Monthly Archives: June 2018

Awkward in Urnge

Former UT receiver Josh Smith had this to say about his deposed head coach:

“I’m just gonna be honest. I had multiple meetings with Coach Jones, and he knows how I feel. He was … I just never felt like he was himself. I always felt like he put a front on. I mean, he was in such a hard position that I probably would, too, honestly, so I can’t really say anything too bad about him. I do respect him for all the hard work he put into UT, but I honestly wanted the real him.

“I wanted just to be able to, like, laugh, and, like, have a conversation with him, and I just felt like I couldn’t ever do that, or anybody ever could. It was just always too serious, or we were in trouble…”

Booch a patent phony?  Who’da thunk it?



Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“Buzz always wears black Converse high tops and white gloves.”

Not any more.

Georgia Tech’s move to Adidas as its apparel provider has come with widespread anticipation and approval. There is at least one small cost to the changeover from Russell Athletic, which becomes official Sunday.

Buzz will no longer wear his trademark Converse Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers. Come football season, Buzz’s feet will be adorned in custom Adidas sneakers, part of the company’s efforts to make its three-stripe brand as visible as possible.

For Tech fans bound to tradition, it may be a defeat at the hands of commerce.

I suppose clown shoes are out of the question… unless Adidas has a better sense of humor than I suspect.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Stylin'

Congrats. Now keep it going.

Ain’t nothin’ but appreciation for this.

The University of Georgia finished No. 8 in the 2017-18 edition of the Learfield NACDA Directors’ Cup, the all-sports competition ranking collegiate athletic programs. The final rankings were released Saturday following the completion of the College World Series.

Georgia posted its 21st-consecutive top-20 effort, making UGA one of only six Division I schools to finish in the top 20 every year since 1997-98. The other schools to do so are Florida, North Carolina, Stanford, Texas and UCLA.

“I’m very happy for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff for this top-10 finish,” said Greg McGarity, UGA’s J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics. “We shared so many memorable experiences across the board this year in NCAA competition, and the Cup is an indicator of our commitment to a broad-based athletic program.”

During 2017-18, 16 of Georgia’s 20 sports included in the Directors’ Cup scored points for UGA. Nine programs posted top-10 efforts.

There’s no reason a school with Georgia’s resources shouldn’t finish top ten on a regular basis.  Which is why I find it kind of funny that the press release doesn’t mention the last time before this season Georgia athletics managed that kind of performance.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“People say, if you look good, you play good.”

I truly cannot wait to hear Paul Johnson blame Adidas the next time Georgia Tech suffers through a disappointing season.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Stylin'

Your daily dose of Steele, and more

There’s a metric Steele created that tracks how a college team’s personnel losses to the NFL draft affect its record the following season:

Over the past 21 years, teams that accumulated more points than the previous year and accumulated…

12 or more points – weaker or same record 282 of 377 (74.8%)

24 or more points – weaker or same record 78 of 96 (81.3%)

35 or more points – weaker or same record 20 of 26 (76.9%)

Points are based on the round a player is drafted in — seven for the first, six for the second, etc.

Anyway, and I’m pretty sure you know where this is headed, number three on his 2018 points lost list is Georgia, with 31.  On its face, then, that would indicate Georgia has only a one-in-five chance of improving on its 2017 record.  Danger, Will Robinson!

20% ain’t nothing, though.  It’s worth noting that Alabama tops that list, with an astounding 44 points, and I don’t see Phil Steele shoveling dirt on the Tide’s grave this year.  Quite the contrary, in fact.

And that is the important corollary here.  Over time, depth, or, more accurately, talented depth, trumps departures.  With that in mind, read David Wunderlich’s post at Gator Country comparing Florida’s talent levels at each position to those of Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

In any event, Georgia has an enormous talent lead on the rest of its division. It pulled ahead in that respect thanks to its blockbuster 2018 signing class, so it’s an advantage that should prove durable for a few years.

It’s even more stark if we just look at the number of players with each given star rating on the rosters.

Team 5-Stars 4-Stars 3-Stars 2-Stars
Florida 2 34 42 2
Georgia 13 48 24 1
South Carolina 0 23 53 6
Tennessee 1 34 47 2

Florida and Tennessee combined only have ten more blue chip 4-star and 5-star players (71) than Georgia has by itself (61). That 2018 class again figures large here, as nearly half (14) of the top 30 players on UGA’s roster by the Composite are freshmen.

The SEC lives in a Jimmies-and-Joes world.  The 2018 NFL draft doesn’t change that.

In all, though, Georgia is and should be the heavy favorite in the division because it’s way out in front in the talent department and showed itself to be well-coached enough on its trip to the national title game a year ago. Mullen just signed Florida’s best class by average recruit rank since 2013, but it’s going to take multiple years of doing even better than that to catch up.


Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

“Where does it end?”

The latest USA Today report on college athletic departments’ finances, for the 2016-7 fiscal year, has emerged.  Good news for Georgia:  it’s one of seven D-1 schools with revenues exceeding $150 million, something I expect to continue with a bang in the next fiscal cycle. Even better, it ranks nineteenth in expenses, which means it turned close to a $40 million profit even after transferring $4,500,000 back to the school.

Before some of you go there, I have no problem with turning a large profit, as long as the money is spent wisely in the pursuit of excellence.  (Well, other than charging student fees when your profit margin exceeds 25%, that is.)  But it also means that I do think whining about the sanctity of the reserve fund in times like these as a defense to implementing a master plan for athletic facilities is weak beer.

It’s not the worst thing in the world, of course.  This is worse.

A few weeks before the football season last August, a Washington State University vice president sent an urgent message to the athletic director.

The topic was deficit spending in the athletic department, which had ballooned to a cumulative debt to the university of $67 million…

The messages were obtained by USA TODAY Sports as part of a public-records request and are part of an ongoing financial drama that has unfolded in some parts of major college sports – not just at Washington State, but at other schools that might be described as the underclass of the upper class. Besides WSU, these include the University of California and other Power 5 conference institutions that have dug their own holes and struggled to avoid getting buried in them.

They are not broke. They simply overspent their means by tens of millions as they tried to keep up with their richer rivals in coaches’ pay and opulent facilities. And though such pressure to compete is nothing new, their deficit spending and subsidies have accelerated to unprecedented heights since 2011, even as their collective revenues have shot up by nearly 50% since then, largely because of lucrative television and media contracts.

Their problem is a bit of a paradox.

Not really.  But it does much to explain the current state of whoredom that characterizes college sports.

These schools make more money than ever. Since they began emerging from the Great Recession in fiscal year 2011, their combined revenue has rocketed from $5.6 billion to $8.3 billion in 2017, not adjusted for inflation. That’s according to data for the 108 public schools tracked by USA TODAY Sports in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), in partnership with Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Yet instead of being financially relieved by this revenue boom, 18 of them burned through it and still posted annual deficits of more than $1 million in fiscal year 2017, compared to seven at that level in 2011. WSU athletics has run deficits for seven straight years, drawing scrutiny from state legislators.

They don’t know how to spend wisely; they only know that they believe they have to spend, and spend blindly, to be competitive.

And the department deficit problem he inherited is projected to be even worse than those e-mails described last year – $85 million in debt to the university by 2023. That debt was rung up largely because of spending increases in coaching pay and facilities for football – namely $130 million to renovate the football stadium and build a five-story football headquarters.

“He took this place out of the stone ages,” Chun said of Moos and the spending he pushed to modernize Cougar athletics.

Moos said “everybody was fully aware” of the debt WSU was taking on with these investments at the time, including the state legislature and WSU regents. “It’s like somebody woke up in the middle of the night and said ‘I’m shocked. I’m shocked that we have a deficit,’ ” Moos told USA TODAY Sports. If WSU hadn’t invested like this, he said the Cougars “would have been left in the dust.”

Thinking like this is why I chuckled the other day when a commenter defended McGarity by saying he acts just like every other college AD.  Dude, that’s not a compliment.

There’s only one cure for their illness and that’s more cowbell money — from the students…

WSU even hopes to convince students to approve a fee increase to fund athletics, up from the current $25 per student per semester to fund its football stadium renovation.

… the fan base and from, most importantly, television.  Even if and when they get it, though, it won’t stop an arms race that most schools can’t afford.  The trend, if anything, is accelerating away from them.

– What kind of growth do this year’s figures reflect? Not adjusting for inflation, consider the following table showing the number of schools at certain benchmark figures over time:

Total expense    $80 million+  $100 million+  $120 million+  $140 million+

    2017                        51                32                    17                    7

    2012                        25                10                      2                    0

    2007                          5                  1                      0                    0

Total revenue    $80 million+  $100 million+  $120 million+  $140 million+

    2017                        51                31                     23                  15

    2012                        28                13                      5                    3

    2007                          9                  3                      0                    0

– The gap between the top revenue total and the bottom revenue total has opened wider than ever.

In 2017, Texas had the greatest at $214.8 million, Alabama A&M the lowest at $3.3 million.

In 2012, Texas had the greatest at $163.3 million, New Orleans the lowest at $3.1 million.

In 2007, Ohio State had the greatest at $109.4 million, Coppin State the lowest at $2 million.

There’s never enough.  There never will be enough.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

“… no one is interested in how a particular individual’s fantasy team fared.”

So, I’m reading this story

The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on a case pitting fantasy sports companies against athletes who want compensation for the use of their names, photos and statistics.

The athletes point to state law that gives individuals the right to control how their names are used for commercial purposes. It’s called their “right of publicity.” But there are exceptions to the law.

The case has national implications for the emerging and massive market of legal sports betting. If the athletes prevail, it could open the door to players unions demanding licensing fees from legal casinos that use players for “proposition” bets. Those are based on an individual’s performance, such as whether someone will score a touchdown or hit a home run in a game.

… and a thought suddenly crystallizes in my brain:  There is no “front of the jersey” issue with fantasy sports.  It’s the antithesis of rooting for a college team.  It’s all about making money off a player’s stats.

Still, I’m sure there’s some defense an amateurism romantic can come up with to deny compensation here.  It’s probably a variation of Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” argument, amirite?


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Andy Staples tells us that Jimbo Fisher’s decision to leave FSU for Texas A&M was the result of an odd dichotomy.

Fisher wanted more upgrades, and Florida State’s odd organizational structure had begun causing friction. At most schools, the booster club is under the control of the athletic department. Even if the club is a limited liability corporation separate from the school or the athletic department, the athletic director ultimately decides how funds raised by the booster club are used. That isn’t the case at Florida State, where Seminole Boosters, Inc. CEO Andy Miller wields more power than athletic director Stan Wilcox. Fisher’s priority was a dedicated football operations building that would move the Seminoles’ day-to-day operations out of Doak Campbell Stadium, where student classrooms and player meeting rooms share hallways. That wasn’t Seminole Boosters’ priority, though. Fisher wanted to make his operation more efficient, while the booster club wanted to address the gameday experience for the fans who fund the booster club. So instead of starting work on a football building—something new Seminoles coach Willie Taggart likely will get in the coming years—$80 million went toward renovating the stadium. By the start of the 2016 season, Florida State had added a huge new video board, ripped out bleacher seats and replaced them with chairbacks and added premium areas in the south end zone.

Jimbo, of course, is another proud adherent of the Process, which makes me wonder if, between this story and what we’ve watched unfold at Butts-Mehre since Kirby came to town, that’s the choice presented to a school that chooses to bind itself to a Saban acolyte — spend on what the coach believes is best for the program, or spend on fan experience.  What I can’t figure out is why schools like these can’t make the effort to appeal to both.  It’s not like they can’t afford it.


Filed under ACC Football, It's Just Bidness

Today, in awkward coaching transitions

It sounds like Coach O’s bold move to discard offensive coordinators like used Kleenex is already paying huge dividends.

The offense may not be ready, but LSU is putting together a solid excuse game.


Filed under Coach O Needs Another Red Bull

They paid the law and the law won.

Nothing but sunshine and blue skies ahead for the NCAA

On top of all of this, given the NCAA’s ongoing, and potentially future, legal entanglements, McNeely said the association’s long-term financial plan now includes budgeting for outside legal fees to increase by 10 percent a year. According to the association’s newly released tax records, that cost was just over $36 million for a fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2017.

If you’re a litigator, you’ve got to love a client willing to build in a cost of doing business like that.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA