Out and about again

I am heading out of town this morning and won’t be back until Sunday afternoon, so you can expect posting will be as sporadic as it usually is under those circumstances.

Keep it cool in the meantime, folks.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

Gotta take the good with the bad.

The NCAA appears to have embraced the approach of dealing with coaches on rule changes by lumping proposals they like with proposals they don’t, but requiring an up-or-down vote on the whole enchilada.  That’s what happened with the last batch of recruiting proposals, and it appears to be what’s in store for some changes to the transfer rules.

The Division I Council Transfer Working Group will ask the membership for feedback on several potential concepts designed to create the best outcomes for both student-athletes and schools involved in the transfer process.

The group set its plan during its June 25-26 meeting in Indianapolis.

The working group focused on concepts in these general areas:

  • Permission to contact, including the tie with a college athlete’s athletics scholarship.
  • Postgraduate eligibility.
  • Ethical recruiting.
  • Uniformity of rules/academic impact of transfer.

What’s likely to get hackles up fast and hard is the consideration by the working group to decouple financial aid from permission to contact.

One of the ideas posed is to modify permission to contact rules. Currently, Division I college athletes who wish to transfer to another school must first receive permission from their current school to talk with other schools about opportunities for transferring. If the school denies permission, the student-athlete can’t receive athletics aid after transferring.

Group members believe financial aid should not be tied to whether a school grants permission to contact. They want to know if others in the membership feel the same way. The group also agreed that enhancements should be made to the formal process students use to notify a school of their desire to transfer. The group will seek input from the membership on appropriate enhancements.

Yeah, that’s gonna go over well in certain quarters.

But along with that comes some direction for uniformity across the conferences with regard to transfer rules and some greater stiffening of graduate transfer rules, which seems likely to slow that trend down some.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing under consideration is this:

The working group expressed concern regarding unethical behaviors related to coaches recruiting student-athletes currently playing at other four-year schools.

The group expressed interest in increasing the consequences for coaches who break recruiting rules to seek out undergraduate and potential graduate students. The working group will ask the Committee on Infractions and enforcement staff to review the concept and provide feedback.

The group also is placing a priority on developing additional education for coaches, spearheaded by coaches associations, on rules in the transfer space.

Anti-poaching rules?  If you want to cut down on the free agency aspect of transferring, it makes more sense to crack down on the coaches (remember Mark Fox’ crack about recruiting while going through the post-game hand shake?) than student-athletes.  Still, if this winds up with real teeth, I’ll be a little surprised.

I can’t wait to hear the hypocrisy coming, though.

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Filed under The NCAA

“We don’t need them anymore.”

Ah, tradition.  Does anything more really need to be said about the last round of SEC conference expansion than, “Life goes on, though, and new rivalries are established”?

Well, maybe this:  “Neither has built a rivalry on the level of the one it lost…”

These people suck.

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Filed under SEC Football

“Todd Grantham loves being the underdog.”

Gah.

He made national news as Georgia’s defense coordinator in 2010 by flashing the “choke” sign to Florida punter/makeshift kicker Chas Henry before Henry nailed a 37-yard field goal to win in overtime.

Grantham laughs off that incident — and quickly points out that he won his next three against the Gators…

“He” won ’em, eh?

Aaron Murray should have sued Grantham for non-support during the 2013 season.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Triumph of the booboisie

Lord knows, Stewart Mandel has made for a convenient foil on more than one occasion here at the blog, but the idea that ninety-second clips of Skip Bayless pontificating on any subject have more perceived value to Fox Sports than Bruce Feldman’s college football insight is nauseating.

This is what I was getting at in yesterday’s post about ESPN’s business model.  Those of you who insist on getting wrapped up in the bullshit about Mickey embracing liberal politics are missing the real point.  Irritating blather has value to these people.  It’s not about left or right; it’s about providing a platform for pundits to say something outrageous enough to make the average viewer want to pay attention.

Live sports may be what drives the train for most of us, but apparently there’s marginal value in insulting the intelligence of some part of the viewership.  While that may be profoundly depressing to those of us who are rational beings, you can’t argue with the reality that these are the bets these media giants are making.  After all, we live in a world where they keep spinning off “Housewives of XXX” like there’s no tomorrow, because there’s a reliably profitable viewership out there.  Why should we think the sports world — professional wrestling, anyone? — is immune to that?

I’m not trying to argue that to some extent the media hasn’t brought this on itself.  I mocked this development at the time, but since then it’s taken on a certain canary in the coal mine aspect that now seems as inevitable as it is sad.

Make no mistake, though.  The public is complicit, too.  Fox and ESPN are giving us what they are convinced we want, or at least enough of us want, such that it makes it worth their while to debase their product.  I’d like to believe they’ve lost their way, but the saddest point of all is that I can’t help but concede the merit of their cynicism.

Enjoy what’s left of actual sports journalism.  It’s hard to see a robust future for it.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, Media Punditry/Foibles

Roll ‘dem bones.

When you hear Mark Emmert decry a stated position by the organization he heads as “what often seems to be a hypocritical stance”, you’ve got to believe there’s some money at the end of it.

And you would be correct about that.

The possibility of sanctioned NCAA events being held in Las Vegas took a potentially huge leap Tuesday when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a controversial New Jersey gaming case.

The NCAA is among the plaintiffs fighting a New Jersey law passed in 2012 that would allow sports gambling in the state. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, as well as the Department of Justice, have sued arguing continued implementation of the 25-year-old Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

PASPA was passed in 1992 to halt the spread of sports betting in the country. Such action is banned nationwide except for Nevada, which was “grandfathered” an exemption. Delaware, Oregon and Montana have the option of limited sports betting.

The Supreme Court could hear arguments as early as this fall, according to reports.

The NCAA has placed only one championship event in Nevada (1991 women’s basketball West Regional) citing sports gambling concerns.

“This is more than huge,” former UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood said of the Supreme Court’s consideration. “This opens up all kinds of possibilities.”

Livengood is now a consultant for Las Vegas Events, a management company interested in bringing events to the city.

The NCAA was thought to be moving toward allowing events in Nevada but was stymied by the New Jersey battle. In other words, the optics would be bad if the association was suing New Jersey while cozying up to allowing games in Nevada/Las Vegas.

Who the hell can afford optics these days?  Certainly not the NCAA, if it wants to keep shelling out the big bucks.  There’s at least one thing that happens in Vegas that doesn’t stay there.  Emmert isn’t about to miss out on that if he can help it.

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

“So ’23, ’24, that’s what everybody thinks about.”

Death, taxes and conference realignment.

Realignment appears to be in sleep mode. For now. But the potential for realignment — and the strategy for when it surfaces again — never completely leaves the radar of college sports’ power brokers. That’s why they’re thinking about 2023.

Why 2023?

I presume that’s a rhetorical question.  Why does anything that’s crappy for fans happen in college football?  No, you don’t get any guesses.

… It starts with expiring TV contracts. The ACC and SEC both have long-term media grant-of-rights agreements, running through 2035-36 and 2033-34, respectively. But the other three Power 5 conferences have agreements ending roughly around the same time (the SEC’s Tier 1 deal with CBS runs through 2023-24). The Big Ten last summer opted for a shorter agreement with Fox and ESPN, which runs through 2022-23. The Pac-12 deal expires after the 2023-24 sports year, and the Big 12’s ends the following year.

“Conferences have expanded primarily to take really good football schools to enhance their football footprint and strength, and also to help their [television] networks,” Aresco said. “The question down the road will be whether any conferences want to add schools that they feel will strengthen them in football, whether it’s because of an upcoming rights fee deal, or they feel it would strengthen their conference network….

Traditional rights deals aren’t the only reason 2023 matters. By then the traditional rights deal itself might be obsolete. Conferences recognize that fans are consuming content, including live events, in different ways. This shift will continue to impact current distributors like ESPN, Fox and CBS, and could bring different companies into the distribution market, like Amazon, Google, Facebook or Twitter.

Leagues like the Pac-12 are counting on it, especially because its own network has yet to produce significant revenue for members.

“I don’t think anyone knows exactly what the landscape will look like, or what health ESPN or Fox will have in 2023 when we’re negotiating, or how significant a player Twitter or Facebook will be,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said last month at the league’s spring meetings. “My sense is that there will be more competition. There will be more and different types of players.”

Oh, goody.  Another chance for the Jed Clampetts of the P5 conferences to be acclaimed geniuses.

Assuming there’s still a P5 in a decade, that is.

… Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger shocked boosters with a surprise announcement at a happy hour Kansas City gathering.

Zenger boldly presented a $300 million stadium renovation project that will include an indoor practice facility. That rocked the fundraising arm in athletic departments from coast to coast.

In a vacuum, this would be surprising news. Per USA Today, $300 million is more than three times Kansas’ current athletic revenue. Per that same database, $300 million for this one project is also $108 million more than Texas A&M’s total athletic revenue, the largest in the country.

This is Kansas, a basketball school, winner of exactly one FBS game in coach David Beaty’s two seasons. The program as a whole hasn’t won more than three games since 2008.

There’s something else going on here.

“It brings us into the level of playing field that you must be at to be a Power Five university,” Beaty said.

Read that quote carefully: This is as much an all-in financial commitment as it is as a buy-in for KU to have a seat at the table in the next round of conference realignment.

At least you’d better believe that’s how Zenger is selling it to boosters.

A $300 million bet on surviving a conference blowup?  When they say follow the money, this is what they’re talking about.

Oh, yeah, it’s coming.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, College Football, It's Just Bidness