Daily Archives: June 26, 2014

The bell trolls for thee.

I’m pretty sure Carvell is trolling somebody here.  I’m just not quite sure whom.  Are we supposed to be surprised that a wide receiver would turn down an offer from Georgia Tech to take one from Duke?

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7 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting

Don’t get John McCain started on college sports.

I’ve mentioned before that the NCAA’s long-term strategy of seeking redress in Congress if the courts don’t go its way on amateurism may not be that easy a path, because there may not be the groundswell of support the schools and conferences expect there (except for Republican knee-jerk opposition to unions, of course).

John McCain is an example of what I’m referring to.

“I worry a little bit about some of the professionalism that is in college football particularly,” McCain said.

He mentioned the effort to form a union among collegiate athletes, while mistakenly referring to the Northwestern case by saying it involved the University of Illinois.

“Obviously some legal experts told them they had something they might be able to succeed in court and yet I worry about the competitiveness of some of the smaller schools and their ability to attract athletes the caliber that we now see at the highest level,” McCain said. “I also worry when you and I can probably predict the top four college football teams in the country before the season starts. There is a certain, shall I say, advantage, that some schools have over the rest of them.”

A former wrestler at the Naval Academy, McCain said he’s nostalgic for the days of the service academies’ dominance.

“And the role that you play, in my view, is to blow the whistle on the egregious aspects of it. Is it really an amateur sport when the coach makes about $10 million when you count everything? Let’s just call it what it is.”

It’s a rambling response, but it seems to take note of the fiction of competitive balance that the NCAA is hanging its amateurism hat on.  Of course, I can see the NCAA agreeing with his last point and noting that with the right kind of antitrust exemption, schools could restrict Nick Saban’s salary as well.  Something for everybody!

39 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

The place where Georgia can least afford a serious injury is…

Got my Steele 2014 yesterday and started slogging my way through the deluge of information he’s published.  One of the items I usually look at early on are his conference rankings for positional groups.  The first thing that caught my eye was a wildly high ranking for Georgia’s special teams.  The second thing was a fairly low ranking for Georgia’s quarterbacks.  And that gave me some pause for thought.

In his team analysis, Steele isn’t dismissive of Mason, so all I can think is that he’s not particularly impressed with Georgia’s depth at the position.  And after watching the backups perform at G-Day, I can understand that.  It’s not that the Dawgs lack talent there; it’s that the talent is very, very raw.

And that led me to this:  is quarterback the position at which health is most critical for the team’s success this season?  I believe it is.

Keep in mind that Georgia’s been incredibly lucky avoiding serious injuries to established starting quarterbacks during Richt’s tenure.  David Greene hurt his thumb against Georgia Tech and had to leave the game (and then return late to bail out his offense) and Aaron Murray lost the last two and a half games of his career when he blew out his knee.  Other than an odd play or two here and there, that’s about it.  (Joe T wasn’t an established starter, so don’t bother to go there.)

We’d better hope that keeps up.

71 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

You may say Donald Remy’s a dreamer…

So yesterday, the NCAA took the position that since it’s possible another organization could choose to pay college players, there’s no antitrust problem.  No, really.

NCAA economic expert Lauren Stiroh testified that if, as the plaintiffs allege, college athletes are meaningfully restricted under antitrust law from being paid for their names, images and likenesses, universities outside the NCAA would be attempting to “fill in the gap” by paying players.

“So some rival NCAA would try to round up other schools not in the NCAA?” U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken asked, sounding skeptical.

Stiroh explained that numerous college athletic associations could pay players, starting with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Since O’Bannon economic expert Roger Noll previously said the NCAA doesn’t compete with these associations, the market should correct itself if there’s an NCAA restriction based on antitrust analysis, Stiroh said.

… Grand View University in Iowa, the NAIA football champion last season, reported athletic department revenue of $6.3 million in 2012-13. Florida State, the national champion in major college football, listed its revenue at $89.1 million.

NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said it’s not a question of whether the NAIA or others have the finances to be competitive. Rather, Remy said, Stiroh’s point is that within the context of antitrust analysis, other organizations that don’t have the NCAA’s alleged restraints could compete in that space by paying players. Remy cited as an example the USFL’s entry into professional football to compete with the NFL.

“There’s no restraint on the rest of the world from developing the product that the plaintiffs’ lawyers want and competing against the collegiate model of athletics that the NCAA has had for 100 years, and say ours is better,” Remy said.

You can stop chuckling any time now.  Since we’re engaging in hypothetical possibilities, here’s mine for the day – let’s say that a number of NAIA teams with wealthy alums/boosters wake up one day and decide to take Remy up on his invitation, and let’s say further it turns out they’re wildly successful channeling Donald Trump hiring Herschel Walker so that both elite recruits sign with and established D-1 players transfer to NAIA programs.  What kind of song would you expect to hear Remy’s constituents warbling then?

7 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

The virtue of a small sample size

Mark Bradley believes that the four-team playoff will usher in an era of two-loss teams having a shot at playing for a national title because that’s so 2007.

And it’s true that LSU won the MNC that season with two overtime losses on its résumé, but Bradley conveniently overlooks something.  In the six years since, care to guess how many two-loss teams showed up in the top four of the BCS standings after the regular season ended?  Zippo.  Nada.  In several of those seasons, in fact, there weren’t any two-loss teams in the top six (in 2009, the top four were all undefeated).

There’s a reason 2007 has the reputation it does as the wildest, wackiest college football season in recent memory.  It’s an outlier, not a template.

Now, when the playoff expands to eight schools…

6 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

Are running backs running away?

Interesting post up at Roll Bama Roll about how the current devolution of reliance on a stud running back in the NFL may be having an effect on the Tide’s recruiting.  It may already be having a ripple effect in college, as these charts indicate:

 

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It’s not that colleges and pro teams don’t need a running game. It’s just that the nature of how those teams construct a running game has changed.  And that’s having an effect on the value of running backs.  We saw evidence of that in this past draft, where the first running back taken wasn’t until pick #54.

As far as recruiting goes, if you’re a running back, you’re a running back and that’s it.  But what if you’re a talented high school player who has the ability to show out at more than one position?  Is that RBs are getting paid less to do their thing on Sundays going to impact your decision on how you want to be recruited?  I don’t know, but I do find it interesting that the current Alabama recruiting class, nineteen commits strong, only has one running back in its numbers.

Now I know that ‘Bama, like Georgia, isn’t the most attractive place to draw running back recruits for 2015, given the depth the school has at the position, so I don’t want to read too much into that.  But I’ll be curious to see if there’s something to this longer term – especially because Georgia has very similar needs on offense to Alabama’s.

13 Comments

Filed under Recruiting