“That’s just the way it is.”

Lemme see if I’ve got this straight.  The outgoing SEC commissioner, a man who was routinely called one of the most powerful people in organized sports during his tenure because the organization he directed was obscenely profitable and successful in relation to its collegiate conference peers, shares a sad with his conference coaches and ADs that the future of collegiate sports management is no longer about maintaining a level playing field.

Seriously?  Seriously.

“For all these years, when the NCAA passed legislation the premise was a level playing field,” he explained. “Which, in effect, means it’s for the institutions. So, when we put together the vision for the 21st century, we made the incoming student-athletes in the next century the primary focus. We moved from a level playing field to student athletes.

“By definition, when you do that you end up with issues that aren’t as comfortable if you’re grounded in and had experience in the level playing field.”

To which I say:  get the fuck outta here.

What, pray tell, was the NCAA keeping level all those years?  Not financial strength between the D-1 conferences, unless I’ve missed a bunch of stories about multi-million dollar waterfalls gracing the presence of locker rooms in the MAC and Sun Belt. How did I not hear about all those seven-figure assistant coaches’ salaries in the Mountain West?  And those postseason checks that were dished out seemed to be anything but level when it came to the number of zeros in them.

Nor competitive strength, either, as anyone who’s watched a cupcake game or two in his or her time can testify.

How a man who was a prime mover and shaker in the power conferences wresting autonomy away from the rest of the NCAA body can get all misty about level playing fields is beyond me.

And now that it looks like the hand of the schools and the NCAA is being forced to share a little of the pot of gold with the student-athletes who help put dinner on the table, so to speak… now Slive wants to tell everyone the reason that playing field can’t ever be level again is because of those very same student-athletes who still can’t have representation in arranging the terms of where they go to school and play?

Man, that’s pretty nervy, Mike.  Maybe you can take that pity party with you when the schools lobby Congress to try to get an antitrust exemption.  I’m sure Orrin Hatch would love to hear you talk about leveling the playing field again.

The truly sad thing is that I don’t doubt Slive really believes that garbage.


Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

11 responses to ““That’s just the way it is.”

  1. Mike Slive is a hypocrite, and that is the nicest thing to say about the guy.


    • I thought the rot of hypocrisy was localized to Indianapolis, but the last year especially around Gurley-gate has made me realize it permeates college sports. Burn it down, Kessler, burn it down.


      • Burn it down, Kessler, burn it down.

        EE, we’re both on the same page here. I completely understand what it means to college sports overall for Kessler to burn it down, but I quit fooling myself about the romanticism long ago. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Everything about how these schools have operated their football and basketball programs over the chase of TV $’s makes them look like for-profit businesses in every sense of the phrase, yet they don’t pay labor or taxes. Unfortunately for them, that litle racket ain’t exactly how the real world works and they’re getting a strong smack in the face with reality right now starting with O’Bannon and eventually Kessler.

        I have a very difficult time sympathizing with the people that act like THIS is the moment that will change CFB as we know it. That ship sailed a long ass time ago and the players had nothing to do with it. That was all on the presidents and AD’s as they went along just killing off conference traditions and historical rivalries to provide programming content for the WWL and their own networks to keep the cash flowing.


        • AuditDawg, a couple of years ago, I’ll admit I was in the camp that thought the full cost of attendance scholarship was a reasonable compromise between the current state and pure pay-for-play. The more I’ve seen with the loss and threatened loss of rivalries, the pure greed over TV money, and, finally, the draconian response to Gurley-gate (with no assistance from the SEC) has made me realize that they operate college sports for profit but hide behind the fig leaf of the 501c3 and its NFP designation. It’s time to start over and, if some institutions decide they can’t afford to compete at the highest level, drop divisions or drop sports. It’s going to be painful for the athletes, the universities, and fans, but it’s time.

          I just hope they don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg …


        • Mayor

          AD, you raise another legitimate point that nobody every seems to talk about–taxes. These guys (and I am talking about university presidents, ADs and coaches in particular) are operating for-profit businesses that make HUGE amounts of money, paying themselves whopping salaries and hiding behind tax-exempt status. This is costing you, me and everybody else in the nation. Make them pay taxes just like the rest of us.


  2. TennesseeDawg

    Yeah, all dictators get a little misty eyed when the peasants revolt.


  3. South FL Dawg

    I think what’s key is the focus was on the schools. They didn’t make them all equal but they did make them all meet equal minimum rules. If now the focus is more on the students that’s a step in the right direction. Even if it’s just because a judge said they had to….take what you can get.


  4. Nashville West

    I remember a few years ago I was at a Rotary meeting and was seated at a table with the president of our local university. The president was there to raise funds so that the school could move to D-1. He informed us that the goal was to raise $6.5 million to fund the move to D-1.

    I told him that I had just returned from my alma mater, UGA, and that we had just spent that much on a new scoreboard for the stadium. He shook his head and said “There are different D-1’s…” I thought that was truly profound.


    • 69Dawg

      This. The NCAA lost control when they started making it easier to be a D-I school. The reason I assume was that they wanted more D-1 basketball schools. The NCAA should go ahead and reorganize and break-up the D-1 FBS, FCS schools into multiple divisions. To start with they should create a basketball only division and a multi sport division. Make the top of the FBS be the Power5 plus the major independents. Let the other smaller conferences form a new division between the old FBS and FCS. Let them have a National Championship to determine the tallest pygmy in the village. This might give them some bargaining power with the WWL for addition funding for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday games. Let each division make their own rules. I can dream I guess.