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Return of the Son of Tuesday Tidbits

August 16, 2011

In the Detroit Free Press coverage of last week’s NCAA Notice of Inquiry, we get a reminder of what this might be about, if it does turn out to be more than simply procedural.

EMU’s report to the NCAA also said “evidence suggests but does not confirm” that players had been directed by the coaching staff to lie about the number of hours they were required to practice and the voluntary nature of workouts.

It’s possible that the NCAA wants to take a closer look at this aspect of the case. Since the NCAA lacks legal authority (e.g. to issue a subpoena), they are highly dependent on the cooperation of member schools and their coaches, and take an understandably dim view of coaches lying or instructing students to lie.

The Fort Wayne New-Sentinel has a profile of EMU defensive end Javon Reese. The article has some nice quotes from Ron English, who noted that in addition to being the team’s “best pass rushing end”, Reese was an honorable mention Academic All-MAC selection in 2009 and 2010. The more interesting bits of the article, however, are quotes from English that have nothing to do with Reese:

One thing we sell is that we can get a player graduated in 3 1/2 years. That will give them a year to year-and-a-half of graduate school. I expect them to graduate with an undergraduate degree, but we really sell that we can get them some graduate-school courses…Recruits are surprised and shocked by how nice the campus is and the level of our facilities. And what we do is add a personal touch, where every recruit that comes onto campus gets to meet with the president and athletic director. It’s first class when recruits come onto our campus.

That seems to sum up the current talking points for EMU football, since it lines up with yesterday’s fluff press release entitled “Alex Gillett Stays Focused On the Field, In The Classroom”, which, after casually mentioning that Gillett is a biology major (implied subtext: no one “majoring in eligibility” here!) and his solid 3.6 GPA (implied subtext: no APR issues here — which is true; EMU football’s APR, after being dangerously low in 2004-05 and 2005-06, has risen significantly, and the current 4-year average is comfortably above the recently raised requirement), gives us the following quote:

I felt very comfortable right away at Eastern. It’s a big college with a small-college feel. You can walk across campus in five to ten minutes, and I always run into a classmate or friend along the way. The university also treats you like an individual, not a number. All my professors know my name. That’s not always the case at larger universities.

Got all that? A “small-college feel”, where every recruit meets the president and athletic director, and every professor knows your name, where you can play football, graduate in 3 1/2 years, and then do a year-and-a-half of graduate school. Pleasantville, anyone?

Returning to real news, former EMU rower and graduate assistant rowing coach Stacey Van Order has been named a part-time assistant coach for the University of Delaware Blue Hens rowing team. Speaking of real degrees, Van Order graduated from EMU with a degree in urban and regional planning and a minor in geography in 2008, then followed it up with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning (also from EMU) this May.

Finally, MAC Champion runner Terefe Ejigu has written several recent blog posts for Blog Eastern, which appears to me to be tied to EMU marketing or some other official function, though that’s just a guess. In any event, in the past few weeks, Ejigu has written about his experience as an international student at EMU, about music, and about the great tradition that is EMU men’s track & field and cross country.

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