One of the things you get used to after a couple of years of watching Nick Saban at SEC Media Days is that, more so than other coaches, Nick Saban gets asked questions that have very little if any connection to Alabama's football team. Part of that is probably because he has now graduated to elder status in the game -- while Saban isn't that old, per se, anyone who has three national championships to his name is going to be a respected voice on the larger issues in the game.
It's safe to say neither Ely nor Morris are going to press McCarron for his job, so all eyes will be on the two freshmen to see who will be Alabama's backup quarterback. Ely has the edge on experience, but he doesn't appear to have enough of an advantage to declare him locked into the position no matter what. Because it's the backup quarterback position, we may never know who Saban's true No. 2 is. Playing Ely in garbage time may not mean that Ely is the guy if McCarron gets hurt for an extended period of time.
It was such a difficult decision because of the other great opportunities I had, but overall the best fit for me academically and athletically was at Alabama. Alabama is indisputably one of the best programs in the nation right now, mainly due to what a great coaching staff it has. Coach Saban has won 3 national championships and has a top-notch recruiting class each year. I respect his work ethic and willingness to devote his full effort to turning his players into great men. I have really appreciated the way Coach Groh and Coach Smart have recruited me, showing me that Alabama was the best fit for me while also giving me the time to realize it for myself. I cannot wait to play for Coach Smart as my position coach and play-caller. I have spent a lot of time with him in my 4 years at camp and believe in his ability to make me a part of some great Alabama defenses.
Clark joins a growing list of Michigan football players who have been arrested and charged with crimes in 2012, including starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (DUI), former receiver Darryl Stonum (dismissed from the team after violating probation stemming from his second drunken driving arrest), receiver Jerald Robinson (misdemeanor destruction of property) and starting defensive tackle William Campbell (misdemeanor destruction of property).
The University of Michigan football program and its official apparel provider, adidas, have teamed to create a commemorative road jersey for the 2012 season opener against Alabama on Sept. 1. Michigan, adidas and the school's helmet providers have worked to match the colors in both the helmet and uniforms. For the Cowboys Classic game against Alabama, the Wolverines will don a white road jersey with maize across the shoulders and down to the sleeve. Blue piping will separate the maize from the white on the jersey. A blue block 'M' will appear on the left and right sleeves of the jersey, and the player numbers will be blue. Michigan will wear its traditional maize pants with the blue block 'M' on the left hip. The Wolverines' adizero Smoke gloves will feature lyrics to the school's fight song, "The Victors."
It might have been a glorious moment if Penn State's president and board of trustees had taken measures like those imposed Monday - or done even more, suspending football entirely - but without the push from the NCAA. Perhaps they couldn't do it on their own, but if so, what does that portend for the future at Penn State, regardless of the NCAA? So the NCAA has chosen to hit Penn State in the ego, and in the wallet. Perhaps there was nothing else it could do. But it might have been better to trust to Penn State's conscience, because that is where real change, meaningful change, and real respect for the victims will have to come from. Could Penn State have done that? Maybe. Maybe not. But now we will never know.
During the sanctions, and probably for several years after, Penn State will be comparable to Indiana or another low-level Big Ten program and will recruit like one of those programs. The best players in Pennsylvania will go elsewhere. Expect Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame to scoop up many of the top recruits in the state. During this time, it will be interesting to learn whether Penn State fans love their program or whether they loved their winning program. If they keep packing Beaver Stadium through what will be some awfully lean years, then it's true love, and they'll probably provide the resources to help the program recover after the sanctions expire. If they stop coming to games, then Penn State may never climb back to prominence. That question won't be answered until long after the eligibility of Bench and the other Nittany Lions expires. For the moment, the players must decide their best course of action now that the NCAA has dropped its hammer on Penn State. Some will stay. Most will probably leave. They didn't do anything wrong, but they'll have to pay a price anyway.
Several programs CBSSports.com contacted Monday said they will be faxing over lists of names of Nittany Lions they are interested in recruiting. After that, they will try and connect with the player, either directly if they had a previous relationship via the recruiting process, or through the player's high school coach. Incoming freshmen will be released from their letters of intent, so even if they used up all five of their official visits, they will be able to take five more official visits, according to the email. "We looked at this [Penn State situation] from the macro level first, by saying, 'Do we have any relationships here with any of these kids?'" said one staffer at a major FBS program. "We discussed faxing over a list with the names of their entire roster, but we ended up faxing over a list of over 30 names. "We know we have to move quickly. You want things in motion by tomorrow. Camp starts [in about 10 days]. They're gonna have to take visits. You have to get them admitted. There's a lot that is going to have to happen in a hurry."
In the past two days, two Penn State recruits for the 2013 class have said they are backing out of their commitments to the school. The father of Avon, Ohio, cornerback Ross Douglas said on Monday his son has reopened his recruitment and defensive tackle Greg Webb from Timber Creek (Sicklerville, N.J.) switched his commitment over the weekend from Penn State to North Carolina. That doesn't count incoming or current players at Penn State, who are free to leave without penalty. Gilman (Baltimore) football coach Biff Poggi told USA TODAY Sports he spoke Monday with Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding former Gilman offensive lineman Brian Gaia, who would have been a freshman at Penn State. "The better kids are going to want to get the exposure you get from bowls, so they will leave," Poggi said.
NCAA President Mark Emmert was given the authority to punish Penn State through a joint motion by the Executive Committee and the Division I Board of Directors. This is where the members of the NCAA, including not just Division I but the entire Association, had their say. The representatives of the members give their consent to allowing Emmert to punish Penn State, but established limits on what the president could do. First, President Emmert was only authorized to negotiate a consent decree with Penn State. He was not authorized to unilaterally impose punishment that Penn State was not willing to accept. This is critical in limiting the impact of such an unprecedented action going forward. If a school agrees to harsher than normal treatment, it does not necessarily expose other schools to the same.
Q. This is such a difficult topic, how did you deal with the visceral emotions when weighing the decision?
A. No one I’ve met or would care to meet could look at this case and be dispassionately completely about it. Its just too visceral. I’m a dad and a granddad, and I react like anyone, ‘What if this happened to one of my children?’ But at the same time, the presidents and I who evoked these sanctions today have to do that to the best of our ability. I understand how disgusting this is, but let’s examine the culture and circumstances that created this. Let’s find the component of it that has to do with intercollegiate athletics and determine what’s our role, if any, in that component. We don’t deal with criminal matters. We have 430,000 student athletes and 50,000 employees across the country. At any given point in time, if anyone is committing a crime that’s none of our business. That’s the criminal justice system. There are people getting punished on campuses all the time. That’s their business. Our business is to focus on whether or not the behavior of a program is supporting the integrity and the ethics and values of intercollegiate athletics and is the institution in control of that program and is it doing the right things? That’s what we’re trying to do here was set aside the crimes and focus on what part of this had anything to do with athletics. And that was challenging.
Unlike SMU, however, Penn State is not dead: Barring an act of ritual seppuku by the university, it will play a full schedule this fall in those defiantly austere white and blue uniforms, and will continue to field a team for the foreseeable future. In place of the pitch-black specter of the "death penalty," the more accurate analogy for Penn State's program is to the un-dead. Its future now hinges on one central question: Who wants to play for Zombie Lions? The obvious answer, of course, is nobody – at least, nobody who was likely to meet the standards of the old, living, breathing Penn State. On paper, the sanctions may restrict themselves to matters of quantity. Beginning with the 2013 recruiting class next February, the Nittany Lions will be restricted to 15 scholarships per year – significantly down from the usual limit of 25 – for the next four years, through the recruiting class of 2016. (The 2013 class currently boasts a dozen verbal commitments, though the majority of them are already beginning to reconsider.) Beginning with the 2014 season, the roster as a whole will be restricted to 65 scholarship players through 2017, down from the usual limit of 85 and only barely above the 63-man cap for schools in the FCS. As it stands right now, if not a single player on the current roster decides to transfer or otherwise washes out in the next two years, and PSU signs a full 15-man class next year, the 2014 recruiting class will consist of five players.
Approached by a few media members following the event, Richt said he and his assistants already have gone over over Penn State’s two-deep roster. But he was vague — probably intentionally — on what (or how many) players Georgia would pursue. "We do have some space available and if somebody fits a need and they’re excited about coming we would look into that possibility," he said at the Cobb Galleria Centre. "There may not be anybody. But we’re at least going to explore. … I don’t want people to think we’re trying to load up a bunch of them. It could be zero, it could be one or two."