Daily Archives: January 28, 2014

Genius

It’s one thing to commit a NCAA violation.

It’s entirely another to film yourself doing it.

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17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Mark Richt, Renaissance man

You learn something new every day.

“… It was a good visit. It was interesting. We did a lot of getting-to-know-each-other talk, like favorite movies. I didn’t know that Coach Richt was a wrestling fan. I was a wrestling fan growing up, as well. We talked about Jerry “The King” Lawler and Ric Flair. It was funny because he said ‘You are a wrestling fan?’ I said ‘Of course I am’ and we started naming wrestlers. It was a good conversation…”

At least he didn’t insist it was real.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The latest shot across the NCAA’s bow

The words I never thought I’d see uttered:  “Right now the NCAA is like a dictatorship. No one represents us in negotiations. The only way things are going to change is if players have a union.”

The wheels have been set in motion.

For the first time in the history of college sports, athletes are asking to be represented by a labor union, taking formal steps on Tuesday to begin the process of being recognized as employees, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” has learned.

Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.

Backed by the United Steelworkers union, Huma also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of  Northwestern players with the NLRB — the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights.

On a certain level, I can’t blame them.  But the minute there’s a strike that cancels something, the college game will never be the same.

Just something else to thank Mark Emmert for.

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UPDATE:  Union fever in Athens.  Catch it!

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UPDATE #2:  The NCAA’s “la, la, la, can’t hear you” response is exactly what you’d expect from it.

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UPDATE #3:  Perhaps it isn’t all about the money.

… what a current Wildcats football player had to say on the matter in a Tuesday Reddit comment on the story.

“This isn’t about getting paid. What it is about is protection. Many of us will have numerous injuries throughout our playing careers. A group of those players will continue to feel the effects of those injuries long after their playing days are over. The goal is to have some sort of medical protection if we need surgeries stemming from injuries sustained while playing for our university.

“Another goal is graduate school for those who were fortunate enough to play as a true freshman. Most student-athletes get redshirted in their first year, and receive one year of grad school payed for in their fifth year of eligibility. We feel as though it is fair to ask for the same investment from the university all around. It isn’t about getting an extra $200 a month for spending. We have our stipend, and if we budget correctly we are able to make it stretch for the month. Would it be nice to have some part of jersey sales or memorabilia sales? Absolutely. But that is not the goal as of right now.

“Just wanted to add in that I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have been given to not only play football, but to attend a world class university such as Northwestern. It is an opportunity millions dream of having. We are treated well at Northwestern, but unfortunately that is not the case at many other schools. Hopefully we can create a voice for the players and clean up these issues.”

Thoughtful?  Damned ingrate.

44 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“Well, recruiting is flat.”

A few years ago, I posted something about a model some folks at Mercer had come up with they used to predict which schools recruits were likely to choose.  They concluded thusly:

high school athletes prefer winning programs that are close to home, are in possession of good physical facilities, and are in good graces with the NCAA. Interestingly enough however, reduced scholarships increase the likelihood of choosing a particular school, holding all else constant…  [Emphasis added.]

They claimed about a 70% accuracy rate with their model, by the way.

I wonder, though, in an age of smart phones, Twitter and the Internet if it’s getting harder for schools to seal the borders.  David Cutcliffe thinks it is.

Cutcliffe, in a recent interview, lifted a smart phone in his right hand to explain.

“This has changed everything,” he said. “We hear that the world is flat now. Well, recruiting is flat. There’s more range in recruiting because of technology. It’s still about communication and building relationships, but that’s a lot easier for me to do with a youngster in Los Angeles than it was years ago.”

The article goes on to note…

Less than two weeks before signing day, of the 30-player pool composed of the top 10 committed prospects in Florida, California and Texas, 43 percent have committed to play or already enrolled at programs out of their home state.

That’s an increase of more than 10 percent from 2006.

Now some of that may be due to what’s transpired at Texas over the last year or so, with Mack Brown being widely perceived as a lame duck and Charlie Strong just hitting the recruiting trail.  But I do wonder if there’s something to what Cutcliffe says.  Besides the technology, there’s also the increasing saturation of televised college football.  Play in the right conference and a student-athlete’s family isn’t going to miss seeing him play, no matter the distance between home and school.

Just something to ponder the next time somebody yells about a top Georgia kid going outside the state to play ball.

34 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Coaching chemistry

I mentioned this in passing the other day, but one thing to keep in mind with the coaching changes is that Jeremy Pruitt is the first defensive coordinator under Richt who was presented with a clean slate in terms of hiring assistants on day one.  How big a deal is that?

Q: Does it make it a little more comfortable of a jump because you’ll be working with Jeremy and the two of you know each other well?

A: Definitely. I know – our system and his system, we brought it from Alabama – and it’s very similar. He and I always talked throughout the season about different things and whatnot. Just the familiarity of me the him and him to me and knowing what’s kind of expected out of the defensive scheme that we’re going to put together will probably help both us a lot. It’s hard to make everyone understand what you think and when there’s already someone there who knows what you think it makes the transition go a lot easier.

Mind you, this is coming from a guy who still hasn’t been assigned a position to coach yet.  You’ve got to think hitting the ground running with a staff that has your back not just from a loyalty standpoint but also intellectually in terms of knowing what you’re trying to do has to be helpful for a new coordinator.  Between that and the number of players returning who are already used to playing in a 3-4, I’d like to think the confidence level will be palpably improved between this year’s opener with Clemson and last year’s.  We’ll see.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Familiar faces

Phil Steele’s compiled his 2014 returning starters list, which you can see here.  It’s easy to read too much into this, but there are still a few SEC-related items worth noting.

  • For one, the SEC looks to have plenty of old faces back this season, as nine of its teams are in Steele’s top fifty.
  • Georgia is the only school in the conference to return as many as ten starters on one side of the ball.
  • By comparison, Missouri brings back nine starters total.
  • Tennessee has no returning starters on either of its lines.  That’s no as in zero.  Good luck with that, Butch.
  • Texas A&M, however, brings back four starters on each line.  That won’t make up for losing Johnny Football, but it’s not a bad place to start.

You guys see anything else?

36 Comments

Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

Just the facts, ma’am.

With the news that University of Missouri university officials had neither reported to law enforcement nor opened their own investigation into a student-athlete’s allegation of a 2010 rape after becoming aware of it comes a question for those of you who thought the NCAA did the right thing going after Penn State for the Sandusky transgressions:  is it time for Sheriff Emmert to saddle up and come riding to the rescue?

In for a penny and all that, you know.

17 Comments

Filed under The NCAA