Another day, another diatribe aimed at Paul Dee

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Rightly so, Paul Dee has been skewered by both the media and fans — and in one case a conference commissioner — in the days since Yahoo! blew the lid off alleged rampant corruption involving current and former members of the Miami football and basketball programs.

Dee was the athletic director during most of Nevin Shapiro’s eight-year run of booster benevolence that began in late 2001/early 2002 and could end with program-shaking sanctions.  Dee was also the chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions that slapped severe sanctions on USC because of allegations so serious it forced Dee to chastise the university with his infamous “high-profile players demand high-profile compliance.”

As it turns out, USC wasn’t the only institution on the receiving end of one of Dee’s sanctimonious sermons served from his bully pulpit.

Long Beach State president F. King Alexander found himself, along with other university officials, in front of a Dee-led COI hearing in 2007 to answer allegations of irregularities in their basketball program.  The president recalled the hearing to the Long Beach Press-Telegram recently, saying that his group was the subject of, as the paper writes it, a “lecture… in a most condescending manner” from Dee.

“Dee told us, `You have to put in place the kind of institutional control we have at Miami‘,” Alexander said, a thought the Press-Telegram notes was relayed with irritation.

The Dee anecdote was just one of many from a diatribe by Alexander on the current state of the NCAA.  Hell, even Nebraska wasn’t safe from the president’s pointed words, all of which come back to just two: nauseating hypocrisy.

“And one of the other members of the NCAA Infractions Committee in that hearing was from Nebraska. On that same day, six Nebraska athletes were arrested for illegally selling sporting apparel,” Alexander continued.

“The hypocrisy of the NCAA makes me sick. To allow institutions like Miami and Nebraska to chair and oversee its infractions committee is like putting foxes in charge of the henhouse.”

Interestingly, Alexander also has somewhat of a connection to the current Miami mess.

“You must understand that in 2005 when I was president at Murray State, I fired our football coach, Joe Pannunzio, because of numerous incidents that occurred in our program under him that were quite bad,” Alexander said. “Well, Pannunzio immediately was hired by Miami, and he’s one of the coaches who’s been prominently mentioned by Shapiro in the current scandal. He’s now the head of football operations at Alabama.”

Pannunzio was named in the damning Yahoo! report as someone who, while an assistant coach at Miami, “had a close relationship with Shapiro and facilitated the booster having improper contact with recruits.”  Shapiro refused to speak on or off the record regarding the Pannunzio allegations uncovered by Yahoo!.

Another former Miami assistant, Jeff Stoutland, is also on Nick Saban‘s Alabama staff, serving as the Tide’s offensive line coach after being hired in January.

Saban addressed Thursday the two new members of the program allegedly involved in the South Beach scandal, and said the two were thoroughly vetted prior to their hirings.

“I know what goes on in this program and I know that we do things correctly,” Saban said. “We do have people in this organization, who worked there (at Miami). Before those people were ever hired here we do an NCAA check to make sure they pass all compliance criteria and that they don’t have any red flags relative to compliance history.

“We certainly did that in both of these cases. Now, if any of these people had any wrongdoing, I’m sure the NCAA will investigate it in due time and, if they did anything wrong, I’m sure they will get the appropriate punishment, which we would do if we had any internal problems in our organization. But we’re going to continue and control and manage what we do in our organization and do it correctly, and that’s basically all we can be concerned about.”

Getting back to the broader issue of NCAA hypocrisy when it comes to enforcement and the individuals involved with levying sanctions, the bigger question becomes how to clean up the rightly-held perception of that part of collegiate athletics.  What seems to be the only option also happens to be the best: the NCAA needs to hire independent arbitrators to replace the current members of the COI — who, like Dee, are employed by individual institutions as their full-time jobs — and allow them to independently conduct the hearings that determine sanctions.

Simply put, a Paul Dee-led NCAA COI slamming sanctions on an institution like USC simply cannot happen again, especially when one of the member’s own athletic house was allegedly in disarray at the time.  The NCAA is rolling in enough hypocrisy because of that case and the subsequent fallout at Miami to last a lifetime, and it needs to ensure that’s never again an issue.

(Tip O’ the Cap for the Alexander link to Jon Solomon)

Iowa TE Noah Fant threatened with a gun while at Omaha park

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Iowa tight end Noah Fant’s return home to Omaha, Nebraska for the summer became a lot more newsworthy than he would have liked this week.

According to a local police report, Des Moines TV station 13WHO reports that Fant was approached by a area man on Tuesday night who pointed a handgun at the sophomore football player and told him to leave the area:

Fant left the park and called police.  He initially told them he didn’t want to press charges but said if police were able to find him he would.  He told officers he believed the suspect lived in a house near the park because he’d seen the man before in the area.

As officers were searching the area near the park they spotted a man matching the description provided by Fant run into a home.  Police were able to talk to the man’s mother who convinced him to come to the door.  Officers reported the man, 23-year-old Matthew Trimble, was heavily intoxicated and placed him in the back of their cruiser for their own safety.  Trimble’s mother says her son told her that he had confronted a group he believed to be smoking marijuana in the park.  She agreed to turn over his handgun to officers.  Police say the gun was loaded with one round in the chamber and 11 in the magazine.

Trimble was later charged with one count of Making a Terroristic Threat with a Firearm after Fant identified that he was in fact the one who pulled the gun on him.

Luckily Fant (or anyone else) was not injured in the incident and everything eventually played out somewhat peacefully. The Omaha native caught nine passes for 70 yards and one touchdown last season for the Hawkeyes and is expected to return to the team later on.

School officials did not release a statement on the incident involving Fant but did tell Landof10 that they were looking into the matter as of Thursday evening.

Northwestern WR Solomon Vault reportedly set to miss 2017 season after surgery

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Northwestern’s task of replacing the Big Ten’s leading receiver from a year ago appeared to take a hit on Friday.

InsideNU reports that wide receiver Solomon Vault will miss the upcoming 2017 season after undergoing “lower body surgery” and will now take a redshirt for the year.

The speedy pass-catcher had 15 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Wildcats and was expected to step up and see a big increase in targets with all-Big Ten receiver Austin Carr off to the NFL. In addition to his duties catching passes from Clayton Thorson, Vault was also Northwestern’s first choice at kick returner after scoring a whopping five touchdowns on returns in the past three years.

Assuming that Vault does indeed take 2017 off, he’ll have just one year left to play in 2018 as a redshirt senior.

The school has not yet confirmed the report about Vault but it certainly seems that the Wildcats’ special teams are set to take a hit going forward if he even misses part of the upcoming campaign for the program. It was already going to be difficult to replace so much production at receiver too and this bit of news will only server to reinforce that point as Northwestern enters their summer workout programs in the next few weeks.

LSU coaches set to learn DL Arden Key’s status for 2017 next week

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LSU is all set to learn whether or not they’ll have the services of one of the nation’s best pass rushers for the 2017 season.

That’s according to Tigers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who told reporters on Thursday that the coaching staff should learn defensive lineman Arden Key‘s status for the season next week.

“Arden’s been around, so I’ve seen Arden,” Aranda said, according to AL.com. “Arden’s looking good. We get back together next week with a full staff. … I anticipate at that time that we’ll hear about Arden’s direction and where he’s going and whether he’ll be with us or not.

“I’m very hopeful that he will be.”

Key announced back in February that he would be stepping away from the program this spring “for personal reasons.” It’s been vague as to what those reasons really are or if the edge rusher would even return to the field for LSU in 2017, but it appears we’ll know either way fairly soon. Key himself tweeted last month that he would not be sitting out his upcoming junior year — leading to speculation that he would indeed be back in the lineup for the Tigers.

Aranda’s comments also seem to indicate things moving in that direction but LSU fans and the rest of the opponents on the schedule will apparently have to wait another week in order to get confirmation on Key’s status for the upcoming season.

Lane Kiffin reportedly bringing Jim Harbaugh and Tennessee coaches to work FAU summer camp

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The calendar is just about ready to flip over to June and with that date change comes time to kick off plenty of summer camps for high school recruits around the country.

While all eyes will be on major outings such as USC’s annual Rising Stars Camp or Florida’s Friday Night Lights, there may be a smaller school’s camp that will draw just as much attention. The one in question? Well of course it would be Lane Kiffin’s first summer camp at Florida Atlantic.

While the draw of Kiffin alone is enough to elicit some higher than normal interest, the list of coaches tagging along for the Owls’ June 5th camp is even more eyebrow-raising than that of the hosts. Namely that includes Jim Harbaugh (and the rest of the Michigan staff per the Sun-Sentinelalong with a few familiar faces from the Tennessee staff, among others.

Yes, that’s right, Kiffin’s old employer is all set to buddy up with the ex-Vols coach down in Boca according to a report from FAUOwlAccess.com.

Given recent limits put on satellite camps by the NCAA, it certainly makes plenty of sense for schools like Michigan and Tennessee to send their staffs to work camps at places like FAU given the latter’s close proximity to so many top recruits. Likewise, it’s pretty understandable to see Kiffin bring in some even bigger names to his first summer camp in order to draw attention to the program he took over in the offseason.

Still, it should be more than a little interesting for many fans in the Volunteer State to see a few Tennessee coaches working alongside the man many blame for their program’s slide in recent years. It’s been several years (and coaching stops) since Kiffin left Knoxville so perhaps next month we’ll find out if time really does heal all wounds.

To the surprise of nobody though, FAU hasn’t even played a game under their new head coach and the Owls are already making waves and finding plenty of time in the national spotlight.