The Definitive Dubsism Breakdown of the Pass Interference Non-Call at the End of the Patriots-Panthers Game.
If you are a sports fan who doesn’t line under a rock somewhere on the dark side of the moon, you know that last Monday night’s game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots ended on what became a controversial call.
It didn’t have to be that way, and that is why we here at Dubsism took a few days to digest all the blather that has surrounded this situation so that we may offer our definitive breakdown.
If you are under that moon rock, here’s what happened. On the last play of the game, the Patriots have the ball at the Panthers 18-yard line, and tight end Rob Gronkowski is running what looks to be a “seam” route and ends up at the back of the end zone a few feet to the right in front of the goal post. Tom Brady’s pass is intercepted by Panther defensive back Robert Lester at a spot in the middle of the end zone about five feet to the left of the goal post. However, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is seen clearly h0lding Gronkowski, and it seems that a penalty is warranted.
That fits the simplified view of the blow-dries at ESPN who clearly don’t know the rules of football, the legions of NFL fans who love to beat on officials for the sake of beating on officials, and Patriot fans who simply can’t come to terms with the fact that their team just isn’t the dominant squad it used to be. What should have been a very simple call became immersed in so much bullshit that in the near future, fellow Sports Blog Movement collaborator Ryan Meehan and I will be doing an exhaustive breakdown of bullshit calls in the NFL and what causes them, because there is an entire hierarchy of bullshit that causes these sorts of calls.
Over the last few years, there hasn’t been very many football players I’ve waffled more on than Cam Newton. when he was coming out of Auburn, I was very skeptical of his ability to play quarterback in the NFL. In fact, I constantly referred to him as “JaMarcus II.” Then his rookie season in Carolina made me think maybe the kid had some potential. But Newton’s second season made me wonder, especially the pouty, whiny guy we saw after every Panther loss. It took me back to the character issues which concerned me in the first place.
Then, CBS Sports Chicago reported that Cam Newton quit playing baseball at age 14 because he was afraid of the ball.
To play quarterback in the NFL, you must be as close to fearless as possible.
Yeah, you would think that, but this story seems to fly in the face of that, don’t you think?
Few other activities leave you starring down the face mask of a 300-pound athlete who wants to do nothing more than destroy you. But for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the challenge of playing baseball was much, much scarier than playing football.
In fact, Newton quit baseball at a young age because he was afraid of the ball.
Well, now it’s beyond “seems.” If you played Little League baseball back in my day, there was no better way to get called “fag” by your teammates than to be afraid of the ball. I’m not saying that was right; I’m saying that is the way it was…and despite the “tolerance” we hypocritcally preach in this country, it probably still is that way.
But let’s take that back to the Cam Newton story. How the fuck can you be afraid of an 8-ounce ball, and yet the idea of having your liver mashed by a 300-pound defensive lineman doesn’t make you want to poop your pants?
“I quit baseball at 14 because I was afraid of the pitches,” Newton told ESPN the Magazine. “The kids started getting better and throwing faster, and it would’ve hurt getting hit by that ball, so I stopped playing. That left a void, so I started playing basketball in the eighth grade.”
Let’s start with basketball. Once again, I don’t buy a Cam Newton story because schoolyard basketball is the best place to get your teeth elbowed right out of your fucking head short of building a time machine and taking the floor against the 1989 Detroit Pistons. Lest I seem like I’m belaboring the point, if you think a baseball hurts when it hits you, what the hell would you expect this to feel like?
What does it all come down to? I’m convinced that all athletic abilities aside, Cam Newton is a flake. To be honest, the NFL has always been full of guys who were a bit strange, and it isn’t always a detriment to being a successful player. Will that be the case with Cam Newton? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure in his case it can’t help.
If you are my age, you remember Fotomat. If you don’t remember Fotomat, then you also likely don’t remember rotary dial phones, cars that had carburetors rather than fuel injection, and the days when McDonald’s didn’t pretend to care about your health.
You don’t remember the days when you never had to dial somebody’s area code unless you were calling long-distance (another concept you probably don’t remember; calling outside your area code used to cost money before “unlimited anytime/anywhere minutes”), muscle cars with those enormous four-barrel carburetors that burned through 75-cent-per-gallon gasoline like it was cheap, Chinese fireworks, or when drive-thru breakfast didn’t include the option of apple wedges and oatmeal.
What the hell does any of this have to do with football? Fotomat was all about when your camera wasn’t digital; when your pictures were saved on this stuff called “film,” and you had to ride your dinosaur up to these little huts which were in the entryways to strip malls, drop off your film and come back in a week to get your printed pictures. To take good pictures with those old film-based cameras, often you had to know how to set something called “exposure.” So many football facts were exposed this weekend you might need a city full of Fotomats to contain them all.
Besides, I’m old and I just wanted to bitch about that for a couple of paragraphs before I got to my point.
1) EXPOSED: Michigan Football Still Sucks
I like Brady Hoke. I think eventually he will accomplish great things in Ann Arbor. But this is the roadmap for Wolverine football until further notice:
- Get fat in September on (insert MAC school here).
- Legitimatize beating a parade of lesser talent by beating the perenially over-rated Notre Dame
- Get EXPOSED sometime early in the conference schedule
- Back into an 8-4 record, then get sodomized with a red-hot fireplace poker in one of those 36 Big Tweleveten/SEC New Year’s Day bowl games
2) EXPOSED: Denard Robinson is a Fraud as a Quarterback
I know Denard Robinson was on the receiving end of a bush-league cheap shot (Outrage: How did William Gholston not get kicked out of that game?), but that doesn’t eliminate the the fact the Michigan State defense exposed him.
Denard Robinson is one of the most exciting players in college football, except when it matters. With the sole exception of the 4th quarter of the Notre Dame game, Denard Robinson is a guy who a) disappears in crunch time and b) is just another running quarterback who can’t throw the damn ball.
Even in the Notre Dame game, he still threw three interceptions.
I understand he was last season’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, but look at his 2010 stats from two perspectives. First, focus solely on his passing stats; remove his rushing totals from the picture. Second, look at when his passing touchdowns occur in relation to when his interceptions occur, then look at that compared to when Michigan wins.
What you are going to see is that Robinson posted a lot of his passing stats in “garbage time;” either in blow-out wins (Indiana) or in blow-out losses (Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Mississippi State). The go back to his rushing stats and note when the rushing touchdowns occur. What it also says is that if you want to beat Michigan, make Denard Robinson throw the ball. Michigan’s record since 2009 when Denard Robinson scores at least one rushing touchdown is 13-6; 6-6 when he doesn’t.
Back to that cheap shot for a moment… I’m an old offensive lineman, and I can promise you any dickweed who did that to my quarterback and stayed in the game would be taking his knees home in a bag.
3) EXPOSED: Speaking of Frauds, Cam Newton Is Not Ready To Be an NFL Quarterback
It’s time to face the facts…a guy who tosses nine picks in six games does not understand the primary job of an NFL quarterback is to take care of the ball. Not only that, but he easily could have three or four more; this guy makes some seriously bad decisions. In fact, I think we need an “equal time” rule; for every comment were are going to hear from now on about Tim Tebow not being ready to play quarterback in the NFL, there should be an equal amount of commentary dedicated to the fact Cam Newton isn’t either.
4) EXPOSED: ESPN creates its own hype
All you have to do to see this in action is take a critical look at the stories ESPN promotes when they don’t have “hard” sports news to cover. Here are my favorites from the past week.
- LeBron James playing in the NFL. LeBron James is not playing in the NFL. It may be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard.
- Jim Tressel will be the next coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Jim Tressel is not going to be the next coach of the Colts. Jim Tressel doens’t know the first thing about coaching in the NFL. Tell me the last time you saw a Tressel offense that looked even remotely like an NFL offense. Do you really expect me to believe we are going to take a surgically-rebuilt Peyton Manning and have him start running around like Terrelle Pryor?
- Urban Meyer is going to coach Ohio State in 2012. This one has been rolling for a while, but it’s just as dumb. Urban Meyer will not be the next coach at Ohio State. why in the world would a guy who left coaching due to the stress take on rebuilding Ohio State with that crazy-ass fan base hounding his every step? Not to mention he’s got nothing left to accomplish as a coach. He’s won two national championships. He’s produced a Heisman Trophy winner. He’s not looking to take on all the bullshit he’d have to endure in coaching in Columbus.
5) EXPOSED: Big Ten Offenses Not Named Wisconsin
By racking up 59 points on a hapless Indiana squad, the Wisconsin Badgers outscored every other ranked Big Ten offense COMBINED (#11 Michigan – 14 points, #16 Illinois – 7 points, #23 Michigan State – 28 points)
6) The BCS is a joke (again)
Does anybody really think Oklahoma is the third-best team in the country? I’m not even sure the Sooners are the best team in Oklahoma. Of course, its hard to tell because neither them or Oklahoma State have played anyone. Of course, I don’t think either of those teams could beat Wisconsin. The problem Wisconsin hasn’t beaten anybody either. Not to mention the team that gets the rap for not playing anybody (Boise State) might just be the best team in the country not currently in the SEC.
7) EXPOSED: ESPN Can’t Control @Occupy GameDay, They Can’t Even Contain It
The proof is in the signs…
Next up for the Dan Patrick Fans…East Lansing, Michigan.
8 ) EXPOSED: Jim Harbaugh is a Dick, and Jim Schwartz Is A Sore Loser
The minute I saw this I knew it was going to dominate Monday morning sports-talk radio. Let’s cut to the chase here. Harbaugh is a dick, and he’s always has been. You can tell this got started not over the handshake, but the shove in the back at which point you can tell Harbaugh said something to Schwartz. You knew it was intentional by the smirk when Harbaugh said during his press conference “It’s on me. I shook his hand too hard.” In other words, Harbaugh essentially called Schwartz a “pussy” on national television.
On the other hand, if you’re Jim Schwartz, you’ve got to learn how to be the bigger guy. Short of that, go catch up to Harbaugh in the tunnel where there are no cameras before you start looking like the average bar brawler.
By the way Harbaugh, I’d like to see you pull that move with a guy like Rex Ryan or Mike Tomlin just to see how fast you’d get your ass handed to you.
With such a full weekend of college and NFL action, let’s just cut to the chase…
1) We still don’t know if Notre Dame is any good
Every year, Notre Dame gets over-rated, and every year, they prove that by the time they get to Purdue. This year, they’ve done nothing but send a mixed message; lost to South Florida and Michigan, and now have won three straight. but honestly, those wins are over mediocre Michigan State and Pittsburgh, and most recently against
West Lafayette Junior High Purdue. It doesn’t get any better since the Irish start their usual parade of service academies with Air Force this week.
2) Speaking of Purdue…
Yeah, I know Giant Drum A&M gets picked on every once in a while here, but they might get more respect if they quit doing things like this.
3) As long as we are in Indiana…
Memorial services for any hope of the Colts having a watchable season will be held Thursday at noon at Lucas Oil Field. When the most glowing reviews of Colts quarterback Curtis Painter are “not completely horrible,” it’s going to be a long season in Indianapolis.
4) The Detroit Lions – The Anti-Colts
Let’s face facts, this team has more upside that in all its previous 50 years combined. The Lions boast an emerging star at quarterback, a dominant weapon in Calvin Johnson, and a defense that is vastly improved, which is why they are the first team in NFL history to make two straight comebacks from 20+ points behind.
5) When is a fumble not a fumble, part III
First, there was the Rob Lytle “fumble” in the 1977 AFC Championship Game, then there was the infamous Tom Brady “Tuck” rule from 2001, now there’s Victor Cruz fiasco this past weekend. Now I know why there is no coincidence between why Ed Hochuli is the best referee in the NFL and he just so happens to be an attorney; you need a law degree to even understand half the rules in the NFL anymore. Note to the Rules Committee…it is time to start simplifying.
6) Illinois – Your Cup-Check University
If picture is worth a thousand words, you would think an animated GIF would be worth more, yet this one is only worth two…
7) As The Romo Turns
With all the ups and downs, one would think you would find the “Romo-Coaster” at Six Flags over Texas rather than Cowboys Stadium. Week 1, he’s a choke-artist. Weeks 2 and 3, he showed “a rare brand of guts and leadership.” Now, he sucks again. Even ESPN doens’t know what to do with him.
There’s the “pro” side, as evidenced by Eric Mangini.
“But ex-Jets coach Eric Mangini said a couple of Romo’s picks against the Lions were not his fault. The gutsy Romo has also led the Cowboys to two victories this season despite playing with injured ribs.”
Then’s there’s the “con” side…
“Really, you saw the best of Tony Romo in a brilliant first half as he pushed Dallas to a 20-3 lead that swelled to 27-3 after the Cowboys took the second-half kickoff and drove for a touchdown. Then we witnessed the worst of Romo. He threw three second-half interceptions — two were absolutely awful decisions — providing the catalyst for Detroit’s comeback.”
After all the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, NBC’s Bob Costas probably has the best observation…
“Here’s a guy who see-saws between hero’s laurels and goat horns, seemingly game to game. And today, it was half to half. Romo had three TD throws in the first 33 minutes against the undefeated Lions, but then, three picks – two of them returned for touchdowns,” said Costas.”This has been the pattern of Romo’s season, and, as it’s shaping up, his career. At any moment he is apt to rescue his team with feats of daring do, often showing the presence of mind to improvise his way out of one crisis after another. And then, the next week, or maybe the next moment, he’ll turn in a performance or make a decision that sends Cowboys fans to the ledge.”
After all, good Romo or bad Romo doesn’t matter…Cowboys’ fans ripping their collective hair out is what’s important.
8 ) By The Way, Romo’s Not The Only Thing Wrong in Dallas
Remember that crap Rob Ryan was spouting about how Detroit’s Calvin Johnson would “be the third’ best receiver on the team” if he played for the Cowboys. Who else took comfort in watching Johnson pack that bilge firmly in Ryan’s “Head and Shoulders commercial wannabe ass? Did anybody else notice the part where Ryan’ s “vaunted” defense had 12 guys on the field and STILL didn’t double-cover Calvin Johnson?
9) As long as we are in Dallas…
Remember last year when Jason Garrett became the poster-child for uptight, straight-laced white guys everywhere when he was the guy who saved the Cowboys? Remember how this was all supposedly due to Garrett’s being a “disciplinarian?”
So, can somebody explain to me why this Cowboy team looks as undisciplined as ever? Seriously, this team can’t even manage it’s own snap count, half the roster looks like they don’t even know the playbook, and nobody is calling out
Howdy Doody Jason Garrett, the supposed Princeton Prince of Discipline.
10) Oh, and before I forget about the other Ryan brother…
Rex, you are one of my favorite guys in all of sports, but…
It’s “put up or shut up” time. I’ve watched your teams gag two straight AFC Championship games, and now your team is looking suspiciously over-rated. Start winning games you are supposed to win so I don’t have to start bashing you.
11) Speaking of “Time To Prove My Love” – The All-Pennsylvania Edition
The Eagles have managed in four short game to go from “The Dream Team” to “The Nightmare Team.” Two reasons – the hardest hit the offensive line has made all season was on their own quarterback, and in the immortal words of Jets’ linebacker Bart Scott, the defense “couldn’t stop a nosebleed.”
But the award for the worst offense in the Keystone State goes to Penn State. Don’t get me wrong, as a Nittany Lion fan, I’ve seen some Joe Paterno offenses that literally dated from the Paleozoic era, but this is the worst I’ve seen under the Galen Hall/Offensive Coordinator regime. With all due respect, GET RID OF THAT GODDAMN TWO QUARTERBACK SYSTEM!!!! I get they both suck, but pick one, shoot the other in the head and let’s move on.
12) Cam Newton Is Now A Poster Child
There’s new mentality in the football world…throwing the football is Nirvana, outcomes be damned. Cam Newton exemplifies this. The world is singing his praises as a young quarterback because in four games he has nearly 1,400 passing yard and 5 touchdowns.
But he also has 5 interceptions and more importantly, only one win as a starting quarterback. This makes him a stud in fantasy football, but not so much in the real game. But, for some reason, we let the fantasy mentality rule the day.
If you doubt that, look at it this way. This past weekend saw 11 quarterbacks post 300 passing yards, but only 4 of them won their games. In contrast, the running game (which has been relegated to the NFL scrap heap) saw 8 running backs rack up 100 rushing yards , and 5 of them played on winning teams.
13) The Dubsism Simplified College Football Top 25
- Everybody else
Without a bunch of fluff, it’s time to look at some things that happened last week that you won’t see again this week. In other words, let’s not go overboard on some things:
1) The Redskins are not as good as they looked, and the Giants aren’t as bad as they looked (but not by much). It’s hard to get a good read on the true state of the Giants defense without Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyora, not to mention the rest of the injuries the G-men have suffered. However, the offensive line couldn’t stop a conga line, which means Eli Manning could end up in a body cast just like his brother. Don’t swallow the hype, Rex Grossman isn’t the second coming of John Elway, no matter how delusional Mike Shanahan is.
2) Before we anoint Cam Newton as the greatest player in the history of ever, can I at least see him look like an NFL quarterback against an NFL defense? The Cardinals don’t count. They didn’t even bother pressuring Newton until the second half, and when they did, they decided not covering Steve Smith was a good idea. Who wants to take a bet that this season Cam Newton and Steve Smith don’t come anywhere near the numbers they posted last week?
3) Tim Tebow. Bronco fans need to quit bitching; Kyle Orton is not, repeat IS NOT the reason your team sucks. Until Orton plays defense, stop busting his balls.
4) Tony Romo won’t pull another choke job. As much as Romo has a reputation for being a choker, it’s Jerry Jones who can’t get Romo’s jock out of his throat. For some reason, Jones sees Troy Aikman when he looks at Romo. But to be fair, Aikman had a far better set of playmakers around him. Romo’s had the same pressure, and a hodge-podge, B+ at best supporting cast. Don’t get me wrong, Romo is still a mediocre at-best quarterback, but there are still a lot worse options out there. What do you think the Cowboy offense might look like with Donovan “39 passing yards” McNabb at the helm?
5) The Steelers won’t commit seven turnovers again. However, their performance last week begs a question: When did the Steelers get old? According to all the NFL punditry, they weren’t old in August, but they are old now? Did they age twenty years in the last three weeks?
If you had to take either Ryan Mallett or Cam Newton, which would you take?
If I’m a GM, I’m not touching Cam Newton with a 10-foot pole with a 60-foot pole attached to it. I don’t want anything to do with Newton, period. Newton’s left a paper trail wherever he’s been; there’s solid, documented stuff on him, and I think when you add fifty million bucks to that…welcome to JaMarcus II.
I’m not as down on Mallett as everybody else seems to be; most of the stuff swirling around him seems to be a lot of smoke (pun not intended). Yet, we live in an NFL Draft world where Rule Number 1 is that where there is smoke, there is probably a fire; Mallett has been hit with drug and partying rumors since he left Arkansas. The rumors keep flying, and yet he’s not failing drug tests and he’s not being seen misbehaving in public (don’t forget we live in the camera-phone world). The only thing I could find was a public intoxication charge from two years ago. I’m not that worried about a college kid getting tagged with $150 misdemeanor for walking home from a beer party, especially since I can’t find anything solid since then.
What I see in Mallett is a kid with a ass-load of physical talent who has yet to have anybody coach him on the mental aspects of not just football, but life in general. Granted, he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (be sure to let me know when you start seeing scholarships with the name “Favre” or “Bradshaw” on them), but I think given the right circumstances, the kid’s upside is hard to ignore. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has five quarterbacks going in the first round of the draft — and Mallett isn’t in the group. Sorry, but there’s no way there are five quarterbacks in this draft more talented than Ryan Mallett.
The really messed up part is now inventing on-field reasons not to like him. Now all of a sudden, Mallett isn’t mobile enough. If Mallett is so immobile, why didn’t it show on the field? Granted, he’s a 6-foot-7 “pocket passer” (and we all know what that is code for), but he still runs a respectable 4.5 second 40-yard dash. Compare him with the “athletic quarterback” (speaking of code words) Cam Newton who threw 280 passes last season and was sacked 23 times. Mallett threw 411 passes and was sacked 25 times.
It all comes down to the circumstances – this kid needs a mentor as badly as the Vikings need a quarterback. Had he been able to play for 4 years under Lloyd Carr at Michigan, I think it is very unlikely we are having this discussion – Carr did a good job of teaching guys how to not be knuckleheads. But when Carr got pushed out the door, Mallett was left with a hemmorhoid like Rich Rodriguez, then transferred to an even worse guy in Bobby Petrino at Arkansas. If Mallett goes to an organization that cares about character (i.e. Patriots, Saints, Colts…) and gets the kid the mentor he needs, the sky is the limit for his upside. If the opposite happens, and he ends up in a dysfucntional organization like the Raiders, Vikings, or Jets, he will mirror that dysfunction and therefore become just another flame-out.
Let’s face it, college programs cheat. There’s an old saying in college sports, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Recently, we here at Dubsism hung a tag of “dirty program” on Auburn, but to be fair, they are far from the only one. Hell, they probably are all dirty; just because your school may not have been caught lately just means they are more discreet.
Plus, let’s be honest…getting away with it is a hell of a lot easier for some schools than others. If you doubt that, all you have to do is look at the NCAA’s precedent of deferring punishment for for moneymakers during money-making season; of course this refers to the bullshit punishments postponed until next season for Jim Tressel and Jim Calhoun. Plus, if you look at the following list, you’re going to notice a distinct lack of the real power-players in college sports.
10) Wisconsin Basketball and Football — Major Infractions: 7 Just months after its basketball program reached the Final Four in 2000, the Wisconsin athletic department imploded when 26 football players were suspended prior to the season opener after the NCAA uncovered that members of the Badgers’ football and basketball teams were given special credit arrangements at a shoe store (this “free shoes” tactic will appear again on this list). The Badgers were handed five years of probation, including the loss of scholarships in both football and basketball.
9) Memphis Basketball — Major Infractions:7 The program at Memphis has has two trips into the NCAA doghouse. The Final Four run in 1985 dissolved the following year when head coach Dana Kirk was fired after the NCAA uncovered recruiting violations and vacated the appearance. Then came John Calipari, who had the Tigers positioned to win the national title, but that later evaporated when Memphis got hit with three years of probation for Derrick Rose’s fraudulent SAT score and the $1,700 in free travel and lodging provided to his brother. Before penalties were levied, Calipari slithered off to Kentucky, which could soon find its way onto this list as the athletic program has six major infractions and the basketball program narrowly escaped the death penalty in 1989.
8 ) Florida State — Major Infractions: 7 Former Florida Gator coach Steve Spurrier once referred to FSU as “Free Shoes University,” which was really a reference to a 1993 scandal in which nine Florida State players went on an agent-funded shopping spree at Foot Locker. Then, in 1999 during a national championship run, Peter Warrick and Laveranues Coles were charged with felony grand theft for receiving $412.38-worth of clothes.
And in the sweetest moment ever, in 2009 Bobby “The Anti-Christ” Bowden was forced to vacate 12 victories because of an academic cheating scandal that also involved the men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and men’s track and field programs. This not only is the best example of a program so corrupted it even torched the sports nobody cares about (a 2007 men’s track national championship was vacated), but these vacated wins meant Bowden would never catch Joe Paterno as the FBS’s all-time winningest coach.
7) Wichita State Baseball and Basketball — Major Infractions: 7 Wichita State’s baseball and basketball programs have flourished, largely because they can cheat with the big boys. The baseball program has been one of the most successful in recent history, winning the 1989 College World Series and finishing second in 1982, 1991, and 1993. The basketball program reached the Final Four in 1965, Elite Eight in 1981 and Sweet Sixteen in 2006. Of the seven infractions, mentioned here, my favorite involved the basketball team getting punted out of any tournaments after the Elite Eight run in 1981. Seems that the following year, WSU got caught handing out cash payments and and freebie airline tickets. The best part, at the time the penalties were imposed, Wichita State led the NCAA in major infractions. Suck on that, big boys.
6) Oklahoma Football — Major Infractions:7 If you have a program on probation, and you would like to see it stay that way, just hire Barry Switzer. Oklahoma forfeited nine games from the 1972 season because of violations that resulted from the alteration of players’ transcripts; and when Switzer left in 1988, the program was again on probation. Hard to imagine how one gets the the tag of “outlaw program,” considering there was the probation, oh, and a stretch in which there was a shooting and rape in athletic dorm, one player attempted to sell drugs to undercover agent, and another even player robbed Switzer’s home. In his defense, he likely robbed his own coach because he wasn’t in on the gravy train resulting from being paid by personal checks from Switzer, the scalping of game tickets, getting free airline tickets, or the usual money-pump stemming from the usual bidding wars during recruitment.
BONUS – Oklahoma basketball, brought to you by the scumbag formerly known as Kelvin Sampson. Kelvin Sampson, the same guy who later crippled the Indiana basketball program due to unethical recruiting practices, made 550 illegal calls to 17 different recruits, and that’s only what they could prove…but then again, cash is always hard to trace.
5) Texas A&M Football — Major Infractions: 7 They really should name an award for corruption after the old Southwest Conference. Between just SMU and Texas A&M, the SWC could have been the most corrupt entity in the history of college sports. Cheating was compulsory in the SWC during the 1980s; the theory was if you weren’t cheating, you didn’t matter. Hence, this is the reason why the Jackie Sherrill era in College Station was quite successful. It’s also no coincidence the Sherrill era ended in 1988 when Sherrill resigned after the NCAA discovered that assistant coaches and boosters were providing improper benefits to recruits — one was given a sports car and another’s father was offered medical treatment. When a booster was found paying players for “do-nothing” jobs in 1994, A&M was considered for the “Death Penalty” as well.
4 ) Auburn Football — Major Infractions: 7 At least for now, because this doesn’t even include whatever may stem from the Cam Newton situation. Nonetheless, Auburn has a reputation for “kicking one on to the fairway” with not such infrequent occasion. The best was in 1991, when 60 Minutes aired recordings of head football coach Pat Dye arranging a loan for a player. That bought Auburn two-year bowl ban, one-year television-free, and the loss of 13 scholarships over a four-year period.
3) Minnesota Basketball — Major Infractions: 7 This is what happens when your whole program hinges on a low-level clerical worker who decides she wants more money to do everybody’s homework, and you piss her off. For Gopher basketball fans, the name Jan Gangelhoff is forever tied to that of Coach Clem Haskins. Haskins literally had the majority of his career scratched from the books because he thought his players didn’t need to hit theirs. During his stint as Minnesota’s head basketball coach, Clem Haskins oversaw runs to the Elite Eight, Final Four and an NIT Championship. Today, however, only the Elite Eight appearance remains in the NCAA record books, as everything Haskins accomplished from 1993-1994 forward was vacated.
See, the problem is that prior to the Golden Gophers’ appearance in the 1999 NCAA tournament, Gangelhoff ratted out everybody. She sang a song about writing more than 400 papers for numerous basketball players over several years. That proved to be just the tip of the iceberg, Haskins was accused of paying players, persuading professors to inflate players’ grades and ignoring sexual harassment concerns. The NCAA administered massive sanctions, notably docking five scholarships over three seasons and instituting recruiting limitations. The entire athletic department suffered, as the Athletic Director, Associate Athletic Director, Vice President for Student Development and Athletics, and the Academic Counselor were all forced to resign due to the scandal.
The moral of the story – if you are going to cheat, PAY THE HELP! No wonder Gangelhoff rolled over on the whole scheme – for writing over 400 papers, she was paid the heft sum of $3,000 for her work.
2) SMU Football— Major Infractions: 8 Two words – Death Penalty. This is why SMU football is still the poster child for corruption in college sports. You just can’t have a secret fund to pay players; from 1974 to 1985, the school was penalized on five separate occasions. Because SMU was under such intense scrutiny from the NCAA, the powers that be had little choice but to levy the harshest penalty. As a result, the entire 1987 season was canceled, SMU was forced to cancel the 1988 season, 55 scholarships were smoked and the team was permitted to hire just five full-time assistant coaches instead of the regular nine.
1) Arizona State Baseball— Major Infractions: 9. The classic example of the NCAA flexing its muscle on a program that largely doesn’t matter because it isn’t a huge revenue generator. Arizona State is primarily known for its baseball program, which has won five national championships and produced legends such as Reggie Jackson and fittingly, Barry Bonds. Last December, it was penalized for major secondary violations, resulting in three years probation and a one-year ban from the NCAA post-season. The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions cited the athletic program for improperly recruiting one player and giving improper benefits to several others. In 2005, ASU was given two years probation for a “lack of institutional control” (Have you read that phrase enough in this piece?) and giving illegal financial aid.
Remember the aforementioned “lack of power player?” It’s that lack that makes me cast an eye at the following; if for no other reason that the “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” rule.
Ohio State – The crap-storm now surrounding the football program and head coach Cheatypants McSweatervest doesn’t surprise me, in fact it validates a long-held belief of mine that Ohio States’ success in so many sports had to be coming at the expense of the NCAA rule book. See the Florida State Entry. Not to mention, guys like Maurice Clarett should be a warning sign.
Duke – I don’t care how much hate mail I get for this, but I’m convinced Mike Krzyzewski is like the church minister who secretly like little boys. He’s got all the respect of the people who could out him, but none of them do because, after all, he is the minister. Besides, he’s also that hypocritical asshole who preaches about character and discipline, then stomps around on the sideline like the biggest petulant shithead out there. Face it, how the hell else does this school now attract the “one and done” talent they now bitch about?
Alabama – I think the following picture speaks for itself.
USC – What’s happening now is just for openers. I would bet money there are skeletons in the Trojan closet we may never know about.
So if you haven’t heard, JaMarcus II held a private workout in San Diego for select members of the media. It was really a sham; he danced around some agility exercises and threw a few balls, a show that didn’t show anything really useful other than athleticism, but it was enough to make ESPN football analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer fall in love with Cam Newton.
“He’s gonna skyrocket up the boards,” Dilfer said, “because as guys are just now diving into his game film – which I did all week long – you begin to get a feel for how talented this player is, and what a good quarterback he is.”
Dilfer was impressed with the progress Newton has made technically under quarterback coach George Whitfield.
“George Whitfield, his quarterback coach, has done a masterful job coaching him from the feet up,” Dilfer said. “He showed great balance, he showed great foot energy as he did drop back and take snaps from under center.”
The former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champion signal-caller was also impressed with the difficulty of the workout Newton did in front of the cameras.
“This is a guy that in his workout threw about 30 very challenging throws, and in each one of those throws he kept his eyes down the center of the football field, spun his eyes back to the perimeter, and delivered the ball early with anticipation,” said Dilfer. “This is a gifted, gifted passer – something I don’t think many people know.
“These were throws down the football field into a pretty stiff wind… I mean, this wind is probably blowing probably 10, 15 miles an hour, in his face. He knifed the ball through the wind. He controlled it very well; the ball spins very nice off of his hand. And because of that, I thought it was a more challenging workout than many of these other guys will have.”
Now, I may not have a Super Bowl ring, but I do have two eyes; two eyes that were more concerned about what they didn’t see. I didn’t see anything that suggests Newton is ready to play in a “pro” set, I didn’t see anything that suggests Newton has any idea how to read a pro defense, and I didn’t see anything that speaks to Newton doing anything about his “character” issues.
Newton has been in San Diego since late January, working six days a week with quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr. and receiving advice from Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon. By his own admission, he’s got a long way to go to be ready as an NFL quarterback, he said he’s working on “the whole grand scheme of playing quarterback in the NFL. “
“A lot of times I probably can count on one hand the times I took a snap from under center in one game. But now it depends what scheme you go into, but at the same time you have to be able to get a snap from under center and be fluent at it. That’s one of the first things we tried to tackle.”
“Asked if he was surprised some people don’t think his skills won’t translate to the NFL, he replied: “That’s the competitor that I am. I won’t be surprised — I’m making that leap right now — until I’m a Super Bowl champion. That’s what I’m going for from day one, reaching for greatness. The supporting cast that I have is pushing me to be great, I’m pushing myself to be great and I demand greatness for myself. So coming in the door, working out every single day, I’m shooting for greatness.”
Let’s be honest…Newton may have athleticism, but it takes much more than that to be an effective NFL quarterback. Remember last year at this time when it was Tim Tebow putting on the private displays in an attempt to raise his draft stock. It worked for him, and it may work for Newton. But any team that drafts Newton high is making a mistakes. Why? The aformentioned character issues, which the lack of was one of the reason Tebow pulled this off.
Newton doesn’t have that luxury. I’m not a big believer in coincidences; Newton is one of those guys who always has controversy following him wherever he goes, and he always has a story for it. It that seemingly questionable character which has me convinced Newton is just a reprise of JaMarcus Russell. In fact, the connection is so clear, the calculus can be demonstrated in a pictoral fashion.
So, good luck to you, which ever NFL team is preparing to make the Cam Newton mistake. You’re going to need it.
I’m not going to dance around the issue; I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m not buying Cam Newton’s story.
I will admit there is a lot of this story that has yet to emerge. I will admit there is still a ton of speculation that can be entertained. I will admit that I believe the Newton situation isn’t all that unique; its just the one we know about. But that doesn’t change the fact I think Newton is full of shit.
I want to buy it, insofar as the Cam Newton story has all the elements of a first-class sports movie. It easily could be the story of a kid who defies all the odds to become the Heisman trophy winner on the shoulders of one the most incredible season’s anybody has ever seen a college player have. Toss in his charisma and his “Madison Avenue” smile (trust me, if Cam skates on all this stuff and becomes a star in the NFL, you are going to see that smile selling all kinds of stuff), and its a box-office bonanza waiting to happen.
Seriously, Cam, do you really expect me to believe you had no idea what your father was up to? Granted, there’s still a lot of this story we don’t know. But there are two things we do know. First, Cam Newton’s father, Cecil, actively solicited cash in return for his son’s services. We also know that something made Cam change his mind about attending Mississippi State in favor of Auburn. He’s on record as saying he wanted to be a Bulldog. There’s even people on record as saying that Cam Newton went to Auburn because “the money was too good.”
There’s a clear contradiction between what all those other people have said and what Cam has said. Naturally, we’ve hit the point in the story where Cecil Newton, the NCAA, and Auburn aren’t talking. However, there are some nuggets that can be mined from the NCAA’s statement when they re-instated Newton prior to the SEC Championship Game. Keep the two things we do know in your mind as you read the NCAA’s statement.
Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton is immediately eligible to compete, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. The NCAA concluded on Monday that a violation of amateurism rules occurred, therefore Auburn University declared the student-athlete ineligible yesterday for violations of NCAA amateurism rules.
When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete’s eligibility be reinstated. Reinstatement decisions are made by the NCAA national office staff and can include conditions such as withholding from competition and repayment of extra benefits. Newton was reinstated without any conditions.
According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.
In conjunction with the case, Auburn University has limited the access Newton’s father has to the athletics program and Mississippi State has disassociated the involved individual.
So, we have confirmation there was a price tag on Cam’s services. Cecil Newton did try to get money in exchange for his son’s commitment.That covers Thing #1 that we knew going into this. But there is a big, choreographed dance around Thing #2. Even the NCAA wants to buy Cam Newton had no idea this was happening. That’s the house of cards under which the NCAA is choosing to protect Cam Newton.
I’m not going to go into the whole bit about how this exact sort of stuff got USC put on probation and forced Reggie Bush to surrender his Heisman trophy; that’s an entirely separate issue. I’m rejecting the notion that Cam Newton didn’t know about this., and I’m being openly skeptical of the NCAA and its motives. It takes a while to get to my reason, but follow me for a bit; it’s worth it.
Deep down in places they aren’t willing yet to admit, the NCAA doesn’t buy Newton’s story either. The NCAA knows it has a big problem on its hands, but wants to drag this out until it isn’t a matter of killing an event yet to come (declaring Newton ineligible now and sanctioning the other guilty parties BEFORE a Championship/Bowl Game or vacating Auburn’s season for playing an ineligible player during that same season); rather they would love to use the “magic eraser/retroactive approach” they used with USC, and most recently the Arizona State baseball team.
You can see this when you parse their language. There was no way the NCAA was going to impede the appeal of the SEC Championship, the Heisman, the BCS or anything else happening THIS season, but they are clearly reserving the right to visit their wrath on somebody at a later date. That’s the difference between the term used was “reinstated” and “cleared.” The proof is in the timeline.
First, the NCAA concludes Part I of the investigation, determining that a violation had occurred. By NCAA rule, Auburn is then forced to declare Newton ineligible. Auburn then requested his reinstatement, which the NCAA granted. Don’t forget this all takes place in a 48-hour period, and don’t forget this exercise in procedurism is designed for a specific purpose.
The NCAA needs to keep the idea alive that it is committed to the “sanctity of the student-athlete” or whatever bullshit phrase they use to pretend college football isn’t a multi-billion dollar industry. This is why the Newton case present such a problem. Cam Newton is clearly the NCAA’s big box-office attraction this season and they clearly are not going to limit his earning power. However, if they don’t act, they will blow the illusion of amateurism.
This leaves us with an illusion being protected by another. Now, the NCAA needs you to believe that after an investigation that took months just to get to the end of Part I, all can be resolved in less than two days. Nobody should be advertising the fact the NCAA has been in constant contact with Auburn officials throughout the process, which means Auburn knew what the drill was once the word “violation” made it into an NCAA press release. Hence, the kind of discussion that can easily devolve into multiple volleys of press conferences and even dramatic speeches by attorneys instead became an orchestrated game of bridge, everybody playing the right card in the correct sequence.
Despite the circuitous route, this brings us right back to the importance of the difference between “reinstated” and “cleared.” To pull off this “illusion within an illusion,” the NCAA needs to be able to play the “if we knew then what we know know” game. That’s why Newton isn’t “cleared.” Because later, after all the hype has died down, the games have all been played, and the awards have all been given, there will be the discovery of some “smoking gun” and Auburn will become the Alabama version of USC, vacated victories and all. The NCAA’s VP of Academic and Membership Affairs leaves that door wide open: “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.”
Here’s what that means: The NCAA has the dirt on Cecil Newton; there’s hard proof of that. The NCAA knows he demanded money from Mississippi State, but can’t yet prove he made the same demands to Auburn. They are also pretty sure Cam Newton knew all of this, but they also can’t yet prove it. We all know this is a game not about what you know, rather what you can prove.
Now for the fun part: Cam Newton can pretend to be the hooker not knowing to whom they have been pimped; the question is who is paying the freight? We all know Mississippi State was solicited, and we all suspect Auburn was as well, but think about this… Remember the NCAA’s “illusion within an illusion?” “I didn’t know” is what allows this investigation to stretch past the time all the NCAA has made all its money, and it all collapses once Cam Newton says “I knew.”
In short, Cam Newton’s story always seems to be available to the highest bidder, and I just don’t have the scratch to buy it.