We're talkin' Rhabdogate (still). During the height of Rhabdogate, one of the secondary concerns (after the far more pressing issues like the health and well-being of the afflicted players and yet another disastrous public relations job by the athletic department) was the impact of the scandal on recruiting. The rhabdo story broke days before National Signing Day and at the time the damage seemed minimal: only one previously-pledged commit bolted (3* LB Mike Orloff) and multiple recruits signed on (including highly-regarded defensive tackle Darian Cooper). Of course, Iowa was in the mix for another big prize back then, one of Cooper's teammates, in fact -- massive offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who wound up going to Alabama after a tortured back-and-forth between Bama and Auburn. But did Rhabdogate play a part in steering him away from Iowa? Well, maybe:
A: At first I really, really, really wanted to go to Iowa. I even told my best friend that I was going to Iowa. But when everything went down with them with the workouts and all, that was different. I had a bad vibe when I went there. Alabama may be far from home, but Iowa—living-style wise—it’s just out there and just not me. I wouldn’t have been able to thrive in that environment. I love their coaches and I love their team, but it was really just out for me.
Frankly, he packs a lot of reasons into one answer there. "When everything went down with them with the workouts and all" -- well, that's a reference to Rhabdogate, obviously. "I had a bad vibe when I went there" -- if memory serves, he visited Iowa City the same weekend many players were beginning to come down with the initial rhabdo symptoms. On the other hand, "Iowa -- living-style wise -- it's just out there and just not me" is definitely not a reference to Rhabdogate. It's a reference to the fact that Iowa is (a) far from home, (b) cold and miserable, weather-wise (especially in the middle of January), and (c) not the most diverse locale, particularly compared to the Beltway. Did Rhabdogate play a role in convincing him to spurn Iowa? Maybe? Probably? It certainly didn't help at all, but ultimately it seems like Kouandjio didn't think Iowa was a good fit for him -- socially, culturally, or meteorologically. It happens.
College footballers gone (not so) wild. In response to their prominent placement in the CBS-SI expose on the hooliganism infesting our beloved college football, the UI released a press release responding to the issue -- and for once they actually didn't cock-up the situation even more:
All 18 charges were misdemeanors. Of these charges:
• 15 were alcohol related;
• Two were for possession of a controlled substance;
• One was for misdemeanor assault, and the student-athlete plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct.
As a raw number, devoid of any context, "18 arrests" certainly looks bad. But when all but three of them were for alcohol-related offenses (and the overwhelming majority of those were for PAULAs or public intoxication tickets) and two of the remaining charges were for possession of marijuana (OH NOES THE DEMON WEED) -- well, getting outraged seems a bit silly. 18-22 year olds drink -- including athletes. That so many of them get arrested for it in Johnson County suggests that either the athletes in Iowa City booze it up more than the athletes elsewhere (HA) or the Johnson County and UI police prioritize alcohol-related offenses more than their colleagues in other jurisdictions. You tell me which scenario is more likely.
Price wars. Earlier this week, the UI Athletic Department announced a nominal raise in the the price of football season tickets next year -- $2 a game to a total cost of $374 (up from $360 this year). Even student tickets are going up $1 a game. There was righteous indignation from some corners, but frankly it's hard to get too worked up about a price change that amounts to the cost of a pizza. Granted, the timing is a little curious -- the increase comes on the heels of a disappointing season and after a flood of negative publicity for the football program and for a home schedule that's markedly less exciting than the 2010 (or 2012, for that matter) slate (the best games are almost certainly the Michigan-Michigan State two-fer in November) -- but that's about it.
Those boots were made for walking on. We noted last month that it seemed a little odd that Iowa was only taking two walk-ons this year -- it turns out they just weren't done yet. The latest addition to the walk-on ranks is Brandon Boerm, a multi-sport star out of tiny North Tama. Boerm was a star on both sides of the ball in high school (in the 1A title game alone he had over 100 yards passing, rushing, and receiving and scored six touchdowns), but defense will be his calling at Iowa -- the coaches have been openly comparing him to Brett Greenwood, another former walk-on. Greenwood managed to turn into a four-year starter and earned all-conference consideration; if Boerm is even half that productive (and he had 79 tackles and five interceptions as a high school senior) we'll be doing pretty well.
Hail Cezar! Er, et tu, Cezar? Wait, hail Cezar! First heralded point guard prospect Cezar Guerrero was making an official visit to Iowa City this weekend. Then he wasn't. Now he is again. Caring is not only creepy - it's exhausting.
JARRYD COLE CROSSOVERZ:
* I can't bring myself to care enough to do a full NFL Combine round-up; luckily FOTP PlannedSickDays has you covered with all the stats and links you could ever need.
* Doc Saturday continues his ongoing look at 2011's most intriguing players by profiling Marcus Coker, who had quite the coming-out party in the Insight Bowl. He underrates the rest of the Iowa offense a little bit (particularly the never-mentioned Marvin McNutt), but there's no doubt that Iowa's offensive success next year will rest in large part on Coker.
* Anthony Tucker, the sort of shooter the current Iowa hoopyballer team could really use, is, sadly, up to some of his old tricks at his new home, Winona State -- he's currently suspended "indefinitely" in the wake of an arrest for disorderly conduct. We're plenty willing to excuse most alcohol-related offenses as "19-year olds will be 19-year olds" stuff, but in Tucker's case it's developing into a pattern that threatens to wreck his future. If he needs help (and he seems to), we sincerely hope he gets it.
* Rivals pegs Phil Parker as the defensive backs coach on their college coaching dream team; after the work he's done in recent years with Bradley Fletcher, Amari Spievey, Shaun Prater, Brett Greenwood, Tyler Sash, and Micah Hyde (to say nothing of guys like Bob Sanders, Sean Considine, Antwan Allen, and Jovon Johnson if you go back a few years), we're hard-pressed to disagree. Parker often inherits the players with the least amount of recruiting hype on the entire team -- but he rarely fails to turn them into not just productive Big Ten players, but also standout performers that get drafted by the NFL.