No matter how often they’re described as leading their teams into battle, football coaches understand the foolishness in using wartime analogies to discuss their professions.
“There are some similarities with playing football and serving in the military, such as strategy, tactics, training and the fact it takes a lot of guys doing the right thing to have success,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “But there is much more on the line when you’re fighting in the military.”
Kudos to Richt and the other coaches joining him on that military tour.
At the ESPN upfront presentation, Ed Erhardt, president of customer marketing and sales, emphasized the network’s effort to diversify its fan base in order to deliver sought-after demographics to advertisers.
Expanded programming focuses on the Hispanic and youth markets — and ESPN.com will introduce content for fans of extreme sports and a light-hearted take on the foibles and highlights of the day’s games.
On the plus side, there is this:
ESPN also plans to “make the opening of college football season a holiday” by televising 32 college games, Erhardt said.
NCAA president Myles Brand says repeatedly that he’s concerned about the “arms race” in big-time college sports, what he calls a “quiet crisis,” especially in football and men’s basketball.
He said recently that only six athletics departments are profitable and that spending for most athletics programs is increasing two to three times the annual rate of general university budgets for academics.
“Tension between faculty needs, academic needs and the desire of athletics departments to be competitive is really a very serious and growing issue,” Brand said.
According to a recent study by UTA Today, the average salary of the 120 major college coaches reached $1 million this year for the first time. Brand said 4 to 5 percent “sounds like money on the margins, but putting it into a stadium instead of science labs makes a difference. When we’re talking 4-5 percent of billions of dollars, that money makes a huge difference wherever it goes.”
Brand is concerned that only six athletics departments are profitable? I didn’t think any of them were supposed to turn a profit. The tax deductibility of contributions to college athletics is based upon its non-profit status.
I was going to comment on this post at The Big Lead yesterday, but let it slide. Since The Wiz has brought it up favorably today, though, I thought I’d make one point about a conclusion the author reached there.
Here’s the passage in question:
… Of course, then you get into the argument that before the BCS, the bowls would not always result in a consensus national champion. That’s when the playoff argument comes into play. Which is why I took the liberty of averaging the margins of victory for the Division I-A national championship games of the last 10 (BCS) years and comparing it to the average of the margins of victory of all the Division I-AA national championship games (from 1978). The results: Average margin of victory for D I-A championship games: 14.50 points. Average margin of victory for D I-AA championship games: 12.87 points. Just goes to show that if you want the best chance of having the truly best teams play for the championship, have a playoff. It’s better for everyone and everything…
Well, wait a minute here. He’s comparing 30 years of data against 10 years of data to make his argument. What’s the result if you compare identical time periods?
Based on his point spread chart…
… the average margin of victory in 1-AA title games over the last ten years is 17.0. If I’m not mistaken, that’s actually greater than 14.50.
Now I’m not a statistician, so I have no idea whether a ten year sample (or a thirty year sample, for that matter) is statistically significant. What I do know is that when you start juggling numbers to justify an agenda, you’re heading into Mark Twain territory.