NCAA

Sport of football hits new low with Mixon's vile logic to release video

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Sport of football hits new low with Mixon's vile logic to release video

There’s a freshly constructed veranda overlooking hell where lawyers can decide it is in their client’s professional interest to release a video of him assaulting his girlfriend.

But this is big-time American college football, the place where shame goes to retire, and where public disgrace is a small price to pay for potential glory and ensuing riches.

There is no other profession – save perhaps politics, of course, which is an abattoir of an entirely difference class – in which Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon can have his lawyers release the tape showing him punching then-university student Amelia Molitor after an incident in an off-campus sandwich shop in which she is shown shoving him and he subsequently knocks her to the floor with a punch to the face.

The reasoning for releasing the tape, however, is more Kafka-esque than logic would suggest. His lawyers made it public so that the public furor surrounding the visual evidence of the crime would dissipate by the time of the NFL draft.

We will now give you time to collect your mandible and reattach it to the lower half of your face. And then you may return to the abyss to seek your reflection in the brackish water below.

In a week in which a bitter radio analyst spread game plan information to as many as four opponents of the team for whom he worked . . . in a week in which the offensive coordinator of one of the beneficiaries (Louisville) has been suspended for accepting that information . . . in a week in which the Minnesota football team is about to refuse to go to the Holiday Bowl to protest the suspensions of 10 of their teammates for their alleged roles in a gang rape . . . in this week of darkest absurdity, Joe Mixon sees releasing a tape showing him knocking a woman out as a tactically beneficial decision.

Mixon claimed at the time he was spat upon and provoked racially, but pleaded guilty without an admission of guilt and received a deferred sentence of one year and 100 hours community service as well as counseling. He has also formally apologized to Molitor, who has filed a civil suit against Mixon.

As for the university, it suspended him for a year (2015), but coach Bob Stoops restored him to the team this past season, saying at the time, “In our situation, we felt this (the suspension) was the right way to proceed. In the end, we felt that he's been disciplined. He was removed totally from all team activities from that point on. And he's earned a way to be back to have an opportunity for a second chance to redeem himself with strict guidelines that go with it.”

In sum, he is eligible to play in the Sugar Bowl against Auburn January 2., with the story he wants to go away being brought back to the forefront at his insistence.

I’m not sure how much more opportunistic cynicism you can coat this with, but it will take a team of woodworkers to sand this back down to the grain.

You have the persistent minimization of the violent act itself. You have Oklahoma’s storied ability to look the other way to one extent or the other when star players are involved in legal problems. You have Mixon waiting nearly two years to issue a formal apology as what seems a carefully planned reconstruction of his image.

But the fact that he released the video is a brain-melter, in that the idea that the criminal act is also his vehicle for career rehabilitation, and that in the world of football where nothing matters but the football, his method has a certain vile logic to it.

It reminds us yet again, as though we needed it, that in too many places, football trumps everything else, and anyone who thinks that their team’s school stands for the highest level of character, morality and dignity will have to provide written evidence of same, and show their work. This is a new low, and too many people – not just at Oklahoma, but throughout the sport’s diaspora – are very comfortable with it.

But it’s the new deal for people in the industry and those who pay attention to them. As guilty pleasures go, the Joe Mixon story tilts the needle a bit closer to guilty and a bit further from pleasure.

But bowl season starts tomorrow, and those who need to forget what the game is capable of standing for will do so happily. It’s what the game demands, and the game gets what it demands.

In this case, a panoramic view of hell.

NCAA Tournament schedule 2019: Bracket, dates, times for 68-team field

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NCAA Tournament schedule 2019: Bracket, dates, times for 68-team field

The 2019 NCAA Tournament field was announced Sunday, with Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga earning the four No. 1 seeds.

The tournament will have a definite Northern California flavor, as Mississippi State, Liberty, Virginia Tech, Saint Louis, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas State and UC Irvine all will play their first-round games in San Jose. Additionally, the West Coast Conference champion Saint Mary's Gaels earned a No. 11 seed, and will face No. 6 Villanova in Hartford, Conn.

Below are the matchups, game days and scheduled start times for each first-round game. Let the bracket-filling commence!

EAST REGION
At Columbia, S.C.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 NC Central/North Dakota State -- Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
No. 8 VCU vs. No. 9 UCF -- Friday, March 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT

At San Jose, Calif.
No. 5 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Liberty -- Friday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Saint Louis -- Friday, March 22 at 9:55 p.m. ET/6:55 p.m. PT

At Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Belmont/Temple -- Thursday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale -- Thursday, March 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

At Des Moines, Iowa
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Minnesota -- Thursday, March 21 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley -- Thursday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT

SOUTH REGION
At Columbia, S.C.

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Gardner-Webb -- Friday, March 22 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT
No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 9 Oklahoma -- Friday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

At San Jose, Calif.
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Oregon -- Friday, March 22 at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 UC Irvine -- Friday, March 22 at 1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT

At Hartford, Conn.
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 Saint Mary's -- Thursday, March 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Old Dominion -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT

At Columbus, Ohio
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Iowa -- Friday, March 22 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate -- Friday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT

MIDWEST REGION
At Columbus, Ohio
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Iona -- Friday, March 22 at 9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT
No. 8 Utah State vs. No. 9 Washington -- Friday, March 22 at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT

At Salt Lake City, Utah
No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State -- Thursday, March 21 at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern -- Thursday, March 21 at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. ET

At Tulsa, Okla.
No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Ohio State -- Friday, March 22 at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT
No. 3 Houston vs. No. 14 Georgia State -- Friday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT

At Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 7 Wofford vs. No. 10 Seton Hall -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Abilene Christian -- Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

WEST REGION
At Salt Lake City, Utah
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M -- Thursday, March 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 Baylor -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:55 p.m. ET/6:55 p.m. PT

At Hartford, Conn.
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Murray State -- Thursday, March 21 at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont -- Thursday, March 21 at 1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT

At Tulsa, Okla.
No. 6 Buffalo vs. No. 11 Arizona State/St. John's -- Friday, March 22 at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. PT
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Northern Kentucky -- Friday, March 22 at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT

At Des Moines, Iowa
No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 10 Florida -- Thursday, March 21 at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Montana -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

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Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

SANTA CLARA -- Quinnen Williams proved Monday night that he can talk a big game, even if he doesn’t play one.

The Alabama defensive tackle, whom many project to be a top-five pick if he leaves school for the 2019 NFL draft, didn’t exactly show out in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. The redshirt sophomore finished with just four total tackles (three solo, one assist) and 1.5 for loss.

Williams went relatively unnoticed in Clemson’s 44-16 rout, except for this first-quarter stop that showcased his power.

Williams, who entered the game tied for second on the Crimson Tide with eight sacks this season, didn’t register any noticeable pass rush -- to be fair, no one on Alabama did -- as the Tigers handily won the title.

Still, Williams wasn’t that impressed by what he saw from the now-national champions.

“They really didn’t do anything that caught us off guard,” Williams said. “We knew everything that was coming. They ran zone. They ran go routes, 50-50 balls.

“[Clemson QB] Trevor Lawrence threw the ball, and it looked like he put it on the money. He didn’t drop dimes, none of that. He threw it up, and the receivers made plays. All the respect to the receivers.”

While Williams later called Lawrence “good,” his comments were reminiscent of his pre-Orange Bowl words on Kyler Murray, when he smartly stopped himself from criticizing Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Williams showed no such restraint this time, and while you could chalk it up to the hurt of losing a national title game, NFL teams surely will ask him in pre-draft interviews about how he'll handle such situations.

As for his NFL draft status, Williams didn’t want to say much, claiming he really hadn’t thought about the possibility of turning pro after the season.

“I don’t know yet, man,” he said. “I got to go home, watch this film first, get with my teammates and let them know, man, everything.”

New Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, whose team has been linked to Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in numerous mock drafts, saw the defensive tackle in person Monday. Whether he liked what he saw or heard remains to be seen over the next three months.