Another Fetch Friday and another week of scandal, speculation and passing the time in the offseason.
But, amidst all the rumors and "what ifs" we have arrived at the Final Fetch Friday of the footballlessness. That's right, a week from today we'll be a full Thursday slate of games deep and gearing up for a weekend filled with football. Got another primer podcast here, a short listen from a radio spot I did this past week for Go Mile High's show "Wired Down" so check it out. We talk a little Miami mess, Super Conferences, Oklahoma and of course Boise State and TCU. If the embedded player doesn't tickle your fancy click it here to get the podcast.
So with plenty to discuss to wrap up the week let's get into the Fetch!
The biggest occurrences this week have been of the "off the field" variety and not in the "Boats 'n Hoes" way people. No, nothing nearly as epic has happened in the world of college football this week, le sigh. But there are some major moves shaking the foundation of a few teams' seasons and we'll kick it off with Russell Shepard. The wide receiver for the Bayou Bengals was ruled ineligible by LSU because he "conferred" with a teammate prior to being questioned by the NCAA.
Yes, that's right, he spoke with teammates, we'll assume about the NCAA investigation, prior to going in and answering the organization's questions. Just so we're clear on semantics and no one gets it wrong; LSU is who ruled Shepard ineligible and they're hoping the NCAA reinstates him with little to no penalty.
Now that the technicality is cleared up we can get to the point; LSU stripped Shepard of his eligibility based upon the fear that they might get dinged with a violation because the junior wide receiver discussed the investigation with a teammate. Not directly congruent to Georgia Tech but somewhat similar to the Yellow Jackets being slapped with a violation for staff members discussing the NCAA's motives for the investigation:
"The staff members provided, before the NCAA could conduct their interview, information about what would be discussed in the interview," NCAA Committee on Infractions chair Dennis Thomas said. "These actions impeded the enforcement staff investigations and hindered the Committee in getting to the truth in this case. Otherwise this case, as it pertains to the football program, would have been limited to impermissible benefits and preferential treatment violations."
Basically the NCAA does not want people making them have to actually do their job. You know; the whole gathering facts and compiling evidence element of an investigation, what folks might call the "crux" of it all. First, we had Dez Bryant suspended a year ago for lying about something that actually wasn't even a violation. Now, this year, we've got Georgia Tech rang up for "coaching" their kids. LSU doesn't want that, so what do we get? A preemptive suspension, kowtowing to the NCAA to hope that the organization doesn't get mad that a guy talked to a friend about what was going on.
If you're thinking "well that makes sense, keep players isolated, make sure they know if they lie or they discuss the investigation they're in trouble. Makes it easier on the NCAA" I totally understand your viewpoint. I just don't agree with it. I fall into the "make them work" camp when it comes to things involving the NCAA.
Regardless of outcome down the road I'll forever be in awe of the way Auburn handled their situation; the Tigers didn't balk, they didn't panic, they didn't scramble and bend to the NCAA's every whim. They've said "prove it" and have cooperated to the point they've been obligated to and that's it.
All that said the NCAA's prior moves appear to be working. LSU is holding out a critical piece of their offensive attack and given the other recent developments the Bayou Bengals aren't quite on the same ground that they were a week ago.
Jordan Jefferson is the center of attention of the LSU bar brawl that left one victim with fractured vertebrae and created a host of conflicting reports as to what actually happened at Shady's in Baton Rouge. Much like the Tennessee fight from a year ago this is an ugly situation all around and oddly enough the story changes with each new shred of "information" that is uncovered. In the end the parties that are guilty will be disciplined; whether that is team discipline, suspension or dismissal will have to be based upon the degree of wrong doings.
Instances like this LSU situation absolutely suck. Honestly, fights for football players always tend to suck. Whether it is a guy like Jamie Cumbie former Clemson defensive tackle in a solo situation or a group of guys such as LSU, Tennessee or Penn State these things almost always end bad. The same things that make guys great teammates and damn good football players; having your teammates back at all times and a tremendous blend of size, power and speed, turn a standard fight into a one-sided beat down situation.
It isn't right, it just sort of "is" when it comes to this. The same situations with normal people and frat kids that results in some black eyes, maybe a bloody nose and some good stories turns into someone in the hospital, charges being filed and a big mess. Players have to be smart, they have to be careful about the situations they put themselves in and they have to know when enough's enough. Guys can't bring the same zeal and dogged "finish the drill" attitude that they have in a fall camp fight or in game battles against other ball players. The folks breaking up the fight aren't prepared for that and the normal person absorbing the blows isn't built for it either.
We'll keep an eye on the Jefferson situation, there's speculation now that Jarrett Lee might get the start in the opener against Oregon and that, coupled with the situation itself, has the folks in Red Stick feeling a bit wonky.
In other news check out the ACC podcast that I did over at Football Sickness, it is finally up. We've also got the ITB Pick'em set up at Free Office Pools so go join and to take part in a very interesting social experiment ask Stu623 on twitter about the free t-shirts.
We're here folks. When we return from the weekend we will be in full game mode. Let's get it.