Monthly Archives: February 2019

Mark Emmert’s wet dream

Violate NCAA rules and go to jail.

Federal prosecutors are demanding jail time for three men convicted of bribery and fraud charges in the pay-to-play college basketball trial. 

The defendants — Adidas executive James Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins — earlier this month submitted motions asking for probation in lieu of prison sentences, but government attorneys pushed back in court documents filed Tuesday.

“A sentence that includes a term of incarceration is necessary to reflect, among other things, the seriousness of the defendants’ conduct and the need to promote deterrence, and is thus sufficient but not greater than necessary to further the legitimate purposes of sentencing,” U.S. Attorney Robert S. Khuzami wrote.

Jesus.  And that’s on top of restitution.

The government said Gatto, Code and Dawkins owe Louisville $31,922.75, based on Bowen’s attendance during the spring and fall semesters in 2017. Gatto alone owes totals of $1,136,424.52 to Kansas and $258,585 to NC State, which include financial aid and tuition paid while Preston, De Sousa and Smith were on campus.

That’s restitution for tuition that’s not actually paid by a school, although, if you’re going to argue the schools were somehow the victims here, I guess that’s at least consistent.  Crazy, but consistent.

I’m waiting for the NCAA to go all in with some sort of “VIOLATING AMATEURISM IS AGAINST THE LAW” promo.  Should be boffo.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA

“… it’s going to be a pretty strong number for us.”

The most amusing part of yesterday’s announcement that Georgia Tech will play five “home” games in the friendly confines of Mercedes Benz Stadium is the squirming attempt by the parties involved to spin the decision as something other than what it obviously is, a necessary move by an athletic department in desperate need of funds.

That’s why you get laughable statements about non-monetary benefits like these:

Coach Geoff Collins has a bauble that he can dangle in front of prospects – a home game every year in the stadium that has hosted the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoff Championship game.

“We see our location as being an asset that cannot be duplicated by our competitors,” Stansbury said.

Tech fans can watch their team in the opulence of MBS. And Tech can further connect itself to the city of Atlanta, which has been an objective of Stansbury’s since his hire and has likewise been a priority for Collins.

If MBS is such a fantastic asset, then why doesn’t Tech go ahead and move all of its home games there?

“I think Georgia Tech’s done a great job since Todd has come here, and coach Collins, of really breaking through the clutter, and this is another example of that,” Peach Bowl CEO and president Gary Stokan said. “Out-of-the-box thinking in a marketplace that’s tough.”

The clutter of playing home games in your own stadium clutter?  WTF, Stokan?  How out of the box is it to play a game at a place that regularly hosts kickoff classics and championship games?  It’s not like playing at MBS is some unique, never to be duplicated happening.

This is the only brand that matters.

For the four games besides the Clemson game, Tech will rent MBS and collect gate receipts. Stansbury was particularly excited about the large volume of private suites that can be sold for those games. At Bobby Dodd Stadium, there is a waiting list for premium seating.

At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, over five days between 2020 and 2024, that’s revenue that’s waiting to be collected.

It’s a money grab, plain and simple.  You know it.  I know it.  Gary Stokan knows it.  Todd Stansbury sure as hell knows it.  Even the folks at Stingtalk know it.

47 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness

That’s why they pay him the big bucks.

What kind of nit wit thinks that the Big 12’s best path for strengthening itself would be to throw its fate in with Larry Scott?

Jon Wefald, who ran Kansas State for 23 years — he hired Bill Snyder — said he devised the strategic alliance after being asked by current West Virginia president Gordon Gee, in the fall of 2017, to consider ways to “strengthen” the Big 12…

Gee called the proposal “brilliant,’’ according to Wefald…

Oh.  Never mind.

It’s like there’s this massive conspiracy to make sure Scott really is the smartest guy in the room.

9 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

This has the potential to be epic.

Although if Kirby really had a sense of humor, he’d invite Spurrier.

18 Comments

Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football

C’mon, wallets. Hunker down one more time!

On the road again

Georgia brass will be on the road this spring to make a big push to get donors to commit to ponying up money needed for the next big football facility project.

Football coach Kirby Smart, athletic director Greg McGarity and even men’s basketball coach Tom Crean are set for “major fundraising dates,” according to school president Jere Morhead.

Georgia is planning a football-only building as part of a Butts-Mehre expansion and renovation and will make its pitch to pay for it.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  And don’t forget to bring your checkbook.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

“Penn State truthers”

Jesus, I wish these people would find another hobby.

“One of the problems we have confronted that people don’t want to deal with is this: Suppose I’m telling you the truth,” said Lindsay, who took over the case five years ago. “Suppose that Jerry Sandusky is absolutely innocent. Do you realize the horror of what this has brought on a family, a man an institution – and it’s all a big lie? Suppose that I’m right.”

I’d rather not, thanks.

21 Comments

Filed under You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy

Playing amateurism’s greatest hits

If you are an unabashed amateurism romantic, then this opinion piece in the New York Times should be right up your alley.  Me, I love it, too, because it recycles every tired argument defending the status quo and shows how empty the NCAA’s position is.  Let’s break that down a little.

Here’s his first point.

Paying student-athletes might sound like a fairer way to treat students who generate so much money and attention for their colleges (not to mention the television networks that broadcast their games). But paying athletes would distort the economics of college sports in a way that would hurt the broader community of student-athletes, universities, fans and alumni. A handful of big sports programs would pay top dollar for a select few athletes, while almost every other college would get caught up in a bidding war it couldn’t afford.

Two things there.  First, he doesn’t bother to rebut the argument in his first sentence.  Instead he raises the concern about haves vs. have nots… as if that doesn’t already exist.  The difference under amateurism is that the big programs’ money goes into a facilities arms race and staff salaries instead of player compensation.

Next comes the “everybody’s going broke” pitch.

The 30 largest universities in the country each routinely generate annual revenues exceeding $100 million from sports, but according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, most of those revenues are spent covering operating expenses for the school’s athletic programs and paying tuition for their student-athletes. The majority of Division I colleges in the N.C.A.A. operate at a loss. In fact, among the roughly 350 athletic departments in the N.C.A.A.’s Division I, only about 24 schools have generated more revenue than expenses in recent years. The nation’s top five conferences made over $6 billion in 2015, billions more than all other schools combined, according to an ESPN analysis of N.C.A.A. data.

For the have-not universities, however, to continue operating means relying on millions of dollars in debt, funding from their main campus and student fees. Even with that help, some of the major athletic departments are struggling. A recent N.C.A.A. study determined that only about 20 of the 1,000 or so college sports programs in the nation were profitable. What is going to happen when the competition to offer students money is supercharged?

Gosh, maybe schools will have to budget more sensibly.  Maybe they won’t pour funds into unneeded facilities and bloated staff salaries.  Maybe we’ll find out that the NCAA cooks the books when it poor mouths the finances of athletic departments.  Maybe we’ll understand why schools still push to move their football programs into D-1.

And maybe we’ll finally recognize that there are plenty of schools without revenue generating sports programs that still manage to field athletic teams.

Next is my favorite argument.

… At the moment, thanks in part to the pressure exerted by a 2015 ruling by Judge Wilken, top N.C.A.A. athletes can receive scholarships totaling tens of thousands of dollars for tuition, room, board and stipends, as well as cost-of-attendance compensation. But the association still sets a ceiling on those benefits, and a group of Division I basketball and football players is awaiting Judge Wilken’s ruling on whether that ceiling should effectively be lifted.

If the plaintiffs in this case are successful, the arms race for top athletes may have no limit. The top 25 or so schools will pay because they can afford to. The remaining 325 or so will be forced to make a decision: not pay their athletes (and risk losing top talent to schools that do) or find a way to pay.

There’s a ton to unpack there.  To begin with, you’ve got the admission that the ruling in the first antitrust case benefited student-athletes.  Second, he’s misrepresented the relief that Wilken has been asked to grant — the NCAA would not be allowed to impose a ceiling, but nothing would stop the individual conferences from doing so.  That’s what a more competitive market would look like.  Third, he again ignores the reality of the existing arms race.

The most important take away, though, is the unspoken admission that if player compensation were more market-based instead of imposed from above, student-athletes playing football and basketball would receive more compensation.  That is the exact point those who, like the author (“For those who think that a free education is insufficient as compensation for playing sports, there are other options…”), argue those kids are already compensated under the current regime glide by.  Nobody’s arguing that isn’t the case; the accurate depiction of the argument is that to the extent players are receiving less than they would in a more open market setting, they are being exploited.

He’s not finished.

Similar problems would arise in the case of so-called third-party payments, in which student-athletes could be paid for things like endorsements. Major brands like Nike would pay top football and basketball talent at the biggest schools, while student-athletes in other sports or at smaller programs would be ignored. Currently, corporate funds go to athletic departments and are generally distributed among all sports; with third-party payments, those funds could instead mostly go directly to a few student-athletes, starving the rest.

“Major brands like Nike would pay top football and basketball talent at the biggest schools…” .  As if that isn’t already happening under the table.  I guess that’s okay as long as we don’t know about it.

Though let’s not say he doesn’t have a heart when all is said and done.  I mean, this is mighty big of him.

I am not opposed to young athletes who decide they would prefer to be paid cash to play sports.

The people suing the NCAA agree with you, man.

And so we come to the heartfelt conclusion.

Millions of student-athletes devote their sweat, blood and tears to sports. Some play football and basketball; others swim, run cross-country, play soccer or compete as gymnasts. Only a fraction of them generate money for their schools. We must ensure that the N.C.A.A. is able to preserve its commitment to all of them.

Emo, for the win.  The only thing is, nobody can explain why Greg McGarity deserves to be paid more than Todd Gurley.  Other than, of course, simple aesthetics.  And I’m fine with that, believe it or not.  Just don’t bother trying to dress it up or argue it’s the players generating the lion’s share of the revenue who alone need to make the sacrifice.

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Filed under The NCAA