Daily Archives: May 8, 2015

When football fans make laws

I’ve already mentioned my lack of appreciation for the so-called “Todd Gurley bill” that Governor Deal just signed into law.  But I thought I’d add one last little tidbit about how dumb this whole thing is and will be.

Angered that a dealer — and a Florida fan at that — had not only arranged for the signature sales but then tried to sell the story to the highest media bidder, state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, started thinking about drafting a bill to prevent future shenanigans.

“That’s what really got most peoples’ dander up,” said Fleming, a rabid Bulldogs fan with undergraduate and law degrees from UGA. “I was disappointed when it happened. But I understand the young man comes from a very humble background. His mother didn’t have funds to properly repair the roof on the trailer she raised him in.”

The law has two possible penalties, one criminal, one civil, Fleming said.

“We plugged it into a law about alumni being overzealous,” he said. “Now it’s a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. It can be up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

“On the civil side, the university can sue the person who does this for any damages sustained, like losing a TV contract, not going to bowl games.”

So, Georgia could sue some shady autograph dealer if a player were forced to sit due to taking money and the team missed out on a bowl game?  If it were a case of having to settle for a bowl game of lesser prestige (and presumably lesser money), how would the conference sharing bowl moneys fit in with a calculation of damages?  And would the University, in an amusing turn of the pen, be forced to argue that the name on the back of the jersey does in fact matter sometimes, as in, “if we’d have had good ol’ number 3 suited up, no way Georgia misses the CFP field”?

Of course, the truly amusing thing here is that the party with the reserve fund can sue for damages, but the kid of humble background?  I guess he doesn’t really get Barry’s dander up.  At least he can paper the roof of momma’s leaky trailer with a copy of the bill.

21 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Political Wankery

One less scheduling conflict

And you scoff at the idea of a culture change in Athens.

Okay, okay…  I keed.  Still, it’s nice they’ve made the effort.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Culture clash in Athens?, a continuing series

Greg Poole followed up on a comment he made here the other day with a post at Bulldog Illustrated about why he thinks the culture at Butts-Mehre has changed.

UGA will receive $4 million this summer for the first year of SEC Network operations and, remember, the Network did not begin broadcasting until August of 2014.

The new spending a UGA is long overdue and has kick-started changes in attitudes and momentum that are easily noticed by program observers – especially recruits. Nothing puts a spring in one’s step and improves one’s attitude like a big fat wallet.

I get that the SECN didn’t begin operations until August of last year, but Greg is being a little disingenuous with that, as the expected revenue figures had been discussed for some time (and don’t think they weren’t on everyone’s mind when the negotiations with ESPN were underway to begin with).  The burgeoning bank account wasn’t exactly a surprise, in other words. And even with that in mind, it’s not as if we saw a sea change in attitude in Athens along with Paul Finebaum’s televised face in the afternoon. That took more time, and probably weathered some hard feelings.  I mean, let’s not forget McGarity’s “I’m in charge” December interview with Mark Bradley and this moment of embarrassment after the Belk Bowl.

Do I think the extra revenue flow made it easier to offer more support for the football program?  Sure.  Do I think it’s been the primary driver of the changes we’ve seen since the bowl game?  Honestly, I don’t.

I will say it seems to have become a collaborative effort, though.  And that’s to everyone’s credit.  Here’s something Dean Legge told the AB-H:

“I think Georgia has put more resources into recruiting and if that’s what people think the Jeremy Pruitt Effect is, maybe it should be called the Greg McGarity Effect. Georgia went from hardly spending money compared to other schools in the SEC on recruiting to making it basically a top priority. That doesn’t just happen because you get a new assistant coach comes in. That happens because there’s a fundamental shift in thinking on the higher end of things. I think that’s one thing you notice right away. They’re more organized, which I do think a new coach could do for sure, but they have also spent more resources and time. They’ve thought more about where things are going to go. I use to think Georgia didn’t take football seriously compared to the rest of the SEC. I can’t say that anymore, and that’s happened over the last eight, 10 months. I think all of that will take away any possible excuse for not winning a conference and national championship. The excuses aren’t there.”

That last sentence mirrors the last line of Poole’s post.  And they’re both absolutely correct about that.

I’ve been frustrated – and misunderstood, primarily by people who think Richt hasn’t been properly held accountable – by the dysfunction we’ve observed between the athletics department and the football program.  It’s hard for any football program, even one with the wealth of resources seemingly available to ours, to succeed when everyone isn’t rowing in the same direction.  In my mind, that’s truly where Alabama has enjoyed a significant advantage over Georgia.

By that, I’m not talking about rolling over and giving a head coach everything he asks for.  What I mean is that you develop a coherent, strategic plan to take things where you want them to go, make sure everyone is on the same page about implementing it and then you do it.  And that’s when you can start holding everyone in the chain of decision making accountable for failure.

I think Georgia football is in a better place than it was six months ago.  I can’t tell you if that means the program is about to embark on a hugely successful run as a result, at least not yet.  But I can say I’m a willing participant in the no-excuses chorus now.  Because there really aren’t any anymore.

The funny thing is, if the tide has finally turned for good, the book that will inevitably be published in its wake that I would want to read won’t be the one about the success itself.  It’ll be about the inside story of how things finally changed.

58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Envy and jealousy, Stewart Mandel (!) edition

Historically speaking, a Mandel Mailbag is typically fertile grounds for snarky responses, but not today, as he does a fine job of skewering the tortured efforts of the conferences as they struggle with the consequences of realignment in the current CFP environment:

I have to say, I find it equal parts amusing and annoying watching conferences wrestle with “issues” entirely of their own creation. Hold a championship game or don’t. Employ divisions or don’t. Many, many smart people are going to spend countless hours in meeting rooms this spring and in the near future wrestling with such mind-bending conundrums, and I just want to say: You know, nobody forced you guys to realign a few years ago. While certain schools (TCU, Texas A&M) have certainly benefited immensely from joining new conferences, you’ll have a hard time convincing me college football in general has benefited in any way from “bigger is better.”

Amen to that.

9 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy

Playing through on the back nine of a coaching career

This may be the quintessential Steve Spurrier troll of the universe:  giving an interview about this year’s edition of South Carolina football while playing a round of golf.

You’ve got to admire a guy who really doesn’t give a shit what anybody else thinks about him – and is more than willing to let us all know that.

30 Comments

Filed under The Evil Genius

“The transfer process needs a lot of work.”

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

When it comes to the debate about changing the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule, Humpty … er, Larry Scott wants us to know it’s all about the children:

“There’s so much focus on professionalism and question about whether student-athletes are being exploited; in some cases it feels like it really is only about the athletics (with regard to transfers),” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “That’s concerning to some of our (administrators).

“If you come at it from the point of view of, ‘Why should you care?’ and your view is student-athletes don’t care about academics, you won’t be persuaded by this, but there’s a lot of data that shows transfer student-athletes don’t do as well. It doesn’t relate to positive outcomes from an academic standpoint. If you don’t care, I won’t persuade you that it matters but people who make decisions on our campus care.”

Only in the world of collegiate athletics can someone claim with a straight face that a kid who graduates is being exploited by graduating.

And then there’s Bob Bowlsby, who doesn’t have this whole “mastering” thing under his belt quite yet.

“It sort of smacks of ‘hired gun,’” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “You wonder about kids leaving their teammates and going to a better offer. For me, I look at it from a player standpoint, and I think of the kid at Eastern Washington (quarterback Vernon Adams) who transferred to Oregon. What message does that send to his teammates that have been sweating and bleeding with him for three years? He gets a better offer and jumps ship. I’m not sure that’s a great message to send to a group of teammates.”

What message does it send when a coach leaves players who have been sweating and bleeding for him for three years?

“That’s true,” Bowlsby acknowledged. “There’s not any doubt about that. I don’t have a lot of experience (with the graduate transfer rule), so I’m going to have to listen.”

Oops.  Good plan, Bob.

It’s hilarious to hear the people who have the least amount invested in the academics side and the most on the athletics side – conference commissioners and coaches – struggle to spin the graduate transfer rule as problematic for student-athletes academically.

Like this, from the concerned Mr. Scott, who tries to explain why it’s now suddenly important to be concerned about whether kids who graduate from college and transfer are progressing towards that postgraduate degree:

… What about players who graduate and stay at their school with immediate eligibility left? Are we to believe they all seriously pursue a graduate degree instead of simply taking enough classes to play until their eligibility expires? Should those players sit if they stay at their school but are not truly progressing toward a graduate degree? Why is it academically OK for those graduates to continue playing but not transfers?

“Um, I don’t have a good answer for you, because I don’t know that we’re tracking that,” the Pac-12’s Scott said.

Yes, this is such a big deal that the schools haven’t even made the effort to figure out how big a deal it is.  That sounds like a real crisis.

28 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, The NCAA