Daily Archives: April 17, 2013

Random factoid of the day

Say what you will, but getting talent to come to Athens hasn’t been a problem over the last decade or so.

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Should I be flattered by this?

It appears that the Genius is taking advice from moi.  Go figure.

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“… we’re just going to keep rolling them cats in and keeping them fresh.”

Remember last year’s Kentucky game, when Abry Jones got hurt early on?

When Georgia gave up 206 rushing yards to Kentucky last October, reserves Thornton and Drew did not get any defensive snaps. Smith and Jenkins got 59 and 58 snaps, respectively, and nose guard Kwame Geathers got 38. Abry Jones was lost after only three snaps after tearing tendons in his left ankle and missed the rest of the season.

Richt blames that on a lack of confidence in the reserves.  But that’s all changed now.

“When Abry went down, it wasn’t like we just threw another guy into the rotation,” Richt said. “At the end, we probably didn’t have enough guys that we felt comfortable putting in there. We’ve got a feeling that we’re going to have a higher comfort level with more guys than we had a year ago basically.”

Grantham, who presumably could have dictated playing time be more balanced last year, sounds like he’s singing from the same hymnbook as Richt.

“In my mind, that’s kind of the rotational depth thing that I was looking at,” Grantham said. “I feel like they can help us so that when we come together as a unit, you can really roll those guys and keep them fresh and affect the quarterback and in the run game.”

And you get the sense some subtle head gestures are being tossed in the direction of the recently departed.

Rodney Garner, who left before the bowl game to return to his alma mater Auburn, coached the defensive line where Mike Thornton played 19 total snaps until the regular season finale against Georgia Tech and defensive end Ray Drew averaged less than five snaps a game in the first nine games of the season.

Cornelius Washington, who also played outside linebacker last season, saw more time at defensive end towards the end of the season after Jones’ injury.

“We subbed some, but we didn’t substitute a lot,” Richt said. “I’ve got a feeling this year we’re going to substitute an awful lot. The No. 1 and No. 2 units are very, very close in talent bases.”

Garner?  Oh, yeah, that guy.

Look, I did get the impression at G-Day that there’s more depth on the d-line than expected and I don’t question the present sincerity of the call for more linemen rotation.  But it’s not like that didn’t make sense before.  (“I think they should have done it a little more…” Geathers said.)  If it turns out as the season progresses that two or three of the linemen are clearly head and shoulders above the rest from a production standpoint, let’s see how that shakes out in the rotation.  Coaches may come and go, but old habits die hard, too.

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The evolution of amateurism

I’ve never been a big fan of Andrew Zimbalist, so if there’s a part of something he’s authored that resonates with me… well, you read this:

Today, “pay for play” refers to compensating an athlete as an employee. Before 1957, it meant awarding athletic scholarships. That year, the NCAA coined and mandated the term “student athlete” as part of an effort to protect itself from workers’ compensation claims.

As college sports grew and became less a campus extracurricular than a lucrative business enterprise, programs complained about and violated rules so often that the NCAA took step after step away from its original notion of amateurism, allowing athletic scholarships in 1948 and termination of financial aid if a student stopped playing in 1967, permitting coverage of educational expenses in 1957, and prohibiting multiyear scholarships in 1973.

One thing you can say about that trend is that it doesn’t favor the player.  The context makes it hard to disagree with his argument.

“In short, amateurism in intercollegiate athletics is whatever the NCAA says it is,” reads the report, written by Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, and Allen Sack, president of the Drake Group, which advocates for academic integrity and greater balance in college athletics. “The NCAA maintains its own, idiosyncratic, changing, frequently arbitrary, and often illogical definition of amateurism. NCAA restrictions on college athletes’ free participation in the lucrative market for their images, likenesses and names are obviously not necessary to uphold the principles of amateurism, which are constantly changing to meet industry needs.”

When students become athletes, they sign an agreement with the NCAA that essentially gives the association ownership over their names and images. The NCAA and video game companies can profit from using photos of the athletes or  images that strongly resemble them for as long as they like, and the athletes never see a penny.

Sack, a professor of sport management at the University of New Haven, said that to share this revenue with athletes “is no more a violation of amateurism than paying for their educations, or conditioning the renewal of their scholarships each year on athletic performance.”

Compare that with the NCAA’s official position on O’Bannon, which is that it doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“Amateurism is what separates college sports from pro sports, and the NCAA membership has decided that those who participate in intercollegiate athletics should be students first and not paid professional athletes,” he said. “The NCAA does not limit how a student-athlete takes advantage of his or her likeness after college.”

That’s some impressive smoke blowing there.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Don’t cry for me, Athens.

Speaking of SEC schedules, if you think the Dawgs have it tough early on, check out what Ole Miss and Tennessee face before October’s over.

UT’s looks particularly brutal.  As Aschoff notes, the Vols could be playing five top-10 teams in 42 days.  I guess we’ll see how Jancek earns the big bucks.

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“ESPN knows the market…”

Jon Solomon has a detailed breakdown of what’s coming down the turnpike with the launching of the SEC Network here.  Key paragraphs:

Bevilacqua said he believes the SEC missed a big opportunity several years ago by negotiating longterm deals with ESPN and CBS that everybody now knows were fairly under-market deals.

“At the time, they looked like they were fully-valued deals,” he said. “But it’s fair to say the market accelerated forward and has changed quite dramatically. As a result of those deals, the SEC has to deal with ESPN in a non-free agency matter. It’s very difficult because ESPN has the leverage of 15 years worth of future rights to have the preferred structural outcome.”

Which is why history is about to repeat itself with the SEC signing another long-term broadcast deal with the WWL.  The conference may have the product, but the networks have the contracts.

Considering what the last set of deals brought us – a round of expansion that the conference is currently struggling with on the scheduling front – who knows what we’ll wind up with this time around.  Just remember Mike Slive’s hole card.

“The SEC is noted for the loyalty and support from its fans, who are a passionate audience,” Pilson said.

It’s a comfort to know we’ll always be there for him.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Almost like being there

Interesting story about Mark Richt from Ivan Maisel:

Georgia coach Mark Richt went from the regular season to bowl season to recruiting to offseason conditioning to spring practice. Now that the Bulldogs have finished and Richt has room to breathe, he has circled back to last season to begin watching every game — the TV video, not the coaches’ video. Richt said he gets a better sense of the emotion of the game and of what Bulldog fans see.

I wonder if he’s watched a replay of the SECCG yet.  I still can’t bring myself to watch that, but if it’s emotion of the game you’re after, that one’s chock full of it.

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