5-at-10: Correcting accusations against UGA, ESPN’s new NFL host, Congress tackling NIL

Broadcaster Scott Van Pelt presents the Maryland 2002 national championship team to be honored during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Maryland and Ohio State, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Sign up for the daily newsletter, Jay's Plays of the Day, to get sports betting recommendations for the top games of the night and the week ahead.

Disaster for AJC

So we discussed the massive AJC investigation into the culture of the Georgia football program, specifically in regard to players or recruits going unpunished after being accused of assaulting women.

I wrote at the time that the story felt like a stretch.

It alleged at more than 10 players were accused of abuse against women and were allowed to remain in the program.

Now comes a blistering AJC correction that says two players can be confirmed to have fit a similar set of circumstances, not the 11 originally reported by Alan Judd in the now-updated AJC story.

Egad, what a nightmare for the AJC, which issued multiple statements and found two errors in Judd's reporting that warranted corrections after the UGA attorney sent a nine-page letter to the newspaper demanding a retraction.

It cost Judd, who spent close to a quarter of century at the AJC, his job, and it will cost the AJC millions, if I had to guess.

Because, even as big as the Braves have been this summer, there is nothing more popular in the Peach State right now than Kirby Smart's back-to-back national champs.


Now, regardless of popularity, if prominent — and state-funded — organizations are committing malfeasance, then the role of every newspaper is to hold the accountable.

Again, period.

But when you swing at the monstrous entities — especially the popular ones — and miss these egregiously, there will be countless Georgia citizens who will hold it against the AJC forever.

Heck, how egregious was this error? The tenor of the story does a complete 180 if the fact-checkers and the editors reviewing Judd's original story could only find two instances in Kirby's seven years at his alma mater.

Because it originally was painted as a program that turned a blind eye to a very serious problem that is an issue for all organizations across almost all college campuses.

Now, if two is the actual number over seven years and the way football players are worshiped and over-analyzed, someone should ask Kirby how he's getting the vast, vast percentage of his players to avoid dramatic scenarios that all-too-often lead to dire consequences.


ESPN shuffling

So the biggest news over the summer from the four-letter sports media monster was the layoffs.

And there were some big names in the hopper that got got.

A lot of the on-air folks were associated with the network's NFL coverage.

Now come some of the emerging details of the new plan moving forward.

And in truth, it makes a lot of sense.

If you look at ESPN like one of the sports organizations it covers, the roster is star-heavy.

Scott Van Pelt is reportedly headed be the point guard on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown show leading into Monday Night Football.

SVP is a Bristol all-timer in my mind. And he's certainly on the current Rushmore there.

And making the most of his skills is a wise move, especially as the numbers are being reduced.

In fact, it feels like a playbook that is rather familiar with the top-shelf ESPN stars.

Mike Greenberg is everywhere in the A.M. these days and handles a large share of the host roles non the bigger NBA events.

Stephen A. — another big-dollar, big name — also has several platforms in Bristol.

So it's completely fair to expect the newest big-money addition — Mr. Pat McAfee and his crew of merry mayhem makers — to be all over the radio, podcasts and College GameDay sets.

Political power

So, as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is claiming only Congress can do something to make NIL uniform, here come three senators with a proposed framework on that very topic.

From Sen. Cory Booker, one of the senators who co-authored the plan: "It would make college athletics fairer, safer and more just, and empower more young people to succeed in sports and beyond."

Will it, though?

How is capping NIL options for players in a fraudulent idea of fairness ever going to work?

Are you going to cap the amounts schools can spend on recruiting trips or coaching salaries? Are you going to limit the money poured into facilities to entice the best to go to the most powerful programs?

Also, if Pilot Flying J wants to give $10 million to a five-star QB to go to Knoxville or the YellaWood fella wants to give $5 million to a five-star pass-rusher to head to Auburn, do we really want Congress to step into the roles of capping, limiting and in some cases forbidding Americans from spending their hard-earned money however they see fit.

Also, what happens when Olivia Dunne, the LSU gymnast who earns half-a-million for social media influencing, sues because D.C. politicians are unfairly capping her earning potential?

At least the proposal Booker and his colleagues crafted "does not include any antitrust exemption, nor does it weigh in on the employee status of athletes" despite cries from Sankey and other college sports leaders for exactly those areas to be addressed.

That said, this bill does have some interesting ideas.

This bill would guarantee scholarships, provided players are in good standing and do not transfer, until the athlete completes his or her undergrad degree. That's long been needed.

As for the death of Booker's bill, it also calls for more transparency from the schools in terms of revenue made, money spent and coaches salaries on an annual basis.

Yeah, here's betting all the power five football coaches want to find a way to control what the players make and exactly none of them want the public to know exactly how much cheddar they clear per year.


This and that

— Braves played. Braves lost. That's four straight setbacks. Should we be worrying yet?

— UT got a five-star commitment from metro-Atlanta. Here's Paschall with more.

— Alabama as an underdog? PUH-lease. Here's Paschall with more.

— The Carlee Russell story out of Birmingham is downright surreal, right? Here's more.

Today's questions

It's an anything goes Thursday, so fire away. Also, remember the mailbag.

We'll start here: Braves bigger need, a starting pitcher or a reliever? Discuss.

As for today, July 20, let's review.

Hank Aaron hit his 755th and final home run on this day in 1976.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon on this day in 1969.

Rushmore of U.S. space history. Go.