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See Ray Run, Ray Rice for Heisman!

If there’s any rhyme or reason behind Rutgers’ recent surge to competitiveness and popularity — besides Greg Schiano — it’s their P.R. department. They are flawless. Probably the greatest group I’ve ever worked with when it came to interview requests. And this story fits right in. As Ben Maller pointed out, the athletic department has created the website SeeRayRun in order to promote Rice for the Heisman. The mission statement of the site is as follows:

Welcome to the official website for Heisman Candidate Ray Rice. Throughout the 2007 season, the site will be updated with stats, photos and video highlights as Ray runs his way into the Rutgers record book.

Even better, the New Jersey Star Ledger says that a SeeRayRun themed gift will be sent out to reporters across the country. Speaking from experience, if there’s any way to get the media in your favor, a good meal and a nice gift are excellent starting points. All P.R. directors and media relations departments should take note. Now this is how to promote a player. And it’s much cheaper than buying a billboard in the middle of Times Square.

Penalty, 15 Yards for Being Black!

Commenter JS sends me this story, along with the email subject, “Florida State, you just won the BCS National Championship, Where aren’t you going?” Quite an appropriate title. The Happiest Place on Earth is apparently not so for some people. Namely, four Florida State football prospects.

Walt Disney World ejected four of Florida State University’s top football prospects from Downtown Disney last weekend under its anti-gang, no-loitering policy.

“I keep thinking to myself, ‘This is crazy,’ ” said Mark Nugent, stepfather of Vincent Williams, football star at Ridge Community High School in Polk County. “Once they realized they weren’t gangbangers, why didn’t they let them go? They took their pictures. They fingerprinted them. And treated them like common criminals.”

“Is it because they’re all over 6 feet tall and black?” asked Nugent, who is white. “I want the trespass warnings dropped so the kids can visit Disney if they want. And an apology would be nice.”

That…is some messed up stuff right there — so long as the kids were innocent as it’s reported. Jacked up stuff.

Also see SbB and FanHouse.

Stanford Locking Cal Fans Out of the Big Game

We knew Jim Harbaugh had some serious juice, but we didn’t know he was capable of pulling this off (he probably had nothing to do with it, but it’s still fun to pretend, right?). Astute reader JS points out that Stanford is doing whatever they can to lock Cal fans out of the Big Game in hopes of gaining some sort of a homefield advantage.

The only way for Cal fans to get Big Game tickets at this point is to have donated at least $6,800 to the athletic booster fund or to buy Stanford season tickets.
….
Anyone can get a Big Game ticket by buying a Stanford season ticket, which ranges from $185 to $299.

What a jacked up scenario. So here’s the deal: Stanford downsized its stadium to 50,000 seats, creating a smaller supply of tickets. Cal fans wouldn’t be caught dead contributing money to its rival school, but they need to make it to the game to support their team somehow. So what the heck do they do?

This isn’t unlike the case for many NFL season ticket holders who are forced to buy pre-season tickets of their favorite team, and very similar to what the Chargers did to block out Raider fans, forcing tickets to be bought in multiple game packages. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the biggest eff you moves by one rival school to another. Bottom line — when you’re 1-11, you have to do anything you can for an advantage.

Nebraska AD Wants Five Years of Eligibility for Athletes

Huh? Whaaat? I guess it’s his way of helping Nebraska fans get more enjoyment — but memo — it’s too late to work the magic with Tommy Frazier and Eric Crouch. Lemme see how this works … it takes four years on average to graduate, yet athletes should have five years of eligibility? What, are all these athletes going to grad school? Are they all engineers on the five-year plan (like so many of my friends reading the site — you know who you are!)? What’s the deal?

Husker athletic director Steve Pederson is chairman of the NCAA football issues committee, which is advocating a proposal that would give athletes five seasons of playing eligibility. As it stands, players are allowed to play four seasons in a five-year window.

“We’ve asked that it be put on the agenda of every conference in the country at their spring meetings so it can be discussed,” Pederson said of the proposal. “As a committee, we believe it has validity. And now we want to find out if other people believe like we do.”

What sort of validity could there be to having five seasons of eligibility? Someone please answer this for me!

(via Fark)

UCLA Rocks, Reaches 100th National Title in School History

That’s right, since I’m a proud UCLA alum, I must boast to the world when my school achieves something quite notable — you know, just like a proud parent showing off pictures of their ugly ass kid that nobody cares to see. On Sunday, the UCLA women’s water polo team defeated Stanford 5-4 to capture their third consecutive national title, ninth overall, and 100th by the university. Stanford is the next closest school with 93 titles. And so all my Trojan friends don’t get bent out of shape, USC is third with 84. Hmm, must be a California thing. And I couldn’t be more proud as this proves once again, that UCLA is the finest all-around school in the country. Yeaah boy.

And I will not subject you to any further women’s water polo coverage — that is, unless my new girl Keeley Hazell takes up the sport.

Quit Hammering Dwayne Jarrett

Most likely because he’s been on a media blitz doing interviews left and right, I can’t seem to get away from Dwayne Jarrett. And of course going along with the Dwayne Jarrett interviews are the Dwayne Jarrett questions: is he the next Mike Williams? Is he too slow to play receiver in the NFL?

Let me just answer both questions — no. End those questions please. Explain to me what Dwayne Jarrett has to do with Mike Williams? What am I missing? Why should Jarrett’s future be hampered by the lazy work ethic of a receiver who preceded him that happened to be at the same university? The career of the two men are completely independent of each other. Even if Jarrett turns out to be a bust — which he most likely will not — it won’t have anything to do with Mike Williams not making it with the Lions. How could it? Do the two train together? Does Mike Williams throw passes to Jarrett? Then what do they have to do with each other? I can’t stand these mindless connections people make.

Then the whole 40 time issue really irks me. In 2003, both the offensive rookie of the year AND the defensive rookie of the year were combine and draft day duds. Surely you’ll recognize their names more than the men who went ahead of them in the draft — Anquan Boldin and Terrell Suggs, who fell to the 54th and 10th spots respectively. Why you ask? Because they ran slow 40 times.

So what difference does it make if Dwayne Jarrett ran in the 4.6s instead of the 4.5s? You really telling me a tenth of a second is worth 10 spots in the draft? Guess so. Well, I’ve had enough of that crap, and I certainly wouldn’t let it keep me from drafting Dwayne Jarrett.

Nick Saban Could Leave Bama

And it wouldn’t be a big deal. Want to know why? Because as The Feed points out, Nick Saban still hasn’t signed a contract yet! I’m not sure if this is a common practice or not (definitely not if you’re doing good business), but an attorney in the area says it’s not a huge matter:

“What it gets down to is, once you have the principle terms nailed down – salary, perks, assistant coaches’ salaries – the coach accepts the position based on that,” said Birmingham attorney Russ Campbell, who represents college and NFL coaches, including the Atlanta Falcons’ Bob Petrino.

“Once that happens, sometimes a coach signs a letter of intent, sometimes it’s just a handshake. But the coach’s camp gets comfortable. They say, `We’ve got our agreement.’ The rest of it is really items put in place to protect the university.”

This is not the first time a coach hadn’t signed a contract with Alabama after agreeing to coach the football team. They ousted Mike Price without reservations after the strip club adventure, even though he had been coach for four months. All because Price hadn’t yet signed a contract. The same whack practice came back to bite them in the butt when Dennis Franchione bounced to Texas A&M because he never signed what was believed to be a ten year deal. So like I said, Nick Saban could leave tomorrow without breaking a written deal (which for him isn’t terribly unlikely), and there would be 92,000+ Alabama fans crying for weeks.