Daily Archives: May 22, 2011

If you look at the Big Ten’s scholarship proposal…

as this year’s conference expansion story, it makes a helluva lot more sense.

… Then Delany said this: “How do we get back more toward the collegiate model and regulatory system that is based more on student-athlete welfare than it is on a level playing field, where everything is about a cost issue and whether or not everybody can afford to do everything everybody else can do?”

Translation: We can afford to give the athletes some money and we are going to seriously think about doing so. If you can’t, that’s your problem.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told me Thursday that this is something he would like to discuss. And I’ll tell you this: If Slive and Delany want something to happen, there is a good chance it will.

That sound you just heard was the commissioners of the MAC, WAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and Sun Belt banging their collective heads on the table. Keeping up with the big boys is tough enough to do as it is. This would make it nearly impossible.

When Mr. Conventional Wisdom tells you this thing’s got legs, you really should pay attention.

Barrett Sallee gets it.

Full-cost scholarships, conference realignment, a non-AQ playoff, and yes, even oversigning legislation all are indicators that we are headed to the age of the super-conference – and it’s coming sooner rather than later.

If the B1G institutes full-cost scholarships, the other five BCS conferences will follow suit almost instantaneously. It isn’t about fairness or giving athletes the proper compensation for their work (because that’s what it is). It’s about separation.

There’s an added bonus for separation, as Ivan Maisel points out.

1. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, a very smart guy, suggested Tuesday at the conference’s spring meetings that the Big Ten should consider putting more money in the pockets of its student-athletes. The AQs, nearly all of whom have lucrative new TV contracts, may be able to afford this. The non-AQs almost surely can’t. If this idea is the first step toward a new, big-money NCAA division. …

2. … Wouldn’t that end any antitrust questions regarding access to the BCS?

This is shaping up as such an obvious win-win for the power conferences, that you begin to wonder why they’re being so deliberate about it.

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Filed under College Football

It’s the football, stupid.

In case you still wonder which sport carries the water in college athletics, here’s another answer for you.

The SEC will consider abandoning men’s basketball divisions during the conference’s upcoming spring meetings, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Friday.

When you get down to it, divisional play makes little sense for any sport outside of football.  When the postseason goal is simply to obtain as many seeds for conference teams in a multi-round tournament as possible,  it’s in the conference’s best interest to make sure its tourney is structured to give the cream the best chance to rise to the top.

Football is a different beast.  There is no multi-round playoff, just a BCS title game. The SECCG, just like its brethren in the other power conferences, was set up to do two things:  generate a bunch of money for the conference and give one of its top teams extra momentum in the computer rankings to boost its chances to play in the title game.  It has been wildly successful on both counts, which is why you see a divisional format in place that doesn’t benefit any other sport, and, indeed, poses something of an impediment in certain cases.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Mike Slive and the First Amendment

This part of Mike Slive’s schtick about the oversigning legislation he’s fashioned for Destin is getting a bit tiresome.

QUESTION: Will there be action?

ANSWER: There will be action because you know they will come forth as proposed legislation for the presidents, the ADs and the other groups to opine on. But I feel good about them, so I think the goal is to make sure that our prospective student-athletes are treated in a way that is as they should be treated, like students our treated. And I think this package does that.

QUESTION: Mark Richt and others at Georgia and Florida, among others, have said they dislike over-signing and won’t do it. Steve Spurrier has come out and said he needs to do it, and Nick Saban is on that side of the issue, too. Do you see where each of them is coming from?

ANSWER: Well we’ve had some discussions to get the proposed legislation in place. I can tell you that the first amendment in the Southeastern Conference is alive and well.

If Tony Barnhart is correct in his head count (which is the same as the one John Pennington came up with the other day), Slive is going to have to do a lot more than talk if he expects a change to be made.

… The presidents of the 12 SEC institutions will cast the final votes on this package. But if they defer to their head football coaches, I’ve got the vote at 7-5 against any kind of radical change to the status quo, where schools can sign as many as 28 players regardless of how many actual football scholarships they have available.

This is very unscientific but here is my best stab at it.

Status quo: The head coaches at Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, and Arkansas are all on record as believing the current system is appropriate and fair. Auburn and Mississippi State will go with their state rivals. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier says he needs to over-sign because of the academics in his state.

Change: Florida and Georgia have publicly come out against over-signing. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt will agree.

Note that Barnhart is only making a count on oversigning.  Slive hints that his package goes farther than that, to what he calls “roster management”.  The bigger the package, the harder it would seem to keep the support of the five schools Barnhart lists in place.

Unless the conference presidents are ready to buck the advice of their football coaches.  That doesn’t seem particularly likely, but it might be worth keeping an eye on coaches’ comments leading up to the meetings.  As well as whether Slive keeps trying to impress us with his Constitutional scholarship.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football