With the NFL owners and players continuing to meet confidentially along with Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan directing traffic, it appears as if progress is slowly being made. While there are no leaks of the current agenda being discussed, both sides met again this week as part of ongoing court mediation. When you remove litigation from the equation, plug in mediation, out comes progress through negotiation. These meetings took place on Long Island.
DeMaurice Smith is in attendance, representing the players along with Kevin Mawae, Tony Richardson, Mike Vrabel, Kevin Smith, Jeff Saturday and Domonique Foxworth. For the owners, commissioner Roger Goodell was present. Bart Hubbuch (New York Post) reported that Goodell and Smith broke bread at a private dinner that lasted nearly two hours Wednesday night in a midtown restaurant. If this doesn’t make you optimistic, nothing will.
While it is unlikely the NFL will start on time, college football is experiencing earthquakes throughout the country, starting in Columbus, Ohio with Jim Tressel’s resignation sending shockwaves through the sport on Memorial Day. The aftershock hit Tuesday with the announcement from Terrelle Pryor that he will forgo his senior season. The latest earthquake was centered in Austin, Tex. Just when headlines were settling down, Cleveland Browns second-year quarterback Colt McCoy’s wife, Rachel, revealed that a lot of players at Texas are having a hard time refusing free items from individuals outside the Longhorn family.
That information is not good for coach Mack Brown and his staff. Coming off the worst season in the Brown era, Longhorn boosters and alumni (along with Bevo) are not very happy with the McCoy family, opening the doors for the NCAA to come in and start an investigation. It will be extremely interesting to see what the NCAA does to follow up on the comments from Mrs. McCoy.
In the same week that the Midwest and Southwest earthquakes struck (which may have the impact to change the landscape for years to come), the cleanup of the series of quakes surrounding the Southern California area continues. It is centered on the USC campus, where the Trojans were stripped by the BCS of their 2004 national championship. While Tressel was not lucky enough to escape Ohio State’s issues, Pete Carroll, the former USC head coach during the Reggie Bush era and the man who oversaw the return of the USC glory days, packed his bags and took the Seattle Seahawks head coaching job, dodging the long arm of the NCAA.
With the NFL Rookie Symposium canceled because of the lockout, the NFLPA will now hold their own, which will be called “The Business of Football: Rookie Edition.” This event will take place June 28-29 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The NFLPA will teach the incoming rookies about financial education and the role of the union in the life of these young professionals. Just like those that came before them, the lessons they will learn about getting acclimated to life in the National Football League will stay with these young players throughout their entire professional careers.
The NCAA is busy investigating, and there are more red flags that are being raised weekly. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeal Judges is busy combing through briefs and the final oral arguments, in order to make a ruling in a few weeks on the NFL lockout. With the start of college training camps starting within 30 days, us football junkies are guaranteed one thing.
There will be college football!