|July 21, 2009||Miller Wins Gold; Plus, Other Links||no comments|
|July 20, 2009||Mullen, Dixon Speak||no comments|
|July 20, 2009||Mullen Tweets About Anthony Dixon||1 comments|
|July 20, 2009||On the Links: Catching Up||no comments|
|July 20, 2009||Dixon Faces Three Charges||6 comments|
|July 19, 2009||Anthony Dixon Arrested||1 comments|
|July 17, 2009||Preseason Practice Info; JSU Tickets on Sale Monday||no comments|
|July 17, 2009||On the (Last non-Crazy) Friday Links||2 comments|
|July 17, 2009||More Reaction from Donald Jackson||1 comments|
|July 16, 2009||NCAA Speaks on Bank Records, FERPA||7 comments|
Congratulations are in order for Mississippi State softball coach Jay Miller, who led Team USA to the World Cup of Softball gold medal last night. The US beat Australia 3-1 to earn its third straight World Cup title. Here's some video evidence. Playing for Team USA was MSU catcher Chelsea Bramlett, who saw limited action and did not play in the final. I was going to compile her stats for you, but the box scores on usasoftball.com are fouled up.
Other stuff to link this morning:
• My story from today's Journal about Anthony Dixon and his arrest.
• A nice column this morning from colleague Parrish Alford about Ed Thomas, the high school football coach from Iowa who was slain last month.
• From yesterday, a column from my boss, John L. Pitts, on the SEC's three new football coaches and which returning coach might not be at SEC Media Days next year.
• I've been negligent the past couple weeks in pointing this out, but you can vote in our weekly poll of how each SEC team will perform this fall. This week, it's Georgia.
• Former MSU catcher Craig Tatum was called up to The Show yesterday. The Reds brought him up to replace catcher Ramon Hernandez, who's out 4-6 weeks with knee surgery. Tatum did not play last night against the Dodgers. He was hitting .239 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 64 games for Triple-A Louisville.
Today's Random Link: Wackiness in Oakland last night, as the A's rallied from 10 down to beat Minnesota 14-13.
As soon as I tweeted my last post, I checked my e-mail to find a statement from MSU with quotes from Dan Mullen and Anthony Dixon. The e-mail came after Mullen sent his tweets about Dixon.
Now, the statements, starting with Mullen: "Obviously I’m extremely disappointed in Anthony Dixon’s selfish decisions on Saturday night that led to his arrest. This is a topic that we’ve discussed with our team several times; and we expect each of our student-athletes to not put themselves in this position. We’ll continue to work with law enforcement while educating our players about these matters. Anthony’s discipline will be appropriate and will be handled inside the football program."
Dixon: "I sincerely apologize to not only my coaches and teammates, but also to all of the Mississippi State fans that I’ve let down by my poor decisions. I will accept whatever punishment Coach Mullen decides and hope I can move forward and prepare to help this team."
The release says that neither Dixon nor Mullen will comment further on this matter.
This is a first, at least in my experience. MSU football coach Dan Mullen has made his first statements on the arrest of star RB Anthony Dixon, but he didn't speak through a press release or on a conference call.
No, he addressed it via Twitter. If you don't follow him, look up @CoachDanMullen. Here's what Mullen said (three tweets in all, unedited):
"Disappointed with what happened with AD on Sat Night. We have spent a great deal of time covering these issues. … I expect our student athletes not to put themselves in these positions. … We will continue to educate our student athletes on the consequeces [sic] of their actions."
Still no word on what punishment Mullen will hand down. I'll have to ask Dan this week if addressing team issues – this kind or any kind – will become a common practice of his. He has certainly jumped on the social networking bandwagon; he has a Facebook page and is a pretty consistent tweeter. But usually his tweets are pretty vanilla. This certainly caught me off guard.
Before I head off to lunch, I need to catch y'all up on some links.
• This story hasn't run in the print edition yet, but yesterday we had online my piece about MSU and its facilities master plan.
• On Saturday, I had a feature on MSU offensive coordinator/QBs coach Les Koenning.
• MSU baseball signee Nick Vickerson singled home the winning run for the North in Saturday's Cotton States Baseball League All-Star Game.
• On al.com today, there is a nice series of stories titled "The Cost of Recruiting." One, which mentions MSU prominently, examines the constant bickering between teams and fans of teams. Another story, which also talks about MSU, looks at the actual cost of recruiting and how it relates to on-field success.
Today's Random Link: This old guy can still get his engine revved up.
I finally got my hands, via fax, on the arrest report for Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon. He was arrested at 10:14 p.m. Saturday by Starkville police, and he's been charged with: DUI (refusal to take field sobriety test or breath test); careless driving; no insurance/failure to have motor vehicle insurance card in vehicle.
Here is the narrative report filed by an Officer Watkins:
"I, Officer Watkins, on July 18, 2009, stopped a silver Chevrolet Impala being driven by Anthony Dixon. I observed the vehicle driving through the parking spots on the right hand side of the road at Western Auto. Mr. Dixon drove off the side of the road way in this manner until he turned South on to North Montgomery Street. At this time I initiated the traffic stop. Upon walking to the car I noticed that Mr. Dixon's speech was slurred and his eyes were blood shot.
"At this time I radioed Officer Hale to the scene to assist me in determining to what degree he was impaired. Once Officer Hale arrived on the scene he got Mr. Dixon out of the car and offered Mr. Dixon a field sobriety test. Mr. Dixon refused to take any test to determine his impairment.
"At this time I examined the car and noticed two champagne bottles laying in the back floor board in plain view. Mr. Dixon was then taken to Starkville Police Department for refusal to take these test [sic]. Once at the police department he refused the intoxilyzer 8000 to determine his breath alcohol content. Mr. Dixon was arrested for DUI and issued citations for careless driving and no proof of liability insurance."
Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon has been arrested, a team spokesman confirmed. The senior-to-be was arrested Saturday, but no other details are known right now. I have left a message with a supervisor at the Starkville Police Department.
Coach Dan Mullen will decide on a punishment at some point, but the spokesman does not know when that might happen.
Mullen will be at the SEC Media Days in Birmingham on Wednesday.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has released some info about the preseason practice schedule. Practices, which begin Aug. 3, will be open to the public the first week. The team will work out each Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and Thursday mornings. The annual on-campus media day will be Aug. 7.
Two-a-days start Aug. 8, and they will be closed to the public. Fan Day is set for Aug. 29 at noon.
• Also, MSU just announced that single-game tickets for the Sept. 5 season opener against Jackson State go on sale at 8 a.m. Monday. A game time will be announced next week.
Individual game tickets are available for the lower deck on the east side (Section U) and cost $54. Upper level west side tickets are $40.
Through Thursday, MSU said it has sold 36,821 season tickets, which includes 10,000 student tickets.
The relative quietude of summer pretty much ends this weekend. A harbinger of more frenetic times ahead arrived in my mailbox today: a 2009 Ole Miss football media guide, the first such publication I've received.
There will be stacks of media guides at the SEC Media Days next week in Birmingham (well, Hoover). The three-day madness begins Wednesday with Mississippi State one of the teams taking to the podium.
To get you ready for that, I've got a story on offensive coordinator Les Koenning, and how MSU's offense will be run, set to appear in tomorrow's Journal. And on Sunday, Lord willing, we'll have the story I've written on MSU's facilities "master plan."
For right now, I've scraped together some links for your enjoyment.
• I tweeted this story yesterday: Andy Katz of ESPN.com wrote a nice piece on Jarvis Varnado.
• Alabama's football team is trying to get down to that magic number of 85 scholarship players.
• Florida coach Urban Meyer said that his former team, Utah, could not survive the grind that is the SEC. I can't find reason to disagree with him.
• David Climer of The Tennessean writes about SEC coaches with NFL experience.
Today's Random Link: Former Texas Tech gunslinger Graham Harrell signed a contract with obscurity, I mean, with Saskatchewan of the CFL on Thursday.
Just before I walked into the theater last night – Harry Potter 6, excellent film – I received a lengthy reply from Donald Jackson, attorney for MSU signee Renardo Sidney. I had called him earlier to get his reaction to comments made by the NCAA's Bob Williams, who said the NCAA was not required to grant Jackson's request for information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Williams was quoted in the story I wrote for today's Daily Journal. So anyway, I received – via two text messages – a reply from Jackson. Here is part of it:
"Historically, the NCAA has engaged in a course of intimidation against universities when such requests have been made either based upon FERPA or state open records laws. The Florida litigation is an example of their heavy handedness." Jackson is referring to an open-records controversy related to the Florida State investigation.
More from Jackson: "I assume from Mr. Williams' commentary that they are now taking the position that any information produced by MSU which might be exculpatory to the Sidney family would not result in retaliatory actions against MSU. If that is indeed the case – and it has never been the case in previous NCAA matters – this case could be moved along quite quickly if the organization would go on the record and authorize MSU to release all information to me. If there is no information establishing the existence of a violation, the PSA (prospective student-athlete) should be cleared."
By the way, exculpatory is a term, often used by attorneys, that means someone is shown or declared not guilty of wrongdoing.
But Jackson was not done. That was all just from the first text message.
He then went on to question under what authority the NCAA was acting "for their attempted invasion of this family's zone of privacy." That was a reiteration of something he'd told me earlier in the day. Jackson closed with this:
"Mr. Williams' comments essentially implied that 'we may have done it before, so we can do it again whether it is legal or not.' His comments were not particularly persuasive and did not help to move this inquiry forward. (The NCAA) is not immune to the protections that are granted to citizens by state and federal law, althought they might perceive themselves to be."
The NCAA got back with me a moment ago. Spokesman Bob Williams responded to an e-mail I sent inquiring about the NCAA's request of bank statements for Renardo Sidney's family. The NCAA has twice requested the records, but Sidney attorney Donald Jackson has declared them off-limits.
Williams wrote, "The NCAA determines which records are necessary to reach an accurate, well-informed decision on a prospective student-athlete's initial eligibility. The NCAA takes this responsibility seriously and only requests the information it needs to make such decisions. There is extensive case precedent for requests of specific information to include bank records if they are relevant to the case."
But will the NCAA ever get those records? I spoke with Tupelo attorney Jim Waide, who's dealt with the NCAA before, most recently in Jackie Sherrill's lawsuit against the organization. Waide admitted to having a low opinion of the NCAA, but that doesn't change the fact that, as he pointed out, it does not have subpoena power when it comes to those bank records.
"They’re a private organization, so they wouldn’t have any subpoena power. The question would be whether they could hold Mississippi State responsible if he doesn’t turn it over," Waide said. I don't believe MSU could be punished for that, but the NCAA works in mysterious ways.
I wrote Williams back asking him about the subpoena issue. He replied, "True, the NCAA does not have subpoena power, however, the quickest way for his client to get a certification decision is to provide all requested documents."
Williams also said the NCAA does not have to grant the FERPA request filed by Jackson a few weeks ago.
"The NCAA's obligation under FERPA is not to re-disclose an educational record the NCAA has received from a school or another source," Williams wrote. "The NCAA has no obligation to produce records under FERPA and if Mr. Jackson is requesting a document on behalf of his client, he should request it from the school."
Jackson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.