Daily Archives: February 9, 2015

The bride wore crimson.

Even in the Bible Belt some things transcend all else.  One scene from the first day it was legal for same-sex couples to marry in Alabama:

In Montgomery, paramedics Melissa and Kimberly Martin finished their night shifts and decided to get married on the spot after seeing that the judge was issuing licenses. They got married in their “Roll Tide” University of Alabama football T-shirts and planned a fancier ceremony later.

I guess they’re saving the houndstooth look for the second wedding.  It’s more formal.

80 Comments

Filed under Whoa, oh, Alabama

Now the players are offering coaches second chances.

Matt Colburn, the running back recruit Bobby Petrino recently reneged on, responds to the obvious:

But surely Colburn had known about Petrino’s reputation.

“I’m all about second chances,” Colburn said. “I’m all about forgiving people and just looking past previous wrongdoings and things of that sort.”

He’s probably too nice a kid to have not meant that sincerely, but that would be just epic snark there if he offered it as such.

11 Comments

Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, Recruiting

A little slice of heaven

It sounds like moving from the sad sack UAB football program to Georgia’s has been something of an eye opener for Jake Ganus:

“It’s awesome,” he said. “I love Athens, I love Georgia, the whole community. You walk around town and you know football is important. It means something to these people. In class, students [are] wearing Georgia gear; every single one of them has something Georgia on. That’s something new for me, and I love that. I take so much pride in that. It’s been a lot different, but in a good way. I couldn’t be happier to be here, and I’m so excited.”

Just wait ’til he participates in his first Dawg Walk.  (Or sees more people attending G-Day than any UAB regular season game in which he played.)

8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Is Roquan Smith ready to be a test case?

Andy Staples poses an interesting scenario:

That kind of secret gets kept at a lot of places and revealed after Signing Day, by which point prospects have already signed the worst contract in American sports and relinquished their right to be recruited by other schools. Those secrets were kept this year. At Ohio State, running backs coach Stan Drayton was planning to go to the Chicago Bears. At Florida, defensive line coach Terrell Williams was heading to the Miami Dolphins. The Gators were ready to replace him with Texas defensive line coach Chris Rumph. None of this was supposed to get out until Thursday, but Marvez, who covers the NFL and therefore works outside the College Football Industrial Complex, simply reported the info he was told by a reliable source Wednesday. He gave Smith a chance to do what every top-100 football recruit in the country should every year: Refuse to sign the NLI.

That’s precisely what Harold plans to suggest to Smith and his family. Smith smartly signed with no one Wednesday. He can wait until April 1 to sign the NLI, but doesn’t have to sign it at all (more on that later). Smith is still being recruited hard by UCLA, Georgia, Michigan and Texas A&M. He has options. He also has the chance to be a trailblazer and avoid the NLI entirely. “I’m going to talk to his family and see if that’s what they’d like to do — if that’s an option they’d like to explore,” Harold said.

That’s some option.

Though most players don’t realize it, they do not have to sign the NLI to receive a scholarship. They need only sign a financial aid agreement at their chosen school. The financial aid paperwork provides (almost) the same guarantee of a scholarship as the NLI, but unlike the NLI, it doesn’t strip the player of the only leverage he’ll have until he graduates from college.

Why is the NLI the worst contract in American sports? It requires players to sign away their right to be recruited by other schools. If they don’t enroll at the school with which they signed, they forfeit a year of eligibility. Not a redshirt year, but one of their four years to play. In return, the NLI guarantees the player nothing.

Sure, the NLI claims to guarantee a scholarship, but that simply isn’t true. That is contingent on the player being admitted to the school and on the football program staying below the 85-scholarship limit. A school can dump the player at any point between Signing Day and preseason camp, and he would have no recourse. This guarantee is no different than the one on a conference-approved financial aid form, but it costs the player something the financial aid agreement does not.

The real question, of course, isn’t so much whether Smith wants to become a trailblazer – nothing he’s done so far strikes me as thinking he’s the type, but let that pass for the moment – as it is whether there’s a school out there eager enough for his services to allow him to become a trailblazer.  ‘Cause it would be a pretty big deal.

It would be nice if Smith could follow the path of some college basketball stars and decline to sign the NLI. Only that would be terribly risky. He is just one player, and coaches may be more interested in protecting an arrangement tilted ludicrously in their favor than in nabbing a highly touted linebacker. Maybe the Bruins, Bulldogs, Wolverines and Aggies would decide he isn’t worth the potential hit to the system. Of course, given the intensity with which UCLA’s Jim Mora, Georgia’s Mark Richt, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin recruit, it seems unlikely that all would pass on a player they clearly want.

But if they all did?  Well, that might open up another can of worms.

… Also, if all these competitors in the market for college football talent did conspire to shun a player they obviously covet, then Smith might get a call from Michael Hausfeld or Jeffrey Kessler. Hausfeld is the attorney who cleaned the NCAA’s clock in the O’Bannon case. Kessler is the attorney who hopes to leave a smoking crater in Indianapolis where the NCAA headquarters currently sit with his Jenkins v. NCAA case.

So I guess it all depends on whether Smith asks the question in the first place.  That’s unlikely.  It sure is interesting that Harold is raising the possibility, though.  Even more interesting will be seeing who’s paying attention.

37 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

“Stop mixing politics in with college football,” you said.

Talk to the politicians.

(h/t Doc Saturday)

6 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

$6.3 million well spent.

Jeremy Foley waxes philosophic about Boom waxing Florida in this year’s recruiting, while still being on Florida’s dime.

No doubt the Gators’ rubber chicken circuit this offseason should be loads of fun for everyone.

8 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

“My personal thought is it makes no sense not to.”

I can’t figure out if Kentucky favors an early signing period in football because it would be good for kids who’ve made up their minds early from continuing to be chased, or if it’s because it would put less stress on the school’s recruiting budget.

I’ve got news for Stoops and Barnhart – the early date won’t help the kids; it’ll just move up the pressure on the calendar.  And given that, I’m not sure how much less chasing Stoops would be doing to hold down the fort.

9 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Sling it.

DISH Network’s latest baby is getting to be a more attractive call for the SEC fan with this news:

Core package ($20/mo):
ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey, Galavision, Maker Network

News and Information Extra ($5/mo):
Bloomberg, HLN

Kids Extra ($5/mo):
Disney Junior, Disney XD

Sports Extra ($5/mo):
ESPN News, ESPN U, SEC ESPN Network, ESPN Buzzer Beater, Universal Sports, Bein Sports

So 25 bucks a month gets you most of the ESPN package, along with the SEC Network.  Hmmm…

(h/t TSK)

24 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

“Academics are vitally important and demand just as much attention as athletics, especially in college.”

One thing about next year’s recruiting scene that isn’t getting much attention now, but I suspect will as things move on, is that 2016 marks the year when the NCAA’s new academic standards for high schoolers kick in.  And they’re a fairly big deal:

The new initial-eligibility requirements create a higher academic standard for freshman to play. That standard is higher than what will be needed to receive aid and practice, creating an academic redshirt year.

Student-athletes who achieve the current minimum initial-eligibility standard will continue to be eligible for athletically related financial aid during the first year of enrollment and practice during the first regular academic term of enrollment. Student-athletes could earn practice during the second term of enrollment by passing nine semester or eight quarter hours.

For immediate access to competition, prospective student-athletes must achieve at least a 2.3 GPA and an increased sliding scale. For example, an SAT score of 1,000 requires a 2.5 high school core-course GPA for competition and a 2.0 high school core-course GPA for aid and practice.

Prospects also must successfully complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of their senior year in high school. Seven of the 10 courses must be successfully completed in English, math and science.

The ostensible purpose is to make sure that incoming student-athletes are better prepared to handle the academic pressures of college.  Whether that works is something we’ll have to wait to judge, but even with the four-year transition period to adapt to the new requirements, I expect we’ll see a larger number of kids in the 2016 class who aren’t accepted by D-1 schools than we’ve previously seen.  Those whispers you hear about a particular kid’s grades being shaky may have more weight than ever.

35 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Recruiting, The NCAA

Can’t lose what you never had.

Bert wants the world to know he’s not really interested in signing high maintenance kids… you know, the ones that are really good.

“I want guys that leave campus and know this is what they want to be a part of. I want guys that maybe come back two or three times and say, ‘This is where I’m going.’ If they have to pick a hat, release the balloons and cut the cake on Signing Day, I probably don’t have time for them. Not to say that’s always the case, but it’s the direction I’ve leaned during my head coaching career.”

Uh huh.  Like you’ve had the choice, brah.

One day, he and Paul Johnson ought to team up and host a recruiting show.  That would be amusing.

21 Comments

Filed under Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Blowing Smoke