South Alabama Sports Round-Up 2009-05-28

May 28, 2009 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Football, Men's, News · Comment 

Baseball

The Jaguars baseball teams season ended early in the Sun Belt Championship falling first to Troy 4-10 then again to Lousiana-Monroe 8-13. These two losses to end the season leaves the Jaguars with a 25-30 overall record for the season.

Head Coach Steve Kittrell said, “It was a tough loss, I hate for our seniors to go out like this. We’ve just got to regroup and get South Alabama back on top next year.”

However David Doss was named a Louisville Slugger third team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Doss hit .378 with 20 doubles, 12 homeruns and 59 RBI’s as a senior. He was a four-year letter winner.

Men’s Basketball

Head Basketball Coach Ronnie Arrow announced on Tuesday that DeAndrae Ross and C.J. Garner will leave the program and transfer to another school.

Ross is a shooting guard that played in 27 games last season with six starts. He averaged 3.8 points per game.

Garner started 16 times as a point guard and appeared in 28 games last season. He averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as well as 37 assists for the season.

Coach Arrows’ comments about them were, “Both of these young men contributed significantly to our team development last year and helped us get to the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.” He further added, “But they both decided it would be in their best interest to transfer and we wish them the best.”

Football

Head Coach Joey Jones and his staff are teaming up with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers to help save lives in Mobile and Baldwin counties with the Community Champions Blood Drive.

On Saturday, from 10AM to 3PM, Jones and his staff will be at LifeSouth’s donor center at 967 Hillcrest Road to donate blood and to encourage others to do the same. Also they will be delivering a piece of history that one lucky Jaguar fan will get.

The entire coaching staff have signed a football that will be given away on June 27th. During the month of June, every donor has the opportunity to enter a drawing to win the ball in addition to a signed banner that will be displayed during the first ever USA Football game on September 5th, 2009.

Additionally, the incoming players are now on campus and taking summer courses and getting prepared for the Fall season.

The NCAA Makes Some Decisions On The Use Of Twitter

May 20, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

Twitter has emerged to be a huge social networking tool that can be used to help make lasting connections in the community. We use the Twitter account USAThunderjags to help promote the website, pass on up-to-date information and chat with South Alabama fans who are following us. Personally, I have made lots of contacts in the Mobile area for many things. It was only a matter of time before someone picked it up for recruiting. While its not as prevalent in high school kids as Facebook, it is the new way to keep in touch.

A few high profile coaches have gotten on the twitter train. Pete Carroll, Tom Crean, John Calipari and Gary Williams namely. But since that has came out, there has been some debate about just what coaches are and are not allowed to do on the platform.

Tom Crean tweeted this a few weeks ago: “I appreciate how many people are following me on this. Please remember that I cannot read or respond to replies. NCAA rules.” Then Kathleen Hessert, who is the President of Sports Media Challenge and also the person responsible for teaching Shaquille O’neil how to use Twitter, responded with: “Really? Compliance pros differ significantly on this. It needs clarity!”

The NCAA said that Crean is correct, any type of twittering back and forth using @replies that can be viewed in the public domain is not allowed. However, direct messaging on Twitter, which can be only viewed by the two people involved in the communication is permissible because it is seen as being equivalent to email. The same can go for facebook too. A coach can use the messaging function (similar to email) but can’t write on anyones wall. This is according to the current electronic transmission guidelines that are in place by the NCAA.

Cameron Schuh who is an Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA said that they view the direct message option in Twitter the same way they view emails. You cannot post those on your main page. Schuh goes on and says that they view Twitter as a blog. “As long as coaches are on there talking about what they’re doing with their day and how their practice went or things like that … not getting into specific terms, that’s fine. They can’t talk about a person they’re recruiting, or they can’t use it to talk about their whereabouts on a recruiting trip.”

All of this applies to Coaches and recruits. But you will rarely, if ever, see a coach talking back and forth with fans on Twitter because compliance officers have strongly recommended that coaches should not do that. Why? Because you just never know who is behind the keyboard. Tennessee and Lane Kiffin found this out that hard way this week. There is no way to monitor who is and who is not a recruit by the name on someone’s account.

Plus, the logistics of having to respond to hundreds of replies would be a nightmare for a coach, they could literally spend entire days replying to fans posts without getting anything else done and still not be able to reply to each message.

Additionally, Twitter only allows Direct Messages between mutually following friends. Thus unless a coach is following a recruit and vice versa, direct messaging would not be able to occur through their official accounts.

Later the NCAA changed what they said and stated this: “In Division I, there are no specific NCAA restrictions to what kind of interaction a coach can have with a fan (on Twitter),” said Cameron Schuh, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA. “With that being said, that kind of interaction would fall under institutional discretion and would hopefully be closely monitored by the school and the coach.” Which seems to be in line with what the compliance officer said.

Are any coaches actually replying to anyone? Yes. Pete Carroll exchanged tweets with the official Lakers twitter account, but that hardly counts I would say.

So what can you take away from this? It shows that these bylaws are still being sorted out as they apply to new mediums, such as Twitter, as they pop up. Most of the time the NCAA is unsure of just how to enact them and how they apply. It seems that everything is sorted out for now. But one thing I am sure of is that the compliance officers are trying to err on the side of caution to help keep their programs out of any problems with the NCAA.

The Lane Kiffin/Tennessee Twitter story. Lane Kiffin didn’t even write the twitter post that has thrust Tennessee back into the headlines this week. Bascially what came out about that is that Tennessee is going to self-report another secondary NCAA violation after a high school recruit was mentioned by name on Tuesday on Lane Kiffin’s Twitter page. It was not Kiffin himself that wrote the post, but rather it was an employee in the football office who was updating Kiffin’s Twitter page for him.

It was up for about an hour before it was removed by Tennessee officials, however and hour in Internet time can be equated to an eternity. The NCAA rules prohibits coaches and athletic department employees from commenting about or publicizing unsigned prospects in any way.

Apparently the post originated from one of Kiffin’s personal assistants, which just so happened to be their first day. He posted the message on the Twitter page without asking about compliance.

This is the second such error by Kiffin that Tennessee has had to self-report involving an unsigned prospect. Back in February, he mentioned a player by name on a radio talk show in Knoxville and referred to him as a great player. Brown was still allowed to sign with Tennessee after they self-reported the violation.

Alabama seems to be using Twitter wisely. They use their Twitter account RollWithTheTide to tweet out what their assistant coaches are doing. For instance, earlier today this tweet was posted “Williams: practices and scrimmages all day today”. Then on May 17th this was posted, “Mac: travel day so i can get an early start first thing in the morning”. Back on May 12th, “Crimson Caravan Tonight in Panama City, FL– anxious to see all the fans”. Nothing wrong with those, nothing directed at people and no recruits names being used, yet you get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Alabama staff.

If you have an account on Twitter, then please follow USAThunderjags to receive the latest news and postings from Thunderjags.com  You can also follow me on Twitter as well.

Go Jags!

Some links to help you understand what twitter is.

South Alabama Sports Round-Up 2009-05-18

May 18, 2009 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Football, Soccer · Comment 

Baseball

The Jaguars got into the Sun Belt Championship by taking two of three against Troy at Stanky Field. Winning the first two 6-5 and 13-6 but losing the third 7-12.

The Championship begins on Wednesday in Troy, Alabama. The first day will see #4 FIU take on #5 ULL at 9am, #1 MTSU vs #8 FAU at 12:30pm, #2 WKU vs #7 ULM at 4:00pm and a fourth consecutive matchup between #3 Troy and #6 USA at 6:30pm.

Soccer

The Jaguars Soccer team has released their 2009 schedule with notable matchups against University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Florida State, Auburn and the University of Alabama lined up. Their season will start August 22nd in Hattiesburg against USM. You can see their full schedule here.

Football

We have 109 days until kickoff of the University of South Alabama Jaguar Football’s inaugural season at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on September 5th.

Go Jags!

Sports Round-Up For 2009-05-14

May 14, 2009 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Football, Men's, News, Softball, Tennis · Comment 

Football

Football keeps getting closer. With 113 days until kickoff of the first season in South Alabama history another small, yet historic mark creeps up upon us. Season ticket holders will begin choosing their seats at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Tuesday, May 19th. This process begins for 4,500 individuals who have already made the commitment for the 2009 season. The USA Ticket Sales Office is recommending that all season ticket holders select their seats over the phone. It can be done in person, however individuals who come to campus may experience a delay in choosing their location.

Baseball

Men’s Baseball has dropped their last four games, all at home. They dropped three over the weekend to FIU with scores of 1-9, 15-21 and 7-8. Then on Tuesday night they lost to Southern Miss at Stanky field, 5-7.

Starting tonight, the Jaguars, 11-15 in the SBC, have a three game home series against in state rival Troy to round out the regular season. These three games are crucial for the Jags because if they get swept then the Jags may not make it into the Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament in Troy.

So come out and help the Jags win some crucial games.

Softball

Unfortunately the Jaguars softball team were knocked out of the SBC tournament last week in Denton, Texas. The Jags beat #3 WKU in the first round but fell to #7 FAU in the second round to fall into the losers bracket where they lost the rematch with #3 WKU to be eliminated from the tournament. #1 seeded ULL lost their first round matchup with #8 ULM but ground out five consecutive wins to win the SBC Championship title.

USA Junior Beth Pilgrim became the first South Alabama softball player to be named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament team for her performance at the SBC Championship last week. This is her third conference honor this year. She was previously named Pitcher of the Week on April 6th and second-team All-Conference on May 5th.

Basketball

Coach Arrow added two names to the list this week. USA announced Rob Phillips signed a national letter of intent to play at USA. He is a 6’2″ shooting guard who is currently attending Charis Prep School in Goldsboro, N.C. He averaged 23.1 points per game, 56.9% from 3-point range and 92% from the free throw line for Charis.

Also P.J. Reyes signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play for USA. Reyes is a 6’4″ wing from Lamar Community College in Lamar, CO. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. He started 33 games and averaged 20.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 47%.

Tennis

As reported yesterday, the Men’s Tennis program was hit with the news that they were found guilty of major infractions on Tuesday by the NCAA.

The violations as stated by the NCAA include unethical conduct by the former head coach Scott Novak, the University’s failure to monitor, impermissible financial aid and loans, improper student-athlete certification and an impermissible decrease in athletic scholarships.

The penalties include placing the program on probation for three years, including a postseason ban in 2010, the loss of scholarships and the forfeiture of past wins and championships. The number of scholarships have been reduced from 4.5 to 2.72 per year through 2011. The full write-up about this can be found here.

Men’s Tennis Program Found Guilty Of Major NCAA Rules Violations

May 13, 2009 · By · Filed Under News, Tennis · 1 Comment 

The University of South Alabama Men’s Tennis program was found guilty on Tuesday of major NCAA violations. The announcement at 2pm yesterday by the NCAA said that they have placed the program on probation for three years, including a postseason ban in 2010, the loss of scholarships and the forfeiture of past wins and championships. With the loss of scholarships, USA will only have 2.72 scholarships per year to offer through 2011 rather than the normal 4.5 per year.

The violations as stated by the NCAA include unethical conduct by the former head coach Scott Novak, the University’s failure to monitor, impermissible financial aid and loans, improper student-athlete certification and an impermissible decrease in athletic scholarships.

Also in the letter from the NCAA, the penalties included permanent disassociation of the former head coach Scott Novak and a four year show-cause order for the former head coach. Under the show-cause order, should the former head coach seek athletic related employment with any NCAA institution, he and his hiring institution must appear before the NCAA Committee on Infrations to determine whether his duties should be limited at the new institution for a designated period of time.

USA is considered a repeat violator since it appeared before the committee in 2001 for violations in the Men’s Basketball program. Since the University had a previous major violations case within five years of this violation, it was eligible to receive harsher penalties and as a result USA received the 2010 Men’s Tennis team postseason ban.

The violation stemmed from the former head coach providing more than $12,000 in impermissible financial aid to five international Men’s Tennis student-athletes over six years. Also on various occasions either before or during their enrollment, the former head coach promised four of the men more financial aid that he was able to award.

These four athletes believed they had received a full scholarship based on the representations made to them by this former head coach. In order to make up the difference, the former head coach either provided them with cash or made payments on their student accounts at the University and thus exceeded its financial aid limits for Men’s Tennis from 2000-2001 through the 2004-2005 academic years.

Additionally, this former head coach provided $3,000 cash to one of these students to allow him to obtain an international visa.

The former coach refused to furnish the NCAA enforcement staff with information relevant to the investigation and declined the enforcement staff’s interview requests on eight different occasions over about six months.

The University impermissibly decreased the financial aid of a Men’s Tennis student-athlete. The student was awarded a 71 percent scholarship for the 2004-2005 academic year, 35 percent of which was administered during the 2004 fall semester. Prior to the start of the spring semester, the University terminated the student’s scholarship for the remainder of the academic year and failed to notify the student of the opportunity for a hearing to contest the reduction.

Based on the violations, it was found that the University failed to monitor the conduct and administration of the Men’s Tennis program and further, the University failed to monitor certain aspects of its athletics program with regard to international student-athletes. This included the administration of financial aid award notification and failure to properly certify the amateurism of 27 student-athletes in 10 sports.

This is a tough hit by the NCAA and as Athletic Director Joe Gottfried said, its an embarrassment for the school. Gottfried further stated, “The penalties were pretty much what we expected or self-imposed. We have taken the proper steps to make sure that this will not happen again. It’s obvious that it sets our men’s tennis program back. There were many people that helped build this tennis program and we’ll get through this. We’ve got an outstanding coach now in Nick Brochu and we can get back to the level we were before these infractions took place.”

The whole athletic department had better stand a distance away from the line that is the NCAA rules because another investigation into majors rules violations would definitely not end well for the University.

South Alabama Sports Roundup – May 4th 2009

May 4, 2009 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Men's, News, Softball · Comment 

Coach Ronnie Arrow is looking for a new assistant coach as Andrew Helton has been named the new head coach at Eastern New Mexico University. He will be the 11th head coach in school history and inherits a team that went 4-23 last season.

Helton has been a member of Coach Arrow’s staff for the past eight seasons, the last two at USA helping to lead the Jaguars to two consecutive 20-win seasons. ENMU is a Division II school that plays in the Lone Star Conference. Us Jaguars wish him the best in his new position.

Coach Becky Clark and the Jaguar Softball team will go to Denton, Texas to make its second appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Championship. North Texas will host the SBC Championship from May 6th through May 9th. The Jaguars, 26-26-1 and 10-12 in the SBC clinched the #6 seed and will face #3 Western Kentucky (32-17 overall and 14-9 in the SBC) on Wednesday at 3pm.

The SBC Softball Championship matchups are: #1 Louisisana-Lafayette vs #8 Louisiana-Monroe, #2 Troy vs #7 Florida Atlantic, and #4 Florida International vs #5 North Texas.

The Jaguar Baseball team visited Tuscaloosa on Wednesday but could not come away with a second victory in a week agaist the Crimson Tide. They lost 14-3. Over the weekend the Jaguars travelted to Monroe, LA for a three game series against Louisiana-Monroe. The Jaguars got to play two of the three games with Sunday’s matchup being cancelled due to the weather. But the Jags came out on top in both games 12-9 and 11-9.

After five days off this week the Jaguars will have seven home games to conclude the season (unless the ULM game is rescheduled). Starting on Friday May 9th, Florida International will visit Stanky field for three games, then Southern Miss visits on Tuesday may 12th and then Troy comes to town for a three game series beginning on Thursday May 14th.

Currently the Jaguars sit at 23-23 overall for the season and 11-12 in the Sun Belt. The Jags are fifth in the Sun Belt standings 2 1/2 games behind Florida International and 7 1/2 game from first.

The Sun Belt Championship starts May 20th and will be in Troy, Alabama.

Coach Arrow has signed a pair of players for the Basketball team. Tim Williams from Pontiac, Michigan has signed a National Letter-of-Intent. He will be transferring from Motlow State CC in Lynchburg, Tennessee and will have two seasons of eligibility. He averaged 21.4 points per game, 8.1 rebounds and had a team high 55 3-pointers and 52 steals.

Raymond Sims is a 5′ 9″ guard from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will be transfering from Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas and will have two seasons of eligibilty. He averaged 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game leading his team to a 25-6 record. Paris JC competes in one of the toughest Junior College leagues in the nation and has averaged 27.3 wins in the last two seasons and won a school record 30 games in the 07-08 season.

Previous signees include Augustine Rubit, Javier Carter and Andre Gowins. All three signed in November.