Monthly Archives: May 2009

Collapse complete: Alabama baseball season ends

Like watching a car crash in slow motion, the inevitable end to what was once a great season was finalized today. The baseball Tide lost its fourth straight when Tennessee Tech eliminated Alabama from the Clemson Regional, 6-2.

It’s hard to believe this team had won eight straight and 10 of 11 before going to Auburn for a three-game series that turned out to be the beginning of the end.

If you want to look on a more positive Alabama note, the softball Tide dismantled Arizona 14-0 in an elimination game at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. The 14 runs was a WCWS record.

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CHA-CHING: SEC releases big $$$ distribution

It was all big bucks and no whammies for Southeastern Conference schools. The league released dollar figures Friday afternoon when it comes to the revenue sharing plan.

The 12 schools will split up $132.5 million this season, a 4 percent increase over last season’s payout. Schools received an average of $11.1 million but the news release did not break it down by school. I will check on that and get back with you.

From the release:

“Broken down by categories and rounded off, the $132.5 million was derived from $52 million from football television, $25.4 million from bowls, $14.3 million from the SEC Football Championship, $13.6 million from basketball television, $4.1 million from the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and $23.1 million from NCAA Championships.”

Bama baseball loses NCAA opener

Throwing ace pitcher Austin Hyatt sounded like a good idea for Alabama as it played its first game in the NCAA Clemson Regional (read this). It didn’t work so well for the Tide as Hyatt didn’t make it out of the third inning as Oklahoma State scored eight quick runs before finishing off a 10-6 win to send the Tide to the losers’ bracket.

The loser of the Clemson/Tennessee Tech game will be waiting in that elimination game.

Read more in Saturday’s edition of the Daily for complete details.

Why does NCAA take so long to rule?

One final post for the day on the topic of textbooks. I was looking for some explanation from the NCAA on its penalty procedures. On the FAQ page, I found the following:

Q. Why does it appear that NCAA investigations take so long?

There are a number of reasons for this. The standard of proof is high for NCAA infractions cases and there must be a reasonable expectation of a finding by the Committee on Infractions in order for the enforcement staff to proceed with an allegation of NCAA rules violations. As a result, the enforcement staff must take the time to obtain complete information from not only individual(s) directly involved in the rules violation (or who have direct knowledge), but sources which can corroborate the information as well. Additionally, much time and effort is spent in evaluating both sides of a case, in order to determine which side is the most credible. The time to take to process a case is often lengthened by the fact the schedules of involved individuals (and sometimes their attorneys) must be accommodated in order for the enforcement staff to conduct an interview. Moreover, it occasionally takes a great deal of time to locate such individuals. Further, in order to properly evaluate information, it is sometimes necessary to interview individuals in a particular order. If there is a delay in interviewing a particular person, this may have a “ripple effect” and result in delaying the interviews of others. In many instances, information is developed during a case which leads to the discovery of additional possible infractions, which broadens the scope of an investigation, necessitating more time to fully explore these additional issues. Finally, institutions frequently lengthen the process by requesting additional time to respond to allegations of NCAA violations made by the enforcement staff.

For more questions and answers, check out this link to the NCAA Web site.

Fewer than 100 days ’til kickoff!

If you’ve been following the countdown clock on the left-hand side of the page, you’ll see we’ve reached a milestone. We are now just 99 days from the 2009 football season-opener between Alabama and Virginia Tech.

It sounds better than 100 or 101 days to go, but there is still a lot of news to report and practices to be practiced before we all head to the Georgia Dome to celebrate the opening of yet another exciting year of college football.

But I thought you might like to know that day is one day closer than it was yesterday.

Alabama lands three on baseball All-American team

Kent Matthes headlined the three Alabama ballplayers who landed on the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper/Louisville Slugger All-American teams. The slugging right fielder was named to the 17-member first-team.

Teammates Austin Hyatt and Jake Smith both made the third team.

If you need Matthes‘ credentials repeated, you probably don’t read this blog very often. He is the national co-leader with 28 home runs (a school single-season record) and was named the Southeastern Conference player of the year.

Smith will not get to show why he is an All-American this week in the NCAA Regional thanks to his left-leg injury suffered at the SEC Tournament. A team spokesman said he did not travel with the team to Clemson but will be attending the games. When healthy, he was an SEC All-Defensive team member by making just five errors in 112 chances at third base.

Hyatt is the ace of the pitching staff with an 8-2 record and a 3.14 ERA in 14 starts.

More NCAA investigation news, Alabama textbook ruling remains elusive

The vigil continues as the NCAA ruling on Alabama’s textbook scandal continues to remain a mystery. But there was one school who made the headlines yesterday for its run-in with the NCAA police with a tie to a recent SEC big-hire.

John Calipari was not named in the NCAA charges of a “major violation” coming out his the Memphis basketball program he coached at the time (read more here). But it doesn’t do much to rehab the image of the coach who has often been the subject of whispers and questions of his integrity.

As this writer points out, the bad news kept rolling in on Wednesday up in Lexington. Former basketball coach Billy Gillispie filed suit against the school and blue-chip recruit John Wall pleaded guilty on charges of breaking and entry.

Ouch. Ouch and ouch.

Football recruit Nico Johnson acquitted

The Mobile Press Register is reporting Alabama star football recruit Nico Johnson has been found not guilty of a verbal harassment charge.

The five-star recruit was charged by a classmate earlier this month (read this) but the accusations sounded flimsy from the beginning.

Columnist loves Bryant-Denny

A little web surfing turning up a good read from a newspaper for which I once interned. Read this column by Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Mark was always helpful when I was a college kid trying to figure out where I was going in this business so I recommend his work to anyone willing to listen.

Turns out he was mighty impressed with Alabama’s ever-expanding football stadium too. Enjoy.

A few highlights for your Tuesday

Now that the holiday weekend is history, here are a few tidbits from the universe surrounding Alabama athletics.

  • Tide baseball right fielder Kent Matthes was names a semifinalist for the coveted Golden Spikes award (the Heisman Trophy for college baseball).

    The unanimous SEC player of the year hit .365 with a 28 home runs and 81 RBI. He led the SEC in home runs, RBI, total bases (174) and slugging percentage (.883). He was also third in runs scored (65) and sixth in hitting this season.

  • Speaking of baseball, every game from the Clemson Regional in which the Tide is participating, will be televised live on CSS.

  • Decatur High graduate and former Tide basketball player Rico Pickett will have a new teammate at Manhattan College who is making news. Click here for a story about Kevin Laue who hoops with just one hand.
  • Check out this story about Alabama softball pitcher Kelsi Dunne.

  • Still no news on the textbook scandal ruling from the NCAA although a decision could come any day now. Stay tuned.

Clemson Regional baseball times set

Straight from Alabama media relations, here are the game times for Alabama’s regional baseball tournament appearance:

2009 NCAA CLEMSON REGIONAL

Friday, May 29 Game 1 3 p.m. (EDT) #3 Oklahoma State vs. #2 ALABAMA

Game 2 7 p.m. (EDT) #4 Tennessee Tech vs. #1 Clemson

Saturday, May 30 Game 3 3 p.m. (EDT) Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2

Game 4 7 p.m. (EDT) Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2

Sunday, May 30 Game 5 3 p.m. (EDT) Winner of Game #3 vs. Loser of Game 4

Game 6 7 p.m. (EDT) Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4

Monday, June 1 Game 7 7 p.m. (EDT) Same as Game 6 (IF NECESSARY)

Tide baseball to play in Clemson Regional

The NCAA awarded Alabama (37-19) a No. 2 seed in the Clemson Regional and will play third-seeded Oklahoma State (32-22). Clemson, the top seed, will play Tennessee Tech in the other first round game of the double-elimination bracket.

To see the full field of 64, click here.

One team you will not see is Auburn. The Tigers made a case for themselves by beating Alabama in two of the final three regular season games but the NCAA must not have thought that was enough.

NCAA baseball selection show

Just a reminder, the NCAA will be releasing the brackets later this morning for the baseball tournament. Check back after 11:30 a.m. to see where Alabama landed and if Auburn made the field of 64 teams.

One truth is certain: The Tide will not host a regional. Here is the list of host sites already released by the NCAA. (SEC schools in bold).

Georgia Tech
Texas
LSU
North Carolina
Clemson
TCU
Cal St. Fullerton
Florida
East Carolina
Rice
UC Irvine
Louisville
Oklahoma
Ole Miss
Florida State
Arizona State

A few notes for your Saturday

It’s a holiday weekend, but there is no shame in checking in on the blog. It is, after all, not the prettiest afternoon in the Tennessee Valley. Here are some of what is making news in Alabama’s universe:

  • The Crimson Tide softball team destroyed Jacksonville State in a second-straight no-hitter to claim a super-regional title. The big photo (provided by the university) may have given away the good news for Alabama softball fans. Kelsi Dunne owns the arm that threw the second-straight no-hitter for the Tide who moves on to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series. Read more in Sunday’s Daily.
  • The Alabama football team won’t need to worry about Kentucky’s Jeremy Jarmon when it plays in Lexington this fall. The senior defensive end tested positive for a banned substance and will lose his remaining year of eligibility. (Read the full story here). Jarmon made three solo tackles in last season’s Alabama win over the Wildcats.
  • Jim Wells and the Tide baseball program has just fewer than two more days before the NCAA baseball bracket is released. Stay tuned for more on that.
  • Also in the stay tuned category, the Alabama textbook scandal ruling could be coming any day now. Logical thinking says it will at least wait until after the weekend. An Alabama official said they should be prepared for it to be released at any time. As I said, stay tuned.
  • Tennessee football is hiring for a new strength coach. Read more here.
  • As an avid Yankee fan, these are strange times with that new park replacing my Stadium. But now college football wants a piece of the new ballyard. Notre Dame would like to occupy one Saturday when the Bombers are away, according to this New York Times story. Why not? That city needs to milk every cent out of that place before it decides to build another new one.

If you have any news or opinions to pass along, please don’t hesitate to post it in the comment section below. Have a nice weekend, but don’t be a stranger to the blog.

Saban lands another commitment for 2010

The Crimson Tide landed their 12th commitment for the incoming class of 2010 when Ariton, Ala., linebacker/defensive end Craig Sanders pledged to play in Tuscaloosa. A four-star recruit according to scout.com, Sanders picked Alabama over a host of schools including Auburn, Florida and Georgia.

“It was Alabama the whole way,” Sanders told the Dothan Eagle.

Of his 71 tackles recorded as a junior, 32 were for a loss including 12 quarterback sacks. He also rushed for 1,057 yards on 121 carries and caught 13 passes for 208 yards.

Sanders becomes the fourth in-state junior to commit to Coach Nick Saban’s team and the fifth to earn a four out of a possible five stars from scout.com.