Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

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!

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Head coach job opening? Expect to hear Kyle Flood’s name dropped.

‘Cause Jimmy Sexton is on the mother.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Playing the long game

As yesterday’s statement from the Big Ten indicates, I think it’s slowly dawning on college presidents that O’Bannon is turning into a losing proposition for them.  Now even if they lose the trial, the walls don’t start falling down around their ears immediately.  There’s an appeal process that they’ll likely milk for all it’s worth if for no other reason than that every day the inevitable is postponed is another day they don’t have to share the loot with anyone else.  But that won’t last forever.  Plus, there’s the concerns raised by the unionization effort at Northwestern and other litigation threats.  All it takes is losing once.

At some point, then, it’ll be time to turn to the last refuge – politics.  And don’t think that’s not already on their minds.

Did the reform movement arrive too late? Delany doesn’t think so. “Are you kidding me? This will be with us for a decade,” he said. “Between the reform, the restructuring, the litigation, congressional activity. This is the beginning. Not the end.”

A sentiment echoed by one of his bosses:

“A lot of water has got to go under the bridge before we’d have serious conversations about doing that,” Kaler said. “There’s a whole long list of possibilities that are out there. … A lot of people think this will go to the Supreme Court and maybe even Congress. There’s a lot of water to move.”

These guys, as much as they may protest to the contrary, ain’t going the Division III route.  There’s simply too much money involved for them to walk away from it.  They will run to the feds instead, to try to hold on to what they’ve got.  And, yes, the irony of Jim Delany asking people like Joe Barton and Orrin Hatch for assistance isn’t lost on me.  (And probably won’t be lost on them, either.)

Here’s the thing, though – who’s to say they’re any good at lobbying?  Delany can be Delany when it comes to bullying mid-major conferences who want him to throw them a bone, but how does that work when he’s the one who comes asking for a favor?  Will the presidents he speaks for be willing to do any serious horse trading for an antitrust exemption, or will they continue to operate with the same combination of arrogance and myopia that’s gotten them into the mess they’re trying to extricate themselves from?

And, maybe more importantly, should they even assume Congress is of a mind to help?

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

A conference commissioner’s most important responsibility

I mock Jim Delany now and then for behaving more like the head of programming of a sports network than running a college conference, but the reality is that he’s far from alone in his sense of priorities.

Yeah, you tell me what college presidents care about the most these days.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Praise the Lord, it’s a miracle!

The conference which commissioner not too long ago threatened to take Division III if he didn’t get his way on player compensation has found Jesus.

This is why we propose working within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes:

  • We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate.
  • If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.
  • We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.
  • We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.

Now some might call this response to the presidents’ declaration needed perspective.

Others might call it a deserved victory lap for a group that finally got those in charge to pay some attention.

But in any event, it’s a different tune than we’re used to hearing the suits sing.  And all it took was looking like crap for a few days in a California courtroom.

Which makes this gold, Jerry:

The best solutions rest not with the courts, but with us – presidents of the very universities that promote and respect the values of intercollegiate competition. Writing on behalf of all presidents of the Big Ten Conference, we must address the conflicts that have led us to a moment where the conversation about college sports is about compensation rather than academics.

Gee, whose fault is that?

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Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

Britton Banowsky, I’ve got a question for you:  if, as you say, colleges continue to seek joining Division I based on uniting a university and bringing alums back to campus as opposed to financial considerations, then why would paying players cause schools to drop football?

As always, when they say it isn’t about the money, it’s about the money.

According to data provided by the plaintiffs, C-USA revenues increased from $30 million in 2002-03 to nearly $59 million in 2011-12. Athletic budgets also experienced significant growth, as did Banowsky himself.

East Carolina’s men’s basketball team, for example, netted $642,000 in 2000 according to date collected by the Department of Education. In 2012, the school pulled in a cool $3 million. Rice football went from earning $2.2 million in ’02 to more than $40 million two years ago.

Coaching salaries have gone up along the way, as have those for athletic directors and conference commissioners.

By his own account, Banowsky said he was paid $328,000 during his first year as commissioner. Now his annual base salary is $500,000.

Part of that is due to the lucrative television contract C-USA has with Fox and CBS. The two television companies agreed to pay Banowksy’s league $84 million over a six-year period.

“There is more revenue flowing into the system than ever,” Banowsky testified. “But we’ve seen growth in expenses. As revenues are flowing in, it’s just plowed back into the athletics.”

Plowing sounds pretty lucrative.  And keep in mind this is coming from the commissioner of a mid-major conference.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

A river of money runs through it.

In one of our many discussions here on the subject of a post-amateurism college football world, someone took the position that the Kentuckys of that world would be constantly outbid by the Georgias for top-flight players.  (Nevermind that the difference between the two schools’ 2013 revenues was less than $4 million.)

This, though, can’t hurt things.

The point here is that I don’t think any of us has a real handle on how much money is flowing through college athletics departments these days.  Which is a good reason not to jump to apocalyptic conclusions.

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Beer is coming, a continuing series.

SMU made “a six-figure windfall” on beer sales for its athletic department this past season.  From only 12 basketball games.

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Sunday morning buffet

Eh, what the heck.

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Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Friday morning buffet

Just because it’s June doesn’t mean I can’t fill a few chafing dishes for you.

  • I’ll go into detail later this summer about it, but perhaps this is the best thing Georgia’s secondary has going for it this season.
  • Bitcoin is going to sponsor a bowl game.  Will it hand out a virtual trophy?
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Aereo case may impact how we watch the NFL, but keep in mind what’s written in this piece could also apply to CBS and its contract with the SEC.
  • Here’s the Post and Courier’s preview of the Clemson-Georgia game.  And here’s the preview of the South Carolina-Georgia game.
  • One reason the schools fear Jeffrey Kessler’s lawsuit:  one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys used to be an associate director of enforcement for the NCAA.
  • Believe it or not, ESPN preseason rankings have Georgia’s secondary as seventh best in the conference.
  • Gene Chizik predicts a 10-2 season for Auburn, with losses to South Carolina and Alabama.
  • Vanderbilt checks in at #74 in Paul Myerberg’s preseason roundup.
  • College coaches try to figure out the best way to utilize the new rules on summer supervision.  (Brian Kelly knows what to do, but if he told you, then he’d have to kill you.)
  • We’re guessing that many people would agree that college president or medical school dean is slightly more beneficial to humanity than being a football coach.”  Depends whom you ask, I suspect.
  • Bill Connelly looks at this year’s Clemson Tigers team and comes away impressed, particularly with that defensive line.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, College Football, Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The NCAA