Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

Paper trail

Brian Cook nicely summarizes why we shouldn’t give a rat’s ass for the most part about those “Such-and-such University lost money on its bowl game” stories:

… Between the ticket guarantee and the hotel obligation, UConn was doomed to lose a ton of money as soon as they accepted the Fiesta Bowl bid. The Big East as a whole did not, however—that travel allocation from the Big East is only a tiny sliver of the $17.7 million the conference got from the worst playoff on earth. Most of the articles on this topic overlook that. While it’s weird that for a lot of schools getting a BCS bid is an invitation to set money on fire, those schools are the sort that get a BCS bid once in a blue moon. The rest of the time they’re getting money for nothing and chicks for free. Their net from the system is positive.

So that’s annoying but I guess tolerable…

But he’s right about this, too.

… Not so much on the lower end where getting your terrible bowl bid is a net loss for you and the conference. While the most recent article flurry focuses on the fake losses at the top of the ladder, it’s the bottom where the problem is. There’s a point on the bowl ladder at which the game turns from a contributor to college football to a parasite on it. I’m not sure where it is but it’s well above the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg.

Where I think he goes off the track a bit is with his proposed solution.

The NCAA needs to limit the obligations a bowl can foist on the teams that will host them. This will cause a half-dozen minor bowls to shutter their doors, but everything that goes by the wayside was sucking money out of college football and giving it to the East Nowhere chamber of commerce. They won’t be missed even by the schools that used to go to them.

The problem with that approach is that – ironically enough, given that this is something normally tossed in the BCS’ direction – there may well be an antitrust problem with the NCAA cutting off qualified competition.

Actually, there are two problems.  The second one has to do with the owner of the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.

ESPN Regional Television also owns, manages, and stages a number of top sporting events. Here is a complete list:


Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas)
MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.)
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque)
BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.)
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg
Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu)

That, friends, is a nice gig if you can get it – recover some of the fees paid out for broadcast rights by sticking schools with a bill for ticket sales.  And who’s gonna object and risk a fight with the WWL?  Not the NCAA, that’s for sure.



Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

He knows something about sensationalism.

You might be surprised to learn who wrote this:

… It is easy to go out and publicize how many times a player got arrested to make the case he doesn’t deserve a scholarship. After all, the sensationalism will get people to read the magazine or tune into the network’s news programs.

Click here to find out.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

Shades of gray: Steve Addazio talks oversigning.

Count Florida’s former master recruiter as somebody who does nuance:

We’re hearing a lot lately about the issue of ‘oversigning’ in college football. What are your thoughts? Is this something that needs to be looked at more closely?

We were not an oversigning outfit at Florida. It just wasn’t something that we did. I know a lot of other programs did. They may take kids who are marginal as far as whether they were going to qualify, and then commit them in case they make the grades. And if they don’t qualify, they can then put them in a prep school. That’s something that some people practice at that higher level. But I think you ought to be very careful, ethically, so that you don’t [take a commitment] from a kid if you can’t come through with a scholarship. I don’t think you can do that. I don’t think you can promise a kid a scholarship if you can’t come through with it. But if you’re up front about it, then that’s their choice. It’s not something that should be forced on somebody. … You’re trying to create opportunities for people, but some kids put themselves in a situation that you have to work through with them to try and help them. As long as they are talked through properly, up front, you can usually make everything work.  [Emphasis added.]

You wonder if he’d be singing the same tune if he were still working in Gainesville.


UPDATE: On the other hand, here’s somebody who describes early enrollment as a “loophole”.

And for all of you who think that school presidents always act independently of their coaches in setting academic and admissions policies, I’ve got news for you.  They don’t.

… Conversely, the Big Ten has taken a hard line on oversigning, which has been against that league’s rules since 1956.

The rule was amended in 2002 to allow programs to oversign their total scholarship allotment by three after Big Ten football coaches complained of fielding teams with fewer scholarship players than the 85 allowed by the NCAA due to attrition.  [Emphasis added.]


UPDATE #2: I think it’s pretty silly reasoning (and given the news about Tatgate, you have to wince a little bit when Jim Tressel is being held out as some sort of paragon of virtue), but I thought I’d pass it along anyway – here’s John Pennington’s rationale for why the SEC will ban oversigning in June:

… The Big Ten (and other leagues) hold the moral high ground when it comes to oversigning and the powers that be in the SEC aren’t likely to allow other leagues to hold any kind of high ground — moral or otherwise — over their own conference.  For that reason, we expect the league to nix the practice.

The Big Ten has had its oversigning rule in place for more than half a century.  Exactly when did the SEC decide that it was working policy not “to allow other leagues to hold any kind of high ground”?


Filed under Recruiting

Another random musical interlude

Inspired by a comment, I thought I’d share this 1966 recording with you.

That’s Rick James singing… and Neil Young on lead guitar.  These guys actually signed a contract with Motown Records.  Oh, what could have been.


Filed under Uncategorized

I do not think that number means what you think it means.

A. J. Green’s 2010 season gets Chris Low all twisted up like a pretzel.  In this post where he places Green as the eleventh best player in the conference last season, Low observes,  “Green was easily one of the best three or four players in the SEC this season.” Which, like, totally explains his ranking of eleventh.

It’s one thing to argue that Green’s season was diminished by his suspension.  It’s quite another to say that about his ability.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

Whoever said honesty is the best policy never dealt with the NCAA.

You don’t have to be a Georgia fan to appreciate the latest news on the Tatgate front

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.

Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.

Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.

… but it helps.

It was bad enough for us when Mark Emmert’s bunch looked inconsistent at best fashioning sanctions in the wake of Jim Delany’s lobbying to keep the five Ohio State players eligible for the Sugar Bowl.  But to find that the organization may have failed to perform proper due diligence in reaching its decision almost beggars belief.

Almost.  The process that led to A. J. Green’s four-game suspension let us know that the NCAA couldn’t find its way out of a paper bag without a TMZ article and a local guide to show the way.  The Yahoo! disclosure is just further confirmation of the NCAA’s investigative ineptitude.

But it’s not the icing on the cake.  We’ll have to wait for that shoe to drop if the NCAA is able to validate to its own satisfaction the details of this story, but it’ll be interesting to see what it does with Ohio State and Tressel if this checks out.  On one level, the bell can’t be unrung – wouldn’t it have been nice if Georgia had been allowed to postpone Green’s suspension until after the 2010 season? – but the NCAA doesn’t take kindly to programs which lie to it.

Speaking of which, they may not share wardrobes, but Tressel and Bruce Pearl have that whole hypocrisy thing down pat.

“I think we all have a little sensor within us, ‘Well, I’m not sure if I should be doing this,’” Tressel said. “And then sometimes it gets overridden by what you think your necessity is. …”

“There’s a gut-wrenching feeling when you lose a game and you know you could’ve done better,” he continued later. “And then there’s one that goes beyond when you don’t feel as if you did what you should do as people. So whatever the next step of gut-wrenching is, that’s the way you feel. And we feel a responsibility for our kids on and off the field. Obviously, it’s painful.”

Tressel also suggested that the responsibility of rules compliance ultimately falls on the coaching staff.

“I think ultimately we as coaches feel as if the buck stops here – that we’re the ones that need to make things even more crystal clear than when a compliance officer might spend time with our team or an outside speaker or whatever it happens to be,” he said. “The bottom line is that we feel as if that’s our responsibility, so obviously we don’t feel good about the fact that we fell short.”

A few random winners and losers from this:

  1. Chip Kelly. For him, any day that doesn’t have Oregon’s payments to a couple of sketchy recruiting services as its top college football scandal story is a good one.  It’s temporary, perhaps, but he’s a winner.
  2. Jim Tressel. Obviously it depends on the story being confirmed, but assuming it’s true, the man is in some deep, deep shit.
  3. Gordon Gee. He’s finding that it’s easier to be a sanctimonious bow-tie wearing fool at Vanderbilt.
  4. Mark Emmert. Don’t get me started.
  5. Oversigning opponents. Hey, live by the Big Ten as ethical poster boy, die by the Big Ten as ethical poster boy.
  6. Mike Slive. At first glance, you probably think he’s a winner, but I’m not so sure.  That smirk he had on his face upon hearing the news probably faded by the time he went to bed wondering who’s been working the Cecil Newton story.
  7. The Tatgate Five. If they’re not having second thoughts about turning pro now, they will be soon.


UPDATE: Here’s a great post that, sadly, is too true to be really funny.


Filed under Big Ten Football, The NCAA