Category Archives: It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Sunday morning buffet

You still get hungry on a long holiday weekend, so here you go.

  • I guess Georgia’s bad luck with offensive linemen follows some of them even after they leave.  Hope he recovers.
  • If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect Kansas State was deliberately trying to provoke a challenge to the transfer rules by the way it’s handled Leticia Romero’s transfer request.  A union would be worse for her, though.
  • Can the early signing day for football proposal be saved?
  • Now the sharks are really beginning to circle around the antitrust litigation.
  • Fresno State’s Pat Hill knew what was coming a decade ago:  For Fresno State to make the cut, Hill said, the university would have to grow its fan base and invest in infrastructure (i.e. a 70,000-seat stadium) so the big boys could literally not afford to leave the Bulldogs behind.
  • At Georgia, athletics spokesman Claude Felton told the Times-Union the school is against selling alcohol at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field when the Bulldogs play Florida and “would not be in favor of alcohol sales in Sanford Stadium at this time.’’  So you’re saying there’s a chance?
  • This pretty much sums things up:  The NCAA is a product of its own membership. Then again, LSU doesn’t want non-football playing Marquette to have the same voting rights when it comes to deciding how it does business.
  • Thirty-six teams will be banned from the 2014-15 postseason because of sub-par scores on the newest Academic Progress Rate, which was released Wednesday. Not one of them comes from a power conference.”
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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

“This isn’t something that rolled off the presidents’ desk. The presidents are clueless.”

Bob Kustra certainly knows from where he speaks on that.  How else do you argue with a straight face that nobody forces student-athletes to take the deal schools currently offer on the one hand and then rail against the shit you believe you’re forced to take by choosing to be a participant in Division I athletics?

First class buffoonery from a guy who thinks he can create leverage to make Delany and Slive act against their own interests.  They wouldn’t even take your phone calls, Bob.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Bob Kustra’s neverending rage against the machine

Boy, give a guy a blue turf and a bowl win over Big Game Bob – like that’s so freakin’ unusual – and the next thing you know he wants to dictate terms to the rest of college athletics.

You may remember these classic hits from Boise State President Bob Kustra:

  • “The BCS is a fundamentally flawed system that is unfair in its access, governance and revenue distribution…”
  • “We want to propose to the NCAA a mandated home-and-home scheduling arrangement for I-A non-conference football games. Why should Boise State go to Georgia, but more than likely they’re not going to return it?”
  • “… Nowhere is the inequality of the BCS system more evident than in revenue distribution.”
  • “There is considerable irony in the fact that in the highest temple of political correctness, American higher education, the BCS worships the false idols of monopoly, inequity and greed at the expense of the virtues of fairness, access and competition.”

Then again, you may not, because, quite frankly, nobody outside of Kustra’s family really cares what’s bothering him.  That’s not slowing him down, though.  There’s always a new issue du jour to rage against, and today it’s big conference autonomy.  Kustra has submitted an op-ed to USA Today, but since that isn’t the same thing as getting it printed there, he’s turned it over to local media, too.  It’s a real call to arms.

To assure the largesse that intercollegiate athletics needs to feed itself and to perpetuate the dominance of a few, for years now the NCAA leadership has carefully controlled the decision-making structure at the Division 1 level. In the past, the BCS structure guaranteed monopoly control, but the so-called “high resource” five conferences seem to pull the strings these days, with two of the conferences taking the lead in calling the shots for the others. It seems they are never satisfied with their bloated athletic budgets, especially when threatened in recent years by upstart, so-called mid-major programs that steal recruits, oftentimes beat the big boys, “mess with” the national rankings and sometimes take postseason bowl games and revenue away from the anointed few. If they have the resources to outspend their Division 1 colleagues with fewer resources, then why not fix the NCAA rules to do so.

The latest round of NCAA reforms proposes a new governance structure that President Harris Pastides of the University of South Carolina described in a New York Times op-ed piece as allowing universities “to independently determine at what level they can provide resources to benefit students.” Now there’s a sure-fire way to kick off a race for larger athletics budgets. At the very least, they are to be commended for their honesty.

Of course, this grab for money and power is couched in the noblest of terms – it’s all about the student-athletes and paying them beyond the scholarship because they generate revenue for the programs.

Now this shit might be taken seriously, except that Kustra’s had his hand out for some of the loot the big boys keep to themselves for so long that it comes off as little more than comic relief.  And, yeah, more than a little hypocritical.

It is sometimes hard to believe that our finest universities and their presidents are behind this effort to fuel what the former NCAA President Myles Brand termed the “arms race” in Division 1 athletic budgets. You would think that the primacy of the academic mission and the long-held principles of amateur athletics would trump the drive toward commercialism and professionalism in the athletic department. You would think that university presidents would be up in arms at the way the NFL and the NBA use the universities’ athletic departments as training camps and minor league clubs for professional sports.

Kustra would be more than happy to have Boise State take part in the arms race.  It’s just that the Jim Delanys of the world won’t cut him in on the deal.

In related news, Boise State just sold the naming rights to its stadium for $625,000 per year for the next fifteen years.  No doubt that’s to insure that the academic mission retains its primacy.  Wait, what?

With unlimited meals already approved and cost-of-attendance stipends fast approaching on the horizon, the cost of competing in big-time college football is set to increase substantially in the coming years. To his credit, athletic director Mark Coyle wasn’t shy in connecting those developments to today’s.

“There’s a lot of things that are coming down the pipe line,” Coyle said. “A lot of those things need to be defined, but these are things that will help our program to provide for our student-athletes in every way we can.

“We talk about providing a first-class experience to our student-athletes and when we are able to secure a partnership like this with Albertsons, that’s a difference maker for our program to help us address some of those concerns that are coming up in the future.”

Yes, it’s hard to believe.

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The rising cost of cupcakes

So how expensive are those appearance fees getting?  Pricey enough that the ACC is seriously considering this:

Some Atlantic Coast Conference schools are considering scheduling future nonconference games against — ironically — other ACC schools, league athletic directors and coaches told ESPN.com…

Because of the eight-game league schedule, non-primary crossover rivals in the Atlantic and Coastal divisions may only play each other once in an 11-year span. This prompted discussion at the ACC spring meetings about playing other ACC teams as nonconference opponents in future seasons.

Sucks for you, mid-majors.

**************************************************************************

UPDATE:  And before you ask…

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Filed under ACC Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Cindy, you’re gonna need a nicer slipper.

Playoff-busting is going to be a much higher mountain to climb than BCS-busting ever was.

At least until the next time the playoffs expand.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Tuesday morning buffet

Hungry?

  • It’s the details that make the Jameis Winston arrest story special:  “A Leon County Sheriff’s Office deputy said Winston ordered three pounds of steamed crab legs with Old Bay seasoning and one pound of steamed crawfish with Cajun seasoning and then left the store, according to the incident report released this afternoon.”
  • Oklahoma plans a stadium expansion that will cost between $350-400 million.  Because, the kids.
  • Mike Leach thinks Mike Leach would be crazy to leave Wazzou.
  • I have no idea what this column is supposed to show.
  • As much crap as we throw the genius’ way, he deserves credit for this.
  • Here’s a recruiting loophole I bet gets closed in a hurry.  And let Georgia State’s head coach explain competitive balance to you:  “We’re not going to recruit the same person, you know? There’s no way. The Sun Belt doesn’t recruit against Penn State. Let’s face it: I’m not competing for kids against Penn State, or Georgia and Alabama. I’m just not. Nor will we ever. It is what it is.”  Gee, I’d hate to see player compensation get in the way of that.
  • Mark Schlabach’s post-spring top 25 makes me wonder if Florida is the new Notre Dame, conventional wisdom-wise.  And TAMU at fourteen?  Hmmm…

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Crime and Punishment, Georgia Tech Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Mike Leach. Yar!, Recruiting, SEC Football

Making do with less

Something crossed my mind as I read this Jeremy Fowler piece on how the mid-majors will cope with the looming issue of more autonomy for the power conferences.  How much of a game changer could Jeffery Kessler’s antitrust suit be if he won, not for student-athletes, but for mid-major schools?

No, if the Wild West comes to college athletics, Boise State isn’t suddenly going to have as much money to spend as Ohio State.  But it doesn’t have the enormously expensive infrastructure Ohio State maintains, either.  So what if the more nimble Broncos did a little outside-the-box thinking and decided to put most of their resources into player payment?  Might that not serve to level the playing field somewhat?

I get that there are some places, like Alabama and Texas, that simply wouldn’t allow themselves to be outspent, and that there are schools at the other end of the spectrum that simply don’t have enough coming in to make a meaningful effort in that way.  But that still leaves a lot of programs in the middle.  You’d have to think there are enough talented kids out there who would prefer the cash being paid directly to them than being put into facilities or administrative salaries whom a smartly run program could sign in an open market that it could make some mid-major schools, or even bottom feeders in the bigger conferences, more competitive.  (Especially since you’d have to figure there would be a bunch of ADs out there ill-equipped to operate in such a world.)

Anybody think that might work?

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Filed under College Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness