Sunday, May 31, 2009

3 Strikes (The Big Cat Weekend)

Well the Big Cat Weekend has come and gone. While it still was a good (well different, I’m still not sure if “good” is still the right word to describe it) idea. So here are 3 quick questions (or 3 Strikes) to wrap up the Big Cat Weekend (or the BCW)

1. DID IT WORK?

This is going to begin a semantics game between Auburn fans and rival fans from now until signing day. To most Auburn fans? Yes it was a success. But just because it raises Auburn’s profile nationally. At this point for Auburn football. Post Turner Gill, Post Charles Barkley, Post Blow Out, Post Tuberville Debacle, Post Chizik Hiring, etc etc, I still hold this to be the ultimate truth when it comes to Auburn in the offseason:

ANYTHING THAT PUTS AUBURN IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT IN A POSITIVE WAY IS A GOOD THING AND SHOULD BE ACCEPTED AS SUCH.

But did it work? Again, debatable. In that way it did; if you use the thinking above. However, until one of these “Big Cats” commits, then it didn’t truly “work”.

2. WAS THE “PARTY AT TOOMER’S” A RECRUITING VIOLATION?

At one point in the weekend, some Auburn fans gathered to Roll Toomer’s Corner. This, at first, began to worry me. Mainly due to the whole “Game Day Situations” NCAA rule. Then, the more I thought about it, the less I worried about it.

Living in Auburn, I’ve seen this for myself, but honestly, we roll those damn trees at the drop of a hat. Just off the top of my head I can think of the following “reasons” that Toomer’s was rolled recently: Auburn High winning a baseball title/The End of Classes/A local wedding/The Baseball team beating Alabama/some drunk kids/ etc. That’s just recently. So no, it’s not a “football only thing” or “gameday thing”

As long as I’ve been at Auburn, I’ve yet to see any current players rolling Toomer’s after a game.

Evan Woodbery posted a link from his blog (previewing his story in Monday's Paper) about the Toomer's Corner Rolling:

Auburn is examining whether any NCAA rules were broken during Saturday's "Big Cat" recruiting weekend.

An Auburn spokesperson told the Press-Register Sunday that the university had not determined if any NCAA secondary violations occurred, but would review the event this week.

E-Wood mentions two other violations:

Although NCAA rules (Bylaw 13.10.6) bar the introduction of visiting student-athletes during any function, videos of the event posted on two Web sites show the crowd cheering as the players are introduced by name, position and hometown. The man yelling the introductions does not appear on the videos, but assistant head coach Trooper Taylor is shown leading the crowd in cheers immediately after the introductions.

From what I've seen from watching these videos (by the way that's 2o minutes of my life wasted), I've yet to see Trooper Taylor announce any names. I'm sure, coaching as long as Taylor has, that he would be aware of the rules and by-laws

E-Wood continues:

NCAA Bylaw 13.10.5 prevents schools from publicizing an athlete's visit or allowing the visitor to "participate in team activities that would make the public or media aware of the prospective student-athlete's visit to the institution (e.g., running out of the tunnel with team, celebratory walks to or around the stadium/arena, on-field pregame celebrations)."

Again, I've yet to see anything that came from the school advertising the event. Also, you can't really punish the school for the actions of websites that cover the school. The only affiliation Auburn has with web sites like Rivals/Scout/etc is issuing press passes to cover events. That's really about it. It doesn't have any control over what is or isn't posted.

Also, folks who follow any of the rival's sites know what recruits are coming when. Nothing ever comes from the school itself.

3. IS THIS AUBURN’S ANSWER TO USC’s RISING STARS WEEKEND?

One of the more pointed criticisms I read on some message boards was saying Auburn was a day late and dollar short on the “Big Cat Weekend” is just a rip off of Southern Cal’s “Rising Stars Weekend”.

No. It’s not. The main difference? Auburn isn’t disguising an official visit/recruiting weekend as a “Camp”.

I’m still unsure how USC can get away with the “Rising Stars” camp. It’s a recruiting weekend, plain and simple. Yes, it’s an evaluation and it’s all down “on-campus” but it’s still that coming-to-close-to-the-edge of recruiting violations. Because this:

Is a no-no (to my understanding).

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