Daily Archives: April 12, 2014

Name that caption: spring game, Urnge edition

I apologize to your retinas.

Keep the child abuse jokes to a minimum. If you can.

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Adventures in G-Day expectations: “We’re not going to try and trick anybody. We just want to see who can play defense.”

Yeah, I know there’s a lot of downplaying going on in advance of today’s scrimmage.

Coach Mark Richt said he thinks Pruitt’s unit will probably be pretty vanilla since G-Day will be televised on CSS and fair game for opponents to scout. But Richt said the Bulldogs will play “some good, solid fundamental defense.”

Pruitt certainly hopes so.

“I hope they see us get lined up,” Pruitt said. “I hope they see us play hard every snap. I hope we tackle well. I hope we play the ball in the deep part of the field. Just fundamentals, striking blockers, keeping the ball leveraged. That’s what we’ve been harping on all spring. Hopefully they’ll see that.”

You know what?  I could friggin’ live with that.

Aside from whatever progress Pruitt has been able to coax from his troops, I’ll be keen to see how the offensive line’s work in progress is… well, progressing.

And I’ll be rooting for J.J. Green.

“I told my whole city to come out to the G-Day game,” Green said. “I told my whole town. I put it on Facebook. I want everyone to come to the G-Day game. It’s going to be a wonderful weekend and I hope it’s a sunny day.”

The weather’s not gonna let you down today, so show us what you’ve got, man.

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UPDATE:  Rosters, bitchez!

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Today is the first day of the rest of Jordan Jenkins’ Georgia career.

A couple of Jordan Jenkins quotes for you to sample this morning:

  • We’ve got more energy now, and it’s more unified at this point. We got really caught up last season in trying to know what to do before the next snap.”
  • “Just to showcase how we feel like, to really make amends for last year, and showcase what this season is going to be like in the fall,” Jenkins said. “And just to show off all the effort the coaches have put into us, and the effort we put into this program in the last couple months.”

A dose of humility, a little bit of relief in playing a simplified scheme and a hunger to improve.  That’s the kind of happy talk I can appreciate.

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O’Bannon goes to trial.

Nobody expected Judge Wilken to grant either party’s summary judgment motions, which she didn’t.  What she did do, though, was kneecap much of the NCAA’s position.  Consider the following:

  • “… the First Amendment does not guarantee media organizations unlimited rights to broadcast entire college football and basketball games, a defense used by the NCAA to justify not paying players for use of their names, images and likenesses.”
  • Wilken ruled that the NCAA cannot argue that the limits enable increased support for women’s sports and less prominent men’s sports, because it “could mandate that Division I schools and conferences redirect a greater portion of the licensing revenue generated by football and basketball to these other sports. … The NCAA has not explained why it could not adopt more stringent revenue-sharing rules.”
  • The NCAA had stated that not paying players promotes the integration of education and athletics because it keeps athletes from being treated differently from other students. Wilken rejected a set of statements from university and conference leaders supporting that argument and said the NCAA must show evidence showing the restriction “actually contributes to the integration of education and athletics.”
  • In another argument, the NCAA had said not paying players promotes competitive balance between schools. Wilken wrote that the NCAA presented “some evidence” but that to prevail at trial on that argument, the NCAA “will have to present evidence that the (limit) promotes a level of competitive balance that (1) contributes to consumer demand and (2) could not be achieved through less restrictive means.”

All told, that’s pretty brutal.  As plaintiffs’ lead counsel put it, “The opinion, the way we read it, does not leave a lot of credence to amateurism and shows it’s going to be their burden to establish it at trial…”  The judge tossed the NCAA’s First Amendment and Title IX defenses, which means it’s now going to have to convince a jury of its peers (heh) that somehow it’s okay for schools to pull in billions from commercial marketing of competitive sports while preventing athletes from profiting off their names and likenesses.  Maybe the NCAA can screen Chariots of Fire for the jury.

Oh, and that’s not all.  It may be time for ESPN and its brethren to get a little nervous, too.

“Whether Division I student-athletes hold any ownership rights in their athletic performances does not depend on the scope of broadcasters’ First Amendment rights but, rather, on whether the student-athletes themselves validly transferred their rights of publicity to another party,” Wilken wrote. “Because the record does not demonstrate that all Division I student-athletes validly transferred all of these rights, the First Amendment does not preclude student-athletes from asserting rights of publicity in live broadcasts or re-broadcasts of entire games. Accordingly, the First Amendment does not preclude the existence of a market for group licenses to use student-athletes’ names, images and likenesses in those broadcasts.”

If not for NCAA rules, college athletes “would have an economic interest in being able to sell group licenses for the rights to broadcast their games,” she wrote. Added Wilken: The First Amendment “would not empower broadcasters to undermine the student-athletes’ economic interests” by televising games without group licenses.

In other words, every existing broadcast deal out there, including those conference network partnerships, may be a nullity, because nobody bothered to license the student-athletes’ publicity rights.  Chaos, baby!

If I’m one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, I’m having a real hard time suppressing my glee today.  Donald Remy, however, sees no reason to panic.

In a statement, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said the association disagrees with the ruling that the NCAA cannot justify restraint due to women’s sports and other men’s sports.

“We have confidence in the legal merits of our case and look forward to presenting it at trial,” Remy said. “In the meantime, we are evaluating our legal options with respect to the decision.”

What he should see is a reason to tell Mark Emmert to settle, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.  Trial starts June 9.

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“Sometimes they may know what to do, but they’re second-guessing themselves.”

A little pre-G-Day perspective for you guys:  do I really need to say more about Louisville’s spring game than this?

The offense piled up 951 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first exhibition appearance of coach Bobby Petrino’s second regime, showing off an abundance of weapons in the receiving and running back corps.

Well, yeah.  It could have been worse.

Gardner completed eight passes for 20 or more yards and would have had a ninth if a 66-yard bullet to Parker wasn’t called back for an illegal-formation penalty.

Neither Grantham nor his towel were available for comment.

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