Category Archives: Political Wankery

So this is what “integrity, growth and development challenges” look like.

Gee, it’s funny how the latest proposal for reform of college athletics looks just like the same old wish list.

As envisioned by Lopiano, new reforms would include:

■ Granting the NCAA a limited anti-trust exemption, thus freeing the organization from the threat of lawsuits. The NCAA would then possess greater power to enforce rules.

■ Capping salaries of coaches and athletic administrators, thus reducing the incentive to act unethically and re-directing revenue to (gasp) the school.

■ Removing tax-exempt status for athletic departments that bolt the NCAA, thus killing the we’ll-police-ourselves (wink-wink) rebellion within college basketball.

■ Making players who enter a school under special admission exceptions ineligible as freshmen, thus enhancing academic integrity.

Pretty sweet deal for the NCAA, no?  And we need this because it turns out to nobody’s surprise – except the idiots running college athletics, of course – that school presidents are inept at handling college athletics.  Rest assured, though, Lopiano, who evidently wants to make sure she’s counted among the idiots, has just the bunch in mind who can fix everything.

To fill the vacuum, Lopiano calls for congressional intervention. The U.S. Congress should appoint an independent board to run college athletics. “Because presidents are too afraid to take charge,” she said.

Yes, she’s serious.  So is this guy.

Welch Suggs Jr., a former associate director for the Knight Commission, told The Associated Press that the essential issue is determining the role of athletics on a college campus.

“If it’s to be a big-time American spectacle, like the NFL or Major League Baseball, then no way,” said Suggs, now an associate professor of journalism at the University of Georgia. “It makes absolutely no sense for academic leaders to be in charge of it. But if you want it to be a part of higher education and a function of the collegiate experience, someone has to make sure people in athletics know they’re part of the educational process and not just a commercial business.”

I’m sure Demarius Rancifer agrees completely with that.  How strange that the folks pitching reform never seem to have much to say about student-athletes who live up to their end of the educational process.  Maybe it’s because they feel it’s an area where the presidents are doing their jobs.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

John McCain wants to get all mavericky on bundling.

I don’t think this is going to sit well at all with the guys running football networks.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is working on legislation that would pressure cable and satellite TV providers to allow their customers to pick and choose the channels they pay for, his office confirmed on Wednesday.

Consumers have long complained about the rising costs of cable TV packages and having to pay for dozens or even hundreds of channels just to gain access to the few that they watch.

But McCain’s legislation, which he is expected to introduce in the coming days, will likely face furious opposition from both the TV broadcasters and cable providers.

‘Ya think?  That would make for a very bad hair day for Jim Delany.  But that’s not all.

In addition to pressuring cable providers to offer channels a la carte, McCain’s new bill would bar TV networks from bundling their broadcast stations with cable channels they own during negotiations with the cable companies, according to industry sources. So for example, the Disney Company, which owns both ABC and ESPN, could not force a cable provider to pay for ESPN in order to carry ABC.

Ouch.  You can’t do that to the World Wide Leader!

The NFL is going to go ape shit over this, assuming it ever makes it out of committee to achieve Defcon 1 status, so I doubt it ever gets close to being a real threat.  But it sure would make for some great grandstanding if it ever did.  Not that senators go in for that kind of thing.

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Filed under Political Wankery

Tuesday morning buffet

Lots of goodies to sample today.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

Thursday morning buffet

Come and get it.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Big Ten Football, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, College Football, Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

The only thing worse than the NCAA

The man who ostensibly heads the most dysfunctional legislative body in the country thinks his peers are just the folks to take on another dysfunctional bunch.

Tuesday, Mr. Reid raised that case in order to make his point: The NCAA demands more oversight.

“Jerry Tarkanian made it into the basketball hall of fame,” Mr. Reid said, The Hill reported. “Why didn’t he get in earlier? Because this courageous man took on the NCAA, which has absolute control over college athletes. I would hope as the years go by that we, as a Congress, will take a look at that more closely.”

Gosh, that’s bound to end well.

(h/t John Infante)

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

Grab your plate and utensils.  (Napkins are optional.)

  • California is on the verge of passing laws on student-athlete stipends that will run afoul of NCAA rules.
  • In case you wanted a fashion review of Georgia’s new branding effort, here ’tis.
  • Texas A&M wants Johnny Manziel to be treated just like any other student when he’s on campus.  Except for the full-time bodyguard, that is.
  • Is there a Krispy Kreme in Johnson City, Tennessee?
  • Good nuts and bolts interview with Vandy offensive line coach Herb Hand, if you’re interested in what that offense tries to do scheme-wise.
  • And speaking of Vanderbilt’s offensive line, I didn’t realize the ‘Dores were able to redshirt their entire freshman class last year.  That’s how you build for the long haul in the SEC.  (Or anywhere, really.)
  • Georgia’s players claim to have learned one lesson from the Boise State game.
  • This post caused me to ask the musical question – when the day comes that gay marriage is legal in the South, will that bring more conflict with the unwritten rule about not having your wedding in the fall?  Hmm… maybe the religious right’s missing an argument here.

52 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The Glass is Half Fulmer, The NCAA

Giving back to the school

Now here’s a story that deserves more attention. Kentucky is embarking on three major on-campus building projects, none of which involve funding from the state legislature.

  • A $65 million renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. The $65 million project will be initially funded with $25 million in gifts and $40 million in agency bonds, approved by the legislature.
  • The $100 million construction of a Science and Academic Building. The 263,000 square foot building will be funded by agency bonds and is the result of a partnership with athletics unlike any other in the country. UK Athletics will fund 65 percent of the building’s debt service ― or, in total, about $65 million.
  • A $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and the Nutter Training and Recruiting Center. The project ― which will add suites and club seating, while improving the fan experience throughout the stadium ― will be paid for by agency bonds and funded through the construction of suites. UK already has a waiting list for suites.

Note that second item carefully.  The athletic department will fund almost two-thirds of the cost of an academic building.  As The Business of College Sports (h/t Kristi Dosh) puts it,

The first thing that stands out is an athletic department building announcement, particularly one from a major program, being included in an announcement of general university projects. Yes, all of the projects were approved on the same day but it is rare to see a university present such a united front with its athletic department. Keeping with that theme, the second bullet point contains an incredible nugget: the athletics department will fund over half of the cost of a campus building completely unrelated to athletics. In fact, all three projects will be funded by the university without the use of state funds. The project is being called BBNUnited. BBN, of course, stands for Big Blue Nation, the common nickname for Kentucky’s fan base. While many athletic departments donate money to their university (often to the general scholarship fund), very few make the sort of commitment that Kentucky has.

This is the sort of creative funding I expect to see more and more of as the era of dwindling state financial support for state universities gets into full swing.  We’ll see plenty asked of a college athletic department, like funding a major stadium expansion with its own resources, and even more given.  (“In addition to support of the new Science and Academic Building, UK Athletics contributes millions of dollars each year to academic scholarships and programming. In fact, in total, UK Athletics spends more than 25 percent of its revenues back on campus for university needs.”)

All of which leads me to ask Jim Delany another question:  how many Division III athletic departments fund construction costs for a $100 million Science and Academic building these days?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

“We are not suggesting any regulatory scheme for capping or restricting coaches’ compensation.”

Nah, of course not… the U.S.  Secretary of Education is just sayin’:

Escalating coaches’ salaries are the single largest contributing factor to the unsustainable growth of athletic expenditures. And we believe that universities and colleges must start rethinking coaches’ compensation, at least in the Division I revenue sports.

If universities and colleges want to readjust a coach’s priorities, they need to change the penalties and incentives they offer coaches.

And why is Duncan convinced drastic action must be taken?

Coaches today earn whatever the market pays. But many coaches work at public universities, funded with taxpayer dollars. In 2011, in Oklahoma, Connecticut and Maryland, a head football or basketball coach was not only the highest-paid employee at the university but the highest-paid state employee.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin earned $147,000 in 2011, while the football coach at the University of Oklahoma, Bob Stoops, was paid $4.875 million, 33 times as much as Gov. Fallin. Moreover, nine Oklahoma football assistant coaches were paid more than the governor, including the tight ends/tackles coach, who pulled down a $240,000 salary.

Successful head coaches’ salaries should be tied to what their governors make?  Good luck with that argument, fellas.  Does Fallin have a tie-in shoe deal?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

“Don’t get out ahead of us.”

I’m not sure this story has gotten as much attention as it perhaps deserves, in part because the major thrust of it seems to be about restricting colleges in Georgia from adding sports programs or changing competition levels, but it’s worth noting that the state Board of Regents has decided it wants to get in the athletic department budget management business, too.

Moving forward, the University System of Georgia will periodically review athletic programs for “financial and program soundness.” There will also be annual audits of separately incorporated athletic associations. It’s too soon to say what will happen to programs found to have financial problems.

Huckaby said the policy shows the board’s commitment to making sure the money students, donors and others provide is used properly.

“Used properly” is one of those eye-of-the-beholder standards.  I’m guessing that Hank Huckaby and Mark Richt aren’t always going to agree on how athletic department moneys will be spent, and that’s going to be tough luck for Mark Richt.  Of course he’s not going to hear about it directly from the regents, because they’ll use the school presidents as their cutoffs.  Which is why I tend to discount Bernard, Jr.’s bow to academics and expect there’s something, um, more political behind this.

Georgia is one of the few fortunate schools making money off its athletics.  In an era when its new president is sensitive to money issues resulting from less and less public support for the university system as time goes by, siphoning off some of those profits that football generates sure could come in handy.  And that’s something I doubt the BOR has missed.

Maybe I’m getting too far ahead of things here.  But at a minimum, it’ll be worth keeping a close eye on this over the next few years, especially since prospects for Georgia’s athletic department to continue as a golden goose look ever stronger.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, Political Wankery

“I’ve never gotten as many emails and phone calls regarding this one issue.”

Good to see the Florida Legislature has time to tackle one of the most important issues of the day.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA