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Mike Davis, Paul Rhoads issued reprimands by Big 12


You have to hand it to the Big 12.  They certainly have a way of taking a smoldering pile of controversy and, in an attempt to put it out, toss 55-gallon drums of gasoline on it.

Saturday evening, the conference issued a pair of press releases addressing two of the situations that arose during and after Thursday night’s controversial Texas-Iowa State game.

Late in the fourth quarter, Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray appeared to fumble inside the five-yard line, with an Iowa State defender recovering with nothing but 95 yards between himself and what would’ve likely been the game-clinching touchdown with under two minutes remaining.  However, Gray was ruled down by contact and the call on the field stood upon further review in the replay booth.

One play later, UT scored what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown with :51 remaining.  Understandably, ISU head coach Paul Rhoads was livid afterwards, essentially saying that the game was taken away from the Cyclones by the officiating.

The criticism didn’t sit well with a league office that was responsible for a laughable “no video evidence” determination a day later, with the Big 12 issuing a public reprimand of Rhoads… while also intimating he’s lucky he didn’t receive a harsher penalty.

“Coach Rhoads violated Conference rules that prohibit coaches, student-athletes, athletic department staff and university personnel from making public comments about game officials,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “Although more severe action was possible he is being issued a public reprimand.  Coach Rhoads is also put on notice that future incidents may result in a more serious penalty.”

In addition to the public wrist slap of Rhoads, the Big 12 also publicly reprimanded Texas’s Mike Davis.  The wide receiver created more than a little outrage with a suspect “block” on a Cyclones defender well away from and at the end of a play.  It was a cheap shot that many thought would/should lead to a suspension for the player.  Instead, we get…

“In accord with the Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct policy, Mr. Davis’ action was in violation of the rule prohibiting physically abusive acts toward an opponent’s team members during a contest,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “Given the heightened emphasis on player safety, unnecessary and illegal acts such as this have no place in the game and are unacceptable.  Mr. Davis is also put on notice that any future such behavior may result in a more serious penalty, including possible suspension.”

So, the Big 12’s way of dealing with a player attempting to take out the knees of an opposing player and a head coach who rightly questioned the officiating is to give them the same public reprimand?

Bravo, Big 12.  Bravo.  Solomon would be awed at the level of wisdom displayed over the past three days.

Steve Spurrier discusses retirement; Gamecocks name Shawn Elliott interim coach

Steve Spurrier

Odds are pretty good Steve Spurrier has coached his final game as the Head Ball Coach, but Spurrier let it be known he is not going to go away quite as easily as you might think. Spurrier addressed the media today as South Carolina made its transition between coaches official. Spurrier noted he is resigning as head coach, but he is not necessarily retiring. As previously reported, Shawn Elliott will take on the role as interim head coach of the Gamecocks effective immediately.

The first thing Spurrier wants to remind everybody is he is not retiring. This is simply a resignation from his current position. Spurrier left the door open to possible options down the road for him in his post-coaching career. The idea of Spurrier walking away from the football world never to be heard from again is a startling one, so it is good to know he is not going to let that happen.

“College football is a game of recruiting, as well know,” Spurrier said when assessing why it was right for him to leave his job now. “That’s another reason I need to move on. I don’t know if coaching is completely over or not. It is fun being on a team. I might be a consultant for someone. I doubt if I’ll be a head coach again, but who knows?”

Spurrier said he realized Sunday the time to walk away was now and explained he always knew he would need to step aside the moment he saw himself holding the program back. That echoes the sentiment he has shared over the years, especially when asked about coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden as they each got up in the years. This season South Carolina is off to a 2-4 start, so the writing was on the wall for Spurrier, who also said it was in the best interests for all if an inevitable change was handled immediately.

“We’ve slipped. It’s my fault. I’m the head coach,” Spurrier said of South Carolina’s recent struggles.”We haven’t lost it. We’ve got a dang good team.”

“Our team is not in shambles despite what some might say,” Elliott said when he was given a chance to speak to the media. “We’re going to do everything we can to make the University of South Carolina proud of this football program.”

Elliott will now have the rest of the season to show what he can do as a head coach, and he knows this will be a bit of an open audition for the job as South Carolina starts searching for its next head coach.

Mark Dantonio quickly tosses aside South Carolina discussion

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State has become a national power under the coaching of Mark Dantonio. The grizzled and confident coach has put together a master plan in East Lansing and has taken the Spartans to the top of the Big Ten along the way, capturing a Big Ten title and victories in the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl as well as in-state dominance over the Michigan Wolverines. Danotnio is preparing his Spartans to take on the Wolverines this week, but with the new vacancy opening up at South Carolina following the sudden retirement of Steve Spurrier, Dantonio has already been presented with the question about his thoughts on coaching at South Carolina.

He did not seem all that interested in discussing the vacancy when meeting with Michigan State media this morning.

“Coach Spurrier’s had an outstanding career there, it’s alma mater, and we’re here to talk about Michigan,” Dantonio said when asked about it today. Video below from the Big Ten Network

Dantonio played defensive back for the Gamecocks in the mid 1970s, which helps make Dantonio an interesting name to mention in any coaching future discussion out of Columbia. While Dantonio may have played at South Carolina for Jim Carlen, Dantonio grew up in Ohio and has coached the bulk of his career within Ohio and the Big Ten. He is also one win away from picking up his 100th career coaching victory, 81 of which have come at Michigan State.