Bottom of the Ninth (Big Cat Weekend)
This will be some of the last BCW related posts for a while. Here are the final three outs to wrap up the weekend.
1 AWAY - MORE VIOLATION TALK
More of a follow up to two beat writer posts (on a side note, I'm sure Jay Tate isn't too happy about being on vacation this week). Both Andrew Gribble (OA News) and Evan Woodbery (Mobile Press Register) both wrote pieces about the supposed violations. I've already gone over E-Wood's comments so now it's time to see what Gribble had to say. He spells out each violation then offers his take:
As can be heard in all videos, a number of players had their name, position and native locale announced, a la Michael Buffer, before they tossed their roll of toilet paper into the big live oak tree at the heart of Toomer’s Corner. It’s unknown who was doing the introductions. Presumably, if the person is employed by Auburn, it constitutes a violation. Just to cover all our bases, media representatives and the general public were in attendance.
Here is a case of guilt by admission. Yes, it's unknown who was doing the introductions. However, it isn't unknown that Trooper Taylor, Curtis Luper, or any other Auburn coach were doing the introduction. How do you know that? You (or we assume someone from your paper) was there. How about asking them?
13.10.5 Prospective Student-Athlete’s Visit.
A member institution shall not publicize (or arrange for publicity of) a prospective student-athlete’s visit to the institution’s campus. Further, a prospective student-athlete may not 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). Violations of this bylaw do not affect a prospective student-athlete’s eligibility and are considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1.
This is where we dip into the gray area. Prospective student-athletes’ visits are publicized all the time by recruiting Web sites(A). That’s OK, as long as it’s coming from the players themselves. Here, though, it is uncertain where the information came from regarding the 9 p.m. gathering at Toomer’s Corner. Niffer’s Place, Auburn’s finest restaurant for cajun tots and even better trivia, jumped on board and put the announcement on its marquee(b). None of the message board posts were attributed to the Auburn coaching staff and recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper told AuburnUndercover.com he had “no idea how it got started.“(c)
First, notice the underlined text. The MEMBER INSTITUTION shall not publicize. Again, I've yet to see anything FROM AUBURN saying the Toomer's event was going on. a) Said recruiting websites have NO AFFIILIATION with Auburn University. b) Loco's has better trivia. However, to the point, Niffer's isn't affiliated with Auburn University either.
I talked with Steve Woods of the Auburn Police Department today(a). He told me at least seven cops were on site for the “impromptu” event(b), a typical amount designated for crowd control during the ceremony, which typically occurs only after Auburn wins something(c). He wasn’t able to tell me what prompted the large police presence and wasn’t sure who made the call(s) to ask for the police to be on hand(d). I asked him, theoretically, if I were to make a call to the APD and tell him that there would be a large gathering somewhere in Auburn, what would be their response. He said the supervisors, obviously, make the call when it comes to sending out the force and that there ultimately would have to be some research done to determine whether the event is legit(e). Take it for what it’s worth.
a) So you could talk with a member of APD to get information but not a member of your own staff and ask "He, buddy, you were there, was Trooper Taylor calling out name?". I digress.
b) Nice "quote marks". Here's where I personally have a bit of an issue. This was a Saturday night, in downtown Auburn. If you've ever been downtown on the weekend, you'd know that there are at least 4 cops at all times on patrol (at least 2 on the corner outside Bodega and at least two others patrolling). So asking 3 or 4 other cops to show up, in Auburn, isn't that big idea. Not to knock my hometown, but Auburn isn't exactly South Central when it comes to crime. Here's a little experiment that I've experienced first hand. Get into an accident in Auburn. Just a minor fender-bender. Then count the number of police officers who respond. My last accident in town, I counted at least 5 different cops who came by to check the scene out and make sure everything was ok. Listen, Auburn (the city) has a very well funded, organized, and well educated police force. This isn't Mayberry.
c)Or when Alabama loses something, or when Auburn High wins something, or when people get married, or when school ends, or when...etc...etc.
d) It could be that no one called. It could have been that Auburn Police (probably Auburn football fans themselves) became aware of the event just from the messageboard chatter and thought, "Hey, how about, just in case, you know in the effort to serve and protect, we just make sure this event doesn't get out of hand". Just a thought.
2 AWAY - THE REAL PROBLEM
One this I've seen over and over again. The same comment that keeps being echoed by beat writers and just fans in general is (to me at least) the most disturbing:
All three of those bylaws, when broken, are considered secondary violations. If self-reported, these will result in the equivalent of something less than a slap on the wrist.
Generally, secondary violations are considered routine, and most universities regularly report minor violations of NCAA bylaws to their conference offices and the NCAA.
The possible rules violations are considered secondary in nature. Schools generally self-report such violations to the NCAA, which generally warns the school not to make the same mistake again.
Not to be a wet blanket and rain on the Big Cat parade, but when Auburn fans start saying, "Hey it's just a secondary violation, happens all the time". And violations (even secondary) start becoming more and more prevalent and the next thing you know you are giving steaks to players because they were "hungry" and needed the "gain weight". I'm not saying Auburn is heading down that path, nor am I saying the two events are in any way related. But damnit, as an Auburn fan, the last thing I want is the NCAA anywhere near my campus.
THE FINAL OUT- AN APOLOGY
The more and more this BCW and Recruiting stuff started building, the more I thought about who really suffers. So I give you this: