Daily Archives: April 1, 2012

Maybe Georgia’s in a transitional period.

I had a thought after hearing the news about Marc Deas leaving the program.  Understand that this is nothing more than rank, idle speculation on my part, but here goes anyway – all that talk from many of us about how some wish Georgia would be more like Alabama in how it goes about its program building… what if Mark Richt has decided that’s right, too?

By that, I don’t mean we should expect a rash of players suddenly being shunted into injury scholarships or that grayshirting will become the norm.  But what if Richt has changed his default position from “every kid on scholarship is precious and it’s our role to see his school career through” to “every kid on scholarship needs to be told the truth about his chance to play at Georgia, regardless of the consequences”?  (My personal feeling is that you can make a credible argument that Grantham’s doing the latter already.)

Let me phrase it another way.  If you were Richt and you wanted to chart a more Saban-like course, how would you start?  The years of undersigning are a bell you can’t unring, but the in state crop in Georgia this year is both large and talented.  Isn’t it prudent to trim back kids that don’t project as major contributors so that you can sign a larger group in 2013?

I have no idea whether this is going on, of course, but there’s no denying that some things have already changed.  By many accounts, Georgia has offered more kids early than it ever has before under Richt.  And that’s something which cuts against the grain of a Richt standard – making sure that the school won’t cut the legs out from under any recruit with an offer who wants to come to Athens.  Remember when he complained about other coaches coming into this state and handing out offers like candy?  Welcome to the piñata party, Mark.

By the way, Georgia will have 73 players on scholarship this season once the kids get here this summer.  Barring a rash of injuries, that’s enough to survive, even in the SEC, especially given Grantham’s approach on who plays.  So if this new regime is in play, I don’t think the short-term issues worry the coaches too much.

What do you guys think?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mark Emmert’s “the collegiate model”

Joe Nocera’s been steadily pounding on the NCAA for a while now – some of it’s been over some pretty low hanging fruit – but this is good.

… When we spoke this week, Southall directed me to an obscure link he had stumbled upon at the N.C.A.A.’s Web site. It consists of a series of short briefings prepared by the N.C.A.A. staff for its incoming president, Mark Emmert. (Emmert, the former president of the University of Washington, took the reins at the N.C.A.A. in April 2010.) I clicked through to a section called “Protecting the Collegiate Model.” It read, in part: “The consistent use of the term — with the steady drumbeat of what it means — can be an effective constraint on practices that threaten to estrange intercollegiate athletics from higher education.” In other words, pound the message home, over and over. Just like that ad does.

It was amusing this week to watch Emmert trot out “the collegiate model” as he was confronted with the reality of the “one and done” freshman. “One and done” freshmen — or players who have no interest in college and are enrolling only until they turn 19 and become eligible for the professional draft — have been a hot topic in the runup to this weekend’s Final Four. That’s because John Calipari, the Kentucky coach, has become the master of recruiting them — and his team is favored to win the championship. Calipari is completely upfront about what he is doing: He is gaming the system by bringing in players who need a way station until they are old enough to turn pro. Indeed, Calipari tells them when he is recruiting them that he doesn’t expect them to stay for more than a year.

Calipari, complained Emmert, was “throwing away the collegiate model.” But, he’s not, because in the big-money sports of football and men’s basketball, the collegiate model is a fiction. Rather, Calipari is dispensing with the hypocrisy that everyone else goes along with, including our basketball-mad president, who allows himself to be interviewed while filling out his March Madness brackets, but can’t bring himself to utter a word on behalf of the athletes that college sports so ruthlessly exploits.

I’m not sure the NCAA is as blameworthy as Nocera suggests.  The NFL and NBA have made major contributions in the exploitation department.  But hypocritical?  Oh, yeah.  The pros may have made the bed, but Emmert’s still chosen to sleep in it.  I don’t think many people watching this week’s March Madness play are personally offended by Calipari’s business model.  And Emmert’s sure not turning that broadcast money down over it, either.

You can’t be a little pregnant.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need…

I’m not surprised that the commissioner of the Horizon League is asking for this

Jon LeCrone thinks that needs to change. Speaking at an event here focused on revenue distribution in college sports, the commissioner of the Horizon League proposed ending the practice of financially rewarding institutions based on their on-court success in the NCAA tournament.

“What does it mean in a collegiate-based model or a model based on the values of higher education when we have amateur players playing for money?” LeCrone said during a panel organized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Sports Business Initiative. “Is that where we should be?”

Handing out money based on tournament victories “may get us to places where we’re doing things that aren’t necessarily value-based,” said LeCrone, a former member of the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.

… just that it’s taken him so long to do so.  And where, you might ask, should things be?  Well, since you asked…

Jeffrey Orleans, former executive director of the Ivy League, suggested an alternative: Why not distribute that money equitably across all 340-plus Division I institutions? That would provide less-wealthy institutions with more financial stability, he said, and could lead to more competitive balance in the game.

Professional leagues have done this for years, distributing revenue from media and marketing deals equitably across all teams, said Glenn Wong, a professor of sport management and the faculty athletics representative at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Skipping past the obvious counter – that college athletics are an organized monolith like professional leagues are and thus don’t have the same self-interest in sharing – about how long do you figure it would take for every non-Division I school to make a move up to share in the wealth?

Though you’ve got to be amused by John Lombardi’s come back here.

If colleges want to have a discussion about spreading the wealth, he said, they need to consider the broader concentrations of power across higher education. Ninety-five percent of federal research grants are controlled by 150 colleges, he said, with the top 25 institutions controlling 45 percent of the money.

“Intercollegiate athletics is not the only superstar, high-money, highly concentrated activity that American universities engage in for big bucks,” he said. “So, let’s not focus only on athletics as the big-money part of higher education. We have big money in lots of places. And it is very similarly distributed in other places in terms of concentration and superstar compensation–just to spread the wealth.”

Hey, it’s the jocks vs. the nerds!

In the end, this kind of stuff sounds like more fuel for the fire for the D-1 separation that seems more inevitable with every day’s passing.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

“Mike Slive’s Master Plan About To Come Into Devastating Focus”

April Fools!

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Filed under ACC Football, SEC Football