When last we heard from Texas AD Steve Patterson, in the midst of showing his angry ass about the current state of affairs, he did express one regret.
Patterson did admit Thursday that he felt the NCAA and the schools were losing the public relations battle.
Well, that’s all over now, Baby Blue. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
What’s clear is that Patterson, who was named AD at his alma mater in November and has spent more than two decades as an executive in pro sports, is tired of college athletics losing the public relations battle, and he isn’t afraid to go on the offensive.
And that he does, on the one hand telling everyone outside the power conferences to eff off…
“It’s a part of the everyday business right now. There’s five conferences that want to do the best they can for their student athletes and provide them with the best outcomes. There’s a bunch of other schools that are fairly atavistic in their viewpoints and want to take the rules back to 1950. That’s not going to happen. They need to let the more well-resourced conferences operate, or these five conferences need to leave. It’s that simple. We’ve waited far too long and we’ve been far too accommodating. … I think there’s a harder and harder resolve as each day goes by for the institutions in higher-profile conferences to take the necessary moves.”
… next, telling college athletes to eff off…
“We’re spending all of this time talking about one-half of 1 percent of our student athletes [who have the power to market their likeness]. Not the 99.5 percent of student athletes who are supported by these programs. What we’re giving our student athletes, in terms of academic, athletic, financial aid, support for room and board, training, mentoring, student services, tutoring, is more than the average household income. And for some of our teams, it’s pushing into $70,000 a year per student athlete, and pushes into the top third of household incomes. Tell me one guy whose likeness is worth more than the average household income. … There was one guy last year. [Patterson holds his hands up and rubs his fingers together like Johnny Manziel.]
… and then, wrapping it up by telling agents, lawyers and Jay Bilas (!) to eff off.
“It’s absolutely agents and trial lawyers that are the whole reason we’re talking about this. You’ve got guys like Jay Bilas out there making the claim that scholarships aren’t worth anything, and nobody says anything to discredit that. … So who is saying with any rationality or any fact that student athletes on a full ride aren’t getting something? They’re just flat-out wrong and they’re liars. And they’re doing the bidding of agents and trial lawyers. The longer everybody waddles around acting like it’s not about agents and trial lawyers, the more silliness we’re going to have out there.”
Steve’s good at calling others liars while ignoring his own ability to color outside the lines.
“But the football coach generates the vast majority of the revenue. You’re compensating the coach based on the marketplace. Only football and men’s basketball, and just a few schools in baseball and ice hockey, can make money. Everything else operates at a deficit. So what is the model that’s going to replace that? If you take all of the money football generates and put it back into football, what’s going to pay for everything else?
“The point of paying a football coach based on the market is the hope that he generates enough revenue to support the rest of the athletic department. Now, people make mistakes on hires. But if you have a successful coach and a successful football program, you can support scores of teams. If you can’t, what happens? The same thing that happened at Arizona State before I got there. You start whacking sports. Same thing happened at Maryland. Same thing happened at Berkeley. Sports are getting whacked and that’s bad. The other way you balance the budget — you cut the number of football scholarships. You want to go down that road?”
Nick Saban gets paid what he gets paid in part because Alabama doesn’t have to spend money on student-athlete compensation. If Patterson believes that a change on the expense side wouldn’t have an effect on what a school spends on its coaches, either he’s full of BS, or he’s a really bad manager. Admittedly, that’s a close call. (Although, now that I think about it, there’s no reason he can’t be both.)
But just like before, he’s got some advice for his peers.
Jeffrey Kessler’s antitrust suit: “I’ve been on the other side of the table from Jeffrey Kessler for 30 years. I don’t think administrators understand what they’re getting into.”
Maybe they could all get in a room and insult Kessler to his face.