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Big Ten fights new recruiting rules, sparks Urbanator's return

Shortly after National Signing Day last year, SI.com intercepted messages exchanged between Columbus, Ohio, and Birmingham, Ala., that outlined a long-term threat to the Big Ten. When Big Ten athletic directors and football coaches released a statement Monday opposing the NCAA's attempt to deregulate recruiting, it was a clear signal that the plan has continued unabated for a year. Tuesday, SI.com intercepted more communications that suggest something even more diabolical...

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From: Urbanator 1000 To: Sliveborg

Operation Troll Tide complete. After annihilating puny competitors on the field, also destroyed them in recruiting in my first full year of putting together a class. On National Signing Day, went on radio show and promised to educate fellow Big Ten coaches in the ways of SEC-style recruiting. Also pledged to complain to Big Ten about noon games. Days later, encouraged fellow Big Ten coaches to rise up against NCAA recruiting deregulation. Explained to them that with unlimited ability to contact recruits, they would spend even less time with their families. Also explained that giant, lucrative programs like mine would hire an army of recruiting assistants to create reams of material to send to recruits. They bought it. You'll find the statement they released here.

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ANDERSON: Twitter reacts to Big Ten statement

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From: Sliveborg To: Urbanator 1000

Excellent work. The manipulation chip we installed in December is working even better than I'd hoped. I shall have to remember to reward the research team with an extra hour of sunlight this month. Those pitiful creatures have no idea what they've done. While they waste time fighting to bring back rules the NCAA can't possibly enforce evenly or correctly, continue destroying them in recruiting. Publicly, keep decrying the deregulation and telling amusing stories about Woody Hayes attaching turtles to his nether regions to demonstrate toughness. Privately, keep flogging your staff -- maybe you use a cattle prod, but I prefer to flog -- to annihilate the rest of the Big Ten on the recruiting trail. Do exactly what you did at Florida to win recruits. If they can get the deregulation overturned, the remainder of the Big Ten will settle back into its comfortable routine and become increasingly irrelevant. Most of it, at least. I fear Brady Hoke and his staff at the place you call The School Up North have the same idea we do: encourage laziness in the league while secretly attempting to outwork everyone else. I also worry about Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who recruits well and develops his talent. Remind me to admonish Kevin Sumlin for not offering Narduzzi his own chicken fried bacon store when he tried to lure Narduzzi to Texas A&M.

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From: Urbanator 1000 To: Sliveborg

Have made two plans going forward. If Big Ten loses and NCAA goes forward with deregulation, have authorized in-office recruiting guru Mark Pantoni to hire staff of 200 to work day and night creating flashy recruiting material. This also will further ingratiate me to local populace. In current economy, job creators worshipped as fervently as coaches who win Big Ten titles. Also have ordered Gene Smith to cut men's volleyball and divert funding to football program to buy extra cell phone batteries for increased calls and text messages. If rules are restored, have advised assistants that they remain meaningless. Texts against rules? Fine. E-mails not. Facebook inbox messages not. Twitter direct messages not. All wind up reaching recruit on his phone. Not surprising Big Ten leaders fail to understand push technology. Also plan to borrow idea from one of your coaches. Read that Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss has 14 people hand-writing letters to recruits. Buckeyes will singlehandedly keep U.S. Postal Service alive.

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From: Sliveborg To: Urbanator 1000

Perfect. Now, I'll fill you in on some changes to the original plan. I had hoped your dominance might weaken the Big Ten and allow the SEC to assimilate its cable network, but this newest development has me thinking bigger. The Big Ten coaches, athletic directors and league officials have exposed their soft bellies. They compete on the balance sheet. Taking Rutgers and Maryland was brilliant. In a few years, they'll be taking an extra $1 a month from the cable bills of millions of unsuspecting New Jersey, Maryland and District of Columbia residents. But even though they've done more than any league to turn college athletics into a multibillion-dollar business, they seem diametrically opposed to running the Big Ten like one. They seem to think they can scoop all this money and still have the quaint little sport they enjoyed in the 1950s. This makes them weak. So dominate them, Urbanator. Dominate them so thoroughly that they decide to follow the Ivy League's lead and de-emphasize athletics. That way, their football product will be worthless on the open market, and every television network will have to come to me to purchase the rights to major college football. Why assimilate them when you can simply destroy them?

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From: Urbanator 1000 To: Sliveborg

I can't let you do that.

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From: Sliveborg To: Urbanator 1000

WHAAAAAAAAAAT?

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From: Urban Meyer To: Sliveborg

For the past five weeks, you thought you were communicating with the competition-killing robot you sent to Columbus to destroy the Big Ten from the inside out. But I am the real Urban Meyer. While my cybernetic doppelganger went 12-0 last year, I enjoyed quality time with my family. I know more about college volleyball than any football coach should. But when Alabama crushed Notre Dame for the BCS title, I was drawn by the fragrance of a vanquished opponent's tears and found myself in Whatever-They're-Calling-It-This-Week Stadium standing next to the Meyer cyborg on the ESPN set. I surprised him and locked him in the case Lee Corso uses to store mascot heads. Then I started recruiting new Buckeyes. I'm sorry, but you've gone mad. I'm an Ohioan, and I can't let you do this to my people. I'm going to have to end your reign of terror on the field. I'll see you in Pasadena.

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From: Sliveborg To: Urban Meyer

So be it. This will be our final communication, but before I wash my hands of you, I want you to know what you'll be up against. You see, I have not been entirely honest with you. My name is not Sliveborg. It is Darth Slivious. I realize I have mixed my sci-fi mythologies again, but just go with it. I've always preferred destruction to assimilation. I'd like to introduce you to my apprentice. Come in. Come in. You may speak freely, and speak up so the traitor can hear you. "I'm sorry to be so late, my master. Four of my players were arrested overnight, and I spent the morning making arrangements to have them thrown into the bottomless maw of the Sarlacc. Their demises will free up four scholarships for new recruits." Exemplary work, my son. You have been a loyal apprentice, and I have no doubt that you will do what must be done to destroy the Midwestern Menace. Kneel before me. Lord Saban ... rise.

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Rivals: SEC teams dominate Top 25 recruiting classes

MANDEL: Urban Meyer, Nick Saban rule Signing Day again

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