Monthly Archives: May 2015

Homegrown’s all right with me.

Marc Weiszer’s got a piece up for the “why can’t Richt lock down the borders” crowd.

The Bulldogs coaching staff is hauling in recruits with a theme of locking down the borders of the state.

“There’s always a lot of great players in our state,” Richt said earlier this month. “This year in particular we think it’s very heavy, maybe more than most years.”

Georgia already has 2016 commitments from four of the top eight players in state, according to Rivals: No. 4 Stephens County offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, No. 5 Rochester, No. 6 Clinch County defensive end Chauncey Manac and No. 8 Archer offensive lineman E.J. Price.

“Sometimes you catch a little momentum that way and get the right guys that have influence of other kids in the state and they all kind of like each other, they all like the idea of playing together,” Richt said. “We’re selling that.”

Georgia also has in-state commitments from four-star defensive lineman Tyler Clark from Americus Sumter and five three-star prospects: Peachtree Ridge defensive back Chad Clay, Houston County wide receiver Darion Anderson, Creekside offensive lineman Aaron Dowdell, Peach County defensive back Tyrique McGhee and Lee County offensive lineman Chris Barners.

That’s 10 of the 13 commitments so far for 2016 from the Peach State.

The top two rated players in state, Savannah Christian athlete Demetris Robinson and Lanier defensive tackle Derrick Brown, are considered Georgia leans.

Georgia landed eight of the top 11 in the state in its 2015 class, but recruiters flock to the state to get a piece of the action.

Damn it, Mark.  You let three get away.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Gap talk

If you’ve heard Danielson or Blackledge talk about gap responsibility on defense and not understand what they mean by that, here’s a nice primer on the subject at the Miami SBN site for you.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

The New Georgia Way: having the means to justify the ends

After the bowl game, we all noticed the dramatic change in direction that Butts-Mehre made on the management of the football program.  There’s been plenty of speculation about who did what to make that happen.

But maybe we should be giving some of the credit to ESPN.

Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said it became clear by January that SEC Network money would roll in this year, earlier and larger than expected. That is when Georgia’s spending began to accelerate.

“We knew the revenue was coming in, so we knew we could cover those expenses,” McGarity said…

Another spending increase is in football recruiting. Georgia’s budget for next fiscal year allocates $1.25 million for football recruiting and coaches’ travel, up from the $638,000 that was contained in this year’s budget and was far exceeded.

“Call it a new approach. Call it a more aggressive style in recruiting,” McGarity said. “We responded to that and basically have budgeted what we have spent this past year.”

McGarity appears comfortable with both the revenue and expense sides of Georgia’s ledger.

“We are spending more,” he said, “but we really have been able to always work within our means.”

Spend like drunken sailors and keep the reserve fund purring along?  No wonder he’s comfortable.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

“The way we’re looking at it, we’re kind of like their future selves…”

Sean Bailey’s new project sounds interesting and has Mark Richt’s support.

“Our long-term vision would be able to touch all four classes – freshmen, sophomore, juniors and seniors and have a curriculum developed depending on what year they are in, dealing with the specifics they are dealing with at that time,” he said. “Short term, we want to start slow and develop something for the freshmen, an in-season program or out-season program where we met with them once a week or whatever and that initial pilot if what we are doing right now.”

This Monday, Georgia’s incoming freshmen will take part in a two-hour symposium where they will meet with former players that include Bailey, Rennie Curran, Richard Samuel, Jermaine Phillips and a number of others.

Among the subjects Bailey expects his panel will broach with incoming class include talks on relationship, mentors, academics, health, along with drug and alcohol awareness. There will also be breakout sessions where the young athletes take part in self-awareness exercises where they will discuss strengths, weaknesses, dreams, fears, successes and failures with talks on morality, values and beliefs.

Laudable.  And this is realistic:

Bailey feels having the opportunity to broach such topics with former athletes like themselves will help the freshman receive the message better than they ordinarily might.

“I know when I was at Georgia, sometimes Coach Richt would bring in this guy, he’d have a really good message but a lot of guys just couldn’t relate to him because he didn’t necessarily look like him, come from the same background,” Bailey said. “We’ve gone through all the struggles. We went from being highly, highly recruited, people telling us how great we are to coming on campus and you’re just of many five-star guys, etc, etc, etc. That high school workload is a lot difference once you get into college and you don’t have your parents over your shoulder making sure you’re doing everything.”

Bailey said his group is prepared for whatever questions their young listeners may have.

“As we did this we put together a focus group, we called about 15 guys that we played with, even guys like Hutson Mason and Michael Bennett, to go along with a guy like Jermaine Phillips who has been gone a while. We asked them what kind of struggles they went through, do they wish they were more prepared, just a wide array of things depending on family background situations, the recruiting situation,” Bailey said. “Academics was a big thing, choosing a major, it was a very, very diverse response just depending on the individual and that’s one of the things we feel we can really help with.”

Anything that gets an 18-year old to think sensibly about his future is a good thing in my book.  Best of luck with this, Sean.

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Filed under Georgia Football

COA: The end is near?

The genie is out of the bottle.  Pandora’s Box is open.  The era of COA disparity is a thing now.  Presumably, every man jack out there recruiting for Auburn and Tennessee is waving a big, fat checkbook in the face of any four- or five-star recruit he comes across.

And yet, according to the 247 Composite Rankings, those two schools are merely running in the middle of the pack in the SEC. Georgia, in fact, is in route to its best recruiting class ever under Richt.

So a question for all you Chicken Littles out there:  if money is all that matters to these kids, why isn’t the sky already falling?

35 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

You can’t always get what you want.

From the Rolling Stones concert in Ohio last night…

Mick, about that show coming up in Bobby Dodd Stadium:  don’t make me hate you.

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football

A reminder that it’s always better to be a have

Andy Staples looks at the oodles of dough the SEC Network is already spinning off for its schools and has a vision.

It also means that anytime someone affiliated with the Big Ten or SEC says they would have to cut sports if forced to pay football and men’s basketball players more, that person is a lying liar who lies. It means that person is peddling more bovine excrement than the fine folks at Black Kow, whose core business is the sale of cow manure. This new money will allow the Big Ten and SEC to easily pay full cost of attendance scholarships, but all the schools in the Power Five leagues should be able to easily afford that.

The federal courts probably will force the schools to pay the athletes more on top of that, and for a legitimate reason. The schools decided to become the sellers of television programs when they sued the NCAA in 1981, and while that has allowed them to enjoy the spoils of the TV business, they soon will learn what other programmers have learned: Eventually, you have to give the performers a raise or somebody will bury you in court.

Athletic directors will claim their programs don’t make money, but that’s also a lie at most Power Five schools. They would make money if they weren’t giving their coaches huge raises and putting gold-plated waterfalls in their locker rooms. Do not confuse an inability to manage money with a lack of money, and don’t believe people who just got $10 million more when they say they can’t pay for the programs they were already funding with $10 million less.

The key month to remember is October, when Jenkins v. NCAA is scheduled to have its class certification hearing. That case, spearheaded by famed sports labor lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, seeks to obliterate the business model in major college sports and create a completely open market. As you’ve read above, the dollar figures in major college sports are too large to simply walk away. So something will happen if the class gets certified. Either the wealthiest leagues in college sports will cut a deal with their athletes or they will roll the dice and go to court.

A loss would result in a radically different landscape. A deal collectively bargained with the athletes would keep the money flowing and probably allow for an antitrust exemption that stops the lawsuits. And the athletes wouldn’t ask for much. They’d probably take 10-15 percent of athletically related revenue right now. Go to court, and a judge or jury might treat these college sports leagues that make money selling television programs just like the other sports leagues that make money selling television programs. The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement gives players 47 percent of basketball-related income. The NFL’s gives players 55 percent of television money, 45 percent of NFL Properties money and 40 percent of locally generated revenue. Suddenly, 10 percent sounds like a bargain.

What does all this court-related discussion have to do with the SEC’s celebration of its network haul? Everything. The leagues realized their people could get rich by diving headfirst into the television business, and now they’re reaping the rewards and the consequences. But for two leagues, the rewards are going to be far greater.

If you think about this for a minute, the Big Ten and SEC are in something of a no-lose situation.  If the schools and the NCAA are smart enough to settle the antitrust litigation, they’ll be the two conferences that are in the best position to do so. And if they don’t and Kessler wins, they may be the only two conferences that will be able to afford the aftermath without missing much of a beat.

What that says about trial strategy and maybe even how the politics of seeking an antitrust exemption may be something to watch unfold.  And nobody says these guys are smart enough to work things out optimally.  But being the camel farmer sitting on top of all that oil sure beats the alternative.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Mark Richt’s Open Records request

Jon Solomon fleshes out a lot more details about what people in the SEC are concerned about when it comes to the COA calculations each school goes through.  There really is a lot involved.

Auburn has one of the SEC’s highest cost-of attendance averages at $5,586. However, even that figure is not a one-size, fits-all calculation and can vary based on whether the student is in-state or out-of-state and whether there are other personal needs provided to the financial aid office, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said.

“If you live in Birmingham and I live in Auburn, if I go through the financial aid process, my number could be lower than yours because I live closer to Auburn,” Jacobs said. “But if I have a child, then my child care could increase and you may not. Ours is an average number so it could fluctuate.”

Mississippi State has an average cost of attendance figure of $5,156. Bulldogs athletic director Scott Stricklin supports SEC schools sharing within the league who’s getting cost of attendance exceptions, how much those exceptions are worth, and how often players receive them.

“To me, that’s helpful to know,” Stricklin said. “If our campus is rewarding on average four to six appeals per semester and all of a sudden our student-athletes have 40 to 50 winning appeals, I’d think if I’m another school I’d want to know that.”

So, yeah, enquiring minds – in this case SEC coaches and ADs – want to know.  And Mark Richt wants to get all Pork Rind Jimmy over it.

“I’m curious to know how they get to their numbers,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose school’s cost of attendance average is $3,221 for in-state students and $3,746 for out-of-state. “I’m sure a lot of people are curious about that. Do you (reporters) want to know? You got open records law? Can you all ask and find out?”

Um… guys, I don’t think he’s kidding there.  Help a head coach out.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

The SEC gets a little more transparent.

This kind of slid under the radar.

The SEC also passed legislation that will aid transparency in understanding the full cost of attendance stipends that will be given to athletes. Those figures, which are based on formulas from each school’s financial aid office, have produced variations as much as $3,000 per year within the SEC. Earlier this week, Alabama coach Nick Saban called for a cap on cost of attendance (the federal judge who ruled in the Ed O’Bannon case made that impossible) and said the differences invited fraud.

Under the new SEC rules, each school will provide an annual report to the conference office describing the methodology used to come up with cost of attendance figures and explaining any individual case in which an athlete’s individual cost of attendance figure is above the school’s published average.

It’s a start, and under the circumstances, probably the best outcome that could have been expected.

I can’t wait to read some of the explanations from the usual suspects, though.

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Filed under SEC Football

“All those things are for the welfare of the student-athletes.”

I’m sensitive to many of the criticisms minority coaches have raised over the years and am the first to concede that some have had validity.  But this?

A new organization of minority coaches on Friday sharply criticized NCAA eligibility standards set to take effect next year for incoming freshmen, saying they will deny too many athletes the opportunity to go to college.

The National Association for Coaching Equity and Development, a group led by Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith, Georgetown coach John Thompson III and former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, issued a statement to The Associated Press said the standards disproportionately target minority and less affluent students in “an unintended consequence beyond acceptability.”

The new rules require high school athletes to have a grade-point average of at least 2.3 in 16 core courses (up from 2.0 in 13 courses). And 10 of those courses must be completed in the first three years of school in order to be eligible to compete as a freshman. Once a student completes a core course in his or her first three years, it cannot be retaken for a better grade.

The NAFCED group said they fear the bar has been raised too high for some athletes hoping to play college sports.

C’mon, man.  You’ve had four years to prepare for this rule change and only now are you raising the alarm?

Even under the new NCAA guidelines, student-athletes get preferential admission standards.  Is it too much to ask that they at least be prepared enough coming out of high school that college isn’t a glorified re-run of eighth grade studies?

Instead of venting your anger at the NCAA (can’t believe I’m typing that), why not try pointing the finger at state governments that tolerate shitty public secondary education systems?  A little accountability on that level might go a longer way, and for more than just student-athletes.

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Filed under Academics? Academics.