SEC Commisioner Mike Slive Implicated in Bizarre Internet Scandal (Humor)

Leroy Watson Jr.Senior Writer IMarch 17, 2009

Mike Slive has been implicated in a bizarre scandal that could impact upon his ability to ever chair another committee for the NCAA.


Slive, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and Chairman of this season’s NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, has allegedly been caught on tape admitting that he was engaged in an attempt to sabotage the NCAA Championship chances of the University of Memphis.


The entire sordid affair apparently began with a series of articles on the interactive Internet web site known as Bleacher Report.


The site allows amateur and semi-professional scribes to practice their craft and have the work edited by competent, more experienced writers, some of whom are employed by the site.


A columnist who is new to the site by the name of Leroy Watson, Jr. has created a bit of a stir with his unabashed pro-Memphis Tiger slants and some not-too-subtle swipes at the SEC, including an article with the salacious title, Why John Calipari Isn't Interested in Coaching in the SEC.


Somehow, the obscure writer, whose articles—according to statistics maintained on the site—have been read by fewer than 13,000 people, caught the attention of one of the most powerful men in college athletics today.


An anonymous staffer at Slive’s office, who refused to be identified, said only that Mr. Watson’s name “was becoming a pretty hot topic of discussion, but I had never heard of the guy, so I didn’t think much of it. It’s not like he’s Dick Vitale or something.”


Neither Slive nor any other member of his staff would comment further.


Watson and some of his associates at Bleacher Report pick up the narrative.


Watson has another article on the B/R site entitled For Memphis, These Opponents Could Be Potholes in the Road to the Final Four, in which he outlined the identities of five NCAA teams that he felt could cause the most problems for John Calipari’s Tigers.


Shortly thereafter, Nathan B, who prefers that we not use his full name, was drawn into the proceedings.


He received a clandestine e-mail that was forwarded to him from another Bleacher Report columnist (who also refused to be identified) that he thought was a joke at first.


“I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It basically said something to the effect of ‘maybe that prick will keep his mouth shut next year around selection time.’”


At Watson’s request, Nathan B forwarded a copy to his fellow writer.


“I never imagined it would go any further, I just wanted to comply with the request out of respect,” Nathan commented. “By then, I figured Leroy was pranking me.”


Working from a hunch, and through some remarkable Internet sleuthing, the writer was able to follow the chain of e-mails (there were over three dozen communiqués in all) to their source: Mike Slive.


“Leroy came to me and said he had a wild goose chase that he wanted some help with,” said professional writer Daniel Barber, a highly regarded B/R contributor. “At first, I told him he was nuts. He asked me to just read the e-mails. So I started tracing things for myself, and I began to think, ‘Well, hold on a minute, what is this?'”


Barber eventually consented to becoming an informant of sorts for his colleague.


“Leroy knew that Slive would never talk to him,” Barber explained. “He asked me if I thought I could talk to the guy and I said, ‘Sure.’”


Barber called Slive’s office from his cell phone, using a number that Watson had hunted down for him that bypassed the typical phone menus that one would expect to encounter.


“My idea was simple,” said Watson in an interview from his home. “Daniel gets on the phone and calls his voice mail, then two-ways in Slive, thereby recording the conversation. Georgia is a one-party consent state, so I knew it was legal. My man agreed to give it a try.”


Barber very simply and cleverly lured Slive into giving his full name before proceeding.


The following is a partial transcript of the telephone conversation:




Mike Slive: “How may I help you today?”


Daniel Barber: “Yes, well I’m not going to talk to some low-level administrator, I have strict orders to speak to Mike Slive directly.”


MS: “This is Mike Slive, didn’t my secretary tell you that?”


DB: “Okay, good, just making sure. This conversation is of a sensitive nature.”


MS: “And who are you again?”


DB: “I’m Daniel, and I’ve been working with a staffer on this annoying Watson thing.”


MS: “WATSON!  That no good {Deleted}. {Unintelligible.} I want him to squirm, I want him to suffer, I want to squash his career!”


DB: “Yeah. Well I got him blackballed by ESPNU, Street & Smith’s and Sport. The kid is going to have a very hard time getting a job covering college sports anytime in the foreseeable future.”


MS: “You’ve got that kind of juice?”


DB: “I have a few connections who have a few connections. You know how it is.”


MS: “You see what I did to his stupid school? Memphis, I mean?”


DB: “The team in the NCAAs, right?”


MS: “I used the little prick’s own article against him. I planted two of the teams he himself said could beat Memphis right in the West bracket with them.”


DB: “I don’t follow.”


MS: “Missouri and BYU. The prick is scared to death of those two teams and I was able to get them shipped out West.”


DB: “Very clever!”




Myles Brand, the President of the NCAA, said simply: “We have been apprised of the alleged statements attributed to Mike Slive. We will investigate the matter thoroughly and will comment further as the situation warrants.”


Watson remains amused by the firestorm.


“I’m just a nobody with a computer, a few skills and an opportunity to get my material out to the public,” he said with a laugh. “I’m a pimple on the behind of the NCAA and Slive decides to do something this stupid? That’s unreal.


“You don’t even expect to see stuff this bizarre on TV.”