Thursday Skull Session

By Alex on July 21, 2011 at 6:00a
$Cam NewtonLooks about right.

Good morning 11W fans and a happy Thursday to you all. This is indeed your Thursday Skull Session and we begin with none other than the hottest topic on earth: scandal in college football.

Ohio State has been the subject of a witch hunt by sports journalists this summer, while programs such as Boise State, UNC, Georgia Tech, Oregon, and LSU, among others, have ultimately had their issues swept under the rug. That may not last too long though, as it appears the wind might be starting to blow in a different direction now that paper trails are a-blazin with evidence of bad things college programs are doing across the nation that will make selling memorabilia for cash and tattoos (and the coach covering it up) look like a walk in the park.

Naturally we find ourselves looking at the SEC, ironically enough in the midst of commissioner Mike Silve preaching his plan for change to the NCAA at the conference media days. If you actually want to read about what the commissioner and coaches of ESPN's favorite group of football programs had to say, our own Luke and Spencer Hall over at EDSBS are doing a great job in wrapping things up. If you're like me and only want to see some of those teams rot and burn, the news flying around the internet will be your cup of coffee this young morning.

Today, the buzz surrounds LSU and Auburn, two of the conference's five straight national champions. LSU has already been in the deep this week, as they were slapped with a year of probation, as well as self-imposed scholarship and official visit reductions for the upcoming academic school year for committing "major" violations while recruiting a junior college player. That may just be the start though, as things are starting to build up around the Willie Lyles train as videos provided to the school by the Texas "scouting guru" appear to be old and of old quality. We saw how Oregon operated in terms of taking in Lyles services and I won't be too surprised to see that the Tigers acted in a similar manner, a.k.a. paying for Lyles' influence on recruits.

Finally, to cap things off this Thursday, we look to our friends to the south in Auburn. ESPN has tried its hardest to keep Cam Newton and Gene Chizik's program safe, but you know how pesky those journalists can be and it appears they are about to strike gold. As we mentioned in Buckshots yesterday, the NCAA thinks they have found the bag man that helped Auburn pay last year's (for now) Heisman Trophy winner to come there. This can only lead to bigger and better things, and all we can do is sit back, enjoy the ride, and laugh at all those that thought what happened in Columbus was worthy of the Death Penalty.

 Oklahoma profit may boom(er) soon (er). While the SEC dominated headlines last night, the Big 12 wasn't quiet either at their media days. Amongst many things talked about was the buzz that Oklahoma may follow Texas's lead in creating their own television network, which probably wouldn't draw the same national audience as UT, but would do quite well consiidering the lack of a big time conference television contract. 

I think with big time football programs and the possibility of super conferences in the foreseeable future, more and more teams could trend to go this route to add some extra (and non-shared) cash in their pockets. Could you imagine a Buckeye Network? That would surely be out of hound in terms of awesomeness, profit for the university, and success, as OSU fans across the world would pay prime dollar to be able to subscribe on. 

BBQ at the Out House shaping up. If you haven't already heard, Michigan is putting together a very nice recruiting haul for the class of 2012. That class could get even better soon, as the school is throwing a bbq on campus July 31 for all interested prospects who want to take an official visit. While many of the players are names Buckeye fans don't care too much about, it appears Brionte Dunn will be in attendance.

I still think Dunn is a Buckeye as long as the sanctions brought down by the NCAA have no effect on him, but you can bet Ann Arbor's new favorite couple duo [Ed: The use of the word "couple" rankled our friends from up north. Evidently, they thought it was a homophobic slur. We apologize if you did as well as it was simply nothing more than a bad choice in phrase. Hopefully our five year track record speaking out against slurs left little doubt in your mind as to to our intent with the word.] in Tom Stroebel and Kyle Kalis will be making their play to have Dunn join them on the dark side. Dunn will be one of those prospects that you don't have faith in to sign until the signature is on his LOI, but unless he's as impressionable as Kalis and lacks the ability to make his own decisions, I wouldn't worry too much just yet.

 Life as the favorite in the B1G. Adam Rittenberg over at ESPN's Big Ten blog has done an outstanding job at breaking down some data on B1G pre-season favorites and how they fared in the conference championship race. Interestingly enough in the last 15 years, the pre-season pick for conference champ has either won the title outright or shared it only 7 of those times. Ohio State has done OK in their own right, being picked as the favorite in six years and winning at least a share of the title in five (now officially four) of them. Oh yeah, also in those 15 years, the Buckeyes have claimed 8 titles (once again, 7 officially), which speaks pretty well on what Jim Tressel has done in Columbus during the last decade.

Lighty will have his pasta and will eat it. Back in June David Lighty turned down the opportunity to be selected later in the second round of the NBA Draft because some teams wanted him to play in Europe for a year to hone his offensive game. Funny enough, Lighty will end up playing over seas anyway, as the NBA lockout doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon and the former Buckeye star can't negotiate with any of the league's team who showed interest in him before the CBA expired.

Lighty has agreed to sign with Italian team Cantu, where he expects to play until the NBA is back in session. Lighty said once the lockout is lifted that he expects to sign with either Atlanta or Phoenix, the two teams that have expressed the most interest in bringing him on board. We wish the best of luck to David as we are sure he will represent the Buckeye Nation proud in his journey to make it as a professional basketball player.


Comments Show All Comments

bukyze's picture

Funny how there is absolutely no mention of Auburn's 'bag man' anywhere on the major sports sites.  If this was OSU, not only would ESPN lead off with that story for the first 20 minutes,  and the internet would be lit up.

AcrossTheField11's picture

They aren't breaking it because it's mostly hearsay at this point.  The story is lacking concrete evidence.  If it were only ESPN not mentioning it I would have to agree, but other outlets (SI, Yayhoo!!, foxsports, et al) would be all over this and will be, just like they were with us, when some more (harder) evidence comes to light.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Pam's picture

ESPN had no problem taking the word of an "ex-friend" of TP when said friend told them TP got $20-40K from selling autographs. They aired the interview and did an OTL about it. Where was the concrete and hard evicence?

Maestro's picture

Totally agree with this.  The money for autographs thing was over the top.

vacuuming sucks

AcrossTheField11's picture

Yeah I agree with you to an extent.  However, IMHO ESPN actually sitting down with this "Ex-friend" (Antonio Henton) and interviewing him gives that story more legs then this Sheridan guy, whose sources are still relatively unknown.  Most credible media outlets aren't going to report on a story with this little basis behind it. 

Keep in mind ESPN had incentive to report the TP autograph story because its the only thing they actually managed to break or "dig up" over the course of this whole fiasco. 

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Pam's picture

The ex-friend was a source completely unknown until he did that interview.

AcrossTheField11's picture

Right... what I'm trying to say is that ESPN, having broken the TP autograph story, knew the source could be deemed credible enough to report on.  They knew what they were getting into reporting on that becuase it was their story and they felt comfortable with the potential ramifications.  This Auburn thing is not their story, and reporting before they have more concrete info could result in them shooting themselves in the foot.

I'm by no means trying to defend ESPN.  This is simply my opinion, taking the situation at face value.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

BacknBlack's picture

If ESPN is worried about "shooting themselves in the foot" have Herbie break the story, he loves the taste of crow (Miles to UM).

NC_Buckeye's picture

Did I miss something? I thought the anonymous source was Henton's brother. Did Antonio actually come forward as the source and do an on-air interview with ESPiN?

BTW, haven't heard anything about the whole Pryor-Tolbert autographs for money thing in about a month. So did SI/ESPiN/Yahoo drop this once Pryor entered the supplemental draft -- knowing that basically everyone was going to clam up? Or did something come out that showed the allegation had no legs?

AcrossTheField11's picture

@ NC_BUCKEYE... It may have been Henton's brother, but I guess the source in that situation would still ultimately have been Antonio.  The thing that scared me about the whole autograph situation is how the university revoked Dennis Talbot's press pass as if they knew something was going on but did nothing to investigate or self report.  If this comes up in a notice of allegations we are in bad shape. 

BTW, I saw a few days ago you mentioned you live in Raleigh.  I moved back to Ohio from Raleigh about 6 months ago and was wondering if I ever ran into you at a Triangle buckeyes event.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Yeah up until a two years ago I was a regular at the Skybox gamewatches. But I just felt the number of people that were showing up was too many for the Hilton's bar. Makes it hard to get to know people. Plus gamewatches for the Michigan game were just absurd; you had to show up like 4-5 hours in advance in order to get seats. Then the straw that broke the camel's back for me was when the Skybox managment decided to try to be an ECU gamewatch location as well AND STARTING RESERVING TABLES FOR THEM... WHICH THEY NEVER HAVE DONE FOR US... DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE TRIANGLE ALUMNI CLUB HAS HELD GAMEWATCHES THERE FOR AT LEAST 15 YEARS (probably closer to 20 at this point).

So two years ago when the "Buckeyes in NC" meetup/facebook group formed and started doing gamewatches at the Brickhouse -- I decided to switch over to that group. Although I still maintain my membership in the Triangle Alumni Club. Occasionally, "Buckeyes in NC" will meet at the Skybox if something's going on at the Brickhouse. Difference is that the Brickhouse managment works with us and gives us a couple of weeks notice.

So yeah, there's a good chance you've seen me at the Hilton bar. Did you have a location in there where you usually parked?

BTW, why the move back? Better job opp in Ohio? (As if that's possible.)

thorvath22's picture

So any else notice the absence of Tyler Moeller from the new NCAA 12 game?

Also Penn State has A's accross the board in the game...these are without a doubt the worst stock rosters I have ever seen sincei started plaing the franchise (2004).

GoBucks713's picture

why is braxton #9? And why does he suck? Dude should be 99s across the board. And tell me why TP's speed is only a 91. He's a decent WR though.

-The Aristocrats!

RoweTrain's picture

If you have Xbox use this gamertag to download rosters. "THE MASSACRE771".  They are community rosters and are the ones I download every year.  This is just version one where they edit as many numbers as possible and some of the attributes for a lot of players.  They can't be used online for that last reason so if you want a good roster set for that let me know if you don't have one.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

thorvath22's picture

Yeah I have a PS3 and downloaded GatorBuck0208's roster and it pretty good...updated numbers and names and of course depth charts.

But the default rosters are god awful

Anyone on the PSN have an all Buckeye team on the team Builder with the old uni's (because they are much sweeter than our newer ones)?

OSUNeedles's picture

Anyone trying for the PSN roster, it is GatorNuts0208.... Small, but important difference.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Re: a Buckeye Network
The league needs to start thinking about where media will be in the next 25 years. I personally think the internet is going to evolve to the point where it kills cable and satellite providers. The networks that currently exist will simply be 24-hour streaming sources. BTN will be a 24-hour streaming source.

Given all the crap that we've been seeing from the WWL, I say we start now the process to eventually become our own content provider. And yes, broadcasting games will be part of that content. We can do it in conjunction with BTN under the auspices of the B1G. But I think our contracts with ESPiN need to keep this in mind going forward. We don't want them having a say in our getting out of their clutches.

Nothing would please me more than writing the WWL out of the cfb equation. The B1G needs to keep leading the way in being the most innovative college conference.

thorvath22's picture

Although I agree eventually everything will be internet based (basically I see a modem/router/set top box all in one) but this won't catch on until these service providers get off their high horse and start fairly pricing and providing quality service and quit subtracting features while jacking up the price...also bandwisth could be an issue for some....anywho...back on topic, I think if there where a network we would have to get an 11W show called 'Eleven Warriors presents: Skull Session Live' and ends every show with 5 minutes of random online videos and rumours tosh.0 style.

Doug T's picture

I like this idea, BTN should also have a highlight show showing outside the conference games.

GoBucks713's picture

It's called Big Ten and Beyond I believe

-The Aristocrats!

Bucksfan's picture

The only thing keeping cable alive right now is its exclusivity, and incredibly powerful lobbies.  If you want ESPN, as you well know, you have to subscribe to cable, where ESPN is partially subsidized by all the other networks on a plan.  ESPN could become an online-only network, but it would have to charge you a TON of money to make up for not being part of a cable bundle.  This is the problem facing any upstart television network, and OU and UT are going to find it very difficult to keep their networks alive if it's on a super-premium sports tier that costs 300 dollars a month.  The BTN covers an enormous market of sports fans, and look at how ridiculous the cable companies were regarding how they were going to charge for it.  UT and OU combined don't come close to the market draw of the entire Big Ten.  A Buckeye channel, while great, would be vastly expensive under the current format.

That said, what needs to happen is for cable companies to be deemed monopolistic in their operation by Congress.  Satellite has freed up the market a little bit, providing what amounts to unlimited bandwidth and programming, but you still can only get what they offer on their 3 or 4 plans.  There are Congressmen on both sides of the aisle that have been pushing for years to free-up the television market, making it an a la carte system where you can pick and choose the channels you want, and ONLY the channels you want.  Then you're only paying for what you're going to use.

It makes a LOT of sense to do it this way, unless you're a media mogul who use your outlets to control the agendas.  When you talk about powerful lobbies, media lobbies are insanely powerful.  But if it happens, cable service might fold completely, shifting everything to online programming.

Mike413's picture

Hello All.

Long time reader and first time poster.  Love this site!!!  GO Bucks.

I currently live in Montgomery Al, so pretty much forced to follow

AU & AL stories.  I personally think the money man is Milton McGregor.

He owns the Victoryland gambling hall in Shorter AL, about 30 miles

from Auburn and is known as a hugh AU supporter.  Many stories have

been reportered about recruits & players always winning playing slots.


Thanks all,  Mike



Bucksfan's picture

Anyone know what the new pro-combats for the Wisconsin game are supposed to look like?

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

hopefully they at least stick with the same color scheme. maybe they'll be sweater vests.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Denny's picture

I'm not a clothing designer, but I'd venture so far as to guess they'll have pads, maybe a helmet. Probably numbers.


Bucksfan's picture

I just don't want Santa's elves taking the field against the toughest opponent on the schedule, in a revenge game, at home.

thorvath22's picture

So tell me what the difference between LSU's self reporting and Ohio States? Was Or do people forget Ohio State self reported the Tressel cover-up? The only difference is that the Ohio State internal investigating was leaked and made public before formally being revealed and let's not forget the witch hunt that followed that ultimately cost a coach his unless there is something no one knows right now the situation is no different here at OSU than it was when the terrible press conference took place. But yet LSU self reports a major recruiting violation and slaps itself on the wrist and they are gods....i wouldn't be surprised if there's more to the LSU thing than is led on and the NCAA is just so smitten with LSU right now that they won't look into it which would make LSU genious' to send out such a sacrificial violation to avoid more worse off one. Nonetheless I think people will look back at OSU's troubles and think..."damn it really wasn't as bad as we all made it seem at the time."

Bucksfan's picture

The difference is the content which they reported and when they reported it.  LSU's coaches kept the kid from playing as soon as the violation of recruiting rules surfaced, and they reported the violations to the NCAA immediately.  The kid, as a result, never saw the field at LSU.  In Ohio State's case, the initial burden of reporting fell on the head coach, who then didn't report it, then played the players in all 12 games of 2010 that he knew did something against NCAA rules.  Then, once the violation became public, an NCAA investigation took place for two weeks in December, during which Tressel denied knowing that these kids did something against the rules...which we would find out in February was a lie.

So, Ohio State, as an institution technically didn't do anything differently than LSU in terms of doing what they can to find out as much as possible and report it to the NCAA.  However, the violations are different, and may carry with them much different penalties.  Or, maybe not.  We'll see.  But to me, at least, it makes no sense to compare them.  They are different situations.

In terms of P.R., though, Ohio State probably did everything wrong in front of the microphone.  Gee said he's in Tressel's pocket.  Smith went back and forth on everything he's said since it first broke.  The University went back on their decision to suspend the players for the bowl game, which may have gone a long way with the public in terms of perception of what they deem as important (if that happened at Alabama or LSU, our fans would be blazing mad).  And don't forget Tressel, who lied repeatedly to the public...first about knowing the players were ineligible, then about not telling anyone, (which was a lie, he forwarded the email to Sarniak), which made his explanation about why he withheld the information (federal investigation) a lie.  Then, on top of all of this lying and wishy-washy PR, the self-imposed sanctions seemed very minor, considering they didn't fire the coach outright (first penalty was a fine and a 2-game suspension), and they didn't suspend the players until the NCAA made their ruling.  So overall, the public relations game was a complete and utter failure by everyone involved on Ohio State's end.  Are those NCAA violations?  No.  But it looks and feels bad.