NCAA Investigator in Tennessee Deserves Bonus by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

The NCAA D-1 Committee on Infractions released findings of major violations against Chattanooga for impermissible texts and phone calls to recruits.  On one hand, who really cares what Chattanooga does?  They’re not exactly tearing up the college athletic world.  On the other, this is the second piece of big news from the NCAA in a week originating from eastern Tennessee.

Knoxville and Chattanooga are separated by 112 of I-75 interstate highway, and if the NCAA investigators work regions, the guy traveling that part of the country is earning his money and then some.

Tennessee is in deep trouble for all kinds of impermissible, but in particular for photographs showing two big time recruits being photographed at Bruce Pearl’s home during unofficial visits – a big violation because there is no wiggle room for Pearl to claim ignorance or scatterbrainedness.  There is no doubt that every coach knows what is supposed to happen during unofficial visits, and Pearl willfully violated them by inviting kids to his house.

Chattanooga is different as they have been trying to get their compliance department up and running effectively for four years, and they self-reported for too many calls and texts.

I’m not sure whether NCAA investigators roll on to college campuses dressed like the Hoover Boys in the south as racial motivated murders were investigated in the early 1960s – like Gene Hackman and Willem Defoe in “Mississippi Burning”, but with Mark Emmert taking the reins of the NCAA as the replacement for Myles Brand, I would be on the lookout for a bulked up and aggressive investigative staff on college campuses.

At worst, the NCAA is going to make a very public example of someone.  The best we can hope for is an NCAA that dig deep and at least puts a scare into the renegade schools that ignore rules in an effort to feather their own nest.

The person doing the work on I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga is kicking ass and taking names.  Corruption in college athletics has been around as long as college athletic themselves, but maybe the tide is turning.


Indiana Basketball Recruit Austin Etherington on Why He Chose Indiana by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

It doesn’t take long after meeting Hamilton Heights senior Austin Etherington to figure out this 6’6″ kid from Cicero, Indiana, is honest and smart.  It takes about as long watching him play basketball to see that he is very competitive and loves the game.

There is something very likable about this kid from the small town part of Hamilton County.  Austin tells the truth, looks a man in the eye when he speaks, and is pretty damn smart.

After I stopped videotaping our talk, I lectured him on using the media to build his brand.  So many athletes have no idea what an opportunity there is for them to craft an image in the minds of the public – many of whom are hiring managers.  I told him, “Every microphone and camera is a portal to thousands of ears, and to sit in a corner avoiding that opportunity is wasteful and lazy.”  He looked at me through the entire speech, and in the end I thought, you just wasted five minutes telling that kid something he already knew.

Not that he tried to spin things to make himself look like a saint, genius, or role model.  He just answered questions and revealed part of who he is, which is exactly the right way to build an image.  It must reflect reality, or the image seems forced and phony.  Etherington is not phony.  He knows it, and was polite enough to listen to stuff he already knows.

Indiana basketball fans are going to love this kid.  He loves challenges, knows and attacks adversity, and believes brotherhood is important in building a team.  Tom Crean has been criticized a little bit for offering Etherington as early as he did, which is nonsense.  After watching him play several times and talking to him, I think anyone who didn’t offer is crazy.  He’s 6’6″, can jump, defends hard enough to frustrate Rivals #2 ranked player L’Bryan Nash into punching him in the back of the head during a tournament last summer, and can flat shoot it.  And more than just being the sum of his parts, he’s a basketball player.

There are a lot of kids who play basketball, but not that many basketball players.  I’m not sure this makes any sense to anyone but me, but Etherington moves and plays inside the game.

This is a kid who’s home burned to the ground a year ago, is proud to be an example to younger teammates and his two younger brothers, and has a burning desire for Hamilton Heights to win their first sectional in nearly a decade.

Here’s what Etherington has to say about choosing Indiana:

Here’s a video with some highlights from Etherington and his team at the Adidas tournament played at North Central High School in July, 2010:

IU to Kick Off Exhibitions with Franklin College by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Indiana teams should absolutely play each other, and the exhibition announced today against Franklin College is a step in the right direction toward making that happen.

Tom Crean and Fred Glass should be commended for working to include schools like Franklin in its exhibition schedule, and join a self-congratulatory Hoosier handshake with Purdue’s Morgan Burke, Butler’s Barry Collier, and Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick in creating an Indiana school event like the Crossroads Classic for 2011 and beyond.

Indiana will also play Evansville this year, and Purude will play Indianapolis in an exhibition, Valpo, Indiana State, and IPFW.  That’s the way the in-state school should do business.  Keep the money in state, and give kids from Indiana a chance to play at Assembly Hall and Mackey Arena.

Bruce Pearl Legally a Member of the Tennessee Vounteer Family Through 2015 by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

The contract between the University of Tennessee and basketball coach Bruce Pearl is worded in such a way that firing him without paying the remainder of his money through 2014-2015 – even for cause – in light of the recent scandal in Knoxville is damn near impossible, according to a post today by ESPN’s Andy Katz

This explains the recent comments by UT’s chancellor that Pearl remains a part of the “Tennessee family”.

The contract that Tennessee gave Pearl initially and extended through 2015 requires a finding of a “significant violation” by the NCAA is order to remove Pearl. Failing that, The school owes Pearl $1.9 million per year through the end of the deal if they punt him.

All this begs the question, what kind of dumb ass at a university supposedly filled with educated people would extend such an offer to a man who has been suspected of recruiting skullduggery dating back to the late-1980s as an Iowa assistant.

Maybe I’m some kind of cynical idiot, but if a coach I considered for hire required such a restrictive termination clause, I would wonder why. If I were the coach a school offered $1.9 very large per year to leave the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the last thing on my mind would be to ask for strong handcuffs for the authors of that rescue.

Someone pays me that kind of cash, they buy the right to turn me loose anytime they like.

Understanding that collusion is wrong, the athletic departments should each individually make the commitment to never agreeing to include a strict fire for cause clause. The only coaches who have earned anything that generous and binding are certainly not on a list including Pearl, John Calipari, Steve Fisher, Thad Matta, Jim Harrick, and/or Kelvin Sampson.

Why a school would make such an offer to a coach like Pearl, who had success at UWM, but is certainly not a singularly talented coach. He’s a good coach in the same way Bob Huggins is a good coach, but there are dozens of those guys. Just say no.

Would Pearl have told the Vols to keep their $1.9 million a year because the athletic director and school hierarchy wanted to maintain some control over the program in case the coach ran it like Mr. Magoo drives a car?

ADs need to stop shaving their vaginas and stand tall against the arrogant crooks they protect from consequence with their self-restricting contracts.

Tom Cream Releases Video of Recent Workouts Via Twitter by The Truth

By Kyle Miller

Coach Crean released a video today via twitter on recent workouts.  Some of these stadium step workouts look absolutely brutal:

Tennessee Is in a Pearl Jam by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl is being accused of more that simply making a few impermissible phone calls to recruits.

According to Garry Parrish, the NCAA is also investigating Pearl because of two recruits paying a visit to his home during an unofficial visit in 2008.

Point guard Aaron Craft and Josh Selby were reportedly photographed during the visit that Pearl at least initially denied to NCAA investigators occurred. Both the photo and the lie make Pearl dumber than he appears on the surface.

Accusing then Illinois assistant Jimmy Collins of offering recruit Deon Thomas an SUV and cash wasn’t the sharpest career move of all time when he was an assistant at Iowa competing for Thomas’s services. Allowing a photo to be taken at his home during an unofficial visit is even more idiotic.

The chancellor of the University of Tennessee told the media that the school was backing Pearl because he is a member of the family, “I have confidence that [Pearl] will do the right thing in the future. He is one of our family members, and we stand with him and his family at this point in time.

The phrase “at his point in time” should be highlighted and give chills to Pearl and his family. Buzz Peterson was a part of the Tennessee family too, and what the he’ll happened to him?

The corruption in college basketball is thick enough that a crook really has to be both arrogant and stupid to draw the attention of the NCAA. A coach who fit both categories was the late great Kelvin Sampson at Indiana. If he had been armed with a sack full of disposable cellies in 2006, Sampson would still be the coach at Indiana University.
At least Sampson was bright enough not to have high-profile recruits photographed at his home (that we know of).
The only thing that posses of the NCAA more than cheats they can’t catch is cheats who lie to investigators once they are caught.

So now Pearl back peddles as fast as he can and conveniently cops to the truth to try to avoid Sampson-espue exile.
It should be too little too late for the Tennessee family who’ve shown that blood down there is really orange kool-aid.

Dan Dakich on Coaching Kids by kentsterling
September 15, 2010, 8:37 am
Filed under: College Basketball, Kent Sterling | Tags: , ,

by Kent Sterling

Dan Dakich is an interesting guy, as everyone who listens to 1070 – the Fan in Indianapolis knows, and as everyone who watches ESPN’s college basketball coverage will learn this season.  He boils issues down to their essence, and explains them in language that is easy to follow.

Both of his siblings are lawyers and his dad is an educator.  Dan’s mode of communication is a combination of  the two professions – he thinks like a lawyer and speaks like a teacher.

Being a college basketball coach is incredibly difficult.  They have to attract the best student-athletes they can to their school, and then have to parent and lead them to be the best kids and players possible.  Young men are not at their most compliant during their college years, so the battle to win them over is ongoing.

In the video Dan tells the story of one kid who decided one day to listen and do what Dan said.  He wound up playing in the NBA.