Daily Archives: May 8, 2017

“We lost this idea that every bowl game mattered a long time ago.”

Per Stewart Mandel, the AFCA is forwarding a proposal to the NCAA that would allow players to participate in up to four games of a season without burning their redshirt year.

“I think that would be pretty intriguing to some of the fan bases,” said AFCA executive director Todd Berry, “which might legitimize some of those bowl games and make them more interesting.

Hey, it can’t hurt.

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7 Comments

Filed under College Football

And you thought the AJ-C was bad.

Boom’s got a bone to pick with the local paper.

“I’ll look at The State newspaper like the National Enquirer now. Seriously. The magazine with aliens and stuff…”

He’s got a point, too.  Sort of.

… He had heard from a police spokesperson that said they told The State newspaper, ‘You really don’t need to run this, because this is the account of one person in the bar that night. One person’s opinion of what happened.’ It was totally incorrect.

“So I called (executive editor) Mark Lett, the editor of The State paper. I said, ‘Mark, you really messed this one up. Deebo Samuel wasn’t there, and I think in the investigation, we’re going to find out Skai Moore didn’t do a whole lot of anything.’ He wanted to stand by the story. He wanted to stand by the incident report, after he was told you don’t need to run this because it’s inaccurate and could be really wrong.

In other words, the paper ran with what the arresting cops reported in a public document.  That may not be what Muschamp wants, but it’s based in reality.  As far as an apology or retraction goes, it the State has gone on to report the facts as they currently stand, that’s probably as far as it goes.  If there’s an apology due from anyone, it’s whoever name-dropped the wrong folks in the incident report.  Good luck with that, Coach.

17 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Media Punditry/Foibles

Putting the shark love picture to rest

Deadspin does some quality reporting here.

A Google image search didn’t turn up any results beyond the same photo being shared on various college football forums, so Deadspin asked one source that might be in the know: The University of Florida. A spokesperson for the school’s athletics department said that McElwain, who became aware of the photo over the weekend, was not the man in it. “He’s told us it’s not him,” the spokesperson said.

It’s not a directly personal denial, though.  That leaves the door wide open for Clay Travis to raise an annoying question at SEC Media Days.  Maybe he could ask McElwain if the shark was a virgin.

11 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

Exhausting supply is exhausting.

Kudos to the AJ-C’s Bill King for asking Matt Borman, executive associate athletic director for development and executive director of the Georgia Bulldog Club, and Tim Cearly, assistant athletic director for ticket operations, what’s up with the school’s ticket distribution to the Notre Dame game.  It’s a question that’s been asked here in the comments and also in several emails I received over the past few months.

Start with the basics.

First, some background: UGA is receiving 8,000 tickets to the upcoming game in South Bend. Of those, 5,300 were put on sale “to the donor base,” while the remainder go to students, faculty, staff, sponsors and family.

All of the tickets, which are priced at $170 each, have been sold, Cearly said. When there were a few hundred tickets left after the initial availability to those with a 75,000 cumulative score, the offer was widened to those with at least 67,000 points, “and that will exhaust the supply.” All those who were offered the chance were able to get tickets.

The sticking point for many, including the person who wrote King in the first place, was the way those 5,300 tickets were offered to that portion of fan base.

“What I was surprised, and frankly a little perturbed by, was that they were allowed to buy up to six tickets if they contributed 10,000 or more, four tickets if they contributed 3,000-9,999 and two tickets if they contributed 100-2,999 in 2017…”

To which, the official response is,

Cearly said that, in drafting the ticket sale, “We tried to establish benchmarks based on prior history and demand for previous games.” The offer was patterned after the one for tickets to last year’s Ole Miss road game, except ticket buyers were limited to six tickets this time instead of eight for that game, to allow for somewhat wider distribution.

“The challenge is, you want to give fans a chance [at the tickets] but you also want to reward those who give at a certain level and incentivize donations,” he said.

Ah, incentivize.  Because those folks need every edge imaginable to keep the money spigot open.

The use of tickets for a big game like this to “incentivize” donations, rather than making them available to a wider group of fans, is “a sensitive topic,” Borman said, but “we’ve just got to find a way to take care of those individuals who are giving at the highest level to the Bulldog Club. We have a ton of great supporters who unfortunately can’t get tickets. But there’s got to be a line drawn somewhere.”

Could have drawn that line by limiting everyone to a maximum of two tickets to spread the wealth around that “ton of great supporters” to whom you give lip service, Matt, but we know where your priorities lie.

One other passing note from Mr. Borman…

The Bulldog Club/Hartman Fund, he noted, raises about $32 million a year to help pay the university back for student athletes’ scholarships and to fund day-to-day operation of the athletic department.

Your contribution dollars hard at work.  As far as that “pay back” goes, allow me to let Andy Schwarz retort.

The same is true for the scholarships. We cannot learn much about the cost of providing a college education to an athlete from the listed price of a GIA or from the net spread between “direct institutional support” and that listed price. The difference tells us how much money the athletic department is paying the school for the scholarships, but not what the scholarships cost the school to provide.

What they cost depends a lot on the school. At schools with capped enrollment—where the dorm rooms are full, where profit margins on food and books are low, where little or no institutional financial aid is given to non-athletes—the list cost might well be close to correct. At schools with a desire to grow enrollment—where there’s still dorm space and where profit margins on food and books are healthy—the actual cost might be pennies (or at least dimes) on the dollar of listed cost…

… The numbers reported are the gross price the university charges the athletic department, not the cost. When you net out “direct institutional support” those numbers become the net price the university charges (and if that “support” is high enough, the net price might be negative).

… athletic departments are trying to walk a rhetorical tightrope. They want to hide their profits to make it easier to keep them away from other would-be claimants. They also want to avoid looking so poor that other stakeholders within academia use sports’ apparent poverty to strip them of power. Rhetoric that turns a price into a cost, and a transfer of profit into a loss of money, helps play a role in confusing things enough that the moment in the magic trick where the profit is moved from one pocket to the other gets obscured.

This sleight of hand confuses the media, who then (unknowingly) magnify and perpetuate the deception. Articles that use the label “scholarship cost” for what the schools call “athletic student aid” on their financial reporting documents are confusing price and cost, and those that don’t net out direct institutional expense are reporting a fake price at that. Schools and athletic departments have no real incentive to correct the record, and so the public is left with the perception that somehow these wildly profitable enterprises are just scraping by—all the easier to claim poverty when the workforce comes around looking for a more competitive cut.

Or when they need to parcel out scarce tickets to a premium event while trying to tiptoe around alienating a chunk of the paying fan base, evidently.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

The SEC’s real champions of life

Ron Higgins has his latest SEC preseason football rankings up here and here.  One thing he tracks is the offseason arrest rate for every program over the past six seasons, and according to his records, Vanderbilt has a noteworthy achievement in that regard:  zero arrests.

Here’s the complete list.

  • Vanderbilt:  0.0
  • Missouri:  0.14
  • Tennessee:  0.5
  • Arkansas:  0.67
  • Kentucky:  0.67
  • Mississippi:  0.67
  • Alabama:  0.83
  • South Carolina:  0.83
  • Ole Miss:  1.17
  • Texas A&M:  1.17
  • Auburn:  1.5
  • Georgia:  1.5
  • LSU:  1.67
  • Florida:  2.33

Vandy may be the conference’s champions of life, but Huntley Johnson is Florida’s MVP.

20 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, SEC Football

Money matters

Once upon a time, I wrote this.

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning.  Everybody wants to win.  The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens.  And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor.  (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.)  It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

I mention that because it immediately came to mind after reading this article about the 25 top revenue producing football programs of the 2015-6 fiscal year.  Compare these two paragraphs, this one for Georgia…

As recently as 2009-10, Georgia made a larger profit on its football program than all but one school in the nation; UGa’s $52.5M take came during the salad days of the Mark Richt era, in the midst of a disappointing 8-5 season but after a 21-5 record the previous two years. Sanford Stadium, 10th-largest in the country at 92,746 seats, is still filled to capacity every home Saturday. But Richt had outworn his welcome by the 2015-16 fiscal year with some underwhelming performances by his Bulldogs in big games and some grumbling preceded his evacuation to Miami. It remains to be seen how Kirby Smart fills the void. But Georgia fans remain resolute in showing up.

… and this one for Alabama.

Here we break through to the 9-figure strata with the closest thing to a dynasty college football has. By the way, who remembers Mike Shula? It only seems like Nick Saban has been around Bama forever but he replaced Shula after a 6-7 season a mere 10 years ago. It’s also mostly forgotten that Saban’s first team in 2007 struggled, lost all four November games and only managed a winning record by edging Colorado in the Independence Bowl. Since then, no college program can touch Alabama’s four national titles and appearances in all three years of the College Football Playoff. And Alabama is reinvesting; not only was Saban just re-upped with an 8-year, $65.2M extension, his football program listed a whopping $56.3 in expenses in fiscal 2015-16, easily the national high.  [Emphasis added.]

Notice the difference in tone there?  Georgia is all about fans showing up and putting money in the coffers; Alabama is reinvesting.

That isn’t how you play catch up.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules

The early bird catches the scheduling conflict.

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has struggled with attendance the past couple of seasons and is asking itself why.  One of the problem areas (and a potential solution) mentioned gave me a chuckle.

… Some fans complained about the start times — 11 of the 13 home games the past two seasons have started at 4 p.m. or earlier — but the thought is that later start times would yield similar attendance figures.

The administration has preferred earlier start times to try to maximize the number of people in the stands, with the thought that fans of SEC schools could go watch a UTC game, then get home in time to watch their favorite program play.

Evidently there must not be many Mocs fans who follow Georgia football.

3 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major