Chris Berman interviewed both presidential candidates today for a segment that will run at halftime of Monday Night Football, and Barack Obama said something that college football fans will find interesting: If he could change one thing about sports, he’d implement a college football playoff.Berman asked both candidates to name one thing they would change in sports, and Obama answered, “I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football. I’m fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other. Get eight teams -– the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a National Champion.”I’m with Obama, although hammering out the details of picking the eight teams and scheduling the playoff is easier said than done. Still, a little nudging from Obama, whose brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is the basketball coach at Oregon State, can’t hurt in persuading the university presidents to figure out a way to get a playoff done.As for McCain, he answered Berman’s question by saying, “I’d take significant action to prevent the spread and use of performance-enhancing substances. I think it’s a game we’re going to be in for a long time. What I mean by that is there is somebody in a laboratory right now trying to develop some type of substance that can’t be detected and we’ve got to stay ahead of it. It’s not good for the athletes. It’s not good for the sports. It’s very bad for those who don’t do it and I think it can attack the very integrity of all sports going all the way down to high school.”
Eventually, the Bad News Train tearing a hole up and down the West Coast will eventually come to a stop. Until that day arrives, though, that train just keeps on truckin’.
The latest incident arrives from the San Jose Mercury-News, where Jon Wilner — the Woodward to The Oregonian‘s Bernstein, with embattled commissioner Larry Scott serving as Richard Nixon in this metaphor — has the published a letter written by three former Pac-12 officials blasting the commissioner over his handling of the Pac-12’s officiating scandal.
As you’ll recall, last fall it was revealed that Pac-12 general counsel Woodie Dixon remotely intervened to incorrectly overturn a targeting call in favor of USC during the Trojans’ 3-point win over Washington State in late September. Scott said the incident was an isolated one and then triggered a comprehensive review of the league’s officiating process, but three refs have stepped forward to rebuke Scott, saying he’s looking at the wrong people.
The trio — Chuck Czubin, Fred Gallagher and Mack Gilchrist — have more than a century as Pac-12 refs between them, and in December they sent a letter to Scott and Pac-12 vice president of officiating David Coleman. They then sent the email to Wilner last month and to Pac-12 ADs Ray Anderson (Arizona State), Rob Mullens (Oregon), Scott Barnes (Oregon State), and Rick George (Colorado) three days after they sent it to Wilner; Wilner published it today. On the Dixon incident, the group writes:
Mr. Scott, you know from personal experience this is not the first time he has overstepped his bounds…. Woodie singlehandedly caused the exit of the former Supervisor of Officials, and it is well known that several years ago he wanted to fire the gentleman who is now your Replay Supervisor. After the latest incident there is no question the Conference was far more interested in covering this up and finding the source of the info, rather than dealing with Woodie. You did so by removing a very valuable training tool for IR (instant replay). In your blind and bumbled approach you hid our reports and grades. This info had previously been transparent, which allowed IR to confer within itself…. Instead of dropping the hammer on Woodie you dropped it on IR.
The Pac-12 declined to comment on the letter, but Scott himself responded to Czubin, Gallagher and Gilchrist on March 5. “[W]e are always seeking new ways to improve our program, and have recently made the decision to hire an outside expert to initiate a review of our football officiating program. The review will include assessments of many of the areas you highlight in your letter, and will definitely take into account feedback from officials,” he wrote. The conference announced it had hired Sibson Consulting to examine its refereeing program on Feb. 23.
If further reporting details that Dixon has intervened on more games than just last year’s Wazzu-USC game and Scott was aware of it, it would call into question the integrity of Pac-12 football itself under Scott’s watch, and the commissioner’s tenure may then follow the footsteps of Nixon’s all the way out the door.
Devon Gales is back in football. The Southern wide receiver, who was paralyzed during a 2015 game at Georgia, will join the staff as an assistant coach at Jefferson High School in Georgia, according WDUN-AM.
Gales has remained in Georgia since the injury, transferring from an Athens hospital to an Atlanta rehabilitation facility soon after the collision that left him unable to move his extremities. He was released from the hospital five months later, and Georgia fans helped fund a handicapped-accessible home for him and his family in Jefferson, Ga., a town 20 miles north of Athens, where the family has lived since July.
Gales spoke to the Jefferson High School senior class, which led Jefferson superintendent Dr. John Jackson to invite Gales to join the staff.
“It was brought to our attention upon meeting this wonderful family that Devon missed the game and practices and being part of a football team in the game he still loved so much,” Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart told WDUN. “Dr. John Jackson had the idea of getting him involved in our program in some way and how our young men would benefit from his living example, character, strength in facing adversity and perseverance.”
In the SEC, it just means more… traffic tickets.
At least that’s the case for Mississippi State offensive lineman Tommy Champion, who was arrested by the school’s police department for a litany of traffic violations that far exceed his accomplishments on the field.
Per the Clarion Ledger, Champion hit the trifecta of driving with an expired tag, an expired license and no insurance. He faces as much as six months-worth of jail time as a result, a $1,000 fine and his license further being suspended for up to a year according to the paper.
A backup offensive tackle, Champion arrived in Starkville after a stop in junior college and redshirted his first year with the team. He was a reserve last season and was expected to add depth along the line for Joe Moorhead’s squad again in 2019.
The news of Champion’s arrest comes just as the Bulldogs were starting spring practice back up this week.
Attention in Tennessee is largely focused on the Vols basketball team this month but somehow the Power T’s football squad managed to find a way to steal more than a few headlines on Thursday.
And not in a good way for those back in Knoxville.
Redshirt junior defensive back Kenneth George Jr. was arrested in Miami Beach early on Thursday morning according to local station WPLG 10. However he wasn’t just picked up by police for anything you would normally associate with spring break in South Florida…no, he was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct.
“Police said George was cursing at one of the officers and ignoring his commands. As the officer tried to get him out of the street, George punched him and knocked the police radio out of his hands, the report said.
George then ran away before other officers caught up with him near Espanola Way and Washington Avenue, the report said.
According to the report, once in custody, George said, “He hit me first. Why can’t I hit him back?”
So far the school has not made any concrete statement beyond saying they are gathering facts on the story but we’re guessing that George’s days with the Vols are limited as a result of his actions. The Louisiana native is a junior college transfer into the program but missed most of last season with an injury.