Here comes the judge.

Mike Slive’s last official act of courage:

But the SEC essentially told the coaches that there was nothing the SEC could do. The cost-of-attendance is determined by each school’s financial aid office, separate from athletics, and messing with the formula could run afoul of the Ed O’Bannon ruling.

Mike Slive, the outgoing SEC commissioner, said it was a short discussion.

“We understand that there are really compelling concern about how it affects recruiting. But we just tried to explain to them that this is something that … The judge in O’Bannon indicated that we were going to follow the federal rules, and it’s a financial aid issue, it’s not an athletic issue. It’s run by the financial aid office,” Slive said.

In other words, it’s Judge Wilken’s world, and he’s just living in it.

Here’s the thing:  he’s only half right, at best.  O’Bannon said the NCAA could cap the amount of new compensation that Division I men’s basketball and football players receive when in school, but that cap will not be allowed to be an amount that is less than the athletes’ cost of attending school.

That’s a floor, not a ceiling.  But, of course, that’s small consolation to those schools in the conference that don’t want to jack up their COAs to run with Auburn and Tennessee.  And nobody’s going to touch player compensation outside of a COA stipend right now.

So that leaves things right where they’ve been.  We’ll have empirical data in a few years to see what sort of impact the disparity has on real world recruiting.  My bet is that if it turns out to have a serious effect, they’ll revisit the concept of player compensation.  It’s not like they won’t be able to afford it.



Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football

42 responses to “Here comes the judge.

  1. DankJankins

    It is funny hearing Butch Jones say that he does not think an extra $130+ a month is going to trump relationships as far as recruiting goes. To some extent I agree with that statement but I also think it is real easy to make it and seems a bit disingenuous when you are coaching the school that has the highest in the nation and conference. Makes me wonder if he would still have the same opinion if Bama’s and UGA’s COA figure was around $5,800 and UT’s was $3,300.


    • Honestly, it’s hard to say. It’ll sway some kids, no doubt, but there are plenty it won’t.


      • DawgFaithful

        If 2 schools are neck and neck for a kid it would definitely be a factor. Other than that I don’t see it as an issue.

        I wonder what would happen if Georgia came out and said , “Whoops we made a mistake. We went back and reexamined the situation and our COA is actually a lot higher than we originally thought.”.

        There’s no transparency so what’s stopping us or any other school from doing that? Does your 1st estimate have to stick?


    • Gravidy

      He’s so certain that it won’t sway anyone that he probably won’t even bother to bring it up with recruits, huh?


  2. Tatum

    I love how folks (Slive, Jacobs) are saying it’s not about athletics. Does anyone think the COA would have been reconfigured at a much higher rate for some schools this year if the players would not benefit? I’m not coming down on either side of the argument for the stipend. I just take issue with them saying it’s not an athletics issue.


    • PansyTheDawg

      It is troubling. I think Slive simply wants to avoid this complicated issue in his final days for whatever reasons and is leaving it for the next guy.


      • Bulldog Joe

        Slive’s been battling health issues, is close to retirement, and has plenty of UA and AU people in his circle of friends.

        This was expected.


  3. Where are we with the COA transparency question?


  4. doofusdawg

    Two points. First of all it’s a shame that some unelected, clinton appointed berkeley/oakland california judge is going to have so much of an impact on college football.

    Second. Look at the schools with the higher cost of attendance numbers and consider that they set their respective coa figures higher so that their student applicants can borrow more money as a living expense that goes into their pocket. The less desirable schools are in effect using federal dollars to bribe kids to come to their school. See Auburn vs. Alabama as exhibit A. Alabama is a much better school academically so they get better students from an academic standpoint. The kids that borrow $20k for tuition and such also borrow $20k for living expenses as well. With a default rate already pushing 30% I imagine many kids never anticipate paying a nickel back. See Miss St. vs. Ole Miss, UT vs. Vanderbilt… more evidence.

    Fortunately or unfortunately UGA does not have to bribe their applicants to want to come to Athens. The fact that Auburn does should be of no great surprise. It will work in recruiting too. I imagine vegas will notice as well. Another unintended consequence.

    The fact that the SEC has passed on Auburn’s latest attempt to cheat is not a good sign for college football or the sec. I sincerely doubt that schools like Alabama and UGA will stand by and let the conference keep plodding along as nothing more than a booking agency taking ten percent off the top. I expect a lot more push back on a wide array of issues going forward.


    • First of all it’s a shame that some unelected, clinton appointed berkeley/oakland california judge is going to have so much of an impact on college football.

      Maybe if the NCAA and the schools hadn’t broken the law, said judge wouldn’t have needed to make an impact.


      • doofusdawg

        It wasn’t a law till the judge made it. 🙂


      • Funny how for some of these guys it’s never a shame that presidents / AD’s have rejiggered conference alignments and wrecked traditional rivalries while shamelessly chasing television $’s that has done far more damage to what we’ve known as college football than anything that Wilken could do. But yeah – let’s direct our ire at that damn dirty liberal judge and those greedy ass kids for wrecking the sport just now. Those are obviously the assholes we need to point the finger at. Clearly none of that shit that’s happened the last 30 years at the direction of the guys in charge has had a significant change to the sport that we know and love.


  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    I guess kick the can is fun for kids of all ages.


  6. Cojones

    Question: Can the COA be set up (at least partially) to work as an expense account? i.e., If they spend beyond a monthly allowance, can they remit the receipt for reimbursement? Since someone would have to review and determine whether it’s reimbursable under defined COA expense, could the COA not be a set amount, but instead (please excuse the pun), more of a movable feast?


    • Cojones

      Has anyone perceived which position player(s) would command more money if all aren’t capped to an equal amount? Linemen? Pizza lovers? And/or, as a general expense group, the lovers (date’s expense, condoms, etc)? Party guys/gals would have to be over 21 for liquor or other expenses like lap dances (pimp expenses would be hard [pun again] to justify).

      Looks like a creative mind will be needed in that financial aid office before it’s all over. Yep, this could be fun.


  7. Cojones

    Question: Would individual insurance policies be negotiated separately by each player or will they be included in the student-athletes’ COA? Of course, you would have to furnish the same to the entire student body. … .


  8. paul

    First of all, some context. Cost of Attendance numbers ARE the responsibility of the Financial Aid office. They’ve been published at every school for quite some time now. In fact, schools are required to do so. COA has NOTHING to do with athletics. It is, quite literally the average cost of tuition, room and board, meal plans, books and such at a given school. In tying stipends to COA the judge was simply trying to leverage a known quantity NOT controlled by the athletics department. Doofusdawg, student loans are not forgivable. They will not be renegotiated even in bankruptcy. It makes no difference what a student does or does not intend. The student or their family WILL pay. Eventually. Somehow. That’s why banks are so eager to lend. They WILL get their money. The problem with fuzzy math inside the the Financial Aid office is twofold. One, it affects all students, not simply athletes. Two, it can and will get you into hot water with the Feds. Come to think of it, taken to extremes, it can also cause your institution to lose its accreditation. So there’s that.


  9. AusDawg85

    How long until Saban loses a recruit to Auburn or UT over money until he offers additional aid? If COA is just a floor, what’s stopping the damn from breaking?


    • Bulldog Joe

      It won’t be long. UA’s trustees are just as focused on athletics as Tennessee’s, Auburn’s, MSU’s, and Ole Miss’ are.

      As always, it’s not about what Saban says, it’s about what he does.


  10. PTC DAWG

    I don’t like where this issue is taking College Football…just a debacle.


    • Bulldog Joe

      Agreed. With UA’s athletic resources and no transparency, Saban pretty much holds the nuke button now.


    • A10Penny

      I am too. If no one shows leadership on this, the slope could get much more slippery and more quickly. Transparency is the one potential control of the bidding war (individuals, schools & administrations may show restraint…but there’s no way they will as a collective with the $$$ piling up, and recruits obviously will be affected by it).

      It would be interesting to see if the stipends grew at the same rate of costs across the country. I hope someone with more time and statistic prowess takes that project on to expose those schools that are gaming the system. AU and Tenn were smart to start out so high: UGA and others can’t catch up without obviously making it about competitiveness instead of COA and the SEC just sat on their hands.

      On the bright side, the kids will get a larger share of the money pot. I’d prefer more of it to go towards long-term benefits for injured players, etc. but maybe that will come eventually.


      • Macallanlover

        Agreed, no leaders stepping up. Let’s see how Auburn and Knoxville arrived at those numbers for students, they may need some help with math. Student costs for spending cannot fluctuate enough to be significant unless they played games, especially with housing and food included in the full scholarship. We are talking spending money basically.


  11. 69Dawg

    Senator, if as you said , the judge was just establishing a floor and not a ceiling, why would schools not just pay the athletes whatever they want as long as it was over the COA? Do you think at this point going down the anti-trust road the NCAA is going to do anything to a Power-5 conference for this? The COA includes all the costs so it stands to reason the non academic costs are tied to the academic costs. Schools that have low tuitions, books, etc could afford to pay more of the non-academic COA without making the overall student COA look too bad. Schools which had a high academic cost/per student would naturally under state the non-academic costs so that they would appear to not be on the high end of the overall COA. That would explain why schools like UGA, Tech and others are lower than Auburn or UT. They are using low overall COA as a means of getting students to go to the school. We just got bit in the butt by the Admission offices recruiting ploy.


    • The schools don’t want to pay anything in excess of the COA, at least as long as amateurism has a pulse.

      The NCAA can’t “do anything” to a conference about it. That would be illegal.

      And what you’re describing isn’t how COA works.


  12. ctfain

    How long before the first story breaks with financial aid office workers complaining of athletic office/booster meddling? Or before a quiet reshuffling of aid office staffs?