Can I just say that I never got around to reading this article about college football in 2034?
You had me at the Photoshop.
That is one heaping helping of awesome there. Comments, people, comments.
Shorter Matt Hayes: For Nick Saban, the 10-second substitution proposal is strictly a matter of player safety, because… well, Nick Saban.
There’s always something to grab.
I think it’s safe to say that things didn’t go all so well for the NCAA at yesterday’s O’Bannon hearing. For one thing, the parties are finally going to trial. For another, the judge doesn’t sound like she’s buying a lot of what the NCAA is selling.
During the course of Thursday’s hearing, Wilken closely questioned the NCAA’s lead outside attorney, Glenn Pomerantz, about the association’s contention that the First Amendment and various case law protect live television broadcasts of sports events from claims related to improper use of the participants’ names, images and likenesses. She also asked Pomerantz about the various ways in which the NCAA says its limits on athlete compensation promote competition among its Division I schools and, thus, justify the existence of the restraints.
The First Amendment question revolves, in part, around the NCAA’s argument that college sports events are of such great public and news interest that athletes cannot demand that they be compensated for appearing in TV broadcasts of them. But Wilken asked at one point: “If the public is so interested, why can only CBS show” certain games? Pomerantz said, in part, the law allows the NCAA, a school or a conference to grant of an exclusive “right of access” to a specific broadcaster without losing the First Amendment protection.
Regarding the NCAA’s contention that the limits help with on-field competitive balance among the schools, Wilken asked: “Isn’t there a less restrictive alternative? Wouldn’t addressing coaches salaries or the money spent of stadiums” have the same effect? She also asked whether the NCAA could impose different revenue sharing rules to help schools or particular sports with their funding.
Pomerantz countered that the NCAA “is not saying we have perfect competitive balance” now, but that if limits on athlete compensation are removed, it would “make it a lot worse” because schools with greater financial resources would be in an even more advantageous position to attract top athletes.
Wilken also said she had “problems” with the NCAA’s contention that the limits on compensation promotes athletics’ integration with schools’ academic environment.
Give NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy enough sense to avoid meeting the press after the hearing. Instead he issued a statement that’s as detached from reality as the arguments questioned by Judge Wilken are.
“We believe strongly in the merits of our case and will continue to defend the interests of the hundreds of thousands of student-athletes not recognized by the plaintiffs. For them and for all student-athletes, the current model of college sports provides opportunities for success during college and beyond…”
Yep, the NCAA is defending the student-athlete. Remy might be better served by paying attention to something else the judge said.
There is still a prospect that the case could be settled, and at one point during the hearing, Wilken told the sides: “If you want to compromise, I’m all for it – because I won’t be compromising.”
That’s a tell, guys. Ignore it at your peril.
My last two posts have made me wonder if Mike Slive isn’t missing a terrific opportunity for his fledgling broadcast enterprise. Have the cameras follow his football coaches around for the entirety of SEC Media Days and he’s got himself one helluva reality TV show.
We’ve had sideshows before, but they’ve usually pitted the coaches against conference administration. This time, it’s coaches versus coaches, it’s getting personal and perhaps turning ugly. Throw in a “Housewives of the SEC” show (how do Mrs. Sumlin and Mrs. Malzahn take to having their hubbies’ livelihoods threatened by the likes of Bielema and Saban?) and you’ve got some mighty compelling drama to sell.
Shoot, that might be enough to get DirecTV on board. Go for it, Commish.
I’ve figured out the role ol’ Bert is playing in the 10-second substitution rule fracas. He’s there to make Nick Saban seem like the reasonable one.
He also reiterated his stance that the proposal is safety-based — saying he wants to be proactive and make a change before a fatal injury.
The former Wisconsin coach pointed to the recent death of California football player Ted Agu during a training run, saying the inability to substitute an injured player between plays could lead to injury or death…
… He also offered a direct counter to the claim there’s no hard evidence of increased risk of injury.
“Death certificates,” Bielema said. “There’s no more anything I need than that.”
It’s hard, but take a step past the sanctimonious crocodile tears being shed over the random tragedy of a kid’s death – at a February practice! – and the indirect shot at Agu’s coach, who, by the way, is one of the more outspoken critics of the substitution proposal, and focus on the larger ramifications of Bielema’s position. If a player’s death is all that’s needed to justify changing a rule in the name of player safety, why stop at a 10-second substitution requirement? Indeed, why stop anywhere?
I mean, start with this…
He mentioned that a half a dozen players with the Razorbacks have been diagnosed with sickle cell trait, and that the team’s trainers must constantly watch the players for signs of dehydration or exhaustion.
“I think it’s still safety battle,” Bielema said. “… I know every one of those coaches probably has a player in that same scenario, but it hasn’t happened.
“It’s kind of like, do we have to have this happen before we talk about it?”
… and ask if a rule banning kids who have been diagnosed with sickle-cell trait from playing the sport shouldn’t be considered.
It’s interesting that a guy who gained national attention for his move a few years ago to have his kick return team go offsides on two kickoff attempts to run out the clock in the first half, thereby exposing 22 special teams players to extra risk of contact (remember, there’s been enough concern about player safety on kickoffs that they were moved five yards closer to the opponent’s end zone to limit the chance for contact) to gain a strategic advantage by abusing a rule has suddenly found religion on player safety. Or dickish. Take your pick.
Bielema claims to be confident that the proposal will pass when the NCAA playing rules oversight panel votes on March 6. I’m pretty confident that if he’s running point on the deal, it won’t. I’m also pretty confident he won’t be winning any Mr. Popularity awards from his peers in the near future.
He knows he should STFU. He just can’t come up with a good excuse as to why.
“… What if you’re in the middle of the third or fourth quarter and you know that the kid standing 15 yards away from you or on the other side of the field has this trait. He’s got this built-in possibility of something happening. Your doctors have told you about it. Your trainers have told you about it. He looks at you through those eyes or maybe the trainer even says, “Hey coach, you need to get him out of there.” And you can’t. You have no timeouts. He’s not going to fake an injury. He’s not going to fall down…”
If the trainer says a kid needs to get out of a game, how’s the kid faking an injury?