+1 to anyone who caught the "A Few Good Men" reference.
First, the afternoon's news:
The biggest thing to take from Davis' comments were that the NCAA has promised to move quickly in their probe, which is very un-like the NCAA but will be appreciated nonetheless so that the team, coaches, and fans will know the damage sooner than later.
**The News & Observer updated a piece from this morning about Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's inquiry into agents and this tidbit was inserted into the story:
In a response to a public records request, the university provided the newspaper electronic copies of e-mails between UNC staffers and NCAA officials. Most of the e-mails were addressed to Chance Miller, the NCAA's assistant director of agent, gambling and amateurism activities. Amy Herman, North Carolina's assistant athletic director for compliance, sent the NCAA a schedule for interviews to be held July 12 and 13.
This adds to the notion offered previously that this is, in fact, about the agents and not so much the players. If it were about the players or the school, the visit would have probably been from the enforcement division. Not saying it's ever good to get a visit from the NCAA, but it really seems the focus is on agents.
Now, back to Marvin Austin:
As THF noted this morning, a Birmingham newspaper posted a piece quoting a "source close to the family" of Marcell Dareus that he was essentially lured to Miami under false pretense by his old buddy Marvin Austin. Despite the massive improbability of Dareus' story, it does raise this possibility: is Marvin Austin somehow being thrown under the bus for this whole issue?
Internet talk today has blossomed from Austin receiving improper benefits to him being the agent's runner (highly unlikely, since Austin would be the big fish). More likely is that Dareus, Saunders, and Little were bait for Austin, as the Bylaw Blog points out:
Saunders’ value to the agent is not the commission he generates, although it’s not exactly pocket change. It’s that he’s one of Austin’s good friends. The message from the agent would have been "I don’t just take care of my players, I take care of everybody." Saunders would not have been brought to Miami or DC for his own recruitment, rather as a part of Austin’s recruitment.
So while the investigation continues into Dareus (who has apparently not been suspended by Alabama - yet), who is claiming Austin tricked him into coming to Miami, and Georgia's A.J. Green, who claims he's never been to Miami followed by a quick "no comment", Steve Spurrier took the offensive at SEC Media Days on Thursday, saying Weslye Saunders told him he "didn't do anything wrong" in accompanying Austin to the agent-sponsored party in Miami.
While I appreciate Steve Superior sticking up for his player, this is the kind of comment that later comes back to bite you. If, in fact, Saunders is found to have compromised his eligibility, then what did this spirited defense mean? On the other hand, being Steve Spurrier means never having to say you're sorry.
Meanwhile, the National Football Post (not a bastion of veracity, by the way) is reporting that Greg Little has been cleared of any wrongdoing but points fingers at other Tar Heels who may have been receiving or seeking inducements from agents.[Note from THF: Oh, be sure you visit NFP and read the comments section which is rife with ABCers and people who accused Aaron Wilson of having gleaned all his info from message boards. Which is an interesting point since he says Little was cleared. That same rumor was passed on premium side at IC a couple of days ago by one of the regular "in" posters there. It also was posted prior to the May 15th photo coming to light which I would think would still have the NCAA poking around Little's little world. Carry on.]
At the end of the day, Austin may yet stand at the center of this fiasco. To go back to the Kennedy reference, was Austin a mastermind of agent-centered activity that may have sullied who knows how many other players' eligibility, or was he, as Lee Harvey Oswald claimed to be, a patsy - a young, dumb kid whop got swept up in the trappings of money. I guess the NCAA will let us know soon enough.
Unless, that is, some snooper over at State Fans Nation finds a tweeted picture of Austin on the grassy knoll...