The Back Nine: NCAA more lenient granting transfers

The NCAA logo is seen at midcourt during practice at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 in Memphis, Tenn. The Gators will face UCLA in the South Regional semifinals on Thursday. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

The Back Nine comes at you after an uneventful weekend, which is actually a good thing sometimes. And before we complain about Sunday’s weather, remember that it could be — and is — worse elsewhere (the chill factor in Minneapolis today is minus-63).

10. One of the things I did this weekend was enter the transfer portal. It’s nice and cozy in there. People treat you with respect and offer you nachos and free socks. I could live there. I kid, of course, but who would have thought we would live in a world where something called the transfer portal would be something besides a sci-fi term? The portal is another effort by the NCAA to give more rights to college players without having to pay them. But what if you go into the portal and come out in Norway? The interesting part of this whole thing is that the NCAA has been more lenient lately in granting waivers to players who want to play immediately (such as Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes for Florida last season). And we’ve seen social media pressure schools into backing off restrictions on transfer destinations. I’m all in favor of players having more rights (although I don’t believe in them getting paid) even if the transfer portal has turned college football into free agency. (Don’t forget, it’s been that way in college basketball for years). But the interesting case to watch will be Tate Martell, who transferred from Ohio State to Miami and will appeal for immediate eligibility based on the fact that Urban Meyer retired. If that appeal goes through, Martell’s first game would be against the mighty Gators in Orlando. And it would open up another door in the portal.

11. It was another day of frustration for anyone who follows Florida basketball when the Gators forgot to show up for an 11 a.m. Central start and it showed right from the first play, a set piece for KeVaughn Allen to get an open look from 3 before the defense was set off the tip. Except he passed on the shot and right away you knew what kind of day it was going to be. One of the many problems Mike White is dealing with is the lack of an alpha male to grab everyone by the jerseys and drag this team where it needs to go. The coaches can’t do it by themselves. Players need to be accountable to each other, not just the scouting report. (This tweet by incoming freshman Scottie Lewis yesterday tells you that may be about to change — “I’m coming for everyone and everything. I tried being polite while doing my job but I see those two things don’t mix. SAME MOTIVATION, DIFFERENT KINDA KILLA.”) Meanwhile, Allen continues to be an on-again, off-again player mentally, almost a reluctant star. And he’s only part of the trouble. It feels like a lost season and could get ugly over the next four games. Or, the players on this team could decide they’d like to participate in March Madness. It’s their call.

12. I would think the Big 12 wouldn’t be trumpeting its 6-4 win over the SEC with too much vigor when you consider that three SEC teams ranked in the AP poll were not part of the annual proceedings. It’s a nice day of basketball and an opportunity for some teams to pad their resumes. But the Challenge is no more than that. And the truth is that when you have a 68-team tournament at the end of the year, the only people who really talk much about which conference is better are the coaches.

13. Go Rams. There, I said it. Some background. I was a huge Rams fan until they moved to St. Louis. Didn’t fully embrace them when they moved back to L.A. But being the frontrunner that I am, you know I am all in. Besides, isn’t 95 percent of America rooting for the Patriots to lose? OK, 90? Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening. It’s all about the experience factor in a game this big. New England 31-23. Sigh.

14. Two headlines on ESPN Monday concerning the Super Bowl. One was about Bill Belichick texting Sean McVay during the season. Another was about how the Rams beat the Patriots on a Madden 19 simulated game. Brace yourselves. It’s only going to get worse. The only things I find interesting about this week are the prop bets, where you can wager on a streaker being touched first by a player, a cop or a security person and the number of social media posts the Super Bowl will receive Sunday.

15. Speaking of dynasties (was I speaking of dynasties?), something hit me when I was watching the Australian Open (it was a bad Sunday for sports on TV). People complain when it’s Alabama and Clemson every year for the college football championship. But nobody complains about Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic combining for 52 majors. By contrast, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg combined for half as many. I liked tennis better then. Buy my point is that dynasties (like the one Tiger Woods once enjoyed) are OK for individual sports, but not for team sports. I guess that’s my point. The bigger story is that The Back Nine included something about tennis.

16. It will get lost in the hoopla of a Super Bowl and Kentucky coming to town for men’s basketball Saturday, but Friday night is one of those great regular-season matchups when No. 1 Oklahoma faces No. 2 Florida in Norman, Okla., in gymnastics. If you haven’t seen 17-year-old freshman Trinity Thomas perform, well, you are missing something special. Florida is back home next Friday against Auburn.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. — “Jason Garrett may be the only coach in America who can squeeze only 7 points and 148 total yards from an all-star team of offensive firepower playing against a flag-football defense. #TheMastermind.” Wait a minute. The Pro Bowl was Sunday? Can’t believe I missed it. Must have been watching “Ted 2” again on HBO.

18. My wife is always correcting me (and Alanis Morissette) on what is irony and what is coincidence. So you know how I have a pet peeve about people who back into parking spaces? The other day, someone backing out of a parking space ran me over. Now that, she admitted, was ironic. This playlist, however, is not:

• “Love Is A Made Up Word” by Hush Kids.

• “Moderation” by Florence + The Machine.

• “Come For Me” by Sunflower Bean.

• “Red Bull and Hennessy” by Jenny Lewis.

• And because I saw this band has the top nine downloads this week in the rock category on ITunes, my oldie is “Killer Queen” by Queen.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


  1. Sorry, but I don’t care how badly the Gators may want to play in March Madness, it ain’t gonna happen for the simple fact they don’t have the talent. The remainder of the schedule is brutal, they’ll be underdogs in 10 of the next 12 and quite possibly could end up with a losing record going into the SEC tournament.

    • I disagree; there is plenty of talent there, just missing a true large presence inside. As poorly as they started against TCU, the Gators on paper had no business even being in that game what with the opponent’s tremendous length. Schedule is brutal, for sure, but that’s how you get into the tournament — by winning some, not all, of those games. Not banking on it happening, but certainly not slamming the door shut on it.

      • Biggest problem on the Gators sideline is the coach. No one moved the entire 1st half on offense. The announcers were both befuddled by how poorly a team could be coached, and UF Twitter was blasting the announcers for being anti-Gator. Yet in reality, they were just telling us the truth that anyone should be able to see and a lot of UF fans didn’t want to hear it. And then the team moves a little more, makes a nice run in the 2nd half, hits a big 3 to make it a 4 point game, and White gets T’d up. It was a terrible call, and there are times to get T’s to spark your team. But with a team that has no leaders, it was never going to spark this team, it just handed TCU 2 big points at a time that we were making a nice run. I guess the recruiting is good, and I get it that not having a capable 4-Forward is rough, but the coaching is abysmal right now.

  2. “A reluctant star” aptly describes the reticent KeVaughn Allen. As soon as he bypassed his unguarded opportunity off the opening tip Saturday, passing across the court to Noah Locke, I said to no one, “Oh, no! Why?” It’s obvious that Allen so shoes away from being noticed that he would much prefer anyone else do what he does better than any of his teammates. You have to hope that Scottie Lewis can rattle his teammates next year into giving 40 minutes of intelligent effort and that Tre Mann can help offset Allen’s ability as an outside shooter. As for this year I can’t see more than three or four more wins. Won’t even qualify for the NIT, I fear.

  3. Players decide they want to play in March Madness. These guys haven’t decided they want to play 2 full halves of basketball. The light is not going to suddenly come on. It’s burned out. The only tournament these guys will go to is maybe a pizza eating tournament. They did enjoy that on the SEC Inside program. These seniors should be screaming and dragging this team through tight games. Instead they are meek and silent. Too bad because they do have some talent but desire is and has been missing!

  4. ”I have a pet peeve about people who back into parking spaces?” -Pat Dooley.
    Why Pat? Because you can’t, or the people that park that way, you encounter, can’t either? I think it’s safer coming out of a parking spot front 1st, especially in a town like Hogtown, that must have half of the angriest and/or shortest tempered drivers in the world. Either way, it’s getting so bad on 43rd street, (and I HOPE SOMEONE FROM THE G.P.D. AND A.S.O. sees this) that you have to say a prayer before pulling out onto it (because it may be the last thing you do in this life). And to think I grew-up in the summers driving in the Tampa Bay area in the 80’s, and Gainesville traffic today scares more than back then in Pinellas county.

  5. Backing into a parking space is so much more difficult and time consuming than backing out of one. I concur with Pat on this one. It takes twice as long and holds everyone up for no good reason. Besides, we now have sensors and backup cameras that make backing out of a space pretty darned safe . . . unless you’re a complete moron.

    • Carlton, where’s ”the Fresh Prince,” Will? And ‘IF’ it’s so easy to ”back up” now, with all your CAMERA ASSISTED DRIVING, that NOT everyone has yet (like me), then why isn’t EVERYONE backing into parking spaces? They SHOULD BE, if you’re not a ”moron!” Ya’ see, I don’t usually ”tit for tat”, but your ”moron” comment brought me here. You’re probably one of those drivers that HONKS at someone ”backing out of a parking spot” because your time is so much more valuable than the rest of ours. Right?

      • GI, if he was talking to you when he said that, he really doesn’t know what he’s talking about or who he’s talking to for that matter. And I thought we had evolved beyond terms like that! I traded my beautiful Tundra for a BMW X-3 after last year’s medical challenge, precisely because I couldn’t back up safely anymore with or without a damn camera. Well, I still can’t, but at least I’m not running over shyt anymore that don’t need runned over……so guess I can qualify as a moron too. 😎

        By the way, anyone make a lift kit for a 2019 X-3? I’ll need one to fit the big mud grips on it!

    • I’m with GI on this one. My 2006 1500 Ram Laramie 5.7 Hemi ain’t got no backup cameras, sensors or fancy alarms. I would submit that relying on all those bells and whistles instead of being a good driver is more moronic than not. Most folks that own pick up trucks back into parking spaces, as they should, and if you are a good driver all you need is experience and the use of your mirrors and it ain’t difficult at all.
      Think about it, the “extra” time it takes to back into a spot is cancelled by the ease of pulling out of that spot instead of having to back out of it. It’s a wash, so stop complaining and calling smart pick up truck drivers “morons”bro.

      • Ha. My 2015 Ram Laramie has a back-up cam that has better picture than my living room tv. I can back that thing up faster than Pat can inhale a 10 cent wing. Which is to say pretty dang fast.

        But if the lot is busy I will opt for a spot way out and do some walking.

        And it’s funny to hear folks’ take on traffic. It’s all perspective. I have lived in south Florida and Atlanta. Gainesville, although no doubt has some hot spots, is overall like taking a country drive for me.

        And everyone should set their dvr’s For Friday’s gymnastic meet. Trinity is awesome and so is this team. If you record it you can fly through the other team’s routines and focus on the gators. They are fun to watch.

  6. I really don’t care if Tate Martell can play against the Gators. If he does it will be his first game with his new team, unless you believe he is the second coming of some phenom QB like Tebow, Shameus Winston or Tua, then it won’t matter. Miami is very thin at OL so their QB should be running for his life or on his back most of the time.
    Go Gators!

  7. Am I the only one who didn’t expect such a good season from the men’s BB team this year? Lack of post scoring, lack of rebounding, and inconsistent, unconscionable three-point shooting were all on the horizon from the get-go, and then the stretch-four goes down for the season, all while the SEC is as deep and talented as it has been in a long, long time. It’s not that Florida is a bad team, it’s just not a good team. Very mediocre, and not many winnable games left on the schedule. My only real disappointment in this team is that they still have nights when they can’t hit a free throw. Not disappointed in White yet; there are some things coaching can’t fix, but there also are some things that coaching should be able to improve.