Typically anytime there's smoke, there's fire as well. And if Sunday's announcement that MSU WR's Coach Angelo Mirando was stepping down was the smoke, yesterday's announcement / speculation was certainly the fire that caused it. And apparently student fraternization was not, in fact, the cause of Mirando's odd-timed "stepping down".
Initially, many of us suspected, where told, or just flat assumed that Mirando had stepped down due to an issue regarding extracurricular activities with a student, and we'll leave it at that. We didn't know that for sure, that's just what a guy who knows a guy told us, and with Angelo being aged 26 years, this was a completely plausible explanation, although one that was still hard to understand given Mirando's blessed situation as the youngest positions coach in the SEC.
But boy, were we wrong as to his transgressions.
And yesterday the flood gates of information swung open in the Mississippi State football world, spilling truths, assumptions, and probably a few tall tales as well. So at this point, what do we know is fact, what do we suspect, and what do we not believe? Well, I am going to try my best to sort it out, to the best of my limited abilities, and let you decide if my explanations seem to make sense. Alright, here we go.
What is a FACT
- Angelo Mirando didn't leave on his own accord, that we know for sure. No matter what the reasoning was, be it "personal reasons" or a "recruiting irregularity", Mirando is out, and State has moved on. Although the official statement will forever be "personal reasons", we know now that is not the case, but it's semantics at this point, really.
- State, within 5 days time of Mirando's leaving, has hired Time Brewster to coach wide receivers in Mirando's place. In my personal opinion this is a home run hire, whether one week before the season or ten. Brewster, the former head coach at the University of Minnesota, is known as a tireless recruiter, one who recruited the likes of a guy named Vince Young while he was at Texas, and brings a level of coaching experience ten fold more than what State previously possessed at that skill position.
- Dan Mullen does not care for Joe Schad, that we know for a fact. Last night in Mullen's chat with reporters, obviously the whole Redmond / NCAA thing came up, and Mullen, among other things, had this to say:
More Dan Mullen: "I would try to get a little more reliable source than Joe Schad."— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) August 24, 2012
And boom goes the dynamite. That tweet, as you may know, is in reference to Schad's tweet earlier in the day confirming that NCAA was investigating State for a possibly recruiting irregularity.
- The school has been examining a potential recruiting irregularity. Here's the school's official statement, taken from Brad Locke's blog on the topic yesterday:
"Over the last several months, Mississippi State has worked in cooperation with the N.C.A.A. to examine a potential recruiting irregularity. We are nearing the end of this examination, and it is our intent to provide additional details when it is complete."
What we SUSPECT
- The aforementioned recruiting irregularity involves Will Redmond, Mirando, and a rogue MSU booster. Yesterday Bulldawg Junction's Michael Wardlaw, one of the best in the business with regards to breaking news and MSU, went on Head to Head Radio with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross and discussed the situation (FULL AUDIO HERE, Wardlaw from the 14:00 to 29:00 or so mark). Wardlaw, who is typically dead on when breaking news, told the guys that his information was that Will Redmond, a highly-recruited freshman at State from the Memphis area, received impermissible benefits from a rogue MSU booster. Wardlaw told Wyatt and Cross that this situation COULD potentially involve several other SEC schools, and several other players from Redmond's Memphis based 7on7 team. Oh boy. Could this be related to the Jovon Robinson transcript tampering issue that has ruled the Auburn freshman RB ineligible? I guess we'll find out.
- Add to Wardlaw's statements this from Matthew Stevens yesterday. Stevens writes that a source close to the situation tells him the incident under investigation, at least in part, involves a Ford Mustang, purchased before Redmond's signing with State. This would obviously corroborate what Wardlaw said, and build upon that with additional details. Who purchased the vehicle? From all indications, it appears that a rogue booster did.
- What can we suspect, infer, SPECULATE from Wardlaw's comments? From his comments and other internet chattering, we can began piecing the puzzle together that Mirando knew about said improper benefits, yet failed to bring it to Mullen's or any other coach's attention. Then when Dan and other school officials did learn about it, they immediately self reported, and began working with the NCAA to resolve the issue. Mirando's concealing of the truth then cost him his job.
- This borders on fact, but I'll put this under speculation due to the ongoing nature of the investigation: MSU HAS BEEN 100% COMPLIANT WITH THE NCAA. No matter what you believe about the details of the transgression, MSU's willingness to work with the NCAA completely seems to be unanimous across all sources of info. From all information it is clear that Mullen and other school officials immediately went to the NCAA to report the violation, and began fully cooperating with the NCAA to resolve the matter. There's no coverup here folks, even if there was a violation. Mullen seems to be in the clear of anything suspicious, and don't be coming up in here talking otherwise unless you have FACTS (/purses lips, cocks head)
- Could this investigation / inquiry / examination bring any penalties onto State? It's possible. You'd have to believe that State's inferred up-frontness with the NCAA throughout the matter would go a long way with the NCAA when penalty time comes, but we will have to wait and see. Again, this is all based on the assumption that Wardlaw's comments are factual, which they typically tend to be.
What is FALSE
- This is something for State fans to overly worry and obsess over. That is just a flat false statement. From all indications, Mullen, MSU, and other school officials have the situation under control, and things are nearing completion. What will come of it? Only time will tell, but I think they sky is falling approach is not the way to look at this situation. Obviously this is not anything you want to deal with a week before the season, but between the Brewster hire, the appearance of MSU's full cooperation with the NCAA in the investigation process, I think it's safe to say we will come out of this okay. Not saying we won't come out completely unscathed, but you'd have to think the honesty is the best policy approach State has taken will keep us in the clear from any heavy sanctions.
So the biggest question probably is, why not be up front all along about Mirando's involvement? A lot of people have asked that question - why say that Mirando has stepped down due to personal issues? Well, my best guess, and that's all it is, is that State wanted to keep the whole matter as quiet as possible. Obviously you don't want a huge distraction for the fanbase, the players, and all involved just a week or so before the season starts, so maybe that's why State tried to go with "personal issues". My guess is that they had hoped that reasoning would stick, and that the investigation/examination would come to a conclusion in quiet, with all parties satisfied and the fan base none the wiser as to the issues under the surface. Obviously now, that's not the case, as the story has gotten out.
Another wild yet potentially plausible idea someone threw out to me yesterday - could State have potentially leaked the info to Schad and others to go on damage control, warding off any potentially negative and refutable claims being made as to the nature of the situation? It would seem that this is a long shot, especially considering what Dan Mullen had to say about Schad yesterday. But I certainly wouldn't blame them for doing so. If you're State and there are obviously a ton of questions surrounding the Mirando resignation, maybe you leak the truth to stave off even more negative rumors circulating about what happened, since you know that it will obviously come out at some point anyways with the NCAA's findings at the completion of the investigation. In summation, I guess at this point, all we have is questions. Very few truths, but plenty of questions. There will be lots to come out in the days, weeks and months to come I'm sure regarding this situation, but for right now, it's probably best to focus more on the actual football games that kick off a week from now and less on what may come for State in the future with regards to the Redmond/Mirando situation.
Now, with all of that being said, what do you guys think about the situation? Let us know, and we'll try to update this post with any further information that comes along.