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When "No" Really Means "Maybe"

Tell me if you've heard this before:  "Well, I know they said not to do it, but they didn't mean me."

Those of you who are familiar with logic will recognize the Ad Hoc, or "faulty explanation" fallacy when you see it.  It's the argument that there is a hidden meaning in a pronouncement that makes it inapplicable in a special circumstance, and lo and behold, it always seems to exactly fit the circumstances of the one presenting the argument.

So it is with our buddy, Billy Donovan The Untouchable. Here is how he approached the problem when confronted with the fact that he ignored the NABC "strong disapproval" of accepting commitments of young players at yesterday's SEC press conference:

"I don't think you can even compare some of the situations to that one," the Florida coach said.

By comparison, Gillispie offered a scholarship to Avery after watching him play one day.

Darrin Horn, the newly-minted South Carolina coach, decided not only to defend Donovan using the ad hoc fallacy, he rebuked Billy Gillispie in the process.  Gotta give Horn credit for one thing -- being the new guy on the block didn't stop him from speaking his mind.  To wit:

South Carolina's new coach, Lexington native Darrin Horn, followed Donovan on the teleconference and agreed with the distinction the Florida coach drew.

Horn said he supported the NABC if it targeted "flippant" recruiting of younger players. But he noted how a college can develop a relationship and properly judge the talents of, say, a local player.

"That's a careful, wise thing," he called Florida's offer to a ninth-grader with a tie to the school. "Versus something flippant and off the cuff, which I think is the intent of that (NABC) suggestion."

What a hot, steaming bucket of bovine excrement.  I suppose God or Tubby Smith came down from on high and informed Horn of "the intent of that suggestion."  Oh, wait -- he is like The Mentalist or Sherlock Holmes, able to deduce the true meaning of the universe out of the tiniest of clues.  Darrin, you're in the wrong profession, son.  We need you out solving crimes or earning Nobel prizes, not coaching basketball.

Rick Stansbury then asked this question:

"Is this the Billy rule or what?" Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury said.

It's pretty clear that Horn thinks it is, and Donovan also -- that other "Billy," anyway.

Folks, I don't think it is necessary for me to further illustrate how absolutely ridiculous and utterly indefensible the argument Billy Donovan and Darrin Horn are making is.  They aren't just wrong, they are profoundly wrong.  The ad hoc fallacy is one of the most destructive and offensive of all, because it is the "There is an exception to every rule, and I'm it" argument. Don't buy it.  The NABC, rightly or wrongly, didn't make exceptions in their pronouncement -- it may have been wrong, but it was absolute.

Gillispie, to his credit, said this:

"I'm a company man, but I'm not going to get beat up as far as competing," Gillispie said on yesterday's Southeastern Conference basketball coaches' teleconference. "You always want to try to do what a coaches' organization which I have a lot of respect for asks you to do. But I'm not going to be sitting by the wayside while other people are getting ahead of you as far as competition is concerned."

After a pause, Gillispie added, "Interpret that however you need to."

Damn skippy. We will not be unilaterally disarming here at Kentucky, even for the Golden Boy.  If you don't like that, you can borrow my cell phone and call Miles Brand or Dick Vitale.  Maybe they'll give a crap.

Guys like Donovan and his many willing enablers in the sports media, and now the coaching ranks, really rankle me on this subject.  I am sick and tired of writing about it, but I simply cannot let this go by -- there is no way I let the coach of my school take this type of guff without comment.  Horn is young, impressionable and made a foolish comment.  I'm going to let him off the hook with the "He's young and dumb" excuse.  Donovan aught to know better.


UPDATE 08:32 AM:  John Clay sees this as the first shot in the War of the Billys.