Black Shoe Diaries received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA on May 24th, 2013, regarding allegations of misconduct in its Meme Tourney. Immediately following that letter, SBNation announced the retention of Freeh, Sullivan and Sporkin to perform a full investigation. Black Shoe Diaries promised complete cooperation in the investigation, and steadfast commitment to the pursuit of the truth.
Within the last 12 hours, we've received: 1) Freeh's indictment; 2) the NCAA's judgment; and 3) the NCAA's and SBNation's punishment. We've been informed that, because of the unprecedented nature of the allegations as outlined in Freeh's report, there will be no trial. Similarly, there will not be any process for appeals.
This has all happened unusually fast. Some of you may be confused, or even unaware of the allegations, the judgment, and our punishment. To bring everyone up to speed, we present the information in a timeline of events below.
Through a spokesperson, SBNation and Freeh, Sullivan and Sporkin announce a press conference for 9am in which former Director of the FBI and Federal Prosecutor Louis Freeh will reveal the findings of his firm's investigation. The full 167-page document will be available for download at 8:30am to afford media an opportunity to review it in full, prior to the 9am press conference.
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Louis Freeh begins his press conference. No one - SBNation, BSD, nor media - has had an opportunity to review his report. Freeh discusses the executive summary of the report only, but the summation is damning:
- Freeh's firm conducted 6,347 in-person interviews, and reviewed over eleventy trillion documents, emails, and tweets, over the prior sixteen days.
- Contributor bscaff, over a period of several months, abused the Breakfast Meats meme.
- BSDers JtotheP and skarocksoi conspired to abuse and cover up the abuse of Breakfast Meats meme.
- When new contributor Chris Polak informed BSD editor Jared Slanina of the abuses of an unrecognized meme by these three conspirators, Slanina held a Skype meeting with bscaff which lasted four hours.
- There are no notes from this Skype meeting, nor did either party provide any details about what was discussed during those four hours*.
- What is clear, though, is that neither Chris nor Jared ever inquired about the identity of the meme, or its welfare.
- Jared, therefore, showed a stunning lack of empathy for the meme, and was likewise complicit in the cover up of the crimes against memes, ostensibly in order to avoid bad publicity. Polak's cool, though.
- This is all disgusting and shameful.
*Polak, Slanina, bscaff, JtotheP, and skarocksoi were not among the 6,347 interviewed.
SBNation's Jason Kirk held a brief press conference. "Our thoughts, foremost, are with Breakfast Meats. We are deeply saddened by what Director Freeh outlined in this morning's press conference. We accept all of Director Freeh's findings, whatever they might be, without review or questioning, and hold ourselves responsible for whatever he may have written in his report. Hopefully we'll get a chance to read it in the coming weeks, and hopefully the body of the document supports the damning conclusions of the summary. In the meantime, we will lay down like a drugged up, ten-cent whore, full of shame and remorse, and simply hope for the best while relying on the integrity of our peers to not abuse our unfortunate circumstance. No questions at this time, please."
The BSD Board of Trustees hold an emergency meeting. Board Chairman BSD Mike is voted out, and replaced by Chris Grovich. Following that, BSD Editor Jared Slanina asks for a vote of confidence. Instead, the Board voted unanimously to place him on administrative leave. The Board next called Bill DiFillippo to the meeting. They gave Bill a phone number on a BSD-logo'ed (the old logo) Post-It note, and had him deliver it to bscaff. When bscaff called the number, Chris Grovich spoke: "this is new Chairman of the Board Chris Grovich. Your blogging services are no longer needed, effective immediately." Then Grovich hung up, and turned up the volume on his PC, which was playing a YouTube of Wilco.
NCAA President Mark Emmert called SBNation's Jason Kirk. Following is the gist of the conversation:
"Jason? Mark Emmert here. Look, the Executive Committee and I read the full Freeh Report - "
"You were able to download it? Cause we still haven't seen it yet."
"Yes. Uh, yes...we were. And like I stated, the Executive Committee and I read the full Report, and we are appalled. I, personally, feel very bad for you. I know that you just lost Jared and bscaff from BSD, and I know that you had nothing to do with what went on here. I want to help you out of this mess the best I can. But I've got to tell you, the Executive Committee wants to shut down BSD - give them the blogger Death Penalty."
"What? Why? For how long? We haven't even read the Repor-"
"For 10 years. No BSD for 10 years. That's what they're pounding our rich mahogany table for, right now, in Indianapolis. Ed Ray is especially pissed."
"Maybe if I call Ed and - "
"NO! You can't speak to anyone on the Exec Committee. But like I said, I want to help you out, and I think I can talk them down to a package of corrective and punitive sanctions that, while difficult, will still allow BSD to continue, and emerge from this with a better culture."
"This is crazy Mark."
"I know - it's all just so tragic, isn't it? But the thing is, we've got to keep this between the two of us. If the Exec Committee finds out we're talking, they're likely to explode and crank it up to 20 years. So you can't tell anyone - I mean anyone, not the BSD Board, not SBNation, not your readers, no one - that we're talking right now. Sit tight and let me see if I can come back to you with a package of corrective and punitive sanctions, instead of the blogger Death Penalty."
"Thanks, Mark. I really appreciate your help, and can't thank you enough for sticking your neck out like this. Your empathy for all parties is admirable, and your actions are selfless. History will remember your actions as the best example of the spirit of amateur, collegiate athletics."
NCAA President Mark Emmert called Jason Kirk back.
"Jace - I got it, dude. I got them talked down."
"Uh, okay. To what?"
"You're gonna love this. So much better than blogger death, man. So. Much. Better. Okay - here it is. The Executive Committee wants the following:
- Cancel the BSD meme tourney that's going on right now, and all memes can transfer immediately without penalty;
- Delete all of bscaff's posts;
- Pay me $600 million dollars over a period of five years.
Do that, and BSD shall live. Do it not, and every college football blog you have will die here today."
"Mark - we're a blog. We don't have $600 million!"
"Right - bloggers. Call it $6, and a coupon for a half-priced pint at Zeno's?"
"The Champaign Room" Illini bloggers swing by BSD.
Jason Kirk calls BSD Editor Cari Greene.
"CG? Jason Kirk here. Look, I just got off the phone with Emmert. Dude wanted to level BSD - shut it down forever. But I got him talked down to a simple package of corrective and punitive sanctions."
"You *#*@@*!!(*##&!@$#@! If you ****!##@@**!!@@@*** I'm gonna beat your scrawny **@@@^**"
Kirk hangs up with BSD Editor Cari Greene.
And now, for the most part, you're all caught up, my fellow BSDers. So it's with regret, anger, and frustration, that I'm forced into making the following announcements:
1. The BSD Meme Tourney has been cancelled.
2. All 64 memes, plus Breakfast Meats, are allowed to transfer immediately without penalty. This transfer period will extend through 2016, and will include any new memes that are as yet unnamed. You, as BSDers, are allowed to re-recruit your own memes, but cannot have contact with them until the third week of July.
3. However, because the NCAA and SBNation do not want to unjustly penalize the handful of innocent BSDers among you, Mark Emmert will select eight memes after weighing the opinions of anonymous meme experts, and pit them against each other in a series of exhibition contests. At the conclusion of those bowl-like contests, SBNation will hold a final voting poll on its Iowa Hawkeyes site "Black Heart Gold Pants", where those fans can vote to rank the eight BSD memes. The meme which earns the most total points, as determined by a series of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place votes, will be crowned Champion. In the event of a tie, there will be co-Champions. If there are three memes that finish undefeated, then Michigan blog Maize 'n Brew will randomly pick two of the three to be co-champions.
4. To correct the culture that enabled this meme-hate to continue, Black Shoe Diaries' logo has been changed again. It will resemble the new logo everyone hates, but now must have "a red 'A' - for Attitude" done with MSPaint, per NCAA regulations.
5. Reserve BSD meme "I <3 Galen Hall!" has transferred to "The Champaign Room", where it becomes immediately eligible for use by Illini fans.
6. As noted previously, there is no appeal process. But the consent decree that Kirk signed on BSD's behalf does allow for reduction of the sanctions, if the NCAA agrees to it. So, act contrite, BSDers, and let's all hope for leniency.
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