Sorry Charlie

In case you were operating under some notion that new NCAA President Charlie Baker was prepared to deliver a fresh approach to resolving NIL concerns in at least a somewhat reasonable manner, allow him to set the record straight.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.  Except I don’t think I ever heard Mark Emmert propose something as stupid as “I would love to create some transparency and accountability around that, so that families actually know what they’re getting into, and I would really like to see some sort of uniform standard contract, so that when somebody signs it, they know they’re signing the same kind of agreement everybody else is signing,”

I’m sure you would, dude.  Except the courts would toss out your uniform standard contract if you tried to do it on your own and there’s no way Congress is going to wade in and do it for you.

The schools really don’t have anything more to offer.  And the longer term problem they’ve got is that as this goes on, NIL payments become more and more normalized in the eyes of the public.  It’s too late for the NCAA to stop now, I guess.



Filed under The NCAA

Still doing it for the kids

So, Notre Dame’s president and AD pen an editorial in the New York Times entitled “College Sports Are a Treasure. Don’t Turn Them Into the Minor Leagues.” and it’s every bit the joke you’d expect.

The perception has grown in recent years that student-athletes, whose talent and hard work create so much revenue for schools and even coaches, get nothing in return.

Gee, I wonder how that happened.  Let’s trot out that old, familiar straw man in rebuttal.

The claim that student-athletes otherwise get nothing from a multibillion-dollar college sports industry is false — and the misperception behind it goes to the heart of what is at stake.

If a talented high school player heads straight to the minor leagues, he earns a paycheck. If he goes instead to college, he can earn something far more valuable: a degree. Economists estimate a college degree is typically worth about $1 million in enhanced earning power in a lifetime. At our institution, 99 percent of student-athletes who stay for at least four years get a diploma. Because less than 2 percent of all our student-athletes will play in their sport professionally, such a benefit is useful indeed.

The claim isn’t that college athletes are getting nothing.  It’s that they’re not receiving fair market value for their participation.  And if there’s anything that demonstrates the difference, it’s what the NIL era has ushered in and what these two gentlemen complain about in their piece.

Again, expressing concern about what the money flow was doing to change college athletics would have been relevant and even considered a couple of decades ago.  Now, with the horse out of the barn, it’s little more than insipid nostalgia.  But, good luck with it, dudes.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

Topping Toppers

So, I’m rummaging around the intertubes, trying to catch up on what I’ve missed, and come across this remarkable tweet:

The accompanying sniff is palpable.  And who is this guy to be passing judgment like that, anyway?  It’s one thing to be an investigative reporter pushing the boundaries (what’s been happening at Toppers lately?).  It’s another to be editorializing about where the moral responsibilities of a head coach lie.

For what it’s worth, this really isn’t that hard a question to address.  If you want to see where a coach takes actions that do bear responsibility, take a quick look at what recently went on with New Mexico State’s basketball program, where the head coach interfered with a criminal investigation.  There’s a big difference — or at least there should be a big difference — between enabling criminal behavior and not reacting to such behavior as forcefully as one may like.

Anyway, I digress a little.  I do wonder whether Kirby internalizes such criticism to motivate himself and his team this season.  Actually, this being Kirby Smart, I don’t wonder about that at all.  As Seth Emerson ($$), put it in his Mailbag today,

… I agree with a point Josh Pate of 247Sports made on his podcast this week (at about the 36-minute mark): Smart will use the criticism about the team having a culture problem because of the car crash and racing arrests. I’m already on record what I think about the issue; I don’t see a big culture problem. But some of my media colleagues (only a few, but that’s enough) have been pretty harsh, and Smart could use them as a foil. As Pate said, and I already knew from covering this program, Smart and his coaches likely already have been telling their players to answer all the culture questions with their play on the field. And yes, the culture questions have been about off the field, so the best thing the Bulldogs could do is keep their noses clean. But undoubtedly the criticism creates a rallying cry inside the program, fuel to make offseason workouts and lifting sessions fierier than they might have been otherwise.

There’s a certain amount of irony in letting the AJ-C provide fuel for the motivation fire, of course, although I doubt we’ll ever hear Smart publicly acknowledge that.  But if in fact Judd’s sanctimony helps drive the team towards another national championship run, something which we all know the paper will provide copious amounts of coverage to accompany the finger wagging, well, that’s why they have a scoreboard to point to.


Filed under Georgia Football

Look what the Waffle House coffee cup drug in

I have so many questions…


Filed under Georgia Football

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Really, this is going about as well as I expected.

Feel the excitement!


Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, SEC Football

Observations from the sickbed

It appears that y’all have noticed there hasn’t been any activity here at the blog in the last couple of weeks.  It’s a little weird after sixteen or so years of steady posting to take an unexpected leave of absence as I’ve done.  The explanation is pretty simple:  I’m working my way through some serious health issues.  Things are headed in the right direction, fortunately, and I expect to be back in the swing of things sooner rather than later, so bear with me.

I’ve received tons of emails and text messages about my situation and am deeply appreciative of everyone’s concern.  It’s another reminder of how much this blog means to everyone.  Stay tuned.


Filed under GTP Stuff

“And I feel really good about the culture within our program.”

If you haven’t seen Kirby Smart’s interview with Mark Schlabach, you can watch it here.

For me, this is the significant part:

Smart said his program brought in officers from the UGA Police Department and Athens-Clarke County Police last summer to educate players about the dangers of street racing. Smart said Bryant Gantt, the program’s director of player support operations, suggested it after watching news clips of street racing in Atlanta.

If Georgia’s players didn’t listen to the warning then, Smart is hoping they will learn from the tragedy on Jan. 15.

“I mean, there [are] laws in place for these things, to prevent it for a reason,” Smart said. “And we want to educate our players in every way, every part of our organization. We’re constantly looking for a better way in whatever that is, health and safety included. I talked about drugs and alcohol, talked about gambling, talked about racing in cars and high speeds. You have to educate your players and you have to make sure they understand the risks and dangers of that, and that’s something that we’ve tried to do.”

So… the staff recognized the issue and was proactive in reaching out to the team about the risky behavior.  If you lead the horse to water, it doesn’t mean the horse will drink, but it does mean that from a program standpoint, the issue isn’t one of culture, but of individuals who don’t appreciate the level of risk they take with that behavior.

Well, maybe not everybody wants to see it that way.

Probably has something to do with Toppers.


Filed under Georgia Football

“This is a first step.” 

Change appears to be coming for the 2023 season ($$).

The NCAA Football Rules Committee officially recommended the adoption of three rule changes, which will need to be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel in April. They are the following:

  • A running clock after first downs (like the NFL), except for the last two minutes of each half.
  • Banning the use of consecutive timeouts by a team.
  • Carrying over a foul to the second or fourth quarter rather than playing an untimed down.

The effects of the last two are negligable.  It’s the first one that will have some impact.

Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen, who chairs the competition committee, told The Athletic this week that he expects the three combined rule changes to eliminate seven to 10 plays per game.

Early prediction:  we are going to see an increase in the number of questionable injuries on the offensive side of the ball, the purpose of which will be to stop the clock.

Somebody we know seems pleased with the development.

“The steps we’re taking are measured, in terms of the clock,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart, co-chair of the rules committee. “We’re going to find out a lot this year how much it changes. But I think it’s a smart decision to looking in that direction as we look to take on more games.”

And why shouldn’t he be?  Fewer plays run in a game makes it harder for teams to mount a comeback, and there weren’t exactly a ton of games Georgia played last season where that would have been an issue.

The most troubling thing about this is that it appears to be perceived fairly widely as just a beginning to the goal of reducing the number of plays run in a game.

College football games are taking too long, far longer than their counterparts in the NFL. And, perhaps more importantly for this discussion, they average many more plays per game.

College football games average about 180 total plays per game, compared to about 155 in the NFL, according to an NCAA study on the 2022 season (that included special teams). It’s both a player safety concern with an expanded CFP on the way and a fan engagement concern as FBS games average close to three hours and 30 minutes, while the NFL average is 3:10.

“A fan engagement concern”?  More like a broadcast partner engagement concern, methinks.  The NFL-ification of college football continues.


Filed under College Football

Tales from the combine

As far as I’m concerned, this will never not be funny.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Always be complainin’.

Nick Saban’s working the refs.  Again.

However, amid the SEC’s internal debate over a future scheduling format, Saban wants more balance and equity than what has been proposed by league administrators in a nine-game model.

“I’ve always been an advocate for playing more [conference] games,” Saban says. “But if you play more games, I think you have to get the three fixed [opponents] right. They’re giving us Tennessee, Auburn and LSU. I don’t know how they come to that [decision].”

Here’s how, boss.

“They said they did a 10-year whatever,” the coach says. “Well, some of those years, Tennessee wasn’t as good as they’ve been in the previous 10 years, but now they are as good as they used to be before those 10 years.

“We got three teams and two of them are in the Top 10 and the other is in the Top 10 a lot,” Saban adds. “Look historically over a 25-year history, and the three best teams in the East are Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. You look historically at 25 years, Alabama, LSU and Auburn are the three best teams in the West. So we’re playing them all.”

The SEC’s exact 10-year metric is unclear. But using league records from 2013–’22, the top half-finishers in winning percentage are Alabama (88.8), Georgia (79), Oklahoma (78.2), LSU (63.4), Florida (57.3), Texas (54.3), Auburn (53.6) and Texas A&M (53). The bottom half is Missouri (47.5), Mississippi State (46.3), Ole Miss (44.4), Tennessee and South Carolina (both 41.4), Kentucky (39), Arkansas (25.6) and Vanderbilt (19.7). Big 12 records were used for Oklahoma and Texas. Presumably, those in the top half of the conference over the past decade will play two other teams in the top half and one in the bottom half. Those in the bottom half will play two in the bottom and one in the top half.

Remember, all he’s bitching about here is having to play one team every season instead of every other season.  But Nick Saban didn’t get to be the GOAT without sweating the small stuff.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football