(Filed under: Hilarious headlines this world needs more of)
When Sports Illustrated released a feature yesterday about multiple athletes, including at least one Alabama player, using performance-enhancing products from the supplement company, S.W.A.T.S., the inevitable question was if/how Alabama and/or the NCAA would react. Among the products allegedly used was a spray that contained IGF-1 from deer antlers, a substance banned by both the NCAA and the NFL. S.W.A.T.S co-owner,Christopher Key, told ESPN Wednesday that he witnessed about five Crimson Tide players using the spray last year.
Via al.com, Alabama released a statement confirming that 1) the university has been aware of the situation for quite some time and 2) sent a pair of cease-and-desist letters to the company.
“UA has been aware of this situation for some time, and we have monitored this company for several years. They have twice ignored cease and desist letters sent by our compliance office. We have maintained consistent education of our student-athletes regarding the substances in question and will continue to do so.”
Here are links to both letters, sent in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
“We further request that you refrain from any future contact with any of our current student-athletes,” Alabama compliance director Matt Self wrote in the 2012 letter “Any future contact should be directed to the coaching staff, the athletics training staff, or the compliance office. Additionally, we ask that you not give or sell any product to our student-athletes. If they wish to use your product, they should obtain them through the athletic training staff and under the supervision of the athletic training staff.”
Again, it’s not likely any punishment will come out of this latest story surrounding S.W.A.T.S. Rather, and as anticipated, those involved have been reminded what they are and aren’t allowed to take and from whom.
As some of his pupils move on to greener pastures this weekend, it appears Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis is on his way out of Tuscaloosa as well.
Andrew Bone and Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News reported Thursday evening Davis is expected to resign or be fired after the school has opened an inquiry into possible violations on the recruiting trail. The nature of the violations was not revealed, but the NCAA has made “multiple” investigations into the matter and Alabama has opened its own corresponding inquiry.
Davis is a longtime Saban lieutenant, first working under him with the Miami Dolphins, then following him to Tuscaloosa as part of Saban’s original Alabama staff. Davis left for Texas in 2010 and spent a year at USC before returning to the Tide in 2014.
Alabama’s defensive line was nothing short of outstanding last season, providing the bedrock to Saban’s fourth national champion. The Tide led the nation with 52 sacks, ranked fifth with 108 tackles for loss and posted a national-best 75.73 yards per game rushing defense.
Davis’s contract runs through 2017 and pays him $475,000 annually.
It’s no secret that ESPN is the front door to the college sports world, and any league that doesn’t have a foothold on the Worldwide Leader faces a serious uphill climb for coverage. See: Conference USA.
C-USA currently splits its rights between Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network and the American Sports Network and, unless you happen to be a fan of one of the league’s 14 teams, you probably didn’t see a game before bowl season. But that could change soon.
The conference’s television deals expire at the end of June, and Harry Minium of the Virginian-Pilot reported ESPN has become a “late but serious bidder” for a portion of the C-USA package.
A change in partners would be well received by C-USA on two fronts. First, it’s ESPN. Second, the conference isn’t raking it in as is. Minium reported Old Dominion has planned for a drop in television revenue of $600,000 to $700,000 this fall — up from the originally anticipated fall of $500,000. And ODU only received $1 million last year to begin with. The drop can be attributed to the exodus of high-wattage programs — Houston, Memphis, East Carolina — to the AAC, allowing Fox and CBS to pay below the agreed amount. Exit fees had subsidized the loss in revenue, but those funds are running dry.
Conference USA declined to comment on the state of the negotiations, but five games have already been moved to weeknights — indicated back-channel negotiations are well under way.
That Old Dominion (and, presumably, other C-USA schools) could make only $300,000 on TV rights from an entire year is, in a word, shocking. In a world where the Big Ten could secure half a billion dollars over six years for half its package, this is a nice reminder that that world isn’t open to everyone.
A little over a week after the end of spring practice, USF has seen its depth at linebacker take a bit of a hit.
Calling it “a hard decision,” Nick Holman took to Twitter Wednesday night to announce that he has decided to transfer out of the Bulls football program and “pursue other opportunities” elsewhere. The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to transfer.
Barring something unforeseen, Holman would be forced t sit out the 2016 season if he moves on to another FBS program. He’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.
Holman came to USF as a three-star member of the Bulls’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 31 player at any position in the state of Alabama. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Holman played in 11 games in 2015.
The Tampa Bay Times wrote that “Holman led the White team with five tackles in the April 16 Green and White intrasquad game, and was listed as the backup to senior Nigel Harris at weakside linebacker on the post-spring depth chart.”
The SEC had fought hard in pushing the NCAA’s Div. 1 Council to ban the practice of satellite camps, and then continued to push for The Association’s Board of Directors to reaffirm the ban. In the end, though, that conference has taken the “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” tack.
Shortly after the NCAA confirmed that its Board of Directors had, at least for the foreseeable future, rescinded the ban on coaches taking part in football camps outside of their regions, the SEC confirmed that it will be rescinding its own ban on the practice. That rescinding follows through on the “threat” made last year by the conference that it would, essentially, unleash its football programs on the rest of the country if a ban wasn’t enacted.
The SEC’s lifting of the ban on such camps is not effective immediately; rather, it will take effect May 29. After that date, as outgoing commissioner Mike Slive said in late May last year, “our folks will be free to fan out all over the country and have at it.”
In a statement, Slive’s replacement, Greg Sankey, lamented the lifting of the ban while at the same time reaffirmed that “SEC coaches will be allowed to engage in summer camps as a result of Conference legislation approved during the 2015 SEC Spring Meetings.”
Below is the entirety of Sankey’s statement.
While we are disappointed with the NCAA governance process result, we respect the Board of Directors’ decision and are confident SEC football programs will continue to be highly effective in their recruiting efforts.
“We continue to believe football recruiting is primarily an activity best-focused in high schools during the established recruiting calendar, which has provided opportunities for football prospective student-athletes from all across the country to obtain broad national access and exposure but with appropriate guidance from high school coaches, teachers and advisors that focuses on both their academic and athletic opportunities as they decide where they will play college football.