Apparently jokes at the expense of Rich Rodriguez’s heralded Michigan recruits don’t go over so well with the hometown newspaper. And AnnArbor.com’s Michigan beat writer Dave Birkett just got a spanking for making one.
This from the website’s chief content office Tony Dearing, who explains the story quite well:
“During a live chat on the site, University of Michigan football reporter Dave Birkett made an inappropriate remark relating to a player recruited to play for the Wolverines.
The comment involved Demar Dorsey, a blue-chip high school player from Florida who was arrested for burglaries during his teen-age years, but never convicted of any crime. He comes to Michigan with no criminal record and deserves to be treated as such.
During Monday’s live chat, Birkett briefly left the discussion to allow a repairman into his home. When he returned, he explained why he was away. A participant in the chat, using the screen name “Demar” made a joking remark about planning to come over to Birkett’s home. The comment was screened, and did not appear in the chat. But Birkett thought it was being posted in the chat and responded: “And thanks Demar, I’ll see you here shortly. No need to bring your crowbar.”
For those of you needing a refresher course on Demar Dorsey, take a gander back at JT’s Signing Day report on the exploits of Dorsey who had been implicated in multiple burglaries, including one with a deadly weapon. While the settlement of those legal cases by diversionary programs or juvenile law was good enough for the University of Michigan to give Dorsey a second chance, it doesn’t mean that the local media should be forced to ignore the very real past of the controversial safety.
I’m all for hoping that Dorsey has turned his life around, but for a
newspaper website to force its writers to pretend that an athlete wasn’t arrested multiple times for burglary is plain ridiculous. Maybe Birkett didn’t show the most tact, but its not up to the hometown news team to protect the players wearing Maize and Blue. If Rich Rodriguez is going to accept high-risk athletes with a criminal past into a program once known for its stringent discipline, he’ll need to accept the you-know-what that comes with it.
(H/T: Ty Duffy at TheBigLead.com)
What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.
“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”
The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.
Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:
Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.
“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.
Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.
In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.
Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst. Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.
Is that perception valid? Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.
He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season. When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.
He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts. Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well. During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.
So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right? Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.