Bad tempers make for bad policy.

So some of the conference commissioners aren’t playing well with each other.

… Tension is high among some commissioners, as Texas A&M of the Big 12 appears headed to the Southeastern Conference in the near future. The Big 12’s Dan Beebe and the SEC’s Mike Slive had a heated phone conversation last week about a potential move, according to a high-ranking college official with direct knowledge of the call.

No worries, mon.  Mark Emmert is from the NCAA and he’s here to help.

Mark Emmert, the president of the N.C.A.A., reached out to several top college officials Monday, suggesting a meeting to discuss a less cannibalistic and more collegial way to approach conference expansion.

Is it just me, or does this strike anybody else as a dicey proposition?  Where does collegiality stop and collusion begin?  For some reason, as I read this, another story jumped to mind:

Soon after being elected commissioner of baseball, Peter Ueberroth addressed the owners at a meeting in St. Louis. Ueberroth called the owners “damned dumb” for being willing to lose millions of dollars in order to win a World Series. Later, at a separate meeting with the general managers in Tarpon Springs, Florida, Ueberroth said that it was “not smart” to sign long-term contracts. The message was obvious—hold down salaries by any means necessary. It later emerged that the owners agreed to keep contracts down to three years for position players and two for pitchers.

That worked out famously.

A final settlement of the three collusion cases was reached in November 1990. The owners agreed to pay the players $280 million, with the MLBPA deciding how to distribute the money to the damaged players.

You’re a college football grand poobah.  You’ve had all sorts of politicians sniffing around your cash cow sport lately, making mouth noises about antitrust enforcement.  If you have any sense, sitting down with a group of your peers to discuss ways to, well, avoid competition shouldn’t strike you as the smartest move in the book.  (It’s no wonder Emmert told conference officials that he needed clearance from the N.C.A.A.’s lawyers before the meeting could be held.)

The NCAA and antitrust law.  Yeah, there’s no reason to think this won’t turn out well.


Filed under College Football, The NCAA

5 responses to “Bad tempers make for bad policy.

  1. Mark Emmert –> Mensa genius. He and his enforcement guys make Inspector Clouseau look like Sherlock Holmes. I’ll take the way his enforcement division screwed UGA and A.J. Green and turned a blind eye to Auburn and Cam Newton to my grave.


  2. A Different Jim

    He is worried that a few Super conferences will be formed and begin to wonder why they need the NCAA. The Conferences may decide that the NCAA should only run the Div II and III schools.


    • Macallanlover

      This is the point. Emmert isn’t the smartest guy but the Super Conference concept is a recognition that the largest schools’ interests are not aligned with the lesser programs in the NCAA. So why do you need an anchor to not only drag you down but requires millions of dollars to operate. You can bet the NCAA is doing all it can to prevent this snowball from starting downhill.


  3. Cojones

    So far it doesn’t sound like that is working too well.

    Thanks for the references. Well written and edited. Think you can continue that when you lawyers start inserting law talk into the blog?
    Might find that some strangers to your profession may have diverse and thoughtful opinions. You could hold a moot court on differing opinions. Sounds almost like F’ing fun.


  4. Cojones

    What could the NCAA possibly accomplish by trying to act as a mediator? The power to arbitrate? That would be a silly thing for any school to give to them.

    A&M is the only one who can drive this change, while the SEC can only be receptive or reject the move. That’s easy. Doesn’t sound as if they have rejected them. Would imagine that the SEC can make it better than their remaining in the Big 12. How is the situation any different from last year when Neb left them and A&M was ready to do the same? Now, in addition to last year when Texas and A&M decided to hold the Big 12 and Beebe together, UT has placed a Big Boot of Advantage on their necks and are daring A&M (with Beebe’s help) to leave.

    Why in hell is Beebe angry at the SEC now when last year he acknowledged that Neb’s move to the Big 10 was good? He should kick UT’s ass for messing with his conference with help from ESPN. If not, then let the bloodletting commence.