Daily Archives: October 5, 2017

Worth every penny

For those of you who have a genuine problem understanding why I go on at length about the unfairness of student-athlete compensation because, after all, money coming into the school is for the school’s benefit, let me introduce you to the University of Louisville.

When University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich announced a new $160 million, 10-year deal with athletic apparel giant Adidas on Aug. 25, a reporter asked him if some of the proceeds would be shared with the university.

“It’s for the athletic department,” Jurich replied. “It’s for these student-athletes. It’s been earmarked for them.”

In fact, under the current deal with Adidas, which expires July 1, 98 percent of the cash provided by Adidas goes to one person: Rick Pitino, the now-suspended head coach.

In 2015-16, for example, $1.5 million went to Pitino under his personal services agreement with the apparel company while just $25,000 went to the program, according to a contract obtained by the Courier-Journal under the state public records act.

The year before, Pitino also got $1.5 million, while the department banked just $10,000.

Under the existing and new contracts, any money that Adidas pays to University of Louisville coaches under personal service agreements is deducted from what the company gives to the athletic program.

Was it fair for Jurich to say the Adidas money was for student-athletes?

Kenny Klein, the department’s spokesman, said it was.

“Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino. Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes,” Klein said last month before a bribery scandal prompted the suspensions of Jurich and Pitino.

Those players are such lucky ducks.  Such a deal.

By the way, Jurich was making some pretty sweet bank himself.

Over the past seven years, through a byzantine array of longevity and performance bonuses, base pay raises and tax subsidies, Jurich collected total compensation of $19,279,710, an average of $2.76 million per year.

Last year, his taxable income – enriched by the vesting of a $1.8 million annuity plus $1.6 million from the university to pay his taxes on it – totaled $5.3 million.

Although the annuity was earned over several years and will be paid out in $200,000 installments, his listed income last year was more than the university budgeted for its departments of Biology ($3.3 million), English ($4 million), History ($2.4 million) or Mathematics ($3.5 million).

The topper to all this largesse?  Despite raking in tons of dough, the athletic department needed $7 million per year in subsidies from the university to avoid finishing in the red the past two years.

“There used to be a firewall between athletics and university,” Jurich said. “We wanted to break that down.”

That’s been a success.  And they’ve preserved the firewall between athletics and student-athletes!  Amateurism is a gas, gas, gas, man.



Filed under It's Just Bidness

“The Mark Richt loyalists up in Athens, and there are still more than a few left, are converting.”

Emerging national perspective on Richt’s career at Georgia, a year and a half after his departure, through the lens of the Dawgs’ uptick this season:

Godfrey said the game could put Miami in a position to run the table this regular season. If he turned Miami around like that, Godfrey said, “Richt can really change the last third or last quarter” of his career, with respect to how he is remembered as a coach.

He punctuated that with: “No pressure.”

At his old place, Richt had a reputation as one of the good guys in the game, a calm, serene coach beloved by players and fans. The only knock on him: as high as he raised the Bulldogs’ bar, as many times as he made them a contender, he didn’t bring home the big one.

“Generally, I think that was an overblown narrative,” said Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Chip Towers, who covered Richt at UGA. “I think it became a meme after a while. It’s like anything else: there’s some truth to it. There were years they had really good teams and they did well. Early on in his career, it was all about his ability to win those big games, and road games in particular.”

After winning two SEC titles in his first five seasons, Richt couldn’t repeat the feat. Georgia was 25-13 against ranked opponents in Richt’s first seven seasons, and 14-23 after. He won plenty of games — 145 in 15 seasons, more than any Dawgs coach except Vince Dooley (201 in 25 years) — but the big-game performance, especially in the latter half of his career, was why UGA and the coach split in 2015.

“Richt’s problem the last few years at Georgia wasn’t really a big-game issue,” Sports Illustrated senior writer Andy Staples said in an email. “It was the fact that his teams underachieved for entire seasons. Losing by five to the eventual national champ (Alabama) in (the) 2012 (SEC title game) was nothing to be ashamed of. Not getting to the SEC title game after that was the issue.”

Stewart Mandel, editor-in-chief of The All-American, said in an email Richt “won a LOT of big games,” and while he “tailed off toward the end, and that’s why he lost his job, but I certainly don’t think of him that way.”

Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman noted in an email that Richt “dominated the series against [Georgia Tech] at UGA (12-3) and did really well against Auburn (11-5). His record against UF (5-10) wasn’t very good but it was even worse against the Gators before he arrived.

…  Richt’s rep as a big-game Charlie Brown, bolstered by blogs and message boards and elucidated by national writers, will be wafting around him until Miami’s contending for national titles again. A win Saturday would blow some of it away.

And it would draw a salute from some in Athens, where the same new-coach hope springs eternal.

“It just wasn’t meant to be for him here, for whatever reason,” Towers said. “He knocked on the door so many times. He was better than anybody they’ve ever had. Maybe Kirby Smart will take them over the top. He might.”

FSU appears down this season.  Miami is currently ranked; the Seminoles aren’t.  If Miami can’t finish the drill Saturday, expect more of this.



Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football

Urnge gloom and doom

By now, I was hoping I’d be able to share Booch’s show about the Georgia game with you guys.  My understanding is that it’s a classic — to fill time, since there weren’t any highlights, he supposedly reviewed other conference games.  Unfortunately, YouTube isn’t cooperating.

In the meantime, I suppose this will have to do.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“He’s not just one of those pansies that can cover somebody, he’s good in man.”

I love the way Tyrique McGhee’s been coming on the last couple of weeks.  He doesn’t seem to lack for confidence, either.

Tennessee seemed to be trying to go after the 5-foot-10, 187-pound McGhee and he relished it, according to a teammate.

“He liked it, he told me on the sideline, he hoped they keep throwing at him,” cornerback Deandre Baker said. “He wants to get some film.”

LOL.  He’ll get his chance again Saturday.


Filed under Georgia Football

Coaches and the NCAA, working together

The NCAA’s Division I Council introduced a couple of new proposals yesterday.  One  would limit football staff sizes for recruiting purposes to 30.  The other would move the start of football practice back to early August.  Both are expected to pass.

For the recruiting proposal, the 30 staff members would include the head coach, 10 assistants and four graduate assistants. The others would include recruiting coordinators, recruiting assistants, analysts and other administrative personnel.

Schools would have to designate the 30 individuals before the first preseason practice. Only those parties “would be able to initiate written and electronic correspondence with prospective student-athletes, their parents or legal guardians.”

I can’t imaging that’s making Nick Saban a happy camper, but I’m pretty sure he’s got three support staffers grinding away through the night trying to figure out where the holes are in that proposal.

In any event, rest assured that every school will have those lists of 30 at their beck and call to make sure everyone out on the recruiting trail is certified kosher.

As far as the start date for fall practice goes, there was some grumbling this year about certain schools getting theirs underway in July.  That’s gone with this.

In addition, the Division I Council is proposing a new practice start date, which would be 25 days prior to the first game of the season. For example, a team playing its first game Sept. 1 could hold its first practice Aug. 3.

With the elimination of two-a-day practices this year, schools were allowed to begin practice an extra week earlier. Some did so in late July, which would no longer be allowed under the proposed change.

According to the NCAA, members of the American Football Coaches Association are on-board with that proposed change.

“We were also talking about the 14-week standardized season, but it became apparent that it was going to be an impediment in our efforts to keep all the practices in August,” Bowlsby said. “We didn’t want practices taking place in July and conflicting with the end of summer school.”

It’s all coach-friendly.  If you doubt that’s who’s driving the train, guess which NCAA proposal has been tabled for now.

Any talk of changing the rules on NCAA student-athletes immediately transferring in the middle of the season is going to have to wait.

In an NCAA press release on Wednesday, it was announced the Division I Transfer Working Group will develop proposals intended “to improve the transfer environment for college athletes, coaches and teams.”

Per the report:

Legislation addressing immediate eligibility for student-athletes who meet an academic benchmark and graduate student financial aid will not be considered in this year’s cycle.

 “The excellent membership and student-athlete feedback really helped the working group in its discussions this week,” Chair and South Dakota State AD Justin Sell said about the meetings on Oct. 1-2. “I am confident that in the next few weeks we will come forward with a solid recommendation that will make a real difference in the transfer environment.”

Yeah, sure.  They’ll get right on it, kids.


Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

When Nick Chubb speaks

I bet that was some team meeting.


Filed under Georgia Football

“Ralph Webb is still Ralph Webb.”

Kirby Smart has to go full “best long snappah in the conference” mode… about Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher.

“There’s nothing that I can say as far as seeing him struggling,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I know this — he runs with a lot of power for a smaller back. I saw him run over a safety from Florida, and he did the same to Ronnie Harrison from Alabama. He plays with more power than people give him credit for. He is extremely elusive. He is dangerous out of the backfield, and they do a good job of getting him the ball in the passing game.

“He’s one of the most electric players in our conference, and that’s evidenced by his statistics. He’s the leading rusher in their history.”

Not a good look.

Meanwhile, Derek Mason is having to resort to slogans.

“Part of it is the inexperience of the front and the lack of continuity,” fourth-year Commodores coach Derek Mason said. “They all have to anchor down and take some ownership of it. Running backs and linemen go hand in hand, and it’s about accountability all the way around. I think our backs are running decent, but not necessarily hard all the time.

“We need more all across the board, and it starts with those two groups if we want the run game to be what it needs to be.”

Booch couldn’t have said it any better.

I respect the job Kyle Shurmur’s done throwing the ball, but if Vandy can’t get its run game going Saturday, how is Vanderbilt going to score enough on a Georgia defense that’s giving up less than ten points a game to win?


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

For Mike Leach, the SEC might not mean more…

… but it’s certainly louder.


Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, SEC Football

“After the first three or four teams, there’s a pretty big drop-off.”

No shit, Nuttster.

There’s a fair amount of hemming and hawing from SEC head coaches about the apparent lack of conference parity this season, because nobody wants to hand the selection committee any additional ammunition, but Kirby Smart acknowledges the obvious.

Smart said the lopsided scores “certainly could” influence how the College Football Playoff committee or even bowl committees view the strength of the conference at the end of the season. Yet, he cautioned, “there’s a lot of season left. We’re not quite half way. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

The strength of schedule of SEC teams is eroding, per Brian Fremeau.

Prior to the start of the year, SEC teams laid claim to seven of the eight toughest projected schedules. This week, Auburn (No. 13 SOS) is the only remaining SEC team with an overall schedule strength ranked in the top 25. The Big 12 and ACC lead the way now in the overall schedule strength ratings because, quite simply, they’ll play multiple highly ranked opponents…

On the flip side of that coin is the SEC. My ratings are very high on both Alabama and Georgia, but Auburn and Florida are the only other SEC teams ranked in the FEI top-30 this week. At the beginning of the year, Auburn’s schedule ranked as the toughest with four projected top-10 opponents and nine games against top-50 opponents. This week, they have only a total of three top-10 opponents on their regular season schedule and only five games against the top-50 on their slate.

The top SEC teams are still very formidable, but much of the rest of the league has dropped precipitously. Missouri has dropped 64 spots in the FEI rankings from the start of the year, Ole Miss has dropped 63 spots, LSU has dropped 50 spots, Vanderbilt has dropped 40 spots, Tennessee has dropped 33 spots, Arkansas has dropped 29 spots, and Texas A&M has dropped 26 spots. Seven of the 13 biggest ranking drops in FEI rank from the preseason to date have come from SEC teams.

Again, it’s still early in the year, and several of these SEC teams may recover with a strong finish. And even if they don’t, both Alabama and Georgia could be playoff contenders with an opportunity to carry the torch for the rest of the league. They just may not have the opportunity in the postseason selection debate to lean on the strength of that league in the same way they have in the past.

The problem is that, as we’re in the middle of the season now, there aren’t that many opportunities left for conference schools to notch wins over P5 schools outside the SEC.  Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will have their rival games to wrap up the season, but there’s likely to be as much bad news as good out of those.  Outside of that, the pickings are rather slim.

I suppose it would help if the blowouts declined, but you look at some of these programs and realize, barring a freakish day in the turnover department, that’s more of a wish than a given.  Bottom line, if you’re invested in seeing an SEC presence in the CFP, the programs at the top of the conference probably have less margin for error than in years past.


Filed under SEC Football