Daily Archives: May 11, 2018

Kids can’t keep a secret.

Nick Saban’s last two defensive coordinators are making big money as head coaches at other SEC schools now, with nary a whimper from the Sabanator about how that puts Alabama at a strategic disadvantage.

A backup center close to completing the requirements for his master’s degree, though?  DEFCON 5, lads!

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30 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

The Deangelo Gibbs saga, a continuing story

This is why I generally am reluctant to publish rumors here… even when people think they know, sometimes they really don’t.  In Gibbs’ case, he’s not going, going, gone.

Georgia defensive back Deangelo Gibbs might be rejoining his teammates for summer workouts soon.

A university official confirmed Friday that Gibbs is enrolled at Georgia for summer classes. Gibbs, a rising sophomore athletically, was not enrolled at the university during the spring semester. Since Gibbs was not enrolled in school, he was unable to participate at the G-Day spring football game.

While Gibbs, who was also dealing with a left shoulder injury, wasn’t with the team during the spring, head coach Kirby Smart previously stated his optimism that he would be for the preseason.

“He’s doing very well with rehab,” Smart said in March. “We anticipate a full return in the fall.”

That’s good to hear, both for Gibbs and the program.  Let’s hope there aren’t any more twists and turns other than a successful return.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Jim Harbaugh’s not a CPA.

But he knows his players aren’t, either.

During a question-and-answer session with those in attendance Thursday at the SeaGate Centre for the “Access for Justice” awards dinner, Harbaugh hinted that paying players might not work.

“Four years of playing high school football, I don’t think anybody’s looked back on that and said they wish they hadn’t played,” Harbaugh said. “But now you take all those people who played all four years of high school football, I believe the percentage is 1 percent of them will go on to play college football.

“And then all of the players that play college football, I think again the percentage is actually 1 percent that will actually play in an NFL game.”

Where is Harbaugh going with all this? He’s trying to push the idea that college athletes should focus on their education, first and foremost.

That means obtaining a degree at a four-year school, or a two-year school, the military, or even a trade school.

“Something after high school is a must these days,” Harbaugh said. “Really, that education is what’s the most valuable and what’s the most important. Sometimes, somebody thinks what’s good for them and what they need are two different things.”

But here’s where Harbaugh gets serious on the matter, questioning whether paying players a salary would really work. Say a player receivers a $65,000 athletic scholarship, he says, and then a school tacks on a $30,000 or $40,000 salary.

What happens when it comes time to pay taxes?

“I don’t know if anybody’s asked this question, but does the scholarship then become a taxable benefit?,” Harbaugh said. “Is the government going to look at that and say, ‘OK, now you owe us 40 percent in taxes?’ You may now have to pay more money than you actually make in the salary with taxes.

“No, I don’t think (they should get paid).”

Mind you, big Jim has no intention of getting an actual answer here.  He’s just asking so he can warn his players if they’re not careful, they could wind up writing a check for the privilege of playing for him.  That’s some especially ripe bullshit there.  Almost makes me wish Corch would come out and say if that ever were to happen, Ohio State would pay their kids enough to cover the loss… which, of course, is just where things would start.

In the meantime, kids, get that valuable degree.  At least as long as it’s in a program that doesn’t take too much focus off your football work.  Oh, and remember to make enough of a contribution on the field so that you don’t get to the point you have to seek a transfer — preferably to a school where Harbaugh doesn’t object to your enrollment.

He’s a real prince.

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Filed under Heard About Harbaugh?, The NCAA

Waiting for a shoe to drop

I mentioned in the podcast I did yesterday with Tony that events on the ground, such as antitrust litigation threats, are likely to make the NCAA and its member institutions seek an antitrust exemption from Washington for its sports programs.  It is unlikely that such would be given without a quid pro quo and that’s where things get dicey.  The low hanging fruit for Congress is the non-profit tax exemption the schools and the NCAA currently possess.  If you think about it, that’s another significant advantage collegiate sports enjoy over the pros.

There are a few ways in which the Big Ten Conference is a misnomer. For one thing, the athletic conference founded in 1897 and comprised of corn-fed flagship Midwestern universities, now has 14 members. (In recent years, it has added decidedly non-Midwestern members like Rutgers and the University of Maryland.) Second, in the GuideStar rankings of nonprofits, the Big Ten appears as a “human services” organization alongside the American Red Cross and Feeding America. (The Big Ten is No. 7 in the Slate 90 human services section.)

Like the NCAA under which it is organized, the conference qualifies as a charitable organization because, in the words of the IRS, it “fosters national or international amateur sports competition.” Indeed, in this “human services” sector, five of the top 10 are organizations that deal with college sports, including the NCAA itself. Like the ten in Big Ten, amateur is an almighty stretch here. The Big Ten doesn’t compete with after-work intramural leagues. As in other sectors like health care and financial services, tax-advantaged nonprofits like the Big Ten compete directly against avowedly for-profit professional sports leagues for attention, revenue, and above all, splashy television deals.

In 2017, the Big Ten Conference completed the most lucrative media deal in the history of college athletics: ESPN, Fox, and CBS agreed to pay the Big Ten $2.46 billion over six years for the rights to broadcast its football and basketball games. By comparison, NBC’s 10-year agreement with the NHL—one of America’s big four professional sports leagues—was worth less than $2 billion.

What gives? The NCAA is the only viable pipeline to both the NFL and NBA, and so the talent and quality of play in college football and college basketball is almost at the level of the pros. In effect, these are the minor leagues. That, combined with the built-in tribal allegiance college fans have with their teams, makes for stratospheric TV ratings. More than 28 million people watched this year’s national football championship between Alabama and Georgia. That’s better than the average viewership numbers the NFL pulled during its first two weeks of playoff games. (When it comes to baseball and hockey, two sports that have extensive professional minor leagues, the money and attention associated with the college version is de minimis.)

In terms of success, revenue, and popularity, the Big Ten is, along with the SEC, the star upon which the world of collegiate sports revolves. And it has a remarkable business model. It doesn’t build or maintain stadiums. And it certainly doesn’t recruit and pay the star athletes.

It’s a pretty sweet deal for the NCAA and its associated conferences, who generate Fortune 500–type revenues from something produced, gratis, by unpaid amateurs. Not paying taxes is a nice cherry on top of that lucrative sundae…

Congress has sniffed around this question before.  And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the NCAA goes all out on the antitrust front, it’ll be an issue again (if, for no other reason than the pros have their lobbyists, too, and will no doubt be pushing their agendas).  There’s no telling where it goes, of course, but from here, it’s got all the warning signs of be careful what you ask for.  Of course, if you’re desperate after Jeffrey Kessler kicks your ass, your options are limited.  I’d think that end game might make for another persuasive reason to settle, but I’m not Donald Remy.

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Filed under Political Wankery, See You In Court, The NCAA

Young love is young, love.

Aw, get a room, you two.

“You can see why Coach Fulmer was a good recruiter when he was coaching,” Pruitt said at Southside Social in Chattanooga on Thursday night. “He’s easy to get to know. Me and him have a lot of the same things in common, and we see a lot of things the same way,”

One of the more curious early narratives within the Tennessee fan base related to how the 67-year-old Fulmer and Pruitt would get along, in terms of their football relationship.

Some were worried Fulmer might interfere, perhaps not realizing that he is Pruitt’s biggest advocate and would not have hired him if he didn’t have supreme confidence in his coaching abilities.

Pruitt has said he feels fortunate to have Fulmer as an athletic director, going so far as to say other coaches are “jealous” of his situation.

“I’ve only known him for a short time, but it seems I’ve known him for a very long time,” Pruitt said. “So I’m excited to continue to work with him and what he can help bring to our program.”

Fulmer was not known to be a harsh critic of his players during his College Football Hall of Fame coaching career, but he supports the hard-core approach Pruitt has used this spring.

“I’m gonna tell you this, he has challenged everybody in every way, and I love it,” Fulmer said.

That is so cute.  Kinda reminds me of this budding romance.

Jeremy Pruitt has wanted to work at Georgia for a long time.

The former Florida State defensive coordinator first met Georgia head coach Mark Richt in 2003 as a high school coach in Fort Payne, Ala., when he brought two recruits to the university. Pruitt, who coached under his father Dale Pruitt at Fort Payne, was so impressed with the meeting 11 years ago that he promised himself something when exiting the room.

“When I walked out of that room 30 minutes later I was wowed,” Pruitt said. “My father looked at me and said ‘That’s what college football is all about.’ I said right then and there that if I ever had an opportunity to work for him that I would be a part of his staff.”

…  After transferring from Middle Tennessee State to Alabama, Pruitt roomed with Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend. Pruitt said that the two have continued talking weekly for the past 15-20 years, and Friend called him this week with news about an opening at the defensive coordinator position.

“When the job came open in the small talk we had weekly, he asked me if I would be interested and this is the University of Georgia, and who wouldn’t be interested in this job,” Pruitt said.

“It’s one of the premier jobs in college football, and I had the opportunity to work with coach Richt and I just couldn’t turn down.”

Yeah, that ended well.  This time will be different.  Probably…

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“That, of course, is a judgment call, and the judgment call involves, how much dirty laundry do we want to hang out in the public?”

As a Georgia blogger pondering the spectacle of a meteor lawsuit, all I can say is hang it out there, baby.  All of it.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators...

“I don’t mind saying I’m not the biggest fan of the rule.”

What happens when player safety and coaching strategy clash?  Coaches grumble, albeit softly.

The idea behind one of the NCAA’s most controversial rule changes for 2018 — awarding a touchback on any kickoff that’s fair-caught inside the 25-yard line — is to make the game safer. What football coach wouldn’t want that?

But Stanford’s coach doesn’t necessarily like it.

“I don’t mind saying I’m not the biggest fan of the rule,” Shaw said. “I understand and appreciate the purpose and the intent behind it. Anything that is in an effort to make the game safer, I understand and to a certain degree applaud.

“(But) field position is the basis of this game. To fair-catch a ball and automatically move the ball up is difficult for me to take. We probably won’t take advantage of that.”

Of the five Pac-12 coaches interviewed, only one, Washington’s Chris Petersen, is in favor of the change and even he thinks there’s more to come.

The NCAA did not release injury data when it announced its change. The organization did point out the obvious, noting that “fewer injuries occur during kickoffs that result in touchbacks than on kickoffs that are returned.”

“When they do studies, and it’s a higher percentage chance for injury on a certain play, we need to take a hard look at that and figure out how to help that situation,” Petersen said. “I think they have, and I think this is the first step towards it.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. It’s all about making this game safer for the kids. If that’s one of the plays that’s going to help us, it’s a good rule.”

I don’t know how this will play out, but I suspect Petersen’s on the right track to suggest this is but the early stage of an evolutionary development.  Similar to things like the way the targeting rule has been enforced, I don’t think we’ve reached the final version of what kickoffs will look like.  One thing’s for sure, though — those concussion lawsuits aren’t going away any time soon.

22 Comments

Filed under Pac-12 Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple