Friday, May 18, 2012
Big Ten Friday mailblog
By Adam Rittenberg
Hoping everyone has a great weekend.
Ben from Columbus, Ohio, writes: "Hi Adam!" WAIT!!!!!!! You can't say a word back to me or its an NCAA violation!! Are you kidding me? Sounds like Meyer was between a rock and a hard place. Spence said Hi TO HIM, what is he supposed to do, ignore him?! Is the NCAA really that ridiculous? Are there any potential penalties tOSU has to worry about?The Baylor AD put it best: "You can commit 20 NCAA violations by simply falling out of bed in the morning."
Adam Rittenberg: Ben, I agree. The contact rules during games are silly, although they're designed to prevent longer conversations than a simple greeting. Coaches go to games to see the players, but also to be seen by the players. If the player sees Meyer watching him, it's a win for Meyer. The greeting technically is a violation, but the rule is designed to prevent coaches from swarming players during competition. Now we can debate whether coaches accidentally greet prospects or not, as coaches know these particular rules well, as tedious as they sound. As far as penalties, Ohio State shouldn't have to worry too much.
Ron from Pickerington, Ohio, writes: Read your extremely insightful, groundbreaking article on Ohio State reporting 46 violations. Really? This is news? Saying "good luck" to a kid is reportable? You're part of the sea of "reporters" that sensationalize everything. This isn't even newsworthy except for who it's about. You know this, I hope. Stop being lazy and writing easy articles that aren't truly valuable. Or if you choose to, go find all the violations at the other Big 10 schools and do some real journalism. The only "violations" you mentioned were two or three minor ones involving football. What were the other 43? The swim coach splashing a recruit as he swam by in an open swim session? The soccer coach returning a ball to a high school player at a recruiting visit? Give me a break. ESPN is a joke and you're reporting is just adding to it. I'm done w/ ESPN. Good luck.
Adam Rittenberg: Ron, I made it pretty clear in the first sentence of the post why we posted this item: "Secondary NCAA violations happen with every FBS program on a semi-regular basis, but at Ohio State, after the past year, every error is magnified." So yes, at a school like Ohio State, these things are magnified, especially after the tattoo/memorabilia scandal. Are the two equal? Absolutely not, as I pointed out several times. Several of these secondary offenses are laughable. But Ohio State is under the microscope, and the school's compliance department in particular is being scrutinized after taking so much criticism last winter/spring. You can view this as Ohio State's compliance department doing its diligence by reporting all these minor violations. That's a totally fair takeaway from the Plain Dealer story.
We will report secondary violations at other schools if it's appropriate to do so. But are all schools equal, given their national profiles and their recent compliance/violations histories? Absolutely not. Have all Big Ten schools endured major NCAA violations in recent years? No. So Ohio State, in this case, is different.
Chuck from Chicago writes: Adam, what's your take on the new bowl partnership between the Big 12 and the SEC? Does this affect the Big 10 or the playoff negotiations in any way? It seems like These conferences are trying to get their own Rose Bowl type of arrangement. Also do you think this might hurt the ACC/Big East that the four best conferences are forming alliances like this?
Adam Rittenberg: This is a very smart move by the Big 12 and the SEC in light of the Big Ten/Pac-12 scheduling partnership. Those two leagues, as SEC commissioner Mike Slive said, have been the most successful during the BCS era, and a bowl partnership makes sense. Still, whatever the Big 12/SEC bowl is lacks the history, tradition and prestige of the Rose Bowl. You don't just make up 98 years in a year. That's not to say it won't be a great game, and I look forward to watching it. But to equate this bowl with the Rose Bowl is reactionary and short-sighted. I do believe this spells more trouble for the ACC and Big East. It's another reminder that those two conferences are a step or two behind the big four.
Chris from Chicago writes: Hey Adam, it seems like the chats and the mailbags lately have had a few comments/questions about how some are still viewing Michigan State as inferior to Michigan, despite the 4-game winning streak. To me, this just promotes what the rivalry dynamic has been for a long time (big brother/little brother). Most UM fans I know don't really bring up MSU and are excited to play and hopefully end the streak. Meanwhile, it seems like many MSU fans are quite vocal about how they still get no respect, got "jobbed" out of a BCS game last year (when they didn't even qualify), and how the talking heads 'predict' Michigan to have a better season this fall ... What is your take?
Adam Rittenberg: My take is that the apparent pettiness definitely goes both ways, Chris. Yes, I hear from Michigan State fans upset about Michigan getting more media love, the Sugar Bowl invitation, etc. Some of those things, namely media attention/hype, will never change. But I also hear from Michigan fans who seem offended that Brian and I have Michigan State as the Big Ten favorite entering the season rather than Michigan. As if it's their right, as Michigan, to be the favorite despite looking comparable to Michigan State. I think the four-game win streak matters and should be a big part of the discussion. I also think Michigan is on the rise and should have a very good chance to end the streak this fall at the Big House. The sniping is very real on both sides of this rivalry, and that's what makes it one of the best in the league.
Bill from Plowville, Pa., writes: Hey Adam, have you heard anything about the NCAA and Big Ten investigations into the PSU football program following the meltdown in November? I still don't see this remotely as a "sports issue" (I think it is much worse than that) but as the rest of the world seems to, I'd like to know if the NCAA has any plans to throw down a failure to monitor charge on one of the historically cleanest and most academically successful teams in D1 football for something a former employee did.
Adam Rittenberg: Bill, this is a good question, and one I plan to follow up on when the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet June 3. I really get the sense, though, that both the Big Ten and NCAA are waiting to see the findings of Penn State's own investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh. The findings of Penn State's investigation will shape any response from the NCAA and Big Ten. As you indicate, this is uncharted territory for the NCAA, and especially for the Big Ten, so they'll be guided by what Freeh's investigation uncovers.
Drew from Madison, Wis., writes: Adam, I'm all for a playoff at campus sites; a game at Camp Randall (or any other Big Ten stadium) for the National Championship would be surreal. However, I think your claim that the Big Ten needs to assert its power and call out the other conferences for being wusses is a bit off. The Big Ten doesn't play night games in November, but you're telling me that we should have a game in late December/ early January outside? I think sites like Lucas Oil, Ford Field, or even the Vikings' new stadium would provide a more entertaining game independent of the weather that is accessible to Big Ten fans.
Adam Rittenberg: Drew, I've been very critical of the Big Ten's policy against November night games. That policy really isn't about the players competing in the cold. It's about the operations element of putting on a game at night in potentially bad weather (security, parking, etc.). And why not point out the fact that southern teams never play Big Ten teams in cold weather? Football is a different game in the cold -- look at the NFL playoff games in Green Bay, etc. -- and Big Ten teams are conditioned to it. Yet they can never exploit that advantage in nationally significant games. To your last point, I'm fine with having these games in indoor venues, as long as they're in the Midwest and closer to the Big Ten schools, which eases the travel burden for Big Ten fans.
Stephen from Chicago writes: Everyone is talking about going to seven wins to be bowl eligible. There is also talk about strength of schedule. Why don't they put the two together and make the requirement six FBS wins. If a team has a game against a FCS opponent on their schedule, it's basically requiring them to win seven. And if the actually show a little courage and don't schedule a FCS team, they are in a sense rewarded for their strength of schedule. Looks like a win-win to me.
Adam Rittenberg: Stephen, I like this idea. The FCS games aren't going to go away, even though most fans don't like them at all. Schools need home games, and scheduling FCS teams makes the process easier. But I agree that there's a difference between a 6-6 team that wins four league games and one that goes 4-0 in non-league play with a win against an FCS foe and then goes 2-6 in its conference. The overall increase to seven wins should put more quality teams in bowls, but it will eliminate some 6-6 squads that probably deserve to be there, too. Your plan is an interesting alternative.