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Jumbo Package: College athletics are staring into the jaws of a gambling monster

Tony Mitchell was also bailed out of his own idiocy

Las Vegas Exteriors And Landmarks - 2021 Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

No. 14 may be generous...

The staff writers at NCAA dot com took a stab at re-ranking the super regional teams based on their regionals performance, rather than their initial seed. IYRC, Alabama was a huge surprise, earning the No. 5 seed over far more qualified, accomplished teams...including ones in their own conference.

It’s not that Alabama is awful — they bring in the No. 12 RPI and the No. 7 SOS — it’s that this team has been a two-man show for the better part of the year: Prange, Fouts, and then your grab your butt and hope Salter/Torrence have it that night and/or one more position player can have a clutch plate appearance.

That was abundantly on display in the host region, where the Tide scored two runs against soup cans in two games and forced itself into a do-or-die doubleheader in what was easily the softest landing for any host in the entire tournament. For that “effort,” Alabama was roasted soundly:

I know it feels like a drastic drop, and they were playing without Montana Fouts. But they still struggled against Middle Tennessee, and the offense has really been slumping. They escaped with a 1-0 win against Middle Tennessee after losing 5-1 in Game 6. The offense needed to show up more for me to justify putting them higher. If Fouts is back and the bats come alive in the supers, that is a different story.

I think even at 14th, the Nontana Tide may be too high: No. 15 ULL won their conference, escaped a tougher region, have the better RPI, and are simply playing better.

So, why are we in Tuscaloosa? First, NCAA grand poobahs attend these things. Rhoads is one of the premiere venues in the country and UA has two decades of experience hosting. It’s simply an easier experience, in a more telegenic stadium, with Athletic Department staff that know how to put on a production...and the food options are better than in BFE. The second reason is star power: Montana Fouts was the highest-earning female athlete pre-LSU Instagram thotery, and is still the most popular softball player in America. She simply draws viewers, as is evident by ESPN putting ‘Bama on primetime both nights on their tent-pole networks.

That is why one of the weakest Alabama teams the last decade is seeded 5th and hosting a super regional.

Degenerate Gamblers, Unite!

The NCAA released its youth gambling report yesterday. and the numbers were not good, if you’re an administrator:

The survey queried 3,527 18- to 22-year-olds to better understand the prevalence of various sports wagering behaviors, as well as how attitudes toward wagering are being impacted by external forces, such as advertising. Opinion Diagnostics conducted the survey by using a national online panel that mirrored the total population of that age group and included both college students and young adults not attending college. Current or former NCAA athletes may have been in the pool of respondents but not in sufficient numbers to examine their data separately. The NCAA will conduct a student-athlete-only survey in the coming months.

Overall, the present survey found that sports wagering is pervasive among 18- to 22-year-olds, with 58% having engaged in at least one sports betting activity.

Sports wagering activity is widespread on college campuses — 67% of students living on campus are bettors and tend to bet at a higher frequency. 41% of college students who bet on sports have placed a bet on their school’s teams and 35% have used a student bookmaker.

With 2/3rds of college students engaged in wagering activities, it would be foolish to not expect far more of the Alabama, Iowa, and Iowa State fracases to erupt in the coming years...and for questions to linger about the integrity of college sports and the outcome of games.

Officials, assistants, inside staffers, players are just people after all, and subject to the same impetus for a quick-buck as anyone else. The difference is, these people are in a position to best capitalize on insider information, or worse, directly affect the outcome. The former is a sin that cost Brad Bohannon his half-a-million dollar a year job security and has killed his baseball career, and the latter is one we are all just holding our breath until the lid is blown off of the first documented point-shaving case.

They have happened before at several schools, in several sports. But the gaming industry is legit and so much bigger now, social mores around wagering have greatly relaxed, and sports are more lucrative. So it really is just a matter of time.

Though, there have already been some suspicious moments in the modern era...with one conference, and one school in particular, subject to the most curious incidents and allegations.

Not saying they’re true; it’s speculative. But...

So, yes. It is a matter of time. And we do have a shitstorm of Jovian proportions brewing, one that admins and fans will be caught flat-footed by, even as the warning signs have been on the wall for years.

It’s time to get ahead of the curve on this one. Bo and the ‘Clones and the Hawkeyes weren’t the first — just the first to get caught. And the next one that does could be the one that destroys entire programs.

(Is this a bad time to remind you that I have a side-gig handicapping CFB games? I think it probably is.)

Tony Mitchell: Bailed out by a very generous youthful offender program

Whatever pantheon freshmen DB Tony Mitchell ascribes to ought to be placated tonight with an Everest-high pile of burning votives, as Mitchell’s incredible dumbassery was bailed out by a youthful offender status.

Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell was placed on probation for three years, paid $1,560 and will serve 100 hours of community service, according to Holmes County (Fla.) court records.

According to the Wednesday court records, the Crimson Tide freshman’s case is now closed.

How did someone riding dirty, with baggies and scales in the car, armed to the teeth, and blasting across state lines at 100 MPH get such a wrist slap? Our old friend nolle prosequi: In exchange for pleading guilty and admitting that the state has enough to prosecute them, followed by some pittance of a “sentence,” the rest of the prosecution is abandoned by the State. It goes by many names: diversion, restorative sentencing, youthful offender, etc. But they have the same effect of giving (usually non-violent) kids a second-chance when they royally screw up.

Mitchell, you have been given one hell of a Mulligan. And as this is not Georgia, I don’t think there are third chances for you.

The downside for Mitchell’s career is that he has lost an entire year now. After being suspended from all team activities, the Tide’s DB room suddenly became a very crowded place: Little shined in the A-Day game, the Tide signed Amos out of ULL, Jaylen Key has emerged on the ‘Bama roster. There are now nine players looking for time, and missing an entire spring means he’s the lowest crab in the bucket, staring up out of a hole he dug himself, with daylight so very far away.

The ruthless calculus of the depth chart — and an epic Nick Saban offseason ass-chewing — may wind up being the far greatest disciplinary action Mitchell ever faces.

Fringe Five-Star edge, Jordan Ross (the No. 38 player in the 2024 NSD Class), has narrowed down his finalist schools. They are, unsurprisingly, ones that have traditionally gotten guys NFL paper: Alabama, UGA, LSU, Florida, USC etc.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound pass rusher also plays basketball. Ross has good closing speed, quick acceleration and frequently pressures opposing quarterbacks. The four-star pass rusher should continue to improve his strength. Ross is good at quickly diagnosing plays.

He’s from Vestavia, so keeping this kid in-state would be a nice recruiting priority, even with UA’s loaded two-deep of pass-rushers. He has OVs set up with the other conference programs this summer, though no word yet on when he’ll be on campus. Since he’s just up the road, I have a hard time believing it won’t be during the LSU or Texas game, when Saban can highlight the true energy of the program.

Yesterday was Darius Miles’s bond-setting. And, to the absolute shock of no one, a capital murder suspect was not released on bail. But the real thing of interest here was Tuscaloosa journo Ryan Phillips’ excoriating Jeremiad he unleashed after the hearing. Through this entire mess, Phillips anger has been about as contained as our own: barely-to-nonexistent.

Good piece here:

Indeed, if you’ve followed along with my coverage you will clearly recall my anger regarding an early narrative that Darius Miles shot and killed Jamea Harris because she had rejected his advances.

Never mind that video evidence clearly showed Miles with his girlfriend for most of the night and even working to break up a large fight on Grace Street she was involved in immediately prior to the shooting. If you’re willing to believe it, this wholesale unrelated confrontation provides the clearest insight into why the group of Alabama basketball players were parked on Grace Street that night.

I could teach a master’s course just on the irresponsibility of single-source framing and agenda setting relating to this case. But, thankfully, the basics of the shooting allowed at least some truth to come out in the wash and dumped a bucket of cold water on pundits and the faceless hoards presuming guilt without understanding the evidence available.

Once you go black...wait, what?!

That’s it for now.

Baseball today, as Alabama Baseball either 1. Faces elimination, after a heartbreaking 11-inning loss to top-seeded Florida, or 2. gets to monkey-dunk Auburn at 4:00 and send them crawling back to that sty in the state’s unreconstructed quarters. I know which way I’m leaning.

We’ll see you later.

Roll Tide


Which SEC school will have the first player plausibly accused of point-shaving?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (14 votes)
  • 26%
    (108 votes)
  • 24%
    (97 votes)
  • 8%
    (33 votes)
  • 9%
    (37 votes)
  • 18%
    (73 votes)
  • 8%
    Kentucky (basketball only)
    (34 votes)
  • 1%
    Other, and why?
    (7 votes)
403 votes total Vote Now