Daily Archives: March 12, 2015

Meeting of the minds

Remember when we heard that Jere Morehead and Greg McGarity would like to see the SEC set a standard as far as cost of attendance stipends go?

The campaign for that doesn’t sound like it’s gotten off to a promising start.

That sounds like just enough time for Jay Jacobs to laugh and say, “you gotta be kidding, right?”

12 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

The tragedy of losing precious time

Even as I don’t agree with everything contained in the statement released by the Oklahoma football players about the by now infamous racist chant of members of a university fraternity (expelling the frat boys for speech is a First Amendment violation, in my view), I can’t help but be impressed by the amount of thought that went into the student-athletes expressing their sentiments.

Still, I can’t help but wonder about something they’ve said.

…We have not practiced this week, and will not be practicing today as we will demonstrate silently on Owen Field during our normal practice time. We will not forget about this during spring break, and upon our return to the practice field on Monday, March 23, we will continue to address this issue in our media opportunities and by wearing black during our practices. We cannot express how grateful we are to Coach Stoops and the coaching staff for supporting each and every action we have taken, even when these actions may have seemed extreme. We simply cannot wait to get back on the practice field in our pursuit of a national championship, but even a national championship is not more important than using our platform as student athletes to make our university and our nation a better place…

Again, the sentiment is admirable and Coach Stoops deserves plenty of credit for giving his players the opportunity to explain themselves, but I can’t help but compare this situation with the one surrounding Northwestern’s unionization vote.  More particularly, about how that sat with Pat Fitzgerald, the coach:

“I don’t think any team dealt with a bigger distraction than we did a year ago. We dealt with it fine, but I think it hurt our team’s performance on the field. Why do I feel that way? It’s a huge allocation of time. We only have so many hours to be with the guys, and we were taking the time to educate them on situations that had nothing to do with football. For me, that’s the biggest tragedy for those seniors. Tragedy is a hard word, but that group will never get that time back. I look at a guy like Trevor who had a lot put on his shoulders. He and I haven’t spoken about it, but I’m assuming his tank was on empty by the time he got to the season.”

Somehow, I’m guessing that if anybody’s referring to what’s happened at Oklahoma as tragedy, it’s not being directed at the football players, even though these are both “situations that had nothing to do with football“.  But if your standard is what Fitzgerald says it is in evaluating the activity, how are the two situations any different, particularly if you’re part of the “You can’t have the animals running the zoo in a college education” crowd?  Either way, preparation time is being taken away from the seniors, time they’ll never get back.

Right?  Or could it have been about something other than allocating time?

Like I said, I’m just wonderin’.

93 Comments

Filed under College Football

Coming soon, to a football crowd near you?

So powdered alcohol is closer to being a thing.

A powdered alcohol intended to be mixed up into drinks has gained approval from a federal regulator.

The product, called Palcohol, had received the greenlight from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau briefly last year before the bureau backtracked and said the label approvals had been given in error.

On Wednesday, bureau spokesman Tom Hogue told The Associated Press the issues were resolved and that four varieties of Palcohol were approved.

That’s approval on the federal level only, mind you.  States are still free to ban the product, if they so choose.  And some already have.  What are they worried about?  Among other things,

Concerns have included abuse by minors… and whether Palcohol’s light weight would make it easy to sneak alcohol into public events…

I think that’s a big “yes”, there.

16 Comments

Filed under Science Marches Onward

Changes afoot? – a reader poll

With the news that Georgia has hired yet another staff member of the football program…

Blake Shrader, a former safety at North Jackson High and Auburn University, has joined Georgia’s staff as a quality control coordinator for Jeremy Pruitt’s defense.

Shrader, 29, signed with Auburn in 2004 and played mostly on special teams during his career with Tommy Tuberville’s Tigers. He helped coach Auburn for a couple of years before leaving to become a defensive graduate assistant at South Alabama.

His first full-time assistant opportunity occurred in 2013, when he was cornerbacks coach at Jacksonville State. This past season, he was director of player personnel at UAB, which was forced to shut down its program in December.

… I thought this might be an appropriate time to conduct yet another reader poll, the inspiration for which is a reader comment from December.

Senator, I’d like to see a poll similar to the one you did on CMR on McGarity. Here are the categories:
Break everyone into two groups: Alum or non-alum and have each group pick one:
(1) I support McGarity and the BM hierarchy.
(2) McGarity is the problem and he needs to go.
(3) The BM hierarchy, not McGarity, is the problem – they all need to change. McGarity is essentially a puppet.

My response at the time was that I wanted to wait a bit to see how events played out.  I think a fair way to characterize my feelings about that would be pleasantly surprised.  So let’s see how you guys feel about that.

Besides your vote, what I’m just as interested in seeing is whether the developments over the last three months have changed your mind in any way about how the football program is being managed.  Let me know in the comments about that.

68 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The next big thing?

Bruce Feldman’s piece about how Stanford is using virtual reality technology to train its quarterbacks is fascinating.  Read the sucker.

Do I think it has a widespread future in college football?  Well, let’s put it this way… Stanford’s head coach David Shaw went from being a skeptic about how this kind of technology might help (“I made it about two plays before I felt seasick…”) to seeing a real big benefit.

“‘I was like, ‘Wow, if we could actually put quarterbacks in a virtual world so we’re not using extra practice reps, we’re not extending practice at all — we’re not messing with the 20-hour work week, we’re just creating a library of things for a QB to learn something, that’d help your backup QB who’s never gonna get as many reps as a starter and helps your starter get three reps on a play that he screwed up on and he can just watch the same thing over and over again and see everybody and feel like he’s there.’ When Derek started explaining it to me, I got really excited.”  [Emphasis added.]

Leverage, peeps.  Don’t leave practice without it.

Yeah, with that kind of angle, I’d say this has legs.

11 Comments

Filed under Science Marches Onward

Run the damn ball.

Ed Aschoff discusses what he calls the SEC’s “Year of Finding the Quarterback”:

At least five teams — Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina — will be breaking in new quarterbacks, while three others — Florida, LSU and Vanderbilt — could potentially have new signal-callers under center thanks to intriguing quarterback battles. Then, you have Arkansas and Missouri, which must have better play at quarterback if those teams are going to make championship runs in 2015.

Ten SEC teams have some sort of serious quarterback question, but there’s good news for most: There are quality running backs to help carry the load. Those backfield bulls are back to help push when quarterbacks can’t. There are safety nets all around the league that could help quarterbacks needing a boost this fall.

To use a criminal justice analogy, a lot of SEC programs have both motive and opportunity to rely on strong running games to get through next season.  I expect them to take advantage of what they’ve got.

The interesting question will be how SEC defensive coordinators who have slowly been gearing up to handle spread passing attacks manage to deal with this.

6 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

“At the moment, the NBA is abetting the NCAA. It should be the other way around.”

It’s funny, but if you look at the issue of player eligibility from the perspective of the NBA’s developmental league being an underutilized asset, you sure can come up with an interesting way to address the problem.  And that’s just what agent Arn Tellem proposes.

If we reorganized the D-League and made it stronger, maybe these players (and their teams) would have more options. That’s why I am proposing the NBA roll back its minimum age requirement (from 19 to 18) and allow high school standouts to become eligible for the draft again. Within that plan, I am including the following caveats and incentives:

• No prospect would be required to declare, making everyone eligible, much like baseball’s amateur draft. Prospective picks would be asked to sign a “memorandum of understanding” as a condition for consideration, whereby they would agree to forgo college if drafted. If they declined to sign, they would effectively be choosing college over pro ball and couldn’t be drafted for two more years. If they declare but never get drafted, they should be allowed to retain their eligibility and attend school. Currently, they aren’t. The crucial point here: Players shouldn’t be penalized for an ill-informed decision. Draftees should be given the option of signing in the NBA, going to the minors, or playing overseas.

What’s great about this is that his pitch isn’t being made from the perspective of helping the NCAA out of its one-and-done box.  He’s proposing it as a way of allowing the pro league to better manage the development of its future talent.  And given that the D-League already exists, it’s not as if the NBA has to spend a bunch of money and effort on building an entire new infrastructure to support that.  But I doubt the NCAA and the schools would complain about the trickle down results.

Sadly, I suspect this is one of those “it makes too much sense to have a chance” kind of proposals.  Which is too damned bad.  The NCAA and the schools ought to signal they would be willing to cooperate with the NBA on something like this.  They’ll waste a lot of time on freshman ineligibility instead.

9 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Indispensability is fleeting.

Barrett Sallee labels Nick Chubb one of the SEC East’s seven most indispensable players (although he may not be the SEC’s best running back in Sallee’s opinion).

That’s nice, and it may even be true… but weren’t we saying the same kind of thing about Todd Gurley before the start of last season?

Funny how that worked out.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Amateurism’s been berry, berry good to M.E.

“I, for one ,as a Big Ten AD, am tired of being used as a minor league for professional sports,” Burke said. “What was right for the NCAA in the first 70 years of its history, maybe we ought to go back and say, ‘What’s changed?’”

Let me give you a little hint, dumbass.

The NCAA had total revenue of nearly $1 billion during its 2014 fiscal year, according to an audited financial statement the association released Wednesday.

The total resulted in a nearly $80.5 million surplus for the year – almost $20 million more than the surplus the NCAA had in 2013 and the fourth consecutive year in which the annual surplus has exceeded $60 million.

USA TODAY Sports has compiled the NCAA’s financial statements for each of the past 10 years, and the latest surplus is the largest the association has recorded during that time. Its greatest previous annual surplus was the $70.9 million it recorded in 2012.

The latest surplus increased the NCAA’s year-end net assets to nearly $708 million — more than double where they stood at the end of its 2008 fiscal year.

Mind you, that comes after a whopping $547.1 million distribution to Division I schools and conferences.

For that kind of money, Morgan, I’d let ’em use me all they want.  It sure beats the way student-athletes get used.

9 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA