Sunday Skull Session

By Vico on January 20, 2013 at 6:00a

Mornin', Skullerinos.

While Ohio State basketball returns to the drawing board after another road loss, in anticipation of a return to the court on Tuesday against Iowa, it may be worth our while to shift gears and focus on other things happening around the world of college sports. It's actually been a fairly eventful 48 hours.

NCAA DEREGULATES RECRUITING. You may have been watching other shooty hoops action while this happened, but the NCAA passed some new rules that may be inviting more problems in a landscape where the line between "amateur" and "professional" exists on paper only.

There were 26 rule changes that were proposed on Saturday, 25 of which were passed. Here's the rundown of the big changes.

  • Coaches are granted unlimited phone calls and text messages to eligible recruits. Somewhere, Kelvin Sampson bemoans that this was not done sooner.
  • Restrictions on printed material/advertisements to recruits have been lifted as well.
  • Social media contact is now equivalent to traditional media contact (i.e. phone calls, texts, mailers). Coaches are allowed unlimited contact via Facebook and Twitter (however discreetly).
  • Recruits are permitted to receive outside sponsorship of competition-related expenditures without compromising eligibility. Remember Sharrif Floyd's "bake sale"? Totally above board now, provided the donor is not an agent of any kind.
  • The "Baton Rule" is no more. Now, programs can have any number of coaches on the road recruiting as they please.
  • Recruits can be considered "student athletes" after the National Letter of Intent is signed and faxed. This makes them eligible for any permissible benefits that can be provided once athletes step foot on campus for classes.

This all sounds like the NCAA has essentially liberalized recruiting, short of signing high school athletes to professional contracts with free shoes bonuses.

The NCAA's idea is to shuck regulation in favor of a streamlined rule book and increased efficiency in identifying and prosecuting the big violations of the NCAA's amateur mission. However, it seems like deregulating recruiting the extent to which the NCAA just did is asking for trouble.

In short, what the NCAA did is pass the buck on regulation to the families. It is now the families' obligation to coordinate with the suitors for their young athlete about when is the best time to call, when junior is not available to Facebook chat because of study hall or practice, et cetera.

Whereas a lot of families for higher profile sports like football and men's basketball often seem to relish in the attention their kid gets on the recruiting trail, this may be an unsatisfactory approach. We shall see.

I guess the good news is that, if anything, this just provides more firepower for Urban Meyer and his staff. In a deregulated framework, it's basically sink or swim, something for which Meyer and company are well suited and for which others in the conference may have to adapt. Is it any wonder why Pat Narduzzi has upped his Twitter presence of late?

SOMETHING SOMETHING TE'O SOMETHING. So, here's the latest deal on the Te'o thing with the dead girlfriend thing that was a fake thing.

Welp, Manti Te'o...Welp...

Jeremy Schaap sat down for 2.5 hours with Manti Te'o, off camera, to get his account of things. Te'o's account, in a nutshell: he says he was legitimately duped, did not know until the Deadspin story, but did embellish the story to his parents a bit in order to avoid an unwanted conversation about his parents' suspicions. A partial transcript is available.

Some takeaways, at least from my vantage point, follow.

First, Te'o is pleading he was a victim of naivete, which I think is believable. I know well people like him who come from "devout" backgrounds and can believe him getting duped, if that is indeed 100% of what happened on his side of things. I guess you have to know that type of "crowd".

Second, his account raises several questions about Jack Swarbrick's story. Swarbrick's account suggests Notre Dame was more forthcoming in their investigation and that Te'o himself eventually knew by the end of December. So, it seems like either Swarbrick or Te'o is getting some important details wrong.

Deadspin's Tim Burke and Jack Dickey have already poked some holes in Te'o's account that was made available late Friday night. Namely, it seems untenable for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo to have offered a Twitter DM apology to Te'o for Schaap to observe when Te'o was not observed to be following Tuiasosopo on Twitter.

According to a USA Today report, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo did not go far into crafting Lennay Kekua's back story. Much of the details come from the lives of acquaintances.

Meanwhile, we found out Notre Dame did this. This isn't insidious, but it is some next level institutional ineptitude.

I have no doubt this story will continue for some time, with the sports world devolving into a daily serial of "As the World Turns". It's becoming one of the most sensationalistic stories in recent memory where there was no crime committed or professional/organizational bylaw violated.

Such is sports fandom these days, I guess.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL MAY BE APPROACHING THE END OF EMPIRE. If you've followed me for some time, you may know I take the women's basketball team at Ohio State very seriously and am very much invested in their seasons. I thought it necessary to do a little checkup here on how they're doing.

Namely, it's not good. Ohio State prevailed on Thursday at home against Indiana, winning 68-45. Darryce Moore, whose brother, J.T., is on the football team, had 14 points and six rebounds. Tayler Hill, P.J. Hill's younger sister, led the Buckeyes with 15 points. Amber Stokes, daughter of Ron Stokes, is still sidelined with an injury.

A win like that is expected from this program, but it is only the Buckeyes' first conference win this season. At 1-4 in league play right now, the Buckeyes are ahead of only winless Northwestern and Wisconsin. Everyone is chasing Purdue and Penn State this season.

For those of us that are proudly invested in this program, this is a bitter pill to swallow. It was only a few years ago when fans of Ohio State women's basketball were typically bemoaning this team underperforming in March with the #1 seeding it usually had. This was at the height of Ohio State's dominance of the league, which saw the squad lose 15 league games in a six-year stretch that saw Ohio State win six league titles (five outright). More recently, Ohio State has played like a second tier squad in the league with the emergence of Penn State as hegemon.

The team returns to action on Sunday, playing at lowly Wisconsin. Thereafter: a home date with Penn State next Sunday.

MISCELLANY. If you unwrap Baylor's new helmets, you get chocolate candy... This happened at Hinkle Fieldhouse... Kansas State football briefly approaches the event horizon at the Shrine Bowl... Graham Spanier, hanging out... Silly NFL, Duron Carter is as much a product of X-BOX as he is Ohio State... Pep Hamilton leaves his position at Stanford as the Andrew Luck Director of Offense in order to take a job with the Indianapolis Colts as, well, basically the Andrew Luck Director of Offense... Don't click here.


Comments Show All Comments

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

So basically Baylor is trying to blind everyone with their helmets. Guess they need something to win the Big XII.

I'm just amazed how fast ESPiN was willing to believe what Te'o had to say.<-----And that is the last time I will discuss this unnecessary topic.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Boom777's picture

Baylor needs something, maybe it will help flash the eyes of the opposing team.  

Wherever you are, there you be!

+1 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Lord forbid they hire a DC that knows what he's doing. The answer is clearly TEH SHINY HELMETS!!!

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

JoeinCbus's picture

First, Te'o is pleading he was a victim of naivete, which I think is believable. I know well people like him who come from "devout" backgrounds and can believe him getting duped, if that is indeed 100% of what happened on his side of things. I guess you have to know that type of "crowd".

I was not aware that naivete was commensurate with a "devout" background, or that being devout made one more susceptible to being "duped."
11W is better than this.  Or used to be.

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Whoa noob you've only been a dubteer since sept, that's a short frame of reference to be throwing terms around like, "used to be better".
I doubt Vico was generalizing the devout populous as a whole. Te'o and ND's defense has largely been built on the argument that due to his devout faith and trusting nature he was the ideal target.
All Vico is saying is that is a plausible defense based upon his personal experience. Now, pour another cup of coffee and I hope your Sunday gets better. 

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Defiance J's picture

Agree Joe. The comment was uncalled for. 

+1 HS
Goose's picture

Not everone is full of doubt and skepticism about everything that happens.  Some people are just naturally trusting.  I know I am and could see a situation where this kind of thing could happen to me.
I'm not saying that there aren't some things in the story that raise some flags, but I'm still willing to give the guy some benefit of the doubt.

+1 HS
cal3713's picture

Seriously, you would "date" someone without ever seeing them in person or even video chatting with them (and without their identity being obscured by a mysterious "black box")?  

+1 HS
Riggins's picture

I've said from the start that I thought the Te'o being duped theory was plausible.  A large percentage of my line of thinking was due to Te'o's Mormon faith.  This isn't meant to be a slight on his religion.  It's just that Mormons (and many other religions) are taught to look for the good in people.  This trusting personality and lifestyle alone leaves them more susceptible to getting scammed.  Have you ever met a cynical Mormon?  I haven't. 
I don't think you need to get outraged when someone makes a comment that religious people are less cynical and more easily trusting than non-religious people.   He's not insinuating that religious folks are "stupid".  An optimistic worldview and a belief in the good nature of humanity isn't a negative trait.
And before any non-religious people jump on my comment, these trusting/optimistic traits are certainly not exclusive to religious people either.

+1 HS
Boom777's picture

Is football back yet! I'm gonna lose it if we gotta keep hearing about Te'o. This is the dumbest story in football, and is it really news. Is signing day here yet! 
Can we ban the use of V.Bell, D.Wilson and M Te'o on this sight till after signing day( Te'o just completely ban)

Wherever you are, there you be!

BME_Buckeye's picture

I have been shocked with the women basketball team over the past years. We've had good centers like Jessica and Chantle and PG Parhalis who have went on the WNBA but I didn't get how we didn't get further in the tourny. Albeit, UCONN was on another stage then most teams it would have been nice to go further. Now, it seems like we're at the bottom of pile and PSU is riding solo! Give Jim Foster time and he'll be pulling in some classes for the women team and having them back in contention for the B1G and a deep tourny run. Thank you for paying respect to the other sports at Ohio State. 
In other news, if you live in florence,KY you can get a free bobble head of Monte Te'o girlfriend

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


oregonianbuckeye's picture

Taking the NCAA changes at face, I don't like the deregulation here. It opens up more possibility to be 'sponsored' which seems like a slippery slope. The unlimited phone calls also seems like a bad idea. On the other hand, this may help tOSU, as I trust our coaches and know the more time and direct contact with the recruits the better. 

Poison nuts's picture

First, great Skully! Second, Manti Te'o is weird. Third, Baylors helmets suck worse than their defense. Finally, why the hell is Duron Carter's school listed as OSU???

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Baroclinicity's picture

Hey Vico-
What is the biggest issue with women's hoops this year?  Is this a product of down recruiting years?  Are injuries the biggest factor?  Team chemistry?

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Vico's picture

Without getting too doom and gloom, I think this is basically Foster approaching the end of his career.  All coaches, even the good ones, have things unravel like this, either because the game has passed them by or they already have retirement in the back of their heads.  Foster's deal was that the team was always well prepared in November and December, but with no real improvement come March.  It's why we can beat teams like LSU and Oklahoma in non-conference play and routinely fall flat in the Round of 64 or 32.  Now, the former is not even the case.

I don't want to discount some of the injuries this team has had.  Kalpana Beach is out for the season and Amber Stokes has a left knee injury suffered recently as well.  Even with Beach and Stokes healthy, I think we'd see something similar to what we see now.

It sucks too because, in all honesty, I think I care more about women's basketball becoming a goliath than the men's team (if forced to choose between the two). 

I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

Bucksfan's picture

First impression on the NCAA rule change is that it relieves coaches, university compliance offices, and the NCAA of an incredible load of menial work that generally only result in what are called "secondary violations."  Most major universities have 20-40 of these a year, the severity of which hovers somewhere in the realm of a recruit taking a french fry off of a coach's tray at McDonalds.  So, this at the very least will reduce an incredible amount of paperwork, and it should, SHOULD, free up the NCAA to more consistently tackle bigger issues.

Citrus's picture

Did your avatar change or something? It looks good.
I do appreciate the little chuckle I get each time I see it. Seriously, thanks.

Bucksfan's picture

Ha!  Flattered that my exercise in banality has livened so many a spirit.  Cheers!

NJ_BUCKEYE's picture

I heard a coach a few weeks ago say this would really hurt the quality of life of asst. coaches and the kids who are being recruited.  I am positive I heard UFM say he wasn't too happy about these changes.  Most universities had to have grad. assisstants on hand to pose as coaches to respond to text messages as fast as possible before the previous rule changes to limit text messaging.

Bucksfan's picture

That would surprise me, because UFM was one of the first coaches ready and willing to use these new technologies to his advantage before they were included in the rules.

NC_Buckeye's picture

That Te'o interview was terrible. Jeremy Schaap didn't try to get Te'o to address any of the irregularities that came out. It was basically guided questions that allowed Te'o to build a narrative. Te'o's agent (and subsequent PR handlers) are to be commended for negotiating those ground rules.
What sucks is that everyone, except Deadspin, is accepting this as sufficient. I'm going to make a prediction. Te'o's story that he was duped is going to be the official version of this until about 8 months into his NFL contract. At that time, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is going to realize he didn't get enough money and some rag like the National Enquirer is going to offer him $40,000-$50,000 to tell the truth. Te'o's response will be that Tuiasosopo is lying. And that will be the end of this.
Meanwhile contrary to some writer's assertions, there was a victim in this. Te'o did this to affect his Heisman consideration. And he almost pulled it off. He was second in votes. He wouldn't have even been invited to New York had this story not been pulling at voters' heartstrings. The person who came in fourth was the victim here.

Goose's picture

I just don't buy it.  From all accounts, Te'o is a quality person and has been for a long period of time.  I just don't buy that you can fake that for that long a period and then do something like this.  I'm willing to buy that he found out about it was distraught enough and worried enough about it affecting the team for the game vs. Alabama that he perpetuated it after the fact, but not that this was part of a calculated scheme from the beginning.

NC_Buckeye's picture

And what makes me reject your hypothesis is that the Samoan expat community is a very connected community... thinking even more so for the young ones in the twitter/facebook age. (I have a friend who is from Guam. Same thing in that community.) I imagine this started out as a joke between the two guys to see if the media would bite and then it got out of control.

Actually Deadspin could shed a lot of light on this by going into a little detail about their investigation and how it got started and when they talked to various people. I'm betting that a key person was contacted around Dec. 6th and that person contacted Tuiasosopo or Te'o. And I don't doubt that this hoax affected his performance in the NC as it's likely that he was being blackmailed. Probably by Tuiasosopo.

RBuck's picture

but the NCAA passed some new rules that may be inviting more problems in a landscape where the line between "amateur" and "professional" exists on paper only.

Just don't sell your own stuff.

Long live the southend.

CaliforniaBuckeyeGirl's picture

I think there might be something wrong with me.  I kinda like Baylor's helmets. I'm blaming this on the paralyzing boredom that has resulted from listening to continuing legal education classes all morning.  I did learn one interesting thing, though.  Of all the drugs (including alcohol), shrooms have the least effect on a lawyer's ability to practice.  (!!!)

+1 HS
Bucksfan's picture

Nothing wrong with you.'s so hot right now.

+1 HS
okiebuck's picture

I for one am hoping our Buckeye offense operates as well oiled as Baylor's did w/o RG3 this past year and in their bowl game. As for defense; I'm praying for a return of the long lost Silver Bullets!

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

+1 HS
Hockey Buck's picture

I support all OSU athletics and when in town am a regular at hockey games, volleyball, baseball, soccer, etc., but if anyone cared about women's basketball Foster should have been canned years ago for his terrible NCAA showings. That and the fact he makes $900,000 for his tourney shortcomings.

+1 HS
okiebuck's picture

Agree; I think Foster is average at best and it's time for a change; as for the Buckeye Icers I posted yesterday that I think Coach O has them headed in the right direction; what say you Hockey Buck?

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

+1 HS
Colonel Quaritch's picture

Ok i dont get what is wrong with that Collin Klein picture? Anybody care to explain it?

"The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me." 

+1 HS
MediBuck's picture

Second. And I don't get the Event Horizon reference :(

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

+1 HS
faux_maestro's picture

I'm assuming it's because the guys heads look all stretched out, as would happen as you approach an event horizon.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

cal3713's picture

I also don't get the event horizon ref, but the picture was taken because Klein is right next to Ron Prince, the former coach of KSU who incompetently ran the program into the ground.

+1 HS