that."

Friday, June 22, 2007

By Golly, It's Erin Andrews!

If you've been watching the College World Series, you've caught a glimpse of Erin Andrews. ... Wait, let's switch that around. If you've been watching Erin Andrews, you've caught a glimpse of the College World Series.

We pride ourselves in keeping readers updated on Andrews, 29, who tells John Scheibe of the Los Angeles Times how much she loves Omaha and "talking to the parents as much as the players." Really now, need we say more?

Thanks to TV Tan Lines.

Rich People Have Problems, Too

Now it's personal. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, left, on a campaign to shove his Big Ten Network down the throats of cable TV giant Comcast, asked the company for an apology over remarks that he claimed were "intended to denigrate institutions and teams" in his conference.

Comcast's reply: Get lost.

Comcast, the leading cable TV provider in Big Ten markets, says the network is too expensive to carry on the basic tier of programming. David Cohen, above right, executive vice president of Comcast, told the New York Times in a story published Monday that he has "no doubt that the Big Ten will try to rile up their fans and alumni to say that big bad Comcast is denying their content to Big Ten fans and alumni."

On Wednesday, Comcast issued a statement saying that the network will show "second and third-tier sporting events" and called it "a niche sports channel" and added: "Indiana basketball fans don't want to watch Iowa volleyball, but the Big Ten wants everyone to pay for their new network."

Delany fired back on Thursday. "In the Midwest, when you're talking about a women's sports team, you talk about them with respect," Delany said. "They're not second tier. Certainly, games at Michigan and Penn State and Ohio State — I don't care who the opponent is, those are not second-tier games. To the extent that those remarks were intended to denigrate institutions or teams or, in particular the women's volleyball team at Iowa, I think they ought to be rethought. I think if clarifications are necessary, that's fine. And really, if they were intended to denigrate, there ought to be an apology."

To reinforce Delany's position (and to rile up fans, no doubt), the Big Ten Network issued a press release stating that it pledges to broadcast an equal number of men's and women's events by the third year. ... In other words, the Big Ten Network just acknowledged it will offer second-tier programming on an equal basis in three years.

Cohen wasted little time with his reply, sending a letter to Delany.

"Commissioner, you are a representative of an athletic conference made up of some of the finest academic institutions in the country," Cohen wrote. "Those institutions — and the students they seek to educate — should expect all of their representatives to maintain basic standards of integrity. Your mischaracterizations and overstatements are not consistent with such standards. Our hope is that we can keep our differing opinions regarding this carriage issue from resulting in any further personal attacks."

The Wiz scores this round in favor of Cohen, 10-9.

Reporters' Notebooks

Chris Shelton and Neill Woelk, Boulder Daily Camera: Colorado will lose one football scholarship per year over the next three years for undercharging walk-on athletes for certain types of meals. ... Had Colorado, which reported the violations, done what plenty of other schools do in similar cases (hello USC?), Buff officials would have simply cleaned up the mess, swept it under the carpet and moved on.

Matt Winkeljohn, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The group that cares for the Ramblin' Wreck, the 1930 Ford Model A that leads Georgia Tech onto the field, won't allow any photos of damage done to the vehicle during an accident last week for fear of rivals using the images deviously.

Brian Davis and Dave Levinthal, Dallas Morning News: Outgoing Dallas mayor Laura Miller said hope for a Texas Tech-Oklahoma State game at the Cotton Bowl appear dead. "Once Jerry Jones got in the middle of it, it got complicated," Miller said.

Chip Brown, Dallas Morning News: Oklahoma State bound for a Bowl Championship Series game in 2007? It's not as crazy as one might think. Plus a predicted order of finish in the Big 12 North and South.

Garry Smits, Jacksonville Times-Union: No time to rest for Gator Bowl officials, who are preparing for the Alabama-Florida State game on Sept. 29.

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Washington is becoming a consensus No. 1 in at least one poll — having the toughest schedule in the country.

Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki, Detroit Free Press: The Michigan Board of Regents voted to accept bids on a $226-million renovation of Michigan Stadium that will add about 500 seats, primarily in luxury boxes and wheelchair-accessible areas.

Christian Ewell, Baltimore Sun: Jared Gaither, a starting offensive lineman for Maryland the last two years, has been declared academically ineligible.

George Hostetter, Fresno Bee: According to a university-commissioned report by an independent accounting firm, Fresno State improperly accepted nearly $2.9 million in corporate matching gifts for athletics from 1986 through 2003, despite donor policies prohibiting this use.

Scott Cacciola, Memphis Commercial Appeal: Arkansas State fans are not thrilled over the prospect of the university changing its nickname from the Indians.

Kyle Hightower, Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida's new stadium is about 85% complete as the Knights prepare for their Sept. 15 home opener against Texas.

And here is today's mystery link.

To bypass registration, go to Bug Me Not.

We Feel a Draft ...

So Portland, you're sold on this Greg Oden guy, even though his left wrist lacks flexibility and he has one leg longer than the other. And what about those back problems? Remember 1984, when the Trail Blazers selected Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan with the No. 2 pick (Hakeem Olajuwon was the No. 1 pick). It was the single most colossal blunder in the history of basketball. Is Kevin Durant the way to go for Portland?

We are going to discuss Thursday's NBA draft with Paul Netter of the Los Angeles Times. Paul will join us just after the midnight hour Friday on the West Coast. Fred Wallin and John Woolard start things off at 10 p.m. (Pacific), and the Wiz steps into the fray at 11:30.

"Sports Overnight America" is the name of the show, and we broadcast worldwide over the Internet at SportsByline.com and the American Forces Network, heard in 177 countries and U.S. territories and Navy ships at sea. Or check the Cable Radio Network or one of the Sports Byline affiliates. You can join the conversation by calling 800-878-7529.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Did Andrews Perform Clausen Surgery?

Did famed orthopedic surgeon James Andrews of Birmingham perform surgery June 5 on the right (throwing) elbow of Notre Dame freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen? An eagle-eyed tipster to Blue-Gray Sky may have uncovered this gem while perusing a June 11 story about Andrews in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The piece, written by Steve Hummer, details some of the 15 surgeries on Andrews' schedule that day:

"Included on the schedule this day was a 47-year-old attorney who had blown out his shoulder during an amateur baseball tournament. There was an incoming freshman quarterback who needed a quick elbow repair in time for the start of next season. And a 14-year-old pitcher from Florida who already had blown out his elbow and was facing a Tommy John transplant far too soon in life."

Given the hype surrounding Clausen and his potential, it is certainly understandable that the quarterback would be sent to Andrews, regarded by many as the best in the business.

Blue-Gray Sky also makes this interesting observation: "It also possibly answers the question as to why it took so long to get the surgery done — the article says the work was done on June 5th — as I'm sure Dr. Andrews' appointment book is rather booked."

The site Log's Blog first reported Clausen's surgery on June 12th. Then Notre Dame, after hiding the fact Clausen had surgery, acknowledged that the quarterback had "procedure" on an elbow, although it did not specify which elbow it was.

Our thanks to Image of Sport.

Reporters' Notebooks

Michael Liedtke, Associated Press: Hoping to deepen its appeal to hard-core sports fans, Yahoo Inc. is buying Brentwood, Tenn.-based Rivals.com. The deal will intensify Yahoo's competition with News Corp.'s online division, which already owns Scout.com.

Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Legendary Georgia announcer Larry Munson, citing declining health, likely will not travel with the team to road games this fall.

Mark Rein, Scottsbluff Star-Herald: Former Nebraska and NFL standout Roger Craig on the 2007 Cornhuskers: “I think they will be great. I think this is their breakout year."

Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: The next Boise State? Talk that Hawaii could be the Cinderella of the 2007 season is not going over well in Boise.

Kate Hairopoulos, Dallas Morning News: Southern Methodist backup quarterback Corey Slater, who played in six games last season, is leaving the team.

Marcus Nelson, Palm Beach Post: Athletic director Pete Garcia is in a rush to turn things around at Florida International.

Associated Press: The Ramblin' Wreck, the vintage car that has led Georgia Tech onto Grant Field since 1961, was wrecked as it was being towed to Savannah to be used in a wedding.

And here is today's mystery link.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Paterno Starting to Show His Age

Joe Paterno was making the rounds Tuesday night in Pittsburgh and the 80-year-old Penn State coach has one goal for the upcoming season: He wants to run out of the Beaver Stadium tunnel with his team in the Sept. 1 opener against dreaded Florida International.

Paterno hasn't been the same since he suffered torn ligaments in his left knee and fractured a bone in his left leg in a November sideline collision at Wisconsin. He used to walk 25-30 miles a week around the Penn State campus. Now a 50-yard sprint from the tunnel to the sideline seems insurmountable.

"Right now, I wouldn't bet on it," Paterno was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Paterno also said he has no plans to renew the 96-game series with Pittsburgh, suggesting he is still upset with the Panthers for bolting in 1982 to the Big East in basketball after Paterno tried to form an all-sports eastern conference.

Paterno reiterated that Pittsburgh would have to play the series on Penn State's terms.

"Financially, we have to have seven home games," he said. "Now, if Pitt would say tomorrow that we'll play twice up at your place and once down here ... The last time we came to Pitt, they charged more money for our game than any other game."

Paterno has other minor problems. Penn State defensive back Anthony Scirrotto was among four players kicked out of school until August by the university's Office of Judicial Affairs. One player, Lydell Sargeant, plans to fight the punishment. Each were involved in the April 1 incident in a State College apartment.

The Centre Daily Times reports the players won't be allowed to return to campus until Aug. 6, just in time for preseason workouts. Normally, expelled students would not be allowed on campus until the expulsion ends, in this case on Aug. 17.

Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.

'Gift of a Lifetime' Program to Expand?

Oklahoma State officials are considering expanding the "Gift of a Lifetime" program, which will generate over $250 million in life insurance commitments for the athletic department.

The plan was the brainchild of T. Boone Pickens, 79, the most powerful booster in college athletics.

Pickens' right-hand man, Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder, told the Denver Post the athletic department is likely to seek other boosters interested in the controversial program.

"I think we're going to do another one," Holder said. "We have 27 in the first underwriting. And I think we'll try to do another of 25, to get $250 million more. I won't see the benefit of that. But future athletic directors at Oklahoma State will be happy we did it."

Reporters' Notebooks

Carter Strickland and Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Larry Munson, 84, the legendary voice of Georgia football, discussed the possibility of retiring with Bulldog athletic director Damon Evans.

Sean Keeler, Des Moines Register: George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, on the Big Ten Network: "In effect, the Big Ten has changed their business plan. They're now competing with the hand that feeds them, in some respects."

Jeffrey Slatton and Wally Hall, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Another crazed Arkansas fan pays a research firm $6,300 to survey Razorback faithful. Houston Nutt gets a 63% approval rating. So what does this prove or accomplish?

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: Trouble here? Alabama's Nick Saban is trying to sign the team's first recruit out of Memphis since Albert Means.

Dennis Brackin, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota should recoup the $5 million buyout-related costs for Glen Mason and Dan Monson within three years from increased revenue generated by new ticket sales alone. Plus, transition costs.

Jeffrey Martin, Kansas City Star: Kansas State coach Ron Prince has reason to believe his Wildcats can win their opener at Auburn.

Bryan Mullen, Tennessean: Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson talks about beating Tennessee in 2005, his favorite TV show and his uncanny resemblance to comedian Steve Martin.

Dave Thomas, Yakima Herald-Republic: Washington coach Tyrone Willingham, facing the toughest schedule in the nation, when asked at an alumni stop if the goal is to reach a major bowl game: "Is there anything else?"

And here is today's mystery link.

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Terry Hoeppner: 1947-2007

Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner, 59, died Tuesday of complications of brain cancer. He is the second Big Ten coach to die in less than a year, following the sudden death last June of Northwestern's Randy Walker, who was the first active Division I-A coach to die in 20 years. Hoeppner and Walker were friends from their days at Miami (Ohio). When Walker left Miami to take over the Northwestern program, Hoeppner, one of his assistants, took over as RedHawks' coach.

In late February, Hoeppner stopped by the NCAA's offices and discussed coaching at a basketball school, above. It was one of his last public appearances.

Indiana fans were quick in embrace Hoeppner, and the energy he brought to the program was beginning to translate into victories. Hours after Hoeppner's passing was announced, a Hoosier fan put together the YouTube tribute we have posted below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Stanford Band Off Double-Secret Probation

There was that little incident back in 1986, when some members exposed themselves and urinated on the field during a game against Washington.

Then there was the game at Notre Dame in 1991, when a band member dressed as a nun conducted the band with a crucifix instead of a baton.

And in a 1997 game against Notre Dame at Stanford, the band parodied the Irish potato famine and a band member satirized the Catholic Church by portraying a Cardinal advocating the idea that the Earth is actually flat.

And who could forget 1982. The Big Game against California, when band members rushed onto the field during the final play and Kevin Moen of the Golden Bears crashed into Stanford trombone player Gary Tyrrell in the end zone while scoring the winning touchdown as time ran out.

No, none of that got the Stanford Band in trouble like an incident last July 17, when members vandalized a university trailer — known as the Band Shak — after members had emptied it and moved into a new Band Shak. That earned the 150-member band a suspension, which prohibited it from performing at halftime of games.

But the suspension ended Monday. Stanford announced that its band was back in good graces and can return to performing at halftime of Cardinal games. The first home game is Sept. 1 against UCLA.

The alcohol ban, however, has not been lifted. That means the Stanford Tree — or more exactly, the person inside the costume — won't be tanked, which happened last year during a basketball game when the blood-alcohol level of the woman inside the costume tested at 0.157. For those of you keeping score at home, that is almost twice the legal driving limit in California.

Reporters' Notebooks

Randy Ellis, Oklahoman: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops confirmed he invested in an online digital music business that federal regulators allege is an illegal pyramid scheme.

Christopher Walsh, Tuscaloosa News: Did USC defend its title as best college program? The Tuscaloosa News ranks them, 1 through 25.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: Is Alabama coach Nick Saban worth his eight-year, $32 million contract? Absolutely not. In fact, he's probably worth twice that amount.

Jon Solomon, Birmingham News: Beginning Aug. 1, each Southeastern Conference athletics department must have a class attendance policy. Each school can decide its policies, but penalties must include suspension from competition.

Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press: Michigan's plans to renovate the Big House got a $5-million boost from alumnus and longtime supporter Stephen M. Ross.

Ann Arbor News: The Michigan Fantasy Football Experience will allow participants — for a fee of $2,500 — to enjoy a "recruitment'' dinner, analyze game film, discuss recruiting and game strategy and attend a team meeting.

Rob Keys, Northwest Arkansas Times: A look back at the top 10 season openers for Arkansas in the past 30 years. There is a surprising entry at No. 1.

And here is today's mystery link.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some Big Names Tied to BurnLounge

Marc Isenberg of the terrific site Money Players finds a gem of a story. Several former South Carolina and Clemson standouts are investors in BurnLounge, an online music retailer that is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC alleges BurnLounge is a pyramid scheme. Currently only former South Carolina running back Rob DeBoer, who claims to have made $300,000 with the website since leaving his former job with the South Carolina sports marketing department, is facing legal action. But the list of BurnLounge investors and associates is staggering.

The Columbia State reports that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is an investor and former Clemson and Arkansas coach Danny Ford and former South Carolina running back and Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers lent their names in exchange for franchises that ended making little or no money.

Former South Carolina quarterback and Gamecock announcer Todd Ellis is also named by the paper, as is South Carolina receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr., who said he invested in BurnLounge a year ago after Stoops introduced him to the concept. Spurrier already seems to be backpedaling.

"When Bob Stoops got me, he said, 'I've spoken to a lawyer about this. I've spoken to my agent. I've spoken to some people to find out if this is a legitimate thing. And everything they told me, this is a legitimate [business]. Put your name on it and go do it,' " said Spurrier Jr., a member of Stoops' Sooners staff from 1999 to 2001.

The State reported that Stoops was not available for comment. South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman said the university is reviewing actions of those involved to see if any disciplinary action is warranted.

Big Ten Network: Not Everybody Wants It


Doors to cable viewers are not swinging open like the Big Ten planned. The conference's Big Ten Network is scheduled to go on air in August, but the league is finding it difficult to swing a deal with cable heavyweight Comcast, with Time Warner Cable is also hesitant to add the network.

According to the New York Times, Comcast is developing a campaign that will attempt to prove that the network is too expensive and too provincial to be broadly distributed.

"I have no doubt that the Big Ten will try to rile up their fans and alumni to say that big bad Comcast is denying their content to Big Ten fans and alumni," David Cohen, an executive vice president of Comcast, told the Times' Richard Sandomir.

The root of this dispute could be traced to early discussions about the network, when Comcast was approached about becoming the Big Ten's partner. The cable operator's view of the network was limited in scope, and the Big Ten found a more willing partner in Fox, which will run and own 49% of the operation.

The Big Ten's problems don't end with Comcast, which is the leading provider in the conference's eight states. Time Warner Cable, with the second-most subscribers in the Big Ten markets, is taking a similar position to Comcast's.

"I'm not confident of anything right now," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. "All I'll say is I have a hard time seeing many more offerings with more appeal than ours."

The Big Ten's marketing reach is extending online. It has been adding videos like the one above to YouTube. Thus far, eight videos have been posted, six of them recapping spring practice and previewing the season for six teams. Here are links to the six teams previewed thus far: Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois.

Reporters' Notebooks

Scott Wright, Oklahoman: The latest misdeeds at Oklahoma are essentially the fairly typical slip-ups that come with navigating the vast landscape that is the NCAA rulebook and its guidelines.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: Is Alabama athletic director Mal Moore wearing out his welcome?

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: A man of the people. Florida State's Bobby Bowden just finished 25 speeches to 25 different Seminole booster clubs in 35 days.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia coach and devout Baptist Mark Richt and his family are spending a week in Honduras on a mission.

Des Moines Register: A national advocacy group has sent Iowa State president Gregory Geoffroy a letter, urging him to reject a proposal that would make a chaplain available to Cyclone players.

And here is today's mystery link.

Send mystery link submissions to dawizofodds (at) aol.com.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Reporters' Notebooks

Marcus Nelson, Palm Beach Post: Sun Belt Conference presidents want league teams to limit the number of "body-bag games" against top Division I-A teams on the road. A proposal, which will likely be finalized this summer, calls for the eight Sun Belt teams to play at least 11 home games in a two-year period.

Jonathan Okanes, Contra Costa Times: A trial date of Sept. 19 has been set to stop California's plans to build a $120 million athletic facility.

Pete Bosak, Centre Daily Times: At least 12 Penn State players began receiving their punishments from the Office of Judicial Affairs for their roles in a downtown melee in April, but none are expected to face permanent expulsion or miss classes during the season.

Michael Rothstein, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Could it be that Notre Dame's Crewcut Charlie Weis was paid only $565,566 for his first season as coach?

John Kaltefleiter, Athens Banner-Herald: Georgia coach Mark Richt won't have a say in the suspensions of tight end Tripp Chandler and quarterback Blake Barnes because of the university's ludicrous policy on alcohol-related arrests.

Tony Phifer, Coloradoan: Colorado State will wear throwback jerseys and helmets in its home opener against California to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school's transition from Colorado A&M to Colorado State.

And here is today's mystery link.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Indiana's Difficult but Necessary Decision

If Indiana finally gets that 13th date on its schedule, it will have to do it without Terry Hoeppner. Three months of uncertainty ended Friday when the school announced that Hoeppner, above, had been hospitalized for reasons related to cancer and would not coach the team this fall. Assistant Bill Lynch, below left, was named interim coach, and athletic director Rick Greenspan said he would re-evaluate the coaching situation at the end of the season.

Although the move was not unexpected, it was not easy. Hoeppner, in two seasons as coach, is only 9-14, but the Hoosiers have shown marked improvement and were on the verge of making a postseason appearance last year.

Hoeppner's wife, Jane, addressed the team Friday morning. "She was strong, she really was," Lynch told the Indianapolis Star. "She gave a really appropriate message about life, and the challenges that go with it every day, and don't take anything for granted and give it your all every day. She's a lot like Terry. There was a little Terry in [the speech]."

Lynch, who has been Indiana's offensive coordinator the past two seasons, was interim coach for two games last season when Hoeppner was recovering from brain surgery. The Hoosiers lost both games.

Lynch previously was head coach at Ball State from 1995-2002 and won a Mid-American Conference title. Indiana recruits say they are united behind Lynch and pulling for Hoeppner's complete recovery.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Correcting an Earlier Error

On Wednesday, we linked to an article by Dave Curtis of the Orlando Sentinel that detailed legal problems involving several members of the defending national champion Florida Gators. Unfortunately, that article contained an error, and Curtis has written about the correction on his blog. Here is the text of Curtis' blog entry:

"In case you missed it, I made an error in Wednesday's story about discipline and the UF football team. The correction, which dealt with Gator rising junior Jonathan Phillips, ran in Thursday's editions of the Orlando Sentinel and Friday's editions of the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. Here's the correction that ran in the paper:

"The continuation of an article on Page D5 of Wednesday's Sports section about legal problems that University of Florida football players have faced this year incorrectly included a player who did not face such problems. Gators kicker Jonathan Phillips has not faced any legal issues."

The Saban Deal Is Official

When Nick Saban wants to go on vacation, the University of Alabama is obligated to provide a private plane. That is one of the perks of the coach's contract, which was approved in a unanimous vote Thursday by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. Let us remind you that a recent Education Week magazine study ranked Alabama 45th nationally in giving public schoolchildren a chance for success and 47th on an achievement index that includes performance on tests in reading and math, graduation rates and other student performance indicators. Thus the unanimous vote should come as no surprise.
Saban's deal is for eight years and $32 million, making him the highest-paid college football coach in history — at least among public schools. The Birmingham News reports that Notre Dame's Crewcut Charlie Weis is believed to have a 10-year contract that will pay him in the neighborhood of $40 million. Fat city!
In addition, Alabama spent an estimated $37,667 on its 38-day search, with $35,000 of that going to consultant Chuck Neinas. For our earlier report on Neinas' racket, click here. Can't say we didn't warn you, Alabama.

Trouble and Turmoil at Toledo


Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs has ordered a massive restructuring of the athletic department, citing problems with team travel, lack of financial control and unlawful handling of medications, according to the Toledo Blade.

In addition, all football and basketball players, except incoming freshman, have been told they must be interviewed by outside/special counsel and a faculty athletics representative to determine their eligibility for the upcoming season.

Jacobs was asked if he has lost confidence in football coach Tom Amstutz and basketball coach Stan Joplin.

“Do they have my support in everything? Possibly not,” he said. “I don’t know what everything is that they do. Do I hold them accountable? We have 7,000 employees. I hold every one of them accountable for our value system. I hold them accountable for doing their job, everyone accountable for following the rules of the state, the NCAA."

What appeared to have triggered this was the FBI investigation into an alleged points-shaving scheme involving Rocket running back Harvey McDougle. The case fell apart almost immediately and charges against McDougle were dropped.

The paper also reported that in October 2006, the NCAA approached university officials three days before the Toledo-Kent State football game on Oct. 14, notifying them that a large bet had been placed on the game. That NCAA later informed Toledo that no further investigation was warranted at the time.

Records obtained by the newspaper show that the wives and girlfriends of Toledo coaches, and boosters and other nonessential personnel, were allowed to fly with the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams at university expense. Records also show that coaches traveled to Germany and charged trip expenses to their Toledo credit cards.

Reporters' Notebooks

Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star: Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner will miss the 2007 season to continue his battle against cancer. Offensive coordinator Bill Lynch will take over on an interim basis and the situation will be reevaluated after the season.

George Hostetter, Fresno Bee: The days of routine contract extensions for Fresno State coach Pat Hill are over.

Dave Curtis, Orlando Sentinel: Florida guard Ronnie Wilson will be charged with one count battery and one count of discharging a firearm in public. Both are misdemeanors and carry a maximum punishment of a year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. He will be arraigned July 3.

Kate Hairopoulos, Dallas Morning News: A big blow to Southern Methodist. All-Conference USA linebacker Reggie Carrington, a sixth-year senior, has left the team.

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Outgoing Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg, who is leaving to become a vice president for the Big Ten Network, is taking a step down in terms of influence and prestige. Plus a look at the Big 12's hits and misses in Weiberg's nine years. And what the conference needs in a new leader.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Weiberg's resignation rates low on sports fans' radars, but the Big 12 might not be around or what it is today if not for him.

Scott D. Pierce, Deseret Morning News: The people running The mtn., the Mountain West Conference's TV network, just don't seem to get it.

And here is today's mystery link.

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The Fastest 90 Minutes in Sports

Worst. Finals. Ever. The NBA is a mess. First came the fiasco that was called the All-Star game, then teams were tanking games late in the regular season in an effort to get into the draft lottery. Finally, the Spurs and Cavaliers put on a four-game snoozefest, with the first team to 80 declared the winner. OK, maybe it wasn't that bad, but our friend Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News, who has been covering the finals, will be along to explain what this means for the future of the league. He will join us on "Sports Overnight America" around 11:30 (Pacific) Friday night.

Just after the midnight hour on the West Coast, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times will be our guest. He is the Angels beat writer and has been covering the team for the past 11 seasons. We will talk all things baseball until 1 a.m.

The show can be heard over the Internet at SportsByline.com, over the American Forces Network, the Cable Radio Network or one of the Sports Byline affiliates. Please join in the conversation by calling 800-878-7529.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Report: Big 12 Commish Headed to Big Ten

Anybody discounting the impact of the Big Ten Network take note: Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg, who at one point was voted the fourth most influential person in college athletics, is resigning to take a job with the Big Ten Network, according to a report by Kevin Kietzman of Kansas City's Sports Radio 810 WHB.

Imagine that, a commissioner of a Bowl Championship Series conference stepping down to take a less-glamorous position with a BCS rival. Weiberg is likely getting a substantial boost in pay, and if you're in the Big 12 — or any other BCS conference — you have to be concerned with the money and influence the Big Ten is throwing around.

As they say, money talks, and the Big Ten is rolling in it.

Thanks to Jeremie at AM 1430 The Buzz, Tulsa's Sports Authority.

Update: Story now confirmed. Weiberg will become the vice president of university planning and development for the Big Ten Network. Here is the link from the Kansas City Star.