Daily Archives: December 20, 2014

“If a four-team playoff is good, why wouldn’t an eight-team playoff be better?”

You know, if you substituted “BCS” for “four-team playoff” and “four-team playoff” for “eight-team playoff”, Bill Hancock’s answer would read like every defense he made of the old setup.

In a few years, he’ll be fielding questions about the expansion after eight, rest assured.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Oliver Luck’s new gig

There’s a new sheriff at the NCAA.  West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck is the number two man at the organization now.  Jon Solomon speculates about why the move might be noteworthy.

Third, and most interestingly, Luck comes to the NCAA as a forward thinker and one of the most pragmatic ADs about the legal challenges facing college sports. Is Luck going to be assimilated into the NCAA rhetoric about defending amateurism as court cases and appeals continue? Or does his hiring represent progress by the NCAA and a wink-and-nod acknowledgment that allowing players to be paid is coming to collegiate athletics?

“This is a time of fundamental change in intercollegiate athletics that will set the foundation for the years ahead,” Luck said in an NCAA statement. “The challenges both internal and external to the NCAA present a unique opportunity to help shape the landscape for hundreds of thousands of young men and women.”

Back in October 2012, Luck was ahead of his time by publicly expressing concern that no plan was in place for college sports’ future if the NCAA lost the Ed O’Bannon case, which focused on the commercialized use of college athletes’ names, images and likenesses. Luck headed up a committee within the Big 12 to explore those issues.

“We’ll have to create what I imagine is some kind of national system to accomplish what all the schools and the NCAA have tried to do to promote events and generate revenue,” Luck told AL.com in 2012. “What’s the proper balance? That really is the key issue. It doesn’t seem like there’s much discussion on this.”

Is his hire a sign that the NCAA is prepared to reconsider its stance on its amateurism model?  Stacey Osburn isn’t talking, so we don’t know.  But I’d bet that if there was a change in stance, there would be plenty of folks who would be willing to reach out and work with the organization and the colleges.

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Filed under The NCAA

Saturday morning buffet

Something to snack on before bowl season commences:

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

“Bret has done a wonderful job.”

There are four second-year head coaches in the SEC.

Arkansas’ Bret Bielema is the only one who hasn’t already negotiated a pay raise.  But that could change.

Talk about your low bar for success:

Tennessee recently announced Butch Jones received an extension to 2020 and raise that boosts his annual salary from $2.95 to $3.6 million, according to numerous reports. Kentucky’s Mark Stoops also received a raise in late October and will earn an average of $3.575 million annually through 2019, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze also received a raise that will pay him $4.3 million next season after rumblings he was courted by Florida.

Bielema, Jones and Stoops are all in their second seasons as SEC coaches along with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, who received a pay raise after leading the Tigers to the national title game last season. Jones is 11-13 overall, 5-11 in SEC games, while Stoops is 7-17 and 2-14. Bielema is 9-15 overall and 2-14 in conference games.

You may think this is friggin’ nuts and I wouldn’t blame you.  But it’s today’s reality in the Southeastern Conference.  Even somebody like Jeff Long knows it.

“To be candid: It’s challenging to know that the market is shifting that quickly,” Long said Thursday. “Those are large numbers obviously. But it is an athletic director’s reality when you’re at a power five conference school, particularly in the SEC, which is the strongest conference and the most lucrative conference in the country. So it’s a challenge to keep those things in perspective. We all have different revenue streams and amounts and different sizes of stadiums and all those things.

“But we’re always going to compete. We want to compete. I know our fans and our administration want us to compete so we’ll continue to do that.”

Meanwhile, in Athens, Georgia…  or somewhere in this great land of ours

I spoke to a Power Five athletic director at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum last week. He said, at some point soon, a number of ADs will simply refuse to keep escalating the pay scale for coaches and start bargain shopping. (Alvarez may have already done this and is simply ahead of the curve.) The AD argued that market forces aren’t totally to blame for the salary surge, as even the recent TV windfall in most leagues isn’t enough to explain how quickly salaries have jumped.

Consider this: When Ed Orgeron was fired as the Ole Miss head coach in 2007, he made $900,000 a year. Seven years later current Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze just agreed to a new deal that will pay him $4.3 million in ’15.

The somewhat frugal AD, who has had the same football coach for a while and pays that coach and his assistants fairly competitive salaries, isn’t sure that even Power Five schools will want to keep competing in this market, and believes they could start trying to lower the salary scale by hiring younger, up-and-coming coaches. Basically, this AD is suggesting schools will start buying fully loaded Chevy Tahoes instead of Range Rovers.

It’s good to have dreams.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football