- Tennessee student-athletes will be required to attend ALL class sessions unless they are tired, hungry or in a bad mood.
- Student-athletes will miss one competition for EACH unexcused absence from class. Absences can only be excused by the professor, position coach or Jim Harrick Junior.
- Student-athletes may earn "excuse credits" by scoring touchdowns, forcing turnovers or sacking opposing quarterbacks.
- If the professor and student-athlete disagree on whether or not the individual was in class that day, the student-athlete's roommate will arbitrate the dispute.
- All attendance rules are suspended the weeks Tennessee plays Florida, Georgia or Alabama.
- The Head Football Coach will have the authority to postpone suspensions until the following semester if warranted.
- Any student-athlete who learns the words to Rocky Top will be exempt from this policy.
In the event you missed it from my last column, there are new words to the Vols fight song:
Glad that I'm a Jock on Rocky Top, Don't go to classes 'round here Tutors take our tests on Rocky Top, While we drink moonshine and beer
Fulmer's got our backs on Rocky Top, long as we keep making plays Don't even got to meet our professors, cuz touchdowns earn us straight A's
Rocky Top, you'll always be, easy as A-B-C Good Ole Rocky Top, don't 'spect school work from me
Charity Begins At Home (Court)
Watching the Daytona 500 Sunday afternoon I have to admit, every time the yellow flag came out I expected to see Brandon Bass back at the free throw line. There's been a lot of wailing about the officiating in the Gator basketball team's loss at LSU Saturday but it's hard to argue the point. Rarely do you see a close game in which one player (Bass) gets almost as many free throw opportunities as the ENTIRE OTHER TEAM (13-15).
Free throw disparity is part of the game and more often than not the home team will get a few more chances. Sometimes wide disparities are valid due to the nature of a game… three-point shooting teams like Vandy don't get to the line as often as team which get a lot of scoring in the paint, for example. But for a closely played game in which both teams regularly go inside for offense to have a huge gap is pretty rare. LSU took 19 more free throws than the Gators did. LSU sub Ross Neltner took two while Matt Walsh played 34 minutes, took twelve shots and never made it to the line.
The SEC will need to take a long look at this one, but it shouldn't take long since officials' supervisor John Guthrie was courtside in Baton Rouge.
Season-Defining Week Ahead
With the loss to LSU, Florida faces a most important week ahead. With 16 wins and an RPI just above "bubble" level, the Gators need to build some momentum for the stretch run. Right now Florida enjoys a two-game lead over both Vanderbilt and South Carolina in the race for second place in the SEC Eastern Division. That second-place finish is crucial to Florida's NCAA tournament hopes and positioning for the conference basketball tournament.
Coincidentally Florida plays both division rivals this week and a sweep would strengthen Florida's NCAA resume' significantly. I would argue a sweep locks Florida into the tournament for the seventh year in a row. It won't be easy. Vandy is playing a lot better than it was earlier in the conference schedule and Carolina --- well they beat Kentucky at home last week in its most impressive win in three years.
I like the way the Gators have played the last three weeks and think they deserved a better fate in Baton Rouge. Still, if efforts like that continue on a game-by-game basis, this team will finish strongly and be a tough out come tournament time.
Big Weekend for Gator Baseball
Twenty years ago Rodney Brewer dropped a fly ball in Miami which led to the Hurricanes beating the Gators in the final of the NCAA Regional and denying Florida its first trip to the College World Series. So it was more than a little ironic that Saturday's Florida/Miami game was settled when the Hurricanes' left field, John Jay, dropped a pop-up in the 11th inning, handing Florida a 2-1 win.
The Gators took advantage of that win on Sunday, jumping out to a ten-run lead and holding on for a 14-11 win over the 'Canes, taking the series from Miami. Sunday's game wasn't pretty but it showed this team has some moxie and resilience. The Gators are not swinging the bats with a lot of authority but with patience at the plate and clutch hitting they are still putting runs on the board, almost nine per game.
But perhaps the best thing about the weekend is that nearly 14-thousand fans packed into McKeithan Stadium for the three games including four thousand plus in bitter cold Friday night. It would be great to see three or four thousand become the norm around here. I don't expect that to happen, but hopefully crowds under two thousand will become a bit more unusual.
Ryan Lochte Is Unreal
Florida's swimming sensation was a joke at the SEC Swimming Championships in the O'Dome this weekend. I mean that in a very good way. Lochte set three NCAA records and was part of another in a relay helping Florida to second in the SEC and just narrowly missing an upset of top-ranked Auburn. Lochte was the top point scorer for the meet and is arguably the finest swimmer in the nation. Florida has had a history of great swimmers over the years, but by the time his senior year is over I believe Lochte will be considered the best ever. I know he will be by yours truly!
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Have a great week.