SBD/July 23, 2012/Colleges

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  • NCAA Largely Praised On Twitter For Dropping Harsh Sanctions On Penn State

    NCAA can impose additional sanctions after any criminal proceedings

    The NCAA today imposed several sanctions against the Penn State football program in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The school has been fined $60M, the equivalent to the football program's average gross annual revenue. The funds will be put into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims. The team also has been banned from postseason play for four seasons, has been forced to vacate all wins from '98-'11 and will see a severe scholarship reduction for the next four years. The NCAA can impose additional sanctions after any criminal proceedings (NCAA). NCAA President Mark Emmert said, "This case involves tragic and tragically unnecessary circumstances. One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail. Indeed, even too big to challenge. The result can be erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs. All involved in intercollegiate athletics must be watchful that programs and individuals do not overwhelm the values of higher education. In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable. No price the NCAA can levy will repair the grievous damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims. However, we make clear that the culture, actions and inactions that allowed them to be victimized will not be tolerated.” Oregon State Univ. President and NCAA Exec Committee Chair Dr. Edward Ray said, “The message is the presidents and the chancellors are in charge. ... These are extraordinary circumstances. The Executive Committee has the authority to act on behalf of the entire association in extraordinary circumstances and we’ve chosen to exercise that authority” (ESPN, 7/23).

    TWITTER REAX
    : Emmert and the NCAA are getting generally positive reactions on Twitter for imposing the sanctions. NFL Network's Albert Breer wrote, "NCAA deserves credit today. This move could open a Pandora's box for them, as far as oversight. And they had the guts to move forward." ESPN's Dave Telep: "Prefer strong leadership. Roger Goodell, Mark Emmert. Popular or not, these guys seem to have solid compass for tough decisions." ESPN's Desmond Howard: "Applause for Mark Emmert (and NCAA) for 'walking the walk'. The toothless committee just grew fangs overnight." NBA.com's David Aldridge: "Can't believe I'm writing this. The NCAA got this, pretty much, correct. Allowing the current players to transfer immediately is imperative." ESPN's Mark May: "Wow the NCAA stepped up and followed up." CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel: "Mark Emmert just won the press conference. Drop the mic and walk away, Emmert." ESPN's Jemele Hill: "NCAA President Mark Emmert just dropped the mic on Penn State. Wow." SI.com's Andy Staples: "The NCAA is going to handle stuff that matters now? Awesome. Keep doing it and quit acting like a kid committed murder if he sold a jersey." However, FoxSportsOhio.com's Pat McManamon wrote, "Mark Emmert says ALL the right things, but NCAA has way more garbage going on to be considered group of high integrity." Author Dave Kindred: "Emmert insults our intelligence by insisting the NCAA wants football in its proper place in the academy. #TooLateBy100Years."

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  • Rick Pitino Endorses ESPN's Jay Bilas As Next Big East Commissioner

    Jay Bilas called Pitino's endorsement an "interesting idea, and really flattering"

    Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino said that his “choice for the Big East's next commissioner is Jay Bilas,” according to Brett McMurphy of CBSSPORTS.com. Pitino said the ESPN college basketball analyst would be a "grand slam" hire. Pitino wrote on his website, "Who should be the Big East's commissioner" is one of the questions he gets asked the most. Sources said that the number of candidates for the Big East's commissioner “has been narrowed to about 10.” The league “hopes to have a new commissioner hired by Sept. 1, when the league begins renegotiating its media rights deal with ESPN” (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/21). Pitino: “I would take a portion of the Syracuse and Pittsburgh money, give him a 5 year contract and pay him 2 million per year. He has charisma, knows T.V., has a legal background, outstanding presence, and a creative thinker. He would be a grand slam” (RICKPITINO.com, 7/21). Bilas said, “Interesting idea, and really flattering. But I’m not sure the Big East presidents are ready for a little Jeezy bumping in the Big East hallways. It would be nice to earn almost as much as the NCAA President, though.” CBSSPORTS.com’s Gary Parrish wrote, “I’d still advise against dismissing the idea completely because Pitino carries a lot of weight in the Big East office, and the league has a history of following his suggestions” (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/21).

    LET HIM LEAD: In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel asked whether new Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby will “take the lead on visionary decisions like conference expansion and media ventures, or will he merely be executor of whatever the 10 presidents want?” Bowlsby “did not take kindly to the inference that he will be less than” a Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany or a SEC Commissioner Mike Slive or a Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. He said, “I would suggest you do a little homework on me. I haven’t been a puppet over the years.” Tramel: “Big 12 presidents historically have not micromanaged. They've just managed. That needs to change for the Big 12 to remain among the top-tiered conferences. The Big 12 must let Bob Bowlsby lead” (OKLAHOMAN, 7/22). In Dallas, Chuck Carlton wrote if everything goes according to plan, Bowlsby would “like nothing better than to open Big 12 media days with an announcement of strength and stability.” A 13-year, $2.56B TV deal with Fox and ESPN “has been pending since spring as lawyers for the Big 12 and the networks comb through the contractual fine print.” Instead of the “inevitable questions about the recent rocky past, Bowlsby could point to a remarkable resurrection.” With the TV deal, the addition of TCU and West Virginia and the Champions Bowl partnership with the SEC, the Big 12 “is alive and very well.” Bowlsby said, “I’m hopeful of being able to do it. Long-form agreements take time to finalize. We’ve had dozens of calls and several meetings” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/22).

    STANDING STRONG: ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that the conference was formed in ’53 and “will be around for the foreseeable future.” He added that rumors of Florida State and Clemson leaving for the Big 12 “were just rumors and the league’s vitality was never in question.” Swofford: “That’s never been an issue in my mind. You’re looking at a league that has a group of schools that are together for all the right reasons.” He added, “You’re talking about a league that a year from now that will be 14 member institutions -- all of them are basically in the top 100 academically of the institutions in the United States. We have the entire eastern seaboard and nine contiguous states” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 7/23).

    SIGH OF RELIEF: In N.Y., Dick Weiss wrote, “High praise to Big Ten Conference leaders, who came to their senses Friday and quickly squashed the idea of giving league commissioner Jim Delany the authority to punish schools with fines, suspensions and the ability to fire coaches.” This would have “set a horrible precedent for college athletics” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/22).

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  • Fanaticism And Excess At SEC Media Days; Becoming "Three-Day Football Woodstock"

    Over one thousand members of the media attended this year’s SEC Media Days, which have “morphed into an event beyond their original intent,” according to Robert Weintraub of the N.Y. TIMES. There are “still questions asked about zone blitzes and ligament tears, but those are merely the backdrop” of the “three-day football Woodstock.” The main event is something “far more singular, and often absurd.” No other conference’s preseason event “combines fanaticism, excess and eccentricity quite like the SEC’s.” There are “similarities to the Super Bowl media day, though that takes place over several hours on one day.” Still, the SEC, “while attracting a vast number of reporters, bloggers and TV and radio personalities, has not yet seen an influx of personnel from late-night comedy shows like media day at the Super Bowl has.” Univ. of Tennessee Associate AD/Communications Jimmy Stanton "compares the event to Major League Baseball's winter meetings."  Stanton: "There are tons of media around but nothing really happens.” Weintraub noted there are those in the news media “who choose not to go, saying that anything noteworthy is available on social media in real time." SI’s Stewart Mandel said, “With other conferences you can spend quality time with players and coaches. SEC media days is so huge that there’s no way to get unique content.” SEC Associate Commissioner/Media Relations Charles Bloom said that he “denied more credential requests this year than in the previous 16 years combined." Bloom said, “Media members who wouldn’t ordinarily get credentialed for a regular-season SEC game can come here and get some access to something that is a deep part of the fabric of this area of the country.” Weintraub wrote some members of the media “were wondering if SEC media days had simply become too big” for Hoover, Ala. (N.Y. TIMES, 7/21). SI.com’s Lars Anderson wrote unlike in previous years, there “weren’t any moments worthy of national news” (SI.com, 7/20).

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