For those of you new around here, yes, that is our Matt Jones dancing with Janet Reno.
Happy 73rd birthday to the former Attorney General Janet Reno. Reno served under former President Clinton as the first female Attorney General and served for almost 8 years, making her the second longest serving AG in US history. While Reno did a number of things in her life that likely deserve commendation, none stand out more than making a young Matt Jones’ dreams come true – as seen in the above photo. I think it is all but certain that if you asked her at the time what she thought the dapper young man to her right would be doing in a few years time, it certainly would not have been going down in the record books as the only sports blogger to be stopped every time he has tried to enter Canada (that doesn’t cover hockey.) So happy birthday to Mrs. Reno, and may she find another young lawyer to be to steer into the glamorous world of blogging at her party tonight.
And yes, I only dedicated this post to her as an excuse to put that photo back on the site. Sue me.
As we gear up for Joker and crew in a few hours, let’s go over a few notes of news and views – check it:
— As you, you, you ought to know – SEC media days started today with a bang. Or at least, as much of a bang as you’ll get out of the Mike Slive, the SEC Commissioner. From early in the day yesterday, there were rumblings about Slive having a ‘can’t miss announcement,’ to kick off the media week, and in some ways he delivered. It wasn’t talk of expansion or Texas A&M as some thought possible, but it was a veritable E3 press conference of ideas for changing the way college football operates – all without committing to too much. Slive outlined a number of things he wanted to see happen with the conference and the NCAA, the most outstanding of the ideas were…
—Creating multi-year scholarships for athletes. This would surely strengthen the idea of a true ‘student athlete,’ and help to put an end to a less talented player being run off to create space for a stellar recruit.
—In addition to longer scholarships, Slive proposed a ‘full cost of attendance’ change to scholarships. In my understanding, this basically amounts to more money for the students in the form of an increased stipend to cover the ‘full cost of attendance’ of said universities. The idea being that the current scholarships often don’t cover the unwritten costs of being a student.
—Changing the academic qualifying standard from a high school GPA of 2.0 to a 2.5. This also appeals to the idea of a ‘student athlete,’ though this was the easiest proposal to create dissent with – and there is plenty of ammo for both proponents and opponents.
—He didn’t propose specifics, but he did urge for a change in the way the NCAA restricts use of cell phones and social media networks claiming that the communication game has changed and the rules should follow.
—And ultimately Slive asked for a change in the way the NCAA defines violations. He claimed that the use of primary and secondary violations don’t cut it and there should be a separate category for those that intentionally cheat from those that accidentally send one too many text messages.
— The reaction to Slive’s proposals around the internet has been a bit of a mixed bag. There is no doubt that Slive’s message was calculated in some respects to shift the light off the recent vilations uncovered at LSU – and the building case against Auburn – as Clay Travis outlined so well late last night. A number of bloggers (including but not limited to the cynical Dan Wolken,) laughed at the proposals for being too short sighted. Another group implied that it was a lot of talk from Slive without having the ability or desire to back it up. Then, there were those that believed Slive outlined some much needed changes, even if it’s unlikely that any of them take place. But ultimately, half the problem solving process is identifying the problems, so despite any ulterior motives, Slive has pointed out areas that need attention. Whether or not action will come from shining the light on some NCAA issues is another topic, but at least he got the conversation going.
— The rest of media day yesterday was fairly uninteresting if you aren’t a fan of Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina or Mississippi State. As people often say about the Fancy Farm Picnic political speeches – you can’t win a fan base over at the SEC Media days, you can only lose them. That being understood by any coach good enough to make it to head coach of an SEC school, the speeches from the coaches generally follow a similar pattern of ‘We have been encouraged with what we have seen. *Slight joke at the expense of a rival.* I think we’re going to have a good year.’ Still, Joker’s press conference is today – and we promise to bring you all of the jokes he makes at the expense of Steve Spurrier that you can handle. He will be joined by Stuart Hines, Morgan Newton and Danny Trevathan, with the Kentucky portion of the day starting at 9:30.
— At the least, today and tomorrow will likely bring some interesting notes, because despite Slive being able to dodge any extensive discussion about Auburn or LSU, it’s unlikely Chizik and Miles won’t have to address the scandals currently surrounding their programs. Auburn is up tomorrow and LSU on Friday – both the afternoon sessions.
— Yesterday was a pretty slow day in the basketball world, as most of us were still sending out goodwill towards Jon Hood. We were not alone, though, as Tom Leach heard from Hood’s dad on his radio show that both John Wall and Daniel Orton sent encouraging messages to their former team mate. However, most surprisingly, Hood also got a note of encouragement from Robbie Hummel, who you may remember as the player for Purdue who tore his ACL in two consecutive seasons forcing him to sit out. I mentioned that yesterday in the afternoon notes, but I think it’s cool to see the camaraderie between NCAA players nation wide so I’m putting it here too in case anyone missed it.
— In a story from a while back, according to his facebook page TC Drake is back home (since almost three weeks ago,) and doing a lot better. In case you forgot, former Kentucky football player TC Drake was injured riding a motorcycle right around the end of May. He spent a lot of time in critical condition, but after about a month in the hospital was released back home and is continuing to recover there. It’s great news for the former Cat as motorcycle crashes can be incredibly dangerous. We’re all thankful to hear he is recovering well enough to be home, and if any new updates come from the story we’ll make sure to get them to you.
— Finally, Rex Chapman loves Wendy’s. That is all.
Stick around as we try and read between the lines at media day and figure out why exactly Canada hates KSR (it’s probably safe to assume it’s the doing of one Dom Papa.)