Category Archives: Political Wankery

Tuesday morning buffet

Go get a plate and dig in.

  • Keith Marshall makes a funny about Bubba Watson.
  • It’s springtime, and you know what that means:  this year, the Florida offense is going to be good.
  • The SEC’s appeal of the NCAA’s interpretation of the rule permitting recruits to sign early multiple financial aid offers is being heard today.
  • A student task force at the University of Michigan found that Brady Hoke likely lied about a player who was alleged to have been involved in a sexual assault?  Whoa.  We’ll see if the rule about the coverup being a bigger problem than the original incident plays out in Ann Arbor.
  • Brice Ramsey, on his G-Day performance:  “I was picking up blitzes, making the right reads. I just need to put the ball on. I had a bad day throwing.”
  • ”In theory, it could give the private universities a recruiting advantage.”
  • John Pennington argues for a rule that would prevent SEC teams from signing kids who had been kicked out of other SEC programs for violations.  One rationale for that: “The fact that a booted player could come back to haunt a coach down the road might lead some to hang onto players a bit longer even if they’ve proven to be bad news.”  That’s never been a concern at Georgia, obviously.
  • And Seth Emerson says the NCAA can’t find a middle ground.  Wouldn’t it have to be looking for one first?
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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

This union aggression will not stand, man.

Never say Ohio’s legislature can’t act quickly in a crisis.

College athletes in Ohio would not be considered employees under state law, under changes to the state’s budget review made by a legislative committee on Monday.

… The Republican-backed amendment, one of dozens made Monday to the state’s mid-biennium review, “clarifies that college athletes are not considered employees under state law,” according to a House GOP synopsis.

Ah, yes, the party of free markets once again steps forward to preserve cheap labor.  And with alacrity!  The Northwestern kids won’t even vote until next month.

“I think this is a statement of what we all thought was obvious, and that is athletes are not employees of their university,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Amstutz, a Wooster Republican.

Hey, Ron, get back to us on that in a few years if Corch starts complaining that his hands are tied in recruiting by what you thought was obvious.  I bet the waters get a little murkier for you then.


Filed under Look For The Union Label, Political Wankery

Jim Delany can always use a good chuckle.

Sooner or later, this is bound to be good for a quote:

State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) wants there to be another public Big Ten school in Illinois.
Connelly and state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) have introducted legislation in Springfield to study the feasibility of making one of the current state universities a Big Ten school.
The measure, Senate Bill 3526, would create a study commission to explore the possibility of establishing an existing Illinois public university as another Big Ten university. The bill passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on March 19 and will be called for a Senate vote soon.
The two lawmakers said the idea developed due to concerns that some suburban students seem to be leaving Illinois to attend other, high-priced Big Ten institutions out of state.

“This is something that has been under the radar but is now getting a much stronger drum beat,” Connelly said. “I’ve got three kids that are college age and we know that there are a lot of kids with 34 ACT scores and high class rank that are rejected by the University of Illinois and wind up going to places like Kansas and Indiana and other states. Michigan has Michigan and Michigan State — two Big Ten public schools — and we thought why not do a feasibility study to see if we could do the same?”

Sort of like, if you pass it, they will come.

The measure passed the Illinois Senate, by the way.

The Big Ten has not spoken with Murphy about his proposal, he said.

Now there’s a surprise.  I’m sure Big Jim will be calling you any day now, fellas.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Political Wankery

Moved to respond

So how seriously is the NCAA taking CAPA’s trip to Congress in the wake of the NLRB ruling?  Seriously enough to compel its normally reticent spokesperson, Stacey Osburn, to, well, actually speak:

Stacey Osburn, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said in a statement that Huma’s concern was “unwarranted.” A Northwestern official has said that the students were not employees and that unionization and collective bargaining were not the appropriate methods to address their concerns.

“The law is fairly clear and consistent with Northwestern’s position, so the NCAA has made no contacts with anyone in Congress attempting to ban the unionization of student-athletes,” Osburn said.

I wonder if Stacey got a bonus for that effort.  It’s almost above and beyond the call of duty.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Instead of wondering if student-athletes can pay taxes…

… a better question might be whether schools are prepared for this shot across the bow:

The House Ways and Means Committee, under the direction of chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), is circulating a draft of what could become a bill known as the Tax Reform Act of 2014. Under one provision, tax-exempt organizations – including, committee staffers say, nearly all public and private colleges and universities – would be subject to a 25% excise tax on compensation in excess of $1 million paid to any of its five highest-paid employees for any given tax year.

It’s not exactly chump change, either.  The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the excise-tax provision would increase tax revenues by $4 billion from 2014 through 2023.

Do I think it’ll pass?  Maybe not.  Do I think it will stir the already roiled waters the NCAA is attempting to navigate?  You tell me.

But the staffers are well aware of its potential impact on colleges and what they pay high-profile college coaches, who are among the nation’s top-paid and best-known public employees. And reflects growing skepticism about big-money college sports programs’ place at institutions that enjoy broad tax protections and whose donors gain tax benefits from their gifts.

“Large salaries at non-profit organizations beg the question: Are dollars really going to the core mission — whether that be charitable work, providing health care or educating students — or is that money serving another purpose?” committee communications director Sarah Swinehart said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. “The draft is an opportunity to discuss whether or not the tax code should provide an incentive for multi-million dollar salaries at non-profits.”

When you start talking tax code, you start scaring the crap out of university administrators.

I hope somebody asks Emmert about tax code incentives at the Final Four presser.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

Grab a plate.

  • Tracy Rocker sounds pretty no-nonsense about his charges:  “You produce, you stay,” Rocker said. “You don’t produce, next. It’s all about playing with the right combination and to get guys to produce with full-speed effort. That’s the most important thing. That’s what I’m working on up front is effort. Try to eliminate the MA’s (missed assignments) and go forward.”
  • Bill Connelly looks at how the 2013 FBS teams ranked in order of their per-game difference between projection and reality as to offensive and defensive scoring efficiency.  Georgia ranks 116th.  He didn’t speculate how much of that to chalk up to luck, randomness or something else, but perhaps I need to dust off the ol’ “regression to the mean, bitchez!” meme.
  • Another day in paradise on Finebaum.  (Do any of his listeners actually care about basketball?)
  • Athlon ranks the SEC head coaches.  I don’t get how you can put Malzahn ahead of Miles, but that’s just me, I guess.
  • Kirby Smart is coaching defensive backs again, drawing upon his experience at Georgia“He just coaches us at a different level, trying to get us to understand it from his point of view because he played the position and he knows what’s going on…”  They should be awesome in run support this year, if that’s the case.
  • Today, Quayvon Hicks is Georgia’s only healthy scholarship tight end.
  • One reason CAPA is going to Washington “One obstacle in securing some of the protections we want is the NCAA is colluding and excluding opportunities for trust funds. To solidify an antitrust exemption would be to the detriment of player protections.”
  • Malik McDowell has outlasted his momma.
  • I missed this when it came out, but Pete Fiutak’s April Fools’ story about Herschel finding a loophole in the NCAA eligibility rules and announcing a return to Georgia is a fun read.  Richt then joked, “If you can find an extra year of eligibility for Champ Bailey and Richard Seymour, we’d find a spot for them, too. ”


Filed under Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label, Media Punditry/Foibles, PAWWWLLL!!!, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Monday morning buffet

As you might expect, there’s a little extra union-y seasoning in the chafing dishes this morning.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label, Nick Saban Rules, Political Wankery, Stats Geek!, The Evil Genius, Whoa, oh, Alabama

“I think these great men and women should be able to at least have money to wash their underwear.”

Yeah, Harry Reid actually said that about student-athletes.  It’s certainly easy to mock.  But maybe not so easy to dismiss.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes there’s the growing possibility of Congress getting involved. Allen Sack, president of the Drake Group, said the organization is gaining progress with one “very interested” U.S. senator and several members of Congress about tying NCAA reform to federal aid that universities receive.

“We’ve gone to the senator level and we’ve got a nice relationship going, especially in the context of what’s going on with college sports and millions and millions of dollars are going to our universities and we find our athletes are not being educated?” said Sack, who declined to identify the senator. “There are some irate Congress people. Some of these things hit a chord with Congress.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Washington Post he would help the unionization movement.

“Of course they should be able to organize,” Reid said. “The way these people are treated by the NCAA and the universities themselves is really unpardonable, and I wish them well. I’ll do anything I can to help.”

This is the reward for blind arrogance, Mr. Emmert.


Filed under Look For The Union Label, Political Wankery, The NCAA

“Don’t let calculus get in the way.”

If you caught Meet The Press yesterday, you were privileged to see Mark Emmert live down to expectations.   Emmert continues to pretend there is some concrete difference between the $2,000 stipend the he would like to see the big conferences hand out and pay for play in general.  Charlie Pierce shreds that distinction into tiny pieces.

The star of the proceedings was Mark Emmert, who makes six figures as the head of the NCAA and who works in a $35 million headquarters in Indianapolis, all of which was paid for primarily by the proceeds of unpaid labor. But, I paraphrase.

EMMERT: Well, the gap needs to be closed around the context of being a student at a university. So if we provide the N.C.A.A. members, universities and colleges, provide a young man or a young woman with all the expenses they have, legitimate expenses as a student athlete, including this so-called stipend, right, that extra amount of money.

The “stipend” is the last redoubt of the buffet-grazers who rake in the cash. Unfortunately, once you institute a “stipend” for athletes, that’s the ballgame. You are doing pay-for-play no matter what you choose to call it. And you won’t be able to argue that a $200 a month stipend is all right, but a $2000 stipend is wrong. Not if you want to make sense, anyway.

Like pregnancy, there is no “little bit” to payment.  There is no slippery slope here.  Instead, you simply step off a cliff.

But I can’t say that Emmert was the individual most detached from reality on the show.  That honor would go to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who evidently believes that athletic directors can sit down and reason with the likes of Jimmy Sexton to usher in a better age for all men.

Universities need to tie bonus pay of their coaches and athletics directors more prominently to their college athletes’ academic performance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The incentive structures for coaches, the incentive structures for ADs have to be changed so much more of their compensation is based not upon wins or losses but around academic performance and graduation,” Duncan said. “And university presidents and boards have been very complacent and soft in this issue, and you have to really look at the leadership of universities here.”

The university presidents and boards have followed the wishes of their constituents to the letter.  That’s how you wind up with circumstances such as Bruce Pearl being hired at Auburn at $2 million+/year four months in advance of a show cause order being vacated.

Nobody’s paying Nick Saban ungodly sums of money to boost academic performance and graduation rates a decimal point beyond what it takes to keep his players eligible and his program out of APR limbo.  And barring government action – fortunately, that wasn’t a shoe Duncan was prepared to drop yesterday – that ain’t gonna change.  At least not until the day when ESPN is paying big bucks for the broadcast rights to psychology class.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

I want my, I want my, I want my SEC TV.

Gulfport, Mississippi city council unanimously passes a resolution demanding the local cable provider carry the new SEC Network.


Filed under Political Wankery