Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hoovergate Released

Here's a quick take on the contents of the just-released internal report on Hoovergate:

1. It confirms that Alabama assistant coach Kevin Steele called Terrie Borie directly regarding STUDENT #1's (based on press reports, most probably Alabama freshman Josh Chapman) grades. An excuse was given (I assume by Borie) that Steele "couldn't reach" the normal people in the Hoover administration regarding transcripts. I scoff at this. Borie got the call because she's an Alabama alum and well-known as a booster.

2. It puts off the Chapman incident as innocent human error. I think that's a stretch, but the Chapman thing was (minus the direct influence from the UAT coaching staff) a sideshow all along.

3. I'll quote from the conclusion, regarding STUDENT #2 (based on press reports, most probably Alabama signee Kerry Murphy):
Most of the other incidents relate to the grades of STUDENT #2, a star football player classified as a Special Education student needing special support outlined in an approved Individualized Education Program. During his years at HHS, Assistant Principal Carol Martin and Counselor Terrie Borie became so engrossed in trying to shepherd STUDENT #2 through the academic challenges that, by his senior year, they had in essence lost their objectivity and self-restraint. Though well-intentioned, their constant and unrelenting requests to teachers to allow make-ups, extended deadlines, retake exams, etc. -- frequently beyond any accommodations justified by his IEP -- became a signal that the teachers had a responsibility to see that STUDENT #2 got the grades he needed. This implicit pressure was particularly significant for a non-tenured teacher wanting to return the following year.

I don't know anything about Carol Martin, but it's a fact that Terrie Borie is an Alabama booster. Kerry Murphy had been considered a "lock" for Alabama for years if my memory is correct (actual recruitniks, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), which brings into question just why Borie in particular was so adamant about getting him through high school.

This report is not, as some expected, a "whitewash," nor is it as others expected, a "smoking gun." The investigators were remarkably incurious regarding the connections between Borie and the Alabama football program. That said, the report is a pretty damning indictment of Murphy as a student, and of Martin and Borie's efforts to get him graduated and eligible for college football. There's more than enough evidence here to merit an NCAA investigation into booster and assistant coach misconduct, but as anybody who's seen this stuff in the past will tell you, there's no way of knowing whether one will actually take place.

For those interested, there's quite a bit more in the report regarding the personal, professional and financial antics of Hoover coach Rush Propst. Speaking for myself, I wasn't all that interested, but your mileage may vary.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting tidbit regarding Murphy, from a footnote on page 37 of the report:
It is also worth noting that STUDENT #2's satisfactory HHS GPA is largely attributable to the fact that each semester he received an A in Borie's academic support class and an A in weight lifting.
Worth noting, indeed.


TideDruid said...

Murphy (though still considered a verbal to UA at the time) ended up as a toss up between Bama and Miami.

Joe Blow said...

I'm wondering if it's common practice for an assistant coach at a major college to have the cell phone number of a high school guidance counselor. Surely that violates some NCAA rule.