[note: the stupid title of this post is a riff on Mr. Morris’s own from Sunday’s issue of The State. I know it doesn’t really flow, or make sense, so blame Ron. Oh, btw, all quotes herein are taken from The State.]
Yesterday was Media Day for the 2011 Gamecock Football Team, and we all know what that means. In depth previews of the upcoming season, right? Position by position breakdowns showing strengths and weaknesses of the team? Player profiles that enable us to identify with and care about the athletes?
Nope, in the Columbia newspaper, The State, we get none of these potentially enlightening write-ups.
Instead we were treated to a big pile of Ron Morris. And that means more of his tired rehash of anti-Carolina propaganda. He’s a one trick pony, really – trotting out anything and everything negative he can torture from the recent history of Gamecock sports. Its kind of sad, actually, watching a grown man so desperate for attention that he has to resort to seeking warmth in the reflected light of collegiate athletes and their coaches when it obvious he has no athletic history of his own.
Look at his opinion piece from Sunday’s edition, for example. Mr. Morris began thusly:
SOUTH CAROLINA’S handling of the recent G.A. Mangus incident proved to be another example of how the athletics department and school are selling their souls for national prominence in football. Sad but true.
Couple of things here: First, his opening sentence is such a hodgepodge of inconsistent tense and mixed metaphor that actually says very little. “[T]he recent . . incident . . proved to be another example” he writes. How is that exactly? How can something “prove” to be an example? And why does he make it past tense? “Proved”? Really?
Then there is the denouement to his initial thought, the fragmentary offering of “sad but true.” This phrase is effective insofar as it makes the preceding nonsense sound important and ominous, but does nothing to advance his purported thesis. Let me demonstrate with the following proposition:
Ron Morris spent his entire career toiling over the written word, yet was never able to advance beyond a mere sports op-ed writer for a newspaper in the country’s 83rd largest media market (only 3rd largest in the state). Sad but true.
See how it works?
That piece of nonsense to the side, much of what follows in the article is either misleading or downright factually incorrect. He asserts that “allowing Mangus to continue coaching . . . is hardly damning. When viewed in the context of other incidents, a pattern of eroding principles emerges.” He then goes on to detail, not the context he suggests, but more on the Mangus incident.
He eventually drops a reference to oft-maligned quarterback Stephen Garcia, but asserts (incredibly) that Garcia hasn’t been suspended for any games or any “significant practice.” Here Morris betrays his complete lack of understanding of the last four years of Gamecock football history, but more importantly, he reveals that he understands nothing about the game of football. Missing almost two complete spring practices due to relatively minor incidents (we say AGAIN, the worst thing Garcia has ever been accused of is keying a car), being left out of media appearances (he’s not even on the media guide cover despite being the SEC returning leader in passing) and having a redshirt forced upon you are not insignificant punishments. And all of those punishments pale in comparison to being forced to suffer through 5 years of a lynch-mob mentality by the local media for a young man basically accused of having a beer or few in college.
This kowtowing to Steve Spurrier’s program began in 2007 when he threatened to quit if changes were not made to USC’s special admissions policies. Those changes were made, and not a peep has been heard since about the special admissions made for football players each recruiting season.
The HBC didn’t threaten to quit – but he did openly question the policy. But again, Morris has his history all wrong. The policy DID NOT CHANGE. Hyman et al only promised to inform the coaches earlier in the process to make it more predictable for all concerned. Oh, and Mr. Morris can learn a little something next month if he watches the ECU game: the player that brought about the controversy will be on the field – for the Pirates. That’s right, the player in question (Michael Bowman) was not admitted to USC, despite the HBC’s protestations on his behalf. That little fact cuts against Mr. Morris’s meme, so he (purposefully?) overlooks it.
More from Mr. Oppositeland:
“I can’t tell the young man that he’s coming to school here” then not have him admitted, Spurrier said at the time. That statement came back to haunt Spurrier this past spring when he signed 31 recruits — three over the SEC limit at the time — and had to tell several young men who were promised scholarships that they could not attend USC.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We didn’t sign 31 recruits this spring. We just didn’t, and it doesn’t matter how many times Mr. Morris makes this claim: Morris is either lying, or he doesn’t know his subject very well. We had 4 early enrollees in January – two of which were hold-overs from the previous year where the HBC kept his promises, held their schollys open, and brought them in after they qualified. We signed 28 players in February (which qualifies as “spring” to Mr. Morris, I guess, which tells you something about his general knowledge level), the SEC limit. Of those 28, three did not qualify. In the end we admitted 25 incoming players, which is the NCAA-approved level.
Geeze, this list of issues with the article is getting long, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the following swing-and-miss by Mr. Morris:
USC is not likely to sign more than 25 in the upcoming recruiting class, but it appears to be facing another crossroad. At this time, USC will have 14 scholarships available in the spring. Spurrier and his staff have 18 verbal commitments from recruits. Should USC sign 25, more than a handful of young men likely will have to be told they do not have scholarships to attend USC.
Mr. Morris is apparently ignorant to normal attrition in college athletics. He is also apparently unaware that players such as Alshon Jeffrey, Devin Taylor, and Stephon Gilmore will probably be early entries into the NFL draft. There is a reason, Mr. Know-It-All Morris, that the NCAA allows 25 in each signing class when the total scholly limit is 85, but I’m gonna let you put the pen to paper and scratch out the math yourself.
Let’s also not forget the football program remains under NCAA investigation for athletes allegedly receiving illegal benefits.
Trying to remain calm here. Lalalalala. Happy Thoughts.
What, Mr. Morris, does this allegation have to do with so-called oversigning? The NCAA investigation is over whether or not players received reduced rates at a local hotel, and as far as anyone at the AD’s office has been informed, is a back-burner issue for the governing body. We even kicked one player off the team over the incident, but again, since this is inconsistent with Mr. Morris’s thesis that USC is a rogue program, he simply omits that fact.
Mr. Morris then goes on to compare the baseball program’s history with Chisenhall with the current manufactured situation. Chisenhall, if you remember, was dropped from the baseball team by Coach Tanner because he was arrested for a felony. Not an underage beer or barking at a teacher – a FELONY.
Oh, and at the time, Ron Morris repeatedly slammed Tanner for recruiting Chisenhall in the first place. No kidding – he was against Tanner before he was for him.
Seems Mr. Morris looks at USC with both a selective memory and a perpetually jaundiced eye.
Sad but true.