Daily Archives: June 18, 2018

Don’t bury me, ’cause I’m not dead yet.

A few commenters here were bold enough to predict that this year’s finish in the recruiting rankings indicated something big:  that Alabama’s obscene run was over for good, Kirby being the new sheriff in town and all that.

Not so fast, my friend.  Nick is still Nick, it appears.

With Eboigbe’s commitment, Alabama separates even further from second place Oklahoma in the 2019 recruiting race. After struggling in 2018 to get as many interior lineman as Saban wanted, he’s come back with 4 commits in Eboigbe, Antonio Alfano, Rashad Cheney, and DJ Dale.

Alabama’s 2019 class sits at number on in ESPN’s recruiting ratings and in 247 Sports’, as well.  This is not to say Georgia isn’t doing well — the Dawgs sit at fourth in the former and sixth in the latter (with the highest average) — but the idea that Kirby would ruin Saban on the recruiting trail sure seems like wishful thinking at the moment.

Especially when you see something like this…

Saban is also making a statement in the state of Georgia after Kirby Smart was seen to have put a fence around the state last year. Eboigbe is the 4th Georgia player to commit to Alabama, and the 3rd in the top 15 in the state.

… and wonder if Smart’s success in 2018 may have charged up his mentor.

Saban is just a different beast and it might be wise to keep that in mind.

44 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Keeping up with the Sabans

Of all the things I’ve written about the Georgia Way, this may have been the most prescient.

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning. Everybody wants to win. The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens. And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor. (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.) It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

Are things on a better track now? Hard to say. Yes, spending on certain things has crept up, but look what it took to get B-M’s collective head out of its ass. And the jury is still out on whether the increase is being spent wisely.

I posted that on November 30, 2015.  I only mention the date so you can see how it fits in with something David Ching wrote about recruiting spending over the period of 2012-2017:

Saban’s employer, Alabama, ranked third among NCAA Power Five athletic departments in men’s recruiting spending in the five-year academic period between 2012-13 and 2016-17. In that time, Alabama (which averaged $1,815,354.40 per year in men’s recruiting expenses) won four men’s NCAA titles: two in football and two in men’s golf.

Alabama’s neighbors and fellow big spenders were not so fortunate on college athletics’ various fields of play.

According to spending figures available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics analysis database, the top four was comprised entirely of SEC programs: Tennessee (five-year average of $1,920,789.80 in men’s recruiting spending), Georgia ($1,897,805.80), Alabama and Auburn ($1,815,354.40).

Aside from conference membership, what those schools joining Alabama on the list have in common is that Saban is their toughest opposition on the recruiting trail. They have to spend big in an attempt to keep up with Saban and his Crimson Tide juggernaut, which just claimed its fifth NCAA football title in the last nine seasons.

What those schools do not have in common with Alabama is anything in the trophy case that justifies all of that spending. Over this five-year period, Alabama’s three SEC cohorts atop the list combined for zero men’s NCAA titles, and two of them (Tennessee and Auburn) were just a shade over .500 in football. Auburn did win the 2013 SEC football championship and play for that season’s BCS title, but that was all the trio had to show for its major sports.

With regard to that last sentence, things changed in the next academic year, as we all know.  Which, to reiterate another point I made, is a good indication that (1) Kirby Smart has a clue and (2) Butts-Mehre has finally seen the wisdom of deferring to someone who has a clue.  Both are grounds for considerable appreciation.

9 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

Stay classy, “War Eagle”.

You never know if Twitter stories are true, but, Gawd, I really hope this one is.

Now there’s a different twist on the ol’ “How do you get a rival student/grad off your front porch? Tip him for the pizza” joke.

31 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Today, in the wild, wild west

If you’re looking for the best sky-is-falling take on the revised NCAA transfer rules, which, remember, aren’t even binding on the conferences, this baby should be right up your alley.

Imagine it’s December 2019.

A wide receiver just caught a 40-yard pass on the first drive of the season finale, straddling the sideline and setting up first and goal for Arkansas State University.

Now imagine coaching staffs assembled across the country — in Ann Arbor, in Tuscaloosa, in Fayetteville — watching the game around conference tables, taking notes: Good size, great hands/balance, UNDERCLASSMAN.

The Red Wolves receiver is named the bowl game’s MVP. The coaching staffs click their TVs off and scroll through their cellphone contact lists for the receiver’s high school coach or mentor. By the time the team bus returns to Jonesboro, the receiver has made up his mind.

He walks into the coaches office and declares his intention to transfer. Within days, the news breaks on social media, and by the time the 2020 season kicks off, the receiver is catching passes in a Power 5 team’s uniform.

No sitting out a year. No restrictions.

This hypothetical isn’t possible today, but the NCAA took a step in that direction when its Division I Council on Wednesday eliminated the requirement that athletes have to receive permission from their athletic departments to transfer and receive financial aid from another school.

The change was in the works for a while, sparked by examples such as Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder blocking receiver Corey Sutton last year from transferring to as many as 35 schools. Snyder received widespread blow back before he finally allowed Sutton to transfer to Appalachian State.

Wednesday’s rule was proposed by an NCAA committee called the Transfer Working Group. But back in April, the Division I Committee on Academics — yeah, a lot of committees — asked the Transfer Working Group to draw up another rule that would allow players to transfer to other institutions and play immediately if they have a GPA between 3.0 and 3.3.

Not just in football. Basketball. Baseball. Bowling.

Thus would begin the age of collegiate free agency.

Cue ominous prairie dog.

I could spend quite of bit of bandwidth knocking down his specific concerns — so could most of you, I suspect — but there’s one in particular I’m really shaking my head over, for reasons that will become apparent.

And there won’t be a sheriff in all the country who could enforce the GPA requirement.

Just as players could skate around it by taking easy classes, coaches could sabotage their players by enrolling them in tough ones.

“You don’t think some coaches are going to go, ‘Let’s put him in Microbiology II so we can bring his GPA down?’ ” UCA men’s basketball Coach Russ Pennell. “It’s going to be some crazy stuff to try and regulate that within your own house.”

Russ, that’s some cool stuff there — a coach is going to enroll a kid against his/her will into some tough class and in the same breath it’s going to be hard for the coach’s own athletic department to regulate that?  Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but that’s probably not a program the kid should have committed to in the first place.

In any event, those of you who are convinced that making student-athletes conform to the general standards of admittance of a given school is the silver bullet that will save amateur collegiate sports, how exactly will that work at a school with crappy academic standards and (for the sake of argument) student-athletes and coaches seeking to manipulate the system?  Just askin’.

11 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, The NCAA

Kiss of death

Hey, I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade about the Plumlee commitment.  Getting a four-star commitment at quarterback for the 2019 class in the face of two five-stars on the roster is a helluva feather in Kirby Smart’s cap, but when you’ve got Tom Luginbill taking a victory lap for you…

Continue reading to see why ESPN 300 prospect John Rhys Plumlee is exactly what the Bulldogs need at QB in this class…  [Emphasis added.]

… well, let’s just say that could take a little bloom off the rose for me.

(I keed, I keed — I think.)

7 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Putting the “class” in class-action

Man, it’s crap like this that gives lawyers a bad name.

More than $208 million of what used to be the NCAA’s money is sitting in a bank account, waiting to be distributed to at least 50,000 current and former college athletes as well as the lawyers who represented them in a case that was settled well over a year ago.

Standing in the way are one former college football player and his attorney.

Before you start pumping your fist in the air about the news confirming your worst thoughts about the motives of the lawyers suing the NCAA, realize this is nothing more than a shakedown by one of those lawyers against the rest who are trying to get the award distributed to their clients.  How do I know?  Because this isn’t her first rodeo.

They have taken their objection to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, repeating an action that they and another objector pursued three years ago in the wake of a $60 million settlement related to the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses in video games. In both instances, the objections centered at least in part on the attorney’s fees and costs awarded to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

The former player, Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan, ultimately withdrew the appeal to the video-games settlement, but not until after court filings revealed that his attorney, Caroline Tucker, attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.

It’s bad enough that the judge has required them to post a bond to pursue further action, on the grounds that the objection raised is “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”  It’s bad enough that the other attorneys have filed motions asking for sanctions against the two.  And, again, history suggests they have a point.

The motion for sanctions notes that since 2016, there are seven other cases in which she has represented – or is representing – objectors in appeals to the 9th Circuit. Three of those cases are pending, she lost in one and she voluntarily dismissed the others. In addition, the motion says, Tucker has been an objector in four other class-action settlement appeals spread across four different circuits, voluntarily dismissing each.

And that’s not even the most cringeworthy part.  This is.

All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.

Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago.

Pretty ugly.

9 Comments

Filed under See You In Court

No doubt they mean well.

What do you do if you’re the NCAA and one of those CTE cases, described as “… a potential landmark case if the jury ruled against the NCAA”, actually makes it to court?

If you’re the NCAA, there’s only one acceptable outcome.

The NCAA settled a lawsuit Friday with the family of a former University of Texas football player that accused the organization of being responsible for his brain injuries and death decades after his playing career.

The lawsuit in Dallas was settled after three days of trial. A court administrator confirmed the settlement but said no terms were released.

Donald Remy believes dragging CTE suits out as long as possible and quietly settling at the last minute is the best strategy the NCAA’s got.  It’s all part of their commitment to the student-athlete’s well-being their bank account.

10 Comments

Filed under See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA