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August 11, 2008

Names become reality for fantasy players

CBSSports.com announced last week that it would host a college football fantasy game this season using the actual names of college players. The Web site also said it would host a college basketball fantasy game this season.

This is quasi-big news because in the past, college football fantasy names didn't use player names, instead using designations such as "USC quarterback" and "Michigan running back." Now, though, because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving Major League Baseball and its "ownership" of stats, CBSSports.com is going ahead with its new version of college fantasy games.

That means you now can have Knowshon Moreno on your team instead of "Georgia running back" and that you can have Ty Lawson instead of "North Carolina guard."

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the situation: An NCAA spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the organization had sent a letter to CBS saying the NCAA's by-laws on amateurism were being violated. But the spokesman also admitted to the WSJ that the NCAA's by-laws don't truly address this type of situation, which means that the NCAA really can't do anything.

Still, once again, the NCAA's hypocrisy is revealed. A corporate entity making money off players? Oh, the horror.

GRID BITS
While the Division I-A season starts Aug. 28, the season as a whole starts five days earlier. A Division II game will be played that day between Fort Valley (Ga.) State and Valdosta State.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Big Ten official Stephen Pamon - the focus of a Yahoo! Sports story in December about his history of casino gambling, bankruptcy and child abuse - won't work any more conference games. His crews made controversial calls in the Penn State-Purdue and Illinois-Ohio State games last season.
Evidently, Nike founder Phil Knight doesn't play favorites. Knight has donated millions of dollars to Oregon, and the Ducks also are known - in some circles, anyway - for their sartorial splendor on Saturdays in Nike-designed uniforms. This season, Oregon State also will wear Nike-designed unis. And Washington - another Oregon rival - last week announced a 10-year, $35-million extension of its deal with Nike.
Northwestern star defensive tackle John Gill recently was suspended by coach Pat Fitzgerald for a violation of team policy. The first part of the suspension? Gill missed the first week of fall practice. Presumably to make sure Wildcats players didn't run en masse to him and say, "Coach, you know, I did stuff far worse than John. I think you should suspend me, too," Fitzgerald also suspended Gill for the first game of the season, against Syracuse.
If you follow major league baseball, you know all about Skip Caray, who died recently at the age of 68. What a lot of folks don't know is that Caray once upon a time did Missouri football radio broadcasts, serving as the color commentator. Caray was a Mizzou grad.
Dennis Franchione will be a radio analyst for ESPN this fall. His first game? Alabama-Clemson on Aug. 30. At least his first game doesn't involve Texas A&M.
Virginia redshirt freshman wide receiver Jared Green gave the presentation speech for his dad, former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies earlier this month.
SMU athletic director Steve Orsini told the Dallas Morning News that Mustangs season-ticket sales are up 50 percent over last season, thanks to the excitement surrounding new coach June Jones.
Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins was named to Time magazine's list of the nation's best sports executives. He was the only college administrator to make the list. His inclusion on the list is a surprise, considering he's not generally considered one of the top two or three ADs in the Big 12, much less the nation.

WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Man, sometimes you just want to shake your head and ask, "How dumb is this person?"

The latest cause of some head-shaking is Oklahoma freshman wide receiver Josh Jarboe - or, rather, former Oklahoma freshman wide receiver Josh Jarboe.

In early March, Jarboe, a four-star prospect from Ellenwood, Ga., was arrested on felony gun charges. He pleaded down to two misdemeanor charges and was allowed to enroll at Oklahoma. At that time, OU coach Bob Stoops said he stressed to Jarboe the importance of staying on the straight and narrow and that "anything less than exemplary behavior will not be tolerated."

So, you'd think a guy who received that kind of break would take things easy for a while. But, no, not Jarboe.

Instead, he made a misogynistic, obscenity-laced rap video about guns and shooting people - then uploaded it onto YouTube. It included this memorable couplet: "Shoot you in the head and you might be dead with a halo. So hold on, don't beg for your life. Hold on, don't ask please."

OU has relieved him of his scholarship. There have been some critics of OU for dismissing Jarboe. They talk about free speech, yada yada yada. The flipside: Should someone this stupid be on a college campus?

A FANTASY WORLD

Numerous college football coaches, presidents and athletic directors appealed last week in a letter to NCAA president Myles Brand to eliminate alcohol advertising on telecasts of college sports.

The letter said alcohol advertising should be phased out over a three-year period. Current NCAA policy limits alcohol advertising to one minute per hour of any telecast.

Left out of the letter was how TV networks - you know, the ones paying huge bucks to show the games, with the money trickling down to every school - would make up the advertising shortfall. Also left out of the letter was how banning such advertising would magically rid college campuses of alcohol abuse. That wasn't in there, of course, because it's utter nonsense to think banning alcohol ads on college sports telecasts would have any effect at all on college drinking.

Thursday, the NCAA's executive committee decided it couldn't eliminate alcohol advertising. Wow, an NCAA committee that actually thinks. What a concept.

HE'S IN - FINALLY

Weird doings in the ACC involving wide receiver Dwight Jones.

Jones, from Burlington, N.C., was one of the nation's best wide receivers in the 2007 signing class and signed with North Carolina. He didn't qualify academically and went to Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy. He still intended to re-sign with the Tar Heels, but the school announced earlier this summer that Jones wouldn't qualify for enrollment. Thus, he signed with Division II Valdosta (Ga.) State and enrolled there.

But last week, UNC announced that it had misinterpreted his record and that he indeed was OK academically. Valdosta State then released Jones from his letter-of-intent, and he now is enrolled at UNC.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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