Daily Archives: April 4, 2018

SEC 1, Guns 0

The Second Amendment ain’t played ‘Bama, PAWWWLLL.

(h/t)

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38 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

Is UGA finally getting into the tailgate business?

Somebody just tweeted this to me:

I am surprised it’s taken the administration this long to take the plunge, to be honest.  Lots of questions at this point, obviously, ranging from cost and who can take advantage of the service to whether this is an end in itself or an early roll out leading to other parts of campus being similarly monetized.

Done right, I don’t think this is a bad idea at all.  Done right.

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UPDATE:  One question already answered.

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UPDATE #2:  There is a website.  If you click on the “Start Your Reservation” tab, you’ll see this message.

Bulldogs Tailgate Club purchases are currently reserved for Magill Society members. A promotion code will be required prior to checkout. If you are not a member of The Magill Society, please email UGAservice@tailgateclub.com for more information and check back soon for purchase opportunities.

“Soon” could mean just about anything, of course, but it does seem that they contemplate some possibility of expanding the service in the future.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

If it ain’t broke… eh, go ahead.

SOD’s a smart guy, so I guess KISS is a principle that doesn’t apply to him.

Through three weeks of spring practice, there’s no point using one catch-all phrase to define Derek Dooley’s offense that’s taking shape at Mizzou.<

The playbook is too cumbersome to file under one genre. Is it a spread offense? A pro-style model? A combination ? All of the above, and more.

“We’re throwing a lot at (the players), seeing what sticks,” said Dooley, the first-year coordinator, after Tuesday’s practice as the Tigers get closer to their April 14 Black and Gold game. “You kind of sling it up on the wall and whatever sticks you keep it going. You throw a little more on the wall, see what sticks and keep it going.”

Yeah, this is going to end well.

25 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Straight outta Tuscaloosa, it’s discipline!

Here’s a really good piece from Bruce Feldman exploring how Nick Saban harnesses all that talent, something Kirby Smart’s taken to heart as a head coach.

Every coach aspires to take his team where Nick Saban and Kirby Smart had Alabama and Georgia at the end of last season, and most of them spend the offseason talking about the importance of developing a program-wide culture that will help them reach that championship stage. This year’s two College Football Playoff finalists didn’t get to the top of the SEC and the college football world just by loading up with talented players (although that certainly helped). They also pride themselves on something Saban assistants past and present have said is the key to building his dynasty, a simple concept that contains multitudes: discipline.

The word carries a variety of meanings, but in short, you can either view discipline as a consequence of bad behavior or a driver of good behavior. A coach who recently took over a struggling program thought his players’ definition from the previous regime would be “the stuff that the coaches make us do if we get caught doing something wrong.” Saban has his own definition, and members of the Alabama and Georgia programs have internalized it and integrated it within their routines.

Most of what he writes about is devoted to Saban’s work, which is only fair, but you’ll be interested in the part that’s about Athens.

Smart took over a program that had consistently been good, but not great. To fix that, he installed Saban’s system of values, which forced players and coaches alike to make an adjustment.

“No detail is left un-talked-about,” Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney says. “We dot every I and cross every T. It sometimes might be a little uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s gonna be talked about. Kirby is diligent as heck about all that.”

Awkward as they may be at times, these conversations become the norm. “It’s had every day,” Georgia quarterbacks coach James Coley says. “I always felt like when you walked in staff meetings, you were there to get your players better. Everybody’s trying to get better, but now you’re saying to yourself, ‘How can I get better in this staff meeting?’ Because you really get better as a coach. Coach Smart has done a great job helping us all get better as coaches.

When asked for his definition of discipline, Coley rattles off examples. “This is what it means to me: Not jumping offsides. Being able to stop when the whistle blows. Running your route exactly where it’s supposed to be run.”

His perspective has changed since Georgia hired Smart. “Leaving Miami [in 2015] and coming back to a system like this, there’s a big emphasis on the little details. Not that there wasn’t at Miami, but there’s just such a huge emphasis on the small print. Ten years ago, discipline meant being on time, not missing your appointments. The difference is we do a better job of working on distractions these days.”

You read that, and it’s not hard to understand why the program has taken a step up from the Richt days.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

The most unexpected pissing match of 2018

Raise you hand if you had LeBron vs. Nick Saban in the pool.  I sure didn’t.

29 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, See You In Court

Is there such a thing as competitive amateurism?

Speaking of not ending well, if you’re looking for the Cliffs Notes version of the Jenkins v. NCAA litigation (aka Jeffrey Kessler’s lawsuit) that is bubbling to the surface between now and year’s end, here’s a good summary of what’s at stake.

It starts with O’Bannon.

Four years ago, the NCAA’s system of amateurism was brought to trial in Ed O’Bannon’s class action lawsuit. The case centered on whether Division I men’s basketball and football players ought to be compensated for the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses.

O’Bannon defeated the NCAA. Judge Wilken, and later three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, concluded that the NCAA and its nearly 1,300 members violated antitrust law by unlawfully conspiring to prevent players from negotiating the monetary value of their names, images and likenesses.

It was a landmark decision. For the first time, NCAA amateurism rules were found to have violated federal antitrust laws. It is a decision that will remain a problem for the NCAA. Indeed, other players who litigate against the NCAA —including Jenkins, who played defensive back at Clemson from 2010 to 2014, and his co-plaintiff, Sacramento Kings forward Nigel Hayes—can cite the O’Bannon decision as favorable precedent. While the O’Bannon precedent is influential in most of the country, it is fully binding in federal districts governed by the Ninth Circuit (which includes federal district courts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington).

But while it embraces the core ruling from that case, it seeks a far different remedy.

If the NCAA thought its legal troubles with amateurism were over with the O’Bannon case, they were wrong. The Jenkins case and its associated litigations, including Shawne Alston v. NCAA, utilize the O’Bannon ruling to advance a related, but distinct antitrust theory: the NCAA and its members have unlawfully conspired to suppress the monetary value of athletic scholarships. As noted above, NCAA rules limit the value of athletic scholarships to reimbursement for tuition, room, board, fees and course-related books.

On a practical level, the Jenkins case asks what would be the value of an athletic scholarship if colleges could increase that value as a recruiting inducement? If the value would exceed the grant-in-aid, then NCAA rules have denied the player the marginal value between the grant-in-aid and the amount of money the player would have received. On behalf of Jenkins, attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and David Greenspan contend that such a practice is plainly anti-competitive and inconsistent with basic tenets of American capitalism.

There’s also that whole pesky thing with common sense and reality.

Jenkins’s attorneys also insist that NCAA’s scholarship rules are contradicted by how colleges otherwise recruit top athletes. To that end, colleges already compete for star recruits in an assortment of ways. They build expensive stadia and training facilities to create the image of a professional team. They also pay big-name coaches millions of dollars of year, at least in part based on those coaches’ ability to recruit high school students. Further, schools hire various staff in hopes that it will give their programs a competitive advantage. In a sense, colleges spend a considerable amount of money on what is around the athlete. To some degree they do so because NCAA rules deny those colleges an opportunity to spend money directly on the athletes.

A win for the plaintiffs doesn’t mean we’ll see the Wild West, though.

At the start of this article you were asked to consider what a free market would lead to if top recruits were the beneficiaries of bidding wars for their services. While Jenkins and many other players would embrace such a world, it is not one that is likely to emerge. This is because Judge Wilken has defined the relevant antitrust “market” not as the business of college athletics. Instead, she classifies it as the market for student-athletes’ athletic services, alternatively described as the market for a college education combined with athletics. In other words, college education and academic integrity still matter in assessing how colleges could compete with one another in offering athletic scholarships.

With that in mind, the players suggest to Judge Wilken a couple of alternative ways athletic scholarships could be regulated. First, they propose a model that empowers Division I conferences to make choices that reflect their unique qualities. In this decentralized model, conferences, rather than the NCAA, would determine how colleges could compete with another in offering athletic scholarships.

The decentralized model is not without logic. Conferences vary in terms of size and location. Each has different values and prioritizing in balancing academics and athletics. The powerhouse Southeastern Conference, for example, might focus on the fact their member schools generate so much revenue through college sports. With that in mind, the SEC might allow member institutions the chance to offer athletic scholarships that are twice or three times the size of academic scholarships. In contrast, the less economically prosperous Colonial Athletic Conference might continue to limit athletic scholarships to the value of academic scholarships. Keep in mind, Jenkins winning would not force any school to pay more in an athletic scholarship—a victory would only provide eligible schools an opportunity to pay more.

As a second alternative, Jenkins proposes that Judge Wilken simply abolish NCAA restraints on payments or non-cash benefits that are “tethered to educational expenses” or “incidental to athletic participation.” This viewpoint stresses that it would not betray NCAA amateurism if student athletes were compensated more for educational expenses or other aspects of their college experience that are not directly about athletics.

You would think this case is ripe for settlement if for no other reason than to keep Mark Emmert from testifying under oath in discovery.  But as we’ve seen, the NCAA often acts in mysterious ways.  It’s a long way to December, though.  Stay tuned.

12 Comments

Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Title IX and red herrings

Here’s a nice rebuttal (h/t) to Mark Emmert’s hint from the other day that if student-athletes get paid, women’s sports are gonna take a hit.

Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in any federally-funded education setting, has been incredibly beneficial to women’s sports, as it requires schools that receive federal funding to have proportional opportunities for men’s and women’s athletics. Opponents of paying players are quick to stoke the fear that ending amateurism would kill Title IX completely, because a university’s entire athletics department budget would concentrate in men’s basketball and football, leaving zero money and resources for anything else. Alternately, some are concerned that if schools were actually forced to pay male and female athletes equally across the board, athletic departments would go broke, and that all college athletics would die an untimely death.

In other words: the women will ruin everything.

Well, friends, I am here to bust this myth. Supporting women’s sports and paying athletes their fair share are not mutually exclusive; in fact, ending amateurism would be a boost for male and female athletes, from revenue and non-revenue sports.

Ending amateurism would benefit both men and women

Fundamentally, ending amateurism does not mean athletic departments will necessarily write fat checks to their athletes. Rather, the NCAA could adopt an amateurism model, which would allow student-athletes to profit off of their likeness, work with sponsors directly, have an agent, get paid for appearances, and other things the NCAA’s ridiculous bylaws currently prohibit.

The NCAA is going to continue to look more and more unreasonable for refusing to even consider adopting an Olympic model approach to student-athlete compensation.  I don’t think that will end well, either.

17 Comments

Filed under The NCAA