Steve Patterson’s charm offensive

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.




Filed under Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

25 responses to “Steve Patterson’s charm offensive

  1. DawgPhan

    alright so he got me with the JFF reference.

  2. Dog in Fla

    “Patterson grew paranoid.”

    That DSM-5 branding helps him stay on message that Jeffrey, Dookie Bilas and JFF will destroy the third best thing since the atavism of white bread and the G.I. Bill

  3. Rp

    As was explained to me on this blog earlier, the 1% are only looking to market themselves independently. I can’t see how this would have a major impact on costs to the programs. It would only represent a small decrease on the revenue side because some folks will buy their JFF t-shirts from his site instead of the a&m site. I am still confused about all this talk of player pay as if it were coming directly from the schools.

    • Two parts to the NIL puzzle – one is things like shirts, autographs, third-party endorsements, which, you’re correct, would have little impact on schools’ bottom lines. The other is broadcast rights, which would be a more significant factor to the schools.

      • Rp

        So I guess they are seeking the right to use some of the footage from games (JFF can sell his own highlight tape), or do they want a cut of the tv contract money?

        • Both, I would think. But a good chunk of O’Bannon has been about the latter.

          • Rp

            Ok, then I might finally understand this. I agree with Patterson that the athletes are well compensated by the schools in terms of the benefits they receive. I do not think the schools should pay them or share the tv revenue.

            However, the athletes should have full rights to market themselves on an independent basis, including limited rights to TV footage.

            Case closed. Let’s talk about our shakey secondary now🙂

  4. Reipar

    Why would they decrease expenditures on football when it is the cash cow? Look at the MAC already losing coaches every couple years. You do not mess with the division that brings in the money. Only makes economic sense to cut the divisions of your business that are black holes.

    • I would argue that coaching salaries are artificially inflated by the absence of player expenditures.

      • Rp

        That would be correct. Mr. Saban makes $7 million coaching a team that produces about $80 million in gross revenue. The top NFL coaches make about the same while leading teams earning around $285 million in gross revenue.

      • Reipar

        True, but what happens when some of your market place competitors keep that price (and not just on coaching salaries, but admin too). You either follow their suit or reallocate funds from the football salary side to the player side and become uncompetitive with those that do not, or you cut non revenue sports. In a strictly business sense if the market will pay your CEO and his essential staff then you do to if that is your cash cow. Say goodbye to the socialist subsidized black hole programs.

        • I’d hardly argue there aren’t plenty of dumbass ADs out there who might pursue that strategy, but if it’s unsustainable over time, the market will take care of that.

          • Reipar

            So feeding the black hole and hurting The cash cow is a viable economic path? Guess I skipped that on my way to my degree. Damn Uga screwing me over.

            • Not sure what point you’re making.

              Any time you have a paradigm shift, you’ll have some who will deal with it smartly and some who will deal with it stupidly. But eventually things adjust to the new arrangement. Look at MLB after the reserve clause was struck.

              • Reipar

                Where is the paradigm shift? You act like cfb is in an althetic department vacuum when it is a conglomerate. There are lots of places to cut costs and the division that brings in the money is not the place to start from a purely economic point.

              • Reipar

                MLB is a single entity enterprise. No other divisions of the business.

                • So what? The two biggest revenue producing programs at most schools suddenly have a massive increase in player compensation and you think schools will cut everything but coaching salaries?

                  • reipar

                    Yes. Exactly. Why take a chance in hurting your cash cow when you can simply eliminate some black holes. In MLB everything they do is connected to baseball. There are no divisions that are not involved in the product. In an athletic departments you have lots of sports (including baseball). There are lots of choices where to cut. Why take a chance on harming the one thing making you money when you can make cuts else where on programs that are losing money. It is not only the safe play, but the one that requires the least amount of creativity/intelligence.


    I tend to agree with everything he said. There are exceptional cases like Protho, but what is wrong with the status quo? All these kids have been raised in this real time, superficial, narcissistic, materialistic, look at me, look at me, let me take a selfie, bacchanal of a world, and they all should stop for moment and just be proud to wear the uniform, and thankful they were blessed with enough talent to get a free education, and to be glorified by the crowd roaring their name, and be happy to wait, if they are good enough, to be paid when they turn pro.

    I’ll go back to my Bulldog room now. I like to dream.

    • mp

      In other words, “I would have killed to play football for UGA!” and a “I had to pay for my education, they should be thankful!” with more than just a little bit of “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” sprinkled throughout.

  6. W Cobb Dawg

    Patterson’s hysterics aside, I imagine when it’s all settled we’ll see something like the NFL & other pro endeavors. Players will get a cut, coaches & admins will get a cut, and the schools (like NFL owners) will get a big cut. The Pattersons & Emmerts are getting paid to yell & scream ‘unfair’ all through the transition period.

    • Dog in Fla

      Players will get a cut but by God management is going to make sure they’re still sucking hind tit