Daily Archives: March 6, 2015

Why Mark Richt can’t lose control of Georgia’s drug policy.

I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to see what the NCAA just laid down on Syracuse, but it isn’t pretty.  Read the linked article carefully, so you don’t miss this:

Among the violations found included:

Academic misconduct
Extra benefits
Failure to follow drug testing policy
Impermissible booster activity

The report also stated that “the other violations found included impermissible academic assistance and services, the head basketball coach’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff, and the school’s lack of control over its athletics program.”

The NCAA concluded its investigation into Syracuse athletics with an infractions hearing in October. The probe stretched at least as far back as 2007. In 2012, Yahoo Sports reported the basketball program had repeatedly violated its own drug policies over a decade-long span, playing athletes who should have been deemed ineligible for competition. Boeheim initially denied any knowledge of such NCAA issues, but later said the school had self-reported some violations to the association.

The Yahoo Sports report detailed a failure to count failed drug tests and incur suspensions with at least 10 players, dating back to 2001 and including the team’s 2002-03 national championship season.

That’s right.  The NCAA penalized Syracuse, not for violating NCAA drug policy, but for violating its own drug policy rules.

I don’t think Mark Richt ever intends to walk off the reservation over Georgia’s rules, but even if he wanted to, his program would get pounded for not living up to Michael Adams’ standards.

You doubt me on that?

(Meanwhile, Jimmy Williamson is feverishly checking the NCAA regs for any mention of scooters, or alleys, or middle names, or…)



Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

Too pooped to stop pop

At least for another season, the republic is saved. (h/t)

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has tabled a proposed football rule that would have adjusted the ineligible receiver downfield rule from 3 yards to 1 yard on Thursday.

Panel members, who met on a teleconference Thursday, felt more discussion about the rule should take place within the college football community before a final decision is made.

They go on to note that only 65 of the FBS head coaches participated in the initial survey, so I guess they didn’t buy Troy Calhoun’s puffery.

In any event, officials can go back to ignoring the rule, just like before.  Except in Georgia games, of course.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

“Somebody’s gonna get $4 mil to go to Shreveport.”

Don’t look now, but I think we just found our first SEC Media Days topic.


Filed under SEC Football

“Their summertime is my summertime.”

Colorado men’s basketball coach, Tad Boyle, putting the “voluntary” into summer workouts:

“As coaches, we know where we need to get better, but how are we going to do it?” Boyle said. “There’s some things in the offseason that probably need to change and are going to change. The bar is going to be raised; the commitment is going to be higher.”

The main change will come in how the players spend their summer. In the past, Boyle has let his players choose between going home and staying in Boulder, figuring they’d work just as hard on their game either way.

“As a coach, I trust these players and maybe I’ve trusted them too much,” he said. “Now, that leash is going to be tightened.”

For those players who want to remain on the team, their summer is going to be spent in Boulder.
[Emphasis added.]

Remember, playing college sports is a privilege.  If these student-athletes can’t fully appreciate the opportunity Boyle is providing for them by giving up more and more of their free time, they can just go play professional ball somewhere else, right?

Ah, the joys of amateurism.



Filed under Look For The Union Label

“This is a great player with nowhere to go.”

The more I read about the story of FSU’s withdrawal of a scholarship offer to Brian Bell, the messier the whole thing gets.

But this part seems clear.

Touchton says FSU general counsel Carolyn Egan told the group of Bell supporters that “Florida State football players can’t spit on the sidewalk” without inviting media scrutiny.

Florida State has been accused in recent years of allowing its football program to act as a sort of private fiefdom. Quarterback Jameis Winston was allowed to play football — and win a national championship, plus a Heisman Trophy — while accused, but never charged, of sexual assault. He has been disciplined for stealing crab legs and crawfish from a local supermarket and shouting vulgarities in the student union. News media reports have described how athletics department “fixers” and local police smoothed over past cases of theft, destruction of private property and late-night vehicle accidents by other players.

Touchton says Egan made the point that intense pressure on the school related to Winston’s transgressions would mean immense scrutiny on Bell.

Yes, I’m sure being worried about the kid’s reputation is what was behind FSU’s decision.

Whatever the case, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher called McPherson the morning after the meeting with bad news.

“Jimbo was upset about it,” McPherson says. “He said it was the president’s decision and there was nothing he could do.”

Touchton was baffled by that decision.

“Why is Florida State willing to fight to the end of time for Jameis Winston,” she asks, “and not Brian Bell?”

The answer to that might be as simple as this: Winston is potentially the No.1 overall pick of the NFL draft, while Bell, according to Rivals.com, is the nation’s 47th-best linebacker in his class.

So Bell twists in the wind.  He’ll spend more time in the legal system than on a football field.


Filed under ACC Football, See You In Court

“Auburn has upgraded in a way that will make it a nightmare for opposing coaches.”

I like Ian Boyd’s work a lot, but this strikes me as a wee bit over the top:

How will Nick Saban find time to sleep when he’s going up against a head coach who will pore over Alabama game film to coordinate a tempo attack combined with a defensive staff that will rigorously scout the Tide offense?

Goodness, gracious.  How, indeed?

I’m not knocking Boom’s skill as a defensive coordinator.  He’s got an established track record.  But it’s not as if Ellis Johnson was a complete putz.  What Muschamp is likely to have that Johnson didn’t isn’t coaching chops.  It’s better players.

There are seldom quick answers for teams that lack playmakers. However, personnel acquisition is a particular strength of Muschamp’s.

One of the most important parts of the deal was Auburn securing the services of the Gators’ ace recruiter, Travaris Robinson. This paid immediate dividends, with T-Rob adding the following Floridian defensive backs right before Signing Day:

  • Tim Irvin, 5’9, 194: A fierce Miami DB with play comparable to similarly sized Muschamp safeties of the past, Matt Elam and Earl Thomas. Irvin is also an early enrollee.
  • Carlton Davis, 6’2, 184: Another Miami kid whose lanky frame and range could allow him to be a cover 3 corner or a safety.
  • Jeremiah Dinson: 5’11, 180: The third Miami kid who brings the region’s typical blend of elite athleticism, developed ability, and willingness to mix it up.
  • Javarius Davis: 5’10, 173: A blazing fast athlete from Jacksonville whom Robinson intends to mold into a cover corner.

Perhaps most importantly, Muschamp was able to bring Florida pass rushers in No. 1-rated defensive end Byron Cowart and Jeffery Holland. Cowart figures to serve as the buck end/linebacker hybrid. Holland may serve there or as the strongside linebacker who often has a similar purpose.

Yeah, that’ll make a difference.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

The Pac-12 isn’t catching up.

You know, it seems like the bloom started coming off the Pac-12 Network’s rose almost before the media could get the phrase “Larry Scott is a genius!” out of its mouth.  The SEC rejected Scott’s ownership model when it came time to create its own network and found a much friendlier market, much to Scott’s displeasure.

And now comes the rest of the story.

So if you’re scoring at home, we have these projections for TV-related revenue for 2017-18, on a per-school basis:

SEC: $35.6 million
Big Ten: $33 million
Pac-12: $22.95 million

That’s a monumental gap, folks.

It’s reminiscent of the difference in revenue that existed under the Pac-12′s old Tier 1 deal.

It could impact the competitive balance, the ability to hire top-notch coaches and manage the looming increase in expenses due to legislative changes and the O’Bannon lawsuit.

To be fair, Scott has always faced an uphill battle.  It’s not as if he’s done poorly.  It’s just, you know, demographics.

To some extent, there is nothing the Pac-12 can do:

The SEC and Big Ten are always going to command more Tier 1 money than the Pac-12. A quick check of the ESPN metered markets is proof:

Of the top-25 markets in 2014, only three were in the Pac-12 footprint and none were in the top 10:

No. 13 Salt Lake City
No. 17: Portland
No. 25 Phoenix

Meanwhile, eight of the top 10 were in the SEC, including perennial No. 1 Birmingham.

If you’re wondering why the conference chased Texas so hard a few years ago, there you go.  And it’s hard to see how it gets out of the revenue box it’s in without that kind of expansion in the future.

The looming TV revenue gap between the Pac-12 and its peers isn’t a Tier 1 issue. Scott got the best deal he could get.

The problem, as we’ll examine, is the Pac-12 Networks.

There just aren’t enough eyeballs to go around.  And it doesn’t take a genius to see that.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

“I’d been playing since I was six or seven. Football’s all I know.”

I dare you to read former North Carolina player Ryan Hoffman’s heartbreaking story

“Look, I’m still in tiptop physical shape and can probably run a marathon,” Hoffman said, the words tumbling out of a mouth missing a tooth that was knocked out in a street fight. “It’s my brain that keeps me from being a productive member of society. I’m physically very strong, but I’m mentally so weak. Something is wrong with me. I don’t know what it is, but I used to be normal, you know?

“I’m confident — well, I’m pretty sure — that football had something to do with it.”

Football’s toll on its participants is well established. We know about dozens of former N.F.L. players who were left with severe brain damage from repeated blows to the head. Their stories often contain disturbingly similar details — depression, substance abuse, memory loss, dementia — and their brain damage was always revealed posthumously.

But there are many more former players out there wondering if they are football’s next casualties. Most of those players are not famous. Most never made a dime off the game. They are relatively anonymous men who played the sport in college and only later, for some reason or another, have found themselves struggling in life.

Just like their N.F.L. counterparts, Hoffman and those former college players have been left to wonder: Did football do this? Are the hits to the head I took the reason for my decline? Or would I be in this condition even if I’d never played a down?

They might never know the answer, because a definitive answer might not exist.

Hoffman blames football for scrambling his brain, but at this point it is impossible to disentangle what could be football-related brain injuries from his subsequent drug use and possibly genetic mental illness. He simply cannot be sure. No one can.

… and not see Mark Richt’s Paul Oliver Network in a different, less cynical way.  I know I can’t.


Filed under Life After Football

“That’s just total complete hypocrisy.”

A lawyer for the National Basketball Players Association says the union will push to drop the age limit for going pro in the next round of collective bargaining with the league.  Why?

Socialism, obviously.

“Capitalism means that if you’re 17, 18 years old and you’re a geek and you want to drop out of college and invent Apple or something else, you can do it,” Kohlman said. “In this country you can do that. And there’s nothing stopping you from doing it. If you’re an unbelievable blues singer at 17, 18, 19 years old, you can go out and make a fortune.”

Damn… I suddenly feel the need to salute a flag somewhere.

Now this wouldn’t be the first time the union has tried for this, and the NBA wants to go in the other direction, raising the age limit to 20 (natch).  So it’s anything but a slam dunk.

But here’s a question for you:  if the union were to succeed, what would that do to the Big Ten’s push for freshman ineligibility?  Does Jim Delany hate America that much?


Filed under It's Just Bidness