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Da'Bulls

USF Coach Slams Remarks On Academic Standards

By Brett McMurphy of The Tampa Tribune

Published: October 2, 2007

TAMPA – University of South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt vehemently disagreed with a quote from Alabama coach Nick Saban that claims USF's quick success is because the Bulls have lesser academic standards than other programs.

"It's not right [what Saban said], we've done what we've done because we've worked extremely hard," Leavitt said to reporters after today's weekly news conference.

In today's Birmingham News, Saban was quoted saying:

"The distribution of players is not the same for everybody. There's a significant amount of players who don't qualify [at some schools] and they end up being pretty good players at some other schools. I think there are six guys starting on South Florida's defense who probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them. And if you do a good job of recruiting that way ..."

Leavitt disputed Saban's statement.

"Of 110 players, we have two nonqualifiers, one starts, one doesn't," Leavitt said. "The Big East doesn't allow nonqualifiers. For a guy to make a mistake like that is not right.

"I'm not down on [saban]. Whoever gave him that information needs to correct it. Certainly this person [birmingham News reporter Ray Melick], what right does he have to write an article without verifying all the facts. This is why I get disturbed sometimes, because now this article goes out."It's an absolute wrong to do that."

USF senior Mike Jenkins disagreed with Saban's statement, even noting Saban offered Jenkins a full scholarship to LSU when Jenkins was a senior at Bradenton Southeast High School.

Ironically, USF freshman running backs Jamar Taylor and Mike Ford both initially signed with Alabama. Taylor enrolled at Alabama in January and was the Tide's leading rusher in the spring game, but transferred to USF over the summer to be closer to his family.

Ford signed with Alabama out of Sarasota High School but did not qualify. He went to a junior college and prep school before coming to USF in January.

As far as Saturday's game at Florida Atlantic (3-2) – the Bulls' first since moving up to No. 6 in the AP rankings – Leavitt said the Bulls (4-0) must play their best.

"Florida Atlantic, I have a great respect for Coach [Howard] Schnellenberger," Leavitt said. "He's one of the greatest coaches in NCAA football. They have an awfully talented football team. It's a very difficult challenge."

While the Bulls take a two-week break from Big East play, Leavitt said despite USF's win against West Virginia in Friday's Big East opener, the race is still wide open.

"The Big East is wide open," Leavitt said. "Anyone can win it. I don't say that because it sounds good, it's because it's true."

Reporter Brett McMurphy can be reached at (813) 259-7928 or bmcmurphy@tampatrib.com

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It's going to look like I'm taking up for Saban, but he is right. Mike Ford tried again to enroll at Alabama after being cleared by the NCAA but was denied by the UA admissions.

Same thing with Peanut Whitehead at Louisville. Although he was cleared to play college football by the NCAA, he did not meet the requirements of the schools in the SEC, so he went Big East.

Also, and I'm not sure about this one, but isn't this what Steve Spurrier snapped about before the season started? Two of his kids were cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse but was denied by USC admissions?

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Good post Argo. The over-all subject being discussed might be totally valid, correct, and have effected multiple well known institutions.

However, was it really Saban's place to make that type of statement like that about USF? He obviously didn't know all the facts, true? I think that Saban and Alabama have their own issues to press through. I mean, let alone the reporter that printed it without checking the over-all facts?

Kind of makes them both look silly in my opinion.

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http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/news?slug=dw...o&type=lgns

Here is an older article about the Big 10 commissioner complaining about the same thing.

As for Saban, he would have been better off not mentioning a specific school. No need to slam USF. They are doing things "legal" regardless of how everyone else feels about it.

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http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/news?slug=dw...o&type=lgns

Here is an older article about the Big 10 commissioner complaining about the same thing.

As for Saban, he would have been better off not mentioning a specific school. No need to slam USF. They are doing things "legal" regardless of how everyone else feels about it.

Here's the problem I have with Bama fans. Time after time I've heard, "Well, Saban shouldn't do that, but ..." They'll admit that he shouldn't have made indiscretion after indiscretion, yet defend his dignity.

What the heck?

The guy's a bona fide tool. Period. He has a messiah complex bigger'n Tommy Tuberville's new house.

The "image" vs. "identity" faceoff with the reporter Saturday is another example.

If there's a larger a-hole in collegiate sports, I'd like to know who it is.

Anyone?

InDNo

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If there's a larger a-hole in collegiate sports, I'd like to know who it is.

Anyone?

InDNo

I don't think he's that bad.

Signed,

Bobby Knight

Okay. College football, then?

:big:

InDNo

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The comments Saban made were taken GREATLY out of context. I listened to the entire press conference and he didn't slam South Florida. He even said that the acceptance of partial qualifiers helps a lot of students out who couldn't otherwise go to college.

But if ole Jimmy boy doesn't think he's benefitted directly from the Big East and Conf USA member schools allowing partial qualifiers, he's saaaadly mistaken.

I don't think it's a big deal, because it brings parity to the game. But without partial qualifiers...schools like Louisville and USF would be doormats.

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The comments Saban made were taken GREATLY out of context. I listened to the entire press conference and he didn't slam South Florida. He even said that the acceptance of partial qualifiers helps a lot of students out who couldn't otherwise go to college.

But if ole Jimmy boy doesn't think he's benefitted directly from the Big East and Conf USA member schools allowing partial qualifiers, he's saaaadly mistaken.

I don't think it's a big deal, because it brings parity to the game. But without partial qualifiers...schools like Louisville and USF would be doormats.

If you watched the press conference, what sparked the conversation? Why was Saban asked about his opinion on partial qualifiers, and non-qualifiers? What brought the conversation to USF specifically that Saban felt compelled to offer his opinion on their particular program?

Just curious....

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Personally, I like the fact that Saban calls it how he sees it ...

" ... calls it how he sees it ..."?!?!?

How about "calls it as it best suits Nick"?

Saban's a self-centered sphincter.

He has no character, but talks it constantly. Empty words.

You're welcome to him.

And he'll eventually leave you high and dry.

Mark it.

InDNo

Edited by InDNo
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Gee, a Tampa newspaper wouldn't take a few words out of context to start some crap about Saban would they?

Trot over to Tidesports and watch the friggin PC where he was answering a specific question, was not condescending or rude in any way, and pointed out a simple friggin fact... The Big LEast takes partial qualifiers when the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big Twelve don't.

Remember Peanut Whitehead and Mike Ford? Peanut is not at Auburn because he COULDN'T get in. Mike Ford is not at Alabama because he COULDN'T get in. Think Noel Devine would be playing in any other conference? West Virginia, USF, and Louisville have tons of players that REAL conferences couldn't sign. That is PRECISELY why they can compete, and I have talked about it for three years to others.

If the Big East wants to claim it is a legit conference, it needs to step up and get its academics in line with the legit conferences.

Not liking Nick Saban doesn't make it a reason to bitch and moan about him replying to a question. He wasn't whining, he was giving his answer to some pencilneck about why he believed the USF's and Rutgers of the world were doing so well other than recruiting numbers. I guess he should have just said "no comment".

Edited by Bama Possum
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I think the retaliatory response from Leavitt, comes from hearing another head coach questioning another conference's kids by questioning their ability to qualify for more prominent schools. You can say Saban didn't say that, but I beg to differ. By pointing out USF specifically, he mentions the team, and thus the kids themselves. He generalized their education in a statement that really wasn't fair, and Leavitt called him on it.

I think where Saban errors in even responding to this question, is regardless of what school it is, you don't tear down a kid for getting into school. These kids got into college, and play football. A few points on a test doesn't down-grade talent, or character. Big East kids get an education, just like Bama, Auburn, Florida, or Vandy students. They can beat us on the field of play too.

It would have probably been in his best interest to either: A. Give a really vague politically correct answer. B. Pointed out the situation in general terms., or C. Gave one of those really cool slick Nick answers to chill the mood in that press conference.

...JMO...

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It was rather stupid for Saban to answer that question in such a specific fashion. There's no need to throw USF under the bus. But if the Big East allows partial qualifiers and other BCS conferences don't, that's a problem and should be rectified.

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http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/news?slug=dw...o&type=lgns

Here is an older article about the Big 10 commissioner complaining about the same thing.

As for Saban, he would have been better off not mentioning a specific school. No need to slam USF. They are doing things "legal" regardless of how everyone else feels about it.

Here's the problem I have with Bama fans. Time after time I've heard, "Well, Saban shouldn't do that, but ..." They'll admit that he shouldn't have made indiscretion after indiscretion, yet defend his dignity.

What the heck?

The guy's a bona fide tool. Period. He has a messiah complex bigger'n Tommy Tuberville's new house.

The "image" vs. "identity" faceoff with the reporter Saturday is another example.

If there's a larger a-hole in collegiate sports, I'd like to know who it is.

Anyone?

InDNo

Are you saying that I defended his dignity? All I stated were the facts about the Big East having lower standards than the SEC.

Edited by Argo
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The comments Saban made were taken GREATLY out of context. I listened to the entire press conference and he didn't slam South Florida. He even said that the acceptance of partial qualifiers helps a lot of students out who couldn't otherwise go to college.

But if ole Jimmy boy doesn't think he's benefitted directly from the Big East and Conf USA member schools allowing partial qualifiers, he's saaaadly mistaken.

I don't think it's a big deal, because it brings parity to the game. But without partial qualifiers...schools like Louisville and USF would be doormats.

If you watched the press conference, what sparked the conversation? Why was Saban asked about his opinion on partial qualifiers, and non-qualifiers? What brought the conversation to USF specifically that Saban felt compelled to offer his opinion on their particular program?

Just curious....

CNS was asked about why he thinks these smaller unknown teams are all of a sudden bursting on to the scene basically. and he was saying that these teams aren't a joke for talent, that they are getting guys that would be going to UF and other big schools, except they could not qualify. however, since these smaller schools have less stringent standards, they qualify there. it wasn't a slam at all. i was reading the article in the MPR this evening of CNS talking about it, not the article above. he didn't just bring it up out of the blue, he was specifically asked about it. and i don't see where he was wrong. its true. USF has some talent, and i don't think anybody here will argue that. CNS did not say they were doing anything wrong, and he wasn't calling shenanigans. he was specifically asked about it.

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http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/news?slug=dw...o&type=lgns

Here is an older article about the Big 10 commissioner complaining about the same thing.

As for Saban, he would have been better off not mentioning a specific school. No need to slam USF. They are doing things "legal" regardless of how everyone else feels about it.

Here's the problem I have with Bama fans. Time after time I've heard, "Well, Saban shouldn't do that, but ..." They'll admit that he shouldn't have made indiscretion after indiscretion, yet defend his dignity.

What the heck?

The guy's a bona fide tool. Period. He has a messiah complex bigger'n Tommy Tuberville's new house.

The "image" vs. "identity" faceoff with the reporter Saturday is another example.

If there's a larger a-hole in collegiate sports, I'd like to know who it is.

Anyone?

InDNo

Are you saying that I defended his dignity? All I stated were the facts about the Big East having lower standards than the SEC.

If your post wasn't a defense of his dignity, mea culpa.

However, I agree with others, his even going there was not only unfortunate, but, again, self-serving. By saying what he did about South Florida, the Nickster was, in essense, saying, "I could be undefeated if I was at South Florida," which is, at the very least, unprovable.

No. What I meant to point out was that, at every turn, many Bama fans (not necessarily you) have been able to overlook a long string of indiscretions and outright lies by "S, The Coach."

I can post them, if you'd like.

And not my words, but newspaper accounts.

And I stand by my statement that he is the largest a-hole in college football.

For him, it's all about Nick. And if you don't like it, he'll steamroll you from his bully pulpit.

InDNo

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CNS was asked about why he thinks these smaller unknown teams are all of a sudden bursting on to the scene basically. and he was saying that these teams aren't a joke for talent, that they are getting guys that would be going to UF and other big schools, except they could not qualify. however, since these smaller schools have less stringent standards, they qualify there. it wasn't a slam at all. i was reading the article in the MPR this evening of CNS talking about it, not the article above. he didn't just bring it up out of the blue, he was specifically asked about it. and i don't see where he was wrong. its true. USF has some talent, and i don't think anybody here will argue that. CNS did not say they were doing anything wrong, and he wasn't calling shenanigans. he was specifically asked about it.

No problem with your opinion. Really though, I would have expected such a well paid professional to "bob and weave" his way around that question though.

The question itself is a set up for disaster.

If it was just the "small" schools, then how do you explain teams like Kentucky? They are held to the same standards, yet a perennial dog now find themselves in the top 10.

I think Nick could have taken that question in a totally different direction. Maybe toss out a compliment to the excellent coaching, and improving facilities and exposure the schools are getting. I suppose at that point, if he felt compelled to, make a general jab about recruiting. However, taking a stab at a specific squad and calling out their "less stringent standards" isn't the way to go. Proof of this, and how it could be taken in a less than acceptable way, is in Leavitt's reaction.

It really was a poor response. Nick's much smarter than that.

Edited by AuburnChopper1
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If your post wasn't a defense of his dignity, mea culpa.

However, I agree with others, his even going there was not only unfortunate, but, again, self-serving. By saying what he did about South Florida, the Nickster was, in essense, saying, "I could be undefeated if I was at South Florida," which is, at the very least, unprovable.

No. What I meant to point out was that, at every turn, many Bama fans (not necessarily you) have been able to overlook a long string of indiscretions and outright lies by "S, The Coach."

I can post them, if you'd like.

And not my words, but newspaper accounts.

And I stand by my statement that he is the largest a-hole in college football.

For him, it's all about Nick. And if you don't like it, he'll steamroll you from his bully pulpit.

InDNo

Here are my posts on this topic...

It's going to look like I'm taking up for Saban, but he is right. Mike Ford tried again to enroll at Alabama after being cleared by the NCAA but was denied by the UA admissions.

Same thing with Peanut Whitehead at Louisville. Although he was cleared to play college football by the NCAA, he did not meet the requirements of the schools in the SEC, so he went Big East.

Also, and I'm not sure about this one, but isn't this what Steve Spurrier snapped about before the season started? Two of his kids were cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse but was denied by USC admissions?

Here is an older article about the Big 10 commissioner complaining about the same thing.

As for Saban, he would have been better off not mentioning a specific school. No need to slam USF. They are doing things "legal" regardless of how everyone else feels about it.

The only thing I said was that Saban was right about the Big East having lower standards. I backed that up with facts. This wasn't an attempt to rectify Saban's stance on USF. I was simply stating that he was right about the Big East. I also said that he shouldn't have mentioned a specific school. Exact words were "no need to slam USF"

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I think that Saban commenting on ANY coach or school's recruiting practices is a lot like OJ complaining about the Phil Specter verdict.

People in glass houses . . .

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I think that Saban commenting on ANY coach or school's recruiting practices is a lot like OJ complaining about the Phil Specter verdict.

People in glass houses . . .

You are just jealous of the masterpiece he's crafting down in T-town....

Hater!

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CNS was asked about why he thinks these smaller unknown teams are all of a sudden bursting on to the scene basically. and he was saying that these teams aren't a joke for talent, that they are getting guys that would be going to UF and other big schools, except they could not qualify. however, since these smaller schools have less stringent standards, they qualify there. it wasn't a slam at all. i was reading the article in the MPR this evening of CNS talking about it, not the article above. he didn't just bring it up out of the blue, he was specifically asked about it. and i don't see where he was wrong. its true. USF has some talent, and i don't think anybody here will argue that. CNS did not say they were doing anything wrong, and he wasn't calling shenanigans. he was specifically asked about it.

No problem with your opinion. Really though, I would have expected such a well paid professional to "bob and weave" his way around that question though.

The question itself is a set up for disaster.

If it was just the "small" schools, then how do you explain teams like Kentucky? They are held to the same standards, yet a perennial dog now find themselves in the top 10.

I think Nick could have taken that question in a totally different direction. Maybe toss out a compliment to the excellent coaching, and improving facilities and exposure the schools are getting. I suppose at that point, if he felt compelled to, make a general jab about recruiting. However, taking a stab at a specific squad and calling out their "less stringent standards" isn't the way to go. Proof of this, and how it could be taken in a less than acceptable way, is in Leavitt's reaction.

It really was a poor response. Nick's much smarter than that.

--REASONS FOR PARITY: To explain the emergence of non-traditional football powers like South Florida, Saban pointed Monday to differing academic qualification rules between conferences like the SEC and the Big East.

"The distribution of players is not the same for everyone," Saban said. "We can't take Props (partial qualifiers) in the SEC. They can't take them in the ACC. There's a significant amount of players who don't qualify, and they end up being pretty good players at some of these schools.

"I think there are six guys starting on South Florida's defense who probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them."

but what he said wasn't a lie. USF DOES have less stringent standards. and not just USF, many many many schools do. they're not cheating, and they're not doing anything wrong. nobody said it was JUST the small schools. something that strikes me as odd tho is Leavitt says "we only have 2 non qualifiers" then in the next sentence says "the Big East doesn't allow non-qualifiers." i guess next time CNS is asked about a specific team, he should just say "no comment."

P.S. does anybody notice how the original story posted at the beginning of this thread has bits and pieces cut out of the story and then fit together? i think if they were going to quote him they should at least put it exactly how it was said. but with them asking him about a school from south florida, a red flag probably should have went up that he was being baited into something.

Edited by runswithscissors
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If your post wasn't a defense of his dignity, mea culpa.

However, I agree with others, his even going there was not only unfortunate, but, again, self-serving. By saying what he did about South Florida, the Nickster was, in essense, saying, "I could be undefeated if I was at South Florida," which is, at the very least, unprovable.

No. What I meant to point out was that, at every turn, many Bama fans (not necessarily you) have been able to overlook a long string of indiscretions and outright lies by "S, The Coach."

I can post them, if you'd like.

And not my words, but newspaper accounts.

And I stand by my statement that he is the largest a-hole in college football.

For him, it's all about Nick. And if you don't like it, he'll steamroll you from his bully pulpit.

InDNo

Here are my posts on this topic...

It's going to look like I'm taking up for Saban, but he is right. Mike Ford tried again to enroll at Alabama after being cleared by the NCAA but was denied by the UA admissions.

Same thing with Peanut Whitehead at Louisville. Although he was cleared to play college football by the NCAA, he did not meet the requirements of the schools in the SEC, so he went Big East.

Also, and I'm not sure about this one, but isn't this what Steve Spurrier snapped about before the season started? Two of his kids were cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse but was denied by USC admissions?

Here is an older article about the Big 10 commissioner complaining about the same thing.

As for Saban, he would have been better off not mentioning a specific school. No need to slam USF. They are doing things "legal" regardless of how everyone else feels about it.

The only thing I said was that Saban was right about the Big East having lower standards. I backed that up with facts. This wasn't an attempt to rectify Saban's stance on USF. I was simply stating that he was right about the Big East. I also said that he shouldn't have mentioned a specific school. Exact words were "no need to slam USF"

So are you telling me it isn't all about Nick?

Are you telling me he didn't tell LSU folks he had no interest in the NFL when he took that job? I can post an article that proves you wrong.

Are you telling me he didn't tell Miami media that he would not be the coach at Alabama? I can post several articles that prove you wrong.

Are you telling me he didn't coach several years under Belichick and admit to trying to steal signals, but being unsuccessful? I've already posted an article in another thread that proves you wrong.

Are you telling me he didn't go into a far-worse-than-Gundy (subject matter-wise) rant against a reporter over "image" vs. "identity"? I can prove you wrong.

Are you telling me he was right to mention USF specifically (a team that, strangely, beat AU) when the subject of non- or partial-qualifiers came up? Can't prove you wrong, but the mention of a specific school is suspect.

He's definitely a man of his word. A rock-solid, fair individual.

Or an a-hole.

I think it's the latter.

Supersized.

InDNo

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