Daily Archives: April 6, 2014

Mark Emmert’s got a plan. Trust him.

The NCAA thought to hold Emmert’s Final Four presser on Sunday in the hopes nobody would pay attention.  Given what was said, it hardly seems worth the effort.

At his news conference Sunday, NCAA president Mark Emmert said the association was in no rush to come up with plans in case college players’ unions sprout up across the nation.

The association hasn’t been in a rush about anything else, so why should this be any different? Oh, but this union stuff… it’s not good.

“To be perfectly frank, the notion of using a union employee model to address the challenges that do exist in intercollegiate athletics is something that strikes most people as a grossly inappropriate solution to the problems,” Emmert said Sunday. “It would blow up everything about the collegiate model of athletics.”

I could be wrong, but I suspect the players pushing for a union see that as a feature, not a bug. In any event, patience is advised.

“There’s some things that need to get fixed,” Emmert said. “They’re working very aggressively to do that. No one up here believes that the way you fix that is by converting student-athletes into unionized employees.”

If only…

Emmert was joined by other NCAA leaders who said many of the association’s biggest issues — including paying athletes and improving their health care — could be more easily resolved if the five biggest conferences were allowed to write more of their own rules.

So basically the NCAA’s collegiate model of athletics is to give lip service to player concerns, fail to take concrete action, blame the failure on not having enough control over the process and keep cashing the checks in the meantime. Hey, if it ain’t broke and all…

Oh, and stay detached from economic reality, too.

Say what?  Irresponsible to whom?  Mark Emmert? Maybe next year’s presser should be held at midnight.  In a closet.

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“He’s the best running back in the nation. You can’t really hold him back for that long.”

If Todd Gurley is the bell cow for this year’s Georgia team, then things are going in the right direction.

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Filed under Georgia Football

In 2020, Mark Cuban loses his mind. Not.

Let me go out on a limb and say this will not be in anyone’s future, for the simple but obvious reason that if Mark Cuban thought there was money to be made with a football minor league, he’d already be doing it.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

“I believe it’s in their best interests to vote no.”

Pat Fitzgerald is taking a stand.

They say all politics is local.

In the case of the Northwestern union vote, it has become personal.

While former Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter and College Athletes Players’ Association chief Ramogi Huma met with lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday, coach Pat Fitzgerald delivered a message to his players.

Addressing them for the first time after getting clearance from university lawyers, Fitzgerald told them it’s in their “best interests” to vote no on unionization April 25.

Fitzgerald did not explain his reasoning Saturday, other than to say the players do not need a “third party” to advance desired reforms regarding long-term health care and increasing stipends.

Helluva thing to spend time on during spring practice, ain’t it?

Fitzgerald’s got to walk a pretty fine line with his opposition, too.

Under the National Labor Relations Board ruling on March 26, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is now in the position of being an employer whose employees are entitled to vote on whether to unionize. As the employer, Fitzgerald, his three-member staff, his nine assistant coaches and his four graduate assistant coaches are entitled to urge “no” votes. They can try to explain to the players that the union is a bad idea for them and for the school, but they must be careful in what they say. Under the law that governs union elections, Fitzgerald and his crew may not indulge in statements that could be viewed as:

• Threats

• Promises

• Interrogations

• Retaliation

If any of the coaches, for example, discuss playing time or team privileges or a player’s scholarship in the context of the election, the coaches would violate labor laws. If they question a player about his thoughts on the union, that would constitute a violation. If they suggest there would be repercussions after a vote to unionize, that would be a violation. But they are permitted to explain alternatives to the union and to offer suggestions about how to solve the problems that led the players to ask for the election.

At Alabama, Saban would have a lot more folks available to urge “no” votes.  But I digress.

I agree with Munson that we won’t see any cheap shots or sharp tactics from Fitzgerald and his staff.  That’s more likely to backfire than anything else.  But I do expect there’s plenty of emotion on display behind closed doors.

Well, belief and facts are often entirely different.  In any event, I think they’ll be careful.  But if the Northwestern players vote to unionize, don’t be surprised if tactics do sharpen, especially at other schools staring down the union barrel.  College football at present isn’t emotionally equipped to handle it.

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Filed under Look For The Union Label

Bauerle: is the NCAA putting the horse back in front of the cart?

Somebody asked me the other day what to make of the Jack Bauerle situation and my answer was that I didn’t have much of an answer.  But John Infante points out that it’s an interesting test case for the new NCAA enforcement regime and that Georgia appears to be following the proper protocols.

Taking this information and looking at the NCAA’s penalty matrix, we can see how the penalties faced by the institution and coach differ based on the mitigating and aggravating factors. For Georgia, a Level I violation with mitigation puts most penalties in a range that includes no penalty. The only penalty required for a Level I violation with mitigation is a $5,000 fine. Bauerle on the other hand could be facing a Level I violation with aggravation. That would include a minimum show-cause order of five years and a minimum suspension of 50% of the season. The show-cause order could also restrict him from all athletically related duties, effectively banning him from coaching. Without aggravation, he would be facing a minimum two year show-cause order with partial restrictions of athletically related duties and suspension for 30% of a season.

So far the early indications are that the system is working as intented. A serious violation occurred, was reported promptly, and will be resolved relatively quickly after it was discovered. Georgia is getting credit for having a strong recent history of rule compliance and for detecting, reporting, and acknowledging the violation. Meanwhile the coach, who is alleged to be almost entirely responsible as an individual, is facing the more serious sanctions.

Which, in a situation in which the coach is the bad actor, seems like the proper distribution of punishment.  A shocking thought, I know, but could it be that, for once, the NCAA is getting its act together?

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“That’s a pro model, completely different.”

Boy, after reading this Larry Scott Q&A, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think everyone in college athletics was working for free.

“The money that is generated is invested back in student-athletes and programs and enhancements for fans and making sure the programs are successful going forward. What would happen — in my view — if this unionization effort or these pay for play lawsuits are successful and you had to go down this path with football student-athletes and men’s basketball student-athletes, what it would do is take all the resources that are available for these other sports away and that would be a big concern from my perspective…”

Larry, by the way, made more than $3 million in 2011-2, and currently is working under a five-year deal.  At least somebody’s getting pay for play.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label

Was a sunny day.

Boy, a little nice weather and Mark Richt is ready to wax poetic.

Georgia football coach Mark Richt seemed to be in a pretty good mood after his team’s second spring scrimmage Saturday morning in Sanford Stadium.

“Beautiful day, beautiful weather,” Richt said. “The dogwoods are blooming, red buds. The sun is shining. The leaves are turning green. It was a good day.”

Maybe that inspired the offense.

It was a good day for the offense, especially when you compare it to the mood offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was in after Thursday’s practice.

“The offense played way better than they did last scrimmage,” said defensive end Toby Johnson, who had three tackles.

Heavy rain hit during the first scrimmage a week earlier but this one was held under mostly sunny skies with temperatures hitting the lower 60s.

“We came out with a lot more passion and energy,” quarterback Hutson Mason said. “I don’t know if today the sun was out or what it was. Guys came ready to go and the offense definitely was much better than last Saturday.”

Enjoy it while you can, fellas.  Summer is coming.

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