Time for the opener’s been set.
Game time set for Georgia's season opener vs. Clemson: 5:30 p.m. on ESPN—
AJC UGA (@ajcuga) May 30, 2014
Could be worse, that’s for sure.
How much will the network cost me to get?
According to Sports Business Journal, carriers in the 11-state SEC footprint are expected to pay $1.30 per month per subscription. In non-SEC states, the license fee would be only 25 cents, according to SBJ.
How much is the network going to be worth to each school?
It’s hard to count that high.
Based on the rate within SEC states alone, if you multiply $1.30 times 12 months times the estimated 30 million subscribers in that footprint, you get $468 million. That would be $33.4 million per school — per year. And that’s without counting advertising revenue or subscribers from non-SEC states. Factor that in, and the SEC Network could easily be worth $500 million per year or $35.7 million per school once full distribution is achieved.
Easily. And what’s that going to mean for the fan? Ask Joe Alleva.
Currently, each SEC school gets about $20 million per year in TV revenue, so it’s easy to see what a huge impact the network will have on SEC bottom lines. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva has said he hopes revenue from the SEC Network will reduce or at least postpone the need for raising ticket prices.
Well, we can always hope. But I think that’s about as likely as a hope that beer sales will reduce or at least postpone the need for raising ticket prices.
At least they’ll be able to afford to fund that tenth football coaching position now. So there’s that.
I know some of you cling to that romantic, Chariots of Fire version of amateurism… you know, because there’s so much British aristocrats and inner city kids have in common. It’s charming, and the NCAA thanks you for your service. The reality, though, is that amateurism at its heart is about control, nothing more and nothing less.
Don’t believe me? Well, check out what Dennis Dodd says Mike Slive’s conference is pondering right now.
We’re being asked to care about, oh, 100 kids. A hundred football players out of 450,000. When you start evaluating the early entries into the NFL Draft, that care factor comes out to .00022 percent of all NCAA athletes.
And, yet what the SEC is thinking about — what all of college football is having to consider — is upheaval. The answer to a record number of undrafted juniors (almost 40 percent) is to allow perhaps more agent interaction.
You can semantically dress it up any way you want. Commissioner Mike Slive here at the SEC spring meetings this week called for a “neutral or selfless” panel “so credible” that its advice to these wayward youths cannot be denied.
Amateurs, we’ve been told over and over, don’t need professional advisors. It’s even codified.
There’s a quiet revolution coming in the next few months. Legislation emerging from autonomy could come as soon as January. The commissioners will have to deal with this issue head-on at some point. It could require changing the NCAA’s decades-old view of improper agent dealings:
Bylaw 12.3.1 reads: You are not eligible in a sport if you ever have accepted money, transportation or other benefits from an agent or agreed to have an agent market your athletics ability …
That was all great until the futile outflow of talent – those juniors may not have been drafted, but that doesn’t mean they were warming the bench in college – turned into a torrent that doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down any time in the near future. At least not without some proper management, right, Mike? And the SEC is here to help, kids.
Slive’s intent is invite “people into the tent,” to provide better career counseling.
“Let’s be more open about it,” he added. “Instead of the separation of it, let’s bring them in as opposed to doing things more covertly.”
The SEC obviously has a stake in the issue. Nick Saban would like the NFL to invite a more realistic number of prospects to the combine. The SEC has had its share of slimy agent issues.
“If you have a student who is incredible at biology, if some petroleum company wants to come hire him, they’ll talk to him as a junior,” Auburn AD Jay Jacobs said. “The challenge that we have, is telling our student-athletes … where they would go in the draft. Whether that is using agents or some other model we’ve got to provide better resources.”
The nobility is touching. I might even believe it on the day when the SEC announces it’s permitting recruits to seek professional representation before signing a letter of intent. Until then, I think I know who is best being served here.
In one sense, I’m a little amused by the firestorm that’s arisen over James Franklin’s end run around the summer camp rule. The SEC coaches are pissy. Notre Dame thinks it’s a swell idea, too. It’s even given ESPN’s bloggers the chance to wax righteously indignant over Houston Nutt’s 37-signee class. Again.
Fun times, indeed. (And when can we expect Corch to announce an appearance? You know he’s got to be kicking himself for not coming up with the idea first.)
But ultimately, it’s futile for the SEC to wage this fight. The NCAA isn’t going to do anything about it, especially in the new age of autonomy. And the coaches up north are going to keep at it, because here’s where the talent is.
So, one firing and two schools later, Tommy Tuberville is still chasing his great white whale.
Though Auburn laying claim to a national title that year would get into tricky territory since there was a designated championship game in 2004 and the Tigers weren’t selected to play in it, they were an undefeated champion of a major conference and won a significant bowl game.
“What I was disappointed with is we didn’t have the media step up and say, ‘OK, there’s got to be a champion so who is it? It obviously should have been us,” Tuberville said. “Oklahoma lost. Maybe they could say it should be split because they played in the game. But Auburn went undefeated.
“If it’d been Michigan, if it had been Alabama, there would have been more of a push toward saying, hey they should be named No. 1. But Auburn, for some reason, we never got to first base on it. There was no support out of the administration.”
Sense of shame? Recognition that it’s hard to claim a BCS title without playing in a BCS title game? Who knows.
But it may now be a thing.
That could be changing.
Jay Jacobs told AL.com that a committee will meet in June to discuss whether the school should officially recognize more than the two national titles for which it officially hangs banners.
That sounds like fun. Especially when Auburn rationalizes claiming a 2004 championship due to USC’s ineligibility and a 1993 one in spite of its own ineligibility.
I just hope they have another parade.
When it comes to where the future of amateurism is headed, I’m not sure I can think of a more glaring juxtaposition than the one between the news that the NCAA is seeking yet again to delay the commencement of the O’Bannon trial and this stunning comment by Harris Pastides, the South Carolina president and member of the NCAA Governance Steering Committee: “If we allow this reform to fail, the obvious next step would be to give up amateurism.”
Can you imagine anyone in a position like his making an admission like that five years ago? Or how about this one?
The glut of lawsuits facing the NCAA and Big Five: “We get briefed on it all the time. But we were way before this [with reform]. It’s been around for years. I don’t get a sense that this current move toward reform and policy change is not a direct result.”
Hell, there are still plenty of folks denying that linkage right now.
Reality, it seems, is slowly sinking in. At long last.
The tidbits just keep on coming.
Surprise, surprise. Georgia’s holy quest to rid the college football world of uneven treatment of drug issues winds up a complete and utter failure.
There were many issues discussed the first three days of SEC meetings this week. A uniform drug policy for the SEC was not one of them.
“Never came up,” Richt said as he prepared to go home Wednesday afternoon.
Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity was asked if it was a dead issue.
“Yes,” he said.
Georgia president Jere Morehead vowed last year to push the issue with his counterparts at a meeting last fall. But evidently he got nowhere, just as McGarity, Richt and others did last summer at SEC meetings.
And so Georgia officially presses onward, perhaps the only SEC school to test and suspend players for a first-time marijuana offense. It has caused a key player to miss the season opener (and sometimes more) for at least three straight seasons, and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, arrested last year for marijuana possession, should make it four when Georgia hosts Clemson in August.
Meanwhile, marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many of Georgia’s opponents either don’t test players often or don’t penalize them for a first offense.
Shocking, I know. But Richt isn’t wavering.
“I’ve never pursued anything,” he said. “I think people have asked me, ‘Would it make sense for everybody to be under the same guidelines?’ Yeah it would. But I’ve never sat there and said, ‘Hey we need to do this.’ I’m not going to the A.D. or the presidents and saying, ‘Hey we need to change this.’
“I love our guys, and I don’t want them to do drugs. And we’ve got a stiff policy because I love them. If it costs a guy some playing time, but it saves them a whole lot of hell and grief down the road, then I’m willing to make that trade off.”
I actually find that admirable in a sense. Whether you agree with him or not, Richt is doing what he thinks is the right thing, regardless of what the policies are at competing programs. It’s just that Georgia needs to be smarter in factoring the consequences of that stance when it comes to structuring a schedule.