Daily Archives: March 10, 2015

The Georgia Way as an SEC standard? Uh hunh.

Just curious – has anyone running a college athletics department ever taken an Economics 101 course?  Because I’m not getting this:

Auburn AD Jay Jacobs sent shockwaves of concern through the league last month when he told USA Today that the cost-of-attendance benefit for Auburn athletes is likely to be in the neighborhood of $6,000 per year, with an additional $1,500 if they enroll in summer school. That number is considerably higher than the one posted on the majority of SEC school’s websites – including Georgia’s – and Jacobs was not bashful about his intentions of using that as a recruiting inducement.

“Certainly having a higher number than most in the Southeastern Conference is going to be helpful (in recruiting,” Jacobs told USA Today. “Having the lowest number in the SEC could be hurtful. The way we recruit and the quality of student-athlete we want, we hope that number isn’t a deciding factor but human nature says it could be depending on the circumstances.”

UGA President Jere Morehead and AD Greg McGarity have reserved comment to date but, suffice it to say, they don’t share Jacobs’ philosophy and would like see SEC set a standard.

I’m sure they would.  Just like Michael Adams wanted the SEC to use Georgia’s drug policy as a conference standard.  You know how well that went over.

I understand these guys are reflexively opposed to competition when it comes to affecting the reserve fund’s bottom line.  But setting a standard in this case means adopting the amount from whichever SEC school has the lowest cost of attendance, whatever that might be, because the rules don’t allow a school to pay its student-athletes more than that amount.  Maybe I’m missing something here, but, assuming Jacobs is willing to abandon something he thinks is a clear advantage to Auburn, isn’t colluding in that way likely to be an open invitation to an enterprising antitrust plaintiffs attorney?

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Breaking spring, ctd.

“Let’s be careful out there” cuts many ways.  Just ask Dak Prescott.

Which makes this the smartest thing a college athlete has tweeted this year:

39 Comments

Filed under General Idiocy

Musical palate cleanser, new earcandy edition

For once, something not inspired by somebody’s death, or a 40-year old memory of mine.

This is something I came across last week.  I’m the occasional sucker for a well-played piece of pop fluff, and The Rebel Light’s “Strangers” fits the bill nicely.  In fact, I can’t get the damned thing out of my head.  So maybe it’ll stick in yours, too.

Very California, no?

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The further comical stylings of Bernie Machen

Florida’s former President shared some wisdom with Mike Slive first and then with Andy Staples:

“We’re backing our way into a pay-for-play model for football and men’s basketball,” Machen said. “I think this is a Hail Mary from Delany to say, ‘Wait a minute. What if we do it the way it used to be?’”

You mean like when you people didn’t chase broadcast money like crack whores chase johns?  Like when you didn’t treat conference alignment as a game of musical chairs?  Like when you didn’t arrange conference scheduling to be a joke?  Like when college football had real traditions like the Nebraska-Oklahoma game?

Yeah, that would be a real Hail Mary.  Instead, Machen’s just parroting the party line bullshit; the money ain’t going anywhere.  But he thinks it can all be made better.  Really, he does.

Machen believes the collegiate model works. For evidence, he points to graduation rates for athletes in every sport except football and men’s basketball. Most of the others outpace the general student body, and the success beyond graduation for former college athletes is well documented anecdotally. The problem, Machen said, is anyone can see that football and men’s basketball at the highest level aren’t using the collegiate model. Players are essentially required to practice year-round, which makes it tough for the NCAA’s lawyers or lobbyists to keep a straight face when they call college sports an avocation that enhances the college experience. “You look at the schedules of these kids,” Machen said. “They are essentially in a full-time mode.”

With all the money at stake for schools and coaches, why on earth would you expect anything different?  The answer is straight out of Delany-land:  you don’t really, but at least it sounds like you’re trying to change the perception of what you’ve been up to.

That’s why Machen thinks Delany’s proposal has merit. Instead of merely voicing support for the collegiate model and then doing exactly the opposite in two sports, schools would instead walk that particular walk for the first time in years. “I just think the collegiate model doesn’t hold up when you look at football and men’s basketball,” Machen said. “I don’t care how hard you put lipstick on that sucker. It still is a pig.”

The subtext of Machen’s theory is this: If the schools don’t actually start doing what they claim, the courts will push them into the professional model that they have been hellbent on creating—with the exception of the giving raises to the labor force or the paying taxes parts—for years. Federal judges, especially ones not versed in the quirks of the economic model for major college sports, will tend to look at what schools have done. They will see conference realignment for the purposes of higher television revenue. They will see soaring salaries for football coaches and athletic directors. They will see a refusal to budge on any additional benefits for the athletes until the athletes started filing lawsuits.

But if the schools were to make freshmen ineligible—something that would be expensive for them for reasons I outlined last week—that might offer tangible proof they do care about the education of athletes in those two sports. If schools voted to further restrict organized practices and time commitments out of season, it might offer more proof of that dedication. Instead of merely saying they aren’t running quasi-professional programs, officials would actually do something to back up what the NCAA’s lawyers keep saying…

And, a pony.

The tell here is obvious:  why the concern for the academics of college football and men’s basketball players only?  Is it that they need more help with the books, or that they generate more income for the schools than athletes playing in other collegiate sports?

I think we know the answer to that.  And with all the patronizing in the world by Machen notwithstanding, I expect your average federal judge would too, even if he or she isn’t as “versed in the quirks of the economic model for major college sports” as the intellectual giants running college athletics.

Machen’s arrogance would be irritating if it weren’t so amusing.  These guys are either cynical enough like Delany to think a ploy like this is going to change how others see things or they’re actually convinced by their own nonsense into believing it will change things.

Maybe I’m wrong, although I doubt it.  Then again, maybe Machen can convince me he really is a sharp cookie by explaining how Jim McElwain offering two eighth-graders helps to advance the academic perception of the University of Florida.  Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.

16 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

“The NFL is going to draft the best player at quarterback.”

There’s plenty of derp to go around in this Dennis Dodd piece (I know, I know) responding to this bit of criticism from Bruce Arians about spread option quarterbacks at the next level:

“So many times [in the draft] you’re evaluating a quarterback who has never called a play in the huddle, never used a snap count. They hold up a card on the sideline. He kicks his foot and throws the ball. That ain’t playing quarterback. There’s no leadership involved there.”

Wait, he’s not done.

Spread offense quarterbacks, Arians said, “are light years behind.”

Dodd chastises Arians for his boorishness, saying he should know better.  Why?  Because Tom Brady plays out of the shotgun… or something.

“I tell everybody I think the new pro-style is the shotgun,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “You can take a sixth-grader and take 10 minutes to take a three-step drop under center. But to take a kid and teach him how to catch and throw a quick game out of the shotgun, now that’s a learned skill.”

Hey, look, this is all really stupid.  Dodd coaxes the obvious out of Rodriguez – “To judge the success or lack of success based on what system they’re in … it’s whether they can play or not.” – but Arians doesn’t necessarily disagree with that.  He’s just saying that it’s harder for purposes of the draft to evaluate players coming out of systems like Arizona’s.

The real issue here is that spread gurus like Rodriguez and Malzahn, whom we heard extolling Nick Marshall’s quarterbacking skills for any NFL personnel guy listening, want to have it both ways.  They want the right quarterbacks to run their systems so they can win at the college level.  But they don’t want to scare away talented kids with talk that their systems will be an impediment to playing on Sundays after that.

15 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

On the day after, they rested.

There’s lots of backpatting in Heather Dinich’s piece about the Lords of the CFP resting on their laurels.

“We got it right,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said.

Of course, she spends most of the rest of the article discussing changes they’d like to see.  (Well played, ma’am, even if there’s a little shooting fish in a barrel element to it.)  The obvious one is postseason expansion, for which they’re currently opposed, but as nobody takes that seriously for the long term, we can just skip past that.

The real test coming of their collective manhood is fairly trivial, except for one thing.  See if you can guess.

The majority of commissioners said the only significant change in 2015 should be fewer than seven weekly rankings. When the rankings were initially discussed, it was proposed they would be released every other week.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he would ask the group to consider “a poll midseason, a poll at Week 9 and a poll at the end” to avoid “the abrupt fluctuations you sometimes had this year.”

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said he would suggest three or four rankings and releasing them every other week in November, before the final ranking in December.

“That’s really the only change I would hope we have a conversation about in April,” Thompson said. “We don’t need seven. I know ESPN likes seven. It’s great ratings, but there’s other ways you get around it. It’s good information because all week you can argue back and forth … so it’s all good for the sport. But they don’t mean anything, quite honestly.”  [Emphasis added.]

There’s the old eight hundred-pound gorilla in the room.  Hey, Craig, most people knew they didn’t mean anything last season and that didn’t stop the WWL then.

The reason they want a change is because of the one area of unease from last season – the debate over Baylor and TCU.

“The issue was with what happened with the TCU situation: winning 55-3 and going from three to six [in the Week 16 rankings],” Aresco said. “We can talk about whether there should be continuity week to week, as opposed to starting from scratch. It’s a debate. I don’t know how I feel, myself. It’s something that publicly was one of the criticisms of the committee’s process because is it fair to the kids who think, ‘OK, we’re No. 3, and we win 55-3. We’ve been very impressive, and we fall all the way to six’? That one is something we have to talk about.”

Here’s the thing:  if you’re really serious about this whole “they don’t mean anything” bit, why do you need any rankings at all before December?  I think we all know the answer to that.

In the meantime, I look forward to another interview with Thompson in which he explains how you can become a little bit pregnant.

10 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

Tuesday morning buffet

Including a real food related item today…

22 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Life After Football, Recruiting, See You In Court, Stats Geek!