“To me, it’s a depth thing. That’s what separates the South.”

UT athletic director Steve Patterson may be the biggest jerk working in college athletics, but he’s not stupid.  His announcement this week that, should things play out in the legal arena such that O’Bannon is the law of the land, Texas is prepared to pay its student-athletes $10,000 a year is a clever shot across the bow.  It doesn’t cost him anything now to say it, it’s nothing he could avoid paying in the future if the courts rule against him, and in the meantime his athletic department will reap the benefits of his planting the first flag with a dollar sign on it in the minds of recruits.  That’s well-played in my book, especially from a guy who’s been dismissive of the entire effort to compensate student-athletes more fairly.

But I doubt it’s the end of the matter.  Not even close.  He may be cracking open the door, but I suspect there will be other schools ready to push it far more open.

Long term, let’s face it:  if there’s one thing that can trump demographics, it’s money.  They may not be growing the five-star talent in the Rust Belt at the rate they way they are in the Sun Belt, but Big Ten money spends just as well down here.  Besides, it’s good for BTN ratings.

Can you say bidding wars?  I thought you could.

48 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

48 responses to ““To me, it’s a depth thing. That’s what separates the South.”

  1. Bulldawg165

    I know this sentiment has been expressed before, but how many folks wanna drop $100M on that indoor practice facility now? Not many around here I presume.

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    • It’s about $15M, but, 165, your point is well taken. The $10k isn’t going to stop the real problem in college sports – under the table money from agents, boosters, memorabilia dealers, and other cretins poisoning the system. I also want to see if Patterson is going to commit that $10k to all scholarship athletes. If so, how does he plan to pay for it? If not, how does he plan to defend UT from the mother of all Title IX lawsuits?

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      • DawgPhan

        $10k to all scholarship athletes. $5k for full cost of attendance and $5k to secure likeness rights.

        Are you really wondering out loud where Texas is going to get $6million to pay for athletics? I am guessing that the Texas AD has $6million in his couch in his secretaries office.

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        • DawgPhan, I agree with the idea. I have said from day 1 that I support full cost of attendance and payment for the use of likeness. I guarantee you UT isn’t going to pay this expense from existing revenue sources or reserve funds and reduce operating margins. This cost will get passed on the UT sports fan/consumer through higher contribution requirements, additional fees, higher ticket prices, more TV timeouts, more advertising blaring through the PA system, etc. The football season ticket holder in Austin is going to pay this for the women’s volleyball team. The bottom line is that no entity is going to decrease its margins voluntarily. They will increase the price of the product, reduce other costs to deliver the product, or reduce the supply of the scholarships subject to the $10k.

          It’s just like taxes. A corporation doesn’t pay taxes. It passes the tax through to the customer as a cost of the product.

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      • Bulldawg165

        I don’t think an IPF will be built for $15M. That seems way too low. More importantly, however,

        “The $10k isn’t going to stop the real problem in college sports – under the table money from agents, boosters, memorabilia dealers, and other cretins poisoning the system”

        Hopefully they’ll relax the rules about signing autographs and other nonsense too. Making these types of things above-board is the best way to cure those issues.

        “If not, how does he plan to defend UT from the mother of all Title IX lawsuits”

        My guess is that they’ll get a waiver to pay athletes in revenue generating sports.

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        • 165, I hope the Power 5 have enough sense to get the under the table money aboveboard. The IRS is going to be watching this closely because I guarantee you they are ready to go after any taxes. I believe the IRS is going to go after the athletic associations’ tax-exempt status and make the case that scholarships and all benefits are taxable income to the student-athlete.

          To get a waiver would likely require some governmental intervention including an anti-trust exemption. I don’t see the Feds giving this without getting something in return – see above regarding the tax-exempt status.

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          • Bulldawg165

            “To get a waiver would likely require some governmental intervention including an anti-trust exemption”

            An anti-trust exemption to only pay athletes in revenue generating sports so that it complies with Title IX? Doesn’t sound right to me.

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        • 15mil isn’t building an IPF unless it’s a circuis tent or or a giant version of a sunsetter awning.

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          • I don’t how much it’s going to cost, and I really don’t care because I won’t be making a contribution to its construction. I think the $15m-$20m number assumes it’s built on existing land and it’s a basic facility. The 2003-04 expansions of Sanford cost $33m according to georgiadogs.com. I don’t see an IPF on land already owned by UGA exceeding that.

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    • Raleigh St. Claire

      I fail to see how one has anything to do with the other.

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      • Bulldawg165

        Free cash flow, man. You can’t pay your players as much when you’ve gotta make interest payments on $100M debt taken on to build new facilities. If you can’t pay them as much, you’re not gonna get as much talent.

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  2. For what it’s worth, I think bidding wars already occur. It’ll just be public now.

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    • As long as the public bidding wars are subject to Title IX, the cost is going to remain artificially low and the underground bidding wars will continue through the bagmen.

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      • mp

        If booster clubs are the ones who offer payment and they sever official ties with the university, there wouldn’t be any conflict. Actually, I’m not 100% sure, but I’m not sure a group of like-minded alums couldn’t just set up a new organization whose sole purpose is to pay fees to prospective students. They enter into a contract wtih the prospective student, and make the whole thing above board from the IRS prospective. How that arm’s length organization manages its own negotiations with prospects, is separate from the university’s expenditures. I’m not a lawyer, but it’s just a thought

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  3. Macallanlover

    I think it is a mistake to include all scholarship athletes in this proposal. Not restricting it to sports that pay their own way will bring it down, and is also a good reality lesson for students to learn. No free lunches for golf, baseball, soccer, equestrian, swimming, etc., unless they get their numbers up (seems you could also treat this as “full scholarships” and partial ones.)

    I do like the “flat rate” aspect of this approach as I fear it will cause major problems to allow schools to differentiate between themselves, or specific players…if I understand how he intends to implement it.

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    • Mac, well stated – using golf as an example, no player at UGA gets a full scholarship. They are all partial scholarships. Given that college golf isn’t typically looked at as a TV or spectator sport, I wouldn’t be surprised to see many schools drop the sport if they have to compensate for use of likeness. Most schools would have the same issue with tennis. UGA would be an exception to that rule.

      Anyone who thinks this is going to be an easy environment to navigate is naïve or just kidding themselves. There are going to be unintended consequences that will be painful to the various stakeholders of college sports.

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      • DawgPhan

        Sure unintended consequences. there are always those. But a lot of students are going to be better off moving forward than they are right now.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Why would a college drop golf if a kid got paid by a third party for his or her likeness? If it had to share broadcast rights then it still makes sense to keep the program. 90% of a positive number is greater than 100% of zero.

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        • I agree when you talk about a 3rd party (I support this – if TaylorMade paid a kid $X to use their equipment, I completely support that). I don’t agree if you mean the university pays a college golfer $5,000 to use his/her likeness and never use it because there’s no market for the broadcast rights of college golf.

          Some colleges are going to drop programs because the cost to deliver exceeds the benefit.

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      • 69Dawg

        Let’s just say that the AA’s got creative and went for corporate sponsorships for their non-revenue sports. The UGA golf team sponsored by Callaway, the UGA Gym Dawgs sponsored by you name it. Hell take a page out of the Little League and MLS put the damn sponsor on their uniforms. The SEC channel will give them more coverage on nationwide TV than a NASCAR auto. Instead of the coach getting the uniform and shoe money the players get it divided equally. The only thing stopping this is the greed of the administrators and the cartel NCAA.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      I think business people who travel shouldn’t get travel expense reimbursements for meals. They should learn there is no such thing as a free lunch. They would buy their own lunches if they w dr e in their offices.

      Being paternalistic and telling folks what is for their own good can be habit forming.

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    • Dog in Fla

      “No free lunches for golf, baseball, soccer, equestrian, swimming, etc., unless they get their numbers up”

      Here’s how that sales meeting will go down

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  4. Gaskilldawg

    It bears repeating. There is sufficient money to provide actual cost of attendance and stipends to all athletes if schools choose to do so. It is a matter of deciding what they wish to spend it on.

    This discussion is no different than what judges see all th ed time in child support cases. Person makes $5000 per month, for example. Person elects to buy a $100,000 car, vacation home at the beach, and monthly gambling junkets to Las Vegas. That person then tells the judge. “I can’t afford to pay child support. ” Big time athletic departments are like that parent. It is a matter of priority .

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  5. DawgPhan

    Also I totally agree with everyone, but let me continue to argue about what might happen.

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  6. uglydawg

    “I’ve got Texas over here with 10 K a year…do I hear 11k? 11k going once, I’ve go Ohio State at 11 K…do I hear 12, 12? I’ve got Oklahoma with 12 K a year…do I hear 13? 13? FSU with 13K a year and all the crab legs you can eat…do I hear 14 K?…14 K?…. Get the picture?

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    • DawgPhan

      That looks a lot like the last time I decided to change jobs. Just the numbers and names are different.

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    • GaskillDawg

      Judge Wilkens order allows conferences to cap what colleges can funnel to athletes for rights to names, likeness and images at $5,000.00 per scholarshiped athlete per year. Ohio State won’t be at official visits offering 11k.

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  7. Macallanlover

    There are many schools within the 127 D1 group who cannot afford that amount, much less more. From the lofty perches of UGA, TX, Michigan, Bama, etc., it is easy to miss that schools like Ga Southern, Kent State, Wyoming, Northern Illinois, etc., who cannot afford $3MM, much less six. Remember when we played Hawaii and heard their recruiting budget was $50K, and they are an isolated school for travel. I am all for stipends from sports revenues, but offering the money to all athletes, in all sports, is going to be a larger issue than many here think based on comments.

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  8. “Can you say bidding wars? I thought you could.”

    But aren’t you the guy who’s been trumpeting the “fairness” doctrine and pushing for pay-for-play? LOL. You’ll figure it out.

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  9. 69Dawg

    The biggest problem is the way the NCAA determines who is a Division I school. They do it to get all the basketball teams eligible for March Madness. Football is an after thought. The power 5 should break off and let the NCAA figure out what to do with the have nots. Do you really believe that Georgia Southern, which I love dearly, really belongs in the FBS? How about Georgia State? They are only going up in Division for the two to three games a year where they are getting the Power 5 money for getting beat. It’s just greed feeding more greed and we as fans are the enablers. ESPN has become a mammoth entity by showing sports. They now are in effect in control of the scheduling and to a certain extent the match-ups. Lets see how closely the selection committee follows the ESPN Power rankings which as far as I can tell are merely a poll of their employees. College sports as we know them are becoming a studio game just like Major League baseball.

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