Daily Archives: February 22, 2014

“At some point in time there will be closure, but it’s not right now.”

The 2016 Georgia-Georgia Southern game has been rescheduled for November 21, 2015, at a cost to Georgia of a mere $325,000.  That’s a fair amount of jack to move a game, especially for an athletic department that watches its dollars most carefully.  It also moves the game out of its regular four-year rotation. So Seth Emerson asks the logical question and gets:

McGarity insisted the move had nothing to do with any possibility of the SEC going to a nine-game schedule, which at the earliest would happen in 2016.

“It has nothing to do with other than moving it up a year,” McGarity said.

Yeah, sure.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

“I can only hope that’s posturing for a coach who wants the rule.”

Man, if I didn’t know any better, it sure sounds like there are a lot of haunted head coaches in college football.  As well as a lot of head coaches who aren’t doctors and shouldn’t play them in an NCAA rules change debate.

“How do you do it [slow the game down] for a guy who is out there for seven, eight, nine plays in a row,” Calhoun told reporters this week, “especially if it’s a kid you have to manage that maybe has a sickle cell trait or asthma.”

Some clarifications:

  • Attaching pace of play and player safety to sickle cell trait seems to be a reach. No Division I player has ever died during a game due to sickle cell trait. Every documented case of death due to SCT has occurred during practice or offseason conditioning.

    Sickle cell trait is the leading killer of Division I players since 2000. The inherited condition is passed along genetically. In small percentages among mostly African-Americans, it causes blood cells to “sickle” during times of exertion.

  • Oklahoma, among other schools, has had award winners play with the condition. If coaches and trainers are educated, they know enough to ease such players into drills to avoid overexertion.
  • The NCAA has mandated testing for sickle cell trait since August 2010. A coaching and training staff would know if player had the trait.
  • The last documented player to die from the condition was Ole Miss’ Bennie Abram. He died four years ago Wednesday.
  • Seven, eight, nine plays in a row? Scott Anderson scoffs. The respected Oklahoma head athletic trainer is one of the leading authorities on SCT. Anderson is also the former president of the College Athletics Trainers Society (CATS).

“All any [unhealthy] player ever has to do is ‘take a knee’, or, if down … stay down,” Anderson wrote in an email. “With a downed player … all play stops! Medical assessment ensues, the player is removed from play.”

Unhealthy ain’t the same as poorly conditioned.  (Or out of position, for that matter.)  It makes you wonder if some of these guys have any clue about how to deal with the kids who really are a health risk.

7 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple

It’s not easy being decent.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is one of the good guys in the game.  He’s done a helluva job at his alma mater and is in the camp of those who try to do right by their players.  Yet his testimony at yesterday’s NLRB hearing is a perfect example of the conflicted position schools take with their student-athletes.

… Fitzgerald echoed that sentiment. He said his credentials prove he puts academics first. Specifically, he cited a time last season when a player asked Fitzgerald to sit out of practice that week to catch up on school work. Fitzgerald obliged, and thus, that player was not prepared to play in the game that week against Nebraska and did not travel with the team.

That would support Northwestern’s argument that football players are students first and athletes second.

However, CAPA has said all along that it is not alleging any misconduct by Northwestern. Their point is that coaches are allowed to treat players unfairly if they want to, and the players have no representation. So even though Northwestern may not unjustly pull scholarships, other schools could, and CAPA isn’t planning to stop at Northwestern.

Essentially, they would argue, a football coach with the ability to pull compensation — the scholarship — is like a boss in an employee-employer relationship. And just because your boss is cool, that doesn’t mean he’s not your boss.

Fitzgerald told Barbour that he believes the student-athlete experience is all-encompassing — the athletic endeavors or an athlete are mixed with their academic and social endeavors. He said he believes in the ideal of the student-athlete, and that his players are not employees.

However, CAPA lawyer Gary Kohlman pointed out that in a Chicago Sun-Times article last year that Fitzgerald — who initially denied this sentiment — called being a student-athlete a “full-time job.” The question was related to increasing player stipends, which Fitzgerald supports. He clarified his stance after reading his quote.

“It’s a full-time job from a responsibility standpoint,” he said.

That’s the logic knot you tie yourself up in once you become an advocate for some form of payment to players.  But that’s not all here.  The problem for Fitzgerald is that once you get past the pay-for-play issue and focus on how much say players have over their working conditions, or, depending on your point of view, “the student-athlete experience” – regardless of the label, it’s basically none – it’s a tough sell.

Maybe that’s encompassed in preparing players for life.

75 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label

“I’m just the overweight P.E. teacher,”

Scott Woerner is an inductee into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.  The AJ-C‘s Steve Hummer caught up with one of the mainstays of the 1980 national championship team and got a great story out of what he’s doing now. Definitely worth a read.

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Filed under Life After Football