Wednesday we learned that three more women have initiated a second Title IX lawsuit against Baylor University, that the defense in a rape trial of a former Vanderbilt football player says the player was too drunk to commit an assault and that the judge who let a former Stanford swimmer who raped a barely conscious woman off with a slap on the wrist sentence has been removed from the bench in another unrelated rape case in California.
We also learned that the move to bring Art Briles back as the coach at Baylor is picking up steam among the alumni and that suspended Alabama players Laurence “Hootie” Jones and All-America left tackle Cam Robinson have their arraignment hearings today before a Ouachita Parish (Louisiana) judge. Robinson is accused of felony possession of a stolen firearm and Jones is charged with illegal possession of a weapon in the presence of narcotics. A Colorado State football player was arrested on a DUI.
Now take a moment and consider this: It’s only June 16 and we still have approximately 7 more weeks before fall camps begin for the 128 Division I football teams. That means we’re just warming up because the Silly Season has a way to go before things calm down.
What this tells me is that it’s time for college football to hire a commissioner and give him the resources he needs to clean up the sport. Does that sound radical? Maybe, but what happens if college football ignores all these and many more problems for another year or two? What happens if college presidents say enough is enough and start shutting down college football programs left and right or else scaling them back considerably? What happens if the college presidents say no more football for kids who can’t get in school with the same admission requirements as the rest of the student body?
You may think no way. I used to. I used to think there’s no way college presidents would eliminate or cut back on football since it’s the economic engine that drives the rest of the sports on Division I campuses, but I feel there is a growing discontent at the top. A few days ago, a friend of mine who rubs elbows with a lot of school presidents on a regular basis commented, “You would be amazed at the number of presidents who say it’s time to reel in football. You would be amazed at how many of them think their football coach is more powerful than they are. It’s a fact that most college presidents in Division I make less money than their football coaches.”
Are we at a tipping point now? Are the school presidents prepared to alter college football as we know it? It’s my opinion that there is no need to find out. The way to eliminate the potential for this kind of radical change is to do a pre-emptive strike by appointing a college football czar or commissioner, charge him with cleaning up the sport and then giving him the adequate resources in terms of money, staff and power to do whatever it takes. We could wait awhile to do it, but every year we wait is a chance that the problems grow to the point that the presidents say enough is enough.
Here are 12 steps that I think would reform college football in a positive way:
1. Division I football must secede from the NCAA. While the NCAA may have Division IAA, Division II and Division III under its thumb, Division I is already operating semi-independently so the transition wouldn’t be difficult to break free.
2. Rewrite the standards for admissions and tie academic performance to the number of available scholarships. For example, allow every school in Division I to admit players who don’t meet the minimum academic requirements but those players aren’t allowed to play until they’ve spent at least one year on campus and no longer have to take even one remedial course. If a player takes more than one year, then the school loses another scholarship until the kid is eligible; i.e., 2 scholarships lost until he qualifies. If the kid can’t meet requirements and transfers out, then the school loses 2 scholarships for another 2 years. For every academic casualty (flunks out) take a scholarship off the books for 2 years. If 10% of the football players can’t graduate with an undergrad degree in 6 years, take away 10% of the recruiting scholarships for the next 2 years. Every time a school graduates 100% of its players with a bachelor’s degree within the 6-year time frame, give that school 2 extra scholarships for each of the next 2 years.
3. Required background check on every incoming recruit and any kid who has a sexual assault or felony for violence against a woman is automatically disqualified. Make any disqualified kid go to junior college, get an AA degree and have a squeaky clean record before the new college football commissioner and his hand-selected committee vote whether or not to give a kid a second chance.
4. Set up a points system for arrests and off campus incidents. Once a school accumulates X number of points it is considered a level one offender and loses one scholarship for a year. Points accumulate over the course of a year and if the school gets to level two, then it loses three scholarships for one year. If a school is a level three offender, it loses five scholarships for two years.
5. Any kid arrested and convicted for sexual violence or violence against a woman cannot transfer to another Division I school. Period.
6. Eliminate the silly LOI rules. If a kid realizes he’s made a mistake or the coach is fired or leaves, then the kid should be free to go someplace else. That’s not possible under the current LOI rules. Take the decision whether or not to release a kid out of the hands of the school and put it into the hands of the commissioner’s office.
7. Dramatically change the transfer rules. Allow one free transfer to a kid who has finished his freshman year in good academic standing or whenever there is a coaching change. This notion that kids sign with the school not the coach is downright silly. In all other circumstances, if a kid wants to transfer, the commissioner’s office will decide if he should sit or should be allowed to play immediately. As with rule #6, take the release decision out of the hands of the schools.
8. Bring back athletic dorms and training tables. If we’re going to hold coaches accountable for their players, then give them more power to keep their players in as trouble-free environment as possible. All kids with a lower than 2.75 GPA will be required to live in the dorms.
9. Throw out the stupid rules that eliminate the amount of contact a coach can have with his players in the offseason.
10. Completely rewrite the rulebooks for recruiting and illegal benefits. Eliminate self-imposed sanctions and put the commissioner’s office in charge of penalties. Use common sense, establish a points system for violations and set up a guideline for penalties; i.e., X number of points is level one and results in these sanctions, etc.
11. Give the conference commissioner a 7-year term. Make sure the new commissioner has impeccable credentials when it comes to fairness, sound judgment and integrity.
12. Make sure the first commissioner is either Jeremy Foley or Condoleeza Rice.
DRAYMOND GREEN RETURNS TO WARRIORS
The Golden State Warriors will have a full deck to play with tonight as Draymond Green returns from his 1-game suspension. The Warriors take a 3-2 lead into tonight’s game 6 of the NBA Championship Finals. Green says the series would already be over he had played in game 6.
“I have a strong belief that if I play in game 5 we win, but I didn’t because I put myself in a situation where I wasn’t able to play,” Green said Wednesday.
7 DAYS UNTIL THE NBA DRAFT
Right now it’s looking like the Philadelphia 76ers will take LSU’s Ben Simmons with the #1 pick in next Thursday’s NBA Draft with Duke’s Brandon Ingram going #2 to the Los Angeles Lakers and either Jamal Murray of Kentucky or Buddy Hield of Oklahoma going to the Boston Celtics at #3. Given the choice, I would take Hield in a heartbeat.
Most mock drafts have the Orlando Magic taking Kentucky’s Skal Labissierre with the #11 pick although the stock of Gonzaga’s Domontas Sabonis and Utah center Jakob Poeltl is on the rise.
Everybody loves the way Tyler Ulis handles the basketball and plays fearlessly. Will that be enough to overcome the fact he’s less than 5-10 in his stocking feet? Some mock drafts have him dipping to the last 4-5 selections of the first round and a couple have him going early 2nd.
Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith has a really good chance to land in the second round because he’s capable of playing and defending both wings and the high post plus he handles the ball as well as a lot of point guards.
My most overrated player in the draft is a tossup between Labissiere and Thon Maker, who didn’t play college basketball. My most underrated player is Diamond Stone, the freshman center from Maryland. In the right situation he goes beast mode or his career.
In other draftworthy news, the Philadelphia 76ers seem hellbent to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. CBSSports.com reports they would prefer to keep Noel and make a deal for Okafor.
LSU’s plan to ban opposing teams bands a chance to perform went over like a far in an elevator. So, LSU has countered with a new plan that includes moving the opposing team to a place where it’s easy to get on and off the field. The LSU band will perform first and while the LSU band is performing the visiting band can get down on the field. Gee, that doesn’t sound so complicated, does it? Well, okay, we are talking about those athletic department geniuses in Baton Rouge.
Bishop O’Gorman (Las Vegas) running back Biaggio Ali-Walsh just signed a modeling contract. Wilhelmina Models obviously thinks he’s “pretty,” just like his grandfather, the late Muhammad Ali. Ali-Walsh is the #49 rated running back in the nation per Scout.com and has offers from Arizona, Southern Cal, Stanford, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Boise State among others.
Vanderbilt’sTim Corbin has joined the growing number of college baseball coaches who think the Major League Baseball Draft needs to be backed up a couple of weeks. This year’s draft took place while the Super Regionals were going on and while some high schools were still playing for state championships. “The timing of the draft is still at the apex of competition for these players,” Corbin said. Corbin suggests the draft take place after the final Super Regional and before the College World Series because all the high schools, jucos, NAIA, NCAA divisions I! and III and all but 8 teams in Division I would have completed their seasons.
Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins got a 9th inning double Wednesday for his 4,257th hit in Japanese League and Major League baseball. Ichiro’s next goal is 3,000 hits for his MLB career. He’s 21 hits from that lofty goal. Pete Rose holds the Major League Baseball record of 4,256 hits.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Do you believe it’s time for (a) all of Division I college football to break away from the NCAA and rewrite its rules top to bottom and (b) appoint a college football commissioner and give him or her the power to do what it takes to clean the sport up?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
I discovered The Revivalists a couple of years ago and they’re rapidly becoming one of my favorite bands. They’ve got a good thing going in the song writing department with lead singer Davis Shaw and lead guitar Zach Feinberg and their sound is probably best described as New Orleans funk meets southern rock and roll and adds in a little blue-eyed soul. Their “Men Against Mountains” album from 2015 is a worthy addition to your collection. Today’s music is a live concert from last fall at LEAF in Black Mountain, NC.