Monthly Archives: April 2011

Why they pay Nick Saban the big bucks

Tons of interesting info in this post, but Holy Mother of Crap, Alabama’s athletic department’s operating revenues (over $130 million last year) have doubled in the past four years and its profitability ($31+ million last year) tripled in that same time.

Put that in your pipe, Mr. Chairman of the Faculty Committee on Compensation, and smoke it.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules

Bowl revenue sanctimony

Shockingly, Bill Hancock makes a decent point about something.

… Connecticut, which earned its first-ever BCS berth with last January’s Fiesta Bowl appearance, reported losing more than $1.6 million from the trip, despite a $2.5 million expense allowance from the Big East. And for the second time in three years, Virginia Tech and the ACC took a bath ($1.6 million) from the Hokies’ trip to the Orange Bowl. In both cases, the main culprit was unsold tickets, since the two BCS games require participating schools to purchase 17,500 tickets and absorb the cost of any that go unsold. UConn sold just 2,271 of its allotment, a nearly $3 million loss.

The BCS pays the automatic-qualifying conferences roughly $22 million, but leagues split the money among all of their member schools, and each handles bowl expenses differently. Connecticut’s Fiesta Bowl opponent, Oklahoma, was stuck with 11,933 unsold tickets, but the Big 12 covered most of those losses, allowing the school to break even.

“If a conference takes in $22 million [from the BCS], then if the school loses money … it’s because of conference distribution and because of how many people are in their traveling party,” said Hancock. Noting reports that Oregon lost $285,437 on its trip to the BCS National Championship Game, Hancock said: “Oregon chose to give [1,761] tickets away; no one made them. I don’t know whether it was to boosters or people on their staff. That’s been way mischaracterized in the media. The Pac-10 got $28 million [for two BCS berths].”

I’m having a hard time faulting his logic there.  In fact, I’m tempted to up the ante:  where is it written that schools should make a profit on bowl appearances?  I’m not being sarcastic.  Take a look at something Katie Thomas wrote in response to comments about the New York Times’ article on Title IX.

… This raises a difficult dilemma for many athletic programs. There is a need to continue offering generous support to the teams that generate the most revenue for the department, especially in this economic climate. However, the athletic departments are not for-profit entities, and, indeed, only a small minority breaks even financially — most rely on subsidies from the university. Most athletic directors I’ve spoken to say that the mission of their program is not to generate a profit but to offer a high-quality experience to all of the men and women who compete on their teams — regardless of whether those teams turn a profit or not.

If that’s really the case, then why should we care about Connecticut ponying up money to cover the bowl trip?  If it’s all about offering the experience, why should football be held to a different standard than any other athletic program which loses money?  (Not to mention there’s a big difference between a football team losing money on a bowl trip and women’s volleyball losing money over an entire season.)

The fact is these are two goals which aren’t compatible.  Anyone who suggests otherwise is doing little more than talking out of both sides of his or her mouth.  And all the attention being paid to the perceived unfairness of the BCS should tell you which side is dominant.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness

“Dope on the table”, indeed.

If any column I’ve read recently deserves the Billy Madison treatment, it’s this one.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

The Gator fan’s dilemma

Mike McCall gets points for consistency with his follow-up on Janoris Jenkins, but that’s not the part that interests me.  Rather, it’s the choice he believes the program faced with the Jenkins decision:

… So, what is gained? If only for a moment, the Gators’ reputation as The New Thug U may go away. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s ready to get everyone in line. But do you really care? Would you rather people poke fun at your team for arrests while they win titles, or would you rather be praised as a more wholesome, 8-4 program?

Personally, I’d choose door number three (arrests and the mediocre record), but that ship appears to have sailed from Gainesville, at least for the moment.  Seriously, I get his point.  It’s certainly an attitude that’s shared by other Gators.  And, to be fair, by many fans of other programs.

I find it to be a little weird, though, to be weighing how much bang for the buck you get with kids who break the law.  Or whether there’s valid linkage between the Fulmer Cup standings and BCS appearances.  Your mileage may vary, of course.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators...

“Being great is what?”

Auburn, the next thing on your shopping list should be an editor for Gene Chizik.


Filed under Gene Chizik Is The Chiznit

Why they turn pro early.

I don’t think A.J. owned enough jerseys to make this happen:

That choice of ride, though… ugh.  The ugliest car Porsche has ever built.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

A perfect compliance storm

Add Title IX to an era of increasing female enrollment, shrinking budgets and enlarged football rosters and what do you get?

Why, creative bookkeeping, of course.


UPDATE:  Brian Cook gets medieval all over the NYT’s ass.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

The table is set. Can the big Dawg eat?

I don’t think it’s any big secret that I find preseason polls to be a complete waste.  That goes doubly for pre-preseason polls, like this one from ESPN’s “College Football Live”.

Still, if that either reflects or shapes public opinion on how the early season rankings go, it’s evidence that if you’re Mark Richt and your goal is to make your team nationally relevant again, it’s hard to come up with a better schedule than Georgia’s 2011 one.  Richt’s team comes out of the gate facing the number five and number eight (yeah, South Carolina at eight is a major stretch) teams on that list and play both without leaving the state.  Win those two and the Dawgs should find themselves sitting top twelve or so nationally.  The next part of the schedule is manageable, leading into a bye week before the Cocktail Party.  After that, it’s three straight home games and the finale at Tech.

In short, it’s a national championship schedule.  The question is whether the team can live up to the schedule.


Filed under Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser: Guitar Hero

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but yesterday’s Zombies reference seems to have struck a chord (see what I did there?) with some of you, so here goes.

Jeff Beck is sort of the forgotten guitar god of the sixties.  That’s a shame, because he hasn’t lost a step, as you’re about to hear.  Beck’s been out on tour with his “Rock and Roll Party” show honoring the late, great Les Paul.  It’s a mix of Paul’s music and rockabilly and it’s damned good.  Good enough that you get to sample three clips.

Start with this version of “Sitting On Top Of The World”, sung by Imelda May.  And listen to Beck when he kicks in at about the 0:45 mark.

Then listen to what the two of them do with this remake of “(Remember) Walking In The Sand”.

Finally, Beck and Brian Setzer take on some Eddie Cochran.

Tasty, tasty stuff.


Filed under Uncategorized

When you’ve lost Tony Barnhart, you’ve lost America.

Mr. Conventional Wisdom has a message for the Big Ten:  shut the hell up.

As of this moment all of my friends from the Big Ten are on notice. And you know who you are. You are the ones who call and write constantly about the (expletive) Southeastern Conference and claim with such confidence that the only reason the SEC has been so successful (five straight national championships and counting) is that its schools are ethically challenged and have their priorities misplaced.

You are the ones who talk about the Big Ten schools in hushed, reverent tones and use terms such as “greater academic mission.” Your schools are not football factories like ours in the great, unwashed South. Your schools would never cut ethical corners like we do down here, where you believe our motto is: “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t trying.” You look down your collective noses at us.

Give me a freaking break.

I don’t want to hear any more lectures on ethics or morals or accountability from that part of the world — not if Jim Tressel returns as Ohio State’s football coach this season.

Also, this.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb at this point by predicting that Tressel is toast.


UPDATE:  Michael Elkon senses an ulterior motive on Barnhart’s part.

… I also suspect that Barnhart’s column has a whiff of a preemptive strike.  There isn’t so much smoke coming from the Plains as a plume of radioactive waste.  (Happy 25th anniversary, Chernobyl!)  If prior history is any guide, Auburn will go down and take everyone they can with them.  Every little morsel of dirt that they can find on their in-state rivals will come out.  What Mike Slive had successfully avoided for most of his tenure, but is now confronting is a repeat of the 80s and 90s where SEC teams turned one another in in a never-ending spiral of allegations.  With media interest in the SEC at an all-time high, the prospect of multiple scandals looms as a possibility.  Barnhart knows this, which is why playing the “you’re dirty, too!” card, early and loudly, makes sense.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Media Punditry/Foibles