NCAA Blunders – Yet Again

By Adam Caparell - January 17, 2007

The NCAA has managed to screw up an infinite amount of things since its inception in 1906 and while its latest mistake won’t go down as it’s most major, it’s nonetheless pretty embarrassing.

Notre Dame WR Jeff Samardzija’s spot on the Consensus All-American Team was revoked Tuesday after J.D. Hamilton, Assistant Director of Statistics with the NCAA, wrote Notre Dame to apologize for a miscalculation on his part. Apparently all the criteria for Samardzija were not added up originally and, upon further review; he was given the boot off the team.

The original list, released last week, featured Samardzija, Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson and Tennessee’s Robert Meachem. After re-tallying, USC’s Dwayne Jarrett made the list and Samardzija was bounced.

The points system the NCAA uses to determine the 26-man roster are taken from five organizations who announce their own All-American teams. Three points are given to a player for a spot on a first team, two points for second team and one point for third team. The organizations used are the American Football Coaches Association (First Team), Associated Press (First, Second and Third Teams), Football Writers Association of America (First Team), The Sporting News (First and Second Teams) and Walter Camp Foundation (First and Second Teams).

Not to take another needless pot-shot at the NCAA, or Hamilton himself – I mean no one’s perfect – but why can’t they seem to get even the most logical and simplistic things right?

The most ridiculous example came earlier this season when they actually had to mull over whether to grant a waiver to Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey - who was given custody of his 11-year old younger brother because of his mother's drug problems - that would let teammates and coaches' families help him raise and care (i.e. rides to school, baby-sitting) for Fahmarr without violating the NCAA's extra benefits rules.

New and Notes
The NCAA nixed the controversial rule that allowed a senior who had graduated with remaining eligibility to transfer and play at another school immediately. Schools voted to override the measure after just a year. It’ll be grandfathered in as anyone making or planning to move during the school year won’t be affected by the change.

A written survey of 91 FCS coaches (that’s the old D-IA) said that 60 percent want to get rid of the new rules designed to speed up games. Games averaged three hours and six minutes in 2006, a decrease of 13 minutes from 2005. Many coaches were outspoken and adamant about their hatred for the changes, like starting clock on kickoffs and possession changes, at the beginning of the season. But the grumbling cooled off as the year went on.

And we can now call this one the “Jim Tressel Rule.” FCS coaches who agree to vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll next season will not be allowed to abstain, thanks to the new policy the AFCA put into place. Tressel, as many remember, did not vote in the final poll of regular season when he was forced to choose between Florida and Michigan.

The NCAA Division I Management Council is scheduled to vote in April on the use of text messaging during recruiting.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 11:18 AM on January 17, 2007

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