NCAA Recruiting Controversy: The Riley Nelson Rule?

An interesting tidbit came out from the WAC, with the conference submitting and getting approval for a new rule regarding athletes who go on religious missions.

This is quite obvious why the WAC put the rule up for submissions, or if you read between the lines it was Utah State.

The Aggies, depending on who you believe, were raided by BYU to get Parade All-American and Mr. Football in Utah during the 2005 season.

BYU faithful believe that Nelson inquired about transferring, but that will never be found out.

Below is the wording of the rule from the NCAA:

“Official Church Mission. An institution shall not contact a student-athlete who has begun service on an official church mission without obtaining permission from the institution from which the student-athlete withdrew prior to beginning his or her mission if the student-athlete signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) and attended the institution (with which he or she signed the NLI) as a full-time student.

If such a student-athlete has completed his or her official church mission and does not enroll full time in a collegiate institution within one calendar year of completion of the mission, an institution may contact the student-athlete without obtaining permission from the first institution.”

Basically if an athlete goes to school for a year and then goes on his mission, any opposing school will need consent from his original school, or wait three years (unlikely by the way).

Oh and that third year the student-athlete may not even be enrolled in their school where they chose to play, again very unlikely.

There is a fun loophole that was discovered, and is  in this quote:

“An institution shall not contact a student-athlete who has begun service on an official church mission without obtaining permission from the institution from which the student-athlete withdrew prior to beginning his or her mission…”

Look at the bold section, now I could be wrong, but this wording makes it sound like that the athlete must be withdrawn from their school prior to their mission.

So, what if the player goes on a mission prior to enrolling, which is common, thus technically the athlete never had the chance to withdraw from said institution.  Withdrawing from a school means they must be registered for classes.

This rule I personally like, because even though defections are few in far between, but the school is confident that their will not be illegal contact.

Contacting a player under this rule without permission is similar to contacting a player from another school, while the student is there.  That would be a recruiting violation of some kind.

Again, this rule will affect few schools and athletes, and the rule goes into affect, so BYU will not be able to have contact with stud linebacker Manti Te’o if he decides to leave Notre Dame for a church mission (kidding).

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TCU Boots Student Reporter for Criticizing Quarterback

Student reporter Brian Smith from TCU is  no longer allowed to use camera equipment owned by the MountainWest Sports Network to appear on the channel after he made what the university’s Athletics Media Relations department considered to be a critical comment about Frogs’ starting quarterback Andy Dalton on the network.

Censorship!

The mountainWest Sports Network has cameras set up at local universities to allow local media to be on the station without having to have them travel to the Denver studios or for The Mtn. to have a reporter at each school.

The show that Smith was on was “On Campus Cam” where the remarks were made, and regularly has student reporters to get varied opinions about each school.

Brian Smith is a Senior broadcast journalism major and the controversy started after Smith appeared on the April 14 broadcast of “On Campus Cam,” a talking-heads style show on The Mtn. where student reporters from conference schools are asked to give their thoughts. During the broadcast, Smith said that Casey Pachall, the freshman quarterback who graduated early from high school to enroll at the university is good. Good enough, he said, to unseat Dalton as the starter.

Smith’s expulision comes from him critizing current starting quarterback Andy Dalton and made these remarks:

“I think it’s going to be tough to tell if Andy’s really as solid a starter as everybody believes he is, “and I think the reason for that is because Casey Pachall, a true freshman who enrolled in January really looked good during drills and during the Purple and White game, and in my opinion he really could challenge Dalton for that starting spot.”

“He [Dalton] can manage a game and he can play not to lose, but I don’t really think he’s the kind of guy who can win you a game, And Casey Pachall is that kind of guy.

Smith does have some legiticamy for his criticism, because Andy Dalton has done well there have been times where it does seem that he does not have that killer instict.  Also, Casey Pachall is a four star recruit by Rivals who had offers by many big name schools.

Pachall, Casey

Photo Gallery

Dual-threat quarterback
Brownwood (TX) Brownwood

Ht: 6-foot-4  (Events)
Wt: 189 lbs 
Forty: 4.65 secs
Class: 2009 (High School)

Rivals.com Rating: 5.8 (About)
Position Ranking: 9

Recruited by: Notre Dame, Houston, Iowa State, Florida, Baylor, Nebraska, Michigan, Arizona

Cleary Casey Pachall is a highly regarded high school recruit who’s final schools came down between Florida and TCU.  This was a huge get for TCU, and what was better was that Pachall was able to enroll early to get into the system.

The real issue is with Mark Cohen, director of athletic media relations,  who sent an e-mail to the network notifying it of the decision to remove.  In the e-mail, Cohen wrote that he did not want Smith appearing on The Mtn. anymore if he was going to be critical of Dalton.

“My office will not take time out of its busy schedule to assist in putting TCU students on the air to make negative comments about our student athletes.”

WAW!!

What is TCU trying to do? This exposure of this is more then they would get in any football offseason.  Everyone knows the backup quarterback is the most popular, and Smith may not really believe what he said about Pachall starting next year but he will challange Andy Dalton.

This is a student reporter who was just stirring things up, and what should he have said? Casey Pachall might start in the upcomming years and Dalton is great! Mark Cohen seems to be a power hungry person who probably did not like to take the few minutes of his day to unlock a door.

The Mtn. however did not like this decison:

“Long story short, they agreed to disagree on the subject matter,” Ellis said. “But while it is our camera, it is under (Cohen’s) supervision and, like I said before, he has the keys to the car.  So we’re going to abide by his decision.”

Smith said he doesn’t agree with the decision.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the viewers,” Smith said. “It’s strictly a public relations move and I feel like if that’s the direction it wants to go in then they should have someone from their own department … rather than a reporter doing it. There’s a difference between being in media relations and being a reporter.”

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Mountain West Players at the NFL Draft

Below is a list of where Mountain West players were drafted and a short analysis from NFL.com the one big surprise is that Devin Moore the running back out of Wyoming did not get drafted, also tight end Kory Sperry from Colorado State was not drafted this one could be because he tore his ACL in the early part of the 2007 season.  I am fairly certain he will be a priority free agent signing on Monday or Tuesday.

Ht Wt College Pick Team
Brown, Freddie WR 6’4″ 215 Utah Pick 43, Round 7 (252) Bengals
Pick Analysis: Brown lacks experience but has some upside going into Cincinnati with the unstable wide receiver situation there. He is a tall possession receiver who’s not afraid to go over the middle. He can go up and get it, but he doesn’t have top-flight speed. He really broke out and became the go-to guy in his senior season.
Brown, Aaron RB 6’1″ 196 TCU Pick 19, Round 6 (192) Lions
Pick Analysis: Brown came in as a freshman at TCU and played extremely well, but never lived up to the hype after that. The thought is that he might be able to become a wide receiver. He’s a speed guy with return skills in the kicking game. He could become a backup to Kevin Smith in Detroit.
Collie, Austin WR 6’1″ 200 BYU Pick 27, Round 4 (127) Colts
Pick Analysis: People are now looking for receivers to be the gunners and make things happen on special teams, and Collie can do those things. He’ll also serve as a slot receiver who can fill in as the third or fourth option. He competes for the ball in the air and was highly productive at BYU with his good size. He fits the Colts’ offensive scheme very well.
Henson, Robert OLB 6’0″ 240 TCU Pick 13, Round 6 (186) Redskins
Pick Analysis: Henson is a shorter linebacker who runs really well. He will provide the Redskins with special teams help, but he’s not ready yet to contribute consistently on the defensive side of the ball.
Hodge, Stephen SS 6’0″ 234 TCU Pick 24, Round 6 (197) Cowboys
Pick Analysis: Hodge is a special teams ace. He played safety at TCU and he will be a backup on defense. Still, he helps Dallas in the kicking game and continues the trend of the team trying to fortify what was a weakness last year in special teams.
Johnson, Gartrell RB 5’10” 219 Colorado State Pick 34, Round 4 (134) Chargers
Pick Analysis: Johnson is a strong inside runner. He’s a junior-college transfer who came to Colorado State as a tough runner inside the tackles. He had an outstanding bowl game against New Mexico. He’s a short-yardage, goal-line rusher who will complement Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego.
Kruger, Paul DE 6’4″ 263 Utah Pick 25, Round 2 (57) Ravens
Pick Analysis: The high-motor pass rush specialist is a bit raw as a player but he possesses the tools to be an effective situational player. Kruger wears down opponents with his relentless approach, and he’s a player with his best football in front of him. Though the Ravens have a stable of pass rushers, Kruger gives them another one to add to the rotation.
Louis, Lance OG 6’2″ 303 San Diego State Pick 37, Round 7 (246) Bears
Pick Analysis: Louis is extremely fast and was kind of discovered at his pro day due to his measurables. He ran 4.76 and 4.80 in the 40-yard dash and had 30 reps on the bench press. He’ll give the Bears offensive line — which has lost some depth — a few reps in practice and a developmental project.
McCain, Brice CB 5’9″ 185 Utah Pick 15, Round 6 (188) Texans
Pick Analysis: McCain is one of the fastest players in the country and will immediately become one of the most speedy corners in the NFL. With those credentials, he could develop into a productive corner for the Texans, if he can polish his coverage skills.
Phillips, Jason ILB 6’1″ 239 TCU Pick 1, Round 5 (137) Ravens
Pick Analysis: The Ravens pick up a highly productive linebacker to add to their already-stout corps. The former Horned Frog has good instincts and shows a natural knack for finding the football. He won’t be counted on to contribute as an every-down player immediately, but he could emerge as a future starter in a year or two.
Quin, Glover CB 5’11” 204 New Mexico Pick 12, Round 4 (112) Texans
Pick Analysis: New Mexico always produces one or two guys each year who play well. Quin was a three-year starter and has good speed and jumping ability. He’s got confidence and at this point in the draft, he brings good value. He adds depth to a Texans’ secondary that has struggled to come together in recent years.
Schlueter, Blake C 6’2″ 290 TCU Pick 16, Round 7 (225) Broncos
Pick Analysis: Schlueter is a football player, plain and simple. He’s very mature and has unbelievable quickness and agility as an offensive lineman. The question for him is whether or not he can keep his weight up. He had one of the best workouts at TCU of anyone in this year’s draft.
Smith, Sean CB 6’4″ 214 Utah Pick 29, Round 2 (61) Dolphins
Pick Analysis: The former Ute is an unbelievable physical specimen with outstanding press corner skills. Though Smith has imposing size on the corner, he is a disappointing hitter and tackler on the edge. In spite of his finesse nature, he is an intriguing prospect with the talent to be a starter as a pro.
Summers, Frank RB 5’9″ 241 UNLV Pick 33, Round 5 (169) Steelers
Pick Analysis: The former Rebel is a bruiser and has the skills to shine as a fullback or short-yardage specialist in the Steelers’ offense. He could potentially steal some touchdowns from Willie Parker.
Vakapuna, Fui RB 5’11” 244 BYU Pick 6, Round 7 (215) Bengals
Pick Analysis: Vakapuna is a big, strong running back. He does not have as much quickness or change-of-direction skill, but he’s a situational running back that can be productive at the goal line. The Bengals locked in on Vakapuna at the BYU Pro Day and then followed through with the pick.
Wright, DeAndre DB 5’11” 198 New Mexico Pick 27, Round 6 (200) Giants
Pick Analysis: Giants scout Steve Malin really liked Wright, and Malin holds some weight in New York’s war room. Coming out of New Mexico, Wright has decent size and he’ll come in and compete to be a backup for the Giants.

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Coach Whittingham tops List of Non-BCS Coaches

SI.com went out and ranked the non-BCS coaches here we list the Mountain West coach rankings. This list is odd because in my opinion Bronco Mendenhall should be higher, because he has two conference titles, three straight 10 win seasons, and four straight bowl appearances while winning two of those.

Bronco should be third on the MWC least, yes Troy Calhoun has been dong great things in his two years, but he has not had the success as Bronco. Also, Brady Hoke is eighth and also ahead of Bronco which is a close race with his previous success at Ball State, but he should be behind Bronco.

In this overall list Colorado coach Steve Fairchild was in the bottom half at 34th, but he took a very bad team to a bowl win over Fresno State. A top 25 ranking at least should be deserved. The rest seem about right, but the biggest eye raiser was SMU coach June Jones was 4th!

Seems high for a coach who won only one game which was against FCS team Texas State. Yes, his Hawai’i days were great, but his ranking is a bit high.

1. Kyle Whittingham, Utah. A brilliant defensive mind who has helped build the Utes into the nation’s premier non-“Big Six” program.

2. Gary Patterson, TCU. The only thing missing from his résumé is a BCS bowl. And it’ll come if he stays with the Horned Frogs long enough.

4. Troy Calhoun, Air Force. The next stop for this wunderkind could be a trip back to the NFL.

8. Brady Hoke, San Diego State. A tough guy with a relentless work ethic, Hoke will wake this slumbering program that teems with potential.

9. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU. He has had opportunities to leave, but Mendenhall was made for this school. The Cougars are back because of Bronco.

32. Steve Fairchild, Colorado State. He has a strong blend of NFL and college experience, and he should make the Rams a contender again in the Mountain West.

34. Mike Sanford, UNLV. Sanford isn’t rattled by the challenge of making the Rebels competitive. And he’s about to turn the corner.

44. Dave Christensen*, Wyoming. Bob Devaney, Pat Dye, Fred Akers and Joe Tiller cut their teeth in Laramie. Is Christensen next?

45. Mike Locksley*, New Mexico. A master recruiter and smart tactician, Locksley is poised to thrive at this underrated program.

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Brian Johnson to be on Cover of NCAA 2010

Brian Johnson leaked that while he was on Around The Mountain the other day.  Johnson will be on the cover for PS2 and the PSP.  Good for me since I have a PS2.

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Making the Rounds: Las Vegas Bowl

Tom Guadagnoli, Examiner.com: The Las Vegas Bowl is getting a new sponsor and date for the 2009 season.  The date is still pre-Christmas and is December 22nd, and the sponsor is now MAACO which is a company that repairs and paint cars.  The game still pits the Mountain West conference champ or first choice against Pac-10 4th or 5th place team.

The precios sponsor was Pioneer which gave out sweet swag as flat screen televisons, monitors, stero speakers, and cool electronics.  So this year the players get a gift card to get their car repainted?

Jake Schaller, Colorado Spring Gazatte: Air Force starting cornerback and kick returner Reggie Rember is suspended from the team for unspecified violation of academy standards.  The time frame of the suspension is not given, however it is not any criminal charges, and Rember is able to practice with the team during his suspension.

Rember was also one of the teams most markatable players as he appeared on the teams media guide in 2008, and any loss of games for him will hurt the team in their 2009 campaign.

Lya Wodraska, Salt Lake Tribune: Wide Receiver Aiona Key was to step in last year and compete for playing time, however his junior college grades were delayed and Key was unable to play much on offense.  Key however played on special teams and made and impact with three blocked kicks with one of those being scored for a touchdown in the Wyoming win.

This year in Key’s last year of eligibility he plans to be a force on offense with the top receivers gone from last year.  With the other wide outs gone from last year Aiona has a chance to become a real threat and play maker at the receiver position.

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BYU Brings in Top Quarterback Recruit for Visit

Jake Heaps is one of the highly sought after quarterback in the country, and made a visit to BYU and attended one of their spring practices.  The practice was not in pads, but the team put on a passing showcase from both quarterbacks Max Hall and Brenden Gaskins.  This would be a huge get for BYU, and with the history of quarterback success at BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has a chance to get this guy.

The only thing that needs to be done is to woo the player and give him special treatment.  In the past the Cougars staff have not done anything special for higher ranked recruits.  Their stance has been that players recruit BYU not the other way around, and with Bronco Mendenhall not wanting to convince seventeen and eighteen year old kids who do not have their mind made up.

Hopefully for the Cougars sake they actually do bring out the high class treatment for special recruits, and figure out how they can seperate themselves from the rest of the schools recruiting.

Pretty much every school is interested or has offered, but the biggest threat comes from Washington.  Washington you say?  Yes, because Steve Sarkisian who is now the head coach and formerly from USC was a great recruiter in Troy for Pete Carroll.  Also, with Heaps being from Seattle the Huskies have the in, and Jake Locker who is their current Quarterback will be a Junior which gives Heaps time to learn behind a great player.

Rivals.com has him rated as the #136 overall rated prospect, ESPNU has him just on the outside of their top 150 list, but then Scout.com has Heaps rated as the number one  rated quarterback in the nation.

Heaps is a pro style quarterback which wouuld fit into the BYU system, and what helps he is a member of the LDS faith.  BYU is the university that is owned by the LDS church which could give BYU an advantage.  However this past year BYU missed out on top LDS athletes in Xavier Su’a Filo who  was a top five offensive lineman who went to UCLA, and then the top linebacker Manti Te’o choose Notre Dame over BYU.

Heaps, Jake

Pro-style quarterback

Sammamish (WA) Skyline

Ht: 6-foot-2

Wt: 195 lbs

Forty: 4.8 secs

Bench max: 235 pounds

Squat max: 350 pounds

Class: 2010 (High School)

COLLEGE CHOICES INTEREST OFFER VISIT RECRUITED BY
Alabama Medium None
BYU Medium 4/6 Brandon Doman
California Medium 3/13
Florida State Medium None Jimbo Fisher
Georgia Medium None Mike Bobo
LSU Medium None Gary Crowton
Notre Dame Medium None Rob Ianello
Oklahoma Medium None
Tennessee Medium 3/15 David Reaves
Washington Medium None

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