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Nitt Picks Is Arbitrarily Enforcing The Rules

It went that well everywhere else? So spring ball is over and that means LISTS LISTS LISTS until August. SI compiled the top five winners and losers of early 2009 nationally and count me as being someone who didn't realize things went so poorly in SC:

[Biggest Spring Loser] 4. Navorro Bowman, Penn State, LB. Expected to be one of the centerpieces of a stout Nittany Lions defense, the first-team All-Big Ten performer's future is in jeopardy after he received a year of probation for admitting to smoking marijuana in the off-season, which violated a previous probation. Joe Paterno suspended the redshirt junior for the spring game, saying he'd speak to Bowman about his future. Bowman, who failed two random, team-administered drug tests, will probably be suspended through the summer. There's precedent --JoePa did suspend Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma for three games last year after they were charged with marijuana possession.

There's precedent in that other college kids have been caught smoking weed before, but I don't know if it's fair to compare Evans and Koroma being interrupted by the cops, apparently not really owning up to what they did wrong, and Bowman, who's had a tough personal year and been totally upfront with the coaches about everything.

Now I'm not here to say you can do what you want as long as you admit to it, or that this even needs debating again, but Paterno has always made it clear he looks at every situation separately and this is one of those times when I think the policy is a good one.

And while we're over at SI:

[Biggest Spring Loser] 5. Coaches who Tweet. Everyone, including college football's resident king of cool, Pete Carroll, is tweeting. But just because some coaches are showing how hip they are by opening a Twitter account doesn't mean every coach should be living life 140 characters at a time.

I've been meaning to say something for a while now and this is as good a time as any: I love JayTweet.

Too often companies (and coaches) take a stab at being hip by simply doing these things. Note to these companies (and coaches): doing things poorly, no matter how trendy the medium, makes them not worth doing at all. They aren't helping you achieve whatever it is you are striving for.

JayPa knows what he's doing, and that's why I love it. He talks about relevant things like B&W weather. He answers questions. He puts up his own photos. He aggregates Penn State media like videos and news stories. He's even broken news about game times. He adds value, and broad statements like "Coaches who Tweet are losers" achieves the opposite of that because they aren't (1) useful, or (2) true.

Wisconsin is in trouble. Except they are in trouble with the NCAA, and that means they aren't actually in trouble at all. They've been charged with visiting recruits during a "quiet period", when such trips are not allowed. The iron fist that is the NCAA is all over it:

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said infractions for recruiting calendar violations are fairly common. The NCAA limits recruiting contacts to prevent students from being inundated with requests from coaches while they are finishing high school, she said.

Osburn said minor violations such as Wisconsin's are defined as giving only a minimal recruiting advantage. She would not say what action, if any, the NCAA has taken in response to Wisconsin's report.

Now attacking this could be seen as being ticky-tacky and an attempt at trying to blow something minor out of proportion. Here's the thing, though: what is the point of the quiet period? If you can visit recruits anyway, why even have the rule? The people who write these things are paid employees, same goes for those like Ms.Osburn who are charged with enforcing them.

The NCAA is powerless in so many ways, but in this instance they are actually in absolute control. And besides, there is a contradiction of goals here: are you trying to protect the high school kid so he can take his finals, or are you worried about college coaches getting a "recruiting advantage"? Because those are different things.

My belief is that the first is far more important, and if you really want to let the kid graduate in peace say, as a rule, that any coach who goes for a visit during a quiet period loses a scholarship. Either that or just get rid of the rule and let this AP writer report about some actual news.

Penn State Is The New Steel. By an 'independent study', which may or may not be true:

Penn State contributes more to the state's economy annually than any other industry. In 2008, the University generated $8.5 billion in direct and indirect economic impact and an additional $8.7 billion through business services, research commercialization, and the activities of alumni, for a total of more than $17 billion.

Check out the link for fancy charts and graphics, but according to the site Penn State is not only the biggest economic contributor to the state, but also employs more people than any non-governmental entity (Penn State is a quasi-government entity, by the way), they contribute more to the economy than all professional sports teams combined, and out of state visitors to Penn State spent around $777 million in the Commonwealth in 2008.

The whole thing appears to be a pitch to the state congress, who continue to give less and less despite all of this. I'm not saying I fully understand the budget constraints at the PA capitol, but...

I'll stop with this now, but you get the point.

In Scores Of Other Games...David Jones is reporting the basketball team has scheduled a home-and-home with Virginia Tech.