One clear benefit, development from Wakeyleaks


One clear benefit, development from Wakeyleaks

There is a real and lasting benefit from Wakeyleaks, the now-three-day-old scandal surrounding the now-former Wake Forest radio analyst who provided his team’s plays to other teams, most notably Louisville.

And that benefit is this: There will be more people hired to take care of evidence disposal, a jobs program for coaches who can't muster the time or energy to say, "We're not using their plays."

At the smallest operations -- youth teams, middle- and high school operations, football coaches will learn to be tidier, making the jobs of stadium cleanup crew members just a little bit easier. And higher up the food chain, a whole army of new football staffers to re-remind everyone that universities serve the football program, and not the other way around.

Refusing illicitly gained information because it isn’t sporting behavior? Don’t be a weenie.

True, this isn’t the debate going on among the nation’s chattering classes. They want to focus on honor and ethics and morality and dignity and effective punishment. They want to know who should get fired over this – other than the radio analyst, who already has been.

That is all nonsense, and clickbait disguised as trumped-up naivete. Big-money (and even a lot of small-money) football is among the last pursuits anyone should go to in search of any of that old-school virtue-mongering.

But for those few of you who might have ever had postgame access to a coaches booth know that they leave it like an upper-classman’s dorm room. Papers, cups, food wrappers, food – frankly, the place looks like a garbage truck threw up inside it.

Hey, calling a punt direction or a running play on second-and-two is very stressful work, and slovenliness is just part of the price we must pay.

But no more. Wakeygate, which blew up because a Louisville coach left the Wake Forest plays he’d received behind, where they were found by a Wake employee and turned over to administrators to start the process that brings us to this point.

Which is, missing the point.

Coaches are not going to turn down free information or any other kind of perceived competitive edge, no matter where it came from – Wikileaks, Facebook fake news, Vladimir Putin himself, it doesn’t matter. Football doesn’t pay off on ethics. It pays off only on wins, and anything that makes that pursuit even microscopically more difficult is to be ignored and actively shunned.

Why? Because every lesson football provides is about getting over on the other guy by any means necessary, and even when it isn’t necessary. The moral needle at any big time football program goes from “what we need” to “what we want,” and usually that doesn’t mean any needle movement at all.

After all, nobody gets a new contract for “respecting the game,” or “honoring the sport.” Guys get contracts for winning, and if that means making the other team do their Friday walkthrough in a gravel pit next to a paint factory fire, hey that’s just good old-fashioned gamesmanship. If it means stealing the other team’s playbook, and then stealing the playbook every team does after the first one is stolen, well, that’s the price of doing business, and stop being a whiny baby about it.

Oh, and that means fans and media, too. You want honor and moral imperatives and decency and life lessons for your kids, look away now. Football is a charnel house, period, and if you insist otherwise, we’re going to have to take time out of our, and your, busy days seeking you out and slapping some sense into you.

No, the development that happens as a result of Wakeyleaks is that every program will either assign a cleanup coach or (at, say, Alabama) create the job as an entry-level position for future coaches. They stuff everything into bags, and that means everything, for future sorting, and then spraying down the booth to remove all other evidence that they were ever there.

This, of course, will induce teams to then hire their own CSI teams to seek out the evidence that even the most devoted tidy coach cannot collect and still catch the charter home, and suddenly you’ll get Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh demanding new contracts with an extra million to pay the cleanup coaches and the evidence collectors and the molecular scientists seeking out that elusive ink smear that can change the course of a season.

And we haven’t even gotten into the increased security costs for any outsider allowed into a practice or meeting: “Yes, I know you’re the president of the university, but if you want to see how we coach special teams, we’re going to have to insist you remove all your clothing and be subjected to a subcutaneous search for listening or photographic devices. Hey, you think Iowa State’s not doing the same thing? Do you want us to be competitive? What exactly do you stand for, Doctor Brainbox?”

And that’s where this will end. Volunteer tidy freaks, cleanup coaches, hazmat crews, bands of security thugs . . . hiding the evidence is now the next competitive edge in the sport, now that everyone has Star Trek weight rooms and cafeterias and meeting salons.

And doing the right thing? Well, it’s the 21st century, Scooter, and the overarching lesson of the 21st century is, “Live like a sap, die like a sap.”

WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault


WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault

BERKELEY — Former California women’s basketball player and current WNBA All-Star guard Layshia Clarendon has filed a lawsuit against Cal claiming she was sexually assaulted by a longtime member of the athletic department.

The school acknowledged the lawsuit Wednesday night and said the staff member, Mohamed Muqtar, had recently been placed on paid leave. The assistant director of student services, Muqtar has been working for the university for just more than 25 years, the school said. An e-mail to Muqtar’s Cal email account was not immediately returned.

Cal said in a statement “the University is aware of the complaint, but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations.”

Clarendon, who plays for the Atlanta Dream and was at Cal from 2009-13, posted on Twitter her thoughts about the lawsuit.

She said in three separate tweets:

— “Regarding the news today: I want the shame to not be my own anymore, because it’s not my shame to carry, but it’s something that I’ve had to carry. It’s a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt.”

— “My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else. That no one else has to suffer under his hand, or him violating their bodies again. That this would be the end of him assaulting people. #TimesUp.”

— “It feels there is a big level of responsibility there for me, to make sure this doesn’t continue. And he doesn’t continue to harm other people.”

Cal explained in its statement that this case goes beyond the athletic department for investigation.

The statement reads: “Our department policy states that once anyone in Cal Athletics is made aware of any instance or allegation of a violation of University policy involving a coach, staff member or student-athlete, those matters are referred to the appropriate departments on campus responsible for investigating them. Athletics does not have its own specific conduct process nor does it investigate allegations or cases on its own, but follows the University’s policy and works in concert with campus professionals who are responsible for those areas. All university staff are also required to complete sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training, and those programs have increased in recent years. Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or troubled to contact the PATH to Care Center and other campus resources.

“Layshia holds a special place in our history for her contributions to Cal women’s basketball both on and off the court and we are saddened to hear of the allegations that are coming to light today.”

Alabama wins national title on epic walk-off touchdown in OT


Alabama wins national title on epic walk-off touchdown in OT


ATLANTA -- To add another championship to the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen, Alabama turned to its quarterback of the future, and Tua Tagovailoa proved that his time is now.

The freshman quarterback, who had played mostly mop-up duty this season, came off the bench to spark a comeback and threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith that gave No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia on Monday night for the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

"He just stepped in and did his thing," Hurts said. "He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him." The Tide might have a quarterback controversy ahead of it but first Alabama will celebrate another national title.

For the third straight season, Alabama played in a classic CFP final. The Tide split two with Clemson, losing last season on touchdown with a second left.

What was Saban thinking as the winning pass soared this time?

"I could not believe it," he said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Smith streaked into the end zone and moments later confetti rained and even Saban seemed almost giddy after watching maybe the most improbably victory of his unmatched career.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation , Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, and hit him in stride for the national championship.

Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments. He threw an interception when he tried to pass on a running play and all his receivers were blocking. He also darted away from the pass rushers and made some impeccable throws, showing the poise of a veteran. Facing fourth-and-goal from 7, down seven, the left-hander moved to his left and zipped a pass through traffic that hit Calvin Ridley in the numbers for the tying score with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.

He finished 14 for 24 for 166 yards. The winning play was, basically, four receivers going deep.

"After the sack, we just got up and took it to the next play," Tagovailoa said. "I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open." Freshmen were everywhere for the Alabama offense: Najee Harris at running back, Henry Ruggs III at receiver, Alex Leatherwood at left tackle after All-American Jonah Williams was hurt. It's a testament to the relentless machine Saban has built.

But this game will be remembered most for his decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This was nothing like the others.

With President Trump in attendance, the all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and the five-star recruit from Hawaii entered. The president watched the second half from Air Force One.

"I don't know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama," Tagovailoa said. "Thank God he found me and we're here right now."

The Tide trailed 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

Fromm threw for 232 yards for a while it looked as if he was going to be the freshman star for the game, the first to true freshman to lead his team to a national title season since Jamelle Holieway for Oklahoma in 1985.

"I mean, if you want to find out about Jake Fromm, go ask those guys on the other side of the ball, and they'll tell you because that's a really good defense he just went against," Smart said.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. Two years ago, Georgia brought in Saban's top lieutenant, Kirby Smart, to coach the Bulldogs and bring to his alma mater a dose of Alabama's Process.

Smart, who spent 11 seasons with Saban - eight as his defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa - quickly built `Bama East. It was Georgia that won the SEC this season. Alabama had to slip into the playoff without even winning its own division.

With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama and now Saban is 12-0 against his former assistants.

But not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble - second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.