When Nick Saban adds a PGA player to his staff next season, you’ll know why.

Look who turned up at the Masters and bumped into 5-star recruit Rashad Roundtree.

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14 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

An outbreak of common sense?

I’m shocked – not in the Captain Renault sense, either – that the NBA is considering a tradeoff like this:

In the dispute over what should be done about age limits for players coming out of college basketball and entering the draft, expect the NBA’s D-League to become a major battlefield.

According to multiple sources, a proposed plan that is circulating now would see the age limit extended from its current position — one year after high school graduation — to three years, essentially barring most players from entering the NBA until they are 20 or 21…

The sources said that, in order to pave the way for raising the age limit, the league would be willing to expand salaries in the D-League, giving each team a salary cap and allowing executives with each team to sign players as they wish. Not only would that allow D-League teams to sign good young players, it would allow NBA clubs to size up young executives and player evaluators…

The idea behind the potential change is that, while the NBA wants to keep out players who are viewed as too young, it does not want to deny them the chance to make a living…

Logical and fair.  Which probably means it has zippo chance of becoming reality.  But, damn, if I were the NCAA, I’d be getting behind this proposal quick and hard.  It’s a golden opportunity to drain some of the hypocrisy out of the amateurism swamp.

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UPDATE:  Not so fast, says John Infante.

There’s two ways to look at college athletics: as private enterprise or a government program. Either way, changes to professional draft rules do very little to help the NCAA justify its position. As private enterprise, it still needs to establish why antitrust law should not apply, especially to an activity easily categorized as price fixing, not to mention the moral arguments raised both for and against amateurism. As a government program, college athletics should continue held to the even higher standard of fulfilling an important function and doing so in a fair way to the maximum number of people. The NBA offering a different route to even hundreds of players does little to help the NCAA in either case.

13 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Eh, what’s in a name?

I appreciate that the Chick-fil-A Bowl is bringing “Peach” back to the name, but c’mon, guys, this?

“It got down to what is our history, what is our heritage, what is our tradition and how can we pay homage to that in our name,” Stokan said.

“We undertook research to find out what is the best name and how it fits with the bowl. That’s how we got back to Peach. We felt it was important to the fans, to the staff and to the volunteers who have committed to the bowl through the years. So we paid homage to the history and the tradition of the bowl.”

Seriously, if you had to spend more than, oh, ten seconds on that research, you were wasting your time.  It’s the only other name the game has ever had.

The real reason for the move wasn’t homage paying.  It was, as happens in so many ways these days, more corporate and commercial in nature.

The change back to Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl stems from last April’s decision by College Football Playoff organizers to make the Atlanta bowl one of six rotating sites of national semifinal games.

The playoff organizers stipulated that the Atlanta bowl’s name would have to become more in sync with the other five in the semifinal rotation, all of which include a traditional moniker as well as a corporate sponsor: Allstate Sugar Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl, AT&T Cotton Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl Presented by Vizio.

Thanks, though.  Can’t wait for the peach milkshake, presented by Chick-fil-A.

16 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

Seriously, how does Mark Emmert have a job?

The NCAA is here for you, student-athletes.

And is sensitive to your concerns.

(By the way, the median salary in the CFL is $83,000, Mark.)

When he’s not denigrating them, Emmert writes checks with his mouth that his ass can’t cash.

And that’s just from this morning.  Jeebus, what a putz.

33 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

“Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I don’t know. If there’s something to announce, I’ll announce it.”

Mark Richt walks a mile in Dabo Swinney’s shoes.

Richt understands what Swinney endured Monday, when he announced the dismissal of sophomore quarterback Chad Kelly. Before the spring game on Saturday, Kelly battled for the starting role with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson. A series of regrettable offenses, including Kelly’s verbal lash to an assistant coach on the sideline Saturday, provoked Swinney’s decision.

Richt said he does not need to know all the private details to understand Swinney’s motivation — the fundamental responsibility to protect the long-term interests of the program.

“I don’t know how good Kelly is. I don’t know where he was in their mindset, and I don’t even know what happened,” Richt said, “but somewhere along the line, they were like, ‘We can’t have this and sustain this program the way we want to sustain it.’

Uneasy lies the head that wears a headset.

According to Georgia coach Mark Richt, few truly grasp the responsibility required of his position.

Few realize the breadth and depth with which difficult decisions must be weighed. Few understand the complex duty of managing the consequences of those decisions in public when many of the details provoking them must remain private.

“People are like ‘Why is he doing that’ or ‘What is he thinking?’” Richt said Wednesday evening before visiting fans at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, the second stop along the Bulldog Club Tour with Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox.

“There have been times where I wish I could just explain to everybody what I know, so they’d understand,” Richt said. “Until you sit in the chair you really don’t know what that’s like.”

All of which may explain why he often appears coy discussing player discipline.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he may not announce any discipline including possible suspensions for the four players who were arrested on the eve of spring practice before the Clemson opener.

“Every time I discipline a guy I don’t tell everybody what I do all the time,” Richt said. “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”

Or maybe that’s what comes of us not being in the arena.  It’s a fine line to walk between honest decency and patronizing the fan base.  Richt handles that about as well as we should probably expect from a head coach these days.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Steve Patterson, still rolling.

The biggest jerk in college athletics simply cannot believe what a bunch of ingrates college athletes are.  In fact, he’s mad as hell and isn’t going to suffer in silence.  Which is a shame, because this is how Steve Patterson goes about making a case:

First, you lie.

“It’s interesting when you look at the objections of the plaintiffs in the case; we address all of them,” Patterson said. “If our athletes get hurt, we pay all their medical bills. If they want to come back and graduate, we pay for them to come back and graduate. We do everything that they say they wanted.”

Next, you impugn their motives.

Patterson, who oversees an annual athletic budget of roughly $170 million, said the “whole thing smells of guys in the legal profession looking for a fee.”

Patterson directed that comment towards sports labor lawyer Jeff Kessler, who last month filed an antitrust claim against the NCAA and the five largest conferences in New Jersey federal court, hoping to represent all scholarship players in college basketball and football players.

Kessler is arguing for a more free market in which schools can offer more than a scholarship to win over a player’s services.

Then, you wrap it up with some over the top righteous indignation.

“Guys like Jeff Kessler are trying to destroy the college system to get a percentage or a fee,” Patterson said. “If they do that, they’ll be destroying the greatest thing to happen to the college system aside from the G.I. Bill.”

Yeah, how dare Kessler try to get a little money for himself and his clients.  Doesn’t he know guys like Patterson have worked hard for that scratch by doing their own share of damage to the college system realigning conferences, whoring out to television, lengthening the regular season and postseason, etc.?  If anybody’s gonna squeeze that golden goose, it’ll be Steve “Let’s Play ‘Em In Dubai” Patterson.

Patterson did admit Thursday that he felt the NCAA and the schools were losing the public relations battle.

No shit, Sherlock.  I wonder how that’s happened.

41 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Making Mason

One good thing to take away from spring practice is Mike Bobo’s unequivocal support for Hutson Mason’s work.

“I thought Hutson had an outstanding spring,” Bobo said after Georgia’s final practice on Thursday. “Really stepped up in the leadership department. Had great command of the offense. Was extremely accurate. Came every day prepared to get better. Even today was one of his better days, on the last days. He was extremely focused. I expect him to take that confident that he gained this spring and his leadership abilities and apply it to the summer.”

No, he doesn’t have Aaron Murray’s arm strength. But he’s worked on his mechanics, with good results.

Mason’s main goal for the offseason was to improve his footwork in the pocket, watching film of Tom Brady’s drop-backs and pocket presence. The verdict? Success, according to Bobo.

“From the first day to the last day you could tell there was more zip on the ball,” Bobo said. “I think he was using his lower body a lot better, and his throwing motion. He stayed more settled in the pocket, and kept his feet beneath him. And he still made plays with his feet running out of the pocket.”

And he got through spring scrimmage without turning the ball over.  If all of that carries over into the season, with his surrounding cast (assuming all the happy health news plays out), he’s got a decent chance to have a successful year.

If Mason needs any extra motivation, he can always pin this list from Athlon, which ranks him below a former FSU backup who Athlon admits may not even be Alabama’s opening day starter, on the wall.  Low praise, indeed.

50 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football