Daily Archives: February 13, 2018

Transfer City, baby

Well, now.

The Division I Transfer Working Group will spend the next several months seeking feedback on refined exceptions to the rule requiring all student-athletes to sit out a year of competition after transferring. The working group met Feb 12-13 in Indianapolis.

Some exceptions now under consideration include:

  • Allow students who meet specific, high-achieving academic benchmarks to play immediately after the first time they transfer during their college experience.
  • Allow prospective student-athletes who have signed a National Letter of Intent to transfer and play immediately if a head coach leaves the school of the student’s choice, as well as under other exceptions already in the rulebook. Because the Collegiate Commissioners Association manages the NLI, this idea would be referred to the CCA for consideration.

The working group is not considering — and never entertained — a model that would allow all student-athletes to transfer and compete immediately…

Additionally, the working group is not considering preserving the current rule or requiring all student-athletes to sit out a year without exception…

The working group will seek feedback on a high academic benchmark for student-athletes who wish to transfer and compete immediately. The exception would be available once during a student-athlete’s college experience. Student-athletes would not be able to compete at two schools the same academic year. Additionally, if a student transfers to a school that later is found to have recruited that student in violation of NCAA rules, that student would not be eligible to compete immediately at that school.

That, combined with the existing proposal eliminating the ability of coaches and schools to restrict aid to student-athletes after transferring, would represent a sea change in player transfer policy.  I bet some of you aren’t thrilled by that.  Then again, none of you are student-athletes.

The one thing I do wonder about is how allowing student-athletes to leave a program if the head coach is canned will affect an athletic director’s calculations in whether to pull the plug.  Gee, isn’t life already hard enough for the likes of Greg McGarity?



Filed under The NCAA

This is fine.

College football attendance continues to decline.

Major-college football experienced its largest per-game attendance drop in 34 years and second-largest ever, according to recently released NCAA figures.

Attendance among the 129 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in 2017 was down an average of 1,409 fans per game from 2016. That marked the largest drop since 1983 when average attendance declined 1,527 fans per game from 1982.

The 2017 FBS average of 42,203 fans per game is the lowest since 1997.

I knew those players taking a damned knee during the National Anthem… oh, wait.

How about this, then?  Those liberals just don’t appreciate ‘Murica’s greatness like they used to… um, what’s that you say?

Even the most rabid league in the country saw a dip. In 2017, the SEC experienced its sharpest per-game decline — down an average 2,433 fans — since 1992. That figure led the Power Five in fans lost per game in 2017.

While the SEC led all FBS conferences in average attendance for the 20th consecutive year, its average attendance (75,074) was the lowest since 2005. The SEC has slipped an average of 2,926 fans per game (3.7 percent) since a record 78,630 average in 2015.

Well, dayum, Johnny, what’s the problem?

College sports has long been at odds with how to manage the time/value relationship. In other words, how to make attendance at a live event more valuable than the alternatives, which range from remaining at a tailgate outside the venue to viewing on a smartphone while on the go to watching in the comfort of one’s living room.

“It’s a technology issue,” said Wright Waters, Football Bowl Association executive director and former Sun Belt commissioner. “The public is ahead of us every day in what they can get from technology. We have not been able to keep up.”

One former Power Five athletic director called it a “societal shift” leading the powers that be scrambling to figure out the viewing habits of millennials as well as well-heeled alumni.

“This is not surprising to me,” said Bill Lutzen, a veteran sports TV programmer who is currently the CFO of a web optimization firm. “This issue is with lack of involvement of the college students. They no longer view attending sporting events as part of the university experience.”

Gee, you mean there’s a price to pay for crapping all over your fan base?  Who’da thunk it?  Certainly not the geniuses who’ve been selling out the sport to whatever broadcast partner they can find with some cash to spend.  Well played, everyone.

Ordinarily, I’d say it’s something to bring to the attention a certain someone at Butts-Mehre, but he’ll be long gone by the time this particular poo hits the proverbial fan.


Filed under College Football

The naming is the hardest part.

Georgia’s IPF, which in these here parts has been named in honor of a certain departed defensive coordinator, is being officially christened the William Porter Payne Indoor Athletic Facility.  Good for him; I can think of plenty of worse options.

Now if they would just sit him down for some advice on customer relations


Filed under Georgia Football

As the Urnge turns…

Vol Nation was happy about Robert Gillespie, running backs coach, being the one holdover on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff.

Gillespie has served in that position since coming to Tennessee in 2013. While fans are likely wanting to distance themselves from all things Butch Jones in a hurry, Gillespie is the one holdover that should excite fans.

After all, the group of RBs that has cycled through Knoxville each of the past two seasons has been one of the few bright spots in a disappointing stretch. Alvin Kamara, John Kelly, and Ty Chandler have produced some impressive performances despite the recent struggles. With that in mind, keeping Gillespie in Knoxville looks to be a smart move.

So, would that make this dumb?

Pruitt’s gonna Pruitt, y’all.


UPDATE:  Man, this is so last week.

New Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt gave no indication any staff changes were imminent last Wednesday at the Vols’ recruiting presentation at the Tennessee Theatre.

During the Q & A portion of the presentation, a fan asked Pruitt why he had elected to retain Gillespie.

“Recruiting against Tennessee, there’s guys that when you go into a house, or you followed them into a house, you know what they have done in respect to recruiting,” Pruitt said. “ You look at the way his players have played, very well-respected in the profession, and we’re excited that he’s here.”

Gillespie also spoke at the Tennessee Theatre last week, sharing his excitement about being a part of the Vols’ new staff.

“I’ll tell you this, some people get an opportunity to coach at the University of Tennessee one time, I’m fortunate this is my second time to be a coach at Tennessee and I’m excited,” Gillespie said. “As you look at the (coaches seated) behind me, obviously coach has done a really good job putting the staff together.

“Having guys like this behind me in the office every day makes you want to compete to be the best coach you can be, because we have really good football players, and I believe right now we have the guys that can get the best out of the guys we have on this campus.”

The dream is over.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Our long national nightmare that I didn’t even know existed is over.

I guess I’ll sleep better now knowing that PAWWWLLL!!! and Johnny Football have kissed and made up.


Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

Means to an end

Top-ranked recruiting classes are awesome and all that, but let’s not lose sight that they’re just a necessary step to take towards the main goal.

Each of the past seven national champions have averaged a top-10 recruiting class the four years prior to winning the national championship, and all seven have landed at least one recruiting class ranked in the top four in the two years prior to their title win.

ESPN finds four programs currently meet those criteria:  Alabama (shocking, I know), Ohio State, Florida State and…

Georgia Bulldogs
Avg. class rank:

The Dawgs made it to the title game this season with a true freshman at quarterback. Georgia played 16 true freshmen overall and, similar to Ohio State, are adding 19 ESPN 300 prospects. That includes the No. 1 overall player: quarterback Justin Fields. Georgia is losing a lot of production in the ground game, with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel moving on, but they will be replaced by ESPN 300 running backs Zamir White and James Cook, who are the No. 1- and No. 3-ranked running backs, respectively. They’ll join D’Andre Swift and try to pick up where Chubb and Michel left off.

“Georgia played 16 true freshmen overall” is a good way to get a jump on the 2018 transition.  I have the feeling this team is going to miss less of a beat than some expect.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

When you’re a genius, how much does recruiting matter, anyway?

Henry noticed that some of us were taken with his Georgia Tech observation in yesterday’s post about in state recruiting, so he emailed me with this:

Based on the 247Sports Composite rankings, since the 2008 recruiting class, which was Johnson’s first at Tech:
— Tech over 11 years has averaged signing the No. 30 ranked player in Georgia as their highest ranked in-state recruit
— The highest player Tech has signed in the last 11 years was ranked No. 17 in 2002
— There have only been two years when Tech signed a Top 20 player
— There were two years when Tech’s highest in-state recruit was ranked No. 50
— In the last five recruiting classes, Tech has averaged signing the No. 41 player in the state
— In Johnson’s first six recruiting classes, Tech averaged signing the No. 21 ranked player in the state
— In 2007, the year before Johnson became the coach, Tech signed the No. 5 and No. 7 ranked player in the state. It was a Chantastic year as Tech had the No. 15 ranked recruiting class in the country and the second in the ACC
— Johnson’s average recruiting class since then has ranked No. 51 nationally and No. 9 in the ACC.  His best national class was ranked No. 41 in 2007 and his worst was No. 70 in 2013
— During the last 11 years Duke, Stanford, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Cal — all highly ranked academic schools — have signed four or more players from the state of Georgia who ranked higher than the highest player signed by Tech.

To which he concludes:  “These numbers are so bad I had to go back and check some of them multiple times to be sure I wasn’t missing something.  In all cases I rounded down to give Tech the benefit of the doubt. Seriously, UGA should be contributing to Johnson’s salary just to keep him around.”

I can only add a couple of things to all that.  People tend to forget what a living Johnson made off Chan Gailey’s last recruiting class, which was truly excellent.  And those of you who keep wanting to end the series with Tech are cutting off your noses to spite your faces.  Anything Georgia can do to keep the Jackets propped up while they abandon the recruiting field is a win-win, especially when the Dawgs are winning at better than a 70% clip in the series.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

A little lock down never hurts.

It’s kind of gotten lost in the shuffle after all the hoopla surrounding the remarkable 2018 signing class, but Baker’s decision to return is a big deal for Georgia’s defense this season.  He and Reed give the secondary a couple of anchors to stabilize around early as the coaches figure out how to restructure the back end of the defense.

Just remember that Georgia goes on the road two of the first four games this season to face two pretty good quarterbacks in Bentley and Lock.


Filed under Georgia Football