Talk About Waiving Your Right to a Speedy Trial. The Cedric Everson trial finally kicked off this morning in Iowa City, with jury selection beginning at about 9:00 and continuing through the day (and probably into tomorrow, depending on how many potential jurors are knocked out for cause). As you surely recall, Everson was charged with sexual assault during his freshman season as a Hawkeye cornerback. It's been over three years since the original incident, with a botched internal investigation and a multitude of delays requested mostly by his legal team delaying trial until now. His friend and former teammate Abe Satterfield, who was also charged and eventually accepted a plea deal, with testify against him. Kirk Ferentz and DJK are also listed as potential witnesses, though there are no signs whether either will actually be called to the stand.
A quick primer on how jury selection is being conducted: The court has called 70 potential jurors in this morning. Three candidates are called in for questioning at a time, and the attorneys are allowed to either strike the juror for cause (in essence, say there's something in the juror's answer that disqualifies him or her from consideration) or "pass" the juror on to the pre-strike panel. The standard for being struck for cause is apparently quite high; a juror who appeared in an Iowa basketball shirt and stated he'd followed the case on blogs (whaddup) actually made the first cut without objection, despite clearly doing everything in his power to get thrown out. Once a panel of 26 is chosen, each attorney will be allowed to strike 6 jurors without cause, presumably to create a final panel of 12 jurors and 2 alternates. Once that process is complete, the trial itself will begin. You can follow along with the proceedings on Hawk Central's excellent live blog (I mean it; they're doing great work).
80% of Success Is Just Showing Up. Northern Iowa once again hosted the NWCA National Duals this weekend. Cornell took home the honors, with Virginia Tech and Wisconsin rounding out the top three, but the most popular topic of discussion was who wasn't there: the Iowa Hawkeyes, who wrestled SIU-Edwardsville at Carver Hawkeye Arena Friday night and passed on the trip to Cedar Falls. The Hawkeyes shut out SIU to run their dual win streak to 69, and gave themselves more than a week to prepare for Sunday's dual meet at #3 Oklahoma State.
Tom Brands has said Iowa passed on the National Duals for precisely that reason: With the quick turnaround between the Midlands, National Duals, the Oklahoma State trip, and the conference season, the Hawkeyes needed some breathing room. Cornell coach Rob Koll understands Brands' decision, but would rather have faced the defending national champions:
"It is terribly disappointing," Koll said Saturday after his Big Red reached the Division I semifinals with a hard-fought, 18-15 win over Missouri. "I understand it, I just disagree. And just because I understand doesn't mean I think it is the right decision.
"I don't want to beat that up anymore. He's (Brands) got to do what he thinks is right for his team and it is my responsibility to call them out if I feel it is wrong, and I have no problem doing that.
"If I do something they don't like, they can do the same to me." Koll is disappointed on two fronts. First, he feels it is the Hawkeyes' obligation to be present at a national-caliber event just 75 miles from Iowa City....
"I would've liked to have Iowa here with our full team. They beat us every time we've wrestled them, and I think this year we have a good shot at beating them. I would've liked the shot to return the favor."
Others weren't quite so kind when discussing the Iowa snub. Scott Casber of Takedown Media:
"Obviously wrestling Southern Illinois at Edwardsville … is much more important than facing the best teams in the country. What’s the purpose? It will probably cost you more to turn on the lights at Carver-Hawkeye than you’ll make at the turnstile," Casber said. "From wrestling’s perspective, it’s a poor decision … (the national duals) will lose luster, it will lose attendance."
Iowa had paid attendance of nearly 7,000 for the SIU blowout, which only proves the point: Iowa sells tickets, especially within the state, and their decision to stay home is probably the final nail in the coffin of an event that is likely to undergo a significant change in format for next year. The six-year contract between Northern Iowa and NWCA to host is up, and the event's organizers are planning to move the event from one location to individual schools, saving the participating schools travel costs. Reduced attendance this weekend at an event that (in its best year) made Northern Iowa just $20,000 virtually guarantees that fate.
Ladies... I'm not going to lie: Saturday's Iowa-OSU women's basketball game is the first women's basketball game I've watched since last year's Big Ten Championship Game, again between the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes. This one turned out better for us, though, as the Hawks won 89-76 to push their record to 14-3 and even up their Big Ten mark. Three-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender was shut down by the Iowa zone (at least to the extent that a 6'5" three-time conference POY can be), and the OSU guards couldn't buy the outside shot needed to free her up. By the end of the game, Lavender had been reduced to a rebounder, as teammates took difficult shots while Lavender sat uncovered at the top of the key. It was an overall fantastic performance by Iowa, a win which salvages a conference campaign that might have gone off the cliff with three losses in the first four games. Iowa's back in action Thursday in East Lansing, where Sparty is 15-1 overall and undefeated through three conference games, with their only loss coming to #1 Baylor. A win there and we're off to the races.
Coveted Cedar Rapids point guard and Ashton Kutcher fanboy Marcus Paige committed to North Carolina over the weekend. Because Roy Williams has owned Iowa since Raef LaFrentz.
Nebraska, facing a move from a division with no competition to a division with Michigan and Iowa, embarks on a drive to raise $100 million to upgrade its sports facilities, including a $55 million upgrade of Memorial Stadium. Welcome to the Big Ten, Junior. Try to keep up.
Alabama commit Marvin Shinn gets in touch with his inner City Boy(z).
WELCOME TO THE HOTEL JOE PATERNO. NO VACANCY FOR DIRTY IRISH.
ESPN freelancer -- and former Harvard football captain -- Carl Ehrlich makes the case that, rather than pay players to play college sports, we pay them to go to class and graduate. An interesting look at the issue that could well leave us with a vacated national champion this season.