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Those of you who were paying attention know that UGA was destroyed by South Carolina on Saturday. While the final score was only 17-6, the game was never really that close. There are a lot of reasons that Georgia played so poorly -- I certainly blame Mike Bobo, but you probably knew that already -- but what has earned the most attention is the loss of A.J. Green to an NCAA suspension.

NCAA rules are complex and the most honest of mistakes can affect the eligibility of a prospective student-athlete's eligibility to attend the University of Georgia of affect the eligibility of a student-athlete to compete at the University of Georgia.

The above quote is from page 41 of the Georgia 2010 Football Fan Guide. And it's absolutely accurate. The NCAA suspended Green, UGA's star receiver, for 4 games because he sold a jersey "to an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent." How was Green to know that the man (Chris Hawkins) who identified himself as a collector was also an agent? Telepathy? ("Yo, man, if you're an agent you've got to tell me!") If the jersey was Green's to sell, and by all accounts that's true, why is he being punished for selling it to the person who wanted to buy it? Don't think I haven't noticed your Communist strategy, NCAA!

At least this tragedy has illuminated yet another of the NCAA's byzantine rules for the casual fan. Green should have known better: even if the NCAA says that you personally can sell your jersey, the NCAA also bans anyone from buying it. Also from the 2010 Fan Guide:

You are prohibited from providing the prospect or the prospect's relatives or legal guardian(s) with any benefit of any kind before, during or after his/her enrollment at the University of Georgia.

Ahem. That's kind of a catch-all statement, isn't it? As I read it, that means that I cannot buy Herschel Walker a Zaxby's Bourbon Chicken Sandwich Meal or help Champ Bailey's grocery-laden mother across a busy intersection. I assume that it also means that I can't buy the jersey off A.J. Green's back.

It's not Green who should be punished here. NCAA, if you must use strong-arm tactics to ensure that only UGA and Nike can profit by selling A.J. Green jerseys, at least try punishing the real troublemaker here: Facebook, the portal that connected the evil agent and his unlucky prey. Facebook: the Gateway to Evil!

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In Memoriam: Brian Cooper (b. 1980-something, d? 2010)

He liked pancakes.

Today my friend Brian is going to board an airplane to meet a girl who thought his Facebook profile pic was cute enough that she contacted him out the blue and offered to fly him to Las Vegas to "see some shows." Since the only two possible outcomes of this encounter are that by the end of the week Brian ends up either married or dead, I'm going to go ahead and offer my condolences. On the upside, there's a better than 50% chance that Brian ends up in an episode of CSI.

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Facebook wins again: the 2009 New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is "unfriend", a term that apparently defined "to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook." Now in addition to promoting the decay of polite society, Facebook is ruining my language.

"Unfriend" was chosen over such universally accepted words as "netbook," "sexting," "tramp stamp," and "teabagger," which it turns out is now used with a complete lack of irony to describe participants in the Tea Party movement. (Let's just say that "teabagger" means something completely different where I come from.) This proves the voice of Facebook dominates that of the traditional mass media, at least within the offices of the New Oxford American Dictionary. And yes, Google assures me that the publisher of the NOAD, the Oxford University Press, does indeed have a Facebook page. Not that I'd go to Facebook to confirm it. Sure, that may be bad journalism, but I've got my principles.

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I have a friend -- a real friend, not the Facebook variety -- who has a specific use for Facebook: he's trying to become "friends" with all of his favorite character actor television stars of the 1970s. He's particularly partial to Don Stroud. Most of you would know Stroud from... well, most of you won't know him, but trust me when I say you've seen him in something. ("Facebook friend" is sure to soon be the new shorthand term for "that guy looks vaguely familiar.") My friend has also recently "befriended" Robert Conrad of Baa Baa Black Sheet and Wild Wild West fame (the man loves his alliteration) and Lynda Carter. Sweet, sweet Lynda Carter.

So maybe Facebook isn't all bad but that's as far as I'm willing to bend on that point.

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To be continued...

 

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