Well, I am in work this morning and start seeing Twitter blowing up about the recent NCAA infractions that we are being accused of. There’s essentially two parts to this:
- “Improper use of analysts and consultants during practices and games. The school has significant video footage confirming the practice violations took place in the presence of Frost and other assistants.”
- Also last year, when the NCAA prohibited organized athletic activities because of the pandemic, Nebraska relocated its strengthh workouts to an undisclosed off campus location to avoid detection by non-football school officials. The unauthorized workouts were held at the direction of NU’s strength and conditioning staff.
So let’s take a look at these one by one. The first is one that is very interesting. Many of you have heard me mention my friend at USC going through something similar. I remember being at a practice around 2015 or so and seeing a football and running to get it and hearing “what the fuck are you doing man! Get out from between the whites!” by my friend. Essentially since USC was on all sorts of NCAA radars and dealing with probation every other year, there literally could be no one except players, full-time coaches, and student managers on the field. He followed it up with “sorry, we are probably the only team in America that follows that rule but we got binoculars on us all the time.”
This goes back to what I had been stating on the other site before I got kicked off. If you hire an analyst as the only person responsible for your special teams, he either can’t help you in practice and games, or you have to break NCAA rules to do so. So I get every team probably bends those rules, but we literally put in public that we had no one to coach special teams. Read that bold again… we put ourselves in this spot not having a full-time staffer with skin in the game.
With that said, that infraction probably holds zero weight. I don’t worry about that at all. We can just say we fired the culprit and Chief of Staff and have moved on. Until the next part where it says that Frost and other coaches were there and witnessing it going on. That’s where it gets sticky. If that is in fact true, and there’s video of our HC and other assistants watching our analyst who isn’t supposed to be doing something actually doing something, I could see a suspension coming. Probably one game, but our first game is Illinois. Hopefully the punishment isn’t levied until Fordham! It’s one thing to have the analyst working on the side with the kickers or holding off campus things, it’s quite another for you to be watching it happen and be ok with it. Further, does “significant video evidence” mean more than one practice where this happens? Again, if it’s an “oops” a time or two, who cares? If we started doing this every Tuesday and Wednesday it’s quite another.
When it comes to the second part about strength workouts off site. I had posted on the other site that we were doing things like having our guys run the hill at Holmes lake and other things of that nature. Let’s be real, during a pandemic where you saw tweets of guys getting creative to lift by squatting water jugs and such, that shouldn’t be looked at at all. That’s idiotic if that’s the issue. Now, what could cause us problems (like the above where Frost knew), is if our staff truly did take weights and other things to another location in an effort to hide what they were doing from administration and people who could let the NCAA know. That could lead to a suspension in my opinion as well. If you are knowingly going against NCAA rules and facilitating that to get a competitive advantage, that could mean suspension for some of our S/C staff.
I don’t believe any of the things are going to get anyone fired. So let’s try not to overreact too much with this. But what I take issue with, and especially for #2, is if all the other teams sent guys home (like Iowa and Northwestern publicly stated they did) and we were setting up strength circuits for our guys and doing training tables for them during the pandemic, yet still only winning 3 games and having our worst finish in the division since being a member of the conference…. that’s tough. Because we had our S/C and training table advantage, other places didn’t. Heck, you even heard Frost talk about them needing guys back because some didn’t even have a weight room to workout in. I know anyone who knows me is aware i’m not a fan of what we do in the weight room, but for how much I hear about how great our S/C program is, in a year where we took advantage of it and other teams had their guys working out at Anytime Fitness in a strip mall without a training table, and we ended up 3-5… Jesus. Can we just prove it for once instead of everyone telling me “well we look the part now!”
It will be interesting to see what us at Nebraska recommend to the NCAA as punishment. I’m hoping us firing Rutledge and Lambrecht, as well as possibly suspending a couple of assistant S/C guys for a few games will suffice. To summarize, using an analyst in practice or moving workouts to Holmes isn’t a big deal. Our staff watching the practices and trying to sneak the off-site stuff is the issue. No one knows what truthfully happened, so it will be interesting (frustrating?) to watch what unfolds.