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.



Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

16 responses to “The further comical stylings of Bernie Machen

  1. Reservoir Dawg

    Forget it, Senator. It’s Hogtown…


  2. JCDAWG83

    The part about student athletes graduating at higher rates than regular students except for football and basketball sort of skips over the part about football and basketball players being admitted to most colleges with far lower grades and test scores than the other athletes. Interesting that he doesn’t see that as an issue. Maybe if entrance requirements were raised for football and basketball players, the graduation rates would rise and a lot of other issues would go away as well?


  3. Highlands Dawg

    The solution seem simple to me. Just give the student athletes a decent stipend so they have money to live a higher quality of living. Many athletes come from low income families. Also, they do not have time to have part time jobs like regular students.


    • JCDAWG83

      It’s easier than that actually. Raise the entrance requirements for college athletes to the same as the regular student body, or very close to it, and stop making special allowances for kids who can run fast, jump high and catch, throw or hit a ball. Once the NFL and NBA couldn’t rely on colleges for their new player auditions, they would have to create legitimate farm systems. Once the players were more like regular students, the rules on part time jobs could be relaxed. The NCAA will not allow them to have jobs now.


  4. Doug

    Shorter every university president/conference commissioner: Man, it sure would be nice if we’d all just go back to the way things used to be. And by “we” I mean “all you people.”


  5. Gaskilldawg

    Ironic, isn’t it that the way things were when Delaney was a BB player at UNC was that the scholarship provided spending money go the players. He doesn’t like going back to that part of the good old days


  6. I know this is a tangent but it occurs to me that there has got to be some Title IX implications here. I have been offended by Title IX from the very beginning when my buddies lost their wrestling and gymnastics scholarships as a direct result of the way UGA chose to implement it. Now it appears to have come full circle. The various economic and legal realities are going to force the schools and NCAA to do what they should have been doing all along and that is treat revenue producing sports and tax payer subsidized sports differently. So as not to be accused of sexism that means that the lady gym Dawgs maybe getting some “laundry money” too. ( laundry money,that is what Delaney would have received as a UNC baseball player)
    To require that a football program,such as UGA’s has to count against the number of male scholarships in the name of equal distribution of taxpayer money just ignores the realities that this program makes money.It does not suck off the governmental/educational complex tit .The football program,in fact, generated huge sums of money that people and corporations voluntarily part with in order to be part of the program. That huge sum of money more than covers it fix and variable costs and appears to actually subsidize other sports and still give directly back to the general fund. Title IX like most every governmental regulation is a market distortion that is just another impediment to working the O’Bannon issues out rationally.


    • O’Bannon is about student-athletes’ NLI rights. Title IX has nothing to do with that.


      • the forces of economics ,however, will not be ignored. i.e. you you can say we’ll legislate around them but they always pop up elsewhere…like who is going to get the spending money…all student athletes or just the ones in revenue producing sports. And if you can make that distinction for one purpose than why not another? I’m not saying I’ve fully developed this thought ,it’s more in the vein of an application of the law of unintended consequences of the entire O’Bannon case.


        • Title IX is about school resources, not about third-party payments for a student-athlete’s name, likeness, image.

          Are you saying that if Manziel had been allowed to sign a Nike contract for millions while in school, TAMU would somehow have to compensate its women S-As for that?


          • Quite the contrary, that would be Johnny Football’s payday. I’m ready to go wild west/free market, if Nike wants to pay 19 yoa kids to represent and misrepresent their brand they can deal with those consequences on their own. I ‘m saying Title IX is about taxpayer resources and if no taxpayer resources go to fund football ,men’s basketball and Georgia’s case women gymnastics than it should be inapplicable.
            The application of O’Bannon is just let the markets work unencumbered. The high profile kids will get paid for their likeness and the long snapper and second basewomen on the softball team will be on their own. EA sports and various memorabilia makers can determine on their own what players name has value and which doesn’t. The invisible hand works .The schools and the NCAA just won’t let it because they’ll be missing out on their cut.
            I’m giving away a multi-million dollar idea here, start a firm that monitors images of NCAA athletes that are used commercial veins and become a collection firm for their individual royalties. We know the schools already do this. Just have a clearing house for the players.
            Mostly I’m just wondering if these stipends the P-5 conferences are toying with will apply to both revenue and non-revenue producing sports. If they do never mind……..but if they don’t then it follows that it is possible for schools ,the NCAA,and the Justice Dept.(the primary enforcer of Title IX ) to actually distinguish between the two in both venues.(stipends and application of Title IX)


    • GaskillDawg

      I truly and sincerely understand your buddies’ disappointments in losing their scholarships. I also truly and sincerely understand the female athletes’ disappointments in 1971 from not getting scholarships. The explanation to the females of “That’s the way it is” just did not seem a fair way to distinguish what we did for them from what we did for the men.
      When schools have to determine how to divide a limited number of scholarships either we exclude one group because of gender or we provide for both genders. You are fine with excluding the women athletes. I understand that; I am not. I am not going to argue with you or try to change your position. All I ask is that you recognize that not everyone agrees that we should have denied scholarship opportunities to the women just so we can fund more for the men.

      I know that does not make your buddies or you feel any better, I understand that.


      • your not going to change my position because you either don’t understand it or don’t want to understand it. I have never said that women should not share equally in subsidized scholarships
        .” as a direct result of the way UGA chose to implement it.” is the way I qualified my position . Assuming that I am someone who is is bad just because I take a position different than yours is simultaneously wrong and not conducive to discussions or fixing the real problem. “You are fine with excluding the women athletes.” That is the line where you denigrate the opposing argument by saying I’m evil and attributing to me something I never said. I have absolute no problem with women receiving free rides but “as implemented” the raw numbers just don’t work because there is no female equivalent of college football. These football scholarships actually don’t cost women scholarships they actually help fund more when the football program kicks back money to the general fund ,which they have been doing for years. The Title IX zealots have taken the position that the number of female scholarships have to be equal to the number of males scholarships and that is just a completely asinine and simplistic approach to this problem. If the sport is revenue producing as opposed to being funded through the general fund than take it out of the equation. You can spend the same amount on women schoolies but it make no sense to make the raw numbers equal because as stated at the outset, women’s athletics has no 85 member teams like football and it literally generates more than it spends . As stated above you take football, men’s basketball and women’s gymnastics out out the equation and than you split the scholarships money equal ….if thinking that is a better way to implement Title IX makes me someone who you think wants to deny scholarships to women, an evil hater type and by implication just wrong and pigheaded you are either a dullard or one of the Title IX zealots I mentioned earlier.


  7. Dog in Fla

    “Florida’s former President shared some wisdom with Mike Slive first and then with Andy Staples” which is the first of a series of in depth Weekend With Bernie interviews sponsored by Permatex® High Tack™ Spray-A-Gasket™ Sealant


  8. Monday Night Froetteur

    Sweet sister, these dullards aren’t even smart enough not to directly telegraph their disingenuous measures! You aren’t supposed to say,

    uh, this measure means we’re not a business anymore.So court, if you’ll just let us be on our way….

    Serious “academic reform” measures designed to actually enhance the academic qualifications of, and I guess contributions from, revenue-sports athletes would not be accompanied by comments about ongoing litigation. That’s very basic PR.