Rumors And Random Thoughts

Phillip Marshall weighs in on the Auburn, SEC and collegiate sports scene in his twice a week column.

Have you heard this one?

The NCAA is getting ready to launch an investigation of Auburn over its recruitment of Carnell Williams last year.

Or have you heard this one? The NCAA is getting ready to launch another investigation of Alabama for its recruitment of Carnell Williams.

Or maybe this one? The NCAA is looking into the eligibility of freshman Alabama point guard Mo Williams.

How about this one? The NCAA is getting ready to launch an investigation into the recruitment of Carnell Williams by Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn.

Those are all rumors that have been circulating lately, fed by the modern marvel called the Internet. They apparently started because of fairly innocuous item in a column written by my friend Jimmy Smothers of the Gadsden Times. He said something to the effect that, based on questions some were asking at the SEC basketball tournament, the NCAA might be coming around again soon.

The Internet and some radio talk show hosts have fed a rumor frenzy in the past week. I am not about to address any of those rumors. To my knowledge, there is no current NCAA investigation in our state. What I can say, without hesitation, is this: If someone on an Internet chat site says they have inside information about what the NCAA is doing or is going to do, there is a 99 percent chance they aren't telling the truth. No, make that a 100 percent chance.

It amazes me how anonymous Internet posts or comments by faceless talk show callers can take on a life of their own so quickly. Ah, well. Life in the electronic age.


*Is anybody else amazed that all those screaming about how badly Alabama was treated by the NCAA always fail to mention that the school pleaded guilty to all but one charge?

*Am I the only one who wasn't surprised by the Tide's early exit from the NCAA tournament? The Tide had a great season, but I thought they were the least imposing SEC champions in several years. That might be different next year if Erwin Dudley and Rod Grizzard really do come back for their senior year.

*The impatience of college football fans has seldom been better illustrated than by a lot of Auburn fans' views of quarterback Jason Campbell. Some, it seems, are ready to give up on the kid because he wasn't a star as a redshirt freshman. Dameyune Craig didn't start until his junior year. Neither did Reggie Slack. Does anybody remember how awful Rohan Davey was as a sophomore against Auburn in Baton Rouge? Eli Manning couldn't beat out Romaro Miller as a redshirt freshman. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says it's child abuse to start a first-year quarterback. There are exceptions, like Rex Grossman at Florida, but they are usually surrounded by great talent. Campbell wasn't. Remember you read it here first: He will be a star before he leaves Auburn and he will play in the NFL.

*The West Division race next football season could be extremely interesting. Alabama, with a ton of seniors, would have a great shot but isn't eligible. Everybody else has lots of holes to fill. LSU will probably go in as the favorite, but any one of the five eligible teams could find itself in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. In the East, it might finally be Georgia's year if Mark Richt can overcome his tendency to go brain dead in the final minute of games.

*It tells you all you need to know about the NIT that the last-place team in the SEC East is playing for the championship tonight.

*My picks in the Final Four? Kansas over Maryland, Indiana over Oklahoma. Kansas wins the national championship. I hope I'm wrong. I'm pulling for Indiana and Mike Davis. He was a class act as a player at Alabama and, from all indications, is a class act as a head coach.

*I can't help but wonder if some people in the Auburn athletic department aren't a little embarrassed that they made no real effort to keep Harvey Glance from leaving for Alabama. An Auburn icon if ever there was one, Glance has the Tide contending for a national track championship.

Until next time...

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